Citizen Journalists in Mexico Risking Death to Expose Cartels, Corruption and Media Blackout

REYNOSA, Tamaulipas — In a city overrun by drug cartels, shootouts, kidnappings, extortion, and executions, a group of citizen journalists continues to shed light into what local media will not report and on what Mexican officials continue to deny: the extent of cartel violence and the corruption of officials in the Mexican government.

A team from Breitbart Texas traveled deep into the Gulf cartel-controlled city of Reynosa, Mexico to meet with one of the citizen journalists leading the effort. In a small secret room deep in the heart of this Mexican city, Breitbart Texas spoke with a man who lives under constant threats because of his effort to use social media in alerting his fellow citizens about “situations of risk”. For security reasons, the man known as “Chuy” never shows his face on social media, but his twitter handle @MrCruzstar, has become synonymous with exposing information about the confrontations between the criminal organizations, the cartel members’ names, their locations, and corruption in the government. “Chuy” can be seen only from behind in the Breitbart Texas video and he wore a ski mask in an effort to protect his identity.

Information and photographs about the de facto war-zone immediately south of the Texas border are consistently revealed by “Chuy.” He covers the cartel insurgency and their convoys of gunmen carrying automatic weapons, grenades and rocket launchers. He covers the frequent clashing of cartels with their rivals and with authorities in broad daylight and throughout the night.

Twitter users in the region rallied in 2010 when the Gulf Cartel and its former enforcers known as the Zetas went to war and set off a series of brutal firefights and blockades. The fights continue to this day. “When the violence ramped, up public officials and local media kept a lid on things,” Chuy said. “Reynosa has always been a drug corridor, before the local press used to cover violent crime. When the violence started, there was a complete media blackout so the citizens took it upon themselves to fill in that void.”

Using the twitter hash tag #ReynosaFollow, the citizen journalists began posting information that was ignored by local media about shootouts, cartel activities, and their main players. Soon after other cities began to follow creating an online community of citizens journalists that over time have proven more credible that Mexican news outlets and government officials.

In addition to Twitter and Facebook, Chuy continues to compile the information in his blog Chuy News where he provides a timeline of the shootouts and works to chronicle the motives and likely outcomes.

“Life in Reynosa is split into two realities,” he told Breitbart Texas. “One is the propaganda told by media outlets in Tamaulipas that claims the state is moving forward, constantly improving in the financial and tourism sector while trying to minimize the violence. They constantly praise public officials … the reality is that we live in anxiety, constantly monitor social media to see if it is safe to go to work, to take our children to school.”

Chuy continued, “We have to make sure we don’t end up getting caught in the middle of a gunfight or become a target ourselves for cutting someone off in traffic, looking at someone the wrong way … for no reason.” While working to remain anonymous, the type of information that citizen journalists gather makes them an immediate target for reprisal. In recent days, Chuy has been subjected to an even greater amount of direct threats with harassment through social media and outside. At least seven social media users have begun circulating photograph of Chuy’s face and other personal information in an effort to muffle him. He has also been the subject of a systemic effort to discredit him and other citizen journalists–it remains unclear if that part of the attack comes from members of organized crime, or public officials, he said

The interview with Chuy concluded with his cry for help from U.S. journalists. He said, “You can get the message out, help spread the word so that people can see the reality that we live in.”

Follow Ildefonso Ortiz on Twitter @ildefonsoortiz.

Follow Breitbart Texas Managing Director Brandon Darby on Twitter @brandondarby.

Note: Moments after Breitbart Texas had left Reynosa, @mrcruzstar began posting information about a raging firefight in the city’s western side that lasted for close to two hours. Mexican officials in Reynosa and Tamaulipas ended up confirming, but have yet to release any official information about the casualties.

Source: Breitbart Feed

Politico: Moms Are Winning the Common Core War

Despite Common Core champion Bill Gates funneling millions of dollars from his foundation to powerhouses like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the two largest teachers unions in the country, and the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, Politico says it’s “the moms” who are winning the Common Core war.

The moms have been so successful in educating parents about the development and nature of the Common Core initiative that the standards’ proponents have concluded they’re losing the larger public debate and need to switch to a better PR plan, says Politico.

In the rebooted campaign, new infusions of cash to pro-Common Core groups will not be used for more charts depicting graphs of the decline of the American student, nor for ads showcasing Common Core talking points words, such as “rigorous,” “research-based,” “internationally benchmarked,” and “state-led.”

