The Western Journal

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Program Analyzing Signatures in Kari Lake Case Ranks 10 Percent Match as 'High-Confidence,' County Denies - Report

A battle is raging over the way in which Arizona’s Maricopa County verifies that signatures on early ballots are genuine.

The issue is part of the legal battle being waged by Republican Kari Lake, who lost November’s gubernatorial election to Democrat Katie Hobbs. Part of Lake’s legal battle to have the results invalidated revolves around her allegations that a vast gulf exists between the principle of signature verification as outlined in county policies and the actual practices employed in the 2022 election.

Lake said Friday that the county will not allow her team to inspect signatures.

Amid that debate, a new report from the website Just the News indicates that the technology employed by Maricopa County might not be very effective at catching fraudulent signatures.

The report said Maricopa County uses a service called Verus Pro that is part of the software offered by Runbeck Election Services, which has a contract with the county.

At that point, differences emerged. Maricopa County said signatures are verified using “calling, mailing, texting and emailing the voters.”

The site said it was told by a county representative: “Maricopa County does not use Verus Pro for signature verification.”

However, Just the News said former Arizona Assistant Attorney General Jennifer Wright gave the site a copy of a contract effective last July between Maricopa County and Runbeck.

Signatures sent to Runbeck “are assigned a score based on the verification; signatures with a score of 10 or higher are routed to a high-confidence manual signature verification queue, and signatures with a lower score are routed to a low-confidence signature verification queue,” the contract said.

One catch: That’s 10 on a scale of 0 to 100, the report said, citing 2020 emails between Maricopa County officials and a Runbeck employee. In other words, the software has high confidence that a signature that scores as low as 10 out of 100 is genuine.

The report said a Maricopa Couty officials’ email noted that only readings “lower than 10” are “not marked as Accepted by Verus Pro.”

Maricopa County “won’t admit to using the software,” but contracts show a different reality, Wright said.

The 2022 contract also includes “the ability to turn Signature Verification on or off.”

The contract calls for processing “at least 3,600 signatures/hour” with the ability to “correctly assess if a signature is present on at least 80% of inbound images” on early ballot envelopes.

Maricopa County has not told Just the News what the Verus Pro services is used for if not for signature verification, the site reported.

Shelby Busch,  co-founder of We the People AZ, said the verification software is “absolutely pertinent” to Lake’s case.

“The county leans on signature verification as the last line of defense,” viewing it as a “failsafe” that assures “the election is safe,” Busch said, according to Just the News.

“But policy violations of signature verification” by involving “a third-party contractor” and providing them “access to [Personal Identifiable Information] and signatures on file of these voters … is huge,” she added.

Claiming the use of the software was “something the courts tried to prevent people from seeing,” Busch said she is “absolutely thrilled that it’s going to see its day in court.”

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Andrew Tate Released from Prison After Sending Out Cryptic Message to Followers

Romanian authorities released Andrew Tate and his brother Tristan from prison on Friday and will place them under house arrest.

Andrew, 36, and Tristan, 34, were arrested late last year on suspicion of organized crime and human trafficking.

During this time, the two have been held on “preventative arrest,” thereby allowing Romanian authorities to detain the brothers as authorities continue their investigation into them, according to the UK Mirror.

After having extended their detention three time prior, the Bucharest Court of Appeal granted the Tate brother’s appeal, which asked that they be allowed to serve the remainder of their detention under house arrest.

The decision overruled a judge’s ruling from last week, which would have extended their arrest for 30 more days, the Mirror reported.

Tate has maintained his innocence and a spokesperson for the brothers referred to the accusations against them as “fabricated.”

“We are ecstatic to announce the Romanian judicial system approved Andrew’s and Tristan Tate’s appeal against last week’s extension decision,” the spokesperson told told Mirror Fighting. “They will be placed under house arrest while the investigation continues.”

“We are appreciative of the judge and courts for allowing the brothers to return home. Both brothers are looking forward to being reunited with their families in Romania and want to extend their thanks to all the supporters who have stood by them during this time,” they said, according to the Mirror.

The spokesperson added, “They will continue to fight to clear their name of these fabricated accusations; however, this is a big step in the right direction.”

Further details surrounding the conditions of their release are to be released soon, Tate’s communications director, Mateea Petrescu, said.

Perhaps anticipating their release from prison, Tate – a recently converted Muslim – said in a tweet on Wednesday: “Friday. InshaAllah.” The phrase is Arabic for “if God wills.”

