Home Blog Page 21

What Could Go Wrong? Homeland Security Wants to Take Over Elections


Citing national security concerns, the Department of Homeland Security is making an aggressive play to take charge of elections.

(DC) “We should carefully consider whether our election system, our election process, is critical infrastructure like the financial sector, like the power grid,” said Homeland Security Sec. Jeh Johnson (pictured above, far left) at a conference in August.

“There’s a vital national interest in our election process, so I do think we need to consider whether it should be considered by my department and others critical infrastructure,” he explained, underscoring that the problem is the lack of federal control: “There’s no one federal election system. There are some 9,000 jurisdictions involved in the election process,” he said.

The security risks have come under increased scrutiny in recent days after the FBI revealed that two state election boards were victims of cyber attacks, a report that’s giving DHS more ammunition to take control of the election process.

On August 18, the FBI issued a bulletin to all private-industry partners involved in the election process about potential hacking attempts, encouraging them to tighten their security protocols. “The FBI is requesting that states contact their Board of Elections and determine if any similar activity … has been detected,” the FBI’s cyber division stated in a bulletin, explaining that an “unknown actor scanned a state’s Board of Election website for vulnerabilities” and successfully conducted “data exfiltration.” Hackers also used the same vulnerability in another state’s Board of Election system, the FBI explained.

The Washington Examiner notes that Homeland Security’s description of its “critical infrastructure” mandate on its website offers a rationale for the federal takeover of elections.

“There are 16 critical infrastructure sectors whose assets, systems, and networks, whether physical or virtual, are considered so vital to the United States that their incapacitation or destruction would have a debilitating effect on security, national economic security, national public health or safety, or any combination thereof,” explains DHS. According to White House policy, the federal government must “strengthen the security and resilience of its own critical infrastructure,” oversee “the continuity of national essential functions,” and “organize itself to partner effectively with and add value to the security and resilience efforts of critical infrastructure owners and operators.”

In other words, get ready for some federal “oversight” of national elections. What could go wrong?

Hacker ‘Guccifer’ who revealed Clinton’s private email server gets 4+ years in jail


The Romanian hacker “Guccifer,” who exposed Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server, was sentenced to 52 months by a US federal judge in Virginia. The near-maximum sentence under US law is meant as a deterrent to future hackers, the judge said.

(RT) Marcel Lazar Lehel, 44, a former taxi driver and paint salesman, was arrested in Romania and charged with hacking. He was extradited to the US in 2014.

In May this year, he pleaded guilty to one count each of aggravated identity theft and unauthorized access to a protected computer, admitting to hacking almost 100 Americans over a 14-month period.

“This epidemic must stop,” said US District Judge James Cacheris on Thursday as he meted out a 52-month sentence to Lehel in his Alexandria, Virginia courthouse. A tough penalty would deter future hackers, the judge said.

The sentence is just shy of the 54-month maximum penalty under US sentencing guidelines, which the federal prosecutors requested in the case. “The extent of the harm caused by defendant’s conduct is incalculable,” they argued. The hacker’s lawyers had asked for three years.

“This epidemic must stop,” said US District Judge James Cacheris on Thursday as he meted out a 52-month sentence to Lehel in his Alexandria, Virginia courthouse. A tough penalty would deter future hackers, the judge said.

The sentence is just shy of the 54-month maximum penalty under US sentencing guidelines, which the federal prosecutors requested in the case. “The extent of the harm caused by defendant’s conduct is incalculable,” they argued. The hacker’s lawyers had asked for three years.

Follow us on Twitter and Facebook



6.5 Trillion dollars remain unaccounted for by the US Army. That’s 30 percent of the entire nations GDP gone.
That works out to $18,571 for every man,woman, and child in the United States.

(REUTERS) The United States Army’s finances are so jumbled it had to make trillions of dollars of improper accounting adjustments to create an illusion that its books are balanced.

