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Are Journalists An Enemy Of The American People?

November 9, 2017 Tyler Durden 0

As usual, it depends who you ask…

Infographic: Are Journalists An Enemy Of The American People?  | Statista

You will find more statistics at Statista

Statista’s Niall McCarthy notes that according to the Cato 2017 Free Speech and Tolerance Survey, 63 percent of Republicans agree with President Trump that journalists today “are an enemy of the American people”.

During his presidency, Trump has taken to Twitter to call the national media “fake news” and in mid-February, he tweeted “The FAKE NEWS media is not my enemy, it is the enemy of the American people. SICK!”

Generally, 35 percent of Americans agree with Trump’s view while nearly two-thirds disagree.

Unsurprisingly, the share of Democrats considering the media an enemy of the people is very low at just 11 percent.

Among Independents, it rises to 38 percent.

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America’s “Abject Servitude” Is Now Exposed

November 8, 2017 Tyler Durden 0

Authored by Charles Hugh Smith via OfTwoMinds blog,

These are the poisoned fruits of a neofeudal system in which power, wealth and political influence are concentrated in the apex of the wealth-power pyramid.

Stripped of pretense, ours is a culture of rape. Apologists for the system that spawned this culture of rape claim that this violence is the work of a few scattered sociopaths. The apologists are wrong: The system generates a culture of rape.

The engine of our culture of rape is the elevation of the entitled-insider class to untouchability: they are above the law, and more equal than others in their freedom to impose every sick sociopathology known to humanity on the powerless peasants imprisoned in our noxious neofeudal system.

For the true sickness of our society and culture is measured not in the vile crimes of our entitled-insider class: it’s measured by the armies of enablers, protectors, enforcers and apologists who protect the entitled-insider class from exposure and justice. After 25 years of blatant abuse of power and crimes that have yet to enter the court docket, 25 years during which the cream of the American media purposefully ignored his blatant abuses of power, the moldering putrid remains of American journalism has finally emerged from its fetid nests, trembling in the unaccustomed brightness of day, to “report,” 25 years too late to save his innumerable victims, Harvey Weinstein’s Army of Spies (New Yorker).

You know how incestuous and cowardly our entitled-insider class is, and how they operate: for 25 long years, editors in the self-glorifying citadels of American journalism killed every story that would have exposed Mr. Weinstein’s actions to the world.

The same can be said of all the other predators hiding beneath the cloak of secrecy that protects the entitled-insider class from exposure.

Voracious predators like Bill Clinton mastered the fine art of forcing consensuality on their innumerable victims, considering the act of forced sex as little more than a standard perquisite of power, much like having the hotel door opened by servants.

The armies of spies, informers, PR flacks, security guards, attorneys, thugs, sycophants and handlers didn’t just enable predatory exploitation of the peasantry: they actively recruited victims and set them up, just as powerless maids were trapped in the chambers of lords in feudal times.

The truly sick reality of our culture of rape is that nobody involved reckoned they were doing anything wrong. The sociopathological predators reckoned they were simply exercising their droit du seigneur, their right to take any woman they desired as a privilege of belonging to the entitled-insider class.

Every single individual in the vast armies of spies, informers, PR flacks, security guards, attorneys, thugs, sycophants and handlers were simply doing their job, doing what they were told to avoid reprimand or being fired. In other words, every one of these individuals was a good German, pulling the trigger, defending predators from justice, protecting the most vile, sick abusers of power from exposure and attacking any victim who dared speak the truth, because, well, they were paid to do so.

Were there no other jobs in America other than protecting evil predators from exposure and justice? Or did these good Germans secretly revel in their proximity to power, much like the SS reveled in their proximity to Nazi power? All you good Germans who served your overlords so well: please don’t deny the thrill of being close to sociopathological power. Or were you just too afraid of losing your own pretty perquisites?

These are the poisoned fruits of a neofeudal system in which power, wealth and political influence are concentrated in the apex of the wealth-power pyramid, a system so corrupted that predators don’t just get off scot-free, they are celebrated as wunnerful guys because their abuses of power are so well hidden, their victims so well marginalized and their PR flacks so relentless in painting over the rotting flesh of their corruption.

