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4 months ago · by · Comments Off on Kenny Rogers Passes Away

Kenny Rogers Passes Away

 

 

 

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Kenny Rogers, whose legendary music career spanned six decades, has died at the age of 81.  The artist’s family announced his passing, saying he died from natural causes under the care of hospice and surrounded by family.  “Kenny Rogers left an indelible mark on the history of American music. His songs have endeared music lovers and touched the lives of millions around the world,” read a statement posted by his publicist Keith Hagan.  Rogers’ family planned a small, private service out of concern for the coronavirus pandemic, “but look forward to celebrating the life of Kenny Rogers publicly with his friends and fans at a later date,” his publicist’s statement said.  Tributes to the country singer poured in from fans and musical artists.

 

Rogers was inducted to the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2013, for what organization officials called a “distinctive, husky voice.”  He had 24 No. 1 hits and through his career more than 50 million albums sold in the US alone. He wasalso a six-time Country Music Awards winner and three-time Grammy Award winner.

Some of his hits included “Lady,” “Lucille,” “We’ve Got Tonight” and “Through the Years.”  His 1978 song “The Gambler” inspired multiple TV movies, with Rogers as the main character.  In 1985, he participated in the original recording of “We Are the World” along with more than three dozen artists. A year later, according to his website, he co-chaired “Hands Across America,” a campaign which sought to raise awareness about the homeless and hungry in the US.

He announced his retirement in 2015.  “I’ve been so lucky to have enjoyed such a long career and to have such amazing support from my fans and all who have helped me along the way, but there comes a time when I need to focus on spending time with my family,” he had said.  “My life is about my wife and my 11-year-old twin boys right now. There are a lot of things I want to do together with them to create some special memories. I don’t have a bucket list of my own … I have a bucket list of things I want to do with them.”

 

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6 months ago · by · Comments Off on Bills Passed To Boost Safety After 2018 Deadly Crash

Bills Passed To Boost Safety After 2018 Deadly Crash

 

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State lawmakers have passed several bills designed to boost safety requirements for stretch-limo operators, after a deadly crash in upstate New York involving one of the vehicles killed 20 people.  Family members of the victims of the 2018 crash flanked officials during Tuesday’s press conference in Albany and cheered the 10 proposals supported by leaders of the state Senate, Assembly and Gov. Cuomo.

The crash occurred in Schoharie at the junction of New York state routes 30 and 30A  on the afternoon of October 6th 2018. The passengers were traveling to a surprise birthday party in a retrofitted 2001 Ford Excursion.  Among them were four sisters and two recently married couples.  All 18 people inside the vehicle, including the driver, and 2 bystanders in a nearby parking lot were killed.

The investigation of the accident revealed pre-existing problems with the limousine, the driver and the limousine company, Prestige Limousine Services. As a result of failing two inspections due to deficient brakes, which a repair shop allegedly falsified having repaired, and other issues, the state had ordered the vehicle out of service. Inspectors had placed an “inservicable” sticker across the windshield which was removed before the fatal trip.  The vehicle was only certified for 10 seats, but had 18 installed. The driver also lacked the required endorsement to his license for carrying 15 or more passengers at a time.

After the New York State Police determined that the operator, Nauman Hussain, was aware of these issues yet continued to rent the vehicle, he was arrested on a charge of criminally negligent homicide and later indicted on 20 counts each of that charge and 2nd degree manslaughter.  His trial is scheduled for March 2020.

“This has been a difficult journey for all the collective families that said, as everybody knows, it’s not where you start, it’s where you finish,” said an emotional Kevin Cushing, who lost his 31-year-old son, Patrick Cushing, in the October 2018 crash in Schoharie County.  “We can’t change the past but we can make a difference in the future,” Cushing said.

One of the key pieces of legislation requires all new stretch limos to have seat belts starting in 2021 and retrofitted vehicles by 2023.  Multiple reports following the accident found that seat belts could have saved the lives of at least some of the passengers.  Other changes include a bill mandating that riders in taxis, liveries and limos — in both the front and back seats —wear safety belts.  This would apply to Uber, too.  Additional bills set new requirements for drug and alcohol testing of hired drivers, criminal and financial penalties for illegal U-turns and a commercial GPS system. Another bill will implement a study on other safety measures, such as escape hatches.

