Democrats Running Scared Ahead of 2022 Elections and With Really Good Reason – RedState

Barring the kind of stupidity that only the national Republican party and its state affiliates are capable of, 2022 is shaping up to be something of a bloodletting for House Democrats.

Structurally, they are in a bad place. They have a 222-213 majority, which means a loss of 5 seats flips control of the House. In addition, seven Democrat seats are held by members who won in districts where Trump was the vote leader. This is important because, in 2020, House candidates generally ran in from of Trump. In fact, before the election, the party breakdown was 232 D to 197 R (plus five vacancies and Justin Amash, or six vacancies, YMMV). So despite being outraised by Democrats, polling showing a voter preference for Democrats, and losing the White House, the GOP managed to make significant gains.

Redistricting has moved seven seats from (mostly) Blue states to Red states. The GOP controls the redistricting in all the states where it gained seats; the losing states mostly have their redistricting under control of a bipartisan commission. (Great references on the process here and here.) This tends to mean that more pain will be inflicted upon Democrats in Red states than upon Republicans in Blue states. It also means that toss-up seats have a chance to be made more secure by changing district boundaries.

Unlike the expansive list of seats the Democrats targeted, they are going after 21 GOP seats this year rather than 39. This is the list; the critical thing to note is that GOP firebrands like Marjorie Taylor Greene are not on the list. It does not scream confidence.

AZ-2 (open)
AZ-6 Schweikert
CA-21 Valadao
CA-25 Garcia
CA-39 Kim
CA-48 Steel
IA-1 Hinson
IA-2 Miller-Meeks
IN-5 Spartz
MO-2 Wagner
NE-2 Bacon
NY-2 Garbarino
NY-22 Tenney
NY-24 Katko
OH-1 Chabot
PA-1 Fitzpatrick
PA-10 Perry
TX-23 Gonzales
TX-24 Van Duyne
UT-4 Owens

House elections don’t occur in a vacuum. Only the most craven partisan or someone writing at The Bulwark or The Dispatch can deny that Joe Biden and gross incompetence will be on the ballot in 2022. There is Afghanistan, the border crisis, gas prices, inflation, and the force-feeding of Critical Race Theory to schools and the federal government. There will be the spin-off issues from the Wuhan “pandemic” of vaccine safety, vaccine mandates, lockdowns, and mask mandates. The kid-glove treatment meted out to the Antifa putzes will be contrasted to people incarcerated for nearly a year for walking into an open Capitol building. We will be talking about Biden’s obvious dementia (see Biden Is Not Going to Like What Americans Have to Say in New Poll on His Mental Stability) and inability to stay awake when meeting with world leaders and his playing footsie with the #BLM thugs and their “defund the police” fellow travelers.

As much as they don’t like it, Biden’s performance is going to be on every House ballot, and this is what that means to Democrat candidates.

Look at the numbers for the Democrat strongholds in Northern Virginia (NoVa), Richmond, Roanoke, and Norfolk. Not very good at all.

This is how sees it:

In years when the president’s party leads the generic-ballot polling average the September before the midterms, the party underperforms those polls by an average of 9.3 points. And that, in a nutshell, is why Democrats should be concerned about the 2022 elections despite their current lead on the generic ballot. This cycle so far looks a lot like former President Barack Obama’s two midterms (2010 and 2014) did for Democrats in that they lead generic-ballot polls by a few points in the September of the year before the election. But in both those years, Republicans eventually moved ahead in our generic-ballot polling average and won the election handily.

So, if Republicans outperform their early polling to a similar degree as they did in 2010 and 2014, they could win the House popular vote by 5 to 7 percentage points, which would very likely hand them control of the House (and probably the Senate too, since almost everyone votes a straight party-line ticket these days). Of course, though, that’s a big if; there has been a lot of variability in these historical trends, so a wide range of outcomes is still possible. But even if Republicans only improve their standing a little bit — something that is likely to happen, if history is any guide — it would probably still be enough to flip the House, considering that their control of the redistricting process in a plurality of states is likely to reinforce the GOP’s structural advantage in House races. Past trends don’t always hold true, but the smart money, at this point, remains on the president’s party losing control of Congress next year.

The generic ballot is Democrat-friendly, though. Right now, the GOP is down by 2.6 points. In 1994, the GOP was down by 2 points; they were down by 2.9 points in 2010 and 1.9 points in 2014.

