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Former First Lady Barbara Bush Dies at 92

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Former first lady Barbara Bush died Tuesday at her home in Houston, Texas. She was 92.

“A former first lady of the United States of America and relentless proponent of family literacy, Barbara Pierce Bush passed away Tuesday, April 17, 2018, at the age of 92,” reads a statement from the office of former President George H.W. Bush.

Bush passed away shortly after deciding to forgo further medical treatments for her failing health.

Having been hospitalized numerous times while battling congestive heart failure and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, she decided Sunday that she wanted to be “surrounded by a family she adores,” according to an earlier statement released by Mr. Bush’s office.

“It will not surprise those who know her that Barbara Bush has been a rock in the face of her failing health, worrying not for herself — thanks to her abiding faith — but for others,” the statement continued. “She is surrounded by a family she adores and appreciates the many kind messages and especially the prayers she is receiving.”


In January 2017, Mrs. Bush and her husband were hospitalized at the same time. She was being treated for bronchitis and the nation’s 41st president was being treated for pneumonia.

Barbara Bush served as the country’s first lady from 1989 to 1993. She is the mother of George W. Bush, the 43rd president of the United States.

Mrs. Bush is one of only two first ladies in the history of the country who is also the mother of a president. Abigail Adams, the wife of John Adams, a founding father of the nation and its second president, was the mother of John Quincy Adams, the sixth U.S. president.

Mrs. Bush is also the mother of Jeb Bush, the former governor of Florida who ran for president of the United States in 2016.

During her tenure as the nation’s first lady, Mrs. Bush, the mother of six children, was a champion for global literacy and continued the work after she and her husband left the White House.

In 1989, she formed the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy, which encourages parents to read to their children.

“Literacy fits in with so many other things,” she once told The Chicago Tribune. “If more people could read, fewer people would have AIDS. There would be less homelessness. I’m absolutely convinced of that.”

Descendent of a president
Barbara Pierce Bush was born in New York City, New York, on June 8, 1925, to Marvin and Pauline Pierce. Her father, a magazine publishing executive, was a descendant of Franklin Pierce, a Democrat and the nation’s 14th U.S. president who served from 1853 to 1857. Her mother was the daughter of an Ohio Supreme Court justice and was active in civic causes.

The third of four children, Bush later recalled a childhood where her parents would gather and read around the fireplace, fostering her early love of reading.

She graduated high school from the all-girls private Ashley Hall boarding school in Charleston, South Carolina, in the early 1940s, and enrolled in Smith College, a women’s college in Northampton, Massachusetts.

At Smith, which was racially integrated, Mrs. Bush became captain of the freshman soccer team, but she dropped out of college in 1945 at the beginning of her sophomore year. She later admitted that she was more interested in her future husband than in her studies.

She had met George Herbert Walker Bush at age 16, while at a Christmastime dance at the Round Hill Country Club in Greenwich, Connecticut. The pair were immediately attracted to each other and began exchanging letters, even as Mr. Bush completed his training to become the then-youngest pilot in the Navy. He named his bomber plane “Barbara” in her honor.

The pair were engaged shortly before Mr. Bush left to fly in World War II, and they wed Jan. 6, 1945, while he was on leave.

Mr. and Mrs. Bush celebrated their 73rd wedding anniversary on Jan. 6.

In an alumni magazine from Smith College, Mrs. Bush said the marriage has endured because of the couple’s love for each other.

“I am still old and still in love with the man I married 72 years ago,” she said in the interview published in “Smith Alumnae Quarterly” earlier this month.

“George Bush has given me the world,” she also said in the magazine. “He is the best — thoughtful and loving.”

Family joys and sorrows
Mrs. Bush gave birth to their first child, future President George Walker Bush, on July 6, 1946, in New Haven, Connecticut. As the family moved about in Texas and California, the couple had five more children, who would eventually deliver the Bushes more than a dozen grandkids. Mrs. Bush took great joy in her family and told Barbara Walters in 1994, “If you opt to have children, I feel very strongly that they should be your top priority.”

The family was dealt a blow in October 1953, when daughter Pauline Robinson “Robin” Bush died of leukemia at age 3.

“Because of Robin, George and I love every living human more,” said Mrs. Bush, who became increasingly active in cancer research — notably, the Leukemia Society of America — following her daughter’s death.

After a failed senatorial bid, Mr. Bush was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1966. He quit his job as an oil executive in Houston to relocate the family to Washington, D.C.

In the 1970s, Mrs. Bush followed her husband from Washington, D.C., to New York City, to Beijing as Mr. Bush filled a succession of appointed political posts: ambassador to the United Nations, chairman of the Republican National Committee, head of the U.S. liaison office in Beijing and director of the Central Intelligence Agency.