He has previously given out similar cryptic messages, such as when he said “The Matrix sent their agents,” after being arrested.

Interestingly enough, many have pointed out that both Tate and the original 1999 “The Matrix” movie were released on March 31.

As a multi-millionaire online celebrity and influencer, Tate frequently cites the sci-fi film and encourages his followers to escape the “work /consume/ die cycle.”

Clips of Tate’s appearances on podcasts have gone viral on social media for their promotion of topics related to masculinity. However, his controversial takes are frequently considered misogynistic and have led to him being banned on multiple platforms.

As of now, the two brothers have not been formally charged with a crime.

The post Andrew Tate Released from Prison After Sending Out Cryptic Message to Followers appeared first on The Western Journal.

Women's Basketball Coach Warns Critics and Media: 'We're Not Monkeys ... So Watch What You Say'

Emotions were running high after the top-seeded South Carolina women’s basketball team lost to Iowa in the Final Four of the NCAA tournament on Friday.

The 77-73 loss for the Lady Gamecocks marked a disappointing end to a season brimming with potential.

South Carolina was not just in the midst of a 42-game winning streak — the team also featured 2022 Naismith Player of the Year Aliyah Boston and Naismith Coach of the Year Dawn Staley.

Throw in what many consider one of the best defenses ever seen in women’s basketball, and even with budding superstar Caitlin Clark headlining the Iowa roster, it’s easy to see why South Carolina was favored going into the game.

But games aren’t played on paper, and all those accolades ultimately meant nothing when Clark and the Lady Hawkeyes pulled away in the fourth quarter to secure their spot in the national championship game.

Prior to the game, Hawkeyes head coach Lisa Bluder described trying to rebound against South Carolina as “going into a bar fight,” according to the Greenville News. Legendary Connecticut head coach Geno Auriemma voiced similar concerns in February.

And boy, did Staley have some choice words for her critics — particularly in the media — following the stunning loss on Friday.

After a reporter asked about other coaches describing Staley’s team as “bullies,” Staley unleashed — and even mentioned race in her tirade.

“We’re not bar fighters, we’re not thugs, we’re not monkeys, we’re not street fighters,” she said. “This team exemplifies how you need to approach basketball, on the court and off the court.”

“You can not like our team. You can not like me. But when you say things that you probably [shouldn’t] be saying … and you’re being heard, and you are a national writer for our sport, it just confirms what we already know.”

While Staley stopped just short of saying the quiet part out loud, she appeared to be heavily implying that the criticism her team garners is rooted in racism. South Carolina is a predominately black team, and Staley is herself black.

Conversely, Iowa is a mostly white team, with Clark also being white. It’s worth noting that it is rather difficult these days to throw a rock and not hit a glowing puff piece on Clark, the 2023 Naismith Player of the Year.

Staley seemed to allude to the attention given to Clark in follow-up comments:

“So watch what you say when you’re in public and you’re talking about my team in particular,” she said. “Just watch what you say about our team because it’s wrong.”

“If you really knew them like you really want to know other players that represent this game,” (a shot at Clark’s ubiquitous coverage?) “you would think differently.”

It was at this point that Staley explicitly mentioned race.

“So don’t judge us by the color of our skin,” she said. “Judge us by how we approach the game. And you may not like how we play the game. You may not like it. That’s the way we play. That’s the way I coach. I’m not changing.”

Clark and the Hawkeyes will face the LSU Tigers on Sunday in the women’s national championship game.

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Tragic Bible Story Comes True: Little Girl's Pet Goat Taken, Believed to Have Been Barbecued at Demand of Calif. Gov't

In the Old Testament of the Bible, in 2 Samuel 12, God sent the prophet Nathan to rebuke King David for stealing a man’s wife and having the man killed in battle.

To make David understand what he had done, the prophet told a parable, likening David’s crime to taking someone’s pet lamb and slaughtering it for a meal.

In his own words, Nathan explained, “There were two men in a certain town, one rich and the other poor. The rich man had a very large number of sheep and cattle, but the poor man had nothing except one little ewe lamb he had bought.

“He raised it, and it grew up with him and his children. It shared his food, drank from his cup and even slept in his arms. It was like a daughter to him,” he said. “Now a traveler came to the rich man, but the rich man refrained from taking one of his own sheep or cattle to prepare a meal for the traveler who had come to him.

“Instead,” Nathan said, the rich man “took the ewe lamb that belonged to the poor man and prepared it for the one who had come to him.”