Overall, 2022 seems promising for a working majority in the House and Senate for Republicans. Hopefully, enough ill-will has accumulated, and enough deadwood has been forced out in primaries that the new majorities will unleash a tsunami of subpoenas and investigations as a prelude to 2024. On the other hand, whatever majority we give them will be in the hands of Mitch McConnell and Kevin McCarthy…now I feel like having a good cry.

“We have two parties here, and only two. One is the evil party, and the other is the stupid party. … I’m very proud to be a member of the stupid party. … Occasionally, the two parties get together to do something that’s both evil and stupid. That’s called bipartisanship.”
M. Stanton Evans

Source link

Couple with immunocompromised newborn claim Texas restaurant demanded they take off their masks or leave. Owner fires back, ‘If you’re scared, stay at home.’

A masked Texas couple said that management at a Rowlett, Texas, bar and restaurant told them that they had to take off their face coverings — or leave.

The couple said that they wore masks into the establishment earlier this month in order to protect their newborn son, who had been diagnosed with cystic fibrosis.

What are the details?

Natalie Wester and husband Jose Lopez — both
fully vaccinated — were visiting Hang Time with friends when a waitress approached the table and told them that the manager demanded they take off their masks while inside the establishment.

Wester and Lopez just entered the restaurant when a hostess inside the door asked them to take off their masks.

According to a
Facebook post, Wester initially believed that she wanted to see her and Lopez’s faces for identification purposes, but realized otherwise when a waitress arrived at the table a short time later and told them to remove their masks once more.

“About half an hour passes and our waitress comes, sits down next to me, and says ‘Our manager sent me over because I’m nicer than he is. And yes, this is political,'” Wester recalled the waitress saying. “She then told me that masks are not allowed in their building, and they can make the rules because they are private business. She said that the mask ‘doesn’t work, is like using a chain-link fence to keep out mosquitoes, and doesn’t give people enough oxygen.'”

Wester said that she informed the waitress that she and Lopez wear masks due to her son’s cystic fibrosis condition.

“[S]he told me that she could close my check for me if it was an issue,” Wester continued. “Fine. My husband and I paid and left without a scene.”

‘Overall reaction with masks is ridiculous’

Wester said that she was taken aback by the instruction and was disappointed that her time away from her child was sullied.

“If you’ve ever been new parents and what not, having those couple of hours out like once a month or twice a month is so important for your mental health,” she told

The policy, according to
KTVT-TV, is part of the establishment’s dress code.

The owner, Tom Blackmer, told the station that as his bar and restaurant is a private business, he has every right to refuse services to those people who want to wear masks inside.

“I have spent my money on the business, I put my blood, sweat, and tears in this business, and I don’t want any masks in here,” he insisted. “I feel the overall reaction with masks is ridiculous in the United States right now.”

The owner said that he was unaware of the couple’s immunocompromised son, but firmly stands by the rule — which he will continue to enforce.

No Mask Policy Enforced At North Texas Restaurant

‘If you’re scared, stay at home’

Blackmer told the Dallas Morning News that since the story made national news, he has received threatening phone calls from across the country.

“She was told on the way in that we don’t allow masks,” he told the outlet. “They have a choice to go wherever they want; there are thousands of bars around here. Go somewhere else.”

Blackmer added perhaps the family ought to stay home if they are so concerned about protecting the immunocompromised newborn.

“If you are protecting somebody, you should not go out,” he insisted.

“If they are protecting themselves, or if they’re protecting others, they should not be here,” he added. “If you’re scared, stay at home.”

‘It’s a free market’

A bar owner, according to Rockwall County Judge David Sweet, can certainly enforce a “no masks allowed” policy.

“It’s a free market,” Sweet said. “There is no local mandate in place, and a business owner has the rights to operate his or her business as he or she sees fit.”

Wester told the outlet that the business mandate was purely political.

“My first thought it, we wear a mask to protect people — either ourselves or others,” she said. “But it seemed like their reasoning for not letting us wear a mask was purely political. It was almost as if they’re poking fun. … With [Gov.] Greg Abbott no longer requiring masks in Texas, it felt like they were using it to their advantage.”

Source link

‘They Are All Scared To Death’: Rep. Fitzpatrick Says Allies Are Questioning America’s Commitment

Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania told the Secretary of State at a hearing on Monday that U.S. allies Ukraine and Taiwan are scared America does not have their backs after the withdrawal from Afghanistan.

“I just returned from Ukraine two days ago, my next stop will be Taiwan,” Fitzpatrick said during a House Committee on Foreign Affairs hearing. “These people are scared to death.”