Mrs. Bush at that time volunteered at the Washington Home, a hospice where she bathed and fed the dying.

Popular first lady
Mr. Bush landed firmly in the public eye as he served as Ronald Reagan’s vice president from 1980 to 1988, and he was elected as Reagan’s successor and 41st president of the United States in 1988.

Mrs. Bush generated headlines herself in the 1984 Reagan-Bush re-election campaign by calling vice presidential nominee Geraldine Ferraro — the first female vice presidential candidate from a major party — something that “rhymed with rich.” She later phoned Ferraro and issued a public apology.

As first lady, Mrs. Bush pursued a passion to fight literacy and in 1989 formed the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy, which supported existing literacy programs to boost participant retention.

Mrs. Bush believed that tackling illiteracy would also solve social issues that went unaddressed, such as AIDS, homelessness and teenage pregnancy. Her crusade against illiteracy and learning disabilities stemmed from her tireless efforts with her son Neil’s dyslexia.

“George Bush and I know the frustration of living with an undiagnosed or untreated learning problem, and we know the great joy and relief that comes when help is finally found,” she wrote in a 1989 edition of “Their World,” a publication of the National Center for Learning Disabilities. “I foresee the day when no American — neither child nor adult — will ever need to be limited on learning.”

Always standing proudly beside the president, Mrs. Bush maintained high popularity — partly, she once said, “Cause I’m fat and old and nobody feels threatened by me.”

In 1990, Bush penned “Millie’s Book”, a best-seller attributed to the family’s springer spaniel, Millie. It was her second book: in 1983, she published “C. Fred’s Story”, about the family’s pampered cocker spaniel. The books reportedly generated more than substantial funds to Bush’s literacy foundation.

In 1992, Democratic Gov. Bill Clinton of Arkansas defeated Bush in his re-election to a second presidential term.

The couple retreated to their estates in Houston and the family estate in Kennebunkport, Maine.

Health issues
Mrs. Bush has had a long history of health problems, dating back to her time as the first lady. In 1989, she revealed that she suffered from Graves’ disease, an autoimmune disorder that affects the thyroid. She later began taking medications for the disease and received radiation as part of her treatment.

After experiencing abdominal pains in 2008, Mrs. Bush was hospitalized at Methodist Hospital in Houston. She underwent laparoscopic surgery to close a hole in her small intestine caused by an ulcer.

That same year, she underwent precautionary open heart surgery at the same hospital to replace her aortic valve. Hospital officials reported that the procedure was a success.

During her four years as the first lady, and eight years before that as the wife of the vice president in the Reagan administration, Mrs. Bush embodied what many believed to be the traditionally dutiful political wife: silent on most issues, but enthusiastically supportive of her husband and family.

In her 1994 book — “Barbara Bush: A Memoir” — she revealed her pro-choice stance on abortion, a position that ran contrary to her husband’s.

She also reproduced an open letter to her children containing life’s credo.

“Value your friends,” she wrote. “They are your most valuable asset.

“Love your children,” she added. “You are the best children any two people ever had. I know you will be as lucky. Your kids are great. Dad and I love them more than life itself.”

SOURCE: ABC News, Bill Hutchinson and M. L. Nestel

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Less Than a Day After a Terrorist Attack New Zealand To Change Gun Laws After Mosque Shooting

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Less than a day after a terrorist attack at two mosques that left 49 people dead and several fighting for their lives, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said she will change gun laws of the country, with the prime minister noting that the New Zealand government is now looking at banning semi-automatic weapons.

“While the nation grapples with a form of grief and anger that we have not experienced before, we are seeking answers,” Ardern said during a Saturday morning news conference in Wellington, cited by Bloomberg. “I can tell you one thing right now, our guns laws will change.”

“There were five guns used by the primary perpetrator,” she said at the news conference. “There were two semi-automatic weapons and two shotguns. The offender was in possession of a gun license. I’m advised this was acquired in November of 2017. A lever-action firearm was also found.”

The suspected attacker was not on a government watch list in either New Zealand or Australia, and had bought five guns legally according to the PM.


The suspected gunman got a “category A” firearms license in 2017, and began stockpiling weapons legally at that point, Ardern told reporters on Saturday. The “mere fact” that this happened means people will want to see a change to gun laws, and she was committed to supporting that, she added.

In what Ardern described as a well-planned terrorist attack, a shooter walked into a packed mosque in the South Island city of Christchurch on Friday afternoon and opened fire on worshippers, filming and live-streaming the act to social media. After killing 41 people there, he drove to another mosque and continued the massacre, murdering a further seven people. Another person died in hospital.

Shortly before the attack, he published a 73-page ‘manifesto’ in which he vowed “revenge” against Muslim “invaders” and said he was inspired by Anders Breivik, who killed 77 people in Norway in 2011.

