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Conservative News | Strongsville Republican Club

Conservative News

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PBS suspends Tavis Smiley after sexual misconduct investigation

HotAir - Wed, 12/13/2017 - 21:21

Variety published an exclusive this afternoon saying PBS host Tavis Smiley has been suspended by the network in the wake of a sexual misconduct investigation.

“Effective today, PBS has indefinitely suspended distribution of ‘Tavis Smiley,’ produced by TS Media, an independent production company,” the public broadcaster said. “PBS engaged an outside law firm to conduct an investigation immediately after learning of troubling allegations regarding Mr. Smiley. This investigation included interviews with witnesses as well as with Mr. Smiley. The inquiry uncovered multiple, credible allegations of conduct that is inconsistent with the values and standards of PBS, and the totality of this information led to today’s decision.”…

The investigation found credible allegations that Smiley had engaged in sexual relationships with multiple subordinates, sources said. Some witnesses interviewed expressed concern that their employment status was linked to the status of a sexual relationship with Smiley. In general, witnesses described Smiley as creating a verbally abusive and threatening environment that went beyond what could be expected in a typical high-pressure work environment. Several expressed concerns about retaliation.

Earlier this year a former producer for Tavis Smiley’s show wrote a piece for the Observer attacking Smiley. The piece included this detail about a trip to North Dakota to visit the anti-pipeline camp which had formed there:

I look back in the car and see Blanca, a young woman that Tavis had picked up at the Orlando airport and brought along as a f**k buddy. “Look at her, she’s so stupid,” he tells me, during our stop over from New York to Bismarck at Chick-fil-A in the Minneapolis airport Delta terminal after Blanca had left us at the counter and walked toward the gate. “How am I gonna carry all this food and my bags now? I specifically told her to wait for us,” he tells me angrily. Tavis’ misogyny is always creeping around, barely camouflaged by Midwestern good manners in line with the most duplicitous guys who always open doors, buy flowers and carry luggage until their girlfriends end up scrambling for some hotline 800 number…

“If anyone back in L.A. mentions the name Blanca,” Tavis tells me as soon as we are alone in the rented SUV once we arrived at the Oceti camp, “just tell them she was your girlfriend, that you brought her along. Don’t say anything about her to Kim in particular.” The question of my relationship status and if saying I was with Blanca would put me in a very difficult situation with people at the show who knew about my private life never even crossed his mind.

The producer never says or suggests the relationship between Smiley and Blanca was anything but consensual but he definitely gives the impression Smiley didn’t have a lot of respect for her.

Smiley is the second major host at PBS to be involved in sexual harassment allegations. Host Charlie Rose was fired by PBS after a Washington Post story alleged several instances of sexual harassment. PBS’s radio equivalent, NPR, has also fired two senior executives over allegations of sexual harassment.

The post PBS suspends Tavis Smiley after sexual misconduct investigation appeared first on Hot Air.

Categories: Conservative News

Doug Jones: I received a “very gracious” call from Trump today — but not from Roy Moore

HotAir - Wed, 12/13/2017 - 20:41

Smart politics by POTUS. For years the GOP has regarded Joe Manchin as the likeliest Democrat to cross the aisle on big votes, but Manchin rarely delivers. Yeah, he’s from a very red state but he’s also a household name, having served as governor for five years before serving now as senator for seven. He’s not an easy Democrat for the GOP to oust, which gives him more freedom to vote how he likes despite having to answer to West Virginians. Doug Jones, though? Even after last night’s momentous upset, most Alabamians probably couldn’t pick him out of a lineup. He ran a good campaign but, let’s face it, he won because he’s Not Roy Moore, not because he’s Doug Jones. And he’ll have only three years to convince voters back home to give him a full six-year term when most of them will be inclined to pat him on the back and hand his seat back to a Republican.

Which is to say, in the span of 24 hours, Jones has gone from a very likely semi-anonymous loser to arguably the single most important man in the Senate, the red-state Democrat who stands to benefit most from working with Republicans. Recognizing that, POTUS put aside his butthurt at having been rebuked last night and reached out to him today with kind words. Smart! He’s not going to get Jones’s vote on any new abortion bans, but on infrastructure or revisiting trade deals? Sure. Quite possible. Might as well make friends.

In fact, Jones will find that he has a lot of Republican friends, having spared them the ordeal of figuring out what to do with Senator Roy Moore:

CORKER says Doug Jones winning last night was “A great night for America…”

— Frank Thorp V (@frankthorp) December 13, 2017

A debate that began last night and will roll on for awhile: How much was Moore’s defeat about him and how much was it due to political “gravity”? Obviously it was mostly about him; virtually any other prominent Republican in the state would have been expected to defeat Jones easily. Lyman Stone crunched the numbers from the exit poll and concluded that Moore, despite his image as a warrior for Christianity, actually underperformed the generic Republican candidate among evangelicals by about 10 points. Even a poor-by-normal-standards showing among evangelicals should have given him a 50,000-vote margin over Jones. But the scandal stories stung. Without that, despite all of his other baggage, Moore almost certainly wins.

But it wasn’t all about Moore. Here’s a tidbit from Monmouth’s new poll that’ll have RNC members building bomb shelters for next fall:

In a look ahead to 2018, Democrats currently hold a 15 point advantage on the generic Congress ballot. If the election for House of Representatives were held today, a majority (51%) of registered voters say they would vote for or lean toward voting for the Democratic candidate in their district compared to 36% who would support the Republican.