Fitzpatrick asked Secretary of State Antony Blinken if the U.S. will “do whatever it takes” to support Ukraine and Taiwan from Russian and Chinese aggression, respectively.

“Absolutely, we stand by our commitments to both countries,” Blinken responded. The Secretary of State cited discussions between President Joe Biden and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky that he said reaffirmed those commitments.

“I will take you at your word,” Fitzpatrick said. (RELATED: Chinese Incursions Of Taiwan’s Air Defense Zone Take On New Meaning Post Afghanistan Debacle)

The congressman then asked whether the U.S. was going to destroy the GPS-tracked equipment that had fallen into the hands of the Taliban. Blinken replied that much of the equipment was “inoperable” or soon would be due to what’s needed to maintain it, deferring any other questions to the Pentagon.

He assured Fitzpatrick he believed the U.S. should never capitulate to terrorists. Fitzpatrick followed up by asking if allowing the Taliban to run perimeter while the U.S. was attempting to evacuate Americans was capitulating to them.

“The reality is that the government and Afghan national security forces collapsed,” Blinken said. “Our job was to work to get as many people out as possible … because the Taliban controlled the city, that required some coordination with them.”

Blinken praised Fitzpatrick for working with the State Department to help reunite an Afghan family in New Jersey and recognized other members of Congress for their assistance aiding those in Afghanistan.

Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact

Source link

Here’s Why Russia Is Scared of a NATO Invasion

Here’s What You Need to Remember: Following the end of the Cold War and the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Russia is arguably more vulnerable while many of its former communist-era satellite states – including Poland, Hungary and Romania, along with the Czech and Slovak Republics – now being members of NATO.

Russian state media has reported that the guard tank army of Russia‘s Western Military District has been reinforced to protect the country’s western strategic border. Last month, Minister of Defense Sergei Shoigu told Tass that the western strategic direction remains under the highest threat for Russia’s military security, adding that, in accordance with the 2019-2025 plan of action, Russia will conduct a complex series of measures to neutralize the potential threats.

“The Separate Guards Motorized Rifle Sevastopol Red Banner Brigade named after the 60th anniversary of the USSR was included in the Guards Red Banner Tank Army of the Western Military District to perform tasks on ensuring the defense of the Russian Federation in the Western strategic direction,” the district’s press service said.  “It is armed with modern weapons and military and specialized vehicles, such as T-90A tanks, BTR-82A armored carriersBMP-3 combat vehicles, and 9A34 Strela-10 and 2S6M Tunguska air defense systems.”

In addition, the motorized brigade has been deployed in the Novomoskovsky Administrative District of Moscow.

Earlier this month, head of the Main Directorate of the Russian Armed Forces’ General Staff Sergei Rudskoi declared that the Russian Ministry of Defense consistently registered high level of military activity of the U.S. and its NATO allies near Russian borders. He added that the alliance had ramped up its exercises that bear a “distinct anti-Russian character.”

While the idea of NATO attacking Russia may seem farfetched to most Americans, the Russians have reason to fear an invasion from the west. Over the past several centuries Russia has been repeatedly invaded by such powers as Poland, Sweden, France and Germany.

The United States also took part in what could be seen as an “invasion” of sorts when troops were sent to Russia during the nation’s Civil War in 1918. The American military intervention at Archangel, Russia earning the nickname “Polar Bear Expedition” and it was actually to prevent the German advance and to help reopen the Eastern Front following Communist Russia’s acceptance of the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk. Instead of fighting the Germans however, the American soldiers found themselves fighting Bolshevik forces.

Just two decades later Nazi Germany invaded the Soviet Union and drove deep into “Mother Russia,” besieging Leningrad and reaching the gates of Moscow before winter set in and stopped the advance. Other Russian cities were occupied and by war’s end many had been leveled – including Stalingrad, which had been the site of the mother-of-all battles and the turning point for the Germans.

Following the end of the Cold War and the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Russia is arguably more vulnerable while many of its former communist-era satellite states – including Poland, Hungary and Romania, along with the Czech and Slovak Republics – now being members of NATO.

Thus, it is not surprising that the Russian bear would be sharpening its claws – by upgrading its naval fleets and conducting regular military drills and exercises, while also developing new hardware such as with its T-14 Armata tank and its hypersonic undersea missiles.

Such military hardware could be seen not for their offensive capabilities, but rather as deterrents to ensure that Russia not face yet another invasion from the west.

Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer who has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers and websites. He is the author of several books on military headgear including A Gallery of Military Headdress, which is available on Amazon.comThis article is being republished due to reader interest.

Image: Reuters. 

Source link

Scared of ISIS, Scarborough Supports Biden’s 8/31 Afghanistan Evacuation Deadline

Joe “America is Back” Biden will forever be remembered for his disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan. But the disgraced and disgraceful president can count on support from at least some dead-enders in the liberal media.

Count Joe Scarborough among them.

On Wednesday’s Morning Joe, Scarborough expressed support for Biden’s decision not to extend the August 31st deadline for evacuating American citizens and Afghan allies from Afghanistan. In doing so, he tacitly acknowledged that not only Afghan allies, but Americans, will be left behind, saying he wants to get out every American “that we can get out.”

Scarborough’s justification for ending the evacuation effort is his fear that ISIS, along with the more radical Taliban elements, will attack US troops were we to stay past August 31st.

So that’s it: forget the American tradition of leaving no one behind. Exit Afghanistan, tail between legs, intimidated by terrorists. Pathetic. 

Scarborough expressed his fears to retired Navy Admiral James Stavridis and Council on Foreign Relations head Richard Haass, essentially begging them to back his support of the August 31st deadline. They both gave equivocal statements in response.

But Stavridis first acknowledged Scarborough sounded like Team Biden: “I think you have walked through the exact calculus that’s going on in the Pentagon and the White House.” Let’s guess he’s recirculating administration talking points he received in his e-mail. 

As we noted yesterday, there is good reason to believe that Americans will indeed be left behind if the August 31st deadline is not extended. And as Republican Rep. Michael McCaul indicated yesterday, even Biden’s own Secretaries of State and Defense told him that it would not be humanly possible to get all Americans out by August 31st. 

Trying to salvage some pride, Scarborough repeatedly waved the fig leaf that he had originally favored leaving 2,500 US troops in Afghanistan. 

Whatever. Now that the chips are down, Scarborough shows his true colors. Defend Biden at all costs. 

Joe Scarborough supporting—out of fear of ISIS attacks—President Biden’s decision not to extend the August 31st deadline for evacuating US citizens and Afghan allies from Afghanistan was sponsored in part by USAA, Amazon, and BMW.

Here’s the transcript.

Morning Joe
6:22 am EDT

JOE SCARBOROUGH: I, I, of course, was very critical of us removing 2,500 troops from the ground, agreed that we needed to get the air base, send in more troops. And this evacuation, we’re at 70,000. I mean, it’s, it is one of the most extraordinary airlifts, I think, since Berlin. 

I am starting to get a sense, and this is just as a layman, and I’m curious what you’re thinking it. I’m starting to get a sense, getting worried about the law of diminishing returns. I want to get everybody else out that we can get out, I certainly want to get every last American out of there.

But it seems to me if we stayed past the end of the month, we would just be inviting an attack by ISIS, inviting an attack by, let’s say, an even more radical element of the Taliban. This is the sort of thing I would not want our troops sitting there indefinitely in this sort of situation. 

. . . 

This is obviously, this [Biden’s decision not to leave 2,500 troops in Afghanistan] is something you and I opposed strongly. Here we are, though. We are where we are. We have, again, 70,000 people already air-lifted out. We have until the end of the month. I suspect the number will get close to 100,000. 

We must get every American out that we can get out. But I’m curious if you’re starting to have the same concerns, that the longer we stay there, the longer we’re inviting an attack by ISIS. The longer we’re inviting an attack by radical, the most radical elements, of the Taliban?

Source link

‘Suitcase Killer’ Heather Mack ‘scared’ to return to US

“Suitcase Killer” Heather Mack is about to be released from prison — and she’s scared.

“I am fearful and nervous of returning to Chicago. I’m not worried about the idea that people cannot understand the tragedy for my sake. But I’m nervous for [my daughter] Stella,” Mack exclusively told The Post. “I’m scared that if she comes back to the States with me, she will be exposed to what happened.”

Stella was born in prison during the sensational trial of her parents,  Mack and Tommy Schaefer, in March 2015. The two were convicted by an Indonesian court of killing Mack’s mother, Chicago socialite Sheila von Wiese-Mack, 62, in August 2014.

