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Westlake Legal Group > News Corporation (Page 250)

Johnson Sends Unsigned Letter To EU Seeking Brexit Delay ― And 2nd Note Arguing Against It

Westlake Legal Group 5dac18e2200000401850633c Johnson Sends Unsigned Letter To EU Seeking Brexit Delay ― And 2nd Note Arguing Against It

LONDON (Reuters) ― Prime Minister Boris Johnson sent an unsigned letter to the European Union requesting a delay to Britain’s exit from the bloc but added another note in which he explained that he did not want a “deeply corrosive” Brexit extension.

Johnson had previously said he would rather be “dead in a ditch” than ask for any extension to the Oct. 31 deadline.

But he was compelled, by a law passed last month by opponents, to send a letter to the bloc asking to push back the deadline to Jan. 31 after lawmakers thwarted his attempt to pass his EU divorce deal on Saturday.

In an extraordinary step that indicates the extent of the Brexit fever gripping the United Kingdom, Johnson sent a total of three letters to Donald Tusk, the president of the European Council.

First, a brief cover note from Britain’s EU envoy explaining that the government was simply complying with that law; second, an unsigned photocopy of the text that the law, known as the Benn Act, forced him to write; and a third letter in which Johnson said that he did not want an extension.

“I have made clear since becoming Prime Minister and made clear to parliament again today, my view, and the Government’s position, that a further extension would damage the interests of the UK and our EU partners, and the relationship between us,” Johnson said in the third letter which was signed “Boris Johnson.”

Johnson, for whom delivering Brexit is key to his plan to hold an early election, said he was confident that the process of getting the Brexit legislation through Britain’s parliament would be completed before Oct. 31, according to the letter.

Tusk said he had received the request from Johnson.

“I will now start consulting EU leaders on how to react,” he said on Twitter.

French President Emmanuel Macron told Johnson that Paris needed swift clarification on the situation after Saturday’s vote, an official at the French presidency told Reuters.

“He signalled a delay would be in no one’s interest,” the official said.

However, it was unlikely that the EU’s 27 members states would refuse Britain’s delay request.

JOHNSON PLAN TIPPED ON HEAD

Johnson had hoped that Saturday would see recalcitrant lawmakers finally back the divorce deal he agreed with EU leaders this week and end three years of political deadlock since the 2016 referendum vote to leave the bloc.

Instead, lawmakers voted 322 to 306 in favour of an amendment that turned Johnson’s planned finale on its head by obliging him to ask the EU for a delay, and increasing the opportunity for opponents to frustrate Brexit.

Johnson has previously promised that he would take the country out of the bloc on Oct. 31, without explaining how he would do this while also complying with the Benn Act.

“I will not negotiate a delay with the EU and neither does the law compel me to do so,” he told parliament after lawmakers backed the amendment on Saturday.

Opposition politicians accused him of believing he was above the law.

“Johnson is a Prime Minister who is now treating Parliament and the Courts with contempt,” John McDonnell, the opposition Labour Party’s finance spokesman said.

“His juvenile refusal to even sign the letter confirms what we always suspected that Johnson with his arrogant sense of entitlement considers he is above the law and above accountability.”

Scotland’s highest court is due to consider on Monday a legal challenge that had sought to force Johnson to comply with the Benn Act. The court said earlier this month that government lawyers had given formal legal statements that he would abide by the Benn Act and it would be a serious matter if he did not.

“Boris Johnson promised #Scottish court he would comply with #BennAct & not seek to frustrate it. Looks like he’s breaking both promises,” Joanna Cherry, a Scottish National Party lawmaker involved in the case said on Twitter.

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‘Everything that’s right about the Astros’: Great as ever, Jose Altuve wins AL pennant for Houston

CLOSEWestlake Legal Group icon_close 'Everything that's right about the Astros': Great as ever, Jose Altuve wins AL pennant for Houston

SportsPulse: The Houston Astros are returning to the World Series for the second time in three years after defeating the Yankees, but must go through a red-hot Nationals team if they want to hoist the trophy. USA TODAY

HOUSTON — Jose Altuve, drenched in champagne and beer with an MVP trophy tucked away in his locker, walked back onto the field Saturday evening, and there she was running towards him.

It was his daughter, 2 ½-year-old Melanie, jumping into his arms,  taking off his cap, placing it back on his head sideways. She picked up a piece of confetti and gave him a kiss. 

One day, she’ll be told the whole story, and fully grasp what happened this night.

Maybe then, she’ll truly understand the moment, and savor it like every other Astros fan for the rest of their lives.

The night Altuve hit that home run.

With one swing, the 5-foot-6 Altuve provided the Houston Astros with one of the most magical moments in franchise history, a two-out, ninth-inning homer, lifting the Astros past the New York Yankees, 6-4, into the World Series.

The 29-year-old Altuve was named the ALCS’s Most Valuable Player for his heroics, batting .348 with two homers, three RBI and six runs in the series.

“It was a Joe Carter-esque home run,’’ Astros president Reid Ryan said. “He is the best player in baseball.’’

And maybe the best to ever wear an Astros’ uniform.

“I’ve said things for five years now, I’ve talked about how great this guy is,’’ Astros manager A.J. Hinch said, “and he continues to exceed expectations. It’s not easy to deliver the way he does.

“The playoff version of him is spectacular. He’s turned himself into a star in his career here, and yet he’s remained humble, he’s remained hungry.

“Everything that’s right about the Astros is Jose Altuve.’’

WORLD SERIES: Astros set up showdown with Nationals

YANKEES: Bombers went the whole decade without World Series trip

Even Hall of Famer Craig Biggio couldn’t recall a more electrifying moment in franchise history.

“It’s Josey doing Josey things,’’ Biggio said during the celebration on the field, with the sellout crowd in no hurry to go home. “Just a remarkable player. Look at the hardware he has at home.

“When he’s healthy, there’s really nothing he can’t do. He can beat you in every way. With his glove. His speed. His power. He’s incredible.” 

Then again, how many players could hit the biggest home run of their life and the first thing out of their mouth is giving all the credit to teammate George Springer for drawing a two-out walk?

Yep, so much for self-promotion and worrying about his brand.

“That’s him, that’s Jose Altuve,’’ said Astros outfielder Josh Reddick. “I mean, we just had our hearts broken. And he put it back together.’’