The Defense Department’s Inspector General, in a June report, said the Army made $2.8 trillion in wrongful adjustments to accounting entries in one quarter alone in 2015, and $6.5 trillion for the year. Yet the Army lacked receipts and invoices to support those numbers or simply made them up.

As a result, the Army’s financial statements for 2015 were “materially misstated,” the report concluded. The “forced” adjustments rendered the statements useless because “DoD and Army managers could not rely on the data in their accounting systems when making management and resource decisions.”

Disclosure of the Army’s manipulation of numbers is the latest example of the severe accounting problems plaguing the Defense Department for decades.

The report affirms a 2013 Reuters series revealing how the Defense Department falsified accounting on a large scale as it scrambled to close its books. As a result, there has been no way to know how the Defense Department – far and away the biggest chunk of Congress’ annual budget – spends the public’s money.

The new report focused on the Army’s General Fund, the bigger of its two main accounts, with assets of $282.6 billion in 2015. The Army lost or didn’t keep required data, and much of the data it had was inaccurate, the IG said.

“Where is the money going? Nobody knows,” said Franklin Spinney, a retired military analyst for the Pentagon and critic of Defense Department planning.

The significance of the accounting problem goes beyond mere concern for balancing books, Spinney said. Both presidential candidates have called for increasing defense spending amid current global tension.

An accurate accounting could reveal deeper problems in how the Defense Department spends its money. Its 2016 budget is $573 billion, more than half of the annual budget appropriated by Congress.

The Army account’s errors will likely carry consequences for the entire Defense Department.

Congress set a September 30, 2017 deadline for the department to be prepared to undergo an audit. The Army accounting problems raise doubts about whether it can meet the deadline – a black mark for Defense, as every other federal agency undergoes an audit annually.

For years, the Inspector General – the Defense Department’s official auditor – has inserted a disclaimer on all military annual reports. The accounting is so unreliable that “the basic financial statements may have undetected misstatements that are both material and pervasive.”

In an e-mailed statement, a spokesman said the Army “remains committed to asserting audit readiness” by the deadline and is taking steps to root out the problems.

The spokesman downplayed the significance of the improper changes, which he said net out to $62.4 billion. “Though there is a high number of adjustments, we believe the financial statement information is more accurate than implied in this report,” he said.

Jack Armstrong, a former Defense Inspector General official in charge of auditing the Army General Fund, said the same type of unjustified changes to Army financial statements already were being made when he retired in 2010.

The Army issues two types of reports – a budget report and a financial one. The budget one was completed first. Armstrong said he believes fudged numbers were inserted into the financial report to make the numbers match.

“They don’t know what the heck the balances should be,” Armstrong said.

Some employees of the Defense Finance and Accounting Services (DFAS), which handles a wide range of Defense Department accounting services, referred sardonically to preparation of the Army’s year-end statements as “the grand plug,” Armstrong said. “Plug” is accounting jargon for inserting made-up numbers.

At first glance adjustments totaling trillions may seem impossible. The amounts dwarf the Defense Department’s entire budget. Making changes to one account also require making changes to multiple levels of sub-accounts, however. That created a domino effect where, essentially, falsifications kept falling down the line. In many instances this daisy-chain was repeated multiple times for the same accounting item.

The IG report also blamed DFAS, saying it too made unjustified changes to numbers. For example, two DFAS computer systems showed different values of supplies for missiles and ammunition, the report noted – but rather than solving the disparity, DFAS personnel inserted a false “correction” to make the numbers match.

DFAS also could not make accurate year-end Army financial statements because more than 16,000 financial data files had vanished from its computer system. Faulty computer programming and employees’ inability to detect the flaw were at fault, the IG said.

DFAS is studying the report “and has no comment at this time,” a spokesman said.



WATCH: Clinton Cash – What Hillary Doesn’t Want You To Know


Clinton Cash, is a feature documentary based on the Peter Schweizer book that the New York Times hailed as “The most anticipated and feared book of a presidential cycle.”

