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Parkland Resource Officer Who Failed to Confront Shooter Receives Monthly Pension of $8,702

Scot Peterson, the sheriff's deputy who received public scrutiny for failing to confront the shooter at a Parkland, Florida high school back in February, is now receiving his state pension of $8,702.35 per month. Peterson resigned and retired a week after the shooting when an initial investigation revealed he didn't go into Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School to confront the shooter, who is charged with killing 17 students and teachers, according to the Sun Sentinel. Peterson began to receive his pension in April, according to the Florida Department of Management Services. He can receive the payments for the rest of his life. The 55-year-old Peterson, a Broward deputy for 32 years, was paid $101,879.03 last year — $75,673.72 in base salary plus overtime and other compensation, according to sheriff’s office records. Until the shooting, he was considered a trusted school resource officer at Stoneman Douglas, according to annual reviews of his performance. He was eligible to retire from the agency in July 2010 when he had 25 years of service, a sheriff’s office spokeswoman said Wednesday. Surveilance video from Feb. 14 showed Peterson waiting outside the school while the shooter went through the halls with an AR-15 rifle shooting and killing students and teachers. President Donald Trump slammed Peterson, saying he "certainly did a poor job" and that he was a "coward" for not going into the school to try to help the students. Sheriff Scott Israel also criticized Peterson, saying he should have "went in. Addressed the killer. Killed the killer." Following the shooting, Peterson released a statement saying he believed the gunshots were coming from outside of the school and not inside the building. According to the state pension handbook, Peterson's pension payments are based on the "total number of years he worked and the average of his five highest-paid fiscal years." The Department of Management Services spokeswoman said health benefits, which Peterson receives through the sheriff’s office, are not included in the monthly amount he receives in pension. Officials have indicated that nothing to date prevents Peterson from receiving his retirement benefits. Peterson would not be entitled to his pension if he were convicted of a crime such as embezzlement or bribery. Neither the sheriff’s office nor the state attorney have indicated "any charges or other circumstances" that would justify withholding Peterson’s pension, Erin Rock, secretary for the Department of Management Services, concluded in a letter March 28. A state commission is reviewing the police response to the shooting. Andrew Pollack, whose daughter Meadow died in the shooting, sued Peterson last month and released a statement Tuesday calling Peterson a "disgrace and a coward." When asked about the pension, Pollack said, "He’s going to take it." He went on to say the money should go to help fund school safety or scholarships for wounded students. "But there’s nothing we can do about it," Pollack added. "The coward of broward, Scot Peterson is getting over $8k a month pension! He hid while my daughter and 16 others were slaughtered!" Pollack tweeted. "How in the hell is he getting this? That money should go to actually securing our schools!" The coward of broward, Scot Peterson is getting over $8k a month pension! He hid while my daughter and 16 others were slaughtered! How in the hell is he getting this? That money should go to actually securing our schools! #FixIt https://t.co/Zv5zT3lDgP — Andrew Pollack (@AndrewPollackFL) May 16, 2018 The post Parkland Resource Officer Who Failed to Confront Shooter Receives Monthly Pension of $8,702 appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

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Cuomo Announces $7.5M to Fight MS-13 Gang Violence

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (D.) announced on Wednesday $7.5 million in new initiatives to combat MS-13 gang violence. "With these investments, New York is sending a message loud and clear that gang activity has no place in our communities," Cuomo said."By taking a holistic approach to the task of combatting gangs on Long Island, we can help protect our neighborhoods and provide opportunities to at-risk youth that will break the cycle of gang violence once and for all." The new funding will include money to help youth with job training, after school programs and nonprofits who serve at risk kids according to North Folk Patch, a local New York newspaper. Including in the funding will be $3 million to bolster youth job training and divert at-risk youth; the New York State Department of Labor is issuing a $3 million request for proposals to help connect young men and women on Long Island to job training and career opportunities. The funding will be available to local organizations that focus on work readiness training and employment for those at risk of falling into the trap of joining gangs like MS-13. Back in April, Cuomo announced $18.5 million in the 2019 budget to fight MS-13, an international criminal gang with members primarily of Central American origin. "New York will not tolerate the monstrous acts and fear that MS-13 has brought to our communities, and by focusing on educating and protecting our young residents, we are furthering our efforts to drive out these violent criminals," Cuomo said. President Donald Trump frequently talks about the violence MS-13 commits. During a speech at the 37th Annual National Peace Officers' Memorial Service, Trump said the government will take back the streets from MS-13. "Recently, MS-13 gang members called for the assassination of New York City police officers so the gang could ‘take back the streets.’ They got it wrong. We are the ones who are taking back the streets," Trump said. Cuomo added that many migrants who are minors are unaccompanied, and therefore, easy targets for gang recruitment. "They fled from Central America, 8,600 came to Long Island, many of them unaccompanied–no support services, no language, no help–and they were easy prey for the gangs. You have no family, you have no job, you have no alternative, and now the gang spots them at a very young age and literally attacks them and recruits them," Cuomo said. "We have to attack that end of the problem also. We have to stop the recruitment pipeline." The post Cuomo Announces $7.5M to Fight MS-13 Gang Violence appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

