Colorado Springs: a playground for pro-life, pro-gun evangelical Christians.

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Anti-abortion rhetoric is not hard to find in the city where the ‘fortress-like’ Planned Parenthood centre is the subject of regular protests

 People are escorted away from the scene by police after a gunman opened fire at a Planned Parenthood facility on Friday.People are escorted away from the scene by police after a gunman opened fire at a Planned Parenthood facility in Colorado Springs on Friday. Photograph: Daniel Owen/ZUMA Press/Corbis

Colorado Springs, the location of an attack on a Planned Parenthood clinic that left three people dead, is a centre of rightwing Christian culture with a “wild west mentality” when it comes to guns.

The attack, by a lone gunman carrying a rifle or shotgun, took place at a clinic that is the site of regular anti-abortion protests by the city’s pro-life Christian groups.

Planned Parenthood, aware of hostility about their work, recently moved to the new facility, hoping it would provide more security for staff.

The building has been likened to a fortress by anti-abortion campaigners and Friday’s attacks revealed that it is equipped with “safe rooms” for staff to shelter in the event of such an event. It also has an extensive security camera system.

With anti-abortion policies supported by many Republican presidential candidates such as Ted Cruz, Rand Paul and Jeb Bush, rhetoric attacking Planned Parenthood and other such organisations is not hard to find in the city.

Last spring, following the gruesome attack on a Colorado woman who had her unborn-baby ripped from her womb with a knife, state representative and Springs resident Gordon Klingenschmitt said the attack was “the curse of God upon America for our sin of not protecting innocent children in the womb”.

Colorado’s second largest city, with a population of 445,800, has built itself a reputation as a playground for white, pro-gun, pro-life Evangelical Christians. It is also home to one army base, two air force bases, and an air force.

Colorado Springs featured in the documentary film Jesus Camp, where evangelical Christian children were taught to engage in anti-abortion protests. Two of the film’s lead characters travelled to the New Life Church in Colorado Springs, where they met church pastor Ted Haggard, a one-time leader of the National Association of Evangelicals who had weekly communications with president George W Bush. Haggard resigned from his position later that same year following revelations that he purchased methamphetamine and the services of a male prostitute.

The city’s pro-gun contingent flexed its muscles in 2014 with an unprecedented recall election, ousting state senator John Morse. The recall was primarily motivated by new gun control laws in Colorado – following the Aurora cinema shootings in Denver – which banned magazines holding more than 15 rounds, and demanded a universal background check for all gun purchases.

As the first state to legalise abortion and the first to implement a regulated marijuana market, Colorado is a state that doesn’t take kindly to government infringements on personal rights.

Three weeks before Friday’s Planned Parenthood shooting, a man was seen brandishing a rifle while walking down the streets of Colorado Springs on Halloween morning. A concerned citizen called the 911 Emergency Line to notify the police, but was told by the operator: “Well, it is an open carry state, so he can have a weapon with him or walking around with it,” referencing state laws that allow the brandishing of a firearm in public.

Shortly after the call the man shot and killed three people before being shot dead by police.

Following the Halloween shooting, Colorado Springs resident Jessie Pocock organised a vigil with her fellow citizens, who expressed a mix of grief and outrage at the deaths. She feels that there is a “wild west mentality” when it comes to guns in Colorado Springs.

“It’s important that we can go to the grocery store and not be worried about someone randomly shooting us down on the streets, and right now that is not the case in Colorado Springs, said Pocock, who lives close to the abortion clinic. “You’re not safe on the streets here, and that is a problem.”

Colorado Springs’ year of violence began last January when a bomb detonated outside the local chapter of the NAACP. No one was harmed in the attack, but the incident put many in Colorado Springs on edge.

“I’m a little overwhelmed with the war zone that is my home,” says Pocock.



Donald Trump Mocks And Ridicules A Man With Disability.

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Speaking at a rally in South Carolina on Tuesday night Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump seems to mock New York Times reporter Serge Kovaleski, who has a chronic condition called arthrogryposis which affects the movement of his arms. Trump imitates Kovaleski while defending comments he has made over the past few weeks, asserting that members of the Muslim communities in New Jersey celebrated following the collapse of the World Trade Center Towers in 2001. The New York Times has slammed Trump’s actions as ‘outrageous’

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Why Is Dr. Oz Allowed to Give Out Scientifically Unsound Medical Advice?