 

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6 months ago · by · Comments Off on Monsey Attacker Charged With 5 More Hate Crime Charges

Monsey Attacker Charged With 5 More Hate Crime Charges

 

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A grand jury indicted the suspect in the Hanukkah attack with five more federal hate crimes charges. Grafton Thomas allegedly stabbed at least five Jewish worshipers who were celebrating Hanukkah at a rabbi’s house in Monsey last month. The grand jury in Rockland County had already indicted Thomas, 37, on six counts of attempted murder in the second degree, three counts of assault in the first degree, three counts of attempted assault in the first degree and two counts of burglary in the first degree in the mass slashing on Dec. 28.

The indictment charges Grafton Thomas with five counts each of attempting to kill victims based on their religion and obstructing the free exercise of religious beliefs by attempting to kill with a dangerous weapon.  He is being held without bail on the federal charges.  “We now allege that he did this with the intention of targeting his victims because of their religion,” Manhattan U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman said in a news release. “Thomas faces life in prison for his alleged violent acts of prejudice and intolerance.”

Newly elected DA Thomas E. Walsh, who took office on New Year’s Day, announced the state charges at a brief press conference.  “Thomas violently attacked numerous individuals inside the home, slashing at least six individuals, with the intent to cause their deaths,” he said. Initial reports said there were five injured in the attack, though there were no details on what injuries the newly-added victim suffered.  Those charges carry a maximum of 25 years in state prison.

Thomas was arrested shortly after the attack with 2 bloodied weapons in his car.  Police say he also had handwritten journals containing anti-Semitic references and recently used his phone to look up information on Hitler and the location of synagogues.  The worst of the injured victims was clinging to life after suffering devastating machete blows to his head; the man, great-grandfather Josef Neumann, 72, remained comatose, partially paralyzed and on a respirator.

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9 months ago · by · Comments Off on Daily HI4E.org Trivia Contest Winners For The Week Ending: Sunday, October 6th, 2019.

Daily HI4E.org Trivia Contest Winners For The Week Ending: Sunday, October 6th, 2019.

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Daily HI4E.org Trivia Contest Winners For The Week Ending: Sunday, October 6th, 2019.

In an effort to broaden the company’s “social interaction” with our clients and FaceBook fans, Daily Trivia Questions are posted on both of our business pages. Here are the weekly standings for this past week, and the winner of the Sunday night Weekly Drawing for an AmEx/VISA gift card!     

Congratulations  – To this past week’s Trivia Contest Winner!!   Our latest contest winner for the weekly FaceBook HealthInsurance4Everyone/Health & Life Solutions, LLC Trivia Contest, drawn randomly by computer late Sunday evening, October 6th, 2019 was:

         

MEGAN  RHYNE

 Three Oaks, MI

Winner Of A $25.00 VISA Gift Card

 

Each day, fans who have “liked” either of our company FaceBook pages (HealthInsurance4Everyone  or Health & Life Solutions LLC) are able to test their skills with our Daily TRIVIA QUESTION.  The first 20 winners who post the correct answer to the TRIVIA QUESTION, will then get entered into the weekly drawing held late on Sunday evenings for a $25.00 Am Ex/Visa Gift Card.


Weekly Gift Card winners will be posted in our blog at this site.  Remember to become a FaceBook fan and “Like and Follow” either of our company pages to enter and post your answers. 