While tens of thousands of men and women rot away in America’s teeming Drug War gulag, the exploiters and predators of our entitled-insider class are free to ruin and rape. It’s time we stop making excuses for the predators of our entitled-insider class, stop accepting the cover provided by the worm-ridden decaying corpse of our corporate media, and stop the armies of Good German executioners who have bludgeoned every attempt to expose the truth of our pervasive culture of rape, exploitation and pillage.

Our abject servitude is now exposed. We are peasants and debt-serfs imprisoned in a deeply corrupt and oppressive neofeudal society. Will we ever tire of worshiping our predatory entitled-insider class exploiters?

*  *  *

If you found value in this content, please join me in seeking solutions by becoming a $1/month patron of my work via patreon.com. Check out both of my new books, Inequality and the Collapse of Privilege ($3.95 Kindle, $8.95 print) and Why Our Status Quo Failed and Is Beyond Reform ($3.95 Kindle, $8.95 print, $5.95 audiobook) For more, please visit the OTM essentials website.

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Bitcoin Rebounds Sharply After Gartman Predicts Drop

November 7, 2017 Tyler Durden 0

Having tumbled from record highs near $7600 to $6900 in the last two days, Bitcoin is rebounding this morning, back to $7250 following condemnation from Dennis Gartman and blessing from ‘father of financial futures’ Leo Melamed.

Gartman issued the following statement overnight…

BITCOIN: A Bubble Bursting… Maybe?: Our antipathy toward Bitcoin specifically and toward the crypto-currencies generically is widely known but yesterday’s action does look like a “reversal” to the downside… finally.

And Bitcoin surged…

 

But on the positive side, Reuters reports that Leo Melamed, 85, said while he was initially skeptical about bitcoin he sees similarities between it and International Monetary Market currency futures trading, which he launched as chairman of the Chicago exchange in 1972.

“The world in the 1970s didn’t look at currency trading as a valid instrument of finance. I too went from not believing (in bitcoin) to wanting to know more,” he said.

He says bitcoin could go beyond being a crypto-currency and represent a new asset class based on blockchain technology.

“My whole life is built abound new technology. I never said no to technology. People who say no to technology are soon dead. I’m still that same guy who believes in, at least examining change. That’s what bitcoin represents,” he also said.

Melamed said he expects major investors to take part in bitcoin futures, which the exchange plans to start by the end of year.

“That’s a very important step for bitcoin’s history… We will regulate, make bitcoin not wild, nor wilder. We’ll tame it into a regular type instrument of trade with rules.”

Finally, we note that as the cryptocurrency has surged in recent months, searches for “buy bitcoin” have overtaken “buy gold” dramatically

“With the U.S. stock market setting fresh all-time highs day after day, it’s no surprise gold prices have retreated,” Adrian Ash, research director at London-based BullionVault, said in a report.

“Some investors are also being distracted by the noise around Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Altogether, that’s made interest from new gold investors the weakest since the metal’s half-decade price lows of end-2015.”

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Ron Paul: We Are Reaching A Point Of No Return

November 7, 2017 Tyler Durden 0

Authored by Adam Taggart via PeakProsperity.com,

Dr. Ron Paul has long been a leading voice for limited constitutional government, low taxes, free markets, sound money, civil liberty, and non-interventionist foreign policies.

Dr. Paul served as the US Representative for Texas’s 27th Congressional District from 1976 to 1985. He then represented the 14th district from 1977 to 2013. He ran for the office of US President, three times, most recently in the 2012 Republican primaries. Dr. Paul also had a long career as an OBGYN over which he delivered more than 4,000 babies.

The recent author of the book, The Revolution At Ten Years, Dr. Paul looks ahead at the future of the movement he helped launch — tackling central planning, the military empire, cultural Marxism, the surveillance state, the deep state, and the real threats from these institutions to our civil liberties.