To put that in perspective, the GOP’s average generic ballot lead before the giant red wave of 2010 was 9.4 points. A 15-point cushion is grotesquely huge, although not that surprising when the president’s job approval has been stuck in the 30s for ages despite a humming economy. It’s not just the generic ballot data either: Harry Enten looked at the results from Democrats’ special election wins so far this year and sees a blue wave developing based on that data too. Even a slightly less terrible candidate than Moore could have pulled it out last night in Alabama despite those headwinds working against him, but there *are* headwinds even in the reddest states. Jones doubtless benefited from them.

Here’s Jones discussing the phone call with Trump followed by him noting that he hasn’t received a concession from Moore yet, which should surprise no one. Exit question: Why did the populist insurgent Trump win while the populist insurgent Moore lost? Ramesh Ponnuru has some theories.

Senator-elect Doug Jones describes "very gracious" phone call from President Trump, says Trump invited him to the White House as soon as he gets to Washington. pic.twitter.com/8zqqHZmTid

— Pat Ward (@WardDPatrick) December 13, 2017

Doug Jones says he hasn't spoken with Roy Moore yet: "I'm going to let him make that decision." (via ABC) pic.twitter.com/5um0YocvWK

— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) December 13, 2017

The post Doug Jones: I received a “very gracious” call from Trump today — but not from Roy Moore appeared first on Hot Air.

Categories: Conservative News

WaPo to “zero-tolerance” Dems: Good for you. Now do Menendez

HotAir - Wed, 12/13/2017 - 20:01

Maybe Al Franken won’t be the biggest loser from Alabama’s special election. Even before Capitol Hill Democrats got a workout from patting each other on the backs for Doug Jones’ victory in Alabama, Washington Post editor James Downie issued a challenge to their newfound outrage over unseemliness in public officials. Now that Al Franken and John Conyers have gotten the boot, Downie argues that it’s time to push Robert Menendez out the door too:

Democrats should not wait for a new jury or Ethics Committee investigation: The known facts are damning enough for them to demand Menendez’s resignation. …

Some of the alleged favors for Melgen were relatively small potatoes, such as securing visas for Melgen’s girlfriends. In one case, Menendez’s then-chief of staff wrote that the visas were approved “only due to the fact that R.M. intervened.” Other favors were far bigger. He asked the State Department to assist Melgen in a dispute over a $500 million contact with the Dominican government. The New Jersey senator also allegedly pressured the Department of Health and Human Services to resolve a $9 million billing dispute in Melgen’s favor. In testimony, then-HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius described an “unusual” meeting with Menendez and Sen. Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.). “I understood he wanted me to do something,” she said. (It should be noted that Melgen has been convicted of 67 charges of Medicare fraud. Prosecutors estimate that the doctor’s scheme swindled the government out of as much as $105 million.) In no way is this conduct becoming of a senator.

Downie makes the point that the jury deadlocked on the case; prosecutors have not yet decided whether to try Menendez again. They certainly could, but in the meantime, the Senate Ethics Committee has taken their review back up again. (If prosecutors retry Menendez, they’ll suspend it again.) Downie argues, however, that the facts on the table are bad enough — and certainly worse than they were for Franken, if not Conyers. If they were willing to forgo due process on allegations that had not yet been fully tested, then Democrats’ “zero tolerance” mode should have kicked in ages ago on Menendez:

Since the trial, the Senate Ethics Committee has resumed its enquiry into Menendez; many Democrats likely would prefer for that to run its course. But it is highly unlikely that new information for or against the senator will come out. With Capitol Hill Democrats rightly criticizing numerous instances of corruption in the Trump administration, it’s not much to ask that they stand up against similar cases in their own caucus. And it would show voters that Democrats aren’t satisfied with the Supreme Court’s narrow version of corruption. In a political climate in which voters on both sides are convinced that Washington is corrupt, this is a chance for Democrats to distinguish themselves as a party with standards.

I wrote about Menendez last week as a test of the Emergency Democratic Zero Tolerance System. Democrats didn’t even give Franken an opportunity to make an initial defense about allegations that had literally nothing to do with his work on Capitol Hill. (In contrast, John Conyers appears to have been a present threat to staffers and others in the work environment.) Not only have Democrats not pressed Menendez in the same way, they’ve spent the better part of the year shoveling cash into his campaign coffers, as the Free Beacon discovered in October.

What’s the difference between Franken and Menendez? Franken’s governor is a Democrat, while Menendez’ is Republican Chris Christie for about four more weeks. When new Democratic governor takes office on January 16th, perhaps Senate Democrats will take up Downie’s challenge. Until then, Democrats will continue to fulminate over their “zero tolerance” success while Menendez’ presence makes a mockery of their claim to a moral high ground.

The post WaPo to “zero-tolerance” Dems: Good for you. Now do Menendez appeared first on Hot Air.

Categories: Conservative News

Bret Weinstein: What happened at Evergreen State ‘would be MLK’s nightmare’

HotAir - Wed, 12/13/2017 - 19:21

Tuesday Heather Heying and her husband Bret Weinstein co-wrote a piece for the Washington Examiner which walks through their experience at Evergreen State College, culminating in them settling a lawsuit and agreeing to resign their long-held faculty positions. If you’ve been reading Hot Air over the past year you’re probably very familiar with what happened to Weinstein but if not I’d encourage you to read their entire piece. It does an excellent job summing up the situation they found themselves in, placing most of the blame on president George Bridges and other members of the faculty who encouraged a mob of students to gradually take over the campus.