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Your mother loves him. The scientific community, on the other hand, hates him. That charismatic doctor-with-a-perfect-smile has been called everything from a quack to “an inspiration.” No matter what you think of him, one thing is for sure: Dr. Mehmet Oz is one of America’s most controversial doctors.


The thing is, even if Dr. Oz is a real cardiologist (and for whatever reason, he wears scrubs on his show, lest you forget he’s a doctor), he continually shells out pseudoscientific medical advice.

In fact, according a 2014 study, scientists found that over half of the “medical advice” given on the show was either disproven or flat-out incorrect. What gives? “How is this NOT considered illegal?” asks Reddit user DananotDonna inReddit’s Explain It Like I’m Five Community.

Short answer? It’s complicated. According to Thompson Reuters FindLaw:

“Advice may be the practice of medicine when the advice is specific to a particular person’s illness or injury. Magazines and websites that offer general tips for getting over the common cold, therefore, are not engaging in the practice of medicine.”

And since Dr. Oz technically has no duty to the people he is slinging bad products to—since they are not his patients—medical malpractice is not a threat.

Attorney Jamie Weller sent Upvoted this statement about why she thinks he is not liable for medical malpractice:

“Dr. Oz avoids claims of medical malpractice by evading the duty most doctors owe to patients in the doctor-patient relationship by constructing the relationship as media personality and fan, not doctor-patient. There is no doctor-patient relationship, so no duty is owed.”

And Reddit user TerribleWisdom makes a good point about Dr. Oz’s media tactics:

He’s not really giving out health advice. Instead, he protects himself by merely reporting what others say. He’ll never say “/u/DanaNotDonna’s itchy feet will be cured by eating dryer lint.” Instead, he’ll quote a study like this: “According to a recent study by the Home Appliance Institute, 57% of people who eat dryer lint say their feet do not itch.” So it’s the authors of the study making the claim, except not really. The study authors are going to say something non-committal like “Although a positive correlation was found between dryer lint consumption and non-itchy feet, more study is needed and it will be several years before the production of dryer-lint based medicines.”

Reddit user triplealpha, an alleged physician, expands on that comment:

“This is the correct answer. Dr. Oz does however give out advice from time to time, but it’s always mixed in with enough common sense to where you would need to prove all other suggestions failed before you could call him a fraud. Essentially mixing 3 parts modern medicine with 1 part questionable snake oil salesman.

If you want to lose weight I would hypothetically say:

  • Make sure you’re getting enough high fiber foods in your diet and minimizing high fat, high salt foods
  • Make sure you get plenty of exercise, at least 30-60 minutes daily
  • Reduce your stress level and get plenty of sleep
  • Try this tameral bark tinture, it’s shown in at least 1 study to help participants lose 10 lbs per month

You didn’t lose weight just by buying that fake product at the supermarket? That’s just because you didn’t complete all 4 steps.”

Reddit users also compared Dr. Oz to Jerry Springer, but it seems that The Jerry Springer Show, at least, is remembered fondly by users.


Ahmed Mohamed demands $15 million in compensation and written apology for homemade clock arrest.

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The family of Ahmed Mohamed, the Texan schoolboy who was arrested after taking a homemade clock to school, has demanded $15 million in compensation and written apologies from the local mayor and police chief.

In letters sent on Monday, the lawyers said if the City of Irving and Irving School District did not agree to the apologies and compensation, they would file a civil action.

“Ahmed never threatened anyone, never caused harm to anyone, and never intended to. The only one who was hurt that day was Ahmed, and the damages he suffered were not because of oversight or incompetence,” said the letter to the city authorities.

Ahmed Mohamed meets Obama at the White House

“The school and city officials involved knew what they needed to do to protect Ahmed’s rights. They just decided not to do it.”

The teenager made international headlines in September after he was detained when he took a homemade clock to school. A teacher contacted police after claiming the clock looked like a bomb.

The teenager and his father claimed he had been a victim of Islamophobia.

After he was arrested, the 14-year was subsequently invited to the White House by Barack Obama who tweeted about his “cool clock”.