As a multi-term member of Congress, Dr. Paul knows the players and policies responsible for the growing unfairness and inequality now rampant in society. He does not expect the offenders will reform willingly. Instead, he predicts the system will collapse under its own unsustainability — offering a rare and valuable chance then for more sound and fair solutions to prevail:

Wealth doesn’t come from the creation of money, especially a fiat system. With too much fiat money and all this credit, eventually the economy becomes exhausted and engulfed with debt and mal-investments. The treatment for this is a correction; you have to allow the debt to be liquidated. You have to get rid of the mal-investment and you have and to allow real economic growth to start all over again. But that wasn’t permitted in ’08 and ’09, which is why there’s been stagnation. It’s hard to believe that today we have negative interest rates — real rates are negative and people still aren’t grabbing them up! A shortage of money isn’t the problem here; rather, it’s a shortage of understanding market conditions.

 

We’re over-taxed and over-regulated. This is resulting in a destructive system that has divided the country into two groups: those who haven’t recovered from the Great Financial Crisis versus those who are getting very rich because they’re on the receiving end of the new money created by the Federal Reserve. The people who get to create the credit get to distribute the credit, which always results in a situation where money becomes unfairly distributed, as its allocation is no longer dependent on productivity.

 

We haven’t changed anything. We still have a system where we encourage people to borrow money, that debt doesn’t matter, and we’re not going to cut taxes, and we’re not even going to admit that we spend too much money. Nobody can cut anything — that’s why Washington is at a stalemate. A lot of people don’t like Obamacare, but there’s enough people who do like it. Once it has been implemented, it’s very hard to get rid of a program. I also don’t think that the proposed tax reforms will actually lower taxes. They never do.  Our politicians won’t admit where the real problem lies: overspending, monetizing the debt, taking over the whole world through the monetary system, financing wars, financing welfare and the military industrial complex. It’s going to continue until this whole thing comes apart.

 

The eventual event will be driven by the marketplace. When it comes undone, they will no longer be able to prop things up just by printing more money. If we have a sharp downturn and they decide, “Well, QE didn’t work because it wasn’t enough.” and they double QE, there’ll be a point of no return and all confidence will be lost. We’ll dump the dollar. Interest rates will go up instead of down. That will make all the difference in the world because it will be unsustainable and create real challenges for the dollar remaining the reserve currency. When the dollar no longer serves as the world’s key currency, that’s when the ballgame will be over.

Click the play button below to listen to Chris’ interview with Dr. Ron Paul (29m:56s).

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Making Sense Of Saudi’s ‘Game Of Thobes’

November 7, 2017 Tyler Durden 0

Authored by Jamal Elshayyal via Al-Jazeera,

Was Saturday a “Red Wedding” moment for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia? As the plot thickens in Riyadh, here’s a roundup of the chatter on the streets…

It started off with the resignation of Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri, a clearly orchestrated move produced and executed by his paymasters in Riyadh.

Hariri announced on a Saudi-owned channel from the Saudi capital that he was resigning his post in protest at foreign intervention in Lebanon‘s domestic affairs. The irony was lost on him. 

The ostensible reason he gave, as he invoked his late father’s name, was that he too is threatened with assassination. 

As the day turned into evening, there were reports of explosions being heard close to the King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh. It transpired that Houthi rebels (linked to Iran and allied with former President Ali Abdullah Saleh, who is partially linked to the United Arab Emirates) had fired at least one ballistic missile from Yemen towards Riyadh. It put an exclamation point on the fact that the war in Yemen is far from over – more than two years since Saudi Arabia launched operation “Decisive Storm”.

As the clock inched to midnight another bombshell was dropped, this time by the Saudis: A royal decree ordering the arrest of several princes, billionaires, and notable figures, as well as the sacking of senior government officials. Some were the sons of the late King Abdullah. One was the head of the Saudi National Guard. 

All three of these developments will have seismic implications, not just in Saudi Arabia, but in the region and beyond.

The resignation of Hariri, or sacking by his Saudi sponsors, should sound the alarm bells for any government that doesn’t want to see another war erupt in the region.