What I want to focus on is not the story itself but the lessons Weinstein and Heying have drawn from it. Both of them are still committed progressives but they admit what happened at Evergreen is closer to the right-wing take on the topic than they like to admit:

We come from the Left, and our values and worldview have not changed. But our understanding of the landscape has, as has our understanding of who is most likely to be interested in pursuing democratic goals through democratic means. A democratic system needs intelligent dissent, which means that it must create and protect the conditions in which people can learn how to think critically, and how to critique ideas and proposals. Those are longstanding values on the Left, but today, they are hanging by a thread.

At Evergreen, a small fraction of students was the face of the protests, some even going so far as to patrol campus with baseball bats, threatening people, and vandalizing property. But the vast majority of students were not part of the protests. Some were yelled at, insulted, assaulted, even battered. Some left the school. Some graduated. Some are keeping their heads down, angry and scared, until they, too, graduate, while they wonder why their experiences are apparently of no interest to the college administration.

What of Martin Luther King’s dream? Why are we being advised by the social justice crowd that we shall not focus on the content of our character, but instead must focus primarily on the color of our skin (and our gender identification, sexual orientation, and various other signifiers of intersectional oppression)? This would be MLK’s nightmare. Why is it being handed a megaphone?

Heying and Weinstein leave this question hanging but there is one obvious answer to why this is happening now or, at least, to who is leading this charge: Black Lives Matter. The group that formed in the wake of two shootings cases (Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown) created an environment in which accusations of racism are more important than facts. Indeed, many people still believe some of the media-driven myths that surrounded these two cases, “Hands up, don’t shoot” being just the most obvious.

The same movement has also been helped along by author Ta-Nehisi Coates who once suggested a backlash to the Trayvon Martin case was in response to President Obama (rather than the collapse of a series of false claims about the case).As we’ve seen recently, there are some real incidents that are worthy of outrage, but those calls for social justice need to be driven by the facts. What happened at Evergreen is just one example of what happens when activists seize the bludgeon of racial accusations without the underlying facts.

So, is this present uprising Maoist? Are the inmates running the asylum? Has the extreme Left gone off the deep end? A bit, a bit. But with apologies to J.R.R. Tolkien, we offer a different analogy: One script to rule them all, One script to find them, One script to bring them all and in the darkness bind them.

For today’s social justice warriors, only one narrative shall be allowed. It is unquestionable. Those who dissent are guilty. The “equity and inclusion” movement, cloaked in words that sound benevolent and honorable, is a bludgeon. To the outside world, Evergreen’s implosion looked like a student-motivated response to conditions on the inside. But the terrible conditions don’t really exist, and the real power dynamics, between administrators and faculty, were obscured by a narrative constructed to make resistance impossible.

I have a lot of respect for Weinstein and Heying as progressives who refused to succumb to this nonsense despite the fact that it would have been much easier for them to just go along with it and keep their jobs. But I think they underestimate just how close some of what took place at Evergreen is to the kind of recurring left-wing authoritarianism that they dismiss as a “Maoist uprising.”

To be clear, I’m not saying the students who identify as SJW’s are Maoists (or insane for that matter). What I’m saying is that leftists have succumbed to a kind of zealous exuberance to be on the side of righteous societal change many times in the past. It was true not just of Mao but of Pol Pot and Stalin and Hugo Chavez and all the way back to the French Revolution. This exuberance is not limited to a time or place and we definitely haven’t seen the last of it (again, see the Chavistas and their gangs of motorcycle riding colectivos).

Bret Weinstein and Heather Heying saw a bit of the ugly side of this impulse when they were warned to flee campus, but it doesn’t necessarily stop there. People who endorse violence to achieve political ends (on either end of the political spectrum) are capable of much worse. There’s no guarantee we’re close to the end of this particular nightmare.

The post Bret Weinstein: What happened at Evergreen State ‘would be MLK’s nightmare’ appeared first on Hot Air.

Categories: Conservative News

The curious case of “hate speech” at Buena Vista University

HotAir - Wed, 12/13/2017 - 18:41

There’s something curious going on at Buena Vista University in Iowa. I was reading an article from Rob Shimshock at the Daily Caller about how “hate speech is a hate crime” and may be punishable by law. That’s a matter which has already been cleared up by the Supreme Court on multiple occasions, so seeing the University get that detail wrong is interesting in and of itself. But there’s something more to this story which had my ears perking up.

The case in question actually deals with an incident of racist and defamatory graffiti being sprayed on the dorm room doors of several students. That’s actually different from simple “speech” since it involved criminal mischief, which can blend into the “hate speech” arena depending on the circumstances.

Buena Vista University insisted that hate speech is “potentially punishable under the law” in a Monday letter to students.

The Iowa school made the statement in response to the drawing and writing of a racist slur and symbol on a student’s dorm. The university identified three black students, three white students and one Hispanic students as targets of the defacement, reported Des Moines Register.

Student Alyssa Parker and her roommate found “n****r” written on their dorm door, as well as another black student’s door. She reported finding “illegal” on a Hispanic student’s door and a message consisting of a swastika and “KKK” on the door of a white student.