 

 

Trivia Last Weeks Winner

 

 

The Trivia drawing entries 9/30/19 thru 10/6/19 are:

 

 

9/30/19

 

Christy Hawkes

 

Paula Gillespie

 

Connie Lynn Merritt

 

June Rivera

 

Vinessa Vasquez

 

Angela Janisse

 

Jenifer Garza

 

Stephanie Beckwith

 

Sarah Harrison

 

Derek Jennings

 

Esther Harrell Tartaglia

 

Becky Holland

 

Holly Cajigas

 

Angel Shearl

 

Rhonda Grisham

 

Megan Rhyne

 

Karen Brunet Moore

 

Melissa Ann Stura-Bassett

 

Jo Bhagavathula

 

Jennifer Ramlet

 

Adaria Johnson

 

Emily Rice Bowersock

 

Jill Nauyokas

 

Sherri Kidwell

 

 

 

 

10/1/19

 

 

Joann Tompkins-Winborn

 

Nicole Blaha

 

Christina McKinnon

 

Brooke Scott

 

Sherri Kidwell

 

Elizabeth Gordon

 

Beth Epley Minton

 

Alicia Johnson

 

Alexis Maureen

 

Kristina Rosson

 

Marilyn Wall

 

Tera Lee Culverwell

 

Dean Bruss

 

Rose Elizabeth Cantu

 

Meg Marshall

 

Steph Lesliebonton

 

Lena Perry

 

Jenifer Garza

 

Connie Lynn Merritt

 

Dan Maloney

 

Sonali Jain Modi

 

 

 

 

 

10/2/19         

                  

 

Amanda Rosario

 

Sunney Michelle Johnson

 

Beth Epley Minton

 

Isis Sample

 

Donna Porter

 

Dawn Raasch

 

Brittany Deaver

 

Trish Musgrave

 

Kelsey Brooke Vinson                 

 

Jane Peterson

 

Cheryl Stoker Hall

 

Janice McKay Donahue

 

Sherry Lilly

 

Tina Auth

 

Maggie Smith

 

Kassie Lynn DiFazio

 

Karron Redfield

 

Rushell Tuggle

 

Stephanie Beckwith

 

Traci Anderson

 

Trish Hysell

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

10/3/19

 

 

Nikki Hunsaker

 

Lisa A Mazola

 

Brittany Doerfler

 

Christy Hawkes

 

Rhonda Grisham

 

Brittany Deaver

 

Teena Sierson

 

Lena Perry

 

Andrea Ayala

 

Amanda Rosario

 

Alana Dimambro

 

Christine McKinnon

 

Jennifer Leffler

 

Karen Brunet Moore

 

Nelle Bailey

 

Shelley Ann Peoples

 

Emily Rice Bowersock

 

Destiny Landsaw Davis

 

Sunney Michelle Johnson

 

Althea Thomas

 

Jenifer Garza

 

 

 

10/4/19

 

 

Brooke Scott

 

Marilyn Wall

 

MarcyLynn Coull

 

Nai Merri

 

Kim Avery

 

Derelys Peterson

 

Barbara Austin

 

Rhonda Grisham

 

Brittany Deaver

 

Paula Gillespie

 

Beth Epley Minton

 

Ambreen Javed

 

Brandi K Chaney

 

Teena Sierson

 

Carole Jacobs

 

Thomas Ryan                   

 

Jane Peterson

 

Mya Murphy

 

Rosanne Clark

 

Stacy Nelson

 

Lisa Marie Ferraiolo Whitener

 

Carl Buddy Mizell

 

Sheila Carvell

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

10/5/19

 

 

Phylicia Phillips

 

Eleazar Ruiz

 

Jessica Steiner

 

Paula Johnson

 

Shannon Rush

 

Rhonda Grisham

 

April Ashcraft

 

Patricia Oehlert Vazquez

 

Bea Patrick

 

Dave Miller

 

Tracy Heyer

 

Nacole Patrick

 

Angela Janisse

 

Debbie Gremlin

 

Johanna Landsaw-Davis

 

Rosanne Clark

 

Kim Avery

 

Amy L Sass

 

Robin Griffitts Pratt

 

Jennifer Ramlet

 

Jenifer Garza

 

 

 

 

10/6/19

 

 

Christy Hawkes

 

Phylicia Phillips

 

Kimberly Taylor Hall

 

Andrea Somers

 

Nicole Blaha

 

Amber Chandler

 

Karen Brunet Moore

 

Morgan Fam

 

Rhonda Grisham

 

Kristina Harris

 

Brittany Doerfler

 

Jill Nagel

 

Alicia Dansby

 

Elizabeth Wilson

 

MarcyLynn Coull

 

Rose Elizabeth Cantu

 

Kizzy Alvarez DeSantis

 

Patricia Oehlert Vazquez

 

Tracy Heyer

 

Dale Fish

 

Alexis Maureen

 

Eleazar Ruiz

 

Becky Hartman

 

Rosanne Clark

 

 

HI4E On Billboard

 

 


Be sure to watch both of our FaceBook pages for your chance to win and enter again next week, with questions posted daily on HealthInsurance4Everyone or at Health & Life Solutions, LLC!!