Schaefer, then 21, bludgeoned Sheila to death with a metal fruit bowl in a room at Bali’s five-star St. Regis resort. He and Heather, then 18, stuffed the body into a suitcase, loaded the bloody bag into a taxi, and fled the scene. After the cabdriver alerted police, the couple was arrested at a budget hotel a few miles away.

Heather Mack has not yet decided if she will bring daughter Stella back to the US in October or leave the 6-year-old with a foster family in Bali.
Heather is scheduled for early prison release in October.
Heather is scheduled for early prison release in October.
Heather and boyfriend Tommy Schaefer.
Heather and boyfriend Tommy Schaefer.
AFP via Getty Images

Both were found guilty of murder in the first degree and locked up in Bali’s Kerobokan prison, with Schaefer sentenced to 18 years and Heather to 10. But Indonesian President Joko Widodo last week decided she will be released in October — nearly three years early — for good behavior.

Heather, who grew up in the well-heeled Chicago suburb of Oak Park, Ill., will be immediately deported to the US. Yet she is considering leaving Stella, now six, temporarily with the Bali foster family who has raised her since she was two years old

“I do not want anyone shoving a camera into Stella’s face. I know that it will happen to me but I will do my best to protect Stella from that trauma,” Heather, 25, told The Post.

The girl remains unaware of why her parents are in prison. Heather would like to keep it that way.

“I absolutely regret what happened. I loved my mom — I still do,” Heather said. “She wasn’t evil, and she didn’t deserve to die the way she did. I didn’t kill her for money. It was for my freedom and Stella’s freedom, or so I thought at the time. I think of her a thousand times a day.”

Heather was raised in a $1.5 million Italian Renaissance-style home in Oak Park by her mother and her father, famed jazz arranger and composer James L. Mack. A guest conductor for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, he also worked with the London Philharmonic and  jazz legends like singer Nancy Wilson and pianist Ramsey Lewis.

In 1996, James, then 66, married Sheila von Wiese,  22 years his junior. A political-science grad, Sheila told a publication  she had once worked as a researcher for Sen. Ted Kennedy, adding, “I even poured tea for Rose Kennedy a time or two.”

Parties at the family home were a hot ticket among musicians, literary-types and Oak Park high society. But police were called to the  home in 2004 when James’ ex accused Sheila of preventing a visit from James’ son. (He has another son and four daughters from previous relationships.) The ex claimed that Sheila would turn off the lights and pretend not to be home when they came to see  James, who was ill and confined to bed.

In 2006, James — who was suffering from Stage IV colon cancer and had been wheelchair-bound since 2000 — died of a pulmonary embolism while on vacation with Sheila and Heather in Athens, Greece. Sheila left her husband’s body in a Greek morgue to continue her holiday, cruising off to Santorini with 10-year-old Heather.

“It was in Santorini that my anger at my mother started,” Heather told The Post. “It never really stopped. It grew.”

Heather's mother Sheila von Wiese-Mack.
Heather’s mother Sheila von Wiese-Mack.
The Caxton Club
Policemen inspect the suitcase in which the body of Sheila was found.
Policemen inspect the suitcase in which the body of Sheila was found.
AFP via Getty Images
The suitcase is shown as an evidence during the trial.
The suitcase is shown as an evidence during the trial.

Back at home, Oak Park police logged 86 calls to the family’s 13-room residence between 2010 and 2013. Records show 911 calls about domestic violence and theft. Sheila also filed missing persons reports for Mack.

The teen spent a week in the Cook County Juvenile Detention Center in 2010 and was placed on psychiatric holds after violent outbursts, but Sheila routinely dropped charges against her daughter.

Heather  was a senior in high school when she began dating Schaefer, an unemployed would-be rapper called Tommy EXX, in early 2014. Sheila was opposed to the relationship, feeling that Schaefer — three years older than Heather — wasn’t good enough for her daughter. She sold the Oak Park home and moved herself and Heather to an apartment on Chicago’s ritzy Gold Coast, perhaps hoping to put space between the young couple.

But Heather and Sheila continued to argue, with the teen often storming off to five-star hotels on her mother’s dime. Once, when she learned that Schaefer was with Heather, Sheila reported her credit card stolen and the couple was arrested. Sheila dropped the charges against Heather, while Schaefer was charged with disorderly conduct.

In 2014, Heather dropped out of school and became pregnant. Sheila scheduled a vacation to Bali, where she hoped to persuade her daughter to end the pregnancy. But when Sheila hurt her ankle in a drunken fall and was bedridden on painkillers, Mack used her mom’s credit card to buy a $12,000 business-class ticket to fly Schaefer in.

