Petition For NBC To Cut Ties With Donald Trump

Recently, Univision decided to drop Donald Trump’s Miss USA pageant from the network lineup.

Univision is the largest Spanish-language broadcaster.  They decided to not air the annual Miss USA pageant next month due to the presidential candidate’s recent comments on immigration.

In a statement recently, the National Hispanic Leadership Agenda (NHLA) lauded Univision’s decision to sever ties with Trump and urged NBC to “follow Univision’s lead.”

Members of the coalition include business, media, and cultural advocacy groups like the National Council of La Raza, the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and the National Hispanic Media Coalition, according to CNN.

Close to 200,000 people have signed a three-day old petition that calls for NBC to cut ties with Trump by dropping the Miss USA Pageant, the Miss Universe Pageant, and The Apprentice franchise.

Citing actions taken against Phil Robertson by A&E for his anti-gay views, Petitioner Guillermo Castaneda Jr. urged NBC to side for “ethics, principles and values” by dropping Trump.

“A few days ago, one of your reality show stars by the name of Donald Trump decided to announce his candidacy for the largest public position in the United States, the presidency,” wrote Castaneda. “He called Latinos … rapists drug users and criminals,” writes Entertainment Weekly.

“I am not a rapist,” Castaneda continued. “I have never taken drugs, and the worst thing I have ever done is going fast on the freeway from time to time,” continued Castaneda Jr. “I am not worth $4.1 billion, but my people spend way more than that on your advertisers. We have a voice and we decide the future of this country.”

What Is The Situation With NBC Correspondent Richard Engel’s Hostage Ordeal?

Featured photo - NBC’s Conduct in Engel Kidnapping Story is More Troubling than the Brian Williams Scandal

Richard Engel is one of NBC’s best and brightest foreign correspondents.  He is the chief foreign correspondent.

On Wednesday night, he revealed that the people who kidnapped him and five colleagues in Syria in December of 2012 misled them about their affiliation, leading them to misidentify them in their media accounts of the kidnapping.

The mistake was first pointed out in an April 15th article by The New York Times.

During a Dec. 18th, 2012, appearance on the “Today” show following their escape, Engel identified his captors as members of the “shabiha,” a Shia militia that was loyal to Syrian President Bashar Assad.

Assad is in charge of the government troops and is an Alawite, who are related to and fight together with the Shia.   The Shia are often backed by Iran, a Shia Muslim country.

However, as The Huffington Post reported Wednesday afternoon, new questions about the kidnappers’ group affiliation recently prompted Engel and a team of journalists to adjust their accounts of their five days in captivity in 2012.

After reporting for the past several weeks, Engel recently wrote on Wednesday that his kidnappers were Sunni, not Shia, states the Huffington Post.

That would make his kidnappers affiliated with the rebels, not with the Assad government.

He also wrote that they had “put on an elaborate ruse to convince” them that they were the “shabiha” and allied with Assad, Iran, and Hezbollah.

Was it an honest mistake by Engel?

Engel had previously described the men as part of the Shia militia in TV interviews and a first-person piece for Vanity Fair in March 2013.

Vanity fair recently made a correction to their 2013 article about the hostage ordeal.

California State University professor As’ad AbuKhalil expressed serious doubts early on about Engel’s captors being the shabiha and aligned with Iran and Hezbollah, but  the correspondent’s account was never seriously challenged in the news media.

On the day Engel surfaced in Turkey, AbuKhalil wrote that graffiti visible in a video of the captured journalists included “clearly fake” slogans intended to falsely suggest the captors were Shiites.

Following publication of Engel’s piece on Wednesday, AbuKhalil told The Huffington Post that the episode “shows the extent to which Western media were going out of their way to protect the armed thugs and terrorists of the Syrian armed groups.”

Recently, Engel made a correction article:  “Our kidnapping also became a sensitive issue for the main rebel field commander in that part of Syria, a man known as Abu Ayman. A member of an the Islamist group Ahrar al Sham, Abu Ayman and his superiors were hoping to persuade the U.S. to provide arms to them. Having American journalists taken on what was known to be his turf could block that possibility.”