The Astros were two outs away from winning the ALCS in the top of the ninth, when D.J. LeMahieu hit a home run just beyond the outstretched glove of right fielder George Springer, tying the game, and silencing the road of the crowd.

“It was heart-wrenching to see the ball bouncing around on the front row,’’ Reddick said. “I put my hands on top of my head. Your heart hits the floor.’’

And then the bottom of the ninth came around.

Aroldis Chapman, the Yankees’ All-Star closer, opened the ninth by striking out Martin Maldonado, and getting Reddick out on a pop-up. Then he walked Springer, giving the Astros hope.

Altuve, knowing that Chapman had to be cautious, watched him throw a 98.5-mph fastball for ball one. Then another, 97.3 mph fastball for ball two.

That’s when Reddick, sitting on the dugout stairs to the far end of the bench, leaned over to Brantley and blurted out:

“‘He’s going to win it.’” 

Chapman, desperate to regain his control, went to his slider, 85.3-mph, for a called strike.

Hinch thought about having Springer steal second, putting him in scoring position so a hit would win the game, but then worried about the Yankees intentionally walking Altuve, bringing up light-hitting Jake Marisnick.

“I was kind of thinking, maybe he can hook a ball in the corner,’’ Hinch said, “and can George score from first. A couple of years ago, we won a game here [off Chapman] by hooking a ball down the corner, so I was thinking maybe we could do the same.’’

Chapman, not wanting to fall behind, tried to throw another slider for a strike.

It hung over the plate.

And Altuve swung with all of his might.

The ball soared 407 feet into the night, high above the left-center-field fence, and the celebratory scream pierced the air, with Chapman standing on the mound with his mouth wide open, saying later, “I was in shock.’’

“I just started running,’’ Springer said, “knowing if it didn’t go out, I’ve got to score. I didn’t really remember what happened next. I just had to remember to touch home plate. …

“There’s not anything he does that doesn’t surprise me anymore. That’s why he is our guy. He’s an unbelievable player, but even a better person, and to have him in that situation is exactly what we wanted.’’

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Brantley, who signed a two-year free-agent contract to join the Astros after spending 10 years in Cleveland, could only laugh at Altuve’s modesty. He was aware of Altuve’s talents over the years. Come on, everyone knows about Altuve, a former MVP, three-time batting champion, six-time All-Star and a World Series champion.

Still, unless you’re around him every day, you don’t appreciate his greatness.

“To see how hard he works every day, and what he does not only on the field but what he does in the locker room and how much he cares,’’ Brantley said, “it’s awesome to watch. It’s awesome to be a part of.

“He’s been a special player for a long time, but what he did tonight only adds to his legacy.’’

This is a player who came up on one of the worst teams in baseball. The Astros were the laughingstocks of baseball, losing 324 games from 2011-2013. Now, here is Altuve, the heart and soul of a potential American League dynasty.

“I still remember when we lost 100 games three years in a row,’’ Altuve said. “It seems like we were in the very, very bottom. So the only hope I had was to keep working hard because everybody keeps telling me, ‘Yeah, we’re going to win a championship, we’re going to be a really good team.’ I wanted to be a part of that.’”

Now, here they are, four victories away from winning their second World Series championship in three years, facing the Washington Nationals on Tuesday in Game 1 at Minute Maid Park.

“We’re going to the World Series,’’ said Altuve, “but we’re not going to the World Series because of me. We’re going to the World Series because of everybody inside of the clubhouse.’’

“This was a great series, and unbelievable series, but the only difference, is that we have Jose Altuve,” said Ryan, the club’s president since 2013.

“The Yankees didn’t.

“It’s that simple.”

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Colin Clarke: ISIS is big winner from US withdrawal from Syria

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6096186892001_6096181884001-vs Colin Clarke: ISIS is big winner from US withdrawal from Syria fox-news/world/world-regions/turkey fox-news/world/conflicts/syria fox-news/world fox-news/us/military fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/middle-east fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/opinion fox news fnc/opinion fnc Colin Clarke article 374f2eec-dfd4-5407-a0cd-542213828d91

President Trump’s decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria could provide the ISIS terrorist group with the time and space to regrow its organization and extend its networks throughout the Middle East.

While the most immediate and visible consequence of the U.S. withdrawal has been an increase of tensions between the U.S. and Turkey, these and other second-order effects of this decision are less visible and may take a longer time to manifest.

The most obvious concern is that with the Kurds now focused on survival, the United States’ most capable partner on the ground in Syria – local militia forces consisting of the Syrian Democratic Forces and the People’s Protection Units – will devote fewer resources and manpower to combating ISIS. Kurdish fighters have ceased counterterrorism operations against ISIS.

US TROOPS LEAVING SYRIA WILL GO TO WESTERN IRAQ, DEFENSE CHIEF ESPER SAYS

As the Kurds are pulled away from guarding camps where ISIS prisoners and sympathizers are being detained and called to the front lines to fight against Turkish troops and Turkish-backed militias, detainment camps and prisons will grow significantly more vulnerable, with potentially dire implications for regional stability.

Opinion

There have already been widespread reports of prison breaks from detainment camps where ISIS prisoners and sympathizers were being held. ISIS, through its official news agency, Amaq, announced a raid on the “PKK headquarters” west of Raqqa, in reference to a detainee camp guarded by Kurdish militants.

Other similar incidents have been reported recently as well, including reports suggesting that more than 700 people with suspected links to ISIS fled from a camp in northeast Syria after shelling by the Turkish military in the area. On Wednesday, the Iraqi government expressed concern that militants who escaped detention in Syria crossed over into Iraq.

Countries in Southeast Asia, including Indonesia, are now apparently on alert as their foreign nationals being held in these camps have escaped and could potentially return to their countries of origin to plot future attacks.

There have also been rumors that several high-profile ISIS fighters from France, including Adrien Guihal, are among those that are now on the loose, heightening concerns back in Paris that plans for impending terrorist attacks could be in the works.

The potential for an ISIS resurgence comes at a critical time for the terrorist group. Although it lost most of the territory it once controlled, the group has been working steadily to spread its influence in Iraq and Syria. The Kurds recently struck a deal with the regime of Syrian leader Bashar Assad, which could help ISIS recruit new members by using this as a propaganda tool.

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President Trump’s rationale for removing troops from Syria was a desire to “end these endless wars,” but on the heels of this decision came another widely debated move; the president announced he was sending 1,800 troops to Saudi Arabia as a force to deter Iranian expansion.

