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Air Asia found!

Officials have confirmed that the bodies and debris found in the Java Sea off Indonesia are from flight 8501, with naval rescue workers (pictured) said to be 'very busy' locating and retrieving the victims

by John Hall and Belinda Robinson for MailOnline Sarah Dean and Heather Mcnab and Richard Shears and Louise Cheer and Frank Coletta for Daily Mail Australia

Six bodies of Air Asia crash victims are found in water alongside tragic passengers' luggage after wreckage of jet is discovered

  • Bodies of crash victims spotted floating in sea off coast of Borneo Island
  • At least six bodies recovered from the water by Indonesian naval vessel 
  • Officials have now confirmed wreckage is from AirAsia flight 8501 
  • Navy spokesman earlier claimed 40 bodies were retrieved from Java Sea
  • But this figure has now been corrected to six by search and rescue teams

    Rescue workers searching for the doomed AirAsia flight 8501 have recovered six bodies from the Java Sea, Indonesian search and rescue teams have confirmed.

    Bodies were discovered alongside luggage, a plane door and an emergency slide in the water 100 miles off the coast of Borneo Island earlier today, following three days of searching.

    Officials have confirmed that the bodies and debris found in the Java Sea off Indonesia are from flight 8501, and a naval spokesman said the rescuers remain 'very busy' retrieving the victims.

    Despite an earlier claim by a navy spokesman that 40 bodies had been recovered, the figure was later corrected by the search agency Basarnas, which said that six bodies had been found so far. 

    Before darkness fell in the area, search teams identified a shadow that they believe to be the plane's fuselage beneath the water, which is relatively shallow at just 160 feet at its deepest point. Many of the remaining victims are thought likely to still be on board the aircraft 

    The Airbus A320-200 was 42 minutes into its flight from Surabaya in Indonesia to Singapore on Sunday when it vanished with 162 people on board.

    A plastic suitcase, uninflated emergency and oxygen tank from doomed flight 8501 were displayed by rescue workers at Pangkalan Bun airport in Indonesia earlier today
    A plastic suitcase, uninflated emergency and oxygen tank from doomed flight 8501 were displayed by rescue workers at Pangkalan Bun airport in Indonesia earlier today

    Live Indonesian television news footage showed at least one corpse floating in the water earlier today
    Officials have confirmed that the bodies and debris found in the Java Sea off Indonesia are from flight 8501, with naval rescue workers (pictured) said to be 'very busy' locating and retrieving the victims
    Rescue workers display the uninflated escape slide from flight 8501 at Pangkalan Bun airport in Indonesia
    Rescue workers display the uninflated escape slide from flight 8501 at Pangkalan Bun airport in Indonesia
    An oxygen tank from doomed AirAsia flight 8501 was found floating in the sea off the coast of Borneo island
    An oxygen tank from doomed AirAsia flight 8501 was found floating in the sea off the coast of Borneo island

    Tragic: The flight went missing from radar at 6.18am local time - six minutes after last communication with air traffic control - while travelling from Indonesia to Singapore with 162 people on board. Search and rescue workers spotted a number of bodies and debris floating in the water this morning

    This morning several pieces of red, white and black debris were spotted in the Java Sea near Borneo island.

    The bodies were found in the Java Sea about six miles from Flight 8501's last communications with air traffic control.

    Search leader Bambang Soelistyo said: 'As the search and rescue coordinator, I can 95 per cent confirm [this is] debris and objects from the plane. The five per cent is simply because I haven't seen personally seen them.'

    Indonesian President Joko Widodo also confirmed plans to visit both the crisis center in Surabaya and the suspected crash location near Pangkalan Bun. 

AirAsia flight 8501 missing on way to Singapore; flight started in Indonesia

Watch this video
  • NEW: President Obama has been briefed on the plane's loss of contact, official says
  • 155 people were on board the flight, Reuters reports
  • AirAsia Flight 8501 lost contact with air traffic control on Sunday morning
  • It was on its way from the Indonesian city of Surabaya to Singapore
By Jethro Mullen, CNN 
(CNN) -- The search is on for AirAsia Flight 8501, which lost contact with air traffic control in Indonesia, the airline said Sunday.

Flight QZ 8501 from the Indonesian city of Surabaya to Singapore lost contact with air traffic control at 7:24 a.m. Sunday (7:24 p.m. Saturday ET), AirAsia said

"At the present time we unfortunately have no further information regarding the status of the passengers and crew members on board, but we will keep all parties informed as more information becomes available," AirAsia said in a statement.

The plane took off with 155 passengers and crew on board, the news agency Reuters reported, citing 
Indonesian transport officials.

The flight, an Airbus A320-200, was on its way from Surabaya in Indonesia to Singapore, according to the airline's website.

The plane left Juanda International Airport at 5:27 a.m. Sunday (5:27 p.m. Saturday ET) and was due to arrive in Singapore at 8:37 a.m. Sunday (7:37 p.m. ET), according to the website.

Bad weather might have been a factor in the plane's disappearance, CNN meteorologist Derek Van Dam said.

"We still had lines of very heavy thunderstorms" when the plane was flying, Van Dam said. "But keep in mind, turbulence doesn't necessarily bring down airplanes."

AirAsia is a Malaysia-based airline that is popular in the region as a budget carrier. It has about 100 destinations, with subsidiaries in several Asian countries.

The airline has a "very good" reputation for safety, CNN aviation correspondent Richard Quest said.

The loss of contact with the AirAsia plane comes nearly 10 months after the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, which dropped off radar over Southeast Asia on March 8.

Searchers are yet to find any debris from Flight 370, which officials believe crashed in the southern Indian Ocean.

U.S. President Barack Obama has been briefed, White House spokesman Eric Schultz said, adding that American officials will continue to monitor the situation.

CNN's Yousuf Basil, Steve Almasy, Holly Yan, Paula Hancocks, Kevin Bohn, and Larry Register contributed to this report.