Remember that if you try your hand at answering the Trivia Question several days each week, your odds of winning the Sunday weekly drawing are much better. 

Also note that a number of the posted answers each day are from contestants who have forgotten to “Like” one of our pages, so their names WILL NOT be entered at the end week drawing for the gift card, giving our fans a better chance!

You may also find that if you “Like” BOTH of the business pages, you will receive faster notifications of the other players as they post their answers to compete with you!     Template Header Logo 2

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At Health Insurance 4 Everyone, we not only want to improve our customer service but also interact with our customers on a social media level that wasn’t available before. Interested in connecting with us?  Look us up on….

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Twitter: Healthinsurane4  (Follow Us On Twitter To Receive Faster Notifications When Daily Trivia Questions Posted, & To Be Immediately Notified When Weekly AmEX Gift Card Winners Are Announced!!)

 

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Like us on facebook: HealthInsurance4Everyone or Health & Life Solutions, LLC

 

Over 54,000 Combined Fans/Followers To Our Social Media Sites, & We’re Growing Daily!

 

Follow Mark Shuster, Founder/Owner at Health & Life Solutions, LLC for daily health tips!

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Follow our word press blog and read about everything from health insurance and reform news to healthy living and current events!

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10 months ago · by · Comments Off on Hurricane Dorian Ravages Bahamas

Hurricane Dorian Ravages Bahamas

 

 

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Hurricane Dorian ravaged the Bahamas, killing at least 50 people. As the clean-up operation continues, the death toll is expected to rise.  About 1,300 people are missing after Dorian, while at least 15,000 are in need of shelter, food and medical care.  Compounding the Bahamas’ misery is a massive oil spill that’s begun to spread into the ocean off the southern coast of Grand Bahama island after Hurricane Dorian blew the lids off six giant crude oil tanks.

Dorian was packing Category 5 winds with speeds of 185mph when it made landfall at Elbow Cay on the Abacos on September 1st.  It is the strongest hurricane to make landfall in the Atlantic basin since 1935. Rescue efforts were hampered as Dorian stalled, grinding in place for hours instead of moving back over open ocean.  It equaled the highest winds ever recorded for a hurricane at landfall when it struck the Abaco Islands.

On the Abaco island chain, which is less developed than the tourist areas of the country and populated by fishermen and Haitian migrants — thousands of homes are expected to have been damaged or destroyed.  A Redcross spokesman said it is believed that 13,000 houses — nearly half of all the homes on Grand Bahama and Abaco — suffered severe damage or were entirely destroyed.  During the storm, images showed profound levels of flooding and rainfall, with as much as 30 inches falling in some areas. The Grand Bahama International Airport in Freeport, the archipelago’s second-largest city, was five feet underwater.

United Nations officials say that over 60,000 people on the two islands need emergency food access, and that around 62,000 need access to clean water. The main hospital on Grand Bahama is reportedly unusable, while the hospital on Abaco desperately requires food, water, and medical supplies.  The U.N. estimated that at least 70,000 people are homeless on Abaco and Grand Bahama.  More than 5,000 people have been evacuated from those islands to New Providence, where the country’s capital Nassau is located.  The Minister of Health, Dr. Duane Sands, said 80 people with injuries were evacuated from the island of Abaco and five or six from Grand Bahama island. He said injuries ranged from broken bones to head injuries to “maternity-based issues.” Sands said some among the dead succumbed to their injuries after being evacuated.  The Prime Minister encouraged parents to send their kids to school when they are evacuated to Nassau, and said the government would continue to provide food and healthcare.