The move to send these troops to Saudi Arabia might be seized upon by jihadist groups like ISIS and Al Qaeda, the latter of which used the presence of American troops in Saudi Arabia as one of its primary motivations for attacking the United States.

In 1996, Al Qaeda leader Usama bin Laden issued his now-infamous “Declaration of Jihad Against the Americans Occupying the Land of the Two Holiest Sites,” in reference to Mecca and Medina, considered sacred places in the Islamic world.

If the cease-fire breaks down and the situation in Syria deteriorates further, ISIS could ultimately rebuild its organization in that country. It would seem to be nearly impossible for the U.S. to redeploy troops into northern Syria, as American bases have been taken over by Russian forces or disassembled by U.S. forces to make them uninhabitable for any forces.

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Moreover, even if the U.S. desired to reinsert troops at any future point to deal with a resurgent ISIS threat, it would likely struggle to find a legitimate partner to work with on the ground.

While the tactical setbacks resulting from the withdrawal of U.S. troops in Syria could reverse hard fought gains in the immediate term, the longer-term strategic effects of such a hastily executed decision could reverberate in the region for years to come, while simultaneously emboldening America’s chief adversaries – ISIS, Syria, Russia, and Iran – and accelerating the decline of U.S. influence in the Middle East.

 CLICK HERE TO READ MORE BY COLIN P. CLARKE 

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6096186892001_6096181884001-vs Colin Clarke: ISIS is big winner from US withdrawal from Syria fox-news/world/world-regions/turkey fox-news/world/conflicts/syria fox-news/world fox-news/us/military fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/middle-east fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/opinion fox news fnc/opinion fnc Colin Clarke article 374f2eec-dfd4-5407-a0cd-542213828d91   Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6096186892001_6096181884001-vs Colin Clarke: ISIS is big winner from US withdrawal from Syria fox-news/world/world-regions/turkey fox-news/world/conflicts/syria fox-news/world fox-news/us/military fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/middle-east fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/opinion fox news fnc/opinion fnc Colin Clarke article 374f2eec-dfd4-5407-a0cd-542213828d91

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Medicare fraud cases settled for $7.1M after knee braces, injections deemed unnecessary

Westlake Legal Group vaccine Medicare fraud cases settled for $7.1M after knee braces, injections deemed unnecessary Vandana Rambaran fox-news/us/crime fox-news/us fox-news/politics/justice-department fox-news/health/pain-management/arthritis fox news fnc/health fnc dc56680d-5ab0-5013-9a4c-165b9d10dcfe article

Seven former Osteo Relief Institute clinics accused of billing Medicare for unnecessary knee braces and injections to treat osteoarthritis have agreed to pay more than $7.1 million in a settlement, the U.S. Justice Department announced Friday.

“Billing Medicare for medically unnecessary items and procedures puts patients at risk and wastes taxpayer funds,” Assistant Attorney General Jody Hunt of the Civil Division said in a statement. “Today’s settlement demonstrates that the Department of Justice will pursue companies and individuals who seek to benefit at the expense of federal health care programs and their beneficiaries.”

“Billing Medicare for medically unnecessary items and procedures puts patients at risk and wastes taxpayer funds.”

— Jody Hunt, Justice Department civil division

CALIFORNIA DOCTOR FOUND GUILTY IN $12M MEDICARE SCHEME; SINGLE-USE CATHETERS REPACKAGED

The settlement concludes a probe of clinics in six states that performed administered viscosupplementation injections — where doctors inject a gel-like substance into a patient’s knee joint to prevent symptoms associated with arthritis — to patients who did not need them and filed false claims to Medicare for the treatments. The government also said owners of these clinics used multiple brands of the injection successively on patients without clinical support and purchased reimported forms of the drug from foreign countries. In addition, the clinics provided patients with unnecessary custom knee braces.

The investigation originated in Lexington, Ky., after a whistleblower filed a lawsuit prompting a review of Medicare claims data.

The whistleblower is set to receive $857,550 from the government.

Six ORI clinics — in Phoenix; San Diego; Lexington, Ky.; Wall Township, N.J.; Dallas and San Antonio — will collectively pay the government $6 million. A seventh clinic, in Colorado Springs, Colo., will pay approximately $1.13 million.

“This settlement demonstrates that the U.S. Attorney’s Office will continue to identify and hold accountable those healthcare providers who improperly bill medically unnecessary services,” Robert Duncan Jr., U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Kentucky said in a statement. “It is also an example of our commitment to identify those who seek to defraud the government, as well as to work with whistleblowers, who play a critical role in helping keep entities honest, and are encouraged to report suspected waste, fraud, and abuse by those billing federal programs.”

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As part of the settlement, the clinics also agreed to implement new compliance controls and will be subjected to annual ORI clinics claims reviews by an independent review organization.

Westlake Legal Group vaccine Medicare fraud cases settled for $7.1M after knee braces, injections deemed unnecessary Vandana Rambaran fox-news/us/crime fox-news/us fox-news/politics/justice-department fox-news/health/pain-management/arthritis fox news fnc/health fnc dc56680d-5ab0-5013-9a4c-165b9d10dcfe article   Westlake Legal Group vaccine Medicare fraud cases settled for $7.1M after knee braces, injections deemed unnecessary Vandana Rambaran fox-news/us/crime fox-news/us fox-news/politics/justice-department fox-news/health/pain-management/arthritis fox news fnc/health fnc dc56680d-5ab0-5013-9a4c-165b9d10dcfe article

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Justin Haskins: Elizabeth Warren is pretending to be something she’s not – let’s not fall for her masquerade

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6095977512001_6095975790001-vs Justin Haskins: Elizabeth Warren is pretending to be something she’s not – let’s not fall for her masquerade Justin Haskins fox-news/politics/socialism fox-news/politics/elections fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox-news/person/elizabeth-warren fox-news/person/bernie-sanders fox-news/opinion fox news fnc/opinion fnc article a3de4374-93eb-58e5-9f14-f8e46a02693a

Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont proudly calls himself a democratic socialist. But fellow Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts – who holds many similar extreme-leftist positions – claims she’s really a capitalist.

That’s a claim that would add a few feet to Pinocchio’s nose.

Warren can call herself anything she wants. She falsely called herself a Native American for years and finally had to apologize for that instance of mislabeling. But if truth in packaging laws applied to politicians, Warren would have to admit she’s no more a capitalist than she is a Native American.