Clinton Cash investigates how Bill and Hillary Clinton went from being “dead broke” after leaving the White House to amassing a net worth of over $150 million, with over $2 billion in donations to their foundation. This wealth was accumulated during Mrs. Clinton’s tenure as US Secretary of State through lucrative speaking fees and contracts paid for by foreign companies and Clinton Foundation donors.


Follow us on Twitter and Facebook

BREAKING: Hillary Clinton Hires Disgraced DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz

Four ways Hillary Clinton Wants to End Gun Ownership as President

Democrats Want Missles for Terrorists, But No Guns for Americans

BREAKING: Hillary Clinton Hires Disgraced DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz


In one of the most horrendously transparent acts in Hillary Clinton’s corrupt campaign, she has now hired soon-to-be-former DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz. DWS will resign from her position effective at the conclusion of the Democratic National Convention. It was revealed that the DNC was effectively working to sabotage Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) during the Democratic primary, prompting calls for her to resign.

Clinton emailed supporters and said that Schultz would join the campaign as “honorary chair” of the 50-state program to ensure Democrats win elections nationwide. Wasserman Schultz will continue to serve as a Clinton surrogate.


Follow us on Twitter and Facebook

The Complete Breakdown of Western Values


Two months ago I was with the former President of Colombia, Alvaro Uribe, at his home outside of Medellin.

He was telling me some hilarious stories about his interactions in the early 2000s with Hugo Chavez, who had recently seized power in Venezuela.

Chavez was a fanatic socialist. He believed so strongly in the idea of redistributing wealth from rich to poor.

Yet even when it was clear his policies weren’t working and Venezuela was rapidly sliding into economic chaos, Chavez’s only solution was to double down and redistribute even MORE wealth.

It was the classic definition of insanity.

Chavez failed to understand what Uribe told me so succinctly: “If there’s no wealth creation, there’s nothing left to redistribute.”

We know how Venezuela turned out; its failed socialist experiment led to today’s infamous shortages of food and toilet paper.

But here in Russia is perhaps the most famous example in our modern times.

Marxists came to power in a bloody 1917 revolution with the goal of eradicating poverty and redistributing wealth.

Yet like Venezuela, the only equality the Soviet Union managed to achieve was making everyone equally poor to the point that this vast wasteland of destitution finally collapsed in the late 1980s.

These economic disasters almost invariably start with a rising gap in wealth and income– a growing percentage of the population feeling left behind who rally behind someone promising to “spread the wealth around.”

As Historian Will Durant wrote in his incredible 1969 book Lessons from History:
“The concentration [of wealth] may reach a point where the strength of number in the many poor rivals the strength of ability in the few rich. . . which history has diversely met by legislation redistributing wealth or byrevolution distributing poverty.”
This is exactly what’s happening in the West now.

The statistics are obvious: the wealth gap is bigger than it’s been since the Great Depression.

Middle class wages, when adjusted for inflation, are stagnant.

2015 was the first time in years that the average wage increase in the United States actually surpassed the rate of inflation.

But on a longer timeline, household incomes haven’t kept pace with either productivity or the cost of living.

We can see the effects of this anecdotally.

Thomas Piketty’s 2013 book Capital in the Twenty-First Century, which criticized such inequality and advocated a global wealth tax, was an explosive best-seller.

A 2011 Pew Research Center poll showed that 49% of US respondents had a favorable view of socialism.

And of course, Bernie Sanders made wealth and income inequality major issues in his presidential campaign, resonating with tens of millions of people.

On the way over to Russia I was reading an article in Newsweek about Uber, the ride-sharing pioneer that is currently worth around $70 billion.

The author was upset because the company’s stock isn’t publicly traded like Apple or Facebook, meaning he’s not able to own any Uber shares for himself.

He complains that the founders of these tech companies have been “actively deciding to keep as much for [themselves] as possible and shut out the rest of the populace by avoiding public stock offerings.”

