Author Archives: Bone Fish

FBI: Virginia Gunman Emailed With Two Democrat Senators Before Attacking Republican Lawmakers [video]

https://i0.wp.com/cdns.yournewswire.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/shooter-contacted-democrats-678x381.jpeg

James Hodgkinson, the baseball field shooter who had a list of Republican congressmen he planed to kill, exchanged emails with two Democratic senators from Illinois prior to the shooting, according to new information released by the FBI.

Mainstream media went into damage control mode after the shooting and attempted to portray Hodgkinson, 66, as a lone wolf. However the new information from the FBI opens the door to a wider investigation, amid claims Hodkingson was acting as a political operative.

While the FBI did not name the Senators, Illinois has two Democrats currently serving in the United States Senate – Richard Durbin and Tammy Duckworth. Durbin has already attempted to distance himself from the shooter, despite admitting he has an eight year email history with Hodgkinson.

Here’s a man for eight years who expresses himself to me in private emails and never once crosses a line where I would say, ‘Wait a minute, I want to take look at this man, I want to turn this over to somebody,’” Illinois’ senior senator told The 21st.

Hannity reports: After he was shot and killed by local police, law enforcement found a note in Hodgkinson’s pocket with the names of six members of congress written on it.

The suspect spent three months before the attack living in a van just outside the Washington metro area, running out of money, and visiting tourist attractions in and around the nation’s capital.

Prior to the mass shooting, Hodgkinson visited the senate office of democrat Bernie Sanders, whose failed presidential campaign the gunman had volunteered for.  The FBI also said the shooter had been in contact with the offices of democratic senators Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth.

In the immediate aftermath of the “assault,” Sanders issued a public statement denouncing his volunteer.

“I have just been informed that the alleged shooter at the Republican baseball practice is someone who apparently volunteered on my presidential campaign,” Sanders said in the statement. “I am sickened by this despicable act. Let me be as clear as I can be. Violence of any kind is unacceptable in our society and I condemn this action in the strongest possible terms.

By Baxter Dmitry | Your News Wire

 

Update: Terms Of Surrender In California

“Any person who from January 1, 2001 to December 31, 2016 inclusive, lawfully possessed an assault weapon that does not have a fixed magazine as defined in Penal Code … including those weapons with an ammunition feeding device that can be readily removed from the firearm with the use of a tool (commonly referred to as a bullet-button weapon) must register the firearm before January 1, 2018,” the State of California mandated in a May regulation notice.

It’s grand of them to finally share that with us, particularly after an earlier notice advised “The draft regulations are not open for public comment due to the exemption set forth in [the] Penal Code … Per the stated exemption, the Department is not required to provide further clarification.”

It would not have been surprising had they added “So there.”

Still, as the antis often ask us about guns, how many so-called “assault weapon” bans does “the Golden State” need?

They already had a 1989 ban on specific firearm models. A follow-up ban 10 years later on cosmetic characteristics inspired The New York Times to proclaim, “California enacts the toughest ban on assault guns.”

“This is a prototype for reasonable gun-control legislation,” the measure’s sponsor, State Senator Don Perata (holder of an elite “may issue” concealed carry permit), said at the time. “And if it can be done in California, I would argue that it can be done in the United States as a whole.”

That, of course, is one of the goals, along with promoting rabid gun-grabbers as the arbiters of what is “reasonable.”

As for the new edict, assuming a firearm was ‘legally acquired on or before December 31, 2016” and other qualifiers are met, there are all kinds of other hoops gun owners will be required to jump through. That includes typical and expected registration stuff, like name and identifying information for both the owner and the gun. They have to know who you are, what you’ve got and where they can find it (and you). “Common sense gun safety” and all.

Not content with just that, the gun-haters in Sacramento are also requiring “joint registration,” and I’m not talking about for legalized weed (see “A Mess of Pottage,” October 2016 issue). This decree applies if you want to be able to share enjoyment of your property with qualifying family members, and requires a “primary registrant” along with “acceptable forms” of “proof of address for each joint registrant.”