Hotel cameras show the three arguing in the lobby of the St. Regis on Aug. 7, the night he arrived. After Sheila went to bed, Heather and Schaefer didn’t cool down — instead, they spent hours plotting Sheila’s murder.

Heather wanted to be free of Sheila’s control, and Schaefer wanted the riches — which he had been led to believe could be as much as $11 million — that his girlfriend stood to gain from her mother’s estate. In texts presented in court, Schaefer encouraged Heather to suffocate Sheila in her sleep, but the girl couldn’t bring herself to do it.

It wasn’t a new idea. Back in Chicago, the lovers had spent months scheming to kill Sheila by overdose and offered Schaefer’s cousin Ryan Bibbs to pay $50,000 to find a hitman. (Bibbs, who advised  on murder methods, was found guilty of conspiracy to commit foreign murder of a US citizen and sentenced to nine years in prison.)

St. Regis hotel, in Nusa Dua, on the Indonesian resort island of Bali.
St. Regis hotel, in Nusa Dua, on the Indonesian resort island of Bali.
AFP via Getty Images
Heather Mack's home in Illinois.
Heather Mack’s home in Illinois.
Google Maps

The next morning at the hotel, another argument erupted between the three. According to Schaefer, a furious Sheila, calling him the “n” word, threatened to cut the baby out of her daughter’s body.

Enraged, he pulled out a metal fruit bowl nicked from his room and beat Sheila to death with it. According to the coroner, she suffocated due to a broken nose.

“Tommy was saying we should leave her there and run but I was like no, I just didn’t want to leave her there,” Mack told Instead, they wrapped Sheila’s body in a bedsheet and stuffed it into her own silver suitcase — snapping her neck in the process.

They then wheeled the luggage out through the high-end hotel, hailed a cab and loaded the bag — spotted with blood — into the trunk. But when the driver expressed suspicion, the couple ran from the scene. The driver and hotel workers alerted police.

In 2016, Schaefer told the Daily Mail: “I am  … disgusted with myself just as much as anyone else is.”

Ironically, Mack now says that her relationship with her own daughter is the most important in her life.

On her second birthday, Stella was taken from the prison and turned over to the local foster family she lives with today.

“I could not have wished for a better family to raise her,” Mack told The Post. “However, it’s hard not being with her, particularly when she is sick or for important moments like graduating kindergarten.”

Mack said that becoming a mother triggered a life change. She no longer has anything to do with Schaefer, although he maintains a relationship with Stella.

But neither parent has seen the girl since March 2020, when Indonesian authorities stopped prison visits because of COVID.

“Out of seven years in jail, the hardest part has been the past 18 months because I have not seen Stella,” Mack said. “Video-calling Stella three times a week from the prison phone is my only option. I’m grateful I can do that.”

In 2017, Mack uploaded an unhinged video to YouTube, in which she said: “I don’t regret killing my mother … I made it up in my heart, in my mind, in my soul, in my blood, in the oxygen running through my body that I wanted to kill my mother.” She claimed that, “When I was 10, my mother killed my father … ”

In the early days, Mack was known to party in jail, drinking contraband alcohol. More than once she was thrown into the feared Cell Tikus (“rat cell”), sleeping on a dirt floor.

But she has apparently turned into a model prisoner. Mack has become the prison’s chief choreographer for dance performances, sings with the ladies’ choir and is a fitness instructor.

“Heather has never been violent to other prisoners or the guards and is a helpful aid in daily life. She teaches Zumba classes daily, conducts dances for special festivals and participates in the spiritual life,”  Mrs. Lili, chief of the women’s prison, said.

Heather's daughter Stella.
Heather’s daughter Stella.
Heather, pictured here with her boyfriend in 2014, has said:
Heather, pictured here with her boyfriend in 2014, has said: “I absolutely regret what happened — I loved my mom, and I still do.”

Mack learned the Indonesian language and  also mastered the local dialect of Bahasa Balinese.

“I was locked in my room, between 5 p.m. and 6 a.m., with 20 Indonesian women,” she said. “I’m so talkative. I had to learn the language.”

She is often called on to translate for new inmates.

“The guards asked me to help when a new woman had a meltdown or just could not understand what was required according to the rules,” Mack said. “I’m …  called to calm the waters when foreigners have issues.”

She may feel like a foreigner herself when she returns to the US in November.