The youngster later met Mr Obama when he attended a science evening at the White House, albeit without his clock.


German Minister Says Syrian Passport in Paris May Have Been Planted.

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A Syrian passport found next to a suicide bomber in the Paris terror attacks may have been planted, German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere said.

Reports that the identity in the passport may have been registered in several countries along the so-called Balkan route raise the suspicion that it could be a deliberate attempt to implicate refugees and “make people feel unsafe,” de Maiziere said.

“There are indications that this was a planted lead, but it still can’t be ruled out that this was indeed an IS terrorist posing as a refugee,” he told reporters in Berlin on Tuesday, referring to Islamic State, which France blames for organizing the violence.

Any link between France’s worst terror attack since World War II and Europe’s refugee crisis would raise the stakes for Chancellor Angela Merkel as she defends her open-door policy for asylum seekers in Germany’s debate over immigration and security.

French prosecutors have said the remains of an assailant who attacked the Stade de France stadium during a soccer game between France and Germany matched the fingerprints of an individual registered by Greek authorities as an asylum seeker in October. Investigators were weighing the authenticity of the passport, made out to Ahmad Al Mohammad, 25, born in Idlib, Syria.

“It’s certainly unusual that such a person would have been faithfully registered in Greece and Serbia and Croatia, while we’re constantly pressing for registration and aren’t happy that it isn’t happening to the necessary extent,” de Maiziere said.


UN Report Slams Israel’s Response to Child Prostitution.

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A report by the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child criticized the way Israel deals with children exploited for prostitution. It said there is insufficient coordination between different state agencies, no clear-cut plan for dealing with the problem, a shortage of data on its scope and insufficient prosecution and punishment of sex offenders. The Knesset Committee on the Rights of the Child discussed the report on Monday.

A source familiar with the issue said that despite growing awareness of the problem, helping juvenile prostitutes “still falls between the governmental cracks.”

Moreover, of all the police probes opened into sex crimes against minors last year, about 45 percent have been closed.

In 2008, Israel ratified the portion of the Convention on the Rights of the Child that deals with trafficking in children and child prostitution and pornography. The UN committee publishes periodic reports on how well the convention’s signatories are meeting their obligations. Its latest report on Israel, which was published this summer, voiced dismay over what it termed Israel’s lack of a comprehensive strategy for dealing with these problems and its slow progress toward implementing a recommendation made in the previous report – setting up a state agency dedicated to children’s rights.

The report was scathing about Israel’s handling of cases against people suspected of sex crimes against minors. It said the number of cases investigated was low to start with, and only a small percentage of them actually go to trial.

Moreover, even when convictions are obtained in child prostitution or pornography cases, the sentences don’t always match the severity of the crimes, the report said. It recommended instituting stiffer sentences for obtaining sexual services from a minor.

The latest data compiled by the Knesset’s research center seem to confirm the report’s findings. This data shows that of 2,349 cases opened into sex crimes against minors in 2014, only 11 percent have yet produced a verdict.
Moreover, almost 45 percent of these cases were closed – 30 percent because the criminal was unknown and 13 percent due to lack of public interest.

MK Yifat Shasha-Biton (Kulanu), who chairs the Knesset Committee on the Rights of the Child, also echoed the UN report’s complaint about lenient sentencing. “A sentence of up to three years for obtaining sex services from a minor is ridiculous,” she said. At Monday’s meeting of the Knesset committee, a representative of the Social Affairs Ministry confirmed another criticism in the UN report, regarding Israel’s lack of a system for coordinating among different government agencies involved in this issue. He said his ministry “works to rehabilitate minors employed in prostitution, but doesn’t coordinate with the Education Ministry on preventing [minors] from sliding into prostitution or on locating minors employed in prostitution.”

An Education Ministry representative said the ministry provides lesson plans on healthy sexuality and instructs teachers on how to identify children at risk, but there are no lesson plans dealing specifically with prostitution. “It’s preferable to speak with the students first about healthy, normative sexuality before we get into the issue of prostitution,” she said.

The UN report also criticized the lack of data about the scope of sexual exploitation of children in Israel. State Comptroller Joseph Shapira leveled similar criticism in a report published in December 2014, writing that “government ministries, local authorities and aid organizations only possess estimates and assessments.”

