Conservative News

Trump's Damning Responses to the Russia Investigation

Real Clear Politics - Wed, 05/24/2017 - 14:49
Ryan Lizza, The New Yorker
Carl Bernstein compares Trump's reaction to the F.B.I.'s Russia investigation to the actions that ultimately brought down Richard Nixon.
Categories: Conservative News

Denver just tried to thwart ICE by reducing sentences for domestic violence

HotAir - Wed, 05/24/2017 - 14:31

The Washington Post chooses to describe today’s story as an example of the city of Denver “fighting back” against President Trump’s “deportation crackdown” while ignoring the truly horrible aspects of a new policy they are putting in place. It all has to do with maximum sentencing laws and immigration rules applying to green card holders. You may recall a couple of weeks ago when we discussed the allegedly legal immigrant in Boston who murdered two doctors in their apartment. He was in the United States with a green card but had already been arrested twice for armed robbery. How was he still in the country and available to kill the couple? At his last sentencing hearing his lawyers successfully argued in a plea bargain that he should get 364 days in jail so he wouldn’t be deported. (Any sentence of one year or more puts you on ICE’s radar and can lead to deportation.)

Here’s how that story relates to what’s going on in Denver. As the Washington Post gleefully reports, the city is now changing their maximum sentencing guidelines so that anyone convicted of any of a large number of crimes can’t be sentenced to a full year in jail. And that means anyone, not just immigrants. In this way, the green card holders who commit any of those crimes don’t have to be reported to ICE and face probable deportation.

As the Trump administration’s war on “sanctuary cities” heats up, cities have come up with increasingly creative ways to fight back. The latest example comes from Denver, which just passed a law aimed at protecting legal immigrants from being deported for committing relatively petty crimes, those carrying sentences of 365 days or more — the federal government’s tripwire for kicking people out.

The city’s solution? Simply take a bunch of those relatively petty offenses and reduce the maximum penalty to less than 365 days. Just like that, the move takes the crimes (and their perpetrators) off the radar of immigration authorities.

It’s not a novel approach to protecting immigrants, but coming as a direct response to President Trump’s crackdown, it’s particularly timely.

Before getting to the details of the proposed sentencing guideline changes it’s worth noting the tone of the linked article and its place in the slow drip, drip, drip of the slow motion coup taking place in the MSM. It’s not coming from the editorial board as an opinion piece. The author is Samantha Schmidt and she’s a reporter, not an editorialist. So this is coming out of the newsroom. Look at the language. Fight back. The law is aimed at protecting legal immigrants. And given Trump’s crackdown, the change is particularly timely. I don’t know why they didn’t just publish it under the byline of the DNC.

But in any event, let’s see what this “timely” effort to “fight back” involves. Which criminals will be getting off with lighter sentences? The author refers to “petty offenses” but the full list includes assault and “first or second instance of domestic violence.” What happened to the Washington Post that was bemoaning violence against women and a society which protects male predators? Aren’t all women supposed to be able to feel safe in their own homes? But now, in Denver, you’ll need to have your husband or boyfriend beat you down and be dragged off by the police three times before it will be treated as something more than a “petty offense.” And why? Just so the City Council can stick their collective thumb in the eye of immigration law enforcement and make sure that the green card holder who is knocking your teeth out can’t be deported.

So Denver has certainly taught Donald Trump a lesson, haven’t they? What you seem to be forgetting is that people in the country with green cards – particularly those on the path to citizenship – are supposed to be on their best behavior. If they are going around breaking the law, committing robberies or assaulting people before they even get to take the oath, we don’t particularly want them here. Having a green card doesn’t mean you’re the same as a citizen and shouldn’t be tossed out if you turn out to be a criminal. That’s why we have these processes in place.

Congratulations, Denver. You keep electing these same insane liberals over and over again and now they are throwing you to the wolves in the name of scoring a few cheap political points. I’d like to have more sympathy, but you brought this on yourselves.

The post Denver just tried to thwart ICE by reducing sentences for domestic violence appeared first on Hot Air.

Categories: Conservative News

“An extreme what? An extreme rabbit?” Morrissey blasts British response to Manchester

HotAir - Wed, 05/24/2017 - 14:01

That’s the other Morrissey — Steven Patrick Morrissey, formerly the lead singer for The Smiths, and a routinely outspoken celebrity on politics. Morrissey grew up in Manchester, and had been celebrating his birthday when the Islamist terror attack took place at an Ariana Grande concert, killing 22 people including the suicide bomber. Late yesterday, Morrissey ripped the British government for its low-key rhetorical response, accusing officials from Theresa May down of hypocrisy for not calling out terrorism and doing more to stop it:

Theresa May says such attacks “will not break us”, but her own life is lived in a bullet-proof bubble, and she evidently does not need to identify any young people today in Manchester morgues. Also, “will not break us” means that the tragedy will not break her, or her policies on immigration. The young people of Manchester are already broken – thanks all the same, Theresa.