A lot of chatter involved Israel.

It’s no secret that Israel has been conducting military exercises on its northern front for several months now. While Hezbollah has been busy helping prop up the Assad regime in Damascus, Tel Aviv has been developing its missile defence systems. Sooner or later, it will want to test those in real-life scenarios, as the logic would have it. 

Forcing Hariri to quit the government would help Israel frame any aggression against Lebanon as an attack on Iranian proxies.

With Gaza politically neutralised for now, following Hamas‘ handover of power to the Palestinian Authority, Israel could very well see this as an optimal time to attack. Such an attack would also provide a perfect opportunity for the West to test the new Saudi leadership’s “moderate” credentials: Would it cheer Israel on?

In Yemen, the war has cost the Saudi economy hundreds of millions of dollars. This war, launched by Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman to restore Sanaa’s legitimate government and put Iran in check, has failed to do either. But it has succeeded in killing thousands of innocent people, displacing millions, and helping Tehran position itself as the defender of the oppressed in the Middle East.

The targeting of Riyadh could push the young prince to be even more reckless and destructive in his ongoing expedition in Yemen. 

What’s not so clear is the motive behind the mass arrests and sackings that took place in the wee hours of Sunday morning.

Removing the head of the National Guard and a one-time contender to the throne is an obvious play to consolidate power by Bin Salman.

However, what’s more puzzling is the detention of billionaire prince Alwaleed Bin Talal. On paper, Bin Talal and Bin Salman are a match made in heaven: Both want to transform Saudi Arabia into a “secular” society, both detest the idea of democracy and liberalism, and both are equally willing to hand over the Kingdom’s wealth and sovereignty to the United States

Earlier I spoke to a contact who used to work for the billionaire prince. He told me that a possible reason for his detention was Alwaleed’s refusal to put up money to help prop up Saudi’s staggering economy. The message from Bin Salman to the country’s wealthy elite is: Pay up or get locked up.

In the Saudi version of Game of Thobes, the 32-year-old Bin Salman shows that he is willing to throw the entire region into jeopardy to wear the royal gown. His actions have already all but destroyed the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC); Yemen can no longer be referred to as a functioning state; Egypt is a ticking time bomb; and now Lebanon may erupt. There’s a lot to worry about.

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Air Force Reporting Error Allowed Texas Shooter To Buy Guns

November 7, 2017 Tyler Durden 0

As details slowly trickled out this morning about yesterday’s mass shooting at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, one glaring inconsistency quickly became clear: How did Devin Patrick Kelley – the deceased suspected shooter – manage to get his hands on the AR-556 rifle he used to murder 26 people (including up to 14 children) and and maim another 20?

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said in a morning interview on Fox News that Kelley had been denied a Texas firearms permit because he had been dishonorably discharged from the military. However, a clerk at an Academy Sports & Outdoors store in San Antonio where Kelley had reportedly purchased the Ruger AR-556 rifle told reporters that Kelley had obtained the gun legally, and had checked off in his paperwork that he had no criminal history or history of mental illness that would disqualify him from obtaining a license for the firearm.

Since Kelley should’ve been prohibited from legally possessing a firearm because of his criminal history in the military, the question of just how Kelley came into possession of the firearm perplexed reporters, investigators and the public.

But in a stunning revelation, the Air Force cleared up any lingering confusion by admitting on Monday that it had failed to enter Kelley’s domestic violence court-martial into a federal database that could have blocked him from buying the rifle – something that could’ve potentially prevented the shooting.

The Air Force has reportedly launched a review into how the records were handled, according to the New York Times.

The conviction of the gunman, Devin P. Kelley, for domestic assault on his wife and infant stepson – he had cracked the child’s skull – should have stopped Mr. Kelley from legally purchasing the military-style rifle and three other guns he bought in the last four years. But that information was never entered by the Air Force into the federal database for background checks on gun purchasers, the service said.

 

“The Air Force has launched a review of how the service handled the criminal records of former Airman Devin P. Kelley following his 2012 domestic violence conviction,” the Air Force said in a statement. “Federal law prohibited him from buying or possessing firearms after this conviction.”

