There can be no doubt now, we are living in the damn future.
People on Miami Beach were shocked earlier today when they saw a scene straight out of Back To The Future.
While we are working to confirm what exactly it was that scores of people witnessed on the beach, it looks similar to a product called the Flyboard Air.
We are freaking out right now.
Hoverboards are an actual thing now.
NOW WATCH: This Is The Oldest Building In The Western Hemisphere. We Bet You’ve Never Heard Of It
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About the AuthorRich Robinson is the CEO and publisher of Rise News. He is also a journalist and a native of Miami. Robinson graduated from the University of Alabama and can be followed on Twitter @RichRobMiami.
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In politics, matters of morality shouldn’t be adjudicated in the public sphere unless they are connected to illicit rule breaking or are egregious in nature.
And the same should be true in Alabama as well.
Spencer Collier, the freshly fired chief of the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency made some pretty explosive public claims to AL.com this week about Gov. Robert Bentley‘s alleged extramarital affair with a senior political aide named Rebekah Caldwell Mason.
There have been rumors of an affair for over a year but Collier is the most high profile official to speak out about it on the record.
Bentley has always maintained that the rumors are untrue.
Yellowhammer News followed up today with a tawdry report that outlined an audio recording that the conservative news organization was given access to.
From the Yellowhammer report:
“In the recordings, the Governor calls Mrs. Mason “baby” and discusses how much he enjoys standing behind her and touching her breasts. He also references a past encounter and says if they are going to do “that” again, they will need to start locking the door and also consider moving “Wanda’s” desk further away, presumably referencing executive assistant Wanda Kelly, whose Capitol office is just outside of the Governor’s.”
Then Collier held a press conference today where he confirmed that he believed Bentley conducted a long-lasting affair with Mason.
Collier was fired from his post as the top cop in the state yesterday after an internal Alabama Law Enforcement Agency investigation “uncovered possible wrong doing under Collier’s time as its leader,” according to AL.com.
“Spencer Collier and I have served together a long time, dating back to my time in the Alabama House of Representatives,” Bentley said in a statement announcing Collier’s ouster. “I am disappointed to learn these facts, and today I relieve Spencer Collier of his duties as ALEA secretary.”
From 30,000 feet, Collier’s claims do seem to have a few problems.
First off, Collier is an aggrieved former employee.
Also, the man who Collier alleges first discovered evidence of the affair has said that he doesn’t support Collier’s allegations against Bentley.
“The allegation and implication from Mr. Collier is completely false and without merit,” Stan Stabler, the new ALEA head said in a statement obtained by AL.com. “ALEA is focused on the future and my priority remains the same – to carry out the mission of the agency and ensure our law enforcement officers and support staff honorably provide service, protection, and safety for all of our citizens.”
Of course, it could be equally argued that Stabler had a lot to gain by not backing up Collier.
In any event, not much is clear based on the current “evidence” available in the public sphere.
And that is the point.
Yes, it may be interesting, juicy, scandalous even.
But an affair, even one between a governor and his top political aide is not illegal on its face.
And the affair should not be the focus, especially not in 2016.
What does matter is whether Bentley used taxpayer money or state resources to hide his affair.
Collier said in the press conference that he advised Bentley against doing that when he found out about the affair, but he also hasn’t supplied evidence that the governor has broken the law.
Of course, this should be investigated further.
Collier also claims that Mason has an outsized amount of influence and power in the Bentley administration. That is concerning to be sure, but is it illegal?
What also matters is who or what is behind the shady group that pays for Mason’s salary.
The secret 501(c)(4) that pays for Mason’s salary is called the Alabama Council for Excellent Government. Under Alabama law, the group is under no obligation to disclose who donates to it or where most of its money goes to.
That’s the real scandal.
Have a tip about this developing situation? Send it to email@example.com.
RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in public affairs. You can write for us!
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Bernie Sanders has every right to stay in the race, but the longer he stays in, the more trouble he is causing within the party itself, and therefore the greater chance Donald Trump has to be President.
In early May, the Nevada Democratic Convention saw violent outbursts following an announcement that a slight majority of the state’s delegates would be allocated to frontrunner Hillary Clinton.
Some supporters of the Vermont Senator in attendance expressed their displeasure with this by throwing chairs, screaming, and threatening state party chairwoman Roberta Lange.
Sanders response to these violent outbursts from his supporters is more worrisome than anything.
While he condemned it, he did not do much to convince his voters from refraining from it in the future.
The chaos in Nevada led some to predict similar reactions to the National Democratic Convention in Philadelphia come July.
To this idea, Sanders did not dismiss the extrapolation that such ferocity erupting at the convention would be terribly damaging to the Democratic Party as a whole.
Instead, the senator told the Associated Press that the convention could be “messy.”
“I think if they make the right choice and open the doors to working-class people and young people and create the kind of dynamism that the Democratic Party needs, it’s going to be messy,” Sanders said. “Democracy is not always nice and quiet and gentle but that is where the Democratic party should go.”
The messiness that Sanders speaks to here was elaborated on more by the senator himself further.