Sadiq Khan says “London is united with Manchester”, but he does not condemn Islamic State – who have claimed responsibility for the bomb. The Queen receives absurd praise for her ‘strong words’ against the attack, yet she does not cancel today’s garden party at Buckingham Palace – for which no criticism is allowed in the Britain of free press. Manchester mayor Andy Burnham says the attack is the work of an “extremist”.

An extreme what? An extreme rabbit?

Morrissey then turned his ire on everyone else in the UK for not speaking out about the threat everyone acknowledges:

In modern Britain everyone seems petrified to officially say what we all say in private. Politicians tell us they are unafraid, but they are never the victims.

Interestingly, Morrissey also neglects to specify the motive in his post, but that wasn’t enough to avoid drawing criticism for speaking out against it. The Daily Mail aggregated a number of sharp responses to Morrissey’s statement, calling him an “embarrassment” and accusing him of an intention “to incite racial violence,” which seems a little ironic under the circumstances. Rolling Stone merely noted that Morrissey had departed from the line taken by most other celebrities:

Morrissey’s note is one of the sharpest to arise in the wake of the attacks. Other artists and entertainers that have expressed their sorrow and support include Late Late Show host James Corden, Katy Perry, Harry Styles, Taylor Swift and Missy Elliot, as well as Morrissey’s fellow Manchester natives and local scene stalwarts Liam Gallagher, Johnny Marr and Peter Hook.

Actually, Katy Perry’s initial reaction took some heat as well. Perry called for open borders and the “need to coexist”:

Katy Perry said she felt “devastated” following the terrorist attack outside an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England Monday. Speaking with radio host Elvis Duran, Perry said, “I think the greatest thing we can do now is unite as people, as fan bases, all of it. Whatever we say behind people’s backs, the Internet can be a little bit ruthless as far as fan bases go but I think that the greatest thing we can do is just unite and love on each other. No barriers, no borders, we all just need to co-exist.”

The Daily Wire called this response an “insult,” and responded with one of its own:

Katy Perry, who has time and again made no secret of her double-digit IQ, gave another display of her distance from reality after the massacre committed by an Islamic terrorist in Manchester, England at an Ariana Grande concert on Monday night.

In an interview on Tuesday with Elvis Duran on Elvis Duran and the Morning Show, Perry offered her profound advice: “Just unite and love on each other.” That would have been insulting enough after knowing that some Islamic fanatic had murdered and maimed children with nails, but there was more; Perry and Duran lived in their own world in which the only thing that seemingly mattered was that the fan bases of Perry and Ariana Grande get along, and that the best answer to Islamic terrorism was to simply produce more concerts.

Basically, Morrissey was criticizing this very response, in which the real threats get pushed to the background and responsibility falls on everyone else, along with vapid and ambiguous appeals to ignore the obvious. Whether or not one agrees with his take, he’s correct that it’s been clear for some time that rushing to take down borders and expressing the need for co-existence isn’t doing much for stopping radical Islamist terrorism. In the short run, it’s arguably made it easier.

Morrissey goes wrong in making it personal with May, the Queen, and others (which is not surprising for anyone who’s paid attention to his political pronouncements). One does not need to be related to the victims to feel sorrow and outrage over the attack, as the attention around the world to this atrocity demonstrates. The very “bubble” that Morrissey cites for those public figures exists because they are targets for extremists and nutcases of all kinds. Morrissey might recall the assassination of the Queen’s cousin Louis Mountbatten, who was assassinated by the IRA in 1979, as one example in particular. Of course, no one had to wonder at that time whether the perpetrators were “an extreme rabbit,” either.

Both singers manage to get this wrong to some degree. However, Morrissey gets closer to the mark than Perry, and the “known wolf” status of the suicide bomber and the roll-up of his apparent network of terrorists should make that plain.

The post “An extreme what? An extreme rabbit?” Morrissey blasts British response to Manchester appeared first on Hot Air.

Categories: Conservative News

Trey Gowdy has tense exchange with former CIA director on Trump/Russia collusion

The Blaze - Wed, 05/24/2017 - 13:44

South Carolina Republican Rep. Trey Gowdy pressed former CIA Director John Brennan during a House Intelligence Committee hearing Tuesday on whether there is hard evidence of collusion between President Donald Trump’s campaign and Russia.

Democrats have repeatedly claimed there was collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians during the 2016 presidential election. However, the president’s accusers have yet to produce hard evidence of such collusion.

An unclassified report from the U.S. intelligence community revealed in January that Russia regularly attempts to involve itself clandestinely in U.S. elections, including the one in 2016.

Gowdy grilled Brennan on whether or not there was hard evidence of a connection between Trump and Russia, despite there being proof that Russia was indeed interfering with our elections.

“When you learned of Russian efforts, did you have evidence of a connection between the Trump campaign and Russian state actors?” Gowdy asked.

“As I said, Mr. Gowdy, I don’t do evidence,” Brennan responded, “and we were uncovering information intelligence about interactions and contacts between U.S. persons and the Russians. And as we came upon that, we would share it with the bureau.”