So that’s clearly unacceptable behavior and the university is right to be looking into it, along with the police. So far so good. The school is offering a reward for information leading to the culprit(s) and aside from their declaration about hate “speech” being a crime, there’s nothing too unusual so far. Or is there?

Look at the description of the graffiti which was sprayed on the dorm room doors. Some black students found the N-word sprayed on their door. Their neighbor, an Hispanic student, found “illegal” written on the door. If there’s some sort of racist on the loose and causing trouble, that all makes sense I suppose. But the third door to be tagged belonged to white students and the graffiti bandit wrote, “KKK” on it along with a swastika? Really?

What sort of white supremacist goes after the white students with accusations of being… a white supremacist? Are we to assume that the attacker just really hates everyone without bias or discrimination? Or perhaps we’re to believe that two different attackers hit the same set of rooms, one a racist who hates blacks and Hispanics, followed by a defender of tolerance who decided to join in on the spray painting action and target the white students?

Something doesn’t make sense here. We don’t have enough information to draw any firm conclusions in this specific case, but we do know that there has been something of a rash of fake hate crimes on college campuses and elsewhere lately. We’ve written about a few of them here. I’m not saying that’s the case at Buena Vista, but if this turns out to be another episode of fakery, this is one of the dumbest activists ever to pick up a spray can.

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Categories: Conservative News

Win many, lose two: WH bails on controversial judicial nominees

HotAir - Wed, 12/13/2017 - 18:01

If there is one area on which Republicans across the spectrum agree on Donald Trump’s performance, it’s the judiciary. After a slow start, the White House has aggressively filled openings on the district and appellate court levels. In fact, as Roll Call pointed out yesterday, Trump will likely set a new record for appellate confirmations in the first year of a presidency — helped in no small measure by Harry Reid’s deployment in 2013 of the “nuclear” option that eliminated the filibuster on presidential appointments:

Senate Republicans are set to confirm three more of President Donald Trump’s appeals court picks this week, a push that will help set a record for the most such appointments in a president’s first year in office.

The Senate is expected to confirm Steve Grasz for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit, and James Ho and Don Willett for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit, over the objections of Democrats who question whether they can be unbiased.

That would mean at least a dozen Trump appointees would join the nation’s appeals courts — which have the last word in all but the 100 or so cases that the Supreme Court decides each year — in his first year in the White House. That comes in a year the Senate also confirmed Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch in April.

It’s quite the success story, one which Republicans disaffected from Trump use to remind themselves that the alternative would have been worse. That doesn’t mean that a few road bumps might not materialize, however. One controversial nominee that had made it past his Senate Judiciary Committee hearing won’t get a confirmation vote, NPR reports:

The nomination of Brett Talley, the Justice Department official in line for a lifetime judicial appointment, “will not be moving forward,” a Trump administration official told NPR Wednesday.

Talley had been rated “unanimously unqualified” for the post by the American Bar Association this year after an evaluation that questioned his experience. Talley had never argued a case, or even a motion, in federal court, he testified.

Even after Talley’s nomination advanced through the Senate Judiciary Committee on an 11-to-9 party-line vote, media reports and good government groups cast doubt on his credentials for the spot on the U.S. District Court in Alabama, along with raising questions about his alleged failures to disclose blog posts and his wife’s work in the Trump White House.

Judiciary chair Chuck Grassley fired off a warning shot yesterday on both Talley and Jeff Mateer, both of whom got “unqualified” ratings from the American Bar Association. Grassley had pushed Talley forward anyway, but apparently got blindsided by Talley’s failure to disclose his political activity in comboxes and various blogs, as well as the familial connection to the White House.

Buzzfeed reported last night that Talley offered to withdraw his name from consideration:

 One of President Donald Trump’s controversial judicial nominees, Brett Talley, has offered to withdraw his nomination, a source close to the situation told BuzzFeed News. …

BuzzFeed News first reported on thousands of posts that Talley appeared to have written for a University of Alabama sports fan website, including on gun control, immigration, and other political subjects.

In one post on TideFans.com, poster “BamainBoston,” who identified himself as Talley in 2014, wrote in response to the 2012 mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, “My solution would be to stop being a society of pansies and man up.”

Slate highlighted another post by BamainBoston that appeared to defend the early iteration of the Ku Klux Klan.

Yeah … that’s not a good look for the White House or for Grassley. Small wonder Grassley’s sore about this.

Later in the day, Mateer also got yanked:

White House officials say the nomination of Brett Talley has been withdrawn. And a person familiar with the process says the administration hasn’t submitted paperwork for the nomination of Jeff Mateer and does not intend to. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity to describe internal deliberations.

Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, has said the two nominees were going nowhere.

Mateer also failed to disclose some of his political activities, including one speech in which he said that transgender children are part of “Satan’s plan.” Mateer had not come up for committee review yet, and Grassley made it pretty clear that the nomination would not survive that process.

This points to an issue seen repeatedly in this administration — a lack of thorough vetting for appointments. It’s good to set records, but federal bench appointments last a lifetime. They need a little more scrutiny, especially when appointing people who have never served on a bench or litigated a case in court. That’s not to say that such nominees might not turn into valuable jurists, but for those nominees, surprises are not going to be pleasant. Ever. Grassley is sending a message that if they don’t improve that vetting process, he will … and they’re not going to like the surprises that occur any more if that happens, either.

