Jacksonville Police Arrests Man Who Planned to Shoot Up Mosque; Rep. John Conyers Retires; President Trump Signals Upcoming Goal: Welfare Reform; Teenager Boy Throws Cat on Snapchat, Arrested for Felony Animal Abuse; Large Wildfire Ravages Southern California, GLAD Working to Support Affected Deaf Residents; Former Florida Congresswoman Corrine Brown Sentenced to 5 Years In Prison; U.S. Supreme Court Hears Arguments On Wedding Cake for Gay Couple; International Olympic Committee Bans Russia From 2018 Winter Olympics
Hello, welcome to the Daily Moth! It is Tuesday, December 5. Ready for news?
In Jacksonville, Florida, their police department said they have arrested a man last Friday who planned to do a mass shooting at a mosque.
The man is Bernandino Bolatete (69). He is from the Philippines and has a green card to live in the U.S.
He was charged with possession of an unregistered silencer. On his Facebook page, you can see various images of him with rifles and doing target practice.
Police said he already had the necessary weapons to carry out the shooting (semiautomatic rifles and handguns) and wanted to shoot the Islamic Center of North East Florida, and die in the attack from cops.
Police said they received a tip about Bolatete’s plans in November.
Then an undercover detective approached him and they had a relationship where they went to a shooting range in St. Augustine. The detective recorded him talking about his plans — he wanted to go up to a tower and shoot at Muslims on a Friday, which would be a busy time. He said he wanted to “give these freaking people a taste of their own medicine.” He said there were problems with Muslims in the Philippines.
He said when he lived in the Philippines he was shot and lost a kidney in a dispute with a police officer, that he killed the officer, and that his other kidney was weakening, so his health was worsening — which somewhat motivated him to do the shooting sooner than later.
Bolatete texted the detective on November 28 that he wanted to buy a silencer — saying it was not really that quiet but if it was used during July 4 or New Year’s Eve, it can blend in with the sound of fireworks. He didn’t want to do the proper paperwork for the silencer because it would give the government the authority to search his house.
The detective arranged to sell him the silencer for $100 and that was enough to charge him.
A person from the Islamic Center said it was very sad that something like this was being planned and that he thanks God that law enforcement agencies were vigilant and handled it professionally.
President Trump and his administration seems to have a new big goal — welfare reform.
Check out this clip from his speech at Missouri last week.
[Clip:] I know you don't want this -- welfare reform. Does anybody want welfare reform? (Applause.) And infrastructure. But welfare reform -- I see it and I've talked to people. I know people, they work three jobs and they live next to somebody who doesn't work at all. And the person who's not working at all and has no intention of working at all is making more money and doing better than the person that's working his and her ass off. And it's not going to happen. Not going to happen. (Applause.) So we're going to go into welfare reform, unless Billy doesn't want it. Billy, am I okay in saying that I speak for you? He said, yes.
So you see that Trump is aiming at changing the country’s welfare system, and that includes TANF Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, Food Stamps, Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, and related programs.
The White House’s Domestic Policy Council Deputy, Paul Winfree, said there has been a draft executive order about welfare that has been prepared for the past two months, for Trump to sign whenever he requests it. Winfree said Trump often discusses welfare with him in meetings.
The vision of the order seems to do an overhaul of government programs that provide aid to low-income people, with them being either cut down or having additional requirements. It will send a message to lawmakers that Trump is ready to support a bill on welfare reform.
It is typical for conservative Republicans to criticize welfare programs and seek to curb it, while Democrats typically want to leave programs untouched or add to it (an example is Obama’s expansion of Medicaid).
Deaf and disabled people are usually “better protected” with government programs because they get assistance based on their disability, while the Trump administration appears to be aiming at those who get welfare based on not being able to obtain a job.
So that’s something to watch for — we will know more probably in January or February.
In Ontario, California — a 16-year old teenager boy named Charlie was arrested last night for felony animal abuse. He had posted on Snapchat a video of him holding a cat, grasping it, and hurling it up in the air, where it landed on a street. The video is terrible and was posted on Saturday.
The video went viral with many people expressing outrage and notifying the Ontario Police Department.
Yesterday afternoon police said they have arrested the suspect after they spotted him — he tried to run away, but was tackled and arrested and that he is in juvenile custody. His identity is not released because he is a minor
Police said the cat is at a veterinarian hospital getting treatment and is in good condition. An article on heavy.com said the cat’s name is Spots and has a broken leg and internal injuries, but is doing well.
Michigan Rep. John Conyers (D) announced he will retire today (which is a “resignation”). This is after there were several women who accused him of sexual harassment in the workplace. He was the longest-serving member of the House and now his political career is over.
Now Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder will have to call a special election to replace him. He can decide when the election is — possibly setting it on the same day as the 2018 elections next year. Prior to that, there will be primaries for different political parties and debates.