The story struck David’s heart. The Bible says the king, who had once been a shepherd boy, “burned with anger” and he called for the rich man to either be struck down or be forced to pay “four times over” for the lamb, “because he did such a thing and had no pity.”

Now obviously, the tale about the lamb was told for David to realize his sins and repent, but the story isn’t that improbable — even in the modern world, apparently.

A California family recently filed a lawsuit against the local government and the district’s state fair, alleging they illegally seized and slaughtered their 9-year-old daughter’s pet goat.

Defendants named in the lawsuit include the Shasta County Sheriff’s Office, the Shasta Fair Association and others involved in the incident.

The white-and-brown Boer goat, named Cedar, was purchased by Jessica Long last April and was quickly adopted as a pet by her daughter, “who bonded with him while feeding and caring for him,” according to The Sacramento Bee.

On June 25, 2022, the family entered Cedar into the Shasta District Fair’s junior livestock auction.

The animals placed on auction are sold for their meat and are destined to be cooked into a meal. The fair rules specified that all animals, once entered into the auction, cannot be returned back to their owners, The Bee reported.

However, the Long family began having second thoughts and decided they didn’t want to sell Cedar off. So, before bidding began, they asked fair officials to allow them to withdraw the animal. Their request was reportedly denied and the goat was auctioned off for $902.

Prompted by her daughter’s tears, Long decided to sneak Cedar out later that night.

“The barn was mostly empty and at the last minute I decided to break the rules and take the goat that night and deal with the consequences later,” Long wrote in a June 27 email to the fair’s manager, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Because she lives in town, Long could not keep the goat at home. So she took him to a Sonoma County farm that sympathized with their plight — promising the buyer and the fair that she would pay them back.

The buyer accepted Long’s request and said they “did not object to the goat being saved from slaughter,” The Bee reported. But fair officials responded by demanding the goat be returned or Long would be charged with the animal’s theft, according to The Bee.

“As a mother I am not unsympathetic regarding your daughter and her love for her animal,” Shasta District Fair CEO Melanie Silva said in an emailed response to Long, according to the Bee. “Having said that please understand the fair industry is set up to teach our youth responsibility and for the future generations of ranchers and farmers to learn the process and effort it takes to raise quality meat.”

She added, “Making an exception for you will only teach [our] youth that they do not have to abide by the rules that are set up for all participants.”

Law enforcement eventually got involved and two deputies from the Shasta County Sheriff’s Office reportedly drove over 500 miles to confiscate the goat and then delivered it to the fair “for slaughter/destruction,” The Bee reported.

The Longs’ lawsuit alleges the deputies did so without a search warrant, but the sheriff’s office responded by saying that no warrant was needed.

Cedar’s fate is currently unknown but he is believed to have been slaughtered. This was done as a way to end the dispute over the goat’s ownership, Long alleged, according to the Times.

Can government be trusted to do the right thing?

Long called the authorities’ involvement an “egregious waste of police resources” and argued that they violated her family’s 4th Amendment and 14th Amendment rights to due process and protection from unreasonable search and seizure, the Times reported.

Long’s lawsuit is seeking actual, general and punitive damages.

The post Tragic Bible Story Comes True: Little Girl's Pet Goat Taken, Believed to Have Been Barbecued at Demand of Calif. Gov't appeared first on The Western Journal.

MLB Umps Admit They Blew Call Thanks to New Timer Rules, Team Left Confused

Major League Baseball just barely dodged a disaster on Opening Day 2023.

No, not because Los Angeles Angels star Anthony Rendon almost hit a fan, though that ugly incident went viral in its own right.

Rather, MLB’s much-ballyhooed new rules meant to speed up the pace of play took center stage after a strike was mistakenly assessed to the New York Mets on Thursday.

Controversy was largely avoided after the Mets beat the Miami Marlins 5-3. But the sixth-inning incident still cast an uncomfortable spotlight on some of these rule changes.

Why were the rules changed? Well, the slow pace and long games have often been cited as reasons why baseball’s popularity appears to be waning. At the very least, baseball certainly doesn’t have the cultural heft it did even 30 years ago.

So, “in an effort to create a quicker pace of play, a 30-second timer between batters will be implemented in 2023,” MLB explains in its own official glossary. “Between pitches, a 15-second timer will be in place with the bases empty and a 20-second timer with runners on base.”