 

The statement said that Heather Wilson, the Air Force secretary, and Gen. David Goldfein, the Air Force chief of staff, had ordered the Air Force inspector general to work with the Pentagon’s inspector general to “conduct a complete review of the Kelley case and relevant policies and procedures.”

 

The Air Force also said that it was looking into whether other convictions had been improperly left unreported. “The service will also conduct a comprehensive review of Air Force databases to ensure records in other cases have been reported correctly,” the statement said.

Other details about the killings emerged on Monday, including clues about Kelley’s motive. Local law enforcement officials said that he may have been driven by anger toward his estranged wife’s family, a fitting end to a life punctuated by eruptions of domestic rage.

In addition to his court-martial, in which his previous wife was the victim, Kelley had been investigated on a rape complaint, though he was not charged and his relationship to the victim was unclear. His current wife’s mother attended First Baptist Church, investigators confirmed Monday.

The New York Post reported that Kelley was “a wannabe tough guy who worked dead-end jobs, dated underage girls – and beat his infant stepson so badly he broke the child’s skull.”

“He pled to intentionally doing it,” Don Christensen, a retired colonel and chief prosecutor for the Air Force.

Kelley also reportedly dated underage girls, whom he stalked and harassed.

One of his exes, Brittany Adcock, now 22, said Kelley dated her for two months around 2009 — when he was 18 and she was just 13.

“At the time I didn’t think much into it being so young but now I realize that there’s something off about someone who is 18 with someone who is 13,” she said.

Kelley became so desperate after the 13-year-old dumped him that he offered her money to get back together, she said.

He even crudely suggested the girl move in with him and his wife — an offer that came with a twisted string attached.

“One time he told me I should move in with him and his wife and that he would take care of me as long as I walked around topless,” Adcock said.

Kelley graduated from New Braunfels High School in 2009, according to a now-deleted LinkedIn page where he claimed to have attended the school for six years.

Also in 2012, he was charged with animal cruelty for beating a puppy while he lived in a Colorado trailer park.

Kelley died after sustaining three gunshot wounds, including one that was self-inflicted.
 

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On The Verge Of Catastrophe: Saudi Arabia Says Lebanon Declared War

November 7, 2017 Tyler Durden 0

As expected, Saudi Arabia has cast itself as the victim of external Shia plotting after its internal weekend of chaos which included a missile attack from Yemen, the deaths of two princes and other high officials within a mere 24 hours, and an aggressive crackdown against dissent in the royal family which saw close to a dozen princes placed under house arrest. And as Al Jazeera noted, in this Saudi version of ‘Game of Thrones’, the 32-year-old Mohammed Bin Salman (MBS) shows that he is willing to throw the entire region into jeopardy to wear the royal gown.

While Saudi Arabia has long blamed Iran for sowing unrest in the region, this evening’s declaration by Saudi Gulf affairs minister Thamer al-Sabhan that Lebanon has “declared war” against the kingdom is truly an historic first. But perhaps the biggest problem is that international media is currently uncritically spreading the statement, whereas what such a bizarre claim actually warrants is laughter. Thankfully, Nassim Nicholas Taleb sums it up nicely with a basic geography lesson: “Either the media is stupid, or Saudi rulers are stupid, or both. Lebanon did not formally declare war and there is no common border.”


Still image taken from a video distributed by Yemen’s pro-Houthi Al Masirah television station, which purports to show the ballistic missile previously launched at Saudi Arabia.

With that in mind, here is the statement currently making headlines as reported by Reuters:

Saudi Arabia said on Monday that Lebanon had declared war against it because of attacks against the Kingdom by the Lebanese Shi‘ite group Hezbollah.

 

Saudi Gulf affairs minister Thamer al-Sabhan told Al-Arabiya TV that Saad al-Hariri, who announced his resignation as Lebanon’s prime minister on Saturday, had been told that acts of “aggression” by Hezbollah “were considered acts of a declaration of war against Saudi Arabia by Lebanon and by the Lebanese Party of the Devil”.