“So what? Democracy is messy. Everyday my life is messy. But if you want everything to be quiet and orderly and allow, you know, just things to proceed without vigorous debate, that is not what democracy is about,” Sanders said.
This idea sounds nice. But his adage that his candidacy is going to change democracy is a tad overzealous.
He is not a bad candidate by any means, but it is becoming clearer every day that he simply does not know when to quit.
Clinton holds a ten percent lead in California, according to Real Clear Politics.
It is a key state should Sanders wish to stage the comeback he believes he can, but so far it looks as if that is another empty dream just as so many other states quickly became over time.
What gets Sanders and his supporters so angry is their unending insistence that some sort of foul play must have taken place and that it makes for the only possible reason that Sanders is not going to beat Hillary Clinton.
However, there is no real evidence of that actually happening on a scale large enough to make a difference. While it may seem that everyone and their brother is voting for Bernie, the results in many contests throughout the country show us that it is simply an untrue assessment of this race.
Now Clinton is by no means a perfect candidate and it would be unreasonable to expect all Bernie supporters to worship the ground she walks on once she wins the nomination, but the candidate himself citing this election, should it come down to Clinton and Trump, as a choice between the lesser of two evils is troublesome.
That statement along with so many others that have been made over the election will make it incredibly hard for any sort of endorsement of Clinton by Sanders in the future to seem genuine.
Clinton is simply not the lesser of two evils. Electing Donald Trump as the 45th President of the United States would make the country a laughingstock.
His brash and offensive campaign is not indicative of real American values and thus the notion that Clinton is somehow only slightly better than him remains utterly ridiculous.
Obviously Sanders wants to be president, but it becomes more evident every day that that will not become reality.
As he continues to attribute his losses to corruption within the system or other seemingly outlandish claims, it shows that he is unable to come to the realization that his “revolution” simply did not work.
Likewise, the violence that some of his supporters are inciting shows that they too are a part of the problem.
Of course, a majority of Sanders voters are sensible and will vote for Clinton come November even if it is done so begrudgingly.
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But the longer Sanders stays in and the more he claims that corruption has persisted because he has lost based in part on rules that have existed for decades, the more fuel it adds to the fire for the Bernie Bros and their Bernie or Bust mantra.
The Bernie Sanders Revolution, if it can even be called that, is not strong enough to make a lasting claim. While he has pushed the party and Clinton herself further left, it remains that that is all will come of his candidacy.
While whether or not the nominating process is fair is a worthwhile debate, there is just absolutely no substance behind the claim that the system is rigged to hurt Sanders in this election.
Successful politicians own up to losses and show an ability to compromise. That is what Clinton did when she lost to Barack Obama in 2008.
She swallowed her pride, accepted the loss, and even took a position in the cabinet of the very man who beat her to realizing her dream of becoming president.
Sanders is not showing an ability to do that here. His attacks on Clinton only become harsher over time, rather than a tad softer as it becomes clear he has no real path to the nomination.
While he cannot give up the values he has attested to so strongly throughout the campaign, he must do what every other runner up has done and show he has a strong enough ego to begin to work with his opponent rather than still trying to tear her down this late in the game.
If the polls as they stand today emulate any results that come out of California on June 7, it will become even clearer that Sanders needs to accept that he will not win the nomination.
But it remains important to his legacy that he does so sooner rather than later so his image as a sore loser can begin to be erased and so that his ideas can stand as his real legacy.
RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in public affairs. You can write for us.
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By Joy Pamnani
HONG KONG-It’s been two years since Hong Kong people took to the streets to fight for genuine universal suffrage.
The protests drew global attention, as protestors expressed their demands in peaceful, artistic ways.
The movement seems to have worked in bringing about a different political reality in Hong Kong.
In this article, we’ll be taking a look at some of the major events throughout the protests, and changes in Hong Kong’s political scene since.
Political background in the 852
Hong Kong was ruled by the British in the 20th century, and got handed over to China in 1997.
The great difference between Hong Kong and the mainland’s political atmosphere at the time saw both sides reach a deal of “one country, two systems”, granting the city a semi-autonomous status.
That deal lasts until 2047.
Debate however, continues about liberties granted under the agreement. A hot topic being universal suffrage.
According to Article 45 of the Basic Law, “the Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region shall be selected by election or through consultations held locally and be appointed by the Central People’s Government.”
Moreover, the article states “ the ultimate aim is the selection of the Chief Executive by universal suffrage upon nomination by a broadly representative nominating committee in accordance with democratic procedures.”
Controversy began in August 2014 when Beijing ruled out public nomination, saying Hong Kong voters would only be able to choose from a list of two or three candidates selected by a nominating committee.
The committee likely to contain pro-Beijing election candidates, saw democracy activists argue the announcement was a way for China the ability to screen out any candidates it disapproves of.
Criticism was ignited across the city.
Young people’s call for action
On September 22, 2014, a student class boycott was held at the Chinese University in Hong Kong, at the same time some of Hong Kong’s top tycoons crossed the border to discuss politics with President Xi Jinping.
