NBC News

White House Asks Congress for $3.7 Billion for Border Crisis

NBC News screenshot from video

NBC News

The Obama administration is formally asking for $3.7 billion in emergency funds from Congress to address the flood of unaccompanied minor children coming illegally into the United States — more than the White House previously signaled it would request.

The funds include $1.1 billion for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, $433 million to Customs and Border Protection, $64 million for the Department of Justice, $300 million to the State Department and $1.8 billion to the Department of Health and Human Services.

The administration previously indicated that it would request about $2 billion but would wait to release the details until Congress returned from a week-long break.

The White House says the money is necessary to cover costs like increased man-hours for border patrol agents and aerial surveillance teams, legal services for children in immigration proceedings, the hiring of 40 additional teams of immigration judges, and care for unaccompanied children while they are in the country. Almost $300 million would go towards efforts to “repatriate and reintegrate migrants to Central America” and address the underlying economic and security causes of the spike in child migrants.

It’s not clear how the GOP-led House will approach the funding request, which must pass both Houses of Congress.

A spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner said: “The Appropriations Committee and other Members, including the working group on the border crisis led by Rep. Kay Granger, will review the White House proposal. The Speaker still supports deploying the National Guard to provide humanitarian support in the affected areas – which this proposal does not address.”

See video report from NBC News here…

Two Cops, Three Others Killed in Las Vegas Shooting Spree

Image: Metro Police officers stand outside a Wal-Mart after a shooting in Las Vegas

Metro Police officers stand outside a Wal-Mart after a shooting in Las Vegas |

NBC News

An  apparent ambush in a Las Vegas pizzeria that carried over to a nearby Walmart left five people dead on Sunday, including two police officers and a pair of shooters.

A man and a woman shot the two cops as they were eating lunch at Cici’s Pizza at about 11:20 a.m. local time (2:20 p.m. ET), Las Vegas Metro Police spokesman Larry Hadfield told NBC News.

Witnesses told police that one of the shooters yelled “This is the start of a revolution” before firing at patrolmen, who were identified as Officer Alyn Beck, 42, and Officer Igor Soldo, 32.

One of the cops was able to fire back at the duo before succumbing to his injuries, Sheriff Doug Gillespie said at an afternoon press conference.

“My officers were simply having lunch when the shooting started,” said Gillespie. “I can tell you that they were both family men, and they’re leaving behind loved ones.”

See videos on NBC’s website…

In a statement, Walmart said the store was closed and they were working with local police.

“We express our deepest condolences to everyone who has been affected by this senseless act of violence,” said spokeswoman Brooke Buchanan.

Cici’s Pizza also put out a statement saying, “We are deeply saddened by this tragic event and our hearts go out to the families and friends of the officers.” They said the store would remained closed until further notice.

 

The 13 Most Bizarre Things from Edward Snowden’s NBC News Interview

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Courtesy: NBC News

The Daily Banter

Last night, while watching Brian Williams’ interview with Ed Snowden, I actually agreed with Glenn Greenwald about something. Back in 2012, Greenwald referred to Williams as “NBC News’ top hagiographer,” using “his reverent, soothing, self-important baritone” to deliver information in its “purest, most propagandistic, and most subservient form.”

It’s worth noting at the outset that Greenwald flew all the way to Moscow specifically for the NBC News interview, and he appeared on camera with Snowden and Williams, answering questions from this so-called “hagiographer.”

Now, I’m not a Brian Williams hater. I think he’s a fine news anchor. But his interview with Ed Snowden was yet another in a long, long line of deferential, uninformed, unchallenging interviews. But it’s not a stretch to presume that Greenwald, the man who once aimed all of his wordy, caustic vitriol in Williams’ general direction, referring to him as possessing “child-like excitement” over gaining access to a source, probably loved every minute of it. However, don’t break out the champagne just yet, NBC News, Greenwald will immediately shift gears sometime very soon and continue to indict any and all mainstream news outlets, including NBC, as being impotent, pernicious, drooling shills for President Obama and the D.C. elite.

So what about the telecast itself? Here are the 13 most bizarre things from Snowden’s NBC News interview.

1) Snowden claimed he has “no relationship” with the Russian government and that he’s “not supported” by it. That’s odd, given how the Russian government has twice offered him asylum and one of his lawyers, Anatoly Kucherena, is an attorney with the Russian intelligence agency, the FSB (formerly the KGB). Tell me again why anyone should trust this guy?

