Information on ISIS and the US Involvement in Iraq

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President Obama spoke yesterday about the situation in Iraq and the USA’s involvement in fighting the terrorist organization, ISIS. Today, a graphic video was released showing the execution of James Foley, an American journalist who went missing two years ago. 

James Foley, a US journalist who disappeared in 2012, was executed by ISIS terrorists in a video today.  From: Global Post

James Foley, a US journalist who disappeared in 2012, was executed by ISIS terrorists in a video today.
From: Global Post

ISIS, or the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, is a terrorist organization based in Iraq and Syria that aims to control most of the Muslim-inhabited regions. The group has officially been recognized by major world leaders as a foreign  terrorist organization. ISIS is known for its extreme interpretation of the Isalmic faith and Sharia law. It is characterized by its brutal violence against Shia Muslims and Christians. The terrorist group, Al-Qaeda , was associated with the group until February 2014. Reports say the reason for the split was that ISIS is too brutal, even for Al-Qaeda. Reportedly, though, some Al-Queda leaders still are supporting ISIS and are involved in their efforts.

Map of ISIS control. Control extends into Syria. From: newsrescue.com

Map of ISIS control. Control extends into Syria. From: newsrescue.com

Currently, ISIS controls a fair amount of territory in Iraq and Syria, and they hope to expand. According to many sources, ISIS has been conducting brutal attacks on citizens in Iraq and Syria. Christians, for example, were told to either convert, pay a fine, or leave the area. Many people are trying to leave the area, but it has become difficult with the widespread presence of ISIS.

President Obama authorized airstrikes to assist the refugees to escape peacefully and safely. Further, Thirty-Five strikes (as of August 15) were conducted and aided the Iraqi and Kurdish forces in recapturing a “strategically important dam” (FoxNews). The USA’s goal is to unite the Iraqi army, rebuild their government, and drive ISIS out. The president has stated that he will not put US troops on the ground in Iraq.

We’ll keep you updated as the situation in Iraq progresses.

-Political Rush

 

Michael Brown’s Private, Family-Requested Autopsy Revealed

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Last night the family-requested, private autopsy of Michael Brown was released to the public. The autopsy, one of the first official statements regarding the death of the eighteen year old black teenager, who was shot almost ten days ago by a white police officer in Ferguson, MO, reveals that Brown was shot six times. The shooting sparked outrage across the country. Rioting, Looting, and Protesting has plagued the small suburb of St. Louis. Governor Jay Nixon has recently called in the National Guard to assist in providing security. 

The photo released along with the autopsy shows Brown was shot six times. From: NYTimes.

The photo released along with the autopsy shows Brown was shot six times. From: NYTimes.

The high-profile doctor who performed the autopsy said Brown was shot four times in the arm and chest and twice in the head. All shots entered from the front. The final two in the head led to Brown’s death. Dr. Baden says Brown’s head was bent downward at the time of impact, indicating one of two things: he was surrendering to police or he was charging the officer. 

In a press conference today, Brown’s lawyer, Daryl Parks, said the autopsy backs eye-witness accounts that Michael Brown was surrendering at the time of death.  He concludes the autopsy provides enough evidence to support the arrest of Darren Wilson, the officer who shot Brown. Brown’s mother agrees saying, “What else do we need to give them to arrest the killer of my child?”

Dr. Baden, however, never came to this conclusion. Instead, he said the results were inconclusive and that, at this time, there was still not enough evidence to support either claim. He is waiting until the St. Louis County autopsy is released to make a final conclusion. 

The St. Louis County autopsy is expected to be released within the next two weeks. We’ll keep you updated.

-Political Rush

 

 

Texas Governor Rick Perry Facing Criminal Charges

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Texas Governor Rick Perry is being indicted on criminal charges this week. Recently Rick Perry has been in the news as a result of the immigration crisis. He is also a serious contender for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination. 

Governor of Texas, Rick Perry. From: blogs.desmoinesregister.com

Governor of Texas, Rick Perry. From: blogs.desmoinesregister.com

The trouble for Rick Perry started in April 2013. Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg was arrested for a DUI. Perry suggested the D.A. should step down, however Lehmberg refused to step down. Perry then allegedly threatened to veto millions for the public integrity unit she oversees. Many believe this is an overstep of power. Though Perry is allowed as governor to veto bills, he is being charged with abuse of official compacity. This first-degree felony comes with a  five to 99 year prison sentence. A second charge of coercion of a public servant, is a third-degree felony and comes with up to ten years in prison.

Perry has recently been building up steam after his failed 2012 presidential run. His name has been in the news recently regarding the immigration crisis and many have praised his response. This indictment will hit Perry hard, and possibly ruin his chances of receiving the nomination. 

A pretrial will be set in the next couple of weeks. We’ll keep you updated.

-Political Rush

Protests in Ferguson, MO Continue, Mayor imposes curfews.

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Nearly one week ago, an unarmed teenager named Michael Brown was shot and killed by a police officer. The death of this teenager sparked outrage across the country. For days after the shooting, looting and rioting filled the streets of the St. Louis suburb. The QT gas station in the photograph below was looted and set on fire. 

Ferguson QuikTrip was looted and set on fire as a result of the rioting/protesting of the death of unarmed teenager, Michael Brown.  From: freedomoutpost.com

Ferguson QuikTrip was looted and set on fire as a result of the rioting/protesting of the death of unarmed teenager, Michael Brown.
From: freedomoutpost.com

Michael Brown is the suspect of a robbery of almost fifty dollars worth of cigars. However, the officer, recently identified as Darren Wilson, did not know Brown was a suspect at the time of his death. According to Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson, the 28-year-old officer stopped Brown and his companion because they were walking down the middle of the street and blocking traffic. 