The devastation wrought by Dorian after its day-and-a-half mauling of the Bahamas, left ravaged infrastructure that has impeded search and recovery efforts.  The islands remain a mess of splintered buildings, torn-off roofs, snapped power poles and scattered vehicles.  The hurricane destroyed the island’s power grid and severed most communications, although occasional text messages were getting through in Marsh Harbor, the biggest town.  Risk modeler Karen Clark & Co. estimates that devastation from the storm could cost the country $7 billion in insured and uninsured losses.  The preliminary estimate combines damage to commercial, residential and industrial properties as well as business-interruption expenses, the company said in a report.  The figure doesn’t include vehicle losses or damage to infrastructure.

 

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10 months ago · by · Comments Off on Fifth Death Linked to Vaping

Fifth Death Linked to Vaping

 

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Five deaths in the US have been linked to vaping as health officials continue to grapple with the dangers of e-cigarette use and the exact cause of the deaths.  All five died after developing a severe lung illness that is believed to be linked to vaping.  The exact cause of the deaths and the dangers of vaping still remain unclear but are being investigated on both the federal and state level.

More than 450 possible cases of respiratory illnesses have been reported in 33 states after use of e-cigarette products, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  The average age of those with the illness is 19, which is not surprising considering of the almost 10 million vapers in the US, nearly half of those are under 35, with 18-24-year-olds the most regular users.

Those who have suffered from the lung illness reported experiencing coughing, chest pain or shortness of breath before their health deteriorated to the point of respiratory failure and they needed to be hospitalized, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Respiratory failure is where your body either can’t break down oxygen, produce carbon dioxide, or both. The result is that your lungs stop working and breathing becomes difficult.  Other reported symptoms include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fatigue, fever and weight loss. Many victims have ended up with acute respiratory distress syndrome, a life-threatening condition in which fluid builds up in the lungs and prevents the oxygen people’s bodies need to function from circulating in the bloodstream.

Those affected used a number of different devices from vaporizers to smaller e-cigarettes and a variety of different brands of liquids and cartridges.  Health officials recently said many cases involved products that contained THC, the mind-altering substance in marijuana.  The FDA has now collected over 120 samples to test for different chemicals, including nicotine, cannabinoids, additives and pesticides.

They also recently identified a common contaminant in some of the cannabis products used by patients across the country — an oil derived from vitamin E.  It remains unclear whether this is the cause or one of the causes of the illnesses.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a statement that advised against using electronic cigarettes while it investigates the issue.   The agency also said people should stop buying vaporizers, cartridges and liquids off the street or modifying vaping products bought legally.

New York Health officials have focusing their investigation on Vitamin E acetate after they found high levels of it in nearly all of the cannabis-containing vapes tested.  At least one vape containing both cannabis and vitamin E has been linked to every patient who submitted products for testing, the New York health department said.  Vitamin E isn’t known to be harmful if ingested as a vitamin supplement, but it could be dangerous if inhaled because of its “oil-like” properties. It has not been approved as an additive for New York’s medical marijuana program.

Federal health officials are warning that vitamin E is likely only one piece of the puzzle. The CDC is running its own tests on more than 100 samples for vitamin E, pesticides, opioids, poisons and other toxins.  “No one substance or compound, including vitamin E acetate, has been identified in all the samples tested,” Zeller said. “The samples we’re continuing to evaluate show a mix of results.”

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11 months ago · by · Comments Off on Newark NJ Water Crisis

Newark NJ Water Crisis

 

 

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Newark, New Jersey’s water crisis is growing worse as authorities temporarily halted their distribution of bottled water to families whose tap water is contaminated with lead.  The Environmental Protection Agency told city officials to distribute bottled water “as soon as possible,” after it determined that water filters were ineffective at safely filtering lead from the water supply of thousands of homes. State and local officials began offering free bottled water to 15,000 Newark households, and hundreds of people queued in long lines in the summer heat for their allotment.  Officials stopped handing out the water after discovering many of the bottles had exceeded their best-by date.