Nevertheless, this is still shaping up as a good week for Trump on the courts. Texas Supreme Court Justice Don Willett should get confirmed shortly, and after that James Ho, to the appellate bench. Other than a couple of hiccups on Talley and Mateer, this aspect of the Trump administration has been a huge success.

The post Win many, lose two: WH bails on controversial judicial nominees appeared first on Hot Air.

Categories: Conservative News

Does CNN really expect people to believe this story about Anderson Cooper’s anti-Trump tweet?

HotAir - Wed, 12/13/2017 - 17:46

This is small potatoes, I know. And like I said earlier, I can believe that Cooper himself didn’t send the tweet. The cost of doing so would have vastly exceeded the benefit to him.

But when you’ve got a major news organization trying to pass off an obviously implausible scenario like this as fact, attention must be paid.

CNN statement on @andersoncooper tweet says it was sent from NYC while AC was in D.C. pic.twitter.com/ngFlByFeQp

— ErikWemple (@ErikWemple) December 13, 2017

Wasn’t sent from Cooper’s phone: Believable. Cooper was in D.C., not NYC: Believable. Cooper’s assistant was at the gym and walked away from his phone while it was unlocked and was away from it long enough that someone was able to find his way to Twitter, read through the timeline, and find a Trump tweet that he deemed worth replying to: Not so believable. Was the “someone” here a friend or a stranger? How long did the guy have control of the phone? Did he do anything else with it while he had it? How long was it before the assistant got the phone back and realized what had happened? If it was a stranger who did it, is any legal action being taken? If it was a friend pranking Cooper’s assistant, why didn’t he tweet something silly from Cooper’s account instead of an earnest criticism at the president? What kind of friend would “prank” a buddy by abusing his access to the account of a famous news anchor followed by 10 million people knowing that his friend might very well be fired over the embarrassment?

Let me suggest an alternate scenario. The dumb assistant has his own Twitter account in addition to access to Cooper’s. He meant to tweet something nasty at Trump from his own account but forgot that he was logged into Cooper’s, a not uncommon mistake in social media. (Every month or so, a corporate PR account will tweet something weird or controversial that was obviously supposed to have come from the manager’s private account.) But CNN can’t admit that because then it would prove that Anderson Cooper’s assistant hates Trump, which will start another round of “fake news” attacks on the network. So instead they’re pushing this cockamamie story about a mysterious third party unconnected to the network somehow commandeering Cooper’s assistant’s phone and, in the presumably few minutes that he had control of it, deciding that the thing he most wanted to do with it wasn’t to scroll through photos or read emails or whatever but to get on Twitter and start farting around there.

Exit quotation from a Twitter pal: “First thing I do when I find an unlocked iPhone is open Twitter.”

The post Does CNN really expect people to believe this story about Anderson Cooper’s anti-Trump tweet? appeared first on Hot Air.

Categories: Conservative News

Who tried to smear Chuck Schumer with a phony sexual harassment complaint?

HotAir - Wed, 12/13/2017 - 17:31

A little something that fell through the cracks last night amid the frenzy over Alabamageddon. Some speculated on Twitter that this sounds like Project Veritas’s handiwork. Eh, not really. I understand why they might think that but PV’s stock in trade is secretly recorded undercover stings. The document described here was apparently sent anonymously online. There was no drama to capture.

Plus, it wasn’t sent only to liberal outlets to see if they’d bite on a forgery. It was also sent to Charles C. Johnson of GotNews, who collaborated with Mike Cernovich on trying to authenticate it. If this is a PV sting to show big media’s gullibility, why would Johnson have been targeted? And why would Schumer be the target of the forgery instead of a Republican? The point of PV’s actual attempted sting of WaPo in feeding them a false allegation about Roy Moore was to try to prove that left-leaning media outlets would uncritically promote a smear so long as it damaged one of their ideological enemies.

It seems to me the point of this experiment was either to smear Schumer earnestly or to discredit #MeToo accusers by concocting a complaint that would momentarily set the media on fire before the spectacular revelation that it’s a fake. If this made it through the fact-checking process, the hoaxer might say, what other bogus accusations has the press not diligently fact-checked before publishing?

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said he was the victim of a fake news hit on Tuesday, and has turned over to Capitol Police a document that purports to detail lurid sexual harassment accusations by a former staffer…

The former staffer told me in a phone interview that she did not author the document, that none of the charges ring true, and that her signature was forged…

A password-protected PDF of the 13-page document was shopped to Axios and other outlets. The document, which is dated 2012 and has the file name “Schumer_Complaint,” looks like a lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

Among the red flags in the document noted by Axios: No lawyer for the accuser is named and two incidents of supposed harassment that occurred in D.C. involved dates when Schumer was either not in the city or not in the country. But that’s not the extent of it. The Daily Beast also has a copy of the fake Schumer complaint and compared it to the very real sexual harassment complaint filed against John Conyers a few years ago. It looks like chunks of the Conyers complaint were simply copy/pasted into the Schumer document. Check this out:

The Conyers complaint references “House Rule 23” and a “mediation” process between Conyers and his accuser. The fake Schumer complaint also describes allegations as falling under “House Rule 23,” which of course does not exist in the Senate. The “mediation” process in the Schumer document was never mentioned again.