Though clearly absurd (that Lebanon has declared war on KSA), the statement is driven by legitimate and deep-rooted fear, for not only has Hezbollah transformed itself into a Middle East powerhouse whose influence has grown vastly in the midst of the Syrian war, but it has transitioned into a quasi-state which has gained the respect of Lebanese and Arabs across the region. As we’ve noted many times before, it is fear of Hezbollah and its increasingly broad acceptance and legitimacy within Lebanese state institutions that also drives heightened Israeli rhetoric and bellicosity of late, which has once again “surprisingly” found itself on the same side as Saudi Arabia.

No!
No! https://t.co/puCf1k4cbC

— NassimNicholasTaleb (@nntaleb) November 6, 2017

And at a moment that Israel has begun massive war games, and as MBS continues his purge toward total consolidation of power over the kingdom, both unlikely bedfellows continue their war of words against Hezbollah. It’s no secret that common cause in Syria of late has led the historic bitter enemies down a pragmatic path of unspoken cooperation as both seem to have placed the break up of the so-called “Shia crescent” as their primary policy goal in the region. But that’s perhaps why few pundits seemed overly shocked when Israeli media reported in early September that bin Salman may have made a secret visit to Israel, in spite of the fact that the kingdom does not recognize the Jewish state, and the two sides do not have diplomatic relations.

Will the current chaotic trajectory of things and unholy alliance between the Saudis and Israelis place Lebanon in the cross hairs of yet another Israeli-Hezbollah war? While we’ve recently addressed this question, this new and erratic Saudi declaration certainly puts the region a big step closer to such a war becoming a reality.

Though this question of the looming specter of an Israeli-Lebanese War (which would surely involve the Saudis aiding Israel politically inside Lebanon) has been addressed many times over of late, the real question, which isn’t often analyzed, is the true military capabilities of Hezbollah. What has both Israel and the Saudis worried is the fact that the Syrian war has possibly strengthened Hezbollah, not weakened it. 

In a follow up article we will disect Hezbollah’s military capabilities, and its role in Lebanese society.

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These Are The Two Heroes Who Stopped Texas Church Shooter Devin Patrick Kelley

November 7, 2017 Tyler Durden 0

As details about yesterday’s shooting at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas started trickling out, witnesses and police sources shared how one brave man with a rifle confronted and shot  suspected killer Devin Kelly, forcing him to flee.

A  high-speed pursuit ensued, which ended when Kelly’s car crashed into a ditch. Police said they found Kelly dead in his vehicle, but it isn’t clear how he died.

However, two men who reportedly helped stop the shooter are now being hailed as selfless heros – “good guys with guns” who potentially saved dozens of lives by stopping the killer before he could murder more innocent people.  As Sheriff Joe Tackitt pointed out in an interview with CNN, “there’s another church right down the road,” suggesting that the killer could’ve headed there next after murdering more than half of First Baptist’s congregation if he had not been stopped.

My San Antonio is now reporting that the man who confronted Kelly outside the church is Stephen Willeford, a sharp-shooting plumber with no military background who managed to shoot Kelly – who was reportedly dressed in tactical gear – prompting him to flee the scene. Earlier media reports identified Willeford as being a neighbor of the church.

Stephen Willeford

As Willeford exchanged gunfire with Kelly outside the church, a second man – identified as Johnny Langendorff – pulled over when he witnessed the carnage and saw Kelly speed off. Willeford saw Langendorff and quickly rushed to his car.

Here’s more from My San Antonio:

Johnny Langendorff was one of the men who chased after suspected killer Devin Kelley, a 26-year-old from Comal County, he told KSAT  in a television interview.

 

“I pulled up to the intersection where the shooting happened and I saw two men exchanging gunfire,” Langendorff said, noting the shooter and another local were shooting at each other.

 

Once the gunman fled the church grounds in his vehicle, Langendorff said the other man came to his car.

 

“The other gentleman said we needed to pursue (the shooter) because he shot up the church,” he said. “So that’s what I did. I just acted.”