CHARLES PAYNE: ELIZABETH WARREN WANTS TO BREAK APART AN ECONOMY THAT’S WORKING

With her long record of promoting socialist causes and her calls for massive new job-killing government regulations and huge tax increases – on income, wealth, and whatever she can think of to take money from hard-working individuals and businesses – Warren is as much of a socialist as Sanders.

More from Opinion

While their views aren’t are identical, the true ideological colors of Comrade Bernie and Comrade Elizabeth are both shades of red.

In the wake of Sanders’ recent heart attack, Warren appears better positioned than ever to become the Democratic Party’s 2020 presidential nominee.

Real Clear Politics’ average of recent presidential surveys shows Warren is now polling eight percentage points higher than Sanders. And in two national surveys – one by The Economist and another by Quinnipiac – Warren is polling higher than the longstanding front-runner, former Vice President Joe Biden.

Although Biden has been considered a lock to win the nomination by some analysts for months, it seems unlikely he will be able to compete with a far-left challenger like Warren or Sanders once the race inevitably narrows.

Although Biden is unquestionably a progressive whose policies would cause substantial damage to the U.S., he’s not a radical who wants to dynamite the capitalist system that has made America the most prosperous and powerful nation on the planet. But that’s exactly what Warren and Sanders want to do.

It doesn’t help that Biden’s TV debate performances have made the former vice president look more than a little confused. At times, it appears Biden isn’t sure where he is or what year it is – never mind what the candidates are debating.

Warren is a different story entirely. Her debate performances have been sharp and, at times, impressive – though she sometimes sounds like a nagging schoolteacher berating her young students.

Why, exactly, hasn’t Warren been labeled a “socialist”? The biggest – and perhaps the only – reason is that she and others in her party and the left-leaning media continue to insist she isn’t one, despite a mountain of evidence to the contrary.

For example, in an Oct. 13 interview with ABC News’s “This Week,” Sanders said: “There are differences between Elizabeth and myself. Elizabeth I think, as you know, has said that she is a capitalist through her bones. I’m not.”

Like many of the things oozing from Comrade Bernie’s mouth, this, too, is false. Warren is a socialist through and through and her dangerous, destructive policy plans would – like all socialist proposals – cause substantial harm to America’s economy and society, hurting everyone, including the most impoverished.

Warren understands that if she says she’s a socialist, she’ll lose support from moderate voters whose support she would need in the general election to defeat President Trump. So she pretends she’s not what she really is.

Here are just some of Warren’s many frightening socialist plans for the United States:

Warren has endorsed the “Just Society” proposal of socialist Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y. This radical idea would – among other things – redefine poverty in the United States so that potentially tens of millions of additional Americans will be pushed onto social welfare programs like Medicaid. A “Just Society” would also make it illegal to deny illegal immigrants and those who have been convicted of crimes access to welfare programs.

Warren has proposed what she calls The Accountable Capitalism Act. This would force every corporation in America with $1 billion or more in annual revenue to obtain a federal charter from a new regulatory agency. The legislation would require that at least 40 percent of corporate board member be elected by workers, and impose costly new bureaucratic regulations on companies. This would likely cause a mass exodus of the most important businesses from the U.S. – stunting economic growth, sending unemployment skyrocketing, and increasing the national debt

Warren has also proposed imposing a single-payer health care system. This would outlaw most forms of private health insurance and force the more than 140 million Americans now enrolled in private insurance plans onto government-managed health plans – all at a cost of $32 trillion over 10 years. Single-payer models elsewhere in the world require very high taxes and have led to rationing of health care and long wait times. This rationing increases unnecessary pain and suffering for millions of people and in the most extreme cases can lead to some patient deaths.

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Warren also wants to spend $500 billion over 10 years to build millions of new housing units, and trillions of dollars to cancel college student loan debt for 42 million Americans. She would also “give every American the opportunity to attend a two-year or four-year public college without paying a dime in tuition or fees.”

Warren, like Sanders, was one of the original cosponsors of Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal. This is the most radical, dangerous, environmentally destructive proposal in modern American history. The Green New Deal would destroy millions of jobs by eliminating most forms of fossil fuel generation and use, including that gasoline-powered vehicle you drive to work every day. It would also create a new system of publicly-owned banks, basic income programs, a federal jobs guarantee, massive new green housing mandates, a universal health food program, and countless new “social justice” programs.

These proposals – and the incredibly high tax increases needed to fund them – would push the U.S. closer than ever to full-blown Marxism, and they are without any doubt in line with socialist principles. This is why self-described socialists like Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez have embraced or even proposed the vast majority of them.

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With Halloween just around the corner, millions of children will be dressing up for one night pretending to be all sorts of characters. Warren has stopped pretending to be a Native American, but pretends every day to be a capitalist – while she knows very well that she’s a socialist through and through.

For the sake of our country and the American people, let’s hope voters see through Warren’s masquerade.

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE BY JUSTIN HASKINS

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6095977512001_6095975790001-vs Justin Haskins: Elizabeth Warren is pretending to be something she’s not – let’s not fall for her masquerade Justin Haskins fox-news/politics/socialism fox-news/politics/elections fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox-news/person/elizabeth-warren fox-news/person/bernie-sanders fox-news/opinion fox news fnc/opinion fnc article a3de4374-93eb-58e5-9f14-f8e46a02693a   Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6095977512001_6095975790001-vs Justin Haskins: Elizabeth Warren is pretending to be something she’s not – let’s not fall for her masquerade Justin Haskins fox-news/politics/socialism fox-news/politics/elections fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox-news/person/elizabeth-warren fox-news/person/bernie-sanders fox-news/opinion fox news fnc/opinion fnc article a3de4374-93eb-58e5-9f14-f8e46a02693a

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New Emmett Till marker dedicated in Mississippi after vandalism

Westlake Legal Group ap18192757738185 New Emmett Till marker dedicated in Mississippi after vandalism fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/mississippi fox news fnc/us fnc Brie Stimson article 48b4d457-e656-5ed3-8689-d109a428aa44

A bulletproof marker was reportedly dedicated to civil rights icon Emmett Till in Mississippi on Saturday after previous ones had been vandalized by gunfire.

Till was a 14-year-old black teenager in 1955 when he was kidnapped, beaten and lynched in Money, Miss., for allegedly whistling at a white woman.