This was … not an ingenious hoax. ABC, WaPo, CNN, BuzzFeed, and the New Yorker reportedly all came calling to Schumer’s office yesterday to ask about the document but it’s unclear who received it directly from the source and who didn’t. Johnson posted on Facebook that “After communicating with the source through encrypted email and texts the source went dark. I sent the document to multiple journalists, lawyers, and members of Congress, all of whom agreed it should be investigated.” Did ABC et al. get it from him or were they in contact with the source too? Cernovich, who obtained the harassment complaint about Conyers before handing it off to BuzzFeed, gave the Daily Beast the phone number of what he says was the source. It was disconnected.

Is it a crime to invent a legal complaint about a series of misdeeds that didn’t actually happen? The Daily Beast notes that it’s a crime in D.C. to forge a document filed in a public office but the complaint wasn’t filed anywhere as far as I know. Lawyer Ken “Popehat” White thinks there’s nothing prosecutable here:

/2 For it to be a federal crime you'd need to use the forged doc to get something from the government, or to get money or property from someone, or make it part of a statement to the government.

— FaintGlimmerofHopehat (@Popehat) December 13, 2017

It’d be a slam-dunk defamation case for Schumer, though, even as a public figure, since the hoaxer surely knew that the allegations in the complaint were false. Schumer’s dilemma would be whether he wants the media writing stories about him and sexual harassment, even in the context of a forgery, *and* whether there might be any political blowback in him making an example of a fraud on this topic. The zeitgeist right now, especially on the left, calls for taking accusers seriously; anything Schumer does to highlight a fake will give people reason to point to this incident as “evidence” that some of the complaints against other men must be fakes too. That’ll leave Schumer in a weird spot, inadvertently encouraging skepticism of #MeToo. So maybe he’d let it lie.

Exit question for legal eagles: Does the alleged accuser have a cause of action here against the hoaxer? It’s Schumer whose reputation stood to be damaged by the complaint, not hers, but surely there’s an injury when someone promotes an allegation like this falsely in your name. Identity theft? Some privacy tort?

The post Who tried to smear Chuck Schumer with a phony sexual harassment complaint? appeared first on Hot Air.

Categories: Conservative News

Salma Hayek: Harvey Weinstein forced me to do sex scene after I rejected his advances

HotAir - Wed, 12/13/2017 - 17:01

Tuesday the NY Times published a piece by actress Salma Hayek in which she admits she hasn’t been completely forthcoming about her experiences with Harvey Weinstein. In the piece, Hayek praises women who have come forward with stories about Weinstein but describes him a “my monster too.”

I knew him a little bit through my relationship with the director Robert Rodriguez and the producer Elizabeth Avellan, who was then his wife, with whom I had done several films and who had taken me under their wing. All I knew of Harvey at the time was that he had a remarkable intellect, he was a loyal friend and a family man.

Knowing what I know now, I wonder if it wasn’t my friendship with them — and Quentin Tarantino and George Clooney — that saved me from being raped.

Hayek brought Weinstein her passion project, the film Frida, in which she starred and which she co-produced. The film would eventually be nominated for six Oscars, but Weinstein used his control over the project to consistently make inappropriate requests to which Hayek always said no:

No to opening the door to him at all hours of the night, hotel after hotel, location after location, where he would show up unexpectedly, including one location where I was doing a movie he wasn’t even involved with.

No to me taking a shower with him.

No to letting him watch me take a shower.

No to letting him give me a massage.

No to letting a naked friend of his give me a massage.

No to letting him give me oral sex.

No to my getting naked with another woman.

No, no, no, no, no …

Hayek says that each time she refused him, Weinstein became more and more furious. His anger peaked when he pulled her aside, five weeks into shooting the film, and said he would not release it unless she agreed to do a topless sex scene in the film. Having failed to get what he wanted behind the scenes, Weinstein was demanding it in front of the cameras.

It was clear to me he would never let me finish this movie without him having his fantasy one way or another. There was no room for negotiation.

I had to say yes. By now so many years of my life had gone into this film. We were about five weeks into shooting, and I had convinced so many talented people to participate. How could I let their magnificent work go to waste?…

My mind understood that I had to do it, but my body wouldn’t stop crying and convulsing. At that point, I started throwing up while a set frozen still waited to shoot. I had to take a tranquilizer, which eventually stopped the crying but made the vomiting worse. As you can imagine, this was not sexy, but it was the only way I could get through the scene.

Years later she said she met Weinstein somewhere and he praised her work on the film (which had won two Oscars). He said he’d had a heart attack and that his latest marriage had changed his life. Obviously, we now know that wasn’t true but it was a moment of repentance that allowed Hayek to believe his bad behavior was in the past.

Hayek’s story doesn’t add much to what we already know about Weinstein. In fact, as she says, the most surprising part of it may be that he didn’t attempt to rape her during one of his multiple visits to her various hotel rooms. Perhaps her connection with Quentin Tarantino spared her, just as it seems to have spared Mira Sorvino, from Weinstein crossing the line from harassment to assault.