Arizona Police Officer, Suspect Killed in Shootout

Officer Tyler Stewart, 24, died Saturday, Dec. 27, 2014, at Flagstaff Medical Center after he was shot by a suspect in a domestic-violence case, police said. 

Stewart was looking for the suspect about 1:30 p.m. in the 800 block of West Clay Street when a man identified as Robert W. Smith, 28, of Prescott, fired several shots at the officer.

The suspect then shot himself and was pronounced dead at the scene, police added. 

Officer Tyler Stewart, 24, was taken to Flagstaff Medical Center in critical condition and later died after being shot by the suspect in a domestic-violence case, police said.

Stewart had worked at the department for less than a year, police said. He was a graduate of Boulder Creek High School in Anthem, Arizona, and Concordia College in California.

"This is an enormous tragedy for our department and the family of our Officer. We are a very close knit organization, and know that all members of the Flagstaff Police Department are grieving at this time. With that being said, all of the men and women of the Flagstaff Police Department extend our prayers and condolences to the family of our Officer Tyler Stewart," Chief Kevin Treadway said in a statement.
"It is heartbreaking to lose one of our officers," Mayor Jerry Nabours said. "We collectively mourn for his family and the entire department."

© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Mourners Gather For Wake Of Fallen NYPD Officer Rafael Ramos

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) – The wife and two sons of a New York City policeman gunned down along with his partner have been joined by hundreds of uniformed officers at his wake.

The family of Officer Rafael Ramos and officers streamed into the Christ Tabernacle Church in Queens on Friday, less than a week after the Dec. 20 killings.

The wake began soon after Ramos’ flag-draped casket was carried into the church on the shoulders of six uniformed officers. Fellow officers saluted as the casket passed.

As CBS2’s Jessica Schneider reported, Mayor Bill de Blasio and Governor Andrew Cuomo were among those who gathered at the Friday wake.

“Today we weep with the Ramos family, the New York City Police Department and our nation as we mourn the loss of our dear brother,” Pastor Ralph Castillo said before the start of the wake. “We loved Rafael Ramos. We loved the way he served people, we loved his faithfulness and the way he served people, and we’re going to miss him a great deal.”

As CBS2’s Sonia Rincon reported, the line went for blocks as New Yorkers gathered to pay their respects. Several giant video screens were being set up for the event.

Justin Ramos was in the middle of his sophomore year at Bowdoin College in Maine when his father was murdered. His image was broadcast for thousands waiting on line as he spoke about the man his father was.

“My dad would have been there for everyone and to see so many people here for him is a testament to who he is as a person. It has been so helpful during this time,” Justin said.
One of those people was Damarize Ruiz.

“He wasn’t just an officer that we lost. He was a good husband, a great dad, and also a Christian brother and we’re going to miss him dearly in this church,” Ruiz said.

Mayor de Blasio arrived at 9 p.m. as the wake was ending. He spend 15 minutes inside the church with Ramos’ family. His office announced that he plans to speak at the funeral on Saturday.
Ramos’ death is too close to home for William Arundeo, who dropped off flowers at the church and said a prayer.

“My brother was a cop for 20 years, my brother-in-law is a cop,” Arundeo told CBS2’s Ilana Gold. 

“He works in the same precinct.”

The event was not all somber, there were a few laughs.

“I’ll keep this short and sweet. Just like my brother,” Cindy Ramos said, “I know you always worry about me, but you know how I roll because we were two peas in a pod. Never think, just do, and just hope for the best. Having you as a brother was one of the highest honors that could have been bestowed upon me.”

Parishioners said support for the family, his church family, and his police family couldn’t be stronger.

“We have come together, all of us. Race, color, doesn’t matter what it is,” Sacita Martinez said.
Ramos’ funeral is scheduled to be held at the same church Saturday, where more than 20,000 officers from around the country are expected to attend. Vice President Joe Biden has also said he will attend.
Andres Nazario will be there too, honoring his friend of 14 years.

He worked with Ramos in the usher’s ministry at the church and said Ramos was also training to become a police chaplain.

“He was the best guy,” he said. “Best thing in the world.”

Rick Lopez, an associate pastor at Christ Tabernacle, said their goal is to help the family and the city.

“We’re a strong community and we’re for the community,” he told WCBS 880’s Peter Haskell. “We do a lot of outreach for the entire community and our hope is to bring New York City as one united community as a whole.”

Ramos celebrated his 40th birthday earlier this month. He had joined the NYPD in 2012 after working as a school security officer.

His commanding officer from the 84th precinct also worked with Ramos in the 79th.

“When we worked together in the 79, anything I needed, if I needed somebody to stay late, Ramos. I would always see him volunteering. Ramos, Ramos, Ramo, anytime I needed something,” Capt. Sergio Centa said.

Members of law enforcement were also stopping to pay respects at a memorial where Ramos and Liu were murdered.

“I walked Myrtle Avenue many, many nights, and it could have been any officer just being here. And it’s not right just to be targeted because you have the blue uniform on,” retired NYPD Detective Aaron Evans said.

Evans stopped by with his motorcycle group called the ‘Buffalo Soldiers’ to pray together.
The lifelong Brooklyn resident was married with two sons: a 13-year-old who is in middle school and one who attends Bowdoin College in Maine.

“His widow is very strong. His younger son, his 13-year-old son is very strong,” Peter King (R-Long 
Island) said.

Ramos was killed Dec. 20 along with his partner, Officer Wenjian Liu, as they sat in their patrol car on a Brooklyn street. The shooter, Ismaaiyl Brinsley, later killed himself.

Officers Rafael Ramos, Wenjian Liu, who were killed in their patrol car on Dec. 20, 2014. (Credit: NYPD)
Officers Rafael Ramos, Wenjian Liu, who were killed in their patrol car on Dec. 20, 2014. (Credit: NYPD)

Investigators say Brinsley was an emotionally disturbed loner who started off his rampage by shooting an ex-girlfriend in Baltimore.

He also posted online threats to police and made references to Eric Garner and Michael Brown.
The killings ramped up emotions in the already tense national debate over police conduct.