The marker was erected near the Tallahatchie River where Till’s body was found days later.

BULLETPROOF EMMETT TILL SIGN COMMISSIONED AFTER RECENT VANDALISM: REPORTS

The new memorial, made of steel, is 10 times heavier than the previous ones, the Huffington Post reported.

“This marker answers the question as to what we do with our history,” the Rev. Willie Williams, co-director of the Emmett Till Memorial Commission, which advocated for the new marker, said, according to the Post. “Do we learn from it? Do we use it to help our society have greater respect for humanity? This answers that.”

The Rev. Wheeler Parker, Till’s cousin, who is the last living witness to his kidnapping, plus another cousin and her daughter attended the ceremony, the Post reported.

Till’s murder is seen as one of the catalysts of the civil rights movement of the 1950s and ’60s

Last year, the Justice Department reopened the investigation into his death, saying it received new information.

The two suspects in his murder, the husband of the woman Till was accused of whistling at and the man’s half-brother, were both acquitted by an all-white jury at the time.

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The new sign was commissioned just days after some University of Mississippi students were suspended from their fraternity after posing in front of the memorial with guns last summer.

Westlake Legal Group ap18192757738185 New Emmett Till marker dedicated in Mississippi after vandalism fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/mississippi fox news fnc/us fnc Brie Stimson article 48b4d457-e656-5ed3-8689-d109a428aa44   Westlake Legal Group ap18192757738185 New Emmett Till marker dedicated in Mississippi after vandalism fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/mississippi fox news fnc/us fnc Brie Stimson article 48b4d457-e656-5ed3-8689-d109a428aa44

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Pelosi Visits Jordan to Discuss Syria Crisis Amid Shaky Cease-Fire

Westlake Legal Group 20prexy-facebookJumbo Pelosi Visits Jordan to Discuss Syria Crisis Amid Shaky Cease-Fire United States International Relations Turkey Syria Pelosi, Nancy Middle East Jordan Defense and Military Forces Abdullah II, King of Jordan

ISTANBUL — Speaker Nancy Pelosi has traveled to Jordan to met with the Jordanian king for “vital” discussions about the Turkish incursion into Syria and other regional challenges, amid uncertainty about whether an American-brokered cease-fire with Turkey in northern Syria was holding.

The visit by senior United States officials came as sporadic clashes continued on Sunday morning along the Turkish-Syrian border, where, according to the Turkish Defense Ministry, a Turkish soldier was killed by Kurdish fighters in the Syrian border town of Tel Abyad.

Confusion and continued shelling have marred the cease-fire deal announced by Vice President Mike Pence last week, with both Turkey and Kurdish leaders accusing each other of violating the truce.

Ms. Pelosi, a California Democrat, led a nine-member bipartisan congressional delegation to Jordan that included Representatives Adam Schiff, Democrat of California; Eliot L. Engel, Democrat of New York; and Mac Thornberry, Republican of Texas. The group met with King Abdullah II of Jordan on Saturday evening.

“Our bipartisan delegation is visiting Jordan at a critical time for the security and stability of the region,” Ms. Pelosi’s office said in a statement. “With the deepening crisis in Syria after Turkey’s incursion, our delegation has engaged in vital discussions about the impact to regional stability, increased flow of refugees, and the dangerous opening that has been provided to ISIS, Iran and Russia.”

The delegation also discussed issues like “counterterrorism, security cooperation, Middle East peace, economic development and other shared challenges,” the statement said.

A planned visit by Ms. Pelosi to American troops in Afghanistan this year was abruptly scrapped by President Trump in a striking moment of one-upmanship during bitter negotiations over the partial government shutdown that forced thousands of federal employees to work without pay.

As Mr. Trump signaled that he would go ahead with his State of the Union speech in January amid the shutdown, Ms. Pelosi suggested he should cancel or delay it, citing security concerns amid the prolonged shutdown.

Jordan is considered a key ally in the Middle East, and the United States gives the country more than a billion dollars in aid every year. The United States also maintains a military base in southern Syria, close to the Jordanian border.

Mr. Trump’s order for the American retreat from its military positions at the other end of Syria — along the Turkish border with northern Syria — set in motion the latest flash point of the eight-year-old Syrian war.

That withdrawal gave the implicit blessing of the White House to Turkish troops to enter northern Syria 10 days ago, where they since claimed the capture of about 1,800 square miles of Syrian territory, diminished American influence in the region and opened the door for Russia to fill the vacuum.

Turkey wants to force out a Kurdish-led militia that had used the chaos of the Syrian conflict to create an autonomous region outside the influence of the Syrian central government. The Kurdish-led militia, known as the Syrian Democratic Forces, had operated under the protection of the United States, since its fighters had partnered with the American military in 2014 to push the Islamic State out of the region.

But Turkey considers the militia a threat to its national security since it is an offshoot of a guerrilla movement that has waged a decades-long insurgency against the Turkish state. The Turkish government wants its Syrian Arab proxies to establish a new autonomous zone in northern Syria in order to dilute Kurdish influence along its southern border.

On Thursday, Mr. Pence announced a deal with Turkey that gave American assent to Turkey’s plan, in exchange for a five-day cease-fire that would allow Kurdish fighters to retreat safely from the region.

But the cease-fire has yet to fully take hold. Sporadic shelling continued on Saturday night and smoke could be seen billowing near a strategic town, observers on the border said.

The commander of the Kurdish-led forces, Mazloum Abdi, said in interviews with international news media on Saturday that Turkish troops had refused to let his fighters retreat. In response, the Turkish ministry said there were “absolutely no impediments to withdrawal.”

Turkish forces allowed a convoy of medical staff members and aid workers to enter the Syrian border town of Ras al-Ain on Saturday and evacuate injured people back to Kurdish-held territory, members of the convoy said.

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Pelosi Visits Jordan to Discuss Syria Crisis Amid Shaky Cease-Fire

Westlake Legal Group 20prexy-facebookJumbo Pelosi Visits Jordan to Discuss Syria Crisis Amid Shaky Cease-Fire United States International Relations Turkey Syria Pelosi, Nancy Middle East Jordan Defense and Military Forces Abdullah II, King of Jordan

ISTANBUL — Speaker Nancy Pelosi has traveled to Jordan to met with the Jordanian king for “vital” discussions about the Turkish incursion into Syria and other regional challenges, amid uncertainty about whether an American-brokered cease-fire with Turkey in northern Syria was holding.