According to the author, we’re apparently all entitled to our “fair share” of other people’s businesses and private property.


He’s not alone– there’s a growing chorus of politicians beating up on Uber, evidenced by Elizabeth Warren’s statement in March 2016 that “all the benefits [of Uber and related “shared-economy” companies] are floating to the top 10%.”

What an ignorant comment to make.

Uber loses billions of dollars each year.

So if anything, investors’ capital ends up in the pockets of the hundreds of thousands of drivers who use the app to generate extra income.

In reality Uber constitutes an enormous transfer of wealth from investors to workers and consumers. So her comment was totally wrong.

But what was more amazing was that she was complaining about how it benefits the top TEN percent.

Usually these people whine about the top 0.1%, then the top 1%. Now it’s the top 10%.

When will they start complaining about the top 20%? Or those evil people in the top 55%, i.e. the percentage of households that actually pay US federal income tax.

Wealth and income inequality is real, and the gap is growing. So is the consequent rise of socialism.

People know they’re getting screwed. And they are. They just don’t know why.

They have no idea how central bankers who conjure money out of thin air have rigged the entire economy against them.

So instead they blame “capitalism” and naturally embrace its opposite.

Seven centuries ago when Europe was just a plague-infested backwater, glimmerings of economic freedom began to appear on the continent.

The West adopted core values, like the sacrosanct protection of private property; the ability for an individual to work hard and build wealth; and spirited intellectual debate.

This is how western civilization became the most prosperous that history has ever known.

But this is all changing.

Being wealthy used to be a virtue worthy of widespread aspiration.

Now it’s met with skepticism and derision.

Similarly, intellectual dissent used to be embraced.

Now it’s increasingly considered “hate speech” that must be banished from university campuses and their infantile ‘safe spaces’.

And the entire west, it seems, is moving towards an ever-expanding, fiscally unsustainable welfare state that creates swelling masses of dependents.

This is a complete breakdown of western values, and that has serious consequences.

It’s incredible how rapidly this trend has unfolded– it’s a very steep line from the economic chaos of the 2008 financial crisis to where we are today.

And given the speed of this pro-socialist trend, just think about where it’s going to be in a few more years.

More than likely, it will progress straight into your wallet.

Ron Paul: Don’t Reform The Fed. End it!

U.S. Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) speaks during the Republican Leadership Conference in New Orleans, Louisiana June 17, 2011. REUTERS/Sean Gardner (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS)

Recently, Ron Paul took time to point out the only stance that libertarians should have on the federal reserve: abolish it.

Don’t Reform the Fed, Fed-Exit!

By Ron Paul

Opponents of a central bank should take advantage of the post-Brexit vote revival of secessionist sentiments to promote a secession from central banking, or “Fed-exit.” Ending the Federal Reserve’s monopoly on money is the key to restoring and maintaining our liberty and prosperity.

By manipulating the money supply to fix interest rates, the Federal Reserve engages in price fixing. After all, interest rates are nothing more than the price of money. Like all prices, they communicate information about economic conditions to market actors. Federal Reserve attempts to override the market rate of interest with a Fed-favored rate distort the price signals sent to businesses, investors, and consumers. The result of this distortion is a Fed-created boom, followed by a Fed-created bust.The Fed’s action affects the entire economy and impacts the lives of all Americans, as well as of people around the world. Therefore, it is no exaggeration to say that the attempt to fix interest rates is the most harmful example of price fixing.

