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The investigation into the mass shooting in Las Vegas has turned up the fact that Stephen Paddock’s computer is missing its hard drive. Investigators do not know where it has gone. There is evidence that Paddock bought software that erased files from the hard drive. But without the drive, investigators cannot confirm their idea. Paddock apparently did not leave many digital traces for authorities to follow. In the Virginia Tech mass shooting, the shooter “took the hard drive out of his computer and discarded his cellphone before” murdering 32 people. Police never recovered them. So far investigators have been unable to find a motive for Paddock’s attack. Authorities are trying to piece together his life as they look for clues. Paddock’s brother was arrested for possession of child pornography on Wednesday. The investigation reportedly was underway “long before Stephen opened fire on the concertgoers.”
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The Trump administration is considering hiking the federal gasoline tax by seven cents a gallon so as to pay for the administration’s infrastructure program. The president’s economic adviser told a group of moderate Republicans that the vote to increase the gasoline tax would take place early in 2018. Republicans have been unwilling to use the current debate on tax reform “to set aside some money for infrastructure.” The federal gasoline tax is currently set at 18.4 center per gallon and at 24.4 cents per gallon of diesel fuel. The money raised from the fuel tax is earmarked for the Highway Trust Fund. The fund “provides money for road construction and other transportation projects across the country. . . “ As cars have overall become more fuel efficient, the fund has not had the influx of money needed to keep up with infrastructure expenses. This a classic example of Congress trying to engineer what it thinks is good for society but then failing to consider what the consequences are going to be. Congress would be far better to stay out of setting mileage rates and let the free market determine how best to serve consumers. Conservatives in Congress are expected to oppose legislation that would raise the fuel tax.
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The FBI informant who was forced to sign a confidentiality agreement regarding what he knew about the sale of Uranium One to the Russian Rosatom company has been released from a confidentiality agreement. The informant’s attorney, Victoria Toensing, received and official letter from the FBI “saying it no longer had any reason to ask the informant to keep his work confidential.” Toensing said of her client, “He is now able to and willing to talk with the congressional committees seeking his testimony . . . “ According to Toensing her client will testify “about his work uncovering the Russian nuclear bribery case and the efforts he witnessed by Moscow to gain influence with the Clintons in hopes of winning favorable uranium decision from the Obama administration.” Toensing plans to work with lawmakers to keep her client’s identity confidential. Russia’s Tenex company’s chief executive in the United States was found guilty of a bribery scheme that compromised “an American trucking company that shipped uranium for Russia.” Congress was not notified about the bribery scandal during the FBI investigation in 2014.
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A federal judge in California denied an emergency motion that would have required the Trump administration to continue making payments to insurers. The judge pointed out that California took steps to mitigate any problems. “To be sure, the absence of money for CSR payments does not seem to be causing health care reform to come crumbling down,” wrote District Judge Vince Chhabria. Insurers in California added “a surcharge to the mid-level silver plans, which increases the amount of tax credit subsidies available.” The judge ruled that “the ability of states to act in advance and shield consumers undercuts the argument that people will face higher premiums because the cost-sharing payments are ending.” 18 states joined in the California motion to prevent the subsidies from being halted. Congress has never appropriated the funding of subsidy payments to insurers. The Obama administration was making them. Congress sued and won a ruling that found the Obama administration’s payments to insurers to be illegal. So far Congress has not acted to restore the subsidy payments.
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A 17-year old illegal immigrant in federal immigration custody wanted to abort her 16-week old unborn child. She sued in federal court. The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals issued a ruling supporting the woman’s right to kill her unborn child. She was immediately carted off to an abortuary. An 16-week unborn child weighs approximately 3 ½ ounces and is about 4 ½ inches long. The child has begun to grow toenails. The baby’s heart pumps “about 25 quarts of blood each day” and will increase as the baby continues to grow. The ACLU celebrated on Twitter writing, “BREAKING: Justice prevailed today for Jane Doe. She was able to get an abortion early this morning. #JusticeforJane” There was no justice for the unborn child. The woman issued a statement through the ACLU saying, “People I don’t even know are trying to make me change my mind. I made my decision and that is between me and God.” The Trump administration argued that Jane Doe had viable options other than abortion such as voluntarily leaving the country or “being placed in the custody of a sponsor.”