About three months ago, Haaretz reported that the Social Affairs Ministry knows of at least 970 children exploited for prostitution, but estimated the true figure at around 1,250. “Despite the progress that has been made, there’s still no known, agreed figure on the number of minors exploited for prostitution,” said a source familiar with the issue. “This is in gross contradiction of a series of public and governmental committees which said that gathering data is the essential first step in dealing with the problem.”

The UN report also charged that Israel lacks adequate systems for identifying children at risk of becoming crime victims. But Reut Guy of ELEM – Youth in Distress said such children are hard to detect.

“Often, professionals oppose branding a 15-year-old girl as a prostitute, and therefore, her treatment evaporates,” she said. Moreover, some local authorities avoid the issue, she said: “On the periphery, there are towns that are afraid to touch it.”

The Social Affairs Ministry said it runs a nationwide program to help child prostitutes and plans to open centers in 15 additional cities once the 2016 budget is approved. It added that it cooperates closely with the justice and public security ministries, but has some professional differences with the Education Ministry on this issue.


Majority of fatal attacks on U.S. soil carried out by white supremacists, not foreign terrorists.

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In the 14 years since the Sept. 11 terror attacks, nearly twice as many people have been killed in the United States by white supremacists and anti-government radicals than by Muslim jihadis, according to a new study.

White supremacists and anti-government radicals have killed 48 Americans, including last week’s deadly attack in South Carolina, versus 26 killings by Muslim radicals, according to a count by New America, a Washington research center.

New America program associate David Sterman said the study shows that white supremacy and anti-government idealists are a major problem, that their growth rate needs to be addressed and that there is an “ignored threat” woven in the fabric of American society.

“Each time it [right-wing, radical violence] comes up, there’s a tendency to dismiss it as lone actor, mental health issues,” he said. “So it’s important to not ignore threats,”

The suspect in last week’s slaughter of nine people inside a Charleston church, Dylann Roof, 21, had posted a manifesto that lays out a racist worldview, posted pictures online featuring white supremacist imagery and a T-shirt featuring the number “88,” which is often used as a symbol for “Heil Hitler.” He faces federal hate crime charges.

Attacks by Muslim extremists appear to center around military targets, such as Fort Hood, a U.S. military post in Killeen, Texas, and areas where the possibility of mass casualties is high, such as the Boston Marathon, New America says. Meanwhile, the killing sprees of right-wing extremists lean more toward police ambushes and were rooted in anti-government sentiment, according to data compiled by the research center.

Experts say the research findings could be an indicator the nation’s intelligence collectors have been paying more attention to thwarting potential terror plots against the homeland concocted by Islamic extremists and less attention to the anti-government attacks of right-wing extremists.

“There has certainly been a tremendous concentration — not just by FBI and law enforcement, but intelligence community intelligence — focused on both the foreign born and the homegrown Islamic extremist terrorist threats,” said Ron Hosko, president of Law Enforcement Legal Defense Fund and former assistant director of the FBI. “And you’re talking about people in the military, intelligence, all the alphabet soup agencies as well as local law enforcement.”

There is also the possibility that the U.S. government has better information on Islamic extremist attacks because its surveillance techniques and information data collection techniques, said John Malcolm, a senior legal fellow at The Heritage Foundation. As a result, government agencies may be able to thwart those plans before they come to fruition, which might account for the low number of Islamic extremist attacks.

Mr. Sterman agrees. He said the data does show a potential imbalance in the type and amount of intelligence gathering that the government’s various agencies are doing. It also shows that there is another “ignored threat” woven in the fabric of American society, he said.

Terrorism should not be measured by whether the perpetrator is Muslim, he said. Additionally, indicators of a pending plot should not slide under the radar simply because the plot is not tied to the Islamic State or some other foreign terrorist organization, he said.

“For example, in the Dylann Roof case, in the Charleston attack, you do see that he is leaking quite a bit of information to people around him about his view point and his desire to commit violence,” Mr. Sterman said.

If an Islamic extremist were to do something similar, he or she would attract the attention of federal authorities and keep their attention until they no longer posed a threat, he said.