Many who normally oppose government intervention in the marketplace claim that central banking could work if only the Fed adhered to a monetary rule. Supporters of a “rules-based” monetary policy claim that a rules-based approach will bring stability and predictability to monetary policy, and thus put the economy on a path to permanent prosperity. But under a rules-based monetary policy, the Federal Reserve retains the power to manipulate interest rates. So under a rules-based approach, investors and entrepreneurs would still receive distorted price signals, which would still result in a boom-bust cycle. No rule can fix the flaws inherent in our system of monetary central planning.In recent years, many progressives have joined libertarians and conservatives in criticizing the Federal Reserve. Progressive Fed critics often focus on the ways the Fed’s policies benefit big banks, Wall Street, and other special interests, and how the policies harm average Americans. Unfortunately, but not surprisingly, many progressives do not want a free market in money. Instead they want a more “democratic” Fed. Thus, progressives favor, for example, requiring that more members of the Fed’s board be confirmed by the US Senate. They also favor putting representatives of “public interest” groups on the Fed’s board.

The Fed’s progressive critics are correct that big banks together with powerful financial institutions have too much influence on monetary policy. While implementing progressive reforms may reduce Wall Street’s influence on monetary policy, it will likely also strengthen the influence of the deep state — that network of crony capitalists, lobbyists, congressional staffers, and others who work behind the scenes to control our economic and foreign policies.Many progressives believe that middle- and working-class Americans would benefit from a more “stimulative” (meaning inflationary) monetary policy. Saying that inflation would help the average American turns reality on its head. Middle- and working-class Americans are the main victims of the Fed’s inflation tax. Average Americans also suffer the most when the bubble created by the Fed’s inflationary “stimulus” inevitably bursts. The true beneficiaries of inflation are crony capitalists and big-spending politicians.

Instead of fruitless efforts aimed at “reform” of the Fed, those concerned with restoring a true free market, reducing economic inequality, and promoting peace and prosperity for all should work for a “Fed-exit.” The first step, of course, is to pass Audit the Fed.

Once Congress and the people learn the full truth about the Fed, they can begin to consider the best ways to Fed-exit. There are a number of steps that can and should be taken toward that goal that I will outline in a future column.

Average Americans Commit 3 Felonies a Day


“There’s no way to rule innocent men.
The only power government has is the power to crack down on criminals.
Well, when there aren’t enough criminals, one makes them.
One declares so many things to be a crime
that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws.”

Ayn Rand 

(REASON) Violent crime is down America, across the board, spanning two decades. Earlier this month, the Justice Department announced that the incidence of reported rape had hit a 20-year low. Homicides are down, as are juvenile violence and crimes committed against children. Crime rates have been plummeting since the early 1990s to such an extent that explaining the drop has become something of an obsession among criminologists and sociologists.

Part of the drop can of course be explained by mass incarceration—America leads the world in the percentage of its population behind bars. Putting one in every 100 citizens in jail causes its own problems, and there’s plenty of debate over just how much that incarceration has contributed to the fall in violent crime. But there’s no question that we’ve put lots of people in prison over the last 20 years, the crime rate has fallen, and part of the public likely believes (with some justification) that there’s a link betweent the two.

But there’s something else going on too, picked up in the blogosphere last week by George Washington University political science Professor John Sides. According to Gallup, since 2002 the percentage of the American public who think violent crime is on the rise has been increasing, even as actual violent crime rates continue to fall. Sides notes that from 1989 to 2001, perception and reality somewhat went hand in hand. But 2002 to 2003 saw a 19 percent leap in public perceptions that violent crime was on the uptick, and the figure has been going up in the years since—to 74 percent today. What’s going on?

From the time Richard Nixon made crime a national political issue in the 1970s, we’ve been conditioned by politicians and public officials to live in perpetual fear. Our baseline is that there’s too much crime, and that we aren’t doing enough about it. Despite that, there was an actually drop in public worry about crime that began in 1992 and continued until 2002. As noted, that drop corresponded with an actual decline in the national crime rate, something that hadn’t happened in 30 years. That crime rates going down for the first time in a generation was something new, something worth noticing. The 1990s were also generally an optimistic decade. The economy was humming. We weren’t engaged in any major wars. We didn’t have many worries, period.