2) “Sometimes to do the right thing you have to break a law.” So it’s really up to each of us individually to decide whether our own interpretation of “doing the right thing” necessitates breaking the law? A lot of awful things have occurred with that exact justification. Also, what if NSA feels the same way, Ed?

3) Snowden said that no one has been harmed by his disclosures. Yet. Already, though, one of his documents escalated tensions between Australia and Indonesia, and another document endangered lives in Afghanistan to the point where Greenwald refused to publish the name of that country. It’s only a matter of time, sadly.

4) Early on, Snowden said, “I’m not a spy.” Later he famously confessed to being “trained as a spy.” Huh?

5) Snowden said he destroyed his documents before going to Russia. This is really strange. I have no idea whether he really destroyed his NSA files, but he did in fact meet with Russian officials in Hong Kong, when he reportedly celebrated his birthday at the Russian consulate. Did he still have his documents at that point? Earlier, he said his goal was to fly to Latin America, so why did he anticipate being in Russia to the point where he destroyed his documents to prevent Russians from acquiring them? These are all follow-up questions that a journalist who was informed about the details of Snowden’s timeline would’ve asked. Williams was not and therefore did not.

6) NSA can “absolutely” turn on your iPhone, which is “pretty scary.” This section was like whiplash. Snowden started out by sounding reasonable by defining that NSA only acquires data when “targeting” drug dealers or terrorists. And then, BLAM!, this shitola about NSA being able to turn on your phone. If true, why hasn’t this been disclosed from Snowden’s NSA documents?

7) Snowden said that by googling the score of a hockey game, NSA can find out whether you’re cheating on your wife. Someone’s been wearing his tinfoil hat a wee bit too tightly.

8) NSA can observe people drafting a document online and “watch their thoughts form as they type.” Let’s assume for a second this is true. Reading your thoughts (IEEEEE!!!) is a hyperbolic internet-age method of essentially describing a wire-tap. A police detective can get a court order to have a suspect’s phone tapped and listen to that suspect forming thoughts on the phone, too. But to call it a “wire-tap” is too ordinary and familiar, so Ed went with mind-reading.

9) Snowden didn’t deny turning over secrets that would be damaging or harmful. He only said journalists have a deal with him not to do it. Just a reminder: we really have no idea how many reporters or organizations have copies of the documents or the total number of documents (it’s a Greenwald/Snowden secret), but we do know that Snowden documents have been reported by so many publications that the question arises: who doesn’t have Snowden documents?

10) Snowden’s watching HBO’s The Wire. The second season, he said, isn’t so good. He’s right.

11) Snowden said he can’t speak out on Russian issues because he can’t speak the language. Hey Ed, here. Free shipping, too. You’re welcome.

12) “People have unfairly demonized the NSA to a point that is too extreme.”Why is Snowden an apologist for the surveillance state? Drooling! Vast!

13) Snowden said he can “sleep at night” because of his actions. Well, good for him.

Ultimately, Snowden is his own worst enemy and his ongoing ability to say crazy things in a calm, collected voice continues. What’s abundantly clear at this point is that no one will ever land an interview with Snowden who will be as adversarial against the former NSA contractor as Greenwald has been in his own reporting in defense of Snowden. It’ll never happen.

Renowned Poet and Author Maya Angelou Dies at 86

Image: Dr. Maya Angelou

Dr. Maya Angelou speaks on race relations at Congregation B’nai Israel and Ebenezer Baptist Church on January 16, 2014 in Boca Raton, Florida.(Photo by Jeff Daly/Invision/AP)

The world has lost another legend.  The African American community has lost a great author/poet/lecturer and so much more…

NBC News

Maya Angelou, the renowned poet, author and civil rights activist, has died, officials in her hometown of Winston-Salem, North Carolina, told NBC News. The author of the celebrated autobiography “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” was 86 years old.

Her death comes less than a week after Angelou announced she would not attend the 2014 MLB Beacon Awards Luncheon, where she was to be honored, citing “health reasons.” Last month, she also canceled an event in Fayetteville, Arkansas, because she was recovering from an “unexpected ailment” that left her hospitalized.

Angelou was born on April 4, 1928, in St. Louis, Missouri, under the name Marguerite Annie Johnson. She grew up to become a singer, dancer, actress, writer and Hollywood’s first female black director.

Angelou had an impressive list of accolades: She was a three-time Grammy winner and was nominated for a Pulitzer, a Tony, an an Emmy for her role in the groundbreaking television mini-series “Roots.”

But her success didn’t come easily. Angelou’s life struggles were fodder for her work.

Her childhood had been marked by sexual abuse, which she detailed in “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” — the first of numerous autobiographies she wrote.

