By Ned Parker (Reuters) - The New Black Panther Party, a "black power" movement, will carry firearms for self-defense during rallies in Cleveland ahead of next week's Republican convention, if allowed under Ohio law, the group's chairman said. The plan by the group this weekend comes as police in Cleveland brace for an influx of groups that plan demonstrations before and during the presidential nominating convention. During the attack last week in Dallas that killed five police officers, law enforcement officials said demonstrators carrying rifles led them to initially believe they were under attack by multiple shooters. Several other groups, including some supporters of presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, have said they will carry weapons in Cleveland. "If it is an open state to carry, we will exercise our second amendment rights because there are other groups threatening to be there that are threatening to do harm to us," Hashim Nzinga, chairman of the New Black Panther Party, told Reuters in a telephone interview. "If that state allows us to bear arms, the Panthers and the others who can legally bear arms will bear arms." Nzinga said he condemned the Dallas shootings. Officials in Ohio have said it will be legal for protesters to carry weapons at demonstrations outside the convention under that state’s "open carry" law, which allows civilians to carry guns in public. "Black power" groups promote defense against racial oppression, with some advocating for the establishment of armed self-defense groups, black social institutions and a self-sufficient economy. The New Black Panther Party has long called for a separate black nation. But Nzinga said the movement was now focused on protecting black Americans' rights. Academics say the New Black Panther Party remains marginal and largely representative of an older generation, in their 30s and 40s, rather than younger activists drawn to groups such as the anti-racism Black Lives Matter movement. The New Black Panther Party was founded in 1989 and adopted a more radical approach than the 1960s Black Panther Party. Members of the original group have denounced the New Black Panther Party as racist, but Nzinga says his movement includes original Black Panthers. The Southern Poverty Law Center, a hate group watchdog, describes the New Black Panther Party as “a virulently racist and anti-Semitic organization whose leaders have encouraged violence against whites, Jews and law enforcement officers." The center tracks years of public statements by the New Black Panther Party and other groups. Nzinga denied the group was racist but said it was a fact that Jews control Hollywood and the U.S. media. The center said the group is not known to have carried out any violent attacks. The black shooter in the Dallas killings "liked" the New Black Panthers and other black nationalist groups on Facebook but was not a member. "THERE TO PROTECT" Nzinga said he expected “a couple hundred” members of the New Black Panther Party to participate in and protect a black unity rally -- the "National Convention of the Oppressed" -- that is scheduled to begin in Cleveland on Thursday evening and end on Monday morning. Nzinga said he and the Panthers plan to leave Cleveland on Sunday, the day before the convention officially opens. “We are there to protect ... We are not trying to do anything else,” he said. "We are going to carry out some of these great legal rights we have -- to assemble, to protest and (to exercise) freedom of speech.” Nzinga says his group has grown amid racial tensions in the wake of a series of high-profile police killings of black men in the past two years. The Southern Poverty Law Center says the number of black militant chapters around the country grew from 113 in 2014 to 180 in 2015. The center says there are 892 hate groups total nationwide. It says white hate groups, such as the Aryan Brotherhood, have a much longer track record of carrying out violent attacks than black nationalist groups. Nzinga said his group has 36 chapters nationwide but declined to reveal membership numbers. “I have people literally calling me saying this is the first time in my life I protested and I loved it.” Nzinga told Reuters. "They want to be a part of something. They tried to be a part of the system and the system let them down so they want to be part of a rebellion.” (Reporting By Ned Parker; additional reporting by Daniel Trotta; editing by Stuart Grudgings.; Editing by David Rohde and Stuart Grudgings)
- The Independent
Controversial congresswoman previously said the Republican party belong to former president
- The Independent
Biden raises human rights in call with Saudi king as intelligence officials to release report on Khashoggi killing
President Joe Biden has spoken with King Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud of Saudi Arabia ahead of the release of a report from US intelligence officials that is expected to reveal that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman approved and likely ordered the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018. A White House report of their phone call on Thursday did not disclose whether they discussed the findings in the report. The leaders “discussed regional security, including the renewed diplomatic efforts led by the United Nations and the United States to end the war in Yemen, and the US commitment to help Saudi Arabia defend its territory as it faces attacks from Iranian-aligned groups,” according to a readout of their call.
- Business Insider
Ted Cruz rants about comedians, late night TV, and mask-wearing before shouting at people to 'just have fun' in wild CPAC speech
"Orlando is awesome. It's not as nice as Cancun, but it's nice," Cruz said, referring to the scandal he sparked by leaving Texas for Mexico.