Ahrar al Sham is a Sunni Muslim rebel group and is supposedly one of the founding groups of the Islamic Front, according to Wikipedia.

According to the BBC, “The Islamic Front refuses to come under the umbrella of the Western-backed Supreme Military Council (SMC) of the Free Syrian Army, but co-operates with SMC-aligned brigades on the battlefield, as well as the al-Nusra Front, al-Qaeda’s affiliate in Syria.”

Several sources state that some former al-Qaeda members work for Ahrar al-Sham.

“US intelligence sources have asserted that an important figure within Ahrar al-Sham, Abu Khalid al Suri, is a senior Al Qaeda operative and acts as Ayman al-Zawahiri’s representative in the Levant,” states Wikipedia.

Ahrar al-Sham was a dangerous group to be hanging around with, regardless of affiliation.

“We have now learned Abu Ayman was personally acquainted, and publicly cooperated with the leader of the group that controlled the farm where we were taken, Ezzo Qussab, a Sunni with a reputation for being a thug.  Multiple local sources say that, while he called himself a rebel leader, Qussab was more of a criminal boss,” wrote Engel recently for NBC.

“After Abu Ayman learned we were abducted and taken to the farm, Syrian sources say, he called for a meeting with Qussab and his deputy, a man named Shukri Abdelbagi, also known as Shukri Ajouj, to demand our release. Even after an intensive investigation, it remains unclear exactly what happened next. The three men can no longer be reached. Abu Ayman was reportedly killed in an explosion last year. Shukri Abdelbagi died in clashes with another group in 2013, and according to several sources who know him, Qussab is in hiding.”

It remains to be seen if Richard Engel will receive disciplinary action for the mistake, or if NBC knowingly made the mistake and didn’t correct it.

Updated post)

Michigan Sponsors Its Own Religious Freedom Bill


Michigan lawmakers are working on passing their own Religious Freedom Act, states The legislation is called Senate Bill No. 4.   It has been introduced and is now in committee.

Two other religious freedom bills are also being considered in the state, states

The TV show Flashpoint in Michigan had a discussion Sunday about a religious freedom bill coming to Michigan.

Devin Scillian was joined by Randy Richardville, Stephen Henderson, Jill Alper and Sandy Baruah to talk about religious freedom acts and whether one might be coming to Michigan.

Richardville, a former Michigan Senate majority leader, said that he doesn’t think that Indiana’s situation will have a major effect on the state of Michigan.

Alper, a political strategist, talked about the governor’s reaction to the increasing talks about religious freedom acts and what it means moving forward.

Baruah, the President and CEO of Detroit Regional Chamber, says that this issue is very bad for business. He said having laws like this in place prevents the best workers from coming into the state.

Henderson, of the Detroit Free Press, said that the issue has become more aggressive and assertive and talked about what could happen to settle the case.

Nanny Cam In Rochester, MN Hacked

Can a “nanny cam” for babies be hacked?

Business Insider states a Minnesota family was in for a shock last week when they discovered their nanny cam had been hacked and private footage was streaming online for all to see, according to local NBC network KTTC.

The unnamed family lives in Rochester, MN, and KTTC they kept noticing odd things happening in their child’s bedroom.

For instance, they heard music coming from the nursery, which would turn off as soon as anyone entered the room.

Suspicious of the music, the family used the camera manufacturer, Foscam’s, software to find the device’s IP address. Attached to the address — which was based in Amsterdam — was a URL, states Business Insider.

The family went to the site to discover an entire searchable destination of hacked nanny cams just like theirs.

“There’s at least fifteen different countries listed and it’s not just nurseries – it’s people’s living rooms, their bedrooms, their kitchens,” the mother told KTTC.

Even more disturbing was that the hackers are able to control the devices. For instance, the family moved the camera so it was facing the wall then a few hours later discovered it looking at the bedroom’s closet.

This isn’t the first time Foscam cameras were discovered to be hackable. Last February a nanny heard a man’s voice saying “Oh, that’s a beautiful baby,” from the house’s security camera.