The levels of lead in Newark, New Jersey’s drinking water are some of the highest recently recorded by a large water system in the United States.  City and state officials have been violating the Safe Drinking Water Act in several ways, such as failing to treat its water to prevent lead from flaking off from pipes into residents’ drinking water and neglecting to notify people about the elevated levels and the health risks.  For years, the city has had the greatest number of lead-poisoned children in New Jersey. This likely stems from a variety of exposures to lead, including from contaminated tap water and other sources.

One way lead particles get into water is through corrosion in pipes and it’s believed to be the cause in Newark.  The metal in lead service plumbing lines starts to tear away and mix with the water passing through. This is often apparent in older pipes; in some affected Newark neighborhoods, pipes are over 100 years old.  Citywide tests conducted in June 2017 showed that more than 10% of homes across Newark had twice the amount of lead that is considered safe according to federal law.

The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), an environmental and health advocacy group, sent a letter to officials in Newark later that year saying that they had failed to address the lead contamination issue.  After the city failed two more citywide lead tests in December 2017 and June 2018, the city announced in October that year that it would provide over 40,000 water filters to residents.  After the city then failed a fourth consecutive lead test in December 2018, Newark Mayor Ras Baraka wrote an open letter to the President asking for federal help to fix the water system in the city.

The city failed another lead test in June 2019 and in August, after testing three homes that were using water filters provided by the city, officials found that two of those homes still had elevated levels of lead in them.  After the results of their water filter tests, city officials have begun handing out packages of bottled water to Newark residents, in accordance with guidance from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

There is no safe level of lead exposure and pregnant women and children are most at risk.  Even low lead levels are associated with serious, irreversible damage to developing brains and nervous systems. Lead exposure is also linked to fertility issues, cardiovascular and kidney problems, cognitive dysfunction, and elevated blood pressure in otherwise healthy adults.

 

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12 months ago · by · Comments Off on Navy Seal Acquitted Of Murder Charges

Navy Seal Acquitted Of Murder Charges

 

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A seven-member military jury panel has acquitted Navy SEAL Chief Edward Gallagher, 40, on charges of murder, witness intimidation, and assault. The charges stemmed from a 2017 deployment in Iraq during which fellow SEALs said Gallagher stabbed a captive teenage ISIS fighter in the neck. The ISIS fighter, whom Gallagher was treating for air-strike injuries, later died. Three SEALs also said they saw Gallagher shoot two civilians. The jurors found Gallagher guilty of one count related to pictures he took next to the corpse of the Iraqi fighter.

After the verdict was read, Gallagher, his wife and his defense team stood up and began hugging. Gallagher told reporters after the verdict was read: “I’m happy and I’m thankful. I thank God, and my legal team and my wife.”  He still faces the impending sentencing for wrongful posing for photos with a human casualty but his according to his defense attorney Tim Parlatore “We have a sentencing to do, but the maximum sentence on what they’re about to sentence him on is much less than the time that they’ve already had him in the brig, so he is going home.”  The same jury that tried Gallagher sentenced him on July 3, 2019, for posing with the corpse.  The jury gave Gallagher, who served the maximum prison time for this charge, a demotion from Chief Petty Officer (E-7) to Petty Officer First Class (E-6);  a lighter sentence than other potential punishments, such as an other than honorable discharge (OTH).

The jury of five Marines and two sailors — one of whom is a SEAL — had to decide if the boy was stabbed to death, or died from wounds sustained during an airstrike with Gallagher being falsely accused by disgruntled subordinates.  Seven SEALs testified that Gallagher abruptly stabbed the teen prisoner on May 3, 2017, just after he and other medics treated the boy.  Two of them said they witnessed Gallagher, a 19-year-veteran, stab the teen. But one of them, in an admission that stunned the courtroom, Special Operator Corey Scott, who is also a medic, said he was the person who killed the boy when he plugged his breathing tube with his thumb in an act of mercy.

