Air Force Official: China Buying High-End Tech ‘5-6 Times’ Faster Than US

A U.S. defense official has warned the Pentagon that China is buying new, high-end equipment at a rate “5-6 times” faster than the United States, suggesting that a heated arms race could be developing between the superpower nations.

According to The Drive, which tracks advancements with military-related technologies, Maj. Gen. Cameron Holt, a deputy assistant secretary of the Air Force for acquisition, recently informed Department of Defense officials about China’s push to develop perhaps the world’s finest airborne military fleet.

As a counter, from Holt’s perspective, it is urgent that the U.S. overhaul the way it goes about fielding new weapons.

The major general oversees all aspects of acquisition for the Air Force, according to The Drive, “from buying new weapon systems to logistics and operational support.”

Citing the same piece, Holt’s remarks about China were made at the recent Government Contracting Pricing Summit. It also occurred before Holt resigned from his current post with the U.S. military.

Holt asserts that the Chinese are also operating far more efficiently. 

“In purchasing power parity, they spend about one dollar to our 20 dollars to get to the same capability,” Holt reportedly told his audience. “We are going to lose if we can’t figure out how to drop the cost and increase the speed in our defense supply chains.”

Holt also raised concerns about the U.S. military’s logistical means for promptly acquiring high-tech equipment, and then providing enough training and support to utilize the enhanced technology.

Releasing budgetary funds for the equipment may be “slow and stodgy,”according to The Drive, via Holt, but the greater concern lies with the resourcing system.

“If we don’t change our resourcing system, none of the rest of it matters,” Holt reportedly said. “If you just change the execution year flexibilities and modernize Congress’s oversight of it to be more patient.”

The current model for purchasing and acquisitions resembles a typical bureaucracy, Holt said. It starts with the “painfully slow” process of getting budgets approved at various levels, and then writing up formal requirements for a project — including the sustainment and life cycle costs.

Put another way: Those who control the budgets, from Holt’s perspective, have the power and influence to recalibrate the speed of finalizing major purchases with DOD.

“We also have gotten a very centrally and micromanaged system of appropriations that have served the Cold War well,” Holt said. 

He added: “In this environment today, it is absolutely going to kill us. We cannot have a system where the appropriations — where it’s in statute that the name of the program is on that money, and the phase within the program is on the statute, so it’s illegal for a program executive officer inside of execution year to look at that and say — ‘no, there’s a better way to allocate those resources.'”


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Canada Funds Booklet Teaching Kids to Be ‘Anti-Racist,’ Wary of ‘Free Speech’

The Canadian government has funded a booklet for parents and teachers on how to teach children to be ”anti-racist” and suspicious of classmates who bolster ”free speech.”

The booklet, ”Confronting and Preventing Hate in Canadian Schools: a Toolkit,” was written by a nonprofit organization, the Canadian Anti-Hate Network, or CAHN, according to Reclaim the Net, and published on June 30, after the Canadian government paid $268,400 Canadian dollars to the nonprofit.

CAHN Chairman Bernie Farber said the booklet would lead the campaign in educating children to ”fight and win against hate.”

”The point of this free toolkit,” Farber said, ”is to help parents, educators and the community identify and intervene when a young person is being groomed and recruited by a white supremacist movement before it is too late. It’s not just a free toolkit. The Canadian Anti-Hate Network is launching a whole education program.”

As Parliament member Ahmed Hussen, Canada’s minister of diversity, inclusion and youth, told reporters, ”This new resource will be delivered through workshops in schools across the country and it will help raise awareness with students.”

It will also ”teach core values to our kids,” he said.

The booklet states that its goal is to provide a ”comprehensive anti-racism education.” Though there are earlier mentions of the term anti-racism throughout history, it has been credited to Boston University Professor Abram X. Wendi, who wrote ”How to Be an Anti racist,” a New York Times bestseller.

Anti-racism is defined in the Oxford Dictionary of English as “the policy or practice of opposing racism and promoting racial tolerance.” It is listed in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy as a subsection of critical race theory.