Instead, the focus of the new ad campaign will be on “emotion.”

“We’ve been fighting emotion with talking points, and it doesn’t work,” said Mike Petrilli, executive vice president of the Fordham Institute. “There’s got to be a way to get more emotional with our arguments if we want to win this thing. That means we have a lot more work to do.”

Petrilli and his fellow Common Core proponents plan to “get more emotional” by trying to make Americans angry about the current state of education in the nation.

For example, according to Politico, Petrilli says college students who must take remedial classes should be “mad as hell” that their school systems failed them. Interestingly, his assumption appears to be that none of the students taking remedial classes were slack-offs in high school who chose to party instead of study. His comment only proves that the bureaucratic theme of Common Core may well be that students are not responsible for their failures, but “the system” is.

In their new PR campaign, Common Core supporters will also be showcasing business owners who really tried to hire local high school kids but couldn’t find any who knew how to divide piles of lumber into thirds.

If these new ad ideas don’t get Americans “emotional” about Common Core, proponents of the controversial standards plan to haul out groups of minority kids who will talk about how the standards have changed their lives.

With these tactics, and lots more social media presence, the supporters of Common Core hope to win the battle over American moms.

“The Common Core message so far has been a head message. We’ve done a good job talking about facts and figures. But we need to move 18 inches south and start talking about a heart message,” said Wes Farno, executive director of the Higher State Standards Partnership, a coalition supported by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Business Roundtable.

The moms are not worried about the new pro-Common Core PR blitz.

Mr. Petrilli and his group will never be able to compete with the raw emotion that has been helping the cause of the ‘moms’ fighting against Common Core,” Louisiana mom and physician Anna Arthurs told Breitbart News. “The groups of moms may not have money from Bill Gates to help them, but they have facts and real emotion on their side. Their fight is for their children.”

“The supporters of Common Core may try to shift tactics, but they need to remember that they have been underestimating their opponents from the start,” Arthurs added. She continued:

There has been a type of arrogance associated with many of those pushing the Common Core initiative from the beginning. They believed that they could create a bunch of talking points based on false claims and that everyone would believe them if they repeated them enough. The fact is that the moms decided to do their own homework and prove their points to be false. That arrogance is also evident in the fact that Bill Gates, the man responsible for funding the creation of the standards, sends his children to a school that does not even use Common Core.

Considering that one of the creators of the standards admits that they define “college-ready” as being a two-year, nonselective community college and further admits that the standards were not designed to prepare students for STEM fields, why should the supporters be surprised that the moms are not all jumping on the bandwagon to support these standards? What if the rest of the moms want better than Common Core for their children, like Mr. Gates does?

Karen Effrem, co-founder of the Florida Stop Common Core Coalition, said the new PR strategy reminds her of “the phrase we use a lot down here in our messaging.” That phrase is, she said, “putting lipstick on a pig.”

“You can’t make something that’s so bad look good,” Effrem said.

“The Common Core is so bad, you don’t have to lie,” said Erin Tuttle, co-founder of Hoosiers Against Common Core. “If you can’t prove what you’re saying, if you can’t back it up with a document or a source, you shouldn’t put it out there.”

Source: Breitbart Feed

Ambassador Ron Dermer Claims Almost 500 Rockets for Israel Hit Gaza

Israeli Ambassador to the United States Ron Dermer said almost eight percent of the rockets terrorists shoot at Israel land in Gaza. The offensive against Israel only began three weeks ago.

“Hamas has fired over 2500 rockets at Israel,” he said at the National Leadership Assembly for Israel in Washington, DC. “They have forced more than two-thirds of our population – the equivalent of over 200 million Americans – into bomb shelters. Over 200 of those rockets fired at Israel have landed in Gaza. Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Hamas have fired rockets that have landed in Gaza. Today, two rockets aimed at Israel landed in Gaza’s Shifa hospital and in a refugee camp. That may not be what they report in the media today, but that is the truth.”

At least ten children were killed in the strike. Hamas said the strike was from drones, but IDF said Israel did not aim in the area of the hospital.

“A short while ago Al-Shifa hospital was struck by a failed rocket attack launched by Gaza terror organizations,” said the IDF. “A barrage of three rockets that were aimed towards Israel, struck the hospital. At the time of the incident there was no Israeli military activity in the area surrounding the hospital whatsoever.”