Since Ramos and Liu were killed, the NYPD said they’ve arrested six people accused of threatening officers. A seventh man was arrested Thursday on gun charges after a bystander overheard him making threats against police officers and talking about guns in his home.

The Silver Shield Foundation, a charity founded by the late New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner, has set aside $40,000 for the education of Ramos’ sons. Bowdoin College said it will cover Ramos’ older son’s education costs as long as he remains a student there.

The Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation, a charity created after 9/11, says it will pay off the home mortgages of the two slain officers.

Liu’s funeral arrangements have yet to be announced.

JetBlue said it has offered to fly the families of Ramos and Liu to the funeral. The airline is also offering free flights for up to two officers from each department along the routes it serves, space permitting.

North Dakota population hits record

by UPI
BISMARCK, N.D., Dec. 24 (UPI) — A booming economy in North Dakota, fed largely by the oil boom, is drawing in new residents at a record pace, the state’s governor said.

The state’s population has increased 2.2 percent since last year, the fastest pace of any other state in the nation. Data from the U.S. Census Bureau show the population in North Dakota is 739,482, an all-time high.

“Our economic growth over the last decade continues to keep North Dakotans home, and we are attracting new residents who come for good jobs, a stable economy and a quality of life that is second to none,” Gov. Jack Dalrymple said in a statement.

North Dakota catapulted to the No. 2 spot in terms of oil production in part because of output from the state’s Bakken and Three Forks reserve areas. Production in early 2014 passed the 1 million barrel per day mark and now stands at around 1.2 million bpd. More than 90 percent of that comes from Bakken and Three Forks.

Dalrymple said he expects oil production to increase by as much as 15 percent through mid-2017, generating around $8 billion in production tax revenue for the state.

The state’s budget for the next two years is based on a domestic crude oil price in the mid $70 range next year and closer to $80 beyond that.

West Texas Intermediate, the U.S. crude oil price benchmark, has shed almost half of its value since June, trading early Wednesday close to $56 per barrel.

The oil, economic and population boom come with a corresponding increase in crime. The state’s attorney general reported overall crime up 5.5 percent year-on-year in 2013. Violent crime, including murder and rape, accounts for about 10 percent of all crimes reported last year, an increase of 7.4 percent since 2012.

Storm Threatens Christmas Eve Travel Delays From NYC to Chicago, Atlanta

Storm Threatens Christmas Eve Travel Delays From NYC to Chicago, Atlanta

Killings of 2 New York officers trigger backlash

In the raw hours following the killing of the officers, police union officials and politicians accused those who have protested the deaths of Garner and Brown of fanning anti-police fervor. Patrick Lynch, president of the Patrolman's Benevolent Association in New York, said there was "blood on the hands" of demonstrators and elected officials who have criticized police tactics.

The Garner and Brown families issued statements repudiating the officers' killings, while civil rights leaders took to the airwaves to try to put some distance between the movement and the crime.

"To link the criminal insanity of a lone gunman to the peaceful protests and aspirations of many people across the country, including the attorney general, the mayor and even the president, is simply not fair," NAACP President Cornell William Brooks said on CBS's "Face the Nation."

Brooks said the shootings were "certainly not a step forward" for the movement.

Officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu were gunned down at close range in their patrol car in Brooklyn on Saturday by Ismaaiyl Brinsley, who then committed suicide. Before the attack, Brinsley, 28, wrote on an Instagram account: "I'm putting wings on pigs today. They take 1 of ours, let's take 2 of theirs."

He used the hashtags Shootthepolice RIPErivGardner (sic) RIPMikeBrown — references to two blacks who died at the hands of police. Garner died in a New York City officer's chokehold, and Brown was shot by an officer in Ferguson, Missouri. Grand juries decided not to bring charges against either officer.

In the wake of the ambush, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani lashed out at New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, President Barack Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder. Speaking on Fox News, Giuliani said: "We've had four months of propaganda starting with the president that everybody should hate the police."

"They have created an atmosphere of severe, strong, anti-police hatred in certain communities, and for that, they should be ashamed of themselves," he said.

In a tweet, former New York Gov. George Pataki called the killings the "predictable outcome of divisive, anti-cop rhetoric of Attorney General Eric Holder and Bill De Blasio."

The accusations stoked fears that any gains made in the protest movement would be lost.

"We've been denouncing violence in our community," no matter who the target is, New York community activist Tony Herbert said. He said he worries that the shooting will be used to discredit the larger cause.

"It sullies the opportunity for us to make inroads to build the relationships we need to build to get the trust back," he said. "This hurts."

Similarly, the Rev. Al Sharpton, who has called for peaceful protests, condemned "eye-for-an-eye" violence and called it absurd to blame protesters or politicians for the officers' deaths.

"We are now under intense threat from those who are misguided — from those who are trying to blame everyone from civil rights leaders to the mayor rather than deal with an ugly spirit that all of us need to fight," he said.

Sharpton added: "There are those of us committed to nonviolence and making the system work. And there are those committed to anarchy and recklessness who could care less about the families of police or the families who have raised questions about police accountability."

Irene Sundiata Myers, a black woman who was selling roses and inspirational words Sunday on Harlem's Malcolm X Boulevard, said that because of Saturday's ambush, some officers might think twice about pulling the trigger on black men.

"It will change the attitude of police across the country in terms of how they go about killing black men, if they begin to think that there's a possibility that there will be a retribution," she said.
Jennifer Peltz and Mike Balsamo in New York City contributed to this report. Stevens reported from Concord, N.H.

Battered NY mayor calls for temporary protest halt


NEW YORK (AP) — As the New York Police Department mourns two of its own, Mayor Bill de Blasio pleaded for a pause in protests and rancor amid a widening rift with those in a grieving force who accuse him of creating a climate of mistrust that contributed to the executions of two officers.

De Blasio called on Monday for a halt of political statements until after the funerals of the slain officers, an appeal to both sides in a roiling dispute centered on the deaths of unarmed black men at the hands of white police officers.