What Harry thinks of The Crown, what the Queen got Archie for Christmas, and other key information.
Asian Man in Critical Condition After Being Stabbed in the Back With a Butcher Knife in NY Chinatown
An Asian man is in critical condition after getting stabbed by a butcher knife in New York's Chinatown on Thursday evening. The 36-year-old local resident was attacked around 6:15 p.m. near the federal courthouse, near the corner of Worth Street and Baxter street next to the Daniel Patrick Moynihan U.S. Courthouse, reports PIX11. Call came in at 6:20 for report of a stabbing at Baxter Street and Worth Street.
- Business Insider
Ted Cruz's colleagues mocked him by putting memes of his Cancun trip in the Senate gym locker room: 'Bienvenido de Nuevo, Ted!'
Those who turned up to the Senate gym Wednesday morning were welcomed by color printouts of Cruz's Cancun trip that read "Bienvenido de Nuevo, Ted!"
- National Review
Florida governor Ron DeSantis defended his state’s response to the coronavirus pandemic in a Friday morning speech to the Conservative Political Action Conference. DeSantis was the first elected official to speak to the conference, which is being held in Orlando, Fla., this year. Since the end of a summer surge in coronavirus cases, the state forbade local officials from shutting down businesses entirely and kept schools open for in-person learning where requested by parents. "Florida got it right and the lockdown states got it wrong." @GovRonDeSantis on Florida's response to COVID 19. #CPAC2021 #AmericaUnCanceled pic.twitter.com/ANWFWUTWGX — CPAC 2021 (@CPAC) February 26, 2021 “We are stronger as a state and much happier as a people. . . . Florida has lower per-capita COVID mortality than the national average, and lower than 27 other states,” DeSantis said. “Our unemployment rate is lower than the national average even though tourism isn’t fully back, and our budget is in great shape.” The governor added, “Florida got it right, and the lockdown states got it wrong.” Earlier in his speech, DeSantis described Florida as “an oasis of freedom in a nation that’s suffering from the yoke of oppressive lockdowns.” Florida’s death rate from coronavirus is roughly 141 per 100,000 people, according to Becker’s Hospital Review. Over 30,000 residents in total have died of the illness since the pandemic began. CPAC will continue into Sunday afternoon, when former President Trump is scheduled to deliver his first public speech since leaving office. Former Vice President Mike Pence reportedly declined to speak at the conference, citing Trump’s failure to prevent a mob of his supporters from storming the Capitol in early January.
- Fort Worth Star-Telegram
The House is expected to pass a stimulus deal with $1,400 checks on Friday.
- The Daily Beast
Joe Raedle/GettyDays after Sen. Ted Cruz ditched Texas during a deadly winter storm for the sandy beaches of Mexico, the Republican made light of the scandal in a bizarre speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Orlando.“I gotta say, Orlando is awesome. It’s not as nice as Cancun, but it’s nice,” Cruz quipped in his speech, titled “Bill of Rights, Liberty, and Cancel Culture.”The joke, which comes as Texas is still reeling from the unprecedented storm that left millions of residents without power and killed at least 30, was just one of many odd remarks the lawmaker made during his speech.Last week, photos emerged of Cruz boarding a Feb. 17 flight to Mexico as his state literally froze and millions of Texans were left in the dark and without drinkable water. After getting caught, Cruz caught a return flight to the U.S. on Feb. 18 and insisted he was merely trying to “be a good dad” by accompanying his daughters on a trip to Mexico. Texts from his wife to friends suggested the entire family planned to stay in Mexico until Feb. 21.During Cruz’s CPAC speech, which at times seemed more like a comedy routine, Cruz also took aim at those who exposed his trip—namely the media— and questioned the validity of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic that has killed over 500,000 Americans.Cruz Admits Tone-Deaf Cancun Vacay Was ‘a Mistake’ Over Literal Calls to Resign“This is just dumb,” Cruz said, pretending not to understand the importance of wearing a mask to curtail the spread of COVID-19. “We’re gonna wear masks for the next 300 years. And by the way, not just one mask—two, three, four—you can’t have too many masks! How much virtue do you wanna signal?”Likening the Republican party to the “rebel alliance” in Star Wars, Cruz then went after Democrats and the media, claiming they “are convinced that political theatre helps them.”“The media desperately, desperately wants a Republican civil war,” he said. “Liberty is under assault and what are we going to do? I will tell you: We will fight!”He then insisted that people should “lighten up”—before making a transphobic joke about a New York Times story that said 60 percent of women named Karen voted for Biden.“I’m willing to believe 80% of men named Karen voted for Joe Biden,” he said as the crowd burst into applause and cheers.Toward the end of his speech, as the crowd of conservatives began to change “freedom,” Cruz insisted that his close ally, former President Donald Trump, would make a valiant return.“Let me tell you this right now, Donald J Trump ain’t going anywhere,” he said.Before walking off the stage, the embattled Republican screeched to the crowd: “FREEDOM!”Read more at The Daily Beast.Got a tip? Send it to The Daily Beast hereGet our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.