Conyers said he is endorsing his son, John Conyers III, to replace him and to continue his legacy.
There were people who did a rally at a Detroit church in support of Conyers, saying he was treated unfairly — that he should go through due process and an investigation, saying there was a rush to judge him because he is a person of color. They criticized Nancy Pelosi, the top Democrat in the House, for calling on him to resign.
Conyers’ controversy started last month when Buzzfeed News reported that he had previously paid a $27,000 in taxpayer money on a sexual harassment settlement to a former aide, who said she was fired because she refused to have sex with Conyers. Since then there were several more women who said they were also sexually harassed.
This early morning in Southern California — west of Los Angeles — there was a large, fast-moving wildfire that has burned over 45,000 acres in several hours.
Over 20,000 people were forced to evacuate. The fire, named the “Thomas Fire” reached Ventura. The fire first started north of Ventura in Santa Paula last night — the cause of the fire is unknown — and it quickly spread.
There are strong winds in the area, making it hard for firefighters to control it — there are now 500 firefighters and many police officers helping to evacuate people and close roads, with helicopters dropping water.
Over 150 buildings have been destroyed, including homes and a hospital. There are no reported deaths, but there are some injuries.
There is another fire, north of Los Angeles that has burned 500 acres. It is named the “Creek Fire” and it is still expanding.
I reached out to Patty Hughes, CEO of GLAD (Greater Los Angeles Agency on Deafness), to ask about Deaf people being impacted by the fire.
She said GLAD is working with first responders and the city. She said there are three fires going on with two in LA county. She said LA county has an interpreter with announcements by the fire captain and the video is captioned as well. She said in Ventura, it is challenging because it is too dangerous to send an interpreter with the intense fires. The regional GLAD office there is closed, and if people need more information, they should contact the LA office. They are monitoring media to check for access. GLAD said they are concerned on the challenges of reaching out to all the Deaf/HoH/DeafBlind people in LA and Ventura county.
Thank you for sharing, Patty. Hope for the best for people there. Terrible to see another wildfire hit the state of California.
Yesterday former Congresswoman Corrine Brown (D-Fla) was sentenced to five years in prison after a jury found her guilty of fraud — of using money from a scholarship fund for her personal use.
Corrine and her chief of staff, Elias Simmons, set up a charity for low-income children called the “One Door for Education” — and raised more than $800,000, but only $1,200 was given to students. She was accused of spending the rest of the money on personal use or for work trips.
The chief of staff Simmons and the director of the charity, Carla Wiley accepted plea deals and reduced prison sentences in exchange for testifying against Corrine. Simmons got 4 years in prison, while Wiley got 21 months. During the trial, Corrine said Simmons was the one who stole the money and that she was not aware of it.
Judge Timothy Corrigan said it was a sad day for everyone after he sentenced her to 5 years in prison. He said he got around 100 letters from people who supported Corrine, but he said what Corrine did was greedy and shameless.
Corrine was allowed to go home, but will have to turn herself in to prison sometime between now and January.
Corrine was elected in 1992 and served 12 terms, but lost last year’s election in the midst of being indicted with fraud and other charges.
Today the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments in relation to a case concerning a Colorado cake baker, Jack Phillips, and gay couple David Mullins and Charlie Craig.
This is a case that has been going on since 2012, when the couple went to Jack’s bakery and asked for a wedding cake, but was turned down because Jack’s religious beliefs was against same-sex marriage.
The couple made a discrimination complaint, and the Colorado’s Civil Rights Commission supported the couple. But Jack has appealed since, saying he had a right to free speech and free exercise of religion.
The Trump administration and a conservative Christian group has supported the cake maker, while the couple is represented by the ACLU.
Several articles framed Justice Anthony Kennedy as the key deciding vote in what appears to be a divided court.
Today during court proceedings, Justice Kennedy had shown concerns that if he sided with the Jack, there could be open discrimination of same-sex couples, but also criticized the Colorado commission, saying they were not tolerant or respectful of Jack’s religious beliefs.
The court will make its final ruling in June.
Today the International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced they will ban the Russian Olympic Committee from participating in the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea after an IOC investigation determined that the Russian group had systemically manipulated the anti-doping system during the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, Russia by rigging the drug testing room, tampering with urine samples.
But individual Russian athletes will be allowed to participate, but not under the Russian flag, instead they must be under the “Olympic Athlete from Russia” (OAR), a neutral flag. If they medal, they will hear the Olympic Anthem instead of the Russian anthem.
Russian government officials are forbidden to visit the games and several Russian IOC administrators were removed from their positions, some barred for life from the Olympics, and the Russian Olympic Committee was fined $15 million.
That is all for today. See you tomorrow and stay with the light!