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Wasserman Schultz: NRA ‘Just Shy of a Terrorist Organization’

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D., Fla.), former chair of the Democratic National Committee (DNC), on Tuesday accused the National Rifle Association of creating a "culture of violence." Responding to comments by newly elected NRA President Oliver North, Schultz told HuffPost that the NRA is "kind of just shy of a terrorist organization." North had likened gun-control activists’ behavior to "civil terrorism," but Schultz said in response that violence is being stoked by the NRA’s support of gun rights. "The NRA is kind of just shy of a terrorist organization," Schultz said. "They have done everything they can to perpetuate the culture of violence that we have in our country with the spread of assault weapons across the nation." North said last week that the NRA is being targeted like no civil rights organization has been before, and he criticized students who have become vocal advocates for gun control following the February shooting in Parkland, Fla. "They call them activists. That’s what they’re calling themselves. They’re not activists — this is civil terrorism. This is the kind of thing that’s never been seen against a civil rights organization in America," North said. Schultz criticized North for saying the NRA is dealing with a coordinated political, media, financial, and cyber attack that, even during the Jim Crow era, civil rights organizations have not had to face. She hit back at the group for helping "spread assault weapons" that enable murderers. "The Jim Crow laws actually resulted in the deaths of people standing up for their rights," Schultz said. "People that are dying as a result of the infection that is the spread of assault weapons thanks to the NRA are being murdered in cold blood without any cessation or interest on the part of the NRA to do anything about it." North stated last week that the organization is not "on its heels" in the national conversation around guns, but Schultz said he is "deluding himself and his members." "It’s kind of like a spoiled child stamping their feet on the ground, insisting that something right in front of their face isn’t true," she said. Schultz also went after North for his past convictions in relation to the Iran Contra affair in the Ronald Reagan administration, even though North’s convictions were vacated over potentially tainted testimony. She argued it was ironic for North to accuse others of criminal behavior when the gun control activists are "standing up to make sure that we can keep people safe." The post Wasserman Schultz: NRA ‘Just Shy of a Terrorist Organization’ appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

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Ellison: ‘A Very Good Idea’ for Government to Regulate CEO Pay

Rep. Keith Ellison (D., Minn.) said Wednesday that the government should "start talking about" regulating pay disparities between CEOs and other employees. Ellison touted his report about newly disclosed figures showing CEOs make on average 339 times as much as the median employee. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) mandated the pay disclosures as part of the Dodd-Frank banking reform legislation, and Ellison said transparency is just the beginning. "Are you favoring the government actually regulating the relationship between CEO pay and the average worker?" Bloomberg host David Westin asked. "I think it is a very good idea, and I think we should start talking about it," Ellison replied. The congressman went on to say the country should be having a larger conversation with companies about the social cost of income inequality and pay disparities. He said shareholders should be critical of dividends obtained through risky practices that "end up imperiling the company." "This is a broad conversation that needs to, of course, take in policymakers like me," Ellison said. "But shareholders and investors need to be worried about this too because I do not think this leads to the overall health of the company. I think it takes care of a few people at the tip-top." Ellison based his argument on the "exorbitant amount of money" CEOs make compared to workers, as shown in the SEC-mandated disclosures. Ellison argued the pay discrepancies were "bad and extreme," citing Mattel’s CEO being paid "almost 5,000 times more than the average worker." He also said some companies try to hire part-time workers to whom they do not have to offer health care and retirement benefits, and he lambasted those that practice offshoring instead of paying American workers more. "Other companies come back and say, ‘Well, what about our workers overseas? They have a lower cost of living,’" Ellison said. "That just means you are offshoring to places where the wages are low, the environmental protections are low, the workers’ rights are low, the human rights are low, so you can make a lot of money." The post Ellison: ‘A Very Good Idea’ for Government to Regulate CEO Pay appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