Gowdy did not find this answer acceptable and tensely explained to Brennan that evidence is what truly mattered to him and his colleagues, including committee members in the Democratic Party:

I appreciate that you don’t do evidence, Director Brennan. Unfortunately, that’s what I do. That’s the word we use, you use the word assessment, you use the word tradecraft. I use the word evidence.

And the good news for me is lots of my colleagues on the other side of the aisle use the word evidence, too. One of my colleagues said there is more than circumstantial evidence of collusion between the Russians and the Trump campaign.

After pointing out that the word “evidence” is one his fellow citizens understand, Gowdy pressed the former director again about proof of Trump’s collusion with Russia.

“We’re not getting into whether or not you corroborated, contradicted, examined, cross-examined. We’re not getting into how you tested and probed the reliability of that evidence; it’s a really simple question,” Gowdy said. “Did evidence exist of collusion, coordination, conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russian state actors at the time you learned of 2016 efforts?”

Brennan responded that he did not know if there was any evidence, only intelligence that suggested Russian entities attempted to sway individuals within the Trump campaign, and that he felt this intelligence warranted an investigation.

“I don’t know whether or not such collusion — and that’s your term — such collusion existed. I don’t know,” Brennan said. “But I know that there was a sufficient basis of information and intelligence that required further investigation by the bureau to determine whether or not U.S. persons were actively conspiring, colluding with Russian officials.”

While there is so far no evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, it has not stopped Democratic politicians such as Rep. Maxine Waters (Calif.) from pushing the idea that a connection exists. However, Waters was recently forced to admit even she sees no hard evidence of Russian collusion with Trump during a recent segment on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”

A video has recently been released of several Democrats admitting there is currently no evidence of a Russian and Trump connection, featuring former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.).

Categories: Conservative News

“Mule”: Bomb used in Manchester was “big and sophisticated,” almost impossible bomber didn’t have help

HotAir - Wed, 05/24/2017 - 13:33

Ah, so that’s why the British government went to “critical” level yesterday. The bombmaker, they suspect, is still out there.

Abedi had traveled to Libya within the last 12 months, one of multiple countries he had visited, the official said. And while he had “clear ties to al Qaeda,” the official said, Abedi could have also had connections to other groups.

Members of his own family had even informed on him in the past, telling British authorities that he was dangerous, according to the intelligence official.

The U.S. official said Abedi’s bomb was “big and sophisticated,” using materials hard to obtain in Britain — meaning “it’s almost impossible to see he didn’t have help.”

Could Abedi have been the chief bombmaker? Doesn’t look that way:

#manchesterattack Bomber thought to have been a 'mule' using device built by someone else. More Govt announcements expected today.

— Frank Gardner (@FrankRGardner) May 24, 2017

That helps explain the three additional arrests in Manchester this morning. “It is very clear that this is a network we are investigating,” said the chief constable. The Al Qaeda ties are a bit surprising, though, not because ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack but because French intelligence says Abedi certainly had ties to ISIS too. Given the competition between ISIS and AQ for preeminence among jihadis, you would think each group would be wary of dealing with someone known to be associated with the other. Assuming he really was an Al Qaeda loyalist, maybe the attack in Manchester was designed to try to raise AQ’s prestige as a threat to the west after it had been eclipsed by more spectacular attacks committed in the name of ISIS. This may be a perverse game of jihadi oneupsmanship.

Jazz noted this morning that one of Abedi’s associates in Libya, Abd al-Baset Azzouz, ran an AQ chapter there and is known as an expert bombmaker. Is he the mastermind or did the plot develop elsewhere — maybe even in another country, let alone among another group? Intelligence reports claim that Abedi probably spent time in Syria too:

The Sun revealed the killer is suspected of receiving terror training in Syria, where he may have visited secretly while seeing family in Libya…

Sources said there were fears Abedi may have taken advantage of the conflict to make the simple journey across the Med to Syria without alerting the British authorities.

One revealed: “His potential ties to Syria now very much forms one line of inquiry.”

Abedi’s father phoned the Associated Press this morning to say that he’s sure his now dead son is innocent. Slight problem: The elder Abedi has also been accused of fighting with Al Qaeda-affiliated groups in Libya in the 1990s. Both he and one of his other sons, the bomber’s brothers, have been arrested this afternoon in Tripoli. A second brother was arrested in Manchester last night. Was this … a family cell?

Exit question: Did a bigmouthed U.S. intelligence official compromise the UK’s investigation by blabbing about Abedi’s identity to NBC before the Brits were prepared? “Suddenly you’ve got 10,000 reporters descending on the bomber’s house,” said one counterterrorism expert, “when maybe the police wanted to approach it more subtly.” Presumably the cell members went into hiding once the plot was set in motion, not when Abedi’s name leaked, so hopefully no suspects were lost by NBC’s inadvertent tip-off. Hopefully.

The post “Mule”: Bomb used in Manchester was “big and sophisticated,” almost impossible bomber didn’t have help appeared first on Hot Air.

