Graduates at Florida university turn backs in protest of DeVos speech

FILE PHOTO - Betsy DeVos, U.S. Secretary of Education, speaks during the Milken Institute Global Conference in Beverly Hills, California, U.S. on May 1, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Blake/File Photo

By Bernie Woodall

(Reuters) – Graduating seniors at Bethune-Cookman University in Florida turned their backs in protest of U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos at the start of her commencement speech on Wednesday at the historically black institution.

Boos and jeers could be heard as DeVos, who drew ire in February when she said historically black colleges were “pioneers” of educational choice, was introduced. Faculty and school administrators on stage stood and applauded.

Live video of the ceremony in Daytona Beach showed many graduates facing away from DeVos, though it was not clear how many of the approximately 300 seniors participated in the silent protest.

“One of the hallmarks of higher education and of democracy is the ability to converse with and learn from those with whom we disagree,” DeVos told the graduates.

The university’s president, Edison Jackson, interrupted her speech with a warning to students. “If this behavior continues, your degrees will be mailed to you,” he said. “Choose which way you want to go.”

Ahead of the speech, students, alumni and political activists sought to have DeVos’ invitation rescinded, saying they were offended by her earlier comment. DeVos, who is a proponent of school choice – including charter schools and school vouchers – later clarified her remark, noting that historically black colleges were created because other institutions were not open to African-Americans.

About 60,000 signatures on two petitions were delivered to school officials on Tuesday objecting to her appearance at the university.

“Right now is not the time for Secretary DeVos to speak at any historically black college,” said Dominik Whitehead, a Bethune-Cookman alumnus who led one of the petition drives. DeVos’ statement, he said, “just shows she is out of touch.”

In a statement on Sunday, President Donald Trump said DeVos chose Bethune-Cookman for her first commencement address as education secretary to show the Republican administration’s dedication to the mission of historically black colleges and universities.

Jackson, an African-American and a Republican, and some others defended the choice of DeVos as the graduation speaker for the school, which was named for black educator and civil rights activist Mary McLeod Bethune.

Sean P. Jackson, chairman of the Black Republican Caucus of Florida, said DeVos had long been a champion of providing strong education opportunities for minority students.

“The secretary says we should allow charter schools to come in and educate children if they are doing a better job than the public schools,” Jackson said on Tuesday.

(Reporting by Bernie Woodall; Editing by Colleen Jenkins and Leslie Adler)

Man charged with deadly attacks on homeless in San Diego

Hand cuffed man accused of killing homeless people

By Marty Graham

SAN DIEGO (Reuters) – A man with a history of mental illness was charged on Tuesday with attacking five homeless men in San Diego, killing three of his victims, in a violent crime spree this month that terrorized the city’s poorest residents.

Jon David Guerrero, 39, described by the city police chief as “disturbed” and a “predator,” appeared briefly in San Diego County Superior Court and was ordered held without bond on three counts of murder and two counts of attempted murder.

If convicted Guerrero faces a maximum sentence of life in prison without parole, unless prosecutors decide to seek the death penalty.

No plea was entered in the case as yet. Arraignment proceedings were postponed until Aug. 2 at the request of Guerrero’s lawyer, public defender Dan Tandon, who sought additional time to prepare.

Neither police nor prosecutors have furnished details about the nature and circumstances of the attacks, except that all five victims suffered “trauma to the upper torso,” including two slain men who were set on fire.

Guerrero was arrested on Friday. He was stopped on his bicycle 30 minutes after the latest surviving victim was found bleeding from a chest wound and screaming for help at the edge of downtown, police said.

The string of attacks, beginning on July 3, sent fear through a sprawling homeless community estimated at about 9,000 people in and around California’s second-largest city.

According to police, evidence linking Guerrero to the slayings was uncovered at his residence.

He lived in a “supportive-housing” project downtown called Alpha Square, consisting of about 200 studio apartments for former homeless men and women and other individuals with special needs.

A check of the Superior Court case index showed five mental health matters filed under his name since 2008, all of them sealed.

Dameon Ditto, a friend of Guerrero who taught him art at Alpha Square, told Reuters he had not seen the defendant since June 12.

“He had expressed to me that he was taking psychiatric medications he didn’t like,” Ditto recalled of their last encounter.

Speaking to reporters outside the courtroom after Tuesday’s hearing, Tandon appealed to the media and public for patience.

“San Diego deserves to know the truth and the whole story,” he said, adding, “The story begins many years ago.” He did not elaborate.

(Reporting by Marty Graham in San Diego; Writing by Steve Gorman; Editing by Bernard Orr)

Planned Parenthood Staffer Admits Potential Violation of Federal Law

A new video has been released by the Center for Medical Progress showing a Planned Parenthood staffer apparently admitting to violating federal law.

In the video, Melissa Farrell, director of research for Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast, says the group alters their abortion process to collect specimens, which is a violation of federal law.

“Yeah, and so if we alter our process, and we are able to obtain intact fetal cadavers, then we can make it part of the budget, that any dissections are this, and splitting the specimens into different shipments is this,” Farrell said in the video. “I mean it’s all just a matter of line items.”