Most of the victims were at the Al Noor mosque, as the attacker was reportedly chased out of the Linwood mosque by a “well known Muslim local” who fired two shots in pursuit, according to the New Zealand Herald. The Herald quoted one of the witnesses who said that the gunman was confronted by a mosque caretaker, who wrestled one of his guns away but did not shoot because he “couldn’t find the trigger.”

Currently, New Zealand restricts the purchase of “military-style semi-automatic weapons” to those 18 or older. The minimum legal age to buy a firearm is 16. Anyone the police consider to be “fit and proper” can get a firearms license – provided they pass a background check involving criminal and medical records. Registration of individual weapons is not required.

Until Friday, the biggest massacre in the country’s history happened 30 years ago, when a man named David Gray went on a shooting rampage, killing 13 people.

Following that attack, the nation’s gun laws – which were first passed in 1983 – came under scrutiny according to CNN. The ensuing debate led to a 1992 amendment on the regulation of military-style semi-automatic firearms. Despite those laws, New Zealand’s weapons legislation is considered more relaxed than most Western countries outside of the USA. Gun owners do need a license but they aren’t required to register their guns – unlike in neighboring Australia.

New Zealand police officers are not routinely armed, but recent figures suggest more officers are in favor of carrying guns. A 2017 survey from the New Zealand Police Association showed that that 66% of its members support arming officers, according to TVNZ. That figure has significantly increased from a decade ago, when 48% of officers supported general arming in 2008.

New Zealand also has a low murder rate, with a total of 35 homicides in 2017, fewer than the number of people who died in Friday’s double mosque attack.

Source: Zero Hedge

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Senator Fraser Anning egged after lashing out at Muslims: ‘They are the perpetrators’

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Senator Fraser Anning has been egged at an organised event in Melbourne which saw protestors and supporters of the controversial identity clash in wild scenes.

It came as Prime Minister Scott Morrison slammed the Queensland Senator in the wake of the fatal Christchurch mosque massacre.

Senator Anning had earlier been widely condemned for his “disgusting” comments after he released a media statement yesterday afternoon, in which he said the attacks highlighted the “growing fear over an increasing Muslim presence” in Australian and New Zealand communities.

 

He went on to claim the real cause of the bloodshed that’s left at least 49 people dead is New Zealand’s immigration policy.

At the event in Moorabbin, on Saturday, a man can be seen smashing an egg over the senator’s head as he was speaking at a press conference. The man was filming on his phone as he smashed the egg on top of Mr Anning’s head.


A shocked Mr Anning slapped the man’s face in response before a fight broke out.

The man was held down and questioned by officials before being led away by police.

 

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A Suspect In New Zealand Mass Shootings Appears To Be A White Supremacist

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A man accused of opening fire Friday at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, killing dozens of worshippers, appears to have been motivated by white supremacy and extremism that he saw in the United States.

During a news conference, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison characterized the alleged shooter as an “extremist, right-wing, violent terrorist.” Four suspects were taken into custody Friday in connection with the attack. The alleged gunman was later charged with murder.

The suspect, whose identity has not been confirmed, appears to have publicly posted a 74-page manifesto to Twitter and the online forum 8chan in which he declared his hatred for Muslim immigrants in Europe and idolized U.S. extremist movements. He also appears to have live-streamed part of the horrific attack in a now-deleted video on Facebook.

HuffPost has chosen not to provide a link to either piece of media. The author at times wrote in an over-the-top, possibly sarcastic voice, making specific passages difficult to discern, but an obsession with white supremacist ideas persists throughout the manifesto. He also repeatedly stated that he intended to use the media to give a platform to his views.

In the rambling manifesto, he claimed that he donated to white supremacist groups and said he idolized American mass shooters. He also recited the “14 words,” a popular white supremacist slogan that has been repeated by other North American white supremacists, such as Faith Goldy: “We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children.”


The title of his manifesto ― “The Great Replacement” ― is a reference to a 2012 French book by the same name that has become a talking point for white supremacists all over the world. The book espouses the paranoid theory that mass migration from Muslim-majority countries will dilute and ultimately end white culture and identity. Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) ― a white supremacist himself ― brought up these fears when asked last year about the “great replacement” concept during an extensive interview with an Austrian far-right publication.

An image posted to the author’s Twitter account showed rifle magazines with numerous names written on them, including Alexandre Bissonnette, who is serving a life sentence for shooting and killing six people at a Quebec City, Canada, mosque in 2017. Also named was Luca Traini, a far-right extremist suspected of shooting six Africans in Italy in February 2018. The magazines also referenced multiple battles in which the Ottoman Empire was defeated.

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