Categories: Conservative News

UK police announce ‘extensive investigations’ of larger Manchester terrorist network

The Blaze - Wed, 05/24/2017 - 13:08

Police in Manchester, England, said Wednesday that they believe the suicide bomber responsible for the attack at an Ariana Grande concert Monday evening was part of a larger network.

On Tuesday, authorities named Salman Abedi, 22, as the suspected bomber who carried out the attack at Manchester Arena. The attack left 22 people dead and dozens injured.

Greater Manchester Police Chief Constable Ian Hopkins said at a news conference Wednesday: “I think it’s very clear that this is a network that we are investigating. And as I’ve said, it continues at a pace. There’s extensive investigations going on and activity taking place across Greater Manchester, as we speak.”

Manchester attack update:

– police officer among dead
– 4 in custody
– police investigating “network”

— BBC Breaking News (@BBCBreaking) May 24, 2017

Hopkins also said that an off-duty police officer was among the victims but declined to give the officer’s name, citing the “family’s wishes.”

The BBC reported that Abedi’s younger brother Hashem Abedi was arrested Wednesday in Tripoli, Lybia. Ismael Abedi, also Abedi’s brother, was arrested in Manchester on Tuesday.

Hashem Abedi, younger brother of Manchester attack suspect, arrested in Tripoli

— BBC Breaking News (@BBCBreaking) May 24, 2017

According to the BBC, Home Secretary Amber Rudd said that the attack “was more sophisticated than some of the attacks we’ve seen before, and it seems likely — possible — that he wasn’t doing this on his own.”

NBC News reported that a U.S. intelligence official with direct knowledge of the investigation said that Abedi’s bomb was “big and sophisticated” and comprised of materials that are difficult to find in England, which means that “it’s almost impossible to see he didn’t have help.”

Categories: Conservative News

Paul Ryan: ‘I like Jim Comey’

HotAir - Wed, 05/24/2017 - 13:03

House Speaker Paul Ryan had some positive things to say about former FBI Director Jim Comey during an event Wednesday hosted by the news site Axios. Asked about a report that President Trump told two Russian officials Comey was “a nut job,” Ryan replied, “Yeah, I don’t agree with that. And he’s not.”

Ryan was asked a bit later what he thought of Jim Comey and replied, “I like Jim Comey.” He continued, “I know there are people who are, on both sides of the aisle, concerned about decisions he made. I think he was put into an impossible position.

“I think when Lynch went on that plane or Clinton went on her plane…I think that put him in an impossible position. I remember getting that letter from him, it’s like October 28th or something like that, I can’t remember the date…That one really kind of took me by surprise.  And I remember thinking to myself, what an impossible, no-win position or decision he had to make.

“So I think the guy was forced into nearly impossible decisions. Understandably he was going to get criticized for making those decisions but I think he served his country ably.”

Ryan is referring to Comey’s letter announcing that he was continuing to investigate the Clinton email case. He sent the letter after emails were discovered on a laptop belonging to Anthony Weiner, husband of Hillary aide Huma Abedin. Comey has been blamed by many, including Hillary Clinton, for swinging the election to Trump. Comey said he felt obligated to alert congress because he had previously testified that the investigation into the emails was over.

Given that the left blames Comey for Trump’s election victory, you might think the right would have some fondness for him. But much of that fondness evaporated last year when Comey announced he would not be bringing charges against Hillary Clinton for mishandling of classified material. The chants of “lock her up” which sometimes broke out during the campaign were aimed at Hillary but they were also at least partly a rebuke of Comey by people who thought he’d failed to do his job.

Ryan’s praise of Comey also won’t win him any points with Trump supporters. Comey supposedly kept memos on all of his interactions with Trump. Those memos are likely to become part of the three investigations into Russian influence now taking place on Capitol Hill. It will be interesting to see if Comey also kept memos on his interactions with Hillary Clinton and Loretta Lynch. The GOP has already requested to see all of those memos as well, if they exist.

The post Paul Ryan: ‘I like Jim Comey’ appeared first on Hot Air.

Categories: Conservative News

Vermont Governor Vetoes Marijuana Legalization Bill - Wed, 05/24/2017 - 12:50
Sent back to the legislature.
Categories: Conservative News

Shocker. Puerto Rican Day parade honoring terrorist is turning off some sponsors

HotAir - Wed, 05/24/2017 - 12:31

Last week we looked at the rather dubious decision of certain cities to honor convicted terrorist and FALN leader Oscar Lopez Rivera. Chief among those was New York City, where the expert bomb-maker is set to be awarded a medal and featured prominently in the upcoming Puerto Rican Day parade. As we discovered at the time, that decision isn’t sitting well with everyone in the community, including many Puerto Ricans. But now the ripple effect seems to be spreading outward. There are some sponsors who apparently don’t want their brand associated with FALN and the memory of explosions, burning buildings and mayhem. (Free Beacon)

Several key sponsors of New York City’s annual Puerto Rican Day Parade pulled out after organizers decided to honor a convicted terrorist.