An Iraqi general testified that Gallagher did not stab the boy, and Marine Staff Sgt. Giorgio Kirylo said that he didn’t see any stab wounds on the young ISIS fighter when he moved the corpse to take a “cool guy trophy” photo with it.  Navy Cmdr. Jeff Pietrzyk told the jury that while the detained Islamic fighter was not a sympathetic figure, he was under the control of the U.S. military, which meant he was no longer a lawful target.  Pietrzyk also said that text messages sent by Gallagher prove his guilt. One message said: “I’ve got a cool story for you when I get back. I’ve got my knife skills on.” Another text stated: “Good story behind this. Got him with my hunting knife.”  Pietrzyk then showed a photo of Gallagher holding up the dead prisoner’s head by the hair.  Gallagher’s lawyers said the text was just an example of dark combat humor.

SEAL sniper Dalton Tolbert testified that he does not remember who started a group chat called “The Sewing Circle,” but the purpose of it was to connect with others who were disturbed by what they saw while deployed with Gallagher, and decide how to handle it.  “I shot more warning shots to save civilians from Eddie than I ever did at ISIS. I see an issue with that,” Tolbert wrote in one of the texts.  One of the members of Gallagher’s unit — Alpha Platoon, SEAL Team 7 testified that Gallagher confessed that he killed four women and two other SEAL petty officers told investigators Gallagher bragged about slaying “10-20 people a day or 150-200 people on deployment,” court documents state.

Court records state that one of the SEALS saw Gallagher fire into a crowd of what appeared to be noncombatants multiple times and another states that Gallagher claimed “he averaged three kills a day over 80 days.”  Many of the SEALs that testified said that Gallagher attempted to cover up these alleged crimes by threatening to murder witnesses and embarking on a campaign to identify other whistleblowers, get them blacklisted in the special warfare community and ruin their careers.  But with no body or autopsy evidence, the panel only had testimony of witnesses to review before deciding the fate of a man with a 19 year military career.  Gallagher’s lawyers ultimately tried to prove that some SEALs wanted to derail Gallagher’s advancement to senior chief.  Others were angry that he had been recommended for a post-tour combat valor award — the Silver Star — an honor they thought he didn’t deserve.

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1 year ago · by · Comments Off on 9/11 Victims Compensation Fund Passes A Day After Jon Stewart’s Testimony

9/11 Victims Compensation Fund Passes A Day After Jon Stewart’s Testimony

 

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The House Judiciary Committee unanimously passed a bill which would permanently reauthorize the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund, the day after comedian Jon Stewart gave impassioned testimony in support of the bill.  The bill will now go to the floor for a full vote in the House of Representatives, where it is likely to pass.  Congress passed the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act in 2010 and the act was reauthorized in 2015 for 90 years. But a portion of the law — the Victim Compensation Fund — was only funded for five years, through the end of 2020.

The fund aimed to provide necessary financial support for the thousands who suffered serious medical issues, including a spate of cancer diagnoses, after the 2001 attacks.  New York City health officials say the number of people who have been diagnosed with 9/11-linked cancers has tripled.  Thousands of first responders rushed to the scene of the attacks and in doing so, exposed themselves to toxic debris in the air, including asbestos, lead, and pulverized concrete, which causes silicosis.

Nearly 5,500 first responders and local residents have now been diagnosed with cancers linked to the toxic smoke and dust of 9/11.  As of September 2018, 2,000 deaths were attributed to 9/11 related illnesses. By the end of last year, many estimate that more people will have died from toxic exposures than were actually killed in the attack.

The spike in claims has left the VCF at risk of a massive funding shortfall. As a result, future payouts to 9/11 victims and their families may be cut by as much as 70%.  The bill that passed the judiciary committee on Wednesday aims to make the VCF permanent and grant additional funding to the bill. A specific amount has not yet been allocated.

At an emotional congressional hearing, Stewart, who has been a longtime advocate for the fund, blasted lawmakers for their inaction ahead of a vote on renewing healthcare funding for 9/11 responders.  During his testimony, Stewart became upset several times as he appealed to Congress. “Behind me, a filled room of 9/11 first responders. And in front of me, a nearly empty Congress. Sick and dying, they brought themselves down here to speak to no one. Shameful. It’s an embarrassment to the country, and it is a stain on this institution. And you should be ashamed of yourselves, for those that aren’t here. But you won’t be, because accountability doesn’t appear to be something that occurs in this chamber.”