Students from more than 20 universities and colleges joined the movement.
During the week of 26 September, activist groups Scholarism and the Hong Kong Federation of Students, had staged protests outside government offices in Admiralty.
The Galvanizing Effect
As the protests escalated, police used pepper spray against the demonstrators.
Benny Tai, initiator of the Occupy Central movement, officially declared the start of Occupy Central at the central government offices.
Later that evening, police also used the tear gas in dismissing the protests.
The tear gas surprisingly proved galvanizing, drawing Hong Kongers from all walks of life to occupy streets for 79 days.
— Occupy Toronto (@OccupyToronto) September 29, 2015
— Dr. Imran H Sarker (@deborahrubio191) July 11, 2016
During the days, activists blocked several traffic junctions, shutting down the city’s central business districts.
Aside from the Admiralty camp outside government offices, protestors occupied areas in Causeway Bay, Mong Kok and Canton Road.
The protest spirits were held high in the city, as the yellow ribbon symbol was seen across social media sites in the city.
Many artists contributed to the protest’s peaceful forms of expression, from creating paintings of politicians, origami-inspired yellow umbrellas, and periodic tables defining Hong Kong core values.
— Anonymous (@CovertAnonymous) June 4, 2015
— DW | Politik (@dw_politik) September 27, 2015
Artists gathered to express political opinions of Hong Kong people
— Fion Li (@fion_li) May 31, 2015
A periodic table defining Hong Kong’s core values.
— Joy Pamnani (@joypamnani) November 2, 2014
— Joy Pamnani (@joypamnani) October 17, 2014
Protestors even hung a banner on Lion Rock Tunnel, calling on CY Leung to step down
— P H Yang Photography (@TravelFoto) December 14, 2014
Subjects of debate
According to an article by the Australian news network ABC, ANZ economists sent out a research estimating the protests may have cost retailers $400 million, given occupation of roads at core business districts such as Tsim Sha Tsui.
Ordinary citizens fed up of the demonstrations formed an anti-Occupy group in an attempt to dismantle camps across core business districts in the city.
Another debate triggered was the role of police in the protests.
Throughout the protest, a viral video showing police beating up protestors went viral in the city, triggering a debate about police violence.
City opinion was divided on the issue, but those who supported the police wore blue ribbons.
A man was filmed being kicked and punched by seven police officers near government headquarters in Admiralty during the movement:
Yellow ribbon photos spread across social media sites in Hong Kong.
— Bridget Johnson (@Bridget_PJM) December 31, 2014
Students managed to hold talks with the government, yet didn’t gain much ground through official channels.
Alex Chow of the Hong Kong Federation of Students and two other activists sought a meeting with China’s leaders to discuss the issue.
However, their visas were declared invalid after they tried to cross the border.
In later stages of the movement, camps began to be cleared off after the High Court stepped in.
In early December, three organizers of Hong Kong’s Occupy Central movement turned themselves in to the police for “participating in an unauthorized assembly”, calling their act a symbolic way to end the street protests.
They called for a shift in the movement’s focus to a long-term march towards democracy.
The three leaders were quickly released.
On 11 December, over 7,000 police arrived at the protest sites, and began making arrests.
The main camp was cleared out, thereby putting an end to the 79-day political movement.
— 2cats (@2cats4) December 15, 2015
Success of the movement
Despite securing international attention, the Umbrella Revolution failed to win concessions from Beijing.
As of now, Hong Kong isn’t seeing universal suffrage, and many believe the movement wasn’t successful in changing the longterm political agenda.
Some, however, disagree, on the grounds of the fact that political momentum was gained among the population.
“Even if we cannot change the system immediately, if the movement provided more momentum for the fight for democracy, then it’s not a failure,” Dr Chan Kin-man, an Occupy organizer said in an interview with the South China Morning Post.
Two years on
Hong Kongers gathered to commemorate the second anniversary of the Umbrella Revolution last Wednesday (28 Sept).
Right before 6pm, protestors stood in silence to mark police firing tear gas on those who gathered early in the protest timelines.
Although the Umbrella Revolution isn’t occupying the streets of Hong Kong, its leaders have continued to persist in their democratic demands, as evidenced in the July 1st March and June 4th Tiananmen Massacre Anniversary gatherings celebrated every year.
In April 2015, the government formally announced a new voting system, but it failed to gather two-thirds vote at the Legislative Council because it had ignored calls for a more democratic process.
This would leave Hong Kong with the same political system that brought the current chief executive to power.
However, the city’s political scene saw hope after lawmaker elections were held last month.
Being the city’s first major elections since Occupy Central, the results spoke volumes for political sentiment.
A few Occupy politicians secured seats, including student leader Nathan Law, who participated in the protests and is Legco’s youngest ever lawmaker.
Law sees people voting for a democratic future, and with the trust and support of the public, he hopes to bring about political change in the future. “We inherited some spirit from the (Umbrella) Movement and I hope that that can continue in the future,” Law said, in an interview with Hong Kong Free Press.
RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in the world. You can write for us.
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