"We are in a very difficult moment. Our focus has to be on these families," de Blasio said at police headquarters. "I think it's a time for everyone to put aside political debates, put aside protests, put aside all of the things that we will talk about in all due time."

De Blasio's relations with the city's police unions have tumbled to an extraordinary new low following Saturday's shooting, an ambush the gunman claimed was retaliation for the police-involved deaths of Eric Garner in New York and Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.

In a display of defiance, dozens of police officers turned their backs to de Blasio at the hospital where the officers died, and union leaders said the mayor had "blood on his hands" for enabling the protesters who have swept the streets of New York this month since a grand jury declined to indict an officer in Garner's chokehold death.

De Blasio, though he said he did not agree with the union leaders' comments, largely tried to strike a unifying note in his first extensive question-and-answer session since the shooting. He said he was confident the city was "working toward a day where we can achieve greater harmony toward policing and community."

Officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos were ambushed Saturday afternoon by a man who vowed in an Instagram post to put "wings on pigs." The suspect, Ismaaiyl Brinsley was black; the slain officers were Asian and Hispanic.

The killings came as police nationwide are being criticized following Garner's death and the shooting death of the 18-year-old Brown. Protests erupted after grand juries declined to charge officers in either case.

On Monday, a prosecutor said a white Milwaukee police officer who was fired after he fatally shot a mentally ill black man in April won't face criminal charges. The brother of the slain man, though clearly angry, urged protesters to remain peaceful.

De Blasio and NYPD Commissioner William Bratton met with the officers' grieving families Monday.
"There's a lot of pain. It's so hard to make sense of it — how one deeply troubled, violent individual could do this to these good families," a somber de Blasio said. "And I think it's a time for everyone to take stock that there are things that unite us, there are things that we hold dear as New Yorkers, as Americans."

But the Rev. Al Sharpton, a close de Blasio ally, and other protest leaders said Monday that they would not heed the mayor's call to suspend demonstrations.

Investigators continued to depict Brinsley as an emotionally troubled loner. He had an extensive criminal record and involved in a 2011 standoff with police in Georgia that ended with officers using a stun gun on him, according to records.

Police are trying to determine Brinsley's whereabouts in the two hours he was in New York before killing the officers. Surveillance video shows Brinsley holding a foam food container that investigators believe held the gun he used. After the shooting, he then ran into a nearby subway station and killed himself.

Police said Brinsley was a bystander during a protest in Manhattan's Union Square two days before the Garner grand jury decision but had not participated. It remained unclear if Brinsley simply latched onto the cause at the end of a violent rampage that began Saturday morning in Baltimore when he shot his ex-girlfriend in the stomach. The woman said Brinsley had first held the gun to his own head but she talked him down, authorities said.

The police unions — who even before the weekend shooting had circulated a petition to ban the mayor from attending police funerals — blame de Blasio for fostering anti-police sentiment.
Sergeants Benevolent Associations head Edward Mullins refused to back down from that stance, saying that "the mayor has turned his back on us — he got elected on his campaign of attacking the police all along."

Bratton said representatives from the five unions had agreed to stand down until after the funerals, but he also downplayed their tensions with de Blasio.

"Can you point out to me one mayor who has not been battling with police unions in the last 50 years? Name one," he said to reporters at the police headquarters news conference. "The experience of this mayor of some cops not liking him, it's nothing new."

But some pundits say the level of animosity between the unions and de Blasio had reached a critical point, and that the officers were even more inflamed than when thousands of cops stormed City Hall and stopped traffic on the Brooklyn Bridge in 1992 to protest Mayor David Dinkins' efforts to create a civilian oversight board.

"It's poisonous right now," said Jeanne Zaino, political science professor at Iona College.
De Blasio said he would be willing to meet with the union leaders but also angrily suggested that their ire was, in part, fanned by what called media exaggeration of anti-NYPD sentiment among protesters.

Bratton said a viewing for Ramos would be held on Friday at a Queens church, followed by a funeral service the next day. Officials are working to obtain travel documents for some of Liu's family in China; a funeral will be scheduled after they arrive in the United States.
De Blasio said he would attend both funerals.
Associated Press writers Jennifer Peltz and Tom Hays in New York and Kathleen Foody in Atlanta contributed to this report.


Dec 15, 2014 at 6:38 PM
Mark Levin ripped Republicans a new one as he opened his show tonight, saying that he is one inch away from leaving the Republican Party.

He starts in hard, asking Republicans if they think this is a joke, if they think they can just lie to Republicans and conservatives with impunity about defunding Obamacare and fighting Obama’s illegal amnesty.

He points out that Republicans go on and on about an imperial president and his illegal amnesty and they can’t even vote on a point of order challenging Obama.

Levin says the Constitution is in tatters and that the Republican Party doesn’t even realize they’ve ceded their power to Obama.
And there’s so much more.

Australia hostage drama at Sydney cafe: Timeline

(AP Photo/Rob Griffith) SYDNEY (AP)
An armed gunman entered a Sydney cafe during Monday morning's rush hour and took an unknown number of hostages. Hours after the crisis began, five people escaped but a number of others remained inside. Then early Tuesday morning, a loud bang was heard and police stormed the cafe.

Emergency personnel wheel an injured hostage to an ambulance during a cafe siege in the central business district of Sydney , Australia, Tuesday, Dec. 16, 2014. A swarm of heavily armed police stormed the cafe in the heart of downtown Sydney early Tuesday, ending a siege where a gunman had been holding an unknown number of people hostage for more than 16 hours. A police spokesman confirmed "the operation is over," but would not release any further details about the fate of the gunman or his remaining captives. After a flurry of loud bangs, police swooped into the Lindt Chocolat Cafe shortly after five or six hostages were seen running from the building.

A timeline of events:


9:45 a.m. - Police are called to Lindt Chocolat Cafe in Sydney's Martin Place, a busy plaza in the heart of the city. Initial reports suggesting it could be an armed robbery are soon ruled out.