Though the booklet mentions anti-racism, it does not define it. The booklet does, however, recommend teachers reprimand a student if they are invoking ”advocacy for a white” or if they are promoting sensibilities that are ”anti-immigrant, Islamophobic, antisemitic … anti-Black” or anti-”2SLGBTQIA+ community” by letting ”the student know right away that behaviour is not acceptable and is harmful, and explain why. Educate the student if you feel the information is coming from a place of ignorance rather than malice.”

”If able, counter the student’s remarks with facts and create a teachable moment. If you are not sure how to counter, refer to resources to determine a good approach.”

As for free speech, the booklet states that ”hate-promoting groups will co-opt language about free speech and cultural identity to steer the dialogue away from the bigoted nature of who they are and what they do.”


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US, UK Leaders Raise Fresh Alarms About Chinese Espionage

The head of the FBI and the leader of Britain’s domestic intelligence agency raised fresh alarms Wednesday about the Chinese government, warning business leaders that Beijing is determined to steal their technology for competitive gain.

FBI Director Christopher Wray reaffirmed longstanding concerns in denouncing economic espionage and hacking operations by China as well as the Chinese government’s efforts to stifle dissent abroad. But his speech was notable because it took place at MI5’s London headquarters and alongside the agency’s director general, Ken McCallum, in an intended show of Western solidarity.

The remarks also showed the extent to which Wray and the FBI regard the Chinese government as not only a law enforcement and intelligence challenge, but are also attuned to the implications of Beijing’s foreign policy actions.

“We consistently see that it’s the Chinese government that poses the biggest long-term threat to our economic and national security, and by ‘our,’ I mean both of our nations, along with our allies in Europe and elsewhere,” Wray said.

McCallum said the Chinese government and its “covert pressure across the globe” amounts to “the most game-changing challenge we face.”

“This might feel abstract. But it’s real and it’s pressing,” he said. “We need to talk about it. We need to act.”

A spokesman for the Chinese embassy in Washington, Liu Pengyu, rejected the allegations from the Western leaders, saying in an emailed statement to The Associated Press that China “firmly opposes and combats all forms of cyber attacks” and calling the accusations groundless.

“We will never encourage, support or condone cyber attacks,” the statement said.

In a nod to current tensions between China and Taiwan, Wray also said during his speech that any forcible takeover of Taipei by Beijing would “would represent one of the most horrific business disruptions the world has ever seen.”

Last week, the U.S. government’s director of national intelligence, Avril Haines, said at an event in Washington that there were no indications Chinese President Xi Jinping was poised to take Taiwan by military force. But she that did say Xi appeared to be “pursuing the potential” for such an action as part of a broader Chinese government goal of reunification of Taiwan.

After the appearance with his British counterpart, Wray said that he would leave to others the question of whether an invasion of Taiwan was more or less likely after Russia’s invasion of neighboring Ukraine. But, he said, “I don’t have any reason to think their interest in Taiwan has abated in any fashion” and added that he hoped China had learned what happens “when you overplay your hand,” as he said the Russians have done in Ukraine.

The FBI director said there are signs the Chinese, perhaps drawing lessons from Russia’s experience since the war, have looked for ways to “insulate their economy” against potential sanctions.

“In our world, we call that behavior a clue,” said Wray, who throughout his speech urged caution from Western companies looking to do business in or with China. He said Western investments in China could collapse in the event of an invasion of Taiwan.

“Just as in Russia, Western investments built over years could become hostages, capital stranded (and) supply chains and relationships disrupted,” he said.

President Joe Biden said in May that the U.S. would respond militarily if China invaded Taiwan, offering one of the most forceful White House statements in support of Taiwan’s self-governing in decades. The White House later tried to soften the impact of the statement, saying Biden was not outlining a change in U.S. policy toward Taiwan, a self-governing island that China views as a breakaway province that should be reunified with the mainland.

The embassy spokesman said the Taiwan issue was “purely China’s internal affair” and said when it comes to questions of China’s territory and sovereignty, the country has “no room for compromise or concession.”

“We will strive for the prospect of peaceful reunification with utmost sincerity and efforts,” the statement said, though it noted that China will “reserve the option of taking all necessary measures in response to the interference of foreign forces.”


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NYC Files Suit to Keep 82 School Employees Suspended Over Fake Vaccine Cards

Claiming that at least 82 New York City school employees turned in fake COVID-19 vaccine cards, the city Department of Education (DOE) filed a lawsuit Tuesday to keep them suspended without pay, the New York Post reports.