The visit by senior United States officials came as sporadic clashes continued on Sunday morning along the Turkish-Syrian border, where, according to the Turkish Defense Ministry, a Turkish soldier was killed by Kurdish fighters in the Syrian border town of Tel Abyad.

Confusion and continued shelling have marred the cease-fire deal announced by Vice President Mike Pence last week, with both Turkey and Kurdish leaders accusing each other of violating the truce.

Ms. Pelosi, a California Democrat, led a nine-member bipartisan congressional delegation to Jordan that included Representatives Adam Schiff, Democrat of California; Eliot L. Engel, Democrat of New York; and Mac Thornberry, Republican of Texas. The group met with King Abdullah II of Jordan on Saturday evening.

“Our bipartisan delegation is visiting Jordan at a critical time for the security and stability of the region,” Ms. Pelosi’s office said in a statement. “With the deepening crisis in Syria after Turkey’s incursion, our delegation has engaged in vital discussions about the impact to regional stability, increased flow of refugees, and the dangerous opening that has been provided to ISIS, Iran and Russia.”

The delegation also discussed issues like “counterterrorism, security cooperation, Middle East peace, economic development and other shared challenges,” the statement said.

A planned visit by Ms. Pelosi to American troops in Afghanistan this year was abruptly scrapped by President Trump in a striking moment of one-upmanship during bitter negotiations over the partial government shutdown that forced thousands of federal employees to work without pay.

As Mr. Trump signaled that he would go ahead with his State of the Union speech in January amid the shutdown, Ms. Pelosi suggested he should cancel or delay it, citing security concerns amid the prolonged shutdown.

Jordan is considered a key ally in the Middle East, and the United States gives the country more than a billion dollars in aid every year. The United States also maintains a military base in southern Syria, close to the Jordanian border. Though the Jordanian government is involved in discussions about the future of southern Syria, it has relatively little influence over the conflict in northern Syria.

Mr. Trump’s order for the American retreat from its military positions at the other end of Syria — along the Turkish border with northern Syria — set in motion the latest flash point of the eight-year-old Syrian war.

That withdrawal gave the implicit blessing of the White House to Turkish troops to enter northern Syria 10 days ago, where they since claimed the capture of about 1,800 square miles of Syrian territory, diminished American influence in the region and opened the door for Russia to fill the vacuum.

Turkey wants to force out a Kurdish-led militia that had used the chaos of the Syrian conflict to create an autonomous region outside the influence of the Syrian central government. The Kurdish-led militia, known as the Syrian Democratic Forces, had operated under the protection of the United States, since its fighters had partnered with the American military in 2014 to push the Islamic State out of the region.

But Turkey considers the militia a threat to its national security since it is an offshoot of a guerrilla movement that has waged a decades-long insurgency against the Turkish state. The Turkish government wants its Syrian Arab proxies to establish a new autonomous zone in northern Syria in order to dilute Kurdish influence along its southern border.

On Thursday, Mr. Pence announced a deal with Turkey that gave American assent to Turkey’s plan, in exchange for a five-day cease-fire that would allow Kurdish fighters to retreat safely from the region.

But the cease-fire has yet to fully take hold. Sporadic shelling continued on Saturday night and smoke could be seen billowing near a strategic town, observers on the border said.

The commander of the Kurdish-led forces, Mazloum Abdi, said in interviews with international news media on Saturday that Turkish troops had refused to let his fighters retreat. In response, the Turkish ministry said there were “absolutely no impediments to withdrawal.”

Turkish forces allowed a convoy of medical staff members and aid workers to enter the Syrian border town of Ras al-Ain on Saturday and evacuate injured people back to Kurdish-held territory, members of the convoy said.

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Trump Campaign Floods Web With Ads, Raking In Cash as Democrats Struggle

Westlake Legal Group 20digitalcampaign-web-facebookJumbo Trump Campaign Floods Web With Ads, Raking In Cash as Democrats Struggle Warren, Elizabeth Trump, Donald J Social Media Sanders, Bernard Republican Party Presidential Election of 2020 Presidential Election of 2016 Political Advertising Parscale, Brad (1976- ) Online Advertising Midterm Elections (2018) Harris, Kamala D Facebook Inc Democratic Party cambridge analytica Biden, Joseph R Jr

On any given day, the Trump campaign is plastering ads all over Facebook, YouTube and the millions of sites served by Google, hitting the kind of incendiary themes — immigrant invaders, the corrupt media — that play best on platforms where algorithms favor outrage and political campaigns are free to disregard facts.

Even seemingly ominous developments for Mr. Trump become fodder for his campaign. When news broke last month that congressional Democrats were opening an impeachment inquiry, the campaign responded with an advertising blitz aimed at firing up the president’s base.

The campaign slapped together an “Impeachment Poll” (sample question: “Do you agree that President Trump has done nothing wrong?”). It invited supporters to join the Official Impeachment Defense Task Force (“All you need to do is DONATE NOW!”). It produced a slick video laying out the debunked conspiracy theory about former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and Ukraine that is now at the center of the impeachment battle (“Learn the truth. Watch Now!”).

The onslaught overwhelmed the limited Democratic response. Mr. Biden’s campaign put up the stiffest resistance: It demanded Facebook take down the ad, only to be rebuffed. It then proceeded with plans to slash its online advertising budget in favor of more television ads.

That campaigns are now being fought largely online is hardly a revelation, yet only one political party seems to have gotten the message. While the Trump campaign has put its digital operation firmly at the center of the president’s re-election effort, Democrats are struggling to internalize the lessons of the 2016 race and adapt to a political landscape shaped by social media.

Mr. Trump’s first campaign took far better advantage of Facebook and other platforms that reward narrowly targeted — and, arguably, nastier — messages. And while the president is now embattled on multiple fronts and disfavored by a majority of Americans in most polls, he has one big advantage: His 2020 campaign, flush with cash, is poised to dominate online again, according to experts on both ends of the political spectrum, independent researchers and tech executives. The difference between the parties’ digital efforts, they said, runs far deeper than the distinction between an incumbent’s general-election operation and challengers’ primary campaigns.

The Trump team has spent the past three years building out its web operation. As a sign of its priorities, the 2016 digital director, Brad Parscale, is now leading the entire campaign. He is at the helm of what experts described as a sophisticated digital marketing effort, one that befits a relentlessly self-promoting candidate who honed his image, and broadcast it into national consciousness, on reality television.