In 2018, her maternal uncle William Weise fought to prevent her from collecting Sheila’s $1.56 million estate. Mack signed over her status as sole beneficiary to Stella, although it is unknown when the girl can access the funds.

 Mack will leave prison with little more than the clothes on her back. She plans to fly to Chicago and stay with a friend. How she will cope in society remains to be seen.

“I have learned things about myself that I didn’t even know before. I like to make people laugh, and I know how to put other people before myself. I do this to the point of stupidity,” Mack told the Post. “I think that I am kind, and I have become a peacemaker in the jail, which is a strange thing for a murderer to say.”

Andrea Dixon is an Australian journalist based in the UK and Indonesia. She is currently working on a book about Heather Mack.

Source link

WATCH: This is how SCARED police are of freedom protests in Melbourne

Shortly after Premier Daniel Andrews announced another week extension to his sixth ‘snap-lockdown’, protesters promised to rally in Melbourne’s CBD.

Unlike the last two protests, police managed to quash any dissent.

I arrived at Flinders Street station an hour before the protest was meant to start, and the city was already swarming with police.

Officers stopped anyone who came near the station, checking ID’s and fining those more than 5km from their homes.

A homeless man says he was issued a ticket even though he sleeps rough less than a kilometre from the station.

Several protesters were arrested.

WATCH & SHARE what the media refuses to show.

Source link

Tucker Carlson says he was ‘scared’ after learning of NSA spying allegations, ‘felt like kind of a lunatic’ by going public

Fox News host Tucker Carlson said Wednesday that when he first learned that the National Security Agency was allegedly monitoring his communications, the news “scared” him.

Carlson, who hosts the No. 1 cable TV news show with an average of more than 3 million viewers in July, made a bold accusation against the Biden administration in late June when he claimed the NSA was “monitoring our electronic communications” and “planning to leak them in an attempt to take this show off the air.”

His claims sparked a media firestorm and prompted a rare response from the agency denying his allegations and stating that Carlson “has never been an intelligence target.” Shortly after Carlson made the allegations, Axios reported that the cable TV host was communicating with U.S.-based Kremlin intermediaries to set up an interview with Russian President Vladimir Putin, and that the government had learned of his outreach.

In an interview with BlazeTV host Glenn Beck on Wednesday, Carlson described the moment he says he learned that the NSA was monitoring his communications.

“I was in Washington for a funeral. I moved out of Washington after 35 years, I didn’t have much choice. And I was back. I ran into a very old, very close friend of mine who said, ‘let’s get together, and talk about something.’ Who said, in person, ‘you’re planning this trip to Russia,'” Carlson said.

“And I said, well, I haven’t told anyone that. So I don’t know how you would know. Because — and then this person told me, that the NSA had been reading my electronic communications. My texts and emails. And had unmasked me. And was going to spread this to news organizations, to suggest that I was somehow a disloyal American.”

“And it actually scared me,” Carlson told Beck. “I’m not normally rattled by stuff. But that’s so over the top.”

After being told the NSA had allegedly looked at his emails, Carlson said he sought the advice of an unnamed U.S. senator, who suggested that he go public with the allegations “as a self-defense move.”

“I felt like kind of a lunatic,” Carlson admitted. “You don’t want to go on TV — would you want to go on the air and say, they’re spying on me? No. You sound like a nutcase. But I didn’t feel like I had a choice.”

The NSA denied the allegation that Carlson was an intelligence target or that anyone at the agency sought to have his show taken off the air. But critics pointed out that the careful wording of the NSA’s public statement did not rule out that Carlson’s communications had been incidentally collected or that he had been unmasked by someone working for the government.

The NSA’s internal watchdog announced Tuesday that it would open an investigation into Carlson’s allegations. Inspector General Robert Storch will examine the agency’s “compliance with applicable legal authorities” and its policies on collecting and sharing information. Storch will also examine whether the agency’s actions were based on “improper considerations.”

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), one of the critics of the agency’s public denial of Carlson’s allegations, welcomed the review as “an important step toward ensuring public confidence. It is important that this review is as transparent as possible so it doesn’t fuel further public suspicion and distrust.”

But Democratic Rep. Jim Himes of Connecticut, who serves on the House Intelligence Committee, told the Associated Press that Carlson’s allegations were the “latest right-wing attempt to damage our security services.”

“People like Tucker Carlson can’t help themselves,” Himes said. “They’re badly hurting our intelligence community with outright lies.”