Post-2002, the national mood soured. Terrorism, obviously a form of violent crime, was all over the news. The economy slowed down. Illegal immigration once again became a national issue, along with the false assumption that undocumented immigrants bring violent crime. And so we returned to a state of fear, though the crime rate continued to fall.These fluctuations in the Gallup poll are interesting, but it’s worth noting that the percentage of respondents who believe violent crime is on the rise has dipped below 60 percent only three times since 1991. This, again, despite the fact that violent crime has been in decline over the entire period.

Fear makes for easy politics. It both wins votes and primes us to give government more power at the expense of personal liberty. And that’s certainly true when it comes to crime. With the possible exception of an incumbent mayor, politicians only benefit from exaggerating the threat of violent crime. Senators, Congressmen, and even governors are rarely held responsible when the crime rate goes up. But they do win votes by proposing new powers for police and prosecutors to bring it down.

The result has been a one-way ratchet effect on crime policy. We’re perpetually expanding police and prosecutorial power, a process only occasionally slowed by the courts. Congress and state legislatures rarely take old criminal statutes off the books, but they’re always adding new ones. A 2008 report from the Heritage Foundation estimates that at the federal level alone, Congress has been adding about 55 new crimes to the federal criminal code each year since the 1980s. There are now about 4,500 separate federal crimes. And that doesn’t include federal regulations, which are increasingly being enforced with criminal, not administrative, penalties. It also doesn’t include the increasing leeway with which prosecutors can enforce broadly written federal conspiracy, racketeering, and money laundering laws. And this is before we even get to the states’ criminal codes.

In his new book, the Boston-based civil liberties advocate and occasional Reason contributor Harvey Silverglate estimates that in 2009, the average American commits about three federal felonies per day. And yet, we aren’t a nation of degenerates. On the contrary, most social indicators have been moving in a positive direction for a generation. Silverglate argues we’re committing these crimes unwittingly. The federal criminal code has become so vast and open to interpretation, Silverglate argues, that a U.S. Attorney can find a way to charge just about anyone with violating federal law. In fact, it’s nearly impossible for some business owners to comply with one federal regulation without violating another one. We’re no longer governed by laws, we’re governed by the whims of lawyers.Whatever one may think of Ayn Rand’s political philosophy or ethics, her criminal justice prophecy has proven unsettlingly accurate: In our continuing eagerness to purge American society of crime, we’ve allowed the government to make us all into criminals.


BREAKING: Baton Rouge Shooter is Former Marine & Black Separatist Gavin Long


An Iraq war veteran identified by law enforcement as a “black separatist” fatally shot three police officers and wounded three others here Sunday, opening yet another chapter in the summer of racial unrest that has fractured American cities and exposed the vulnerability of police as targets in the continuing conflict.

The gunman, wearing black and carrying an assault rifle, shot the unsuspecting officers along a road that has been the scene of emotional protests sparked by the police shooting less than two weeks ago of a 37-year-old African American man selling CDs outside a local business.

Baton Rouge has been engulfed in racial protests since that shooting, and Sunday’s events plunged the Louisiana capital into further turmoil — even as it was revealed that at least one of the dead officers, Montrell Jackson, the 32-year-old father of a 4-month-old son, was black.“This is not so much about gun control as it is about what is in men’s hearts,” said East Baton Rouge Sheriff Sid J. Gautreaux III, appealing for the country to set aside its divisions and end the violence. “If we don’t do that, and this madness continues, we will surely perish as a people.”

President Obama, in yet another address to the nation made necessary by a fusillade of bullets in a city split by race, had a similar message: “Only we can prove that we have the grace and the character and the common humanity to end this kind of senseless violence, to reduce fear and mistrust within the American family, to set an example for our children,” he said.

“That’s who we are, and that’s who we always have the capacity to be. And that’s the best way for us to honor the sacrifice of the brave police officers who were taken from us this morning,” the president said.

The gunman was identified as Gavin Eugene Long, a 29-year-old Marine Corps veteran from Kansas City, Mo., who a U.S law enforcement official said had a history as a “black separatist.”