Israel is blamed for every strike in civilian areas in Gaza, especially when it involves dead children. However, inspectors found over 20 rockets three times in United Nations schools in Gaza. In another case, Hamas blamed Israel for the death of children at a school, but IDF released a video that proved Israel did not strike near the area.

On a daily basis, terrorists in Gaza make absurd statements on Israel. Islamic Jihad Spokesman Daoud Shihab went on Lebanon television and said Israeli soldiers use blood from Palestinian children to bake bread.

“I would just like to remind you of the ruling by the Israeli rabbis, who have instructed the soldiers to knead the bread that the Jews eat with the blood of Arab and Palestinian children,” he said.

Source: Breitbart Feed

UFC Fighter Accidentally Shoots Self

Joe Riggs’s long, strange trip back to the UFC got even stranger this week.

The welterweight veteran found himself out of his next fight and in the hospital after shooting himself in the hand and thigh while cleaning his pistol. The UFC reports that Sean Spencer has stepped in for Riggs in the scheduled September 13 bout against Paulo Thiago in Brasilia. 

“We were made aware that newly-signed UFC competitor Joe Riggs was involved in an unfortunate accident last night,” read a UFC statement released Tuesday. “While cleaning his permitted firearm (a pistol), the gun discharged, injuring his hand and upper thigh. Riggs was transported to a nearby hospital in Arizona where he is being treated by physicians. We wish Joe a speedy recovery.”

Riggs holds notable victories over Chris Lytle, Phil Baroni, and Nick Diaz, whom he fought a second time in an unsanctioned scrap at the hospital immediately after his decision victory over the Stockton-based striker at UFC 57. His most famous opponent may be Herb Dean, whom Riggs stopped on strikes as a heavyweight during the referee’s brief career as a competitor in the cage.

Riggs has competed in more than twenty matches in various promotions since leaving the UFC after a late-2006 defeat to Diego Sanchez. He owns a six-fight winning streak punctuated by a reality-television tournament victory over Mike Bronzoulis on Spike TV’s Bellator: Fight Master.

Source: Breitbart Feed

Is Boehner Ready For Obama’s Planned Constitutional Crisis?

Several hours after Speaker John Boehner announced to colleagues in the Capitol that the GOP border bill wouldn’t address President Obama’s threats to unilaterally grant amnesty to as many as 6 million people, Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) was befuddled.

“I’m utterly baffled by the unwillingness of Republicans to see the danger that has so explicitly been stated out there by the president,” Sessions told reporters.

“Institutionally, Congress can’t acquiesces into that kind of presidential overreach. Failure to put that in just indicates, to me, a lack of, well, I’ll just say it this way – I think the Congress should be very clear that it will resist and that it opposes the president taking that action,” Sessions said.

In recent weeks, Sessions and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) have been working overtime to sound the alarm to the public and their colleagues about Obama’s vows to expand the “Deferred Action for Children Arrivals” (DACA) program, which instituted a policy of not prosecuting illegal aliens who entered the U.S. as minors.

The two proposed language for the border crisis bill to prevent Obama from spending money implementing any expansion of DACA. But Boehner has resisted calls to back the proposal, and has generally shied away from taking on Obama head-on over DACA, even while he has ramped up his rhetoric about executive overreach in other areas.

For example, in a recent memo to GOP colleagues outlining his case for suing “king-like” Obama, Boehner mentioned executive overreach on the issues of “health care and energy to foreign policy and education” – but not immigration.

Immigration hawks like Sessions are growing increasingly anxious that Boehner isn’t taking a more forceful approach. Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL), for example, recently told Breitbart News he suspected campaign donations from the pro-amnesty U.S. Chamber of Commerce were the explanation for Boehner’s low profile on the issue, a startling accusation for any member of Congress to make about the sitting speaker of his own party.

Noted legal experts have said Obama’s policy constitutes a major power grab. “If a president can claim sweeping discretion to suspend key federal laws, the entire legislative process becomes little more than a pretense,” Jonathan Turley, a liberal law professor at George Washington University who voted for Obama, said in testimony to the House Judiciary Committee in December.

According to reports, Obama is considering expanding DACA to as many as 6 million illegal aliens, a move breathtaking in scope that would transform fringe talk of impeachment into a mainstream conversation overnight.

Boehner, however, while battling Obama’s aggressive executive actions with increasingly heated rhetoric, has aimed most of his barbs at the president on topics other than immigration.