Stewart made several points during his passionate speech.  “The official FDNY response time to 9/11 was five seconds. ​Five seconds. That’s how long it took for FDNY, for NYPD, for Port Authority, EMS to respond to an urgent need from the public. ​Five seconds. Hundreds died in an instant.  Thousands more poured in to continue to fight for their brothers and sisters.”  He went on to point out that as lawmakers had at first, denied the health issues were caused by the debri left behind the attack and when they no longer could deny it then then said it was a New York issue.    “More of these men and women are going to get sick and they are going to die. And I am awfully tired of hearing that it’s a 9/11 New York issue. Al Qaeda didn’t shout “Death to Tribeca.” They attacked America ​and these men and women and their response to it is what brought our country back. It’s what gave a reeling nation a solid foundation to stand back upon. To remind us of why this country is great, of why this country is worth fighting for. And you are ignoring them.”

 

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1 year ago · by · Comments Off on ChristChurch Shooter Pleads Not Guilty

ChristChurch Shooter Pleads Not Guilty

 

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The New Zealand man accused of massacring Muslim worshipers in the city of Christchurch in March pleaded not guilty to 51 counts of murder, 40 counts of attempted murder and engaging in a terrorist act. The 28-year-old Australian-born Brenton Tarrant, is an avowed white supremacist who emailed out a racist manifesto minutes before he opened fire with an assault rifle at two mosques, live-streaming his massacre on Facebook.

He live streamed 17 minutes of video which included footage of himself inside the first mosque, going room-to-room, victim to victim, shooting the wounded from close range as they struggled to crawl away and indiscriminately firing into piles of bodies.  In the 6 minutes Tarrant was inside, forty-one people were killed at the Al Noor Mosque.  The live streamed footage also showed the gunman casually talking and laughing as he walked out of the mosque where he shot at people near the area before driving away at high speed, heading for the Linwood Islamic Centre, about 3 miles away.  Another 7 people were killed at the Linwood Mosque, an eighth victim later died in the hospital. Tarrant was apprehended as he fled the Linwood Mosque when two police officers ran his car off the road.

According to his manifesto, he started planning a revenge attack about two years prior to the attack and chose his targets three months in advance.  His manifesto expressed several anti-immigrant sentiments including hate speech against migrants, white supremacist rhetoric, and calls for non-European immigrants such as Roma, Indians, Turkish people, Semitic people and others allegedly “invading his land” to be removed.  He described himself as an ethno-nationalist and referred to revenge for European civilians who were casualties in Islamic terrorist attacks within Europe as motivation for his attack.  He repeatedly mentioned revenge for Ebba Åkerlund, a victim in the 2017 Stockholm truck attack.

Tarrant was judged fit to stand trial after an assessment of his mental state. His pleas of not guilty raise the prospect of a lengthy trial that could give him a platform to air the white supremacist views that allegedly motivated the attack. Tarrant’s trial has been set for May of 2020. He was not in court in person in Christchurch; instead he appeared via a video link from a maximum-security prison where he’s being held in Auckland, New Zealand’s largest city.  New Zealand abolished the death penalty in 1989 and has not executed anyone since 1957. If found guilty, Tarrant faces a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.

Eighty survivors and family members of victims watched the proceedings. After the hearing, Abdul Aziz, a survivor of the attack said “He’s a coward and he will lose.” Aziz was at Linwood Mosque during the shootings and has been hailed a hero after confronting the gunmen-ultimately stopping him from claiming as many lives at the second mosque as he did at the first.   After hearing shots outside, Aziz ran outside and grabbed the first thing he could find, a credit card machine, which he threw at the gunmen.  The gunmen shot at him but they played cat and mouse between cars.  Then Aziz grabbed a gun that had been discarded by the attacker tried to fire at Tarrant but the gun was empty.  As Tarrant ran back to his car Aziz threw the gun at his car, shattering his windshield.  Tarrant yelled that he was going to kill them all but instead drove off and was apprehended by police minutes later.

 

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