Planned Parenthood and their supporters have been claiming the videos are misleading and that they do not actually alter their processes to collect specimens for profit in violation of law.  They claim all they do is receive payments to cover costs – which is legal.

“And you know, when it matters, you know in the cases of when it’s mattered, you know, physicians also need an intact specimen, they can make it happen,” said Farrell, noting that some of the clinic’s doctors have research projects of their own for which they’re collecting specimens.

“So they do it in a way that they get the best specimens,” Farrell said. “So I know it can happen.”

The release of the video is causing an investigation of Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast, ordered by Governor Bobby Jindal.  The group’s head sent a letter to the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals on July 24th claiming their group did not sell or donate fetal tissue.

“Do any Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast facilities, or any affiliates, subsidiaries or associates thereof, sell or donate any unborn baby organs or body parts? Answer: No.” President and CEO of Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast, Melaney A. Linton wrote in the letter to Louisiana Dept. of Health and Hospitals Secretary Kathy Kliebert.

Linton released a statement Tuesday about the video.

“Instead, the latest tape shows an extremely offensive intrusion and lack of respect for women, with footage of medical tissue in a lab,” read Linton’s statement. “These extremists show a total lack of compassion and dignity for women’s most personal medical decisions.”

The Senate yesterday failed in a vote to defund Planned Parenthood.

Video Shows Planned Parenthood Doctor Haggling Over Body Part Prices

A new video from an undercover investigation of Planned Parenthood shows one of their staff doctors haggling over prices with investigators she believes to be part of a medical research firm.

The video shows two investigators from the Center for Medical Progress at a meeting with Dr. Mary Gatter, president of the Planned Parenthood Medical Directors’ Council, where they discuss the fees for “intact tissue.”

One exchange in the video shows Gatter entering into negotiations for prices of intact aborted babies:

Investigator:  What would make you happy?  What would work for you?

Gatter:  Well, you know in negotiations the people who throws out the figure first is at a loss, right?  So…(laughing)

Investigator:  No, I don’t look at it that way.  I know, you want to play that game, I get it.

Gatter:  I don’t want to play games, I just don’t want to lowball, because I’m used to low things from…

Investigator:  You know what?  If you lowball, I’ll act pleasantly surprised and you’ll know it’s a lowball.

Gatter:  Okay.

Investigator:  What I want to know is what would work for you.  Don’t lowball it, tell me what you really…

Gatter:  OK.  $75 a specimen.

Gatter even talks to another staff member about changing the procedure to a “less crunchy” method to preserve the babies for distribution to medical researchers.

“If we want to pursue this mutually I’ll mention this to Ian in terms of how he feels about using a ‘less crunchy’ technique to get more whole specimens,” Gatter says.

At the end of the lunch, Gatter suggests that even $100 a specimen (which the investigators suggested) is not enough.

“Let me just figure out what others are getting, and if this is in the ballpark, then it’s fine, if it’s still low, then we can bump it up. I want a Lamborghini,” Gatter says.

The video is the second released by the undercover investigators.  The previous video drew an apology from the group’s leader because of the “tone” of the employee in the video.

Planned Parenthood Accused of Selling Body Parts of Aborted Babies

A new video shows a Planned Parenthood executive drinking wine in a Los Angeles restaurant while talking about how the organizations sells body parts from aborted babies.

The video, filmed by the Center for Medical Progress (CMP), shows two undercover actors posing as representatives of a human biologics company.  They met Planned Parenthood’s senior director of medical services, Debroah Nucatola, for lunch.

The video depicts Nucatola explaining in graphic detail how abortionists harvest the organs from aborted babies based on the demand.

“Yesterday was the first time she said people wanted lungs,” Nucatola told the undercover buyers in the video. “Some people want lower extremities, too, which, that’s simple. That’s easy. I don’t know what they’re doing with it, I guess if they want muscle.”

“Yeah – a dime a dozen,” an actor responds.

“I’d say a lot of people want liver,” Nucatola said. “And for that reason, most providers will do this case under ultrasound guidance, so they’ll know where they’re putting their forceps.”

Planned Parenthood claims the video does not tell the real story.

“In health care, patients sometimes want to donate tissue to scientific research that can help lead to medical breakthroughs, such as treatments and cures for serious diseases. Women at Planned Parenthood who have abortions are no different,” Planned Parenthood’s vice president for communications, Eric Ferrero, said in a statement to the London Guardian newspaper.

Planned Parenthood claims the video is just another attempt by a group focused on damaging the abortionist’s reputation.

David Daleiden of CMP claims that Planned Parenthood’s response shows that they’re lying in their response because they admit money is exchanged despite denials.

“Planned Parenthood makes two key admissions in their statement today; first, that aborted fetal parts are harvested at their clinics, and second, that money is exchanged in connection with this,” Daleiden said.

Tennessee Considers Assisted Suicide

Tennessee lawmakers are considering the option of legalizing assisted suicide.