Long’s service record included duty assignments at Camp Pendleton, San Diego and Twentynine Palms before his discharge from the Marines in 2010.Long appeared to leave a vast, anger-laden online trail documenting his interest in black separatism, fury at police shootings of black men, experience in the Marines and advocacy for vegetarianism.

Throughout his postings on social media, Long described violence as the solution to what he saw as oppression of black Americans.

“One hundred percent of revolutions, of victims fighting their oppressors, from victims fighting their bullies, 100% have been successful through fighting back through bloodshed,” he says in one video.

Sunday’s incident began just after 8:30 a.m. when Baton Rouge police officers and East Baton Rouge sheriff’s deputies found themselves under sudden attack near a gas station and convenience store on Airline Highway, less than a mile from the Baton Rouge Police Department’s headquarters, an area that has been the scene of repeated protests since the July 5 police shooting of Alton Sterling.

Police responded to a call of a suspicious person dressed in black and carrying an assault rifle, walking down Airline Highway near a beauty supply store.

“Supposedly a lady came up and said there’s a subject walking with a coat and an assault rifle out here behind the store,” an officer could be heard saying in a recording of the police radio channel posted to Broadcastify.com.Within minutes, the gunman opened fire.

“Shots fired, officer down!” another officer reports in the recording. “Shots fired, officer down! Got a city officer down! Shots fired! Shots fired on Airline!”

“I’m hit, I’m right in front of it,” an officer replies shortly afterward. “By the carwash.

“I’m hit,” he says. “Left arm. Argh.”

By 8:48 a.m, emergency workers arrived, according to a timeline issued by the Louisiana State Police. Police then “engaged” the shooter, who died at the scene.

Gillian Rose Triche, 31, an Army reservist and nursing student who lives near the scene of the attack, described gunshots — one shot, then more “cracking and echoing.” It sounded like an automatic rifle, said Triche, who served in the Army for 12 years.

In the confusion that surrounded the immediate aftermath, some local officials said two other suspects might be at large. Later, officials said the dead gunman was the only person who shot at officers.

“We do believe the person who shot and killed our officers, he is the person that we shot and killed,” said Col. Michael D. Edmonson, superintendent of the Louisiana State Police. “We don’t believe we have any shooters holed up.”

Still, investigators were working to determine whether Long had help, Maj. Doug Cain, a spokesman for the state police, told reporters.

“We are not ready to say he acted alone,” Cain said, noting that two “persons of interest” were picked up after the shooting and brought to the East Baton Rouge Violent Crimes Unit.

He was apparently referring to a report that two men in black T-shirts and camouflage shorts had acted suspiciously at a Wal-Mart store in Port Allen. The men, who drove a car with Texas license plates, were apprehended at a gas station in Addis, southwest of Baton Rouge, but they were later released.

There was every reason for police to be wary: Four young people were arrested last week and accused of plotting to shoot and kill police officers, part of what authorities described as a “substantial, credible threat” to harm law enforcement officers in the Baton Rouge area.


The incident is the nation’s fourth high-profile deadly encounter involving police in the last two weeks. The shooting of Sterling on July 5, captured in an agonizing video, triggered a Justice Department civil rights investigation.

A day later, a police officer in Falcon Heights, Minn., fatally shot Philando Castile, a 32-year-old black man, during a traffic stop. On July 7, a gunman who claimed he was seeking revenge for Sterling’s and Castile’s deaths killed five police officers during a Black Lives Matter protest in Dallas.

Baton Rouge Police Chief Carl Dabadie Jr. choked up as he discussed Sunday’s shooting. “This is not going to tarnish this city or this department,” he said. “We will get through this.”

East Baton Rouge Parish Mayor Melvin Lee “Kip” Holden, a black Democrat, urged the community to support law enforcement. “We are one family, all seeking justice for all of our people,” he said.