According to the Manhattan Supreme Court lawsuit, the employees were told on April 19 that they would be placed on unpaid leave beginning April 25 “based on information that the DOE had received from an independent law-enforcement agency that their proof of COVID-19 vaccination was fraudulent.”

The accused employees were told to respond to the DOE email if they didn’t feel the allegations were true.

The United Federation of Teachers (UFT) union previously said some of its members contacted the DOE to say they received the notice in error and requested an arbitrator get involved.

On June 27, the arbitrator decided that the DOE had violated the employees’ “due-process protection” and told both sides to meet Tuesday to try to hammer out an agreement, according to the court filing.

The DOE is now asking a judge to rule that the arbitrator did not have the authority to get involved in the matter.

The complaint alleges that the arbitrator’s decision “will undermine the DOE’s ability to ensure compliance with the DOE vaccine mandate and thereby jeopardize the health and safety of students and their families, DOE staff, and the broader community,” if it isn’t reversed.

The DOE is requesting an emergency and permanent injunction from the court, according to the Post.

“These employees were afforded due process,” a spokesperson for the city Law Department told the news outlet in a statement. “There is no lawful basis for this arbitrator’s decision, which undermines DOE’s authority to enforce an important public health initiative protecting students, school staff, and the broader community.”

The DOE was informed that the suspended employees are also being investigated by law enforcement, the spokesperson added.

“Unhappy with the arbitrator’s decision, the DOE has now tried to appeal the arbitrator’s ruling,” a UFT spokesperson told the Post. “We are confident that on reviewing the record the courts will support the arbitrator’s stand.”

In March, Reuters reported that New York City Mayor Eric Adams lifted the city’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate for professional athletes and performers, while leaving it in place for police officers.


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Nipsey Hussle Killer Convicted of First-Degree Murder

A California man was found guilty on Wednesday of first-degree murder in the shooting death of Grammy-winning Los Angeles rapper Nipsey Hussle in 2019.

A 12-person jury in Los Angeles County convicted Eric Ronald Holder Jr., 32, in the killing of Hussle outside a clothing store the rapper owned in south Los Angeles.

Prosecutors said Holder shot Hussle at least 10 times when the pair had a chance meeting on a Sunday afternoon in the neighborhood where they both grew up. After a brief conversation, Holder left and returned about 10 minutes later and opened fire, killing Hussle and wounding two bystanders.

Public defender Aaron Jansen acknowledged that Holder killed Hussle but argued that he should not be convicted of first-degree murder because the attack was not pre-meditated.

Jansen said Holder acted in “the heat of passion” after Hussle told him there were rumors of him “snitching” to police, which he considered a serious offense. Holder did not testify during the trial.

Hussle, who was 33 when he died, had publicly acknowledged that he joined a gang as a teenager. He later became an activist and entrepreneur as he found success with rap music and collaborated with artists including Snoop Dogg and Drake.

In 2020, Hussle won two posthumous Grammy Awards including one for “Racks in the Middle,” released a few weeks before his death and featuring Roddy Ricch and Hit-Boy.

Deputy District Attorney John McKinney said he hoped the verdict provided “some resounding peace” to Hussle’s family and fans and that the rapper’s life would inspire others “to get to a place where dreams are made.”

Holder also was convicted of attempted voluntary manslaughter for wounding two bystanders in the incident.

Holder could spend the rest of his life in prison. Sentencing was set for Sept. 15. 


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Wisconsin Senate Candidate Under Fire for Criticism of US Founding

Wisconsin Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes, who is running for the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate, has come under fire for his past remarks criticizing the founding of the United States.

“Things were bad. Things were terrible. The founding of this nation? Awful. The impacts are felt today; they’re going to continue to be felt unless we address it in a meaningful way,” Barnes said during a question-and-answer session in August, a clip of which recently resurfaced.

He later said in a public forum last November that “the United States of America is the most wealthy, is the most powerful nation on Earth. And that is because of forced labor on stolen land. We have to teach the reality of why we are where we are, or else people will just assume it just happened this way because of hard work, because of pulling up by your bootstraps.”

A spokesperson for the National Republican Senatorial Committee chided Barnes.