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Categories: Conservative News

It’s come to this. Los Angeles shelters may put their dogs on vegan diets

HotAir - Wed, 12/13/2017 - 16:31

This is your weekly reminder that nothing good ever comes out of Californians having too much time on their hands. You’d think with all the wildfires they’d be a bit more busy, but the Los Angeles City Board of Animal Services Commissioners clearly had some extra time on their hands. They’re seriously considering a proposal to move all of the stray dogs in shelters onto a vegan diet. Why? Because, in the words of one pair of activists, it serves to prove that not only is LaLa Land the real “progressive capital” of the world, but we really need to rethink “the ethics of feeding animals to animals.”

I’ll just let you read this brief excerpt from the Washington Post while I go look for a pine 2×4 to smash myself over the head with.

Those dogs’ dinners could be swapped out for a plant-based food under a proposal before the Los Angeles City Board of Animal Services Commissioners. The change, which commissioners could decide Tuesday, would make the city’s shelter system the first in the nation to feed its canine residents a vegan diet, according to its chief veterinarian.

Supporters, who include musician and animal rights activist Moby and the feminist lawyer Lisa Bloom, say that is one of the selling points: to make L.A. shelter dogs the vanguard of a meat-free movement.

“If we adopt this, it’s one more thing that proves to the world that Los Angeles really is the progressive capital,” Moby, whose real name is Richard Hall, testified at the board’s meeting last month.

Where to even begin? In terms of “the ethics of animals eating animals,” it’s worth noting that “Moby” has just described how the entire animal kingdom operates and has operated (as far as we know) all the way back to the origins of the earliest animal lifeforms. Some animals eat plants. They’re known as herbivores. Others eat the animals that eat the plants. They’re known as carnivores. You can generally tell just by looking at their teeth. The herbivores have lots of flat molars suitable for grinding plant material. The carnivores tend to have rows of sharp, pointy teeth suitable for tearing flesh apart. There are definitely a few omnivores mixed in with the crowd, including humans.

Go have a look inside the mouths of the dogs at your shelter sir. We’ll wait right here.

Animals eating animals is a description of much of the food chain. At our house, we have bird feeders for all the sparrows and little songbirds. I also feed the local pigeons. Occasionally a Cooper’s Hawk comes by and nabs one of the fatter, slower ones. I had a neighbor ask us one time why I didn’t put up some nets or do something to stop the hawks. I was quite proud of my wife who spoke up immediately, saying, “We’re still feeding the birds. Just not all of them eat birdseed.”

I actually had this vegan dog conversation with one of our vets a while back. She admitted that it was definitely possible to keep a dog alive on a vegan diet, but much like with people (even more so, frankly) you really have to know what you’re doing and mix all sorts of different proteins and other elements in the right balance to make up for what they’re missing in their natural diet. But that’s the key point here… it’s not natural.

My apologies if this has turned into a rant, but this is a pet peeve of mine. I don’t care what other adults do with their own bodies. It all comes down to personal responsibility. As far as I’m concerned, for every adult vegan out there, that’s just more steak available for me. But when I hear about people forcing their dogs or cats onto a vegan diet, or even worse… their children, my first response is to wish there was a way to throw them in jail.

Do what you like to your own body. Let your freak flag fly. But if you’re torturing your pets or your kids we’re going to have a problem.

The post It’s come to this. Los Angeles shelters may put their dogs on vegan diets appeared first on Hot Air.

Categories: Conservative News

Oh my: Some women invite harassment with the way they dress, says House … Dem?

HotAir - Wed, 12/13/2017 - 16:01

This comes awkwardly into the middle of Democrats’ post-Alabama celebrations of their own wokeness, doesn’t it? Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-OH) stunned her colleagues earlier today during a caucus meeting by criticizing women for the way they dress in the workplace, calling it an “invitation to harassment.” According to a Politico report, Kaptur specifically recounted one unnamed member as having displayed cleavage “down to the floor.”

Is it “slut shaming” when Democrats do it?

A female Democratic House member shocked fellow lawmakers Wednesday when she said that the revealing clothing that some members and staffers wear is an “invitation” to sexual harassment. …

“I saw a member yesterday with her cleavage so deep it was down to the floor,” Kaptur said, according to the sources present. “And what I’ve seen … it’s really an invitation.” The comments left many others in the room stunned, the sources said.

Kaptur said women on Capitol Hill should have to abide by a stricter dress code, like those adopted by the military or corporations.

“Maybe I’ll get booed for saying this, but many companies and the military [have] a dress code,” she said. “I have been appalled at some of the dress of … members and staff. Men have to wear ties and suits.”

That much is certainly true, and it has come up before in another context. Paul Ryan barred a female reporter from the Speaker’s lobby over a dress code violation, causing some — but not all — Democrats and media outlets to warn that The Handmaid’s Tale had truly come to pass. It took a while before the same media outlets began to report that the dress code had been in place long before Ryan got the gavel, and had in fact been enforced for both men and women by Nancy Pelosi and other previous speakers. She approved of Ryan’s decision to update the dress code following the tempest, calling it “in desperate need of updates,” although Pelosi herself didn’t seem to think so when she was House Speaker for four years.

It’s one thing to complain about the lack of discipline in professional attire in the workplace. It’s another thing entirely to claim that women are to blame for being victimized by harassment. The claim that provocative dress provides an “invitation” to harassing behavior is a rather new argument for the Left, which has usually accused political opponents of believing that without much evidence. Over the last few years, progressive activists have organized “slut walks,” an absurd stunt to aggressively make the otherwise rational and sensible argument that women control their own consent, and that clothing or a lack thereof does not grant a universal license to touch.