10:10 a.m. - Australian television stations broadcast images of hostages inside the cafe with their arms in the air and hands pressed against the window. Shortly after, two hostages appear at the window holding a black flag with white Arabic script.

10:30 a.m. - Armed police line up outside the shop. Nearby buildings are evacuated.

12:30 p.m. - Prime Minister Tony Abbott goes on national television and pledges that the police response will be thorough for what he calls "a deeply concerning incident."

About 4 p.m. - Three men escape from the cafe's fire exit and run toward police. One is wearing a Lindt cafe apron and appears to be an employee.

About 5 p.m. - Two women sprint from the same side door and run into the arms of police. Both are wearing Lindt aprons.

6 p.m. - Prime Minister Abbott says the gunman has claimed "political motivation," but makes no reference to concerns of a terror plot.

6:30 p.m. - Police Deputy Commissioner Catherine Burn says police are conducting a "sensitive negotiation" that requires discretion. She declines to say if direct contact has been made with the gunman, or specify the number of hostages held or any operational tactics.

8:15 p.m. - Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione says the priority of police is getting everyone out safely. He declines to speculate on the gunman's motives or possible terror link.

9 p.m. - Lights inside the cafe are switched off. Police outside put on night googles.


1 a.m. - A cleric from Iran, Man Haron Monis, is identified as the gunman. He had been granted asylum in Australia.

2:10 a.m. - A loud bang is heard from the cafe, and several hostages flee.

Moments later - Heavily armed police storm the cafe after throwing what appear to be stun grenades.

2:40 a.m. - Police say the siege has ended.

5:30 a.m. - Police confirm 3 people died: two hostages - a 34-year-old man and a 38-year-old woman - and the gunman. Four other people are wounded.

© 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Learn more about our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

Boehner Throws in with Obama

Listen to it ButtonBEGIN TRANSCRIPT
RUSH:  Okay.  So let me see if I have this right.  We're supposed to be entertained by the apparent fight, disagreement, fisticuffs, whatever, going on between the Democrats, Obama and Pelosi and that lamebrain Elizabeth Warren.  We're supposed to be excited by this?  Ah, gee, you talk about getting misdirected.

JOHNNY DONOVAN:  And now, from sunny south Florida, it's Open Line Friday!

RUSH:  The news is that the Republican Speaker of the House has thrown in with Barack Obama.  I don't care what the Democrats are doing.  What does that matter?  Holy smokes.  John Boehner has just squandered the election results before the Republicans even are sworn in to run the Senate, along with the House, if I've got this right.  


RUSH: There is a major falling out taking place in the Democrat Party, and we're supposed to be enthused by this, by the way, we're supposed to be excited by it.  We're supposed to sit back and, whoa ho, man, Washington is getting good, there's trouble in paradise in the Democrat Party.  Yeah, we're supposed to look the other way while our Speaker of the House gets in bed with Obama and advances the Obama agenda, takes care of it, amnesty, Obamacare, fully funded, done deal.  The election must not have mattered.


And then we got Elizabeth Warren out there who's staking her claim to the presidency while Mrs. Clinton isn't looking. To show you how out of whack things are, Elizabeth Warren of, "You didn't build that. You didn't make that happen" fame, well known communist socialist Elizabeth Warren is now being credited as practically the only person in Washington standing up for the little guy via her opposition to some of the relaxation of regulations in Dodd-Frank and some of the campaign finance.  By the way, about that campaign finance stuff, that everybody's upset about in the omnibus bill, I'm gonna tell you exactly what that is. 

We had a caller about it yesterday. The lady was fit to be tied. She was angry and she was right to be, because the limits have practically been obliterated, which means that corporate donors can just start giving left and right. It used to be a limit of $37,000. Now it's $737,000, something.  It's incredible.  But the point of it, do you know why it's in there?  You know why?  The Republicans put it in.  You know why it's in there, folks?  This is how corporate America's gonna defeat the Tea Party.  By allowing limitless donations from that crowd under the rubric that it's campaign finance and money is speech and freedom of speech and First Amendment. The theory is that Main Street, Tea Party people can't come close to competing with corporate money.

So it is a Republican establishment ploy that kind of dovetails nicely with Obama sicking the IRS on the Tea Party to basically eliminate them as a viable threat by relaxing a registration in Dodd-Frank that pretty much permits corporations to spend any kind of money they want on politics.  It's kind of a dichotomy.  It's a dilemma, in terms of figuring out what to think about it. 

Let me tell you about a congressman named Marlin Stutzman.  Marlin Stutzman is a Republican from Indiana, and he is claiming, he's put out a press release on this now.  He's admitting to this publicly. He's not relying on a publication to say it, he's saying it himself that he was lied to; that he was lied to by the Republican leadership; that the Republican leadership reneged on a deal they made with him to get his support for the omnibus bill.  Want the details?  He said, "I was very surprised and even more disappointed to see the cromnibus back on the floor. The American people deserve better."

See, Marlin Stutzman, Republican, Indiana, was one of the last Republicans to vote in favor of the rule allowing the House to fully vote on the omnibus spending bill, the $1.1 trillion omnibus.   

National Review Online reported that Marlin Stutzman, Republican, Indiana, backed the rule at the last minute.  He was one of two Republicans on whose vote this whole thing hinged.  Stutzman has now issued his own release admitting that this is true. 

Stutzman backed the rule at the last minute after the Republican leadership told him that they would pull the $1.1 trillion omnibus bill, once the rule was passed, and they would replace it with a short-term continuing resolution that conservatives, including Stutzman, wanted, and that they would take up the whole thing next year after the Republicans and the new Congress are sworn in, and he was lied to. 

In other words, the leadership in the House went to Marlin Stutzman and said, "Hey, if you vote for the rule, just give us the -- we need the rule.  Our reputation, our image, we just want, we need the rule, vote for the rule and we're gonna pull the omnibus and replace it with just a couple, three-month, two-month, whatever, continuing resolution." 