Her first big break came as a singer in the 1950s.

This is a breaking news story. Check back for updates.

 

Boston Marathon Bombing Victim Sues Glenn Beck for Defamation

Image: Commentator Glenn Beck arrives at the 45th Country Music Association Awards in Nashville in this file photo

Commentator Glenn Beck arrives at the 45th Country Music Association Awards in Nashville, Tennessee in this file photo from November 9, 2011.

NBC News

A Saudi Arabian national who was injured in the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings has filed a defamation and slander lawsuit against firebrand conservative commentator Glenn Beck for publicly accusing him of being the “money man” who funded the horrific attacks.

Abdulrahman Alharbi, a 20-year-old exchange student who lives in Revere, Mass., said in a lawsuit filed Friday in U.S. District Court in Boston that his reputation was “substantially and severely damaged” after Beck made on-air comments tying him to the twin explosions that killed three people and injured more than 260.

The lawsuit also names as defendants the broadcast companies linked to Beck’s show: The Blaze, Inc., Mercury Radio Arts, Inc., and Premiere Radio Networks, Inc. It seeks a jury trial and unspecified damages.

Alharbi said in the court filing obtained by NBC News that Beck “repeatedly and falsely identified” him as an “active participant” in the April 15, 2013, attack, “repeatedly questioned the motives of federal officials in failing to pursue or detain” him and “repeatedly and falsely accused” of him of being a “criminal who had funded the attacks.”

In the lawsuit, Alharbi said he has been called a “murderer, child killer and terrorist” in the wake of Beck’s statements.

A spokesman for Beck declined to comment.

Alharbi was a spectator near the marathon finish line at the time of the explosions and was injured. Federal authorities investigating the attack questioned him and searched his apartment before concluding he was not involved in the attack, the lawsuit said.

Authorities blame the bombing on two brothers: Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, who died in a shootout with police four days after the bombings, and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 20, who was captured and is being held pending trial in November. He has pleaded not guilty to 30 federal charges, including using a weapon of mass destruction.

— Daniel Arkin, with The Associated Press

FBI Arrests 18 L.A. Sherriff’s Deputies in Corruption/Inmate Abuse Investigation

It’s good to read how the tables can turn on the bad apples in law enforcement…

Daily Kos

One small blow, perhaps, to the burgeoning Prison Industrial Complex. From NBC News:

Nearly 20 L.A. current and former sheriff’s deputies were expected to be arrested Monday in connection with a two-year- federal probe into corruption and inmate abuse in the Los Angeles County jail system, law enforcement sources familiar with the investigation said Monday.Some 18 deputies, most still active in the department, were either arrested without incident or were expected to surrender Monday to agents with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, according to the sources. None of those arrested ranked higher than lieutenant.

The sources said that the deputies are alleged to have committed crimes that include use of force under color of authority and obstruction of justice. The investigation is ongoing, according to sources, but the arrests seem to culminate an investigation that included allegations that deputies tried to hide an informant who was providing information to the FBI while locked up after the deputies discovered the informant had a cell phone.

http://investigations.nbcnews.com/…

According to the article, the informant was using his cellphone to provide the FBI with photos of the ongoing inmate abuse.

The article also says that much of the onus of these arrests will fall on L.A. Chief Sheriff Lee Baca, who is seeking a fifth term. In June, the Justice Department caught some of his deputies harassing and intimidating Blacks and Latinos in L.A.’s Antelope Valley district.

Morning Maddow: November 26

This satellite image provided by TerraServer.com and DigitalGlobe shows an image captured on Sept. 2, 2010, shows a portion of Naval Station Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, including the secret facility known as Penny Lane, upper middle in white. In the early years after 9/11, the CIA turned a handful of prisoners at the secret facility into double agents and released them.

 

 

Morning Maddow

Florida’s Republican party calls on Rep. Trey Radel to resign. (Tampa Bay Times)

Heritage Action says it will score the confirmation vote on Janet Yellen for Fed Chair. (WSJ)

A member of the House leadership sets a Congressional baby record. (McClatchy)

Mississippi to start issuing free voter ID cards soon. (AP)

Penny Lane: Guantanamo Bay’s other secret CIA facility. (AP)

towboat carrying 69,000 gallons of fuel sinks on the Mississippi. (NBC News)

Watch 5 U.S. cities expand in size. From space. (Washington Post)

Explore:

 

 

Behind That Photo of Chris Christie Wagging His Finger at a Teacher

It seems that New Jersey Governor Chris Christie never seems to miss an opportunity to yell at dissenters of some of his policies.