Organizers announced this year they plan to name Oscar López Rivera a “National Freedom Hero;” making it the first and only time they’ve awarded the honor, the New York Times reported…

Police groups were among the first to pull out of the parade, with the NYPD and the NYPD’s Hispanic Society announcing their intention to boycott. The FDNY officers’ union and FDNY Hispanic Society on Tuesday announced the same.

Other major corporations and parade mainstays including the New York Yankees, AT&T and JetBlue will also boycott the parade. Latin-American food giant Goya Foods also has pulled its sponsorship, but wouldn’t attribute the decision to the López Rivera invite.

Those are some heavy hitters who will be sitting out the annual event. The police associations were sort of a no brainer and I doubt anyone was very shocked by their decisions, particularly given how many of them were injured as a result of FALN’s actions back in the day. But the Yankees? And AT&T and Jet Blue? They tend to be very generous donors to any big events where they can get some publicity. If outfits like that start peeling off you’ve clearly set more of a blaze than you expected.

But you know who won’t be boycotting the parade? Mayor Bill de Blasio. You can’t keep that guy away from a camera or a controversy these days. (Emphasis added)

“The organization he was affiliated with did things I don’t agree with, obviously, and they were illegal,” he said at a press conference. “All things considered, I understand why so many Puerto Ricans in this city respect that he fought for Puerto Rico, in their eyes.”

Look, I understand that you don’t want to risk alienating a set of minority voters in Gotham, Mr. Mayor, but… things you disagree with? Disagree? I wasn’t aware that there was a debate currently taking place in this country where any sane people who might seek elected office were coming down on the “pro-bombing” side. And it’s nice for you to point out that Rivera did things which were “illegal” but that’s a rather mild way of putting it. We’re not talking about somebody who bounced a few bad checks. He’s a terrorist who tought people how to build bombs and blow up buildings. You’d think the Mayor of New York City would be just a bit more in touch with the whole concept of buildings being blown up by terrorists.

Or perhaps not. It’s 2017 after all. Politics has forced most satire writers to retire because none of them can keep up with reality.

The post Shocker. Puerto Rican Day parade honoring terrorist is turning off some sponsors appeared first on Hot Air.

Categories: Conservative News

Tiny, white-owned burrito shop in Portland suddenly shuts down. You already know why.

The Blaze - Wed, 05/24/2017 - 12:23

It all seemed so innocent.

A pair of women on an impromptu road trip to Mexico last year fell in love with meals punctuated by amazing handmade tortillas and tried to figure out how they were created.

“I picked the brains of every tortilla lady there in the worst broken Spanish ever, and they showed me a little of what they did,” Liz “LC” Connelly told the Willamette Week. “They told us the basic ingredients, and we saw them moving and stretching the dough similar to how pizza makers do before rolling it out with rolling pins. They wouldn’t tell us too much about technique, but we were peeking into the windows of every kitchen, totally fascinated by how easy they made it look. We learned quickly it isn’t quite that easy.”

On their drive home to Portland, Oregon, Connelly and Kali Wilgus — who are white — decided they should work at the craft themselves and then open up an eatery in town. And soon Kooks Burritos was born.

Connelly and Wilgus carved out a spot for themselves in a food cart, rolled out tortillas right in front of customers, cooked them on a griddle and then wrapped them around eggs, guacamole, cheese and your choice of neon-green serrano salsa or neon orange chile de árbol salsa, the Week noted.

Sounds like a fun little eatery you might like to sample some day, yes?

Well, you’re too late. Kooks Burritos has closed shop.

The shuttering happened just a few days after the Willamette Week’s story hit the internet. And along with the rapid-fire closure, the owners deleted much of Kooks Burritos’ online presence, Portland’s Eater said.

Why, you ask? Well, it’s worth noting that some folks were none too pleased with Kooks once they learned the story behind its birth.

#PoliteWhiteSupremacy à la Portland & @wweek

— Bob Hopkinson (@rjhopjr) May 18, 2017

The headline of a Mic piece reads, “These white cooks bragged about stealing recipes from Mexico to start a Portland business.” It concluded with this observation:

In less than six months, Wilgus and Connelly have managed to build a business. And, depending on how you look at it, their methods are either genius or the latest example of white folks profiting off the labor of people of color.

Kooks Burritos closes amid online outrage

— Eater PDX (@eaterpdx) May 23, 2017

Some commenters in the Week article agreed with the “white folks profiting off the labor of people of color” explanation.

One accused Connelly and Wilgus of being “white girls using their whiteness to steal from brown people.”

“This is about stealing aspects of a culture without credit, and laughing about it like the two little idiotic privileged white girls they are,” another commenter noted.

Yet another wrote, “These white girls think what they’re doing is completely harmless and what not. They don’t go through the struggle these women do who wake up early in the morning to make a living [in] a community.”

A Portland Mercury piece said the burrito-making duo “colonized this style of food” and then “decided it would be cute to open a food truck.” And while the Mercury called Kooks’ late Friday closure a “victory,” it added other forms of cultural appropriation will happen in the future “unless we continue to call this out.” The piece concluded with a list of six Latin-owned restaurants in Portland for those who really want a burrito.