Not surprisingly, Kaptur backpedaled after finding out that Politico was about to report her comments. In a statement, Kaptur insists that she’s plenty woke on harassment:

“When I was first elected to Congress my office and I became a refuge for female staffers who had been mistreated by their bosses. Some of them in tears many days. It is something I carry with me to this day and something I brought up during our Caucus meeting,” she said. “Under no circumstances is it the victim’s fault if they are harassed in any way. I shared the stories from my time here in the context of the ‘Me Too’ legislation and how we can elevate the decorum and the dress code to protect women from what is a pervasive problem here and in society at large.”

Note that Kaptur doesn’t actually deny making the comments, which contradict her later statement. The word “invitation” makes the blame shift explicit.

Meanwhile, Pelosi has other problems. After calling for the resignation of a House Democrat accused of sexual harassment, the House Minority Leader has discovered that her flock isn’t following along:

Breaking with Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), top House Democrats are holding their fire when it comes to the fate of Rep. Ruben Kihuen (D).

Kihuen, a Nevada freshman, has been accused by a former campaign staffer of unwanted sexual advances, prompting immediate calls of resignation from both Pelosi and Rep. Ben Ray Lujan (N.M.), the head of the Democrats’ campaign arm.

But other party leaders have suggested those calls — based on a single allegation that Kihuen has denied — are premature. They’re awaiting more evidence of misconduct before joining Pelosi in urging Kihuen to step down.

“Mr. Kihuen has said he didn’t do … what he is alleged to have done,” said Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), the minority whip. “I have said that there needs to be a process that needs to be pursued quickly and transparently to resolve that issue. And if, in fact, the allegations are proven to be true, then I said he ought to resign.”

Call this the Franken effect. Democrats ganged up on Franken after the total number of accusers hit seven, but wound up having second thoughts when Franken lashed out at the lack of due process in his resignation-ish speech on the Senate floor. Kihuen only has one accuser and no one has substantiated her claims. Zero tolerance should be the “platinum standard,” House Democrat caucus head Rep. Joseph Crowley declared, but it might be best to wait until guilt has been determined first.

That seems to be a rational approach, one which has largely escaped everyone on Capitol Hill thus far. Let’s hope cleavage measurements don’t enter into those calculations.

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Categories: Conservative News

Ugly as Mueller Probe Is, It's on Track to Clear Trump

Real Clear Politics - Wed, 12/13/2017 - 15:40
Andrew McCarthy, NY Post
There was a rush to judgment last week on Peter Strzok, a top FBI counterintelligence agent and one of the lead agents on the Hillary Clinton e-mails investigation, after revelations that Strzok exchanged text messages during the 2016 campaign with an FBI lawyer that were pro-Clinton and anti-Trump. The lawyer was Lisa Page, with whom he was having an extramarital affair.
Categories: Conservative News

Philip Seymour Hoffman and the Devastation of Addiction

Real Clear Politics - Wed, 12/13/2017 - 15:40
Mimi O'Donnell, Vogue
The first time I met Phil, there was instant chemistry between us. It was the spring of 1999, and he was interviewing me to be the costume designer for a play he was directing—his first—for the Labyrinth Theater Company, In Arabia We’d All Be Kings. Even though I’d spent the five years since moving to New York designing costumes for Off-Broadway plays and had just been hired by Saturday Night Live, I was nervous, because I was in awe of his talent. I’d seen him in Boogie Nightsand Happiness, and he blew me out of the water with his willingness to make himself so...
Categories: Conservative News

Double Standards and Distortions

Real Clear Politics - Wed, 12/13/2017 - 15:38
Heather Mac Donald, City Journal
The media condemns President Trump for normalizing hatredâ??while it looks the other way on Islamist violence and black-nationalist hatred.
Categories: Conservative News

The Undervalued Art of Bowing Out Gracefully

Real Clear Politics - Wed, 12/13/2017 - 15:37
Carl Cannon, RealClearPolitics
Losing Alabama senatorial candidate Roy Moore didn’t acknowledge his defeat Tuesday night, which is understandable given the closeness of the vote. Award the man points for consistency, if nothing else: He quoted Scripture instead of making a concession speech.
Categories: Conservative News

'Fake News,' Trump's Obsession, Now a Cudgel for Strongmen

Real Clear Politics - Wed, 12/13/2017 - 15:37
Steven Erlanger, NYT
Leaders who don't like to be criticized or investigated have embraced the term. Scholars fear that it further erodes trust in democracy.
Categories: Conservative News

Republicans' Mueller Freakout

Real Clear Politics - Wed, 12/13/2017 - 15:36
Paul Waldman, The Week
The GOP is really coming unglued over the Russia investigation
Categories: Conservative News

'We Are in a Trump-Driven Worst-Case Situation'

Real Clear Politics - Wed, 12/13/2017 - 15:33
Ronald Brownstein, The Atlantic
Roy Moore was a uniquely flawed and vulnerable candidate. But what should worry Republicans most about his loss to Democrat Doug Jones in Tuesday’s U.S. Senate race in Alabama was how closely the result tracked with the GOP’s big defeats last month in New Jersey and Virginia—not to mention how it followed the pattern of public reaction to Donald Trump’s perpetually tumultuous presidency.
Categories: Conservative News
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