And Stutzman said, "I supported the rule because I was informed by leadership that the cromnibus was dead and a short term CR would take its place."  He was lied to flat-out because they didn't pull the bill obviously.  They lied to him to get his vote.  We're not supposed to pay any attention.  We're supposed to be watching the fallout on the Democrat side, right?  We're supposed to be entertained. We're supposed to be looking at Elizabeth Warren and Pelosi at war with Obama and we're supposed to get our jollies with that, while our people were lied to, Marlin Stutzman, just blatantly, openly lied to to get his vote. 

For the rule, he was told they would pull the full-fledged bill after they won the rule, but they had to win the rule for their reputation, for image, you know, protect Boehner's Speakership and all that.  "After President Obama came out in favor of the cromnibus, Republican leaders spent the day whipping their members and hoping that Democrats would deliver the requisite number of votes." What you had at the end of the day, Barack Obama was whipping votes for John Boehner. 


RUSH:  Yeah, so here's what happened.  The leadership goes to Marlin Stutzman, and they lied to him, said, "Marlin, if you vote for the rule, then fine," 'cause Stutzman wanted a continuing resolution of a couple of weeks or a month just to get us into January when the Republicans actually take control.  He didn't want to vote for the full-fledged $1.1 trillion bill.  Leadership said, "Marlin, look, if you just vote for the rule, and we'll pull it then.  We just need the victory on the rule.  We can't let the rule go down.  So Marlin, vote with us on the rule, and we'll pull the omnibus and replace it with a short-term CR."  And he did.

That made the vote 213 to 213.  They still weren't there.  Now we're at a tie, and a tie is a loss.  They actually, to win on the procedural vote or the vote on the rule.  So it was at that point the leadership went to a Santa Claus impersonator in the House, and this man is named Kerry Bentivolio.  It all came down to him.  He's an outgoing House member from Michigan.  He is a Tea Partier, for all intents and purposes.  He's a reindeer farmer in his spare time and he was the deciding vote on the rule. 

They got to him and they convinced him somehow to switch his vote from "no" to "yes" and that made it 214 to 212.  The Stutzman vote got them to 213 tied.  And as Bloomberg reported it, "Kerry Bentivolio, the retiring Michigan reindeer farmer, changed his vote and saved Christmas."  It was a tweet from Dave Weigel at Bloomberg, because, you see, if the rule hadn't passed, it would have derailed the whole omnibus and made a government shutdown possible. 

That's another thing.  Elizabeth Warren, is, for all intents and purposes, threatening to shut down the government.  Now, where this thing is in the Senate's kind of up in the air, but she's threatening to shut down the government.  And the media is praising her.  The media is praising her for principled opposition.  And, as you know, Republican shutdown, why, it's the end of the world, it's the end of everything as we know it.  


RUSH:  So why? Why was and why is Barack Obama whipping votes for John Boehner?  Let's review here, because it may be hard to follow. It may be hard to keep some of this in mind.  The reason is because the media is reporting this as, for all intents and purposes, a done deal.  They are reporting that all the action was in the House, and once the House voted for the $1.1 trillion omnibus, since the Democrats run the Senate it's a fait accompli that it's gonna get done.

That's not the case because there's a flamethrower over there named Elizabeth Warren, and she's not happy with what's in the Republican bill -- and neither, for that matter, is Nancy Pelosi.  So the Senate's not done on this.  They did a couple-of-days spending bill, and the Senate's gonna take its time and still argue about it, debate this.  Now, the consensus is that the Senate will ultimately pass it, because that's what Obama wants, and the Democrat Party's still loyal to him
But that's not a fait accompli.


So I guess the takeaway here is: It's not done yet, despite the reporting and the slanted nature of the reporting that makes it look like it's done because of the vote that happened in the House.  There is still the Senate to contend with.  Now, let's take a look at what is being reported here.  What's being reported -- and is this in the Drive-By Media, various places.  I just made some crib notes here to remind myself in some sort of chronological order. 

President Obama and John Boehner want a bill that the bases of their respective parties reject.  Boehner is enabling (or did enable) the passage of a bill in the House that the Republican base wants no part of.  They don't want Obamacare fully implemented or funded, and they do not want Obama to get away with this executive amnesty.

Boehner has worked with Obama

And the Republican version of the bill in the House flies in the face of what both the Democrat base and the Republican base want.  The Democrat base doesn't like the relaxation of regulations in Dodd-Frank, which is campaign finance, basically. There's some things the unions don't like about pensions as well, because their pensions are gonna end up being devalued. 

There are a couple other things in it that the Democrat base is not happy about.  Another thing being reported is that Elizabeth Warren is taking a stand on an issue that, if successful, would embarrass Obama.  This is being reported.  This is not my opinion.  You can find this story somewhere in the Drive-By Media stash today. The stand that she is taking on the issue is a very populist stand.  It is a stance against Wall Street. 

Wall Street has been given a great gift in the omnibus spending bill: Relaxation of regulations on Dodd-Frank.  Opposing Wall Street... Remember Occupy Wall Street?  Opposing Wall Street is a huge ticket item for Elizabeth Warren, particularly if she wants to run for president.  The presumptive nominee, of course, is Mrs. Clinton.  We're right back where we were 2007 and 2008 with the Washington establishment of both parties concluding that Hillary Clinton will be the nominee.

We've been there. 

We've done that. 

And out of the blue, in 2007, came Barack Hussein Obama.  Out of the blue this year is coming Elizabeth Warren, and she's got a ready-made entry and a ready-made ticket with her populist opposition to the Wall Street favors that are in the omnibus bill.  Obama is in favor of relaxing those regulations on Wall Street because Obama is in bed with Wall Street and has been from the get-go, but his base is not really aware of that. 

The Democrat Party base has been driven insane with hatred for Wall Street. They've been driven insane with hatred for the US military. They've been driven insane with hatred for the CIA.  The Democrat Party base has been driven insane by the radical nature of what everybody thinks are mainstream Democrats.  Obama is as closely tied and in bed with Wall Street as anybody is, and Elizabeth Warren is not.