“It’s become fashionable among the far left to bash our country,” Lizzie Litzow told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “And it’s sad that Democrat candidates do so in order to win Democrat primaries. Our founders created the greatest nation on earth and the leaders who followed them have strived to create a more perfect union.” 

A spokesperson for Barnes told the newspaper: “As the son of a third-shift auto worker who became the state’s first Black lieutenant governor, Mandela firmly believes his story would only be possible in this country. He also believes the only way to overcome the challenges we face today is to acknowledge how we overcame the challenges of our past.”


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Police: Illinois Shooting Suspect Bought Guns After Father Sponsored Permit

Robert “Bobby” Crimo III, the Highland Park, Illinois shooting suspect who allegedly killed seven people during a Fourth of July parade on Monday, was able to receive a Firearm Owners Identification (FOID) card in January 2020, after his father, Robert Crimo II, helped secure the gun permit in December 2019, according to authorities.

Also, according to Illinois State Police, at that time, there were no grounds, or at least an “insufficient basis to establish a clear and present danger and deny [Bobby Crimo] the FOID application.”

However, it was reported on Wednesday that in September 2019, Highland Park police officials responded to an incident at the Crimo home, where Bobby Crimo had allegedly threatened to “kill everyone” in his family. 

According to the Chicago Sun-Times, Highland Park authorities removed 16 knives, a sword, and a dagger from the Crimo home that day — but no guns were apparently found at the residence.

Also, no charges were pressed against Bobby Crimo.

In its Wednesday statement, the Illinois State Police said that Bobby Crimo answered “no” in September 2019, when asked by police officials if he was planning to harm himself or others.

For that same incident, Bobby Crimo’s father also claimed the knives in the house were his and that the weapons were being stored in his own closet in a safe manner, per the statement.

Given that statement, Highland Park Police later returned the seized knives to Bobby Crimo’s father.

The Illinois State Police also wrote, “[Bobby Crimo] passed four background checks when purchasing firearms, through the Firearms Transaction Inquiry Program (FTIP), which includes the federal National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS).”

The police then listed the four dates on which Bobby Crimo passed each background check, covering the 15-month period of June 2020 to September 2021.

Illinois State Police also noted that, at the time, the only offense on Bobby Crimo’s record was an ordinance violation for possession of tobacco (2016).

The ISP statement says that Bobby Crimo did not have any mental health prohibitor reports filed by health care facilities or personnel in his background.

On Monday, Bobby Crimo allegedly killed seven and injured at least 20 others, while reportedly being stationed on a rooftop above the parade route. 

On Tuesday, law enforcement officials said the shooting suspect had been planning Monday’s incident for “several weeks.”

Bobby Crimo brought a “high-powered rifle” similar to an AR-15 to the parade and fired more than 70 bullets, according to Christopher Covelli, a spokesman for the Lake County Major Crime Task Force.

At the time of this writing, Bobby Crimo has been charged with seven counts of first-degree murder, but more could follow in the coming days.

If convicted of all seven charges of first-degree murder, Bobby Crimo would face a mandatory life sentence without the possibility of parole.

In the state of Illinois, the minimum age for securing a gun permit is 21 years old, or 18, if co-sponsored by an adult with a clear background check.


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L.A. Judge Rules School District Can’t Issue Vaccine Mandates

A Los Angeles Superior Court judge, Mitchell Beckloff, has ruled in favor of the father of a 12-year-old student who challenged the Los Angeles Unified School District’s (LAUSD) COVID vaccine mandate, finding it clashes with state law.

The father, known as G.F., filed the case Oct. 8 on behalf of himself and his son, a Science Academy STEM Magnet school student.

G.F. maintained the state and not the LAUSD is authorized to issue vaccination mandates and the requirement that unvaccinated pupils attend independent learning classes outside campus violates the state Education Code, FOX 11 reported.

The judge noted in his ruling that if the son remains unvaccinated, he will be forced to leave the academy under the mandate and be subjected to a different curriculum. Beckloff said that although the Board of Education’s authority is “great,” it is not unlimited.

The judge found that the student vaccine resolution conflicts with state law and clashes with the state Health and Safety Code by not allowing exemptions for personal beliefs.