For those who want to travel the whole nine yards of social justice, a document showed up online calling out “white-owned appropriative restaurants in Portland” along with alternative eateries owned by “POC” (i.e., people of color).

Anybody hungry now?

For a broader take on the flaws within the cultural appropriation movement, check out TheBlaze’s Brandon Morse in his first episode of “That’s Not Racist.”

(H/T: Heat Street)

Categories: Conservative News

Rand Paul Determined to Stop Trump's 'Travesty' of a Deal With Saudi Arabia - Wed, 05/24/2017 - 12:15
Rand Paul not happy with Trump's arms deal with Saudi Arabia.
Categories: Conservative News

More Trump-Francis: Vatican emphasizes joint commitment to life, religious liberty

HotAir - Wed, 05/24/2017 - 12:01

Crux’s Inés San Martin called it the “Odd Couple encounter,” but by most reports, Donald Trump and Pope Francis focused on commonalities rather than conflicts between the two. At the end of the first meeting between the pontiff and the new American president, the Vatican emphasized those issues they hold in common — commitments to the pro-life cause and a renewed urgency on freedom of worship and conscience. The Holy See’s statement also had a curious omission, as Vatican reporter Edward Pentin notes:

In “cordial discussions” between Pope Francis and President Donald Trump this morning, “satisfaction” was expressed for “good existing bilateral relations” as well as “the joint commitment in favour of life, and freedom of worship and conscience.”

In a statement, the Vatican said it is also “hoped that there may be serene collaboration” between the Church and the Trump administration “in the fields of healthcare, education and assistance to immigrants.”

During their half-hour meeting on the Feast of Our Lady, Help of Christians, the two leaders also discussed “international affairs and the promotion of peace in the world through political negotiation and interreligious dialogue, with particular reference to the situation in the Middle East and the protection of Christian communities.”

Areas of convergence such as respect for life and religious freedom were stressed, as well as those issues of divergence such as immigration, although the statement did not refer to the environment, also an area where the Pope and Trump have differed.

According to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Pope Francis specifically brought it up, and asked Trump to keep the US in the Paris climate agreement:

Tillerson says Vatican SecState Cardinal Parolin raised climate change with Pres Trump & urged him to keep US in the Paris Agreement.

— Mark Knoller (@markknoller) May 24, 2017

In other words, the lack of reference in the Vatican readout can’t just be an oversight of a minor point. The omission of any mention of environmental issues seems clearly calibrated for maximum goodwill. Pope Francis has been outspoken if also somewhat ambiguous on the issue of climate change. Some news reports say that the pontiff gave Trump a “letter” on climate change, but they’re referring to Francis’ Laudato Sí, one of three encyclicals that the pope gave Trump as a gift. Laudato Sí did deal with the environment, but it also dealt with other issues, such as the rejection of gender ideology (paragraph 155), in which Francis wrote:

The acceptance of our bodies as God’s gift is vital for welcoming and accepting the entire world as a gift from the Father and our common home, whereas thinking that we enjoy absolute power over our own bodies turns, often subtly, into thinking that we enjoy absolute power over creation.

We could just as easily call this a “letter on gender ideology” with as much accuracy. Even in this encyclical, though, Francis emphasizes that he does not have an infallible perspective on science, and he mainly uses the climate-change hypothesis to remind Catholics of their responsibility to protect the environment and use resources for the greatest common good. Still, it’s a theme to which Francis returns often, which makes the Vatican’s omission of this subject from its readout rather curious. The Holy See’s diplomacy is always nuanced and slow to read, but this seems like a sign of friendship and an effort to focus on the issues that can form the basis of a partnership over the next few years.

That includes global security, and the protection of Christian enclaves in hostile territory. Both CBS’ Mark Knoller and the Vatican press service reported (via La Stampa) that those issues were also a focus of discussion:

On Air Force One, SecState Tillerson told press pool that Pres and @Pontifex discussed terrorism and the radicalization of young people.

— Mark Knoller (@markknoller) May 24, 2017

The discussions – the Vatican note informs – enabled an exchange of views on various themes relating to international affairs and the promotion of peace in the world through political negotiation and interreligious dialogue, with particular reference to the situation in the Middle East and the protection of Christian communities.”

That falls right into Trump’s wheelhouse, especially on his first foreign travel abroad. Trump made interreligious dialogue and the defense of religious minorities in the Middle East the explicit theme of this trip, and the Vatican has good reasons to help Trump raise awareness of those issues. The diplomatic weather report from Vatican City seems a little warmer, therefore, than Jazz’ observations this morning. If it started off “slightly tense,” as La Stampa notes, the tension had dissipated by the end:

During the exchange of gifts, Francis presented Trump with an artistic bronze bas-relief representing an olive tree, and went on explaining its meaning: there is a fracture indicating “the division of war,” Bergoglio said, and the image represents “My desire for peace”. I give it to you so you may be an instrument of peace.” “We can use peace,” was the comment of the head of state, who presented the Pope with as series of books: “This is a gift to you, these are Martin Luther King’s books, I think you’ll like them, I hope so.”