Michael Steel, a spokesman for the speaker, said Boehner is on guard for any new action by Obama and has is planning how to address it.

“The Speaker is extremely concerned about the possibility of further unilateral action from the White House. We are monitoring the situation closely, and considering options for an appropriate response,” he said.

At a recent White House event celebrating the PGA, Boehner told Obama he wouldn’t be bringing immigration reform to the floor this summer. According to a report from Major Garrett in National Journal, Obama told a group of liberal activists that Boehner had urged him not to take any unilateral actions because it would make immigration reform harder next year. But Obama told Boehner, “Sorry about that. I’m going to keep my promise and move forward with executive action soon.”

When news of the conversation became public a week later, Boehner responded with the most forceful language he had ever used about DACA, saying Obama’s “own executive orders have led directly to the humanitarian crisis along the Southern border, giving false hope to children and their families that if they enter the country illegally they will be allowed to stay.”

Boehner also said “In our conversation last week, I told the president what I have been telling him for months: the American people and their elected officials don’t trust him to enforce the law as written. Until that changes, it is going to be difficult to make progress on this issue,” matching his previous pattern of using the threat of inaction on immigration reform to ward off future executive overreach by the president.

Since then, Boehner has used a low-key approach when pressed about calls to address DACA in the border bill.

“I’m focused on the recommendations of our border control working group, and we’re operating within those guidelines,” he said last week when asked about Cruz’s proposal.
When Obama announced DACA at the height of the 2012 presidential contest, Boehner and other GOP congressional leaders were nearly silent about the new program.

According to an archive on his website, Boehner did not release a press release about Obama’s move. Headlines from that month included “GOP at a Loss for Message on DREAM Act” (Roll Call), “GOP grasps for ideas on immigration” (Politico), and “GOP Avoids Taking a Position on New Immigration Enforcement Policy” (Congressional Quarterly).

He told reporters then DACA “puts everyone in a difficult position. I think we all have a concern for those who are caught in this trap, through no fault of their own are here. But the president’s actions are going to make it much more difficult for us to work in a bipartisan way to get to a permanent solution” and suggested the policy may have been unlawful.

Roughly a year later, the House voted to defund DACA via an amendment offered by Rep. Steve King (R-IA). Only six Republicans voted no, one of whom was Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA), a key Boehner ally.

House Republicans have provided a variety of explanations for why Boehner has been reticent to fight Obama on the issue.

A senior lawmaker close to Boehner said the speaker is trying not to roil the waters for a future push for immigration reform.

“My guess, this is not from Boehner, is that many of us, including the Speaker, have said we need to fix immigration. So, there’s no reason to make it worse than what it already is. You don’t want to get it worse than it already is. But we’re going to have to take care of this border first before we even get to that,” the lawmaker said.

Other Republicans said the move is strategic – that Obamacare is a more potent weapon politically than immigration and more friendly terrain from which the GOP can wage the fight against Obama.

Also, they say any major executive amnesty for Obama would be politically disastrous for the president, lessening the likelihood he will issue one, in their minds.

“If Obama does that, he loses the Senate with that one act. He would be dramatically misreading the situation,” said a House Republican.

A senior GOP aide described the impact on the Senate landscape as “fucking nuclear,” potentially causing a GOP wave election.

Recent polls have shown the border crisis has caused a fundamental shift in public approval, with a ten point swing in the number of people who say border security should be the first concern of immigration reform.

A GOP leadership aide also said Boehner’s rhetorical emphasis on issues other than immigration was intended to illustrate that Obama’s executive overreach has occurred across multiple issues, not just immigration, an issue liberal activists had demonstrated they were ready to attack the GOP over.

Senior House Republicans, asked about Obama’s threats to expand DACA to as many as 6 million people, offered a number of responses.

“The president is wrong. He’s wrong about the border being secure. He’s causing this problem coming in and that’s why the House is going to act. The best thing that we can do is reunite these children with their families. The president had the presidents of these countries in, we had them in, and they want their children to come back,” said incoming Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA).

“The president doesn’t have the authority to write laws,” said Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA), the incoming Whip.

“Well, we’ll talk later about that,” said House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers.

“Call my office,” said House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan.

When Obama implemented DACA in 2012, the response from top Republicans was practically silence. With the border burning, the party won’t lack a vibrant response, but the situation may be out of Boehner’s control by then.

Source: Breitbart Feed