The campaign under Mr. Parscale is focused on pushing its product — Mr. Trump — by churning out targeted ads, aggressively testing the content and collecting data to further refine its messages. It is selling hats, shirts and other gear, a strategy that yields yet more data, along with cash and, of course, walking campaign billboards.

“We see much less of that kind of experimentation with the Democratic candidates,” said Laura Edelson, a researcher at New York University who tracks political advertising on Facebook. “They’re running fewer ads. We don’t see the wide array of targeting.”

The Trump campaign, she said, “is like a supercar racing a little Volkswagen Bug.”

The Democrats would be the Volkswagen. The are largely running what other experts and political operatives compared to brand-loyalty campaigns, trying to sway moderates and offend as few people as possible, despite mounting research that suggests persuasion ads have little to no impact on voters in a general election.

The candidates, to be sure, are collectively spending more on Facebook and Google than on television and are trying to target their ads — Mr. Biden’s tend to be seen by those born before 1975, for instance, while Senator Bernie Sanders’s are aimed at those born later. But without the same level of message testing and data collection, the Democrats’ efforts are not nearly as robust as Mr. Trump’s.

[Read more on how Democrats are using Facebook to reach specific voters.]

Democratic digital operatives say the problem is a party dominated by an aging professional political class that is too timid in the face of a fiercely partisan Republican machine. The Biden campaign’s decision to tack from digital to television, they say, is only the most glaring example of a party hung up on the kind of broad-based advertising that played well in the television age but fares poorly on social media.

The digital director of a prominent Democratic presidential campaign recounted how he was shut down by an older consultant when pressing for shorter, pithier ads that could drive clicks. “We don’t need any of your cinéma vérité clickbait,” the consultant snapped, according to the digital director, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to avoid risking his job.

Other digital consultants and campaign officials told similar stories, and complained that the Democratic establishment was too focused on winning over imagined moderates, instead of doing what the Trump campaign has done: firing up its base.

“It’s true that anodyne messaging doesn’t turn anyone off. But it doesn’t turn them on either,” said Elizabeth Spiers, who runs the Insurrection, a progressive digital strategy and polling firm.

Republicans are “not messaging around unity and civility, because those things don’t mobilize people,” Ms. Spiers said, adding that while everyone may want to live in a less divided country, “nobody takes time off work, gets in their car and drives to the polls to vote specifically for that.”

Far more than any other platform, Facebook is the focus for digital campaign spending, and it is in many ways even friendlier turf for Mr. Trump’s campaign than in 2016.

Since then, many younger, more liberal users have abandoned the platform in favor of Instagram, Snapchat and various private messaging apps, while older users — the type most likely to vote Republican — are still flocking to Facebook in droves. People over 65 now make up Facebook’s fastest-growing population in the United States, doubling their use of the platform since 2011, according to Gallup.

In a speech this year in Romania, Mr. Parscale recalled telling his team before the 2016 election that Facebook would allow the campaign to reach the “lost, forgotten people of America” with messages tailored to their interests.

“Millions of Americans, older people, are on the internet, watching pictures of their kids because they all moved to cities,” Mr. Parscale said. “If we can connect to them, we can change this election.”

Facebook also favors the kind of emotionally charged content that Mr. Trump’s campaign has proved adept at creating. Campaigns buy Facebook ads through an automated auction system, with each ad receiving an “engagement rate ranking” based on its predicted likelihood of being clicked, shared or commented on. The divisive themes of Mr. Trump’s campaign tend to generate more engagement than Democrats’ calmer, more policy-focused appeals. Often, the more incendiary the campaign, the further its dollars go.

Provocative ads also get shared more often, creating an organic boost that vaults them even further ahead of less inflammatory messages.

“There’s an algorithmic bias that inherently benefits hate and negativity and anger,” said Shomik Dutta, a digital strategist and a founder of Higher Ground Labs, an incubator for Democratic start-ups. “If anger has an algorithmic bias, then Donald Trump is the captain of that ship.”

A Facebook spokeswoman disputed the notion that ads got more visibility just because they were negative, and noted that users were able to flag offending ads for possible removal.

The company, since the 2016 election, has invested heavily to prevent Russian-style interference campaigns. It has built up its security and fact-checking teams, staffed a “war room” during key elections and changed its rules to crack down on misinformation and false news.

But it has left a critical loophole: Facebook’s fact-checking rules do not apply to political ads, letting candidates spread false or misleading claims. That has allowed Mr. Trump’s campaign to show ads that traditional TV networks have declined to air.

One recent video from the Trump campaign said that Mr. Biden had offered Ukraine $1 billion in aid if it killed an investigation into a company tied to his son. The video’s claims had already been debunked, and CNN refused to play it. But Facebook rejected the Biden campaign’s demand to take the ad down, arguing that it did not violate its policies.

At last count, the video has been viewed on the social network more than five million times.

In the wake of the 2016 election, some on the left sought an explanation for Mr. Trump’s victory in the idea that his campaign had used shadowy digital techniques inspired by military-style psychological warfare — a “Weaponized AI Propaganda Machine,” as one article described it — created by the defunct political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica. The theories around Cambridge Analytica have never been fully demonstrated, however, and there is a far less nefarious explanation: The Trump campaign simply made better use of standard commercial marketing tools, particularly Facebook’s own high-powered targeting products.

An internal Facebook report written after the 2016 election noted that both the Trump and Clinton campaigns spent heavily on Facebook — $44 million for Mr. Trump versus $28 million for Hillary Clinton. “But Trump’s FB campaigns were more complex,” the memo said, and were better at using Facebook to bring in donations and find new voters. For instance, roughly 84 percent of the Trump ads focused on getting voters to take an action, such as donating, the report said. Only about half of Mrs. Clinton’s did.

At the same time, the Trump campaign sought to tailor its ads more precisely to specific voters, the report said, with a typical Trump message targeted at 2.5 million people, compared with eight million for the Clinton campaign. And the Trump team simply made more unique ads — 5.9 million versus 66,000.

“We were making hundreds of thousands” of variations on similar ads, Mr. Parscale told “60 Minutes” last year. “Changing language, words, colors.”

The idea, he said, was to find “what is it that makes it go, ‘Poof! I’m going to stop and look.’”