As an aside, compare that to “progressives” objecting to Voter ID laws because they claim proving you are eligible to vote “disenfranchises minorities.” You’ll note they never pull that argument when it comes to gun ownership requirements.

Imagine the cow they’d have if those voters were also required to have Internet access, because that’s also a mandate.

“Assault weapon registrations must be filed electronically using the Department’s California Firearms Application Reporting System (CFARS)” the order specifies.

That shows nothing if not bureaucratic zeal, and the motivation appears to be gloating, in-your-face harassment. Because half-a-year in, California gun owners are still unable to comply with the new “law’s” requirements. The utility to register isn’t working yet. At this writing, this language still appears on the California Department of Justice website in bold red letters:

“UPDATE AS OF Thu Jun 01 2017 15:10:35 GMT-0400 (Eastern Daylight Time) : The ability to register an Assault Weapon … is not yet available… Assault Weapon registration regulations must be effective before any registrations can take place. At this time, the regulations are still pending, however they should be effective in the very near future. Please continue to check the Bureau of Firearms website for updates.”
But wait, there’s more!

Because now imagine those “disenfranchised voters” also being required to own a digital camera. Gun owners are required to provide “Clear digital photos of firearms listed on the application.

“One photo shall depict the bullet button-style magazine release installed on the firearm,” the regulations order. “One photo shall depict the firearm from the end of the barrel to the end of the stock if it is a long gun or the point furthest from the end of the barrel if it is a pistol. The other two photos shall show the left side of the receiver/frame and right side of the receiver/frame.

“These locations are typically where firearms are marked when manufacturing is complete,” the instructions elaborate. “At the discretion of the Department the last two photos shall be substituted for photos of identification markings at some other locations on the firearm.”

“Discretion”? How? When? It’s like they’re trying to create compliance violations based on applicants not knowing what the … uh … heck they want.

For a “Firearm Manufactured By Unlicensed Subject (FMBUS),” there’s a department-issued serial number that needs to be taken in to a “Federal Firearms Licensed Manufacturer (type 07),” who is “under no obligation to perform this work.” Alternatively, “Persons who have manufactured their own firearm may also use non-licensed parties to apply the serial number and other required markings, however, the owner of the weapon must not leave the firearm unattended with an unlicensed party in violation of firearms transfer and/or lending laws.”

Then there are the fees, “$15.00 per person per transaction.” If you want “a copy of the original registration disposition letter,” that’ll be another 5 bucks. And they’ll only accept payment via credit or debit card.

Again, think of those “disenfranchised” voters.

Then think of something else. Think of the Second Amendment. Think of “shall not be infringed.” Think of the Founders who envisioned an armed citizenry capable of meeting “enemies foreign and domestic” with equivalent weaponry.

Here’s what it boils down to: Those of us who believe government exists to serve the people believe we have a right to keep and bear arms. Those who believe people exist to serve the government believe we do not.

The California Rifle and Pistol Association, with the backing of the National Rifle Association Institute for Legislative Action, filed a lawsuit in April challenging the new ban. It will go through the courts for years. When it reaches the “liberal” Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, expect them to cite precedent and side with the state. When that’s appealed to the Supreme Court, all they need do for the law to stand is… nothing. If they decline hearing the case, the law will stand. And even if they hear it, there are no outcome guarantees.

In the mean time, gun owners have been dictated the terms of their unconditional surrender. Obey or be declared a criminal, and suffer all the penalties the state can bring down on your head to make an example of you to everyone else. Or flee to another state; one of those Don Perata envisioned exporting his “reasonable” disarmament to.

Let’s work toward reclaiming our right to keep and bear arms, heeding Patrick Henry’s warning to “guard with jealous attention the public liberty.” And let’s hope the Supreme Court ends up doing the right thing.