 

“So we were doing about 95 mph, going around traffic and everything,” he added.

 

The pair chased the man down FM 539 headed North before the shooter lost control and ran off the roadway. Langendorff said the other man with him jumped out of the car and drew his rifle on Kelley.

 

“He didn’t move after that,” Langendorff said.

According to the New York Post, Texas Department of Public Safety chief Freeman Martin said Willeford “grabbed his rifle and engaged the suspect” after Kelley left the First Baptist Church. An area resident told the paper that Willeford, an avid biker who attends another church, learned about the shooting when his daughter called to say a man clad in body armor was shooting worshipers.

The local said that although Willeford has no military background, he didn’t hesitate when he came face to face with the suspect — and managed to squeeze off a round that struck the gunman, who had dropped his Ruger AR-15 variant.

Kelley had taken a hostage in his SUV’s passenger seat before fleeing, the local man told the paper.

Devin Patrick Kelley

According to Langendorff, it took cops about five to seven minutes to arrive. In the meantime, they kept a gun trained on Kelley.

“The police arrived and they pushed us back and they took care of the rest,” he said.

Langendorff’s girlfriend, Summer Caddel, said Kelley died a few feet away from Langendorff.

Johnny Langendorff

The local man, who knows both heroes, said Willeford made sure Kelley’s hostage was outside the vehicle when they approached the SUV.

Authorities are now reporting that between 12 and 14 children were among the 26 fatalities of the shooting. Another 20 people were injured. Police said not all of the victims were shot inside the church, but declined to elaborate.

Yesterday’s church shooting was the deadliest mass shooting in Texas history, and the deadliest shooting at a church in US history.
 

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Saudi Arabia Is About To Confiscate $33 Billion From Four Of Its Richest People

November 6, 2017 Tyler Durden 0

Earlier today, when discussing the Saudi bank account and asset freeze (and confiscation) of dozens of princes and ministers, we said that just the haul of billionaire prince Alwaleed’s $19 billion in various holdings, including nearly a billion dollars in jewelry, plans, yachts, furniture and cash…

… would be an efficient way of refilling Saudi’s rapidly declining foreign reserves. And refilling they need: as shown in the chart below, Saudi reserves have declined from their peak in 2014 by over a quarter trillion dollars as a result of the roughly 50% drop in gas prices in the past 3 years.

Of course, it’s not just Alwaleed whose net worth is at risk of becoming nationalized. As Bloomberg writes, “the stunning series of arrests has implicated three of the country’s richest people, including Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, who’s No. 50 on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index ranking of the world’s 500 richest people, with $19 billion. Also being held are the kingdom’s second- and fifth-wealthiest people, as well as a travel-agency mogul and Bakr Binladin, a scion of a one of the country’s biggest construction empires.” He is also, of course, Osama bin Laden’s brother as discussed yesterday.

All told, up to $33 billion in (arrested) royalty wealth is at risk of confiscation.

Here is Bloomberg’s breakdown of the 4 Saudi individuals who stand to lose the most from the latest purge:

Alwaleed bin Talal, $19 billion

  • Owns stakes in Twitter Inc., News Corp. and Citigroup Inc.
  • Nephew of the late Saudi ruler, King Abdullah. Son of Prince Talal and Princess Mona El-Solh, daughter of Lebanon’s first prime minister, Riad El-Solh.
  • Made his first billion dollars trading land and acting as a point man for multinational companies seeking local contracts.

Alwaleed’s publicly traded Kingdom Holding Group released a statement saying it “enjoys a solid financial position” and the government has “full confidence” in the company.

* * *

Mohammed Al Amoudi, $10.1 billion

  • Controls an empire that has investments across Africa, Europe and Saudi Arabia.
  • Born in Ethiopia to a Saudi father and Ethiopian mother.
  • Moved to Saudi Arabia as a young man and made his first billion in the late 1980s through construction, aided by an early government contract to help build the country’s underground oil storage facility.
  • Assets include Sweden’s largest oil refiner, Preem AB, real estate and numerous contracting businesses. In Ethiopia, where he’s said to be the biggest private investor, he owns hotels and a gold mine, and has invested hundreds of millions of dollars in large-scale farms growing coffee and rice.

