Politics

Roger Stone says Trump may not run in 2020

Longtime Trump confidant Roger Stone pledged to have someone lined up to challenge Vice President Mike Pence should he run for president in 2020.

During an interview Friday with Big League Politics, a right-wing news website, Stone suggested that President Trump may not ultimately run for re-election if his first term is adequately successful and denounced the possibility of a 2020 ticket with Pence and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley.

“I guarantee you I will have a candidate challenge Mike Pence,” said while speaking on the “Howley Reports” show.

Via Washington Examiner
President Donald J. Trump boards Air Force One at Joint Base Andrews | May 10, 2018 (Official White House Photos by Joyce N. Boghosian)

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Reports of Military Sexual Assault, Retaliation Increase

(IVN) A report released last month by the Pentagon found that reports of sexual harassment in the military increased from fiscal year 2016, but this is not necessarily a bad thing.

The report also found that reports of retaliation against those making reports increased as well, proving that there is still much work to be done to combat the epidemic of sexual violence in the nation’s military.

The report, compiled by a bi-annual survey, found that there was an approximate 10 percent increase in the number of sexual assault cases reported. For fiscal year 2017, which ended on September 30, there were a total of 6,769 cases reported across all military branches.

This is up from the 6,172 cases reported in FY2016. It is the largest increase since 2015. Of those, 1,200 were outside of the military’s jurisdiction.

Among those surveyed, fewer than 15,000 people described themselves as being victims of unwanted sexual contact. This is a dramatic drop from the 26,000 people when the military sexual assault crisis first made headlines in 2012.

According to the report, the Marine Corps saw the biggest increase in reported incidences of sexual assault. In FY2016 there were 870 reported cases reported. In FY2017, this number increased to 998.

For fiscal year 2017, which ended on September 30, there were a total of 6,769 cases reported across all military branches.

But this isn’t the only trouble the Marines found itself in. In early 2017, the Marine Corps was embarrassed by a nude photo sharing scandal across social media.

The Facebook page Marines United had thousands of images of female marines, marine veterans and wives of marines in various stages of undress and compromising and sexual positions. Accompanying the photos were degrading and threatening comments.

After a lengthy investigation, it was found that the majority of the material was voluntary, however a handful of those marines still on active duty and found to be responsible were disciplined.

The Navy saw a nine percent increase in reports. In FY2017 there were 1585 reports of sexual assault. This is up from the 1450 reports in FY2016. The Air Force also saw an increase of nine percent.  The Army saw an increase of eight percent.

While it may seem to some that an increase in reports of sexual assault would signal a worsening problem, according to the DOD, this isn’t the case.

In fact, increased reporting is a good thing. This means that service members are more comfortable coming forward and reporting incidence and have more confidence that the system will get them justice because sexual assault is such a sensitive, highly under-reported crime.

The data from the DOD showed that while reports increased, the incidents of reports sent to the courts for punishment actually decreased. Of all the cases reported in the previous fiscal year, 2,218 were referred for disciplinary action. 774 went through the court martial process.

This is down from 790 the previous year.

This doesn’t mean that perpetrators aren’t being punished. They are just being punished outside the military’s court system.

“It is very, very challenging to go through the court-martial process and testify. Victims may opt not to testify and commanders are now left with administrative actions and discharges to hold people appropriately accountable,” said Nathan Galbreath, the deputy director of the Pentagon’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office.

Because fewer victims are testifying, military commanders are using administrative actions, discharges, or non-judicial punishment. There were 378 cases referred for administrative action or discharge in FY2017, up from the 260 cases in FY2016.

In addition, another 294 faced non-judicial punishment. This can include a wide variety of punishments including loss of pay, loss of rank, and even the end of someone’s military career.

In a disturbing twist, however, the reports of retaliatory behavior have gone up remarkably as well. The same DOD report found that 40 percent of those who reported sexual assault experienced some kind of retaliation.

“The department has made progress in combating sexual assault in the military,” said Rear Adm. Ann Burkhardt, the director of the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office. “But we know that there is more work to be done.”

Written by Wendy Innes

 

 

This article was republished with permission from IVN.

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Vape Products Banned From All Pharmacies In New York’s Capital

(DCNF/The Daily Vaper)— Harm reduction advocates are criticizing lawmakers in New York state for conflating combustible tobacco with vaping in their latest effort to restrict access.

The Albany County Legislature voted 26-11 Monday to ban the sale of all tobacco and nicotine products from certain grocery stores and all pharmacies in Albany and surrounding communities. Albany County Legislator Paul Miller, author of the ban, claims the move is in the interest of public health, suggesting liquid nicotine and vapor products pose the same health harms as tobacco, reported WRGB Albany.

Stores have several months to evaluate their products to comply with the ban and will face fines ranging from $50 for a first offense to $500 for every subsequent violation. (RELATED: Experts Warn NY Vaping Ban Will Lead To Higher Smoking Rates, More Tobacco Deaths)

“We aren’t outlawing tobacco in the county, but we are saying that we want to reduce the number of people that get addicted to cigarettes and nicotine,”said Miller, according to WRGB Albany.