The nanny at the house thought it was the family playing a prank on her. But the man went on; “That’s a really poopy diaper,” he said. The petrified nanny then unplugged the camera and called the family.

More here:”>

(Updated article)

Are American Guns A Global Menace?

Majority Report

Are American guns an international menace?

Majority Report guest speaker Cliff Schecter claims that in the same week of the Charlie Hebdo attack in Paris, 80 people in the U.S. died from gun violence.

However, that number is probably low, because according to NBC and The Brady Campaign, Every day in the U.S., an average of 289 people are shot. Eighty-six of them die: 30 are murdered, 53 kill themselves, two die accidentally, and one is shot in a police intervention. 86 people per day would be 602 people per week. Excluding suicides, 30 gun murders per day would be 210 per week.

The CDC reports that a person is killed by a firearm every 17 minutes, 87 people are killed during an average day, and 609 are killed every week.

Also, according to CNN, the ATF claims that almost 70% of recovered guns from crimes in Mexico came from the U.S.

In a study the ATF conducted in 2009 of 6,000 seized guns stored in Guatemala, 40 percent came from the United States, according to New Republic.


Adult Cigarette Smoking Is At An All-Time Low

According to the Atlanta Business Chronicle, the percentage of adults who smoke in the U.S. dropped from 20.9 percent in 2005 to 17.8 percent in 2013.

This information comes from new data published by Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in its Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

That is the lowest prevalence of adult smoking since the CDC’s Nation Health Interview Survey (NHIS) began keeping such records in 1965.

The report also shows the number of cigarette smokers dropped from 45.1 million in 2005 to 42.1 million in 2013, despite the increasing population in the U.S., the CDC said in a press release.

“There is encouraging news in this study, but we still have much more work to do to help people quit,” said Tim McAfee, M.D., M.P.H., director of the CDC’s Office on Smoking and Health.

“We can bring down cigarette smoking rates much further, much faster, if strategies proven to work are put in place like funding tobacco control programs at the CDC-recommended levels, increasing prices of tobacco products, implementing and enforcing comprehensive smoke-free laws, and sustaining hard-hitting media campaigns,” he said.

Landrieu Takes Risk, Talks Racism

Asked by NBC’s Chuck Todd why President Obama is so unpopular in Louisiana, Sen. Mary Landrieu first gave a long answer about energy policy. Then she waded into more difficult territory: race.

“I’ll be very, very honest with you; the South has not always been the friendliest place for African Americans,” Landrieu said. “It’s been a difficult time for the president to present himself in a very positive light as a leader.”

She also said that women have struggled in the South, but her comments on race got much more attention — including a brief airing on “NBC Nightly News” — because that’s how it is with race.

Cenk Uygur, John Iadarola, Jimmy Dore (The Jimmy Dore Show) and Wes Clark Jr. talk about it.

Whoa: Louisiana Senator Landrieu Cites Race As Factor For President’s Unpopularity

MaryLandrieuThursday, Louisiana Senator Mary Landrieu gave reasons for the President’s unpopularity and cited race as a factor.  Republicans are calling on her to apologize.

Her comments came after an NBC reporter asked the senator why Obama has such low approval ratings in Louisiana.  Landrieu’s first response was that the president’s energy policies are deeply disliked by residents of the oil and gas-rich state.

She then added, “I’ll be very, very honest with you. The South has not always been the friendliest place for African-Americans. It’s been a difficult time for the president to present himself in a very positive light as a leader.”

Landrieu is in a tight re-election battle with Republican U.S. Rep. Bill Cassidy.  Tea Party favorite Rob Maness is polling in a distant third place.

Landrieu is sometimes seen as a conservative Democrat, and works tirelessly on behalf of oil and gas interests.

Republicans claimed to take offense and put their own spin on the comments.

According to the Washington Post, Cassidy said the opposition to Obama has more to do with policy than race.  Maness said, “Quite frankly, Sen. Landrieu owes the people of Louisiana an apology for relegating them to nothing but racists and sexists.”

State Republican Party Chairman Roger Villere called the remarks “insulting to me and to every other Louisianian.”  Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal called the comment “a major insult” to the people of the state.