If they don’t, you’re going to have to ask yourself “What would Captain John Parker do?” If you don’t know who he was, you probably ought to make it a point to find out.

by David Codrea | Gun Magazine

Something’s Fishy About The USS Fitzgerald Story

Under no circumstances should a US Navy vessel possibly be damaged by a container ship at sea. Multiple systems exist to prevent this. Even CNN is noticing how little we know about the catastrophe that took the lives of seven sailors and almost caused a powerful warship to founder.

https://s14-eu5.ixquick.com/cgi-bin/serveimage?url=http%3A%2F%2Ft0.gstatic.com%2Fimages%3Fq%3Dtbn%3AANd9GcRVMf6VZBE0lv-KmPIKsedj535xF2G7kfKtQleBXVae17anKKAF&sp=706896c744d90f3a8f5c4620b577874a&anticache=790609

The USS Fitzgerald, an anti-ballistic missile destroyer that was part of the USS Ronald Reagan carrier strike group, will no longer be ready to defend the carrier and other ships from missile attacks launched from North Korea, should push come to shove in the current confrontation with the rogue regime on the threshold of the capability to attack New York, Los Angeles, and our power grid with nuclear missiles.  This is an incident that could affect the outcome of a nuclear confrontation of historic moment.

Brian Joondeph yesterday noted how the media have distorted what really happened, by reporting a “collision,” as if the ships randomly bumped each other in the fog or something. The truth is that the ACX Crystal, a ship with somewhat murky provenance, rammed into the Fitzgerald with calamitous results:

[Vice Adm. Joseph P. Aucoin of the 7th fleet] described the damage as “extensive,” adding that there was a big puncture and gash below the waterline on one side of the ship. He also said three compartments were severely damaged.

“The ship is salvageable … [it] will require some significant repair,” Aucoin said. “You will see the USS Fitzgerald back … It will take months, hopefully under a year.”

Retired Rear Admiral John Kirby describes forCNNthe extent of the chaos unleashed:

First, we know the crew fought heroically to save their ship and the lives of their shipmates. We know that from early reports by Navy officials but also from the images that flashed across our screens, our tablets and our phones after the incident happened early Saturday.

One look at the crushed, twisted starboard side, the hoses flaked about, the water being discharged, the frantic work being done tells you all you need to know about the stuff you can’t see in those same images: a fiercely brave crew working together to staunch the flooding, to rescue their shipmates and to save their ship.

You can be certain they ended up drenched, exhausted, scraped and bruised — but not broken. They kept that ship from foundering for 16 brutal hours. And they brought her back into port.

We received an email from a Navy Mother that raises serious questions. We will redact her name, while the rumors (and that’s how they must be categorized for now) reported by her son aboard the Fitzgerald are checked out. Here is what she wrote to us:

My son is assigned to the USS Fitzgerald. I am unable to share his rate with you.

The information is short and not so sweet. The implications are disturbing.

The ship is registered in the Philippines. We do not know who the owner is. The container ship neither had its running lights or transponder on. That is an action taken willfully. Furthermore, for the container ship to strike with such accuracy is troublesome. Given what some have done with cars in Europe, what a feather in the cap it would be to sink a U.S. Navy warship. Think on that.

My son missed being washed out to sea by the blink of an eye. He was on his way to one of the berthing areas that was rammed.

Yes, language is important. “Rammed” is the perfect word.

Loving and Concerned Navy Mother

If there is any substance to this – that the ACX Crystal disabled protective systems and rammed the Fitzgerald at high speed aimed at critical facilities (evident from the damage)

https://i2.wp.com/admin.americanthinker.com/images/bucket/2017-06/198851_5_.png
https://i1.wp.com/admin.americanthinker.com/images/bucket/2017-06/198866_5_.png

…we have to consider the possibility of an asymmetric warfare attack designed to disable missile defense of a carrier strike group, as North Korea demonstrates the ability to make exactly such attacks on a multi billion dollar warship carrying thousands of sailors.

By Thomas Lifson | American Thinker

Shots Fired At Truck Flying ‘Make America Great Again’ Flag

https://tribwxin.files.wordpress.com/2017/06/shot-in-vehicle.jpg?quality=85&strip=all&w=768&h=432&crop=1

Bullet hole in Dodge pickup truck (Photo courtesy of Indiana State Police)

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Indiana State Police say shots were fired at a truck carrying a “Make America Great Again” flag and an American flag on eastbound I-465 Tuesday.