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Survey: Manufacturers Boosting Investments and Wages Thanks to Trump Tax Cut

American manufacturers are investing in new equipment and facilities while also putting more money into workers' paychecks, according to a survey released Wednesday by the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM). Emerson chairman and CEO and NAM board chairman David Farr delivered the results of the new survey to the House Ways and Means Committee in testimony on Wednesday morning. Of the manufacturers surveyed, 72 percent said they're putting extra money from the tax cuts back into workers' benefits and salaries, 77 percent said they were hiring more employees, and 86 percent said they were investing in equipment and building plants. "Manufacturing in America is now rising to new heights, thanks to tax reform, and as a result, manufacturers of all sizes are already investing more, growing more, hiring more and paying more," Farr said in a press release. "They are already improving lives and livelihoods. And, as the survey results I'm releasing today show, we manufacturers are just getting started." NAM also pointed to a part of the survey that indicated 93 percent of those surveyed were optimistic for their companies and for the economy in general. In the 20 years in which they have been conducting the survey, NAM said the optimism response was a "near-record" high, and respondents pointed to the tax cuts as a specific reason for their answers. While unemployment has recently sunk to 3.9 percent, wage growth has remained "tepid" in the eyes of some analysts and economists, but those summaries are looking at the broader economy, and not just manufacturing. Also, a recent report by Bloomberg Quint noted that job turnover numbers have picked up in recent months, which could point to future gains in wages nationally. "The rate at which workers are leaving their jobs has accelerated to cycle highs in the past six months as measured by the Jobs Openings and Labor Turnover report," the Bloomberg Quint article noted. "This indicates a strong labor market where workers are confident that if they leave their job they can easily find another. Based on its current trajectory, the quit rate may soon reach levels not seen since the series began back in the hot job market of 2000." In his testimony before the Ways and Means Committee, Farr told the stories of four companies—in Colorado, Maine, and two in Ohio—to illustrate the reinvestment into wages, equipment, and facilities. "This feeling of optimism ripples up and down the supply chain," Farr told the committee. "The combination of lower rates, incentives to upgrade capital equipment and the move toward a territorial system has primed small and large companies for growth, and it has started. Emerson's year-to-date USA sales are up more than 8 percent in our fiscal 2018." Economists are waiting to see if wage growth can accelerate so as to compete with inflation, which has also been growing recently. The post Survey: Manufacturers Boosting Investments and Wages Thanks to Trump Tax Cut appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

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PolitiFact: Dem Candidate’s Claim of Not Being a Politician Is ‘Mostly False’