- Yahoo News
A week after stirring outrage for taking a trip to Mexico during a deadly winter weather disaster in his home state, the Texas senator took the stage at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Florida with a joke.
- USA TODAY
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, plan to join President Biden during the president's trip to Houston on Friday.
- The Guardian
Parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough ruled provision in $1.9tn Covid stimulus bill did not qualify for budget reconciliation Ilhan Omar tweeted: ‘What’s a Democratic majority if we can’t pass our priority bills? This is unacceptable.’ Photograph: Leah Millis/Reuters The progressive Democrat Ilhan Omar has called for the firing of the government official who effectively blocked the party’s plans to raise the minimum wage. Democratic plans to include a gradual raise to $15 in Joe Biden’s $1.9tn coronavirus stimulus bill were effectively ended on Thursday when the Senate parliamentarian ruled it should not be part of the package. The decision by Elizabeth MacDonough, who has held the non-partisan position since 2012, dashed hopes of including the raise in the bill – the first increase in over a decade. “Abolish the filibuster. Replace the parliamentarian,” Omar said in a tweet. “What’s a Democratic majority if we can’t pass our priority bills? This is unacceptable.” Abolish the filibuster.Replace the parliamentarian.What’s a Democratic majority if we can’t pass our priority bills? This is unacceptable.— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) February 26, 2021 Biden campaigned on a pledge to increase the minimum wage to $15. Low-wage workers and unions have campaigned for a rise since 2012, and its inclusion in the coronavirus stimulus bill had been seen as a major victory. While the proposal faced universal opposition by Republican senators and skepticism from some Democrats, Senator Bernie Sanders and others were confident that it could be pushed through with a simple majority in the Senate, where the Democrats hold a slim majority. In order to achieve this, the proposal would have to be passed by “budget reconciliation” – a mechanism that allows legislation to bypass the 60% vote bills need to get through the Senate. Late on Thursday, MacDonough ruled that the wage increase did not meet the standards for budget reconciliation. The parliamentarian acts as an impartial judge and has only been removed from office once. MacDonough is well respected by many members of both parties, and the Biden administration seems unlikely to push for her removal. Other progressive Democrats have proposed a less drastic solution – overruling her. “The Senate parliamentarian issues an advisory opinion,” congresswoman Pramila Jayapal said in a tweet. “The VP can overrule them – as has been done before. We should do EVERYTHING we can to keep our promise, deliver a $15 minimum wage, and give 27 million workers a raise.” Sanders, one of the most ardent supporters of a minimum-wage increase, has proposed an alternative plan – imposing penalties and incentives to push companies toward higher wages. “I will be working with my colleagues in the Senate to move forward with an amendment to take tax deductions away from large, profitable corporations that don’t pay workers at least $15 an hour, and to provide small businesses with the incentives they need to raise wages,” Sanders said in a statement. “That amendment must be included in this reconciliation bill.” Sanders’ comments come after a Senate hearing on Thursday where he lambasted the low wages paid by McDonald’s, Walmart and others. Sanders pointed to a government report that found nearly half of workers who make less than $15 an hour rely on public assistance programs that cost taxpayers $107bn each year. The American people are “sick and tired” of subsidizing “starvation wages” at these companies, Sanders said.
- Business Insider
Merkel says she won't take AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine because she's too old, as 1.4 million jabs are left unused
The German chancellor said she wasn't eligible because the vaccine isn't approved for people over 65 in Germany.
Let the countdown begin, "Law & Order: SVU" fans!
Prince Harry says 99-year-old Prince Philip just slams his laptop shut instead of hanging up at the end of Zoom calls
The prince told James Corden that he'd had a few Zoom calls with his grandparents where they got to see Archie running around.
- NBC News
Family members told officers the man and woman were quarantining in their home in the St. Louis area.