The father argued that the vaccine could irreparably harm his son, who has already contracted and recovered from the coronavirus and may have strong natural immunity, FOX 11 reported.

“Further, I worry that vaccinating him could prove even more dangerous now that he has had COVID-19,” G.F. said. “Among other things, I fear that the vaccination could overexcite his immune system and antibodies.”

His son has received all other required childhood immunizations, according to his father.

In their court papers, LAUSD lawyers maintained that the court relief sought by G.F. and his son “fails on every conceivable level” and should have been denied.

According to the Los Angeles Times: “The ruling, however, has no immediate effect within the L.A. Unified School District, because the district in May postponed its mandate until at least July 2023. LAUSD was the first of the nation’s largest school systems to institute a COVID-19 vaccination requirement for students, and despite the delay, school board members were resolute in defending it against lawsuits.”

Los Angeles Unified School District is the largest public school system in California and the second-largest public school district in the United States. Only the New York City Department of Education has a larger student population.

The Los Angeles Times noted that ruling by Beckloff represented a significant win for Let Them Breathe, a California-based group that has opposed vaccine and mask mandates.

“Judge Beckloff’s ruling confirms that individual school districts do not have the authority to impose local vaccination requirements in excess of statewide requirements,” said Arie L. Spangler, a member of the legal team that pursued the case. “We are very pleased with the ruling, as it ensures that no child will be forced out of the classroom due to their COVID-19 vaccination status.”


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Report: COVID-19 Third Leading Cause of Death in US in ’20, ’21

The novel coronavirus was the third leading cause of death in the U.S. in 2020 and 2021, accounting for 350,000 deaths, according to national death certificate data reviewed by the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).

Heart disease and cancer were the top two causes of death in 2020 and 2021, while COVID-19 accounted for 1 in 8 deaths.

The coronavirus also was the first and leading cause of death among people ages 45-54 and 35-44, respectively, according to the report.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Jan. 18, 2020, confirmed the first case of COVID-19 in the U.S., nine days after the World Health Organization announced a mysterious COVID-related pneumonia in Wuhan, China.

The WHO declared the outbreak a pandemic on March 11, 2020.

According to JAMA, the pandemic also had indirect effects on other causes of death in the U.S. Death rates increased for heart disease, accidents, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, and diabetes from 2019 to 2020.

“Potential explanations are fear of accessing health care or misattribution of COVID-19 deaths to other causes,” it said.

Additionally, accidental deaths (drug overdoses, unintentional alcohol poisoning) “assault, and suicide remain major causes of death in the U.S., particularly in younger age groups; the pandemic may have contributed to some of these deaths,” said the report.


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Report: Sen. Warnock Misused Campaign Funds to Fight Personal Lawsuit

Sen. Raphael Warnock, D-Ga., used campaign funds to defend himself in a personal lawsuit stemming from his time as a church minister, reports Politico.

Warnock was sued in 2019 by Atlanta resident Melvin Robertson over Warnock’s church services and the loss of a man’s personal belongings in a storage locker – a complaint dismissed by a federal district court judge in Georgia. Robertson sued Warnock again in 2021, but the senator enlisted his campaign attorneys from Elias Law Group and Atlanta firm Krevolin & Horst to represent him, which runs afoul of Federal Election Commission guidance.

Warnock’s campaign told Politico the use of campaign funds is allowed because the lawsuit was filed when he was in office.

“It’s completely legal and appropriate to have used campaign funds on this legal matter, as many federal office holders have done before,” Marc Elias, an election law attorney representing Warnock’s campaign, told Politico.

The report, said Quentin Folks, Warnock’s campaign manager, “intentionally misrepresents reality by relying on Washington Republican’s attacks instead of the actual facts.”

The lawsuit “was never a personal lawsuit, it was a frivolous lawsuit filed against multiple public figures and handled according to the law,” he added.

According to the FEC, campaign money can only be used on “litigation expenses where the candidate/officeholder was the defendant and the litigation arose directly from campaign activity or the candidate’s status as a candidate.”

Caleb Burns, an attorney who specializes in election law, told Politico the rationale for this prohibition “is to honor the campaign contributors’ intent that their contributions be used for political purposes and not, for example, to relieve the candidate of a personal obligation.”


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