The state Senate Health Committee held a meeting on June 10th to consider a bill that would allow physician assisted suicide in the state.

Senate Bill 1362 was presented by Sen. Reginald Tate (D-Memphis) and House Bill 1040 by Rep. Craig Fitzhugh (D-Ripley).  The bill would allow doctors to prescribe a massive overdose of drugs for a person 18 years of age or older to end their life; the option for a patient to immediately die after receiving a diagnosis of “terminal” and even allowing health care providers to turn down more expensive life saving treatments when cheaper assisted suicide options are available.

“We think it’s humane to euthanize an animal when they get to the point they can’t take care of themselves. Why can’t we do the same for people?” asked Dr. Douglas Essinger.  “What about the patients rights to die with dignity? I think that should be the paramount issue here.”

Pro-life groups were vocal in their opposition.

“If doctor-prescribed suicide is legalized in Tennessee, it could become the only ‘medical treatment’ to which many people have equal access. If the government or insurance companies decide they no longer wish to pay for legitimate care and medical treatments, there will be a pressure upon the elderly, ill and disabled to end their lives. Being coerced into ending their lives does not offer death with dignity, it only offers a frightening and dangerous future for elderly and ill Tennesseans,” Brian Harris, president of Tennessee Right to Life, said.

United Church of Canada Reviewing Minister Who Is An Atheist

The United Church of Canada is reviewing a clergywoman who openly admits that she is an atheist.

Rev. Gretta Vosper, who founded the “Canadian Centre for Progressive Christianity”, is a self-professed athetist. She is still a clergy member of the United Church of Canada and according to the UCC, will be undergoing a “review.”

“A review is a formal process within the United Church which is ordered when serious questions have been raised about a minister’s effectiveness,” said Rev. David W. Allen.

“In this case, a team of five people will interview Ms. Vosper. They will report to a larger committee of 40 people, and that committee will give its opinion to the sub-Executive of Toronto Conference on whether Ms. Vosper is suitable for ministry within The United Church of Canada.”

Allen said she will be asked about questions that she answered during her ordination that include if she believes in God as Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Vosper announced her atheism in 2001 and is demanding the UCC be more welcoming of atheism.

“After I spontaneously preached a sermon in which I completely deconstructed the idea of a god named God, rather than fire me, the congregation chose to step out on an unmarked path,” reads the About section of her website.

“With them, I’ve laboured, lamented, lost, and loved. It’s hard road but a worthy one with no finish line in sight. Let’s walk this road together. I promise you’ll be inspired.”

Vosper did not respond to the Christian Post about the situation.

FBI Found Using Mysterious Surveillance Aircraft

The FBI has been operating their own air force of low-flying surveillance planes hidden behind fake front companies.

According to a review by the Associated Press, the FBI flew over 30 cities in 11 states during the last 30 days.

The FBI claims the flights are done with the permission of a judge and are connected to specific investigative operations.  The planes carry video cameras and also the ability to intercept and record any cell phone call within the range of the plane.

The discovery by the AP forced the government to acknowledge the program publicly for the first time.  The most basic parts of the program have been classified from the public until now.  The AP traced 13 companies that turned out to be fake.  FVX Research, KQM Aviation, NBR Aviation and PXW Services were among the companies exposed as government fronts.

“The FBI’s aviation program is not secret,” spokesman Christopher Allen said in a statement to the AP. “Specific aircraft and their capabilities are protected for operational security purposes.” Allen added that the FBI’s planes “are not equipped, designed or used for bulk collection activities or mass surveillance.”

The FBI asked the AP to not reveal the names of the companies being used because it would “increase costs” to taxpayers when the FBI created new fake companies. The FBI would not confirm employees of the companies were actually employees of the federal government.

Fox To Air “Lucifer” TV Series

Fox is planning to air a TV series that focuses on Satan coming to Earth as a nightclub owner.

“Bored and unhappy as the Lord of Hell, Lucifer Morningstar has abandoned his throne and retired to L.A., where he owns Lux, an upscale nightclub,” a description of the series reads on the Fox website.

“Charming, charismatic and devilishly handsome, Lucifer is enjoying his retirement, indulging in a few of his favorite things—wine, women and song—when a beautiful pop star is brutally murdered outside of Lux,” it continues. “For the first time in roughly 10 billion years, he feels something awaken deep within him as a result of this murder. Compassion? Sympathy? ”

The series is based on comic books by author Neil Gaiman which focus on occult culture.

The Fox description then goes to say that Satan will begin to wonder if “there’s hope for his soul” because of the “inherent goodness” of the police detective he works with to solve a murder.

Criticism of the show has been swift.

“It was only a matter of time before Hollywood gave the devil a prime time television show on a big network,” wrote Joe Schimmel of Good Fight Ministries and host of the documentary “Hollywood’s War on God” in an online post this week. “After all, for the last several years, Hollywood has portrayed everyone from meth dealers to sexual deviants as ‘cool,’ while depicting Jesus as a cuss word!”

Pastors are saying the show is a danger to youth, showing Satan to be “cool” instead of his truly evil nature.