And she is distancing herself from the Democrats and particularly from Obama in a major way by taking a stand on that issue regarding Dodd-Frank.  If this bill goes down to smithereens because of this, it would be an embarrassment to Obama.  Again, this is what's being reported.  It is also being reported that Barack Obama is being abandoned by Democrats by the score on this because the Democrats are not happy with a couple of provisions. 

See, the Democrats are not invested in Obamacare to the degree that you would believe.  Remember, Obamacare is why they lost, in their minds -- and you've heard by now the old stat that half the Democrat senators remaining in the Senate who voted for Obamacare, for one reason or another, are gone.  We've had Chuck-U Schumer and Tom Harkin and a number of other Democrats publicly throw Obamacare under the bus claiming it was bad bill.

(summarized) "It was a mistake timing-wise. We shouldn't have done it before we shored up the economy." There are Democrats running away from Obamacare.  It's John Boehner who's in bed with Obama on Obamacare, not the Democrats.  And one of the things we're supposed to be taking great satisfaction from watching is the Democrat fallout over Obamacare. 

But Boehner has picked up the slack there with the Republican omnibus bill, which fully funds it.  So now the Democrats are free to walk away from it, which they wanted to do and have.  So when you see it reported that Democrats are abandoning Obama by the score, one of the things they're abandoning him on is Obamacare.  Look, they have lost big in the last two midterm elections.

This is still... The scope of this defeat is still not accurately reported in the Drive-By Media, although if you keep your radio tuned to this station, you will soon hear that the Washington Post has a story today which fulfills a prophecy of mine back in 2008, 2009. I wasn't the only one, but I might have led the pack on this, as referring to Barack Obama's presidency as Jimmy Carter's second term.


Today's Washington Post pretty much says that, and they do it with polling data.  They do it on the basis that there is a nationwide malaise among the American people, that they are despondent and depressed and feeling hopeless. There's no opportunity for the American dream. There's no opportunity for economic advancement.  It's not a pretty picture, and it's being painted in the Washington Post.  Jimmy Carter's second term. 

That term isn't actually used, but all the comparisons to Jimmy Carter are made in the story.  Another story being reported today is that Democrats who may run for president in 2016 think they don't need Obama's support.  This is being reported.  I'm not offering my opinion here.  I'm giving you a little list here of the things that are being reported today in the Drive-By Media.  Now, remember, Hillary has tried to separate herself from Obama on foreign policy. 

All of the Hillaryites... If you've been paying attention the past few months, then you well know and you remember how all these Hillary people are out there ripping Obama on all kinds of things (Benghazi, you name it) all to protect Hillary.  Elizabeth Warren is also in this list of Democrats who may run for president who think they don't need Obama's support.  The media is speculating whether that's true or not.

The reason these stories are interesting to the Drive-Bys is, "Are these Democrats right?  Can they actually get the nomination? Can they get elected? Can another Democrat -- Hillary or Warren -- become president without help from Obama?  Can they do it without needing Obama's assistance?"  The media, the Drive-Bys are extremely curious about this.  Remember, they're fully invested in 

Obama, and they're not comfortable with all this fallout. 

They're not comfortable. 

Even though Obama's lame duck and all that, they're not comfortable with this open diss that is taking place.  It's also being reported that the omnibus spending bill is a push for deregulation.  That plays right into Elizabeth Warren's hands.  That's Wall Street being deregulated, and the Democrat base does not want Wall Street deregulated.  The media's also reporting that Barack Obama's signing off on a bill that reduces spending. 

Democrats supposedly don't like that.  Now, I don't know where they get that, but their story nevertheless is being reported.  Another story that's out there is that the Republicans in February will shut down Homeland Security if they don't get their way on immigration reform.  So that's a list of the stories that are out there that are bending and shaping all of this about the spending bill and the Democrats' betrayal of Obama over in the Senate and what it might mean. 

But while all that is going on, again, John Boehner has Barack Obama whipping Democrat votes for him.  It is Obama talking to recalcitrant Democrats in the Senate trying to get them on board to vote and support the Republican bill.  It's not Dingy Harry.  Pelosi is in this mix, too.  She's not happy, along with Elizabeth Warren.  Now, these, quote/unquote "facts" as they've been reported are as incongruous as I can imagine. 

Why are Barack Obama, Joe Biden, Harry Reid, Steny Hoyer, working so hard on John Boehner's behalf?  That's what's happening.  That's what you need to take away from this.  You'll find some people telling you to, "Hey, you know, sit back and enjoy this infighting in the Democrat Party."  Well, go ahead if you want.  I mean, if that lights your fire, have at it.  But I'm telling you: The thing that's happening that fascinates me is all these Democrats working so hard for John Boehner. 

That's what fascinates me. 

Obama, Biden, Dingy Harry, Steny Hoyer.  The reason why is it's Boehner's doing their bidding.  It's Boehner's bill they want.  Boehner, the Republican Speaker of the House. His bill is what Obama wants.  That's why they're working.  That's why they're whipping votes for Boehner.  That, to me, is what's newsworthy today.  Not the fact that there may be some fallout in the Democrat side. 
I mean, that is newsworthy because we don't get treated to that very much.

It's true the Democrat Party is in big disarray, and if the media were half interested in it or half honest about it, you'd know that.  But they're not.  


RUSH: Obama went on ESPN Radio today to tell people there that he really cares about sports. That's what he's really into most of the time, but he takes time out to do president stuff. During the interview he was talking about the similarities, comparing politics and sports.

OBAMA:  The one difference is that, y'know, in politics, sometimes people forget we're actually all on the same team, uhhh, and that's the American team.

RUSH: Right.

OBAMA: A-a-and, you know, it's one thing in sports if, y'know, you go into the, uh, Eagles stadium or -- or the Raiders stadium (snickers) and folks are hollering at you and you're the opposing team. Sometimes, uh, I think in politics we, uh, forget that we're not actually on different teams.