Slate

On Saturday, during a short reporting trip to New Jersey, I watched Gov. Chris Christie campaign in Somers Point and captured a moment that quickly got memed. Over the weekend I’ve seen the photo I tweeted of teacher Melissa Tomlinson being lectured by Christie get copied on dozens of Twitter accounts and blogs. This isn’t a #humblebrag—just saying, I was surprised that “Christie takes exception to protesting teacher” was a story in November 2013.

But here’s what I saw. After the rally, Christie made his way back to his campaign bus, flanked by low-key security guards. Tomlinson, who had been carrying a sign and handing out fliers from her Badass Teachers Association, asked Christie why he’d called New Jersey schools “failure factories.” Christie rounded on her, blurting out that he was sick of “you people.”

Screen shot 2013-11-04 at 7.10.35 AM Dave Weigel on Flickr

“This story—oh really? They have more money now than they’ve ever had before. This is an old story from you folks, and they fail because you guys are failing in those schools. Have you ever sent your child to one of those schools?

“You portray us as the bad guys,” said Tomlinson.

“Guess what, this is the most money the school has ever spent on education in the history of this state,” said Christie.

“It is not,” said Tomlinson.

“$9 billion in education!” yelled an onlooker.

“Yeah, and it’s down 0.1 percent,” said Tomlinson.

“And it’s never enough for you,” said Christie.

“All I want is money for my students and my school,” said Tomlinson.

“Do your job,” said Christie, turning away and heading into the bus.

Screen shot 2013-11-04 at 7.11.49 AM

 

The crowd of Christie supporters cheered. “Good for him!” yelled the guy who’d supplied the $9 billion number. An elderly woman turned to Tomlinson and told her “you’re in the wrong place, hon.”

“I know,” said Tomlinson with a shrug.

Most people commenting on the photo have gotten the details right, but I’ve noticed some (occasionally rude) remarks about the expression on Christie’s wife’s face. Mary Pat Christie smiled through the entire talk-off. Why? Because a local NBC News camera was facing her, capturing the scene. Two days later, I don’t see any trace of the video online. Is that a statement on how ordinary the confrontation was? Possibly. I think it’s also a reflection of the front-runner coverage boosting Christie as the race ends, as the polls showing him winning (with up to 37 percent of voters not even knowing who is opponent is) are taken as prima facie evidence that he’s running a faultless campaign. The day after this little contretemps, one of north Jersey’s major papers ran an analysis of how the governor’s tone had moderated so much recently.

Pirates snatch two American sailors from oil boat off Nigeria coast, US officials say

c-retriever PSV

PSV C-Retriever, image via Christian/Shipspotting

Apparently those pirates have yet to learn the lessons of kidnapping Americans on the high seas…

NBC News

Two Americans were kidnapped by pirates after their ship was attacked off Nigeria’s coast, U.S. officials said Thursday.

The U.S.-flagged oil supply vessel C-Retriever was targeted in the Gulf of Guinea early Wednesday, Reuters reported.

Maritime news website gCaptain reported that the ship’s captain and its chief engineer had been abducted.

U.S. officials said the working assumption was that the pair had been kidnapped for ransom.

The seized vessel is owned by Louisiana-based Edison Chouest Offshore, according to Reuters. The company was not immediately available for comment.

Sources told NBC News that there were no U.S. warships in the region and no immediate plans for a hostage rescue attempt. However, there is a contingent of U.S. Marines aboard a Dutch warship in the area as part of a military exchange program.

In April 2009, U.S. Navy SEAL snipers killed three Somali pirates as they rescued American cargo ship Capt. Richard Phillips, who had offered himself as a hostage to save his crew.

The high-seas hijacking has been turned into a film starring Tom Hanks. “Captain Phillips” earned more than $52 million during its first two weeks in cinemas.

In an interview with TODAY’s Matt Lauer on Oct. 11, Phillips said the waters off Nigeria were now “worse than Somalia.”

“If you’re gonna be in the merchant marines, you’ll have to deal with piracy,” Phillips added. “Firemen go into a burning house. Police have to deal with violent situations. Merchant marines have to deal with piracy.”

Rory Lamrock, an analyst specializing in maritime security with U.K.-based risk-management firm AKE, said there had been “an increase in the severity of attacks in the Gulf of Guinea” over the past two years.

In August, Nigeria’s navy killed 12 pirates as they tried to flee from a fuel tanker they had hijacked.