A photo of Michael Brown, 18, who was shot by Ferguson police.

A photo of Michael Brown, 18, who was shot by Ferguson police.

The death of Michael Brown sparked outrage. Protesters yelled, “Hands Up; Don’t Shoot,” alluding to the idea that white officers often target innocent blacks. Recently in the news, a NYPD officer was accused of performing an illegal chock-hold on a black male, leading to his death. Other instances of white on black crime have been reported as well. Local police forces became increasingly present during the peaceful protests. Military style tanks arrived in the suburb and officers dressed in full gear pelted protestors with rubber bullets and tear gas. 

Gov. Jay Nixon order the highway patrol to assume responsibility of handling security in the suburb to reduce the animosity between officers and protestors. There is a serious level of mistrust between the community, which is 75% African-American, and the local police, which is mainly made up of white officers. 

After days of intense protests and rioting, things seemed to have calmed slightly, though there are still many instances of looting and rioting in the city as well as continued protests. The family of Michael Brown is devastated and looking for answers as to why their child was shot down in broad daylight for blocking the street. The local police department claims there was an altercation between Brown and the officer that led to the shooting. A video was also released showing what is said to be Michael Brown as he attacked and shoves a store-clerk after stealing a box of cigars hours before the shooting. Reports are still conflicting as we wait for a legitimate explanation of what happened. 

Today, Gov. Nixon announced a curfew and declared a state of emergency in Ferguson. We’ll keep you updated.

-Political Rush

BREAKING: Israel and Hamas Agree to a 72-Hour Ceasefire

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Both Israel and Hamas have agreed to a 72 hour humanitarian ceasefire on Thursday, according to the United Nations and the United States. This temporary humanitarian ceasefire, which starts tomorrow, will give the citizens of Gaza the opportunity to leave their homes to obtain more food, water, money, and other necessities.

The conflict does not seem to be ending any time soon, despite this temporary ceasefire. Hamas has repeatedly rejected past ceasefire agreement, while Israel has accepted all of them.

The death toll of the current crisis is rising daily. Over 1,400 Palestinians have died so far; 59 Israelis. As you can see, the death toll in Gaza is far higher than Israel. Israel has continued to bomb shelters, hospitals, schools, and citizen’s homes. Many have unfairly criticized Israel for  bombing these populated areas, however, these are the areas Hamas has placed their rockets and important people. There are also Hamas tunnels that are built in these populated areas. Israel is determined to destroy these tunnels and stop the Hamas coalition from continuing to fire rockets into Israel. 

A Man Observes the Destruction in Gaza City

A Man Observes the Destruction in Gaza City

No word yet on if Hamas will actually stay committed to this ceasefire. We’ll keep you updated.  

-Political Rush

 

OPINION: President Obama Lacking Leadership in Time of Global Crisis

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One would think that during a time when the world is seeing crisis after crisis, that the Leader of the Free World, the President of the United States, would be standing strong and promoting peace. Unfortunately, the American president seems to be avoiding these escalating situations in multiple countries across the globe.

Obama eats at a burger joint moments after learnign about Malaysia Flight 17 crash.  From: www.bizpacreview.com

Obama eats at a burger joint moments after learnign about Malaysia Flight 17 crash.
From: http://www.bizpacreview.com

Instead, the President has spent the last two weeks going from coast to coast raising money for the Democratic party. Last week President Obama attended a fundraiser in New York. While the rest of the world was focused on the shoot down of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17, President Obama was all smiles as he enjoyed a nice meal at a local burger joint. Then, that Sunday, he played a round of golf. He did comment on the crush publicly, but only for about 40 seconds, and not enough to calm the nerves of the people he is meant to be leading.

This week, he is attending three more fundraisers on the west coast. He’ll start in Seattle, and then more to San Francisco. Ultimately, he’ll conclude the busy three day fundraising spree in Los Angeles. I’ll give him credit: he did cancel his Jimmy Kimmel appearance. He seems to be acting like a celebrity, going from event to event promoting himself.

It would have been appropriate for President Obama to reschedule these fundraisers. As the Russian-Ukrainian crisis escalates and the Israeli-Hamas feud roars stronger, America needs its leader.

Russian & Ukrainian Conflict Escalates

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The Obama administration confirmed Thursday that Russia has fired artillery from Russian land into Ukrainian military sites. This led the administration to conclude that this is a “clear escalation” of the crisis. US Department of States spokesperson Marie Harf said today that Russia is planning to “deliver heavier and more powerful multiple rocket launchers.”

This announcement comes just one day after the Pentagon confirmed two Ukrainian fighter jets were shot down near the Russian border. While there has been no official statement from the US on the shooting down of the jets, Kiev (the Ukrainian capital) has alleged that Russian missiles downed the planes.

A map of Ukraine. Note: the borders with Russia and the Crimean Peninsula. From: Operationworld.org

A map of Ukraine. Note: the borders with Russia and the Crimean Peninsula. From: Operationworld.org

Russia continues to build up its military along the Ukrainian border. Defense officials have said it has been at least one battalion per week being brought to the border. As of now, 15,000 forces are stationed on the border.

The government in Ukraine seems to be falling apart amid escalating conflicts with Russia. Ukrainian Prime Minister, Arseniy P. Yatsenyuk, resigned abruptly Thursday as the governing coalition collapses. As Ukraine continues fighting Russian separatists in the eastern part of the country, this collapse creates uncertainty for the future of the government. 

It seems like the situation is clearly escalating. We’ll keep you updated.

-Political Rush