The slain officers included two from the Baton Rouge Police Department: Jackson, who had worked on the force for a decade, and Matthew Gerald, a white, 41-year-old officer who had been with the department for less than a year. East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Deputy Brad Garafola, 45, was also killed. The father of four had been with the sheriff’s office for 24 years.

Three law enforcement officers were injured; one is in critical condition, and two had non-life-threatening injuries.

Jackson, whose wife had given birth this year to their son, Mason, was a “great guy, one of the good cops,” said Marcus Brown, a family friend who regularly saw Jackson. Brown said his cousin was married to Jackson.

“He would always throw events at his house for us married couples. We would go over and play games together,” Brown said. “Video games, ‘Madden,’ things like that. He loved basketball. We would talk about sports all the time.”

Kristi Godal, a friend and Jackson’s next-door neighbor, said Jackson was the president of their neighborhood association and popular with residents.

“He had the best yard. His house always stood out,” Godal said. “People are just flowing by the house, bringing food and in tears.”

Since the shooting of Sterling and the ensuing protests, Godal had regularly chatted with Jackson in person and on Facebook about tension in the city. Their conversations grew after Jackson put up a Facebook post on July 8, lamenting the turn of events.

“I’m tired physically and emotionally. Disappointed in some family, friends and officers … but hey what’s in your heart is in your heart. I still love you all because hate takes too much energy but I definitely won’t be looking at you the same. Thank you to everyone that has reached out to me or my wife it was needed and much appreciated,” Jackson wrote.

“I swear to God I love this city but I wonder if this city loves me. In uniform I get nasty hateful looks and out of uniform some consider me a threat. I’ve experienced so much in my short life and these last 3 days have tested me to the core…. These are trying times. Please don’t let hate infect your heart.”

The other day, Godal sent Jackson a message on Facebook encouraging him to stay positive. “You set the tone, I’m proud to know you…. You will be one of the legends, stay the course. God bless you,” she said.

“Thank you! Lol!” Jackson wrote back.

Within hours of the shooting, Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, took to social media to critique Obama’s leadership. “How many law enforcement and people have to die because of a lack of leadership in our country?” he posted on Facebook. “We demand law and order.”

Local and federal officials pledged full support as the investigation unfolds. Agents from the FBI and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives are on the scene, Atty. Gen. Loretta Lynch said in a statement, noting that the Justice Department  would provide victim services and federal funding support, as well as investigative assistance.

“Rest assured, every resource available to the state of Louisiana will be used to ensure the perpetrators are swiftly brought to justice,” Gov. John Bel Edwards said in a statement.

As news of the shooting spread, police departments across the country — already on edge after the Dallas attack — were urged to remain cautious.

“As we monitor the incident in Baton Rouge, our officers are reminded to use caution and remain vigilant in their patrols,” the Boston Police Department tweeted.

The Los Angeles Police Protective League issued prayers and sympathies to law enforcement officers’ families and friends, as well as pointed criticism of politicians and “anti-police activists.”

“To the civic leaders of our nation, the platitudes and “rhetorical support” for law enforcement must end and be replaced with action,” the league said in a statement. “Now that ten law enforcement officers have been murdered in ten days, what will you do to keep our communities safe?  We need your actions, not your words.”

Black Lives Matter activists involved in protests in St. Paul, Baton Rouge and elsewhere said they mourned the police deaths but said the movement would carry on.

“The movement began in response to violence,” said DeRay Mckesson, a prominent Baltimore-based Black Lives Matter activist who was arrested during protests last week in Baton Rouge. “It has been motivated by a call to end violence. That call to end violence is the same today as it was yesterday.”

For Tanya Sterling, Alton Sterling’s cousin, a sense of normalcy had only slowly begun to return after his funeral on Friday. She said she was shocked, angry and saddened when her mother told her of the police officers shot on Sunday.

“So much chaos,” she said. “I hate that it was my cousin who passed. I hate that it was him who died and for all this to have happened. I wish that none of this happened.”

Read the original story here