RUSH:  Well, you could fool me!  You could fool me.  So you know what he's trying to do here, is trying to act bipartisan all of a sudden.  Now, I'm sure this has something to do with this stupid omnibus thing here.  There are a lot of people trying to save John Boehner's bacon right now is what I think is going on, including Obama.  Boehner is making himself an MVP up there at the White House.  

DHS: 100 Million Americans Could Lose Power in Major Sun Storm

Millions of Americans face catastrophic loss of electrical power during a future magnetic space storm that will disrupt the electric grid and cause cascading infrastructure failures, according to a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) document.

DHS’ Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) stated in an internal 2012 fact sheet outlining its response plan for severe “space weather” that the actual impact and damage from a future solar storm is not known.

“An analysis of the space weather impacts indicates that the greatest challenge will be to provide life-saving and life-sustaining resources for large numbers of people that experience long-term power outage from damage to the U.S. electrical grid,” the FEMA document, dated March 1, 2012, states.

The FEMA fact sheet noted the findings of a 2010 study by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the agency that monitors sun storms, warning that an extreme solar storm could leave “130 million people without power for years,” and destroy or damage more than 300 hard-to-replace electrical grid transformers.

Major solar storms are rare. Two major solar disruption events took place in 1859 and 1921, times when electricity was less prevalent than today.

The study said a future solar storm like the great magnetic storm of May 1921 would black out most states east of the Mississippi River along with most states in the Pacific Northwest.

The long-term loss of electrical power likely would produce catastrophic loss of life.

However, the FEMA document disputed that worst-case scenario, noting that in 2011 DHS experts were “not convinced” about the dire consequences outlined in the earlier study.

Still, DHS scientists in 2011 warned that the U.S. electric grid remains vulnerable to damage from an extreme geomagnetic storm. The scientists said the extent of damage to high-voltage transformers from a space storm “are not well known” and the matter needs further study, the report says.

“Based on an analysis of many space weather studies, there does not appear to be specific agreement among space weather and electric industry experts regarding space weather impacts on the U.S. electric grid,” the document says, adding that there is “general agreement among the experts that extreme geomagnetic storms could have significantly damaging impacts on the U.S. electric grid.”
Space weather is defined as conditions on the Sun, in space, in the earth’s magnetic field, and upper atmosphere that impact space and ground technological systems and can “endanger human life on earth,” the report says.

The report outlines the scenario for a major “coronal mass ejection” from the Sun that will first be detected by U.S. satellites. The magnetic band reaches the earth within 24 to 72 hours, affecting up to 100 million people.

The largest such storms, called G-5s, would cause transformers and transmission lines to be “severely damaged.”

The storms last from hours to a day but can disrupt electric power grid operations, GPS satellites, aircraft operations, manned space flight, satellite operations, natural gas distribution pipelines, and undersea communications cables.

GPS satellites could be disrupted causing them to produce false positioning information.

“The extreme geomagnetic space weather event will cause widespread power outages to a large number of people (approximately 100 million people) in a multi-region, multi-state area of the U.S. due to geomagnetic induced currents damaging EHV transformers, especially along coastal regions,” the report says.

Power losses may cause spiraling failures that could lead to loss of systems that control water and wastewater systems, perishable foods and medications, lighting and air conditioning, computer, telephone and communications systems, public transportation, and fuel distribution.

After the magnetic storm passes in some 36 hours, power will be restarted and within 36 hours up to 65 million will regain electric power.

By two weeks, after damaged equipment is replaced or repaired, another 25 million people will have power restored.

However, the report indicates that it would take up to two months to repair or replace damaged electrical power equipment for the remaining 10 million people over six states.

Mark Sauter, an adviser to security companies and coauthor of the textbook Homeland Security: A Complete Guide, said severe space weather poses a major homeland security challenge.

“It occurs rarely, can’t be predicted, full protection is impossibly expensive and the potential impact ranges from inconvenient to cataclysmic,” said Sauter, who obtained the document under the Freedom of Information Act.

“The released documents indicate DHS/FEMA—with buy-in from the electrical industry and U.S. military—has now settled on a ‘plausible’ planning estimate that 25 million Americans could lose power for two weeks and 10 million could be without power for up to two months—and this estimate, the government admits, is 10 percent of one major outside study,” he said.

Sauter said FEMA’s more-than-200-page response plan for dealing with a solar storm was blacked out from the released documents.

“This makes one wonder why FEMA is refusing to release the government’s space weather response plan,” he said. “How would the government deal with 10 million, or many more, Americans without power for two months, or even longer?”

Sauter questioned whether the government is taking the threat of a major solar storm seriously, or is “just going through an obligatory bureaucratic exercise that in reality reflects DHS/FEMA crossing its fingers and hoping that such a plan will never need to be used.”

“Is FEMA simply worried about alarming the public?” Sauter asked. “For example, advice on the DHS Web site urges citizens to disconnect appliances and avoid using the phone during a space weather emergency, but doesn’t go into how people should survive for two months without electricity.”

Peter Pry, a former CIA official who now heads a group that has warned about the impact on the electric grid of a nuclear detonation-caused blackout from electromagnetic pulse, said a congressional EMP Commission warned several years ago of the threat posed by a geomagnetic super storm.
Such an event “could have catastrophic consequences for civilization,” Pry said.

A similar solar blast like the 1859 Carrington Event could collapse electric grids and life-sustaining critical infrastructures worldwide, putting the lives of billions at risk, he said.

U.S. utilities are unprepared for major solar storms such as the Carrington Event or the 1921 magnetic storm.

“We are running out of time to prepare,” Pry said, noting that NASA reported in July that Earth narrowly missed a second Carrington Event.

Pry said current legislation known as the Critical Infrastructure Protection Act (CIPA) passed the House last week unanimously and would help protect against natural or manmade EMP.

FEMA spokesman Rafael Lemaitre had no comment on the fact sheet and its outline of the potential damage from a major solar storm

“FEMA constantly monitors and plans for all hazards, and that includes the potential impact from a coronal mass ejection,” he said.