Speaking with Beck, Carlson said that his critics are angry with him because he has opinions that dissent from the government-approved narratives.

“You should have the expectation, if you live in America, you criticize the regime, then you they read your email,” Carlson said. “So, I thought that was illegal, and un-American. And an assault on civil liberties. But I learned from the Daily Beast, that actually if you complain about it, then you hate America. So just shut up and accept it. You have no privacy. The War on Terror has been turned against American citizens. But you deserve it, because you’re a white supremacist. That’s what I’ve been told.”

Carlson said that the idea that the law enforcement and national security power of the federal government could be turned against American citizens was a “nightmare scenario” that all Americans should be concerned about.

“You can’t turn the awesome law enforcement, and intel-gathering powers of the federal government, against American citizens, on a wholesale basis,” Carlson said. “Like, that’s the nightmare scenario. We have a lot of laws in place designed to prevent it. Now, it’s happening. And it’s just bewildering to me, that nobody says anything about it. This is totally cool. This is the way it works. It’s not cool. It’s not the way it works. If you care about democracy, you’re opposed to this, with everything that you have.”

Source link

Hybrid Underdog: Russia Should Be Scared of Finland’s Military Innovation

Key Point: Russia is supposed to be the master of hybrid warfare, that shapeshifting amalgamation of regular and irregular war.

But has Russia met its match in little Finland?

“While still a work in progress, recent exercises suggest that the Finnish Army is arguably better positioned to tackle hybrid threats than most of its European counterparts,” says a report by Sweden’s Defense Research Agency.

“The lessons from Crimea were by no means lost on the Finnish defense establishment,” note Swedish researchers Michael Jonsson and Johan Engvall. Since 2014, improving the readiness of the Finnish Army has been a major priority. A government Defense White Paper of February 2017 outlines a system of rapid reaction forces and swift-mobilization units among all services and troop types.

Unlike its European neighbors, who have moved toward standing professional armies, Finland’s 280,000-strong military is based on a small standing army backed by conscripted reserves. But reserves need time to be mobilized, which is fine for a conventional war but not hybrid warfare: for example, Russia used special forces and paramilitary fighters to seize Crimea in a few days. That’s especially worrisome to Finland, which shares an eight-hundred-mile border with Russia.

Finland’s solution has been to create company-sized “readiness units,” rapid reaction forces consisting of conscripts who have completed their six-month training and go on readiness duty for the next six. “Because the training of Finnish conscripts begins twice a year, in January and July, this means that there are periods (in roughly the first and third quarter of the year) when there are ‘no adequately trained conscripts,’” the Swedish report explains. “The readiness units are used to plug this gap.”

The ready response units are small but powerful. “Led by professional soldiers, they receive training on additional weapon systems (including anti-tank weapons), advanced small unit tactics, urban operations and heliborne insertion/ extraction,” says the report. “At least some of the readiness units are equipped with Leopard 2A6 tanks, and tanks have been used in several readiness exercises.”

These exercises suggest that Finnish readiness units can respond rapidly to a threat, perhaps within hours. “It is notable that these exercises often include elements of cooperation with local army troops, the police and the FBG, using scenarios that cover a substantial part of the conflict intensity scale,” write Jonsson and Engvall. “Thus, readiness units and the exercises in which they participate represent the army’s response to ‘quickly escalating crises’, a euphemism for hybrid warfare. With their rapid reaction times and helicopter mobility, readiness units can be deployed nationally and have sufficient independent firepower and endurance to engage even a well-armed adversary.”

Recommended: What Will the Sixth-Generation Jet Fighter Look Like?

Recommended: Imagine a U.S. Air Force That Never Built the B-52 Bomber

Recommended: Russia’s Next Big Military Sale – To Mexico?

Recommended: Would China Really Invade Taiwan?

Finland’s anti-hybrid warfare system seems impressive. “Some close observers in Finland as well as abroad claim that the Finnish Army has become among the best in Europe at delivering sizable combat power at short notice,” the report notes. But is Finland’s approach sustainable? “Some close observers argue that the current focus on readiness units and rapid mobilization units has meant that the training of reservists has been put on the back burner.”

Nonetheless, the fact that a small nation like Finland can devise a strategy that just might defeat Russian hybrid warfare will be of interest to the Baltic States and other neighbors of Russia.

Michael Peck is a contributing writer for the National Interest. He can be found on Twitter and Facebook.

Image: CC BY-SA 2.5, Link“>Wikipedia Commons.

Source link