Randy Bryce, a Wisconsin Democrat running for the seat currently held by Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R., Wis.), claimed last week he wasn't a politician, but this is the fourth time he has run for public office. The Pulitzer Prize-winning fact-checking website PolitiFact ruled Tuesday that Bryce's claim was "most false" since he has now run for public office four times in the last six years. Bryce made the comment during the May 6 episode of Showtime's "The Circus." Co-host Mark McKinnon asked Bryce whether he was a politician, prompting the candidate to say, "No, and I think that's what people like." While Bryce is seen as a newcomer on the national stage, he previously ran for three different offices–including two partisan offices–over the span of just over two years. Bryce lost by 40 points in the Democratic primary for an open seat in the Wisconsin Assembly in August 2012. He then ran for the Racine Unified School Board in February 2013, where he was one of four candidates that were eliminated. In November 2014, Bryce then lost by over 21 points in the general election for an open state Senate seat. Mordecai Lee, a University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee political science professor and former Democratic state lawmaker, believes Bryce is more like "a wanna-be politician" than an actual politician. Political Wire publisher Taegan Goddard, however, believes there is a stronger argument that he is a politician. "If you continue to run, you’re spending a decent amount of effort trying to win public office — you’re a politician in that case," he said, adding, "If you’re going to spend that much time running for a congressional seat, that is a full-time job." The National Republican Congressional Committee said Bryce has continued to lose elections because voters see through his "phony character." "Randy Bryce already suffered three humiliating defeats because Wisconsin voters see right through the phony character he’s created. By the end of 2018, it will be four," NRCC regional press secretary Chris Martin told the Washington Free Beacon. PolitiFact went on to say Bryce's claim that he is not a politician "verges on disingenuous." Indeed, for Bryce to flatly reject the label of politician as he did on Showtime, verges on disingenuous. In the eyes of a typical ironworker who has never run for public office, Bryce’s four runs might make him look very much like a politician. And he hasn’t been working the iron during 2018, his campaign told us, as he runs full time for Ryan’s seat. […] The ironworker and candidate for Ryan’s U.S. House seat has not been elected to public office and has not held a government position. And there is no universal definition of politician. But Bryce, who is active in the Democratic Party, is making his fourth run for public office in the past six years. And his current run is by far the most involved — as the nearly $5 million he has raised, his national endorsements and leaving his job to campaign full time would attest. Bryce’s statement has some element of truth but is misleading. We rate it Mostly False. The post PolitiFact: Dem Candidate’s Claim of Not Being a Politician Is ‘Mostly False’ appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

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Hamas Official: 50 of Those Killed in Gaza Riots Were Members of Terror Group

A senior Hamas official said Wednesday that 50 of the 62 Palestinians reported killed in riots at the Israel-Gaza Strip border on Monday and Tuesday were members of the Islamist terrorist group. "In the last rounds of confrontations, if 62 people were martyred, 50 of them were Hamas," Dr. Salah Albardawil said in an interview with an Arabic news outlet, according to the Times of Israel. Albardawil was responding to a question about Hamas sending kids to die in the border riots as political fodder. The Israel Defense Forces tweeted out that portion of Bardawil's interview with English subtitles. Hamas official, Dr. Salah Al-Bardawil is clear about terrorist involvement in the riots pic.twitter.com/p5My6JGQRr — IDF (@IDFSpokesperson) May 16, 2018 IDF spokesperson Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus described Albardawil's statement as proof that Hamas, which controls Gaza, is behind the violent Palestinian demonstrations at Israel's border. "This proves what so many have tried to ignore: Hamas is behind these riots, and the branding of the riots as ‘peaceful protests' could not be further from the truth," he said. Albardawil's comments came three days after another senior Hamas official, Mahmoud al-Zahhar, said that the ongoing demonstrations are "not peaceful resistance," but rather supported by the group's "military force." Islamic Jihad, another Palestinian terrorist group, told Haaretz that three of the 62 killed were members of its military wing. "This does not authorize the Israeli army to slaughter them. Did anyone of them carry a weapon or endanger a soldier?" an Islamic Jihad official said. The IDF had said Tuesday that at least 24 members of Hamas and Islamic Jihad were killed in clashes Monday. According to the Hamas-run Gaza health ministry, 62 people in total were killed in this week's riots. Over the past seven weeks, thousands of Palestinians have gathered at the Gaza border for what organizers call the "March of Return," and clashed with Israeli soldiers. This week's demonstrations were the bloodiest to date and occurred as the U.S. embassy in Israel officially moved to Jerusalem on Monday, to coincide with the 70th anniversary of the creation of the modern state of Israel. During the riots, some Palestinians, including terrorist operatives, attacked Israeli soldiers with Molotov cocktails and other weapons, and they tried to breach the border fence. Israel received international criticism for killing dozens of Palestinians during the riots, but the White House said responsibility for any bloodshed laid with Hamas. On Tuesday, Israel delivered trucks full of medical supplies and humanitarian aid to Gaza, but Hamas turned away large quantities of the aid. A day earlier, Israel reopened the Kerem Shalom crossing, the main entry point for goods and aid entering Gaza, after Palestinian rioters set it ablaze and caused millions in damage in an earlier round of demonstrations. The post Hamas Official: 50 of Those Killed in Gaza Riots Were Members of Terror Group appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

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