Earlier this month, the International Maritime Bureau reported that pirate attacks off Nigeria’s coast had jumped by a third this year – with 29 attacks on vessels recorded in the first nine months of 2013, up from 21 in the same period last year.

“Pirates, often heavily armed and violent, are targeting vessels and their crews along the [Nigerian] coast, rivers, anchorages, ports and surrounding waters,” the IMB said. “In many cases, they ransack the vessels and steal the cargo.”

The IMB said in the first nine months of 2013 the Gulf of Guinea accounted for all crew kidnappings worldwide, 32 of them off Nigeria, and two off Togo. In such incidents, sailors are taken ashore and usually held for ransom.

In a separate report, Denmark-based security firm Risk Intelligence earlier this month estimated117,000 tons of oil products worth around $100 million had been stolen by pirate gangs in the Gulf of Guinea since 2010.

Alistair Galloway, owner of private security provider Endeavour Maritime, said the discovery of new oil reserves in West African countries including Cameroon and Liberia was driving up shipping traffic in the area.

“This oil boom is attracting a far richer shipping environment and therefore more higher-value targets and that is the biggest threat to the region’s maritime security,” he said.

Galloway cited differences between West African pirates and their better-known Somalia-based counterparts.

“In Somalia, piracy was really out-of-work fisherman looking to improve their lives, but piracy is West Africa is really part of a bigger criminal system, networks embedded in the nations,” he said. “The networks are in place and it’s been easy for them to attack.”

Johan Potgieter, senior researcher at South Africa’s Institute for Security Studies (ISS), said that pirates tended to feel “disenfranchised.”

He added: “They feel that if the government won’t share its wealth equally, they will take it for themselves by other means.”

 

China calls for ‘new world order,’ blaming Congress for risking global economy

Image: Chinese and U.S. flags

One has to wonder if the Tea Party caucus and others in both houses of Congress  have a clue about the consequences if the U.S. goes into default…

NBC News

China state media blasts US shutdown, calls for a ‘de-Americanized’ world

With days to go before the United States debt default deadline, Beijing aired its frustrations with the shutdown Sunday, saying it was time to consider a “de-Americanized” world order.

With $1.28 trillion in U.S. Treasuries, China is easily the biggest foreign holder of American debt.

China has also funneled billions of dollars into private American investments – to the tune of an estimated $54 billion in 2012 alone.

“As U.S. politicians of both political parties are still shuffling back and forth between the White House and the Capitol Hill without striking a viable deal to bring normality to the body politic they brag about, it is perhaps a good time for the befuddled world to start considering building a de-Americanized world,” according to a stinging op-ed article by state news agency, Xinhua.

The article, published Sunday, conveyed Beijing’s frustration with the spending and debt impasse that has paralyzed Washington for more than two weeks.

“Days when the destinies of others are in the hands of a hypocritical nation have to be terminated, and a new world order should be put in place, according to which all nations, big or small, poor or rich, can have their key interests respected and protected on an equal footing,” the piece added.

Should Congress not come to an agreement by Thursday’s deadline on a new raised debt ceiling – the upper limit set by Congress on the amount of money the Federal government may borrow – China’s potential losses stand to be devastating.

Prior to Sunday’s commentary article, Chinese officials had been more measured in their analysis of the U.S. budget impasse. Last week, Vice-Finance Minister Zhu Guangyao  noted only that “we have to see that the clock is ticking.”

To many in China, the restraint on the part of China’s ruling Communist Party over its second-largest trade partner’s government problems was perhaps based in the belief that neither party, Democrat or Republican, would allow the U.S. to not honor its financial obligations.

“If we are really rational, I cannot imagine why someone would dare to bear this kind of responsibility because any real default will have a huge impact not only on the U.S. and China, but on the global economy,” said Professor Zhao Longkai, a dean at the Guanghua School of Management at Beijing University. “It’s hard for us to imagine anyone can be that crazy to push the limit to that level.”

Zhao said the patience China had shown until recently was rooted not only in Beijing’s confidence in America’s ability to deal with the budgetary crisis, but also its own burgeoning self-confidence.

“For average Chinese people [the budget crisis] is a show there and we’ve seen it before… we also know that it’s not only the United States that we are relying on, we have a lot of other investments,” Zhao said.

The Xinhua commentary may raise eyebrows in Washington, but Beijing’s frustration underscores a key point: Despite a desire to diversify its holdings, the Chinese government continues to buy U.S. Treasury bonds out of political and economic necessity.

As long as China’s domestic growth and stability are boosted by American debt, the deep ties between the two countries will likely endure.