Tim Pendry, Al Amoudi’s London-based spokesman said in a statement Monday that the arrest “is an internal matter for the kingdom and we have no further comment to make other than to say that the overseas businesses owned by the Sheikh remain unaffected by this development.”

* * *

Saleh Kamel, $3.7 billion

  • Self-made finance and healthcare entrepreneur started running bus services for Hajj pilgrims and later founded the kingdom’s first driving school.
  • Regarded as one of the pioneers of Islamic finance, a method of banking that complies with Islamic law and is today a $2.2 trillion industry.
  • Kamel founded Manama, Bahrain-based Albaraka Banking Group, an Islamic bank with $23.4 billion in assets at the end of 2016.
  • Carved out an early niche for himself by becoming the first non-government company to sell services to consumers.
  • Jeddah-based holding group, Dallah Albaraka, owns more than a dozen businesses, spanning hospital operator Dallah Healthcare Company, real estate developments and snack-food factories.

Albaraka Banking Group said in a statement that the arrest didn’t have a direct impact on the company and that Kamel didn’t serve on the bank’s board.

* * *

Nasser Al Tayyar, $600 million

  • The 60-year-old amassed a fortune that’s tied to publicly traded Al Tayyar Travel Group Holding Co., one of Saudi Arabia’s largest travel agencies.
  • Founded the business in 1980 with four employees and about $300,000 after a stint in the reservations department of Saudi Arabian Airlines.
  • The company books airfare and hotel rooms, and also organizes specialized travel, like foreign medical trips, and Hajj and Umrah pilgrimages to Islam’s holy cities.
  • Al Tayyar’s shares slumped 10 percent at the close in Riyadh reaching their lowest since June 2012.

The company said in a statement to the Saudi Stock Exchange that its operations are continuing, and that it’s safeguarding the interests of its customers and shareholders.

* * *

Bakr Binladin

  • The brother of Osama Bin Laden heads one of the kingdom’s largest construction companies, Saudi Binladin Group.
  • The closely-held firm was started by Bakr’s father, Mohammed, in 1931, and has built some of the kingdom’s biggest and most notable projects, from the expansion of the Grand Mosque in Mecca, to airports and King Abdullah Economic City.
  • The company had revenue of $3 billion in 2016, and ownership is split among more than 20 descendants, according to Orbis, a database of company information published by Bureau van Dijk.

And while the people listed above may soon find themselves up to $33 billion poorer, at least they will do so in style: they remain confined at the Riyadh Ritz-Carlton…

… where the atmospehere, however, is less than enjoyable.

Video circulating on social media from inside the Ritz Carlton in Riyadh, where #Saudi Crown Prince is holding 11 Princes & 40+ officials pic.twitter.com/dTFUMiTDeT

— SaadAbedine (@SaadAbedine) November 6, 2017

Still, more arrests may be imminent: according to Bloomberg, two of the four Saudis on the Bloomberg index haven’t been detained in the sweep: hotel magnate Mohamed bin Issa Al Jaber, who has an $8.3 billion fortune and splits his time between Paris, London, Vienna and Jeddah, and Prince Sultan Bin Mohammed Al Kabeer, the biggest individual shareholder in food processor Almarai Company, who has $4.7 billion. If the Saudi budget needs an additional $13 billion in urgent funding needs, they will likely be next.

* * *

The moral of the story: the Saudi royal family – whether in conjunction with Jared Kushner or independently – certainly knows how to kill two birds with one stone: not only has Mohammad Bin Salmaneliminated the bulk of his potential political opponents in one day, he also boosted the Saudi reserves by 7% in one day.

There is just one trade-off: if Riyadh thinks it is sending a soothing message of stability to potential Aramco investors that the rule of law in Saudi Arabia is sacrosanct, and that contractual agreement in Saudi Arabia are inviolable, well… good luck.

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