“Many Thanks” the Pope replied and then gave Trump the message of the World Peace Day 2017, adding “I personally signed it for you”, together with the three main documents of his pontificate bound in red leather, the exhortation “Evangelii Gaudium”, the encyclical “Laudato Si’” “devoted to safeguarding of creation, and the exhortation on marriage and family “Amoris laetitia”. “I will read them” assured President Trump. The slightly tense climate that marked the beginning of the visit melted, as it often happens during the final moments usually characterized by smiles and jokes.

San Martin noted the same dynamic at Crux:

Both men seemed anxious to meet one another but also slightly tense as the meeting began. Francis welcomed the American president to the Vatican, who uncharacteristically showed a broad smile as he posed with the pontiff for the traditional photo session before entering the papal studio for their private conversation.

By the end, however, both men seemed relaxed, smiling and seemingly at ease with one another.

Later in the day, during a meeting with Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni, Trump called Francis “something” and said he and the pope had a “fantastic meeting.”

Trump seems pleased with the outcome:

Honor of a lifetime to meet His Holiness Pope Francis. I leave the Vatican more determined than ever to pursue PEACE in our world.

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 24, 2017

And perhaps this is an even better indication:

.@realDonaldTrump has changed his Twitter picture to include Pope Francis. New evangelization?

— Joshua McElwee (@joshjmac) May 24, 2017

Trump should be pleased with the outcome, for now at least. Papal audiences do not usually get confrontational, but there’s always a risk of a faux pas or a clash of interests. Trump managed to get a favorable readout from the Vatican and a focus that mainly fell on issues which Trump wants to highlight, rather than a debate on other issues that might play less well for the White House. So far, his first trip abroad as president has gone remarkably well. The toughest meetings remain, however.

The post More Trump-Francis: Vatican emphasizes joint commitment to life, religious liberty appeared first on Hot Air.

Categories: Conservative News

New book reveals Hollywood icon’s little-known journey to Christian faith

The Blaze - Wed, 05/24/2017 - 11:47

Behind the wheel of his 1967 Ford Mustang, just like the one used in Steve McQueen’s iconic movie “Bullitt,” California pastor Greg Laurie set out on a journey — one he described as “quixotic, whimsical, and slightly weird” — to uncover the actor’s little-known path to Christianity.

McQueen, dubbed “The King of Cool,” died in 1980, when he was only 50 years old, as a result of mesothelioma. McQueen’s one regret, Laurie told TheBlaze, is that he didn’t live to tell the world “what Christ had done for me.”

With his new book, “Steve McQueen: The Salvation of an American Icon,” which he co-wrote with McQueen biographer Marshall Terrill, Laurie is hoping to fulfill the Tinseltown legend’s dying wish.

In the 1960s, McQueen was the quintessential man — he was gritty, daring, and he was every action movie buff’s favorite star because of his signature nail-biting car chases.

Laurie was one of those movie buffs. In fact, the pastor didn’t think he could be a bigger fan of McQueen, until he discovered the actor’s journey to Christianity at the age of 49.

“He was simultaneously the most unlikely and then again maybe the most likely person to come to faith in God,” Laurie said, detailing McQueen’s struggles with drugs, his eventual superstardom, and his search to fill the void in his life despite his overwhelming success.

Laurie, who serves as the lead pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship in Riverside, California, described the process of writing the McQueen biography as “eye-opening.”

California pastor Greg Laurie, a longtime fan of Steve McQueen, said it was “eye-opening” to meet those who knew the Hollywood icon personally. (Image Source: Greg Laurie)

“When you’ve experienced everything that this culture offers, you will see how empty it is,” Laurie said. “[T]hat was true of Steve: He had it all, but something was missing, and that led him to a little church in Santa Paula, Calif., where he heard the message of Jesus Christ for maybe the first time in a way he understood it.”

It was in 1979, when he had closed the door on his Hollywood life, Laurie said, that McQueen learned to pilot a World War II-era biplane with lessons from flight instructor Sammy Mason at the Santa Paula Airport.

When McQueen discovered Mason’s faith, he “asked Sammy if he could go to church with him sometime,” Laurie said.

The famed actor attended regularly, and one Sunday, under the direction of Leonard DeWitt, the pastor of Ventura Missionary Church at the time, McQueen became a Christian.

“I know this because Pastor DeWitt met with Steve maybe a month after that and they had a long discussion where the pastor answered a lot of Steve’s questions and then the pastor asked Steve, ‘Have you become a born-again Christian?’ And Steve said he had,” Laurie recounted.

According to the Harvest pastor, McQueen became a Christian six months before he was diagnosed with cancer.

“Steve had the statistical cards stacked against him — no father in his life, an alcoholic mother who really didn’t have time for him,” Laurie said. “The fame and all the power he acquired actually, in some ways, made his life worse. It was like throwing gasoline on a fire.

“He could have ended up overdosing on drugs or killed behind the wheel of an automobile,” he continued, “but yet he made his way to hear the gospel and so I think the takeaway truth is, ‘Wow, if God can reach someone like Steve, he can certainly reach me.’”