Ample research proves that vaping devices drastically reduce the harm caused by cigarettes, because the majority of cancer-causing chemicals are released through combustion of tobacco. Public health experts agree that efforts to reduce tobacco use are admirable; however, they argue those efforts are bolstered, not undermined, by vaping devices.

Smokers who switch to a less harmful vapor product already find themselves heavily restricted in the state. Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a law on Oct. 23 amending New York state’s tobacco laws to include e-cigarettes, claiming it was to protect public health.

Charles Hughes, a policy analyst at the Manhattan Institute, previously argued the amendment will have the opposite effect on public health because it restricts use of the products to areas where smoking is allowed. Smokers may be less likely to ever attempt quitting with a vape if the products are relegated to the status of combustible cigarettes, Hughes argued in an October editorial in Economics 21.

“Failing to recognize the differences between conventional cigarettes and e-cigarettes could slow the rate at which people shift away from conventional cigarettes,” Hughes warned.

He pointed to a study released Oct. 2, 2017 by the Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center at Georgetown University Medical Center, which shows that, even in a worst case scenario, if vaping were to largely replace smoking, roughly 1.6 million smokers would avoid premature death and collectively add 20.8 million extra years to their lives.

In the best case scenario, roughly 6.6. million smokers would avoid premature death and collectively add 86.7 million extra years to their lives if vaping replaced smoking.

Harm reduction advocates say instead of alarmism over the alleged threats posed by vapor products, users should be taught about the relative risks of those products when compared to smoking.

Written by Steve Birr: Follow Steve on Twitter.

 

This article was republished with permission from the Daily Caller News Foundation.

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Deputy Who Hid During Parkland School Shooting Gets $8,702 Monthly Pension

Parkland, FL – The Broward County sheriff’s deputy, who resigned in disgrace after failing to enter the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland and engage accused shooter Nikolas Cruz, will receive a pension that pays him more than he made while on the force last year. Surveillance footage and statements by other officers revealed that Peterson took cover outside the school as Cruz killed 17 students and staff inside a building.

Records from the Florida Department of Management Services, obtained by the Sun Sentinel, revealed that Peterson is expected to collect monthly payments of $8,700, which amounts to more than $104,000 per year— slightly more than the $101,879 he was paid last year. Roughly $75,600 was his base salary, with the remainder coming from overtime pay and other forms of compensation.

“The thing he was supposed to do — protect these children — he didn’t do,” Broward County Commissioner Michael Udine told the Miami Herald Tuesday. “Now he’s going to be paid by taxpayers for the rest of his life? It seems disgraceful.”

Incredibly, the Miami Herald reports that Peterson, who is 55, is eligible to collect his pension for the rest of his life, with Broward County tax payers being responsible for paying 50 percent of his health insurance premiums.

Andrew Pollack, whose daughter Meadow Pollack was killed by Cruz, angrily questioned how Peterson could be allowed to receive such a large pension given the allegations of cowardice.

“The coward of broward, Scot Peterson is getting over $8k a month pension! He hid while my daughter and 16 others were slaughtered!” he tweeted Tuesday night. “How in the hell is he getting this?”

Last month, Pollack filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Peterson.

Peterson joined Broward County Sheriff’s Office as a detention deputy in 1985 and became a school resource officer at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in 2009.

A report by Reason explained why Peterson will receive such a substantial pension:

Peterson earned more than $101,000 during his final year of service, the Sun Sentinel reports. That includes about $75,600 in base salary, with the rest coming from overtime pay and other forms of compensation. As Reason has previously reported, Peterson had been the school resource officer at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School since 2009, and he had been an employee of the Broward County Sheriff’s Office since 1985.

That means Peterson put in at least 25 years at the job, an important threshold for accruing pension benefits under state law. The pensions afforded to Florida’s sheriffs are based on a calculation that starts with an average of the employee’s five highest-paid years. That average is then multiplied by a percentage that varies based on how many years an employee has worked and at what job.

Law enforcement employees and other public employees in so-called “high-risk” positions earn a multiplier of 3 percent for every year worked. (Other public workers earn a lower multiplier, usually 2 percent.) After 25 years of service, a law enforcement employee like Peterson would have earned a pension equal to 75 percent of the average of his five highest-paid years during his final 10 years of employment. Under Florida law, pension payouts are capped at 100 percent of this figure, which is known as a “final annual salary.”

The idea is that law enforcement puts their life in jeopardy, thus being handsomely rewarded for the risk. The problem with that premise is that Peterson, in reference to the Parkland school shooting, did exactly the opposite and chose to not risk his own life to save others.

Under Florida law, regardless of an officer’s performance in the line of duty, the pension payouts are nearly guaranteed; stipulating that public pensions are only revocable for felony “breach of the public trust,” including the specific crimes—embezzlement, theft, bribery, and child sexual assault.

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Senate Approves Gina Haspel To Be The Next Director Of The CIA

(Newsy) She had a tough nomination and confirmation process.

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