Officers believe the shots were fired from a newer white 4-door Chevrolet Malibu with a Louisiana plate near Emerson Avenue around 4 p.m.

The victim and a witness informed police that the Malibu pulled up next to the pickup truck, a passenger held a handgun out of the window and then a male fired several shots.

Police say no one was in injured in the incident.

The driver of the Malibu was described as a black male around the age of 23. The passenger was described as a light skinned black male with a sleeve tattoo on his right arm.

State police are asking anyone who may have witnessed the incident to call 317-899-8577.

Source: FOX59 News

Rare Footage of Bruce Lee’s Only ‘Real’ Fights Ever Recorded

Rare video footage of Bruce Lee actually fighting. Uploader purports that it’s the only recording of Bruce Lee in a real MMA fight. First he fights Ted Wong, one of his top Jeet Kune Do students. They are allegedly wearing protective gear because they weren’t allowed to fight without them as per California state regulations.

The second fighter is Taky Kimura, and the matches took place in 1964, at the Long Beach International Karate Championships.

Source: Twisted Sifter

Albertson’s Reveal Supermarket Meltdown as Global Deep-Discounters Promise Price Wars in US Markets

Aldi’s $5 billion bet at a brutal time.

https://s17-us2.ixquick.com/cgi-bin/serveimage?url=http%3A%2F%2Fimages1.miaminewtimes.com%2Fimager%2Fu%2Foriginal%2F7753986%2Faldi_freezer.jpg&sp=cda6bf12e9a53335c7b2bb9da1319369

Aldi Market on Biscayne Boulevard In Miami Florida.

Today, Albertson’s explained in an amended S-4 filing for a debt exchange offering just how tough things have gotten for traditional supermarket chains.

As is so often the case, there is a private equity angle to it. Albertson’s was acquired in a 2005 LBO by a group of PE firms led by Cerberus. In January 2015, it acquired Safeway to eliminate some competition. It then wanted to sell its shares to the public. But in October 2015, as brick-and-mortar retail began to melt down, it scrapped its IPO.

The filing’s most revealing data are same-store sales on a quarterly basis through Q4, 2016, comparing year-over-year sales growth at stores that have been open in the current and prior year. I added the red line to show the trend since Q3 2015:

https://i0.wp.com/wolfstreet.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/US-Albertsons-same-store-sales.png

The S-4 supplied some reasons for the decline:

Our identical store sales decrease in fiscal 2016 was driven by a decrease of 1.9% in customer traffic partially offset by an increase of 1.5% in average ticket size. During fiscal 2016 our identical store sales were negatively impacted by food price deflation in certain categories, including meat, eggs and dairy, together with pressure to maintain competitive pricing in response.

The two key factors boil down to competition, precisely what the Safeway acquisition was supposed to have eliminated:

  • A “1.9% decline in customer traffic.”
  • “Pressure to maintain competitive pricing in response.”

In other words, starting in Q1 2016, competition pushed previously strong same-store sales growth off the cliff.

Given a series of acquisitions by Albertson’s over the years, total sales rose. The following are sales for the 12-month periods:

  • Through Feb. 2015: $27.2 billion
  • Through Feb. 2016: $58.7 billion (includes Safeway)
  • Through Feb. 2017:  $59.7 billion (includes 29 Haggen Stores and 76 A&P stores)

At the end of 2013, the company had 1,075 stores. It then acquired, divested, opened, and closed numerous stores. By the end of 2015, it had 2,271 stores. And by the end of 2016, it had 2,324 stores.

So in 2016, the net store count increased 2.3% but revenues inched up only 1.7%. Hence the decline in same store sales.

During those three 12-month periods respectively, the company had losses before income taxes of: $1.38 billion, $541 million, and $463.6 billion.

And it had total debt of a breath-taking $12.3 billion as of February 25, 2017, up from $3.7 billion in 2013 before the acquisition of Safeway and the other chains.