Laurie’s book ventures through all the twists and turns of McQueen’s life: His triumphs, his shortcomings, and his ultimate success in finding life’s purpose — an undertaking that proved to be a life-long quest for the legendary star.

The book is also being adapted into a documentary film about McQueen.

Cinematographer Jon Erwin, whose works include “October Baby” (2011), “Moms’ Night Out” (2014), and “Woodlawn” (2015), is directing the film, which will feature an interview with actor, filmmaker, and Steve McQueen fan Mel Gibson.

“[Gibson’s] contribution to the film and also to the book is remarkable,” Laurie said, “because he can speak to the actor Steve McQueen and speak to what it’s like to be a No. 1 actor in the world.”

“Steve McQueen: The Salvation of an American Icon,” which is available now for pre-order, comes out June 13. The documentary is expected to premiere sometime in September.

Categories: Conservative News

Report: Congressional aides fear former IT workers are blackmailing Democratic House members

The Blaze - Wed, 05/24/2017 - 11:32

IT staffers on Capitol Hill are confused over the lack of attention being paid to the story of recently banned House IT workers and fear that the reason may be that the banned workers possess sensitive high-level information, the Daily Caller reported Tuesday.

Imran Awan is the lead suspect in a criminal probe into security breaches within the House of Representatives that was launched Feb 2. Awan, three members of his family, and close friend Rao Abbas were House IT workers and are accused of stealing equipment from members’ offices without their knowledge and committing potentially illegal violations on the House IT network, including leaking sensitive information stored within the servers and personal devices of House members.

Awan was in possession of an iPad belonging to the then-Democratic National Committee chair, Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, around the time that DNC emails were been leaked to WikiLeaks in July 2016, prompting suspicion from authorities. Also, members of Awan’s group were paid $165,000 a year, roughly the same salary as a congressman. Together, the five tech workers accumulated some $4 million from 2010 to the time of their firings earlier this year, according to the Daily Caller.

The Awans worked in 32 House member offices, all Democrats, including  the office of Wasserman Schultz and members of the Homeland Security Committee, the Foreign Affairs Committee, and the Intelligence Committee. The tech team also worked in the office of the House Democratic Caucus. (A list of potentially compromised House members, as well as which of Awan’s group worked with the members and when, is available at the Daily Caller.)

Capitol Police banned Awan’s group from working on congressional members’ servers directly, but Schultz circumvented the ban by keeping Awan employed in an advisory position and allowing him to conduct business remotely.

Now, five Capitol Hill tech aides have come forward and told the Daily Caller that members of Congress have shown an unusual amount of loyalty to Awan group. The aides fear that the Awans may be blackmailing Democratic members.

“I don’t know what they have, but they have something on someone. It’s been months at this point” with no arrests, Pat Sowers, who has managed IT for several Republican House offices for 12 years, told the Daily Caller. “Something is rotten in Denmark.”

An anonymous manager at an unnamed tech company that works with Democratic House offices told the Daily Caller that he approached the congressional offices to offer his company’s services at one-fourth the price the Awan family was charging. To the manager’s confusion, House members rejected his offer. The manager told the Daily Caller that he now suspects that the Awan family has leverage over members of Congress.

Sowers and other IT staffers are reportedly concerned that the lack of action from House members against the Awans stems from the possibility that the former tech workers — who had access to members’ personal devices and servers, which would include emails and files — possess sensitive, and potentially embarrassing, information about members.

“There’s no question about it: If I was accused of a tenth of what these guys are accused of, they’d take me out in handcuffs that same day, and I’d never work again,” the anonymous manager said.

According to one anonymous Democratic IT staffer, Awan would work with only the members of Congress directly, because “staffers come and go.” The source told the Daily Caller that on one occasion, a member’s staffer complained that his computer was broken and that he would not pay the invoices owed to Awan until the computer was fixed. Awan allegedly went to the member, and the staffer who complained was fired that day.

“Imran has that power,” the source said.

The Daily Caller also reported that House members were oddly protective of Awan’s business despite work going undone or being done poorly. Additionally, an IT specialist who took over an office of the Awans after they were banned noted that they did not keep any inventory of the hardware that was there and that the office was paying for phone lines it hadn’t used in years.

Another IT staffer wishing to retain anonymity claimed that some of the offices that were taken over by the Awans’ replacements were “thin clients,” or computers specifically designed for “remoting” or sending information to off-site servers. This “remoting” would be in violation of House policies. Also, the Daily Caller reported, some staffers’ iPhones were linked to a single non-government iTunes account.

The Daily Caller said that IT workers were encouraged by members of Congress to keep quiet about the Awans in the hopes that the problem would blow over if no one was discussing it.

“The Awans had [members] in their pocket,” one IT staffer said. “There are a lot of members who could go down over this.”

Categories: Conservative News

Another Democratic Senator Says There's Not Enough Evidence To Point To Russian Collusion - Wed, 05/24/2017 - 11:30
and by not enough--I mean, there is virtually none.
Categories: Conservative News
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