- Raleigh News and Observer
The House is expected to pass a stimulus deal with $1,400 checks on Friday.
- Miami Herald
Two commercial fisherman from the mainland were jailed Thursday after police said they were caught in the Keys with a haul of illegal seafood that started with 100 undersized wrung lobster tails.
- The Week
Husband of Hitler-quoting GOP congresswoman parked his militia-stickered truck outside Capitol Jan. 6
Illinois state Rep. Chris Miller (R), the husband of freshman U.S. Rep. Mary Miller (R-Ill.), acknowledged Thursday that his pickup truck was parked in a restricted area outside the U.S. Capitol during the Jan. 6 riot, but he said the "Three Percenter" militia sticker on the back window doesn't mean anything. "Army friend gave me decal," Miller told The Daily Beast in an email late Thursday. "Thought it was a cool decal. Took it off because of negative pub." He said he "never was member" of the militia and "didn't know anything about 3% till fake news started this fake story and read about them." Online sleuths had linked him to the truck visible in footage from a CBS News report, earlier Thursday. The #Sedition3PTruck with government plates parked in a restricted zone from 1:02. #SeditionHunters #Sedition3P Source: https://t.co/DubmxJhjSZ pic.twitter.com/INCs6geEYg — Phoenix on Wheels (@phoenixonwheels) February 25, 2021 The Three Percenters, founded in 2008, are a "radical militia group" implicated in leading the Jan. 6 siege along with the Proud Boys, the Oath Keepers, and other far-right extremist groups, the FBI said in an affidavit filed in the case against alleged rioter Robert Gieswein. Their name comes from the apocryphal claim that only 3 percent of U.S. colonists fought in the Revolutionary War, and they fashion themselves as the same kind of tyranny-stomping "patriots." Miller's wife, Mary Miller, is most famous for favorably quoting Nazi leader Adolf Hitler at a "Moms for America" rally outside the Capitol on Jan. 5. "Hitler was right on one thing: whoever has the youth has the future," she told the rally, apologizing later when video of her comments went viral but insisting that "some are trying to intentionally twist my words to mean something antithetical to my beliefs." More stories from theweek.comJosh Hawley, Senator NoJournalist Tim O'Brien, who's seen Trump's taxes, thinks Trump's accountant will now flip in D.A. inquiryTa-Nehisi Coates is writing a new Superman movie
- The Week
Journalist Tim O'Brien, who's seen Trump's taxes, thinks Trump's accountant will now flip in D.A. inquiry
Bloomberg's Tim O'Brien, one of the few journalists who has seen former President Donald Trump's tax returns, told MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell on Thursday night he will sleep better now that Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance finally has eight years of Trump's financial documents, from 2011 to 2019. Trump "is very afraid of what's in these documents, I think," because they put him in serious criminal jeopardy, O'Brien said, but he isn't the only one implicated. O'Brien went on to explain why he thinks it's likely Trump's chief accountant, Allen Weisselberg, will flip on Trump. "The thing to really focus in on here is that it's not just the tax records that Cy Vance has now," O'Brien said. "He probably has reams and reams of the accountant's work product. This is a criminal case, they're going to need to prove criminal intent on the part of Trump, his three eldest children, Allen Weisselberg, and anyone else in the Trump Organization who's fallen under the parameters of this investigation. And if there are email and notes and other records of communication about what they intended to do when they inflated the value of buildings so they could get loans against them and then turned around and deflated the value of the buildings so they could pay lower taxes on them, and there's a communication around that that predates any of these tax entries, that is gold for a prosecutor." A few hours earlier, O'Brien told MSNBC's Nicolle Wallace that the particular eight years of documents Vance's team has "is important, because it predates Trump's ascent into the White House, and I think helps build the narrative around the money trail and Trump's motivations for his destructive and obscene dance with people like Vladimir Putin. It's a shame they couldn't go back further — think this is one of the tragic misses of Robert Mueller's investigation, he could have gone back further, I think, than Cy Vance is able to into Trump's finances." O'Brien also underscored that the investigation implicates at least Eric Trump and Ivanka Trump, and "it also targets people inside the Trump Organization who might flip on Trump if they're exposed to criminal liability," but "the brass ring in all of this is that if Trump has a criminal conviction, he cannot run for president again, and that's looming over this entire thing as well." More stories from theweek.comJosh Hawley, Senator NoHusband of Hitler-quoting GOP congresswoman parked his militia-stickered truck outside Capitol Jan. 6Ta-Nehisi Coates is writing a new Superman movie