It’s not going to get better anytime soon.

On Sunday, Aldi announced it would invest $3.4 billion to expand its base in the US to 2,500 stores by 2022. The privately held discount-grocery chain headquartered in Germany already has over 1,600 stores in the US. It also owns Trader Joe’s, which has an additional 464 grocery stores. In February, Aldi had announced that it would add 400 stores by the end of 2018 and spend $1.6 billion to “remodel and expand” 1,300 of its stores by 2020.

This would bring its newly announced investment in the US to $5 billion. The expansion will make Aldi the third-largest grocery chain operator in the US behind Wal-Mart and Kroger, the company said. And it’s going to compete on price.

“As we continue to expand and grow, our purchasing power continues to increase and allows us to bring products at better prices for consumers,” Scott Patton, Aldi’s head of corporate buying, told Reuters.

Another German grocery store chain, deep-discounter Lidl with 10,000 stores in 27 European countries has plans to open as many as 600 stores in the US, it revealed in May. Its first store will open on June 15. It expects to have 100 stores along the East Coast a year from now. It said it would undercut competitors by up to 50%.

This threat by arch-competitor Lidl stimulated Aldi’s thinking; CEO Jason Hart Hart said in a statement that Aldi’s prices also would be about 50% below those of traditional grocery stores.

Aldi has always focused on in-house brands to obtain the deepest price cuts. The company’s shares aren’t publicly traded, and quarterly earnings reports don’t cause any kind of ruckus.

Kroger, the largest supermarket chain in the US, booked a sales increase of 5% in 2016, but its net income fell 4.5%, and its shares, after a series of earnings disappointments, are down over 25% from the end of 2015, even as the rest of the stock market was booming.

Then there’s Wal-Mart Stores, the second largest grocery seller in the US. It’s experimenting with lower prices in 11 states and is hounding its vendors to undercut their competitors by 15%. According to analysts cited by Reuters, it’s willing to spend $6 billion on these efforts.

Target too has been plowing more aggressively into the grocery market. Online grocery sales are taking sales away from brick-and-mortar locations. Amazon is now more than just dabbling in it. Everybody wants into this $630-billion-a-year market.

Alas, over the past six years, sales at grocery stores are up a total of 14%, not adjusted for inflation, according to the retail trade report by the Commerce Department. Over the same period, the Consumer Price Index for food rose 14%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. So in inflation-adjusted terms, over the past six years, “real” sales have been flat.

The price war will be a godsend for consumers, at least for a while. But what gives?

Shares of Whole Foods Market have fallen 42% since late 2013 as it grapples with the new environment. And there have been 18 bankruptcies among US grocery store chains since 2014, according to Reuters, including Marsh Supermarkets and Central Grocers in May and Fairway Group Holdings, parent of the “iconic” New York chain Fairway Market, a year ago.

This is the environment that over-indebted Albertson’s and its private-equity backers hadn’t planned on finding themselves in. Beyond PE firm Cerberus, the backers include real-estate investors Klaff Realty and Lubert-Adler, REIT Kimco Realty, and shopping center owner Schottenstein Stores.

To unload the company in an IPO on the unsuspecting public and conniving institutional investors managing the unsuspecting public’s money, the backers must have a buoyant and blind stock market because for equity investors, this must be one of the most toxic combinations: a brick-and-mortar supermarket chain in the age of online sales that was bought by a PE firm, loaded up with debt as it became a supermarket roll-up, in a stagnant market that is attracting the biggest deep-discounters from around the world.

By Wolf Richter | Wolf Street

Billionaire Chairman Of Chinese Conglomerate Anbang Detained

Wu Xiaohui’s detention is the highest-profile development in a sweep of China’s financial industry by corruption investigators that began in earnest in January

https://i0.wp.com/www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user5/imageroot/2017/06/04/anbang%20chairman_0.jpg

Anbang Insurance, China’s hyperacquisitive insurance rollup, which was responsible for a sizable portion of China’s merger spree between 2014 and 2016, and which has since been accused of being a money laundering vehicle, of wreaking “havoc” with the Chinese insurance market, and was a potential investor in Jared Kushner’s 666 Fifth Avenue building until the deal fell apart in March, announced that its billionaire Chairman Wu Xiaohui, is “unable to perform his duties” due to personal reasons, confirming Chinese media reports that the tycoon had recently been detained by authorities.