Under these new rules, pitchers have 15 or 20 seconds to deliver a pitch, or they will be penalized with a ball. Batters must be “alert” and ready in the batter’s box with eight seconds left on the pitch clock, or they will be charged with a strike.

However, on Thursday, Mets utility star Jeff McNeil was given a strike because his teammate, slugger Pete Alonso, did not get back to first base fast enough after a pitch had been thrown.

The official MLB glossary makes nary a mention of that particular rule.

The Mets were understandably dumbfounded. And rather than speed up the pace of play, the call ironically brought the game to a standstill as Mets manager Buck Showalter came out onto the field to demand an explanation from the umps.

The announcers in the above video didn’t hide their displeasure with the call, calling it “absurd” and “just not right.”

“You can’t penalize the hitter; he didn’t do anything!” one of them protested.

The incorrect strike call was ultimately a moot point, as McNeil got an RBI during that plate appearance anyway.

And again, the Mets won the game. So why all the consternation?

According to Fox News, Showalter said the umps admitted to him that a strike should not have been assessed to McNeil.

So it was an honest mistake stemming from a misinterpretation of new rules. The least the offenders could do is spell out the correct interpretation of these new rules.

Instead, it appears that players, managers and umpires alike will be figuring out the rules as the season develops.

MLB had better hope that a bad call doesn’t actually cost a team a game.

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Former Federal Prosecutor Identifies Multiple Reasons Bragg's Case Against Trump Will Fail

Former Southern District of New York federal prosecutor Andy McCarthy laid out multiple reasons on Friday why Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s case against former President Donald Trump is likely to fail.

Though the indictment has not been made public yet, it reportedly centers on a hush money payment made to porn star Stormy Daniels in 2016 by Trump’s then-personal attorney Michael Cohen, according to The New York Times.

Cohen said what business records indicated were payments to him were really reimbursements for $130,000 he paid to Daniels so she would not discuss an alleged sexual liaison she had with Trump in 2006.

In 2018, Cohen pleaded guilty to his payment to Daniels being an improper in-kind campaign donation to Trump, though it did not go to Trump’s presidential campaign.

McCarthy told Fox News on Friday that he didn’t think Cohen was guilty of campaign finance violations, but was trying to curry favor with federal prosecutors who had charged him with multiple fraud and tax evasion counts in matters not related to Trump.

“He was guilty of a bunch of other fraud counts, which drove his sentencing guidelines up. [Prosecutors] threw in two campaign finance violations because they were trying to make a case on Trump,” McCarthy said.

“[Cohen] agreed to plead guilty of them in order to make himself a more attractive cooperating witness to the Southern District because he was trying to get a cooperation agreement,” he explained. “It didn’t work out for him and he ended up going to jail.”

It wasn’t the campaign finance violations that sent Cohen to jail, but all the other crimes he pleaded guilty to that did, McCarthy noted.

As for Trump, McCarthy said, “The federal prosecutors and the Federal Election Commission that actually have jurisdiction over federal campaign finance law investigated Trump on this and decided not to prosecute him.”

McCarthy listed other problems with Bragg’s case against Trump.

The DA must prove not only that the former president falsified business records, which is a misdemeanor, but also that he did so to conceal another crime.

“And here we have this very problematic situation where we’re told that the other crime is a federal campaign finance violation. And I think there are numerous problems with that legally,” McCarthy said.

“Legally, when the New York state statute talks about another crime, it clearly means another New York crime. Alvin Bragg does not have jurisdiction to enforce the federal campaign finance laws,” he pointed out.

“I don’t think that what Trump did here, no matter what you think of it, actually constitutes a violation of the campaign finance laws,” McCarthy said.

He elaborated in a piece for National Review that “as a matter of law, it is highly unlikely that the payment [to Daniels] — for which Cohen and Trump used their own personal funds, not campaign funds — was an in-kind campaign contribution.”

Do you think Bragg's prosecution of Trump will help Trump politically?

“There is no reason to believe Trump was intentionally trying to conceal a campaign-finance crime. There is, however, immense reason to believe that his actual motive was to avoid humiliation if his wife and family learned that he’d paid for a porn star’s silence about a fling,” McCarthy wrote.

“Falsifying records to avoid personal embarrassment is no doubt disreputable, politically and morally; but legally, it is not the concealment of a crime.”

During his Fox interview, McCarthy argued that even if Bragg’s team could prove it was a campaign finance violation, they’d have to convince a jury that Trump knew it was, and that’s why he falsified business records.

McCarthy concluded, “I don’t see how [Bragg] gets there.”

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