On Tuesday, China’s Caijing reported that Wu – whose net worth was recently estimated at over $1 billion – was taken away by Chinese authorities, citing unidentified people. The report said that officials from the China Insurance Regulatory Commission met with a small group of Anbang staff on June 10 and didn’t provide specific reasons for Wu being taken. Curiously the report, which did not explain if Wu was assisting with a government investigation or was himself the target of a price, was later deleted from the magazine’s website.

A person familiar with the matter told the South China Morning Post that Wu had been “assisting relevant investigations” and previously had always returned to his office or home after a few hours of questioning. Wu hasn’t returned since he was taken away at the end of last week, the person said.

Last week, the FT reported that Wu was barred by Chinese authorities from leaving the country, however Anbang denied the report.

Xiaohui led Anbang’s rapid rise and abrupt emergence in the international business arena,  where the company became known for its ambitious takeover bids. In October of 2014, Anbang bought the Waldorf Astoria in New York for $1.95 billion, a record for a single American hotel, and later closed the property while it converts most of the rooms to luxury condominiums. In early 2016, Anbang agreed to buy Strategic Hotels & Resorts, owner of 16 high-end hotels in the U.S., from Blackstone for about $6.5 billion. One hotel next to a major naval base later dropped out of the purchase amid national security concerns. About the same time as Anbang agreed to the Strategic purchase, it made a surprise $14 billion offer for Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, starting a bidding war with Marriott International Inc. A few weeks later, Anbang unexpectedly walked away from the bid, having forced Marriott to increase its offer by about $1 billion. Anbang also had an agreement to buy Fidelity & Guaranty Life, however the deal was canceled in April after the Chinese company failed to meet transaction deadlines.

https://s16-us2.ixquick.com/cgi-bin/serveimage?url=https%3A%2F%2Fs.thestreet.com%2Ffiles%2Ftsc%2Fv2008%2Fphotos%2Fcontrib%2Fuploads%2Fanbang_600x400.jpg&sp=0b1122de1f61d995c0953329ebe6d029

Most notably, Anbang had been in talks to invest in the proposed redevelopment of 666 Fifth Ave. in New York, the marquee building of Kushner Cos., the family company of President Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner. Talks broke off in March.

However, once Beijing cooled on offshore M&A amid a crackdown on shady financial dealings encouraging capital flight, the company quickly became a target for domestic anger, suffering the wrath of local regulators over his company’s risky reliance on life insurance policies to raise funds, as well as an opaque corporate structure, profiled extenisvely by the NYT.

In a statement posted on its website, Anbang announced that other senior managers have been authorized to carry out Wu’s responsibilities and operations are normal.

As Bloomberg notes, the news adds to the intrigue surrounding one of the country’s most aggressive overseas deal makers, which only came into being in 2004. Since it embarked on a global takeover spree three years ago, Anbang has drawn attention for making preemptive offers and disrupting transactions already in place. Wu has personally negotiated deals without using traditional investment banks.

Wu, who is married to the granddaughter of Chinese revolutionary and statesman, Deng Xiaoping, doesn’t speak English and often travels with translators. The vast majority of Anbang is collectively owned by relatives of Wu or his wife, Zhuo Ran, the New York Times has reported, although its corporate structure is so opaque it is difficult to trace ownership.

As the FT reported earlier, Xiaohui’s detention is the highest-profile development in a sweep of China’s financial industry by corruption investigators that began in earnest in January, when a well-known financier was escorted from a luxury hotel in Hong Kong by Chinese police and taken across the border. Xiao Jianhua has not been heard from since, and there has been no official confirmation that he is under arrest.

Source: ZeroHedge