For the left, the Trump campaign’s mastery of social media in 2016 represented a sharp reversal. From the blogs of the mid-aughts to Netroots Nation, the digital activists who helped propel Barack Obama to victory in 2008 and 2012, the left was seen as the dominant digital force. The Democrats had an array of tech-savvy campaign veterans who were adept at data mining and digital organizing, and had overseen the creation of a handful of well-resourced digital consulting firms.

Starting with the 2016 primaries, the Trump campaign reversed the trend. While the more traditionally minded Republican operatives signed on to work for the party’s more traditional candidates, such as Jeb Bush, the Trump campaign found itself reliant on “the outliers, and a lot of them truly believed in digital,” said Zac Moffatt, chief executive of Targeted Victory, a Republican digital strategy firm. “It was a changing of the guard, strategically.”

The Republicans’ 2020 operation — with more than $150 million in cash on hand, according to the latest filings — appears to have picked up where it left off.

The Trump campaign’s intense testing of ads is one example. It posts dozens of variations of almost every ad to figure which plays best. Do voters respond better to a blue button or a green one? Are they more likely to click if its says “donate” or “contribute”? Will they more readily cough up cash for an impeachment defense fund or an impeachment defense task force?

The president’s re-election effort is also making use of strategies common in the e-commerce world, such as “zero touch” merchandise sales. T-shirts, posters and other paraphernalia are printed on demand and sent directly to buyers, with the campaign not required to make bulk orders or risk unsold inventory. Sales of these items amount to a lucrative source of campaign fund-raising, and the zero-touch technique allows the campaign to move fast — it was able to start selling T-shirts that say “get over it” a day after the president’s acting chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, told reporters to do just than when it came to Ukraine.

Perhaps most important, the Trump campaign is spending to make sure people see its ads, emails, texts, tweets and other content. In the week the impeachment inquiry was announced, for instance, the campaign spent nearly $2.3 million on Facebook and Google ads, according to data compiled by Acronym, a progressive digital strategy organization that tracks campaign spending. That is roughly four to five times what it spent on those platforms in previous weeks, and about half of what most Democratic front-runners have spent on Facebook and Google advertising over the entire course of their campaigns.

The president’s team has also invested heavily in YouTube, buying ads and counterprogramming his opponents. In June, during the first Democratic primary debates, the Trump campaign bought the YouTube “masthead” — a large ad that runs at the top of the site’s home page and can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars per day — to ensure that debate viewers would see it.

The Trump campaign “is always re-upping their ad buy. As soon as an ad runs out, another one goes in,” Ms. Edelson said, adding, “No one is waiting for next month’s marketing budget to kick in.”

Democrats are struggling to match more than the sheer volume of content coming out of the Trump campaign. Interviews with Democratic consultants and experts revealed a party deeply hesitant to match the Trump campaign’s intense and often angry partisan approach.

Most of the Democratic Party is “not even fighting last year’s war — the war that they’re fighting is 2012,” said David Goldstein, chief executive of Tovo Labs, a progressive digital consulting firm.

Mr. Goldstein offered an instructive anecdote from the 2018 midterm elections. That spring, Tovo signed on to do online fund-raising for Andrew Gillum, the Democratic candidate for governor in Florida. Tovo wanted to build on the work it had done the year before in Alabama, where it claimed to have depressed Republican turnout by running ads that showcased conservatives who opposed the far-right Senate candidate Roy Moore. The ads did not say they were being run by supporters of the eventual Democratic winner, Doug Jones.

Mr. Goldstein hoped to bring the same edge to Mr. Gillum’s campaign and came up with ads that “were really aggressive.”

“We wanted to provoke people,” he said.

One was a particularly buffoonish caricature of Mr. Trump holding the world in his palm. “As Florida goes in 2018, so goes the White House in 2020,” read the tagline.

The ad was aimed at far-left voters deemed most likely to be motivated by the prospect of pushing Mr. Trump from office, and the response rate was high, Mr. Goldstein said. But a few days after it went up, the campaign manager saw it and “freaked out.”

“This is entirely unacceptable,” the campaign manager, Brendan McPhillips, wrote in an email on April 6, 2018.

In Mr. Goldstein’s telling, the campaign manager feared offending voters whom Mr. Gillum hoped to sway. Mr. McPhillips was not mollified when Tovo explained that the ad was targeted only at voters thought to be deeply anti-Trump. He wanted ads that were focused on his candidate, not produced to elicit an emotional response with images the campaign considered crass.

Mr. McPhillips ordered Tovo to immediately stop running the ads. He said Tovo could only use images approved by the campaign. Tovo left soon thereafter.

The approved images — “standard glamour shots of the candidate” — would work for a newspaper ad or television spot, Mr. Goldstein said, but were not “going to drive clicks and provoke people to take action.”

Mr. Gillum narrowly lost the race.

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US troops leaving Syria will go to western Iraq, defense chief Esper says

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6094498192001_6094500292001-vs US troops leaving Syria will go to western Iraq, defense chief Esper says fox-news/world/world-regions/iraq fox-news/world/conflicts/syria fox-news/us/military fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/middle-east fox-news/politics/foreign-policy fox-news/politics/defense/pentagon fox-news/person/donald-trump fox news fnc/world fnc Dom Calicchio article 8fa4b29e-bb6f-5f48-9719-8b6e2e67e8b8

All U.S. troops leaving Syria as part of the withdrawal plan recently announced by President Trump will be stationed in western Iraq, Defense Secretary Mark Esper said Saturday.

In addition, the U.S. military will continue its efforts to prevent a resurgence by Islamic State group (ISIS) terrorists, he said.

“Things could change between now and whenever we complete the withdrawal,” Esper told reporters while flying to the Middle East from Washington, according to the Associated Press, “but that’s the game plan right now.”

“Things could change between now and whenever we complete the withdrawal, but that’s the game plan right now.”

— Defense Secretary Mark Esper

MITCH MCCONNELL SAYS TRUMP’S SYRIA WITHDRAWAL IS A ‘GRAVE’ MISTAKE

The U.S. departure from Syria will take “weeks not days,” Esper said, and involve both aircraft and ground convoys as about 1,000 troops relocate, Reuters reported.

Esper’s comments were the first specific details on where American troops will go as they leave Syria, according to the AP. Fox News reported last week that President Trump said only that troops would be redeployed “in the region.”

The 55-year-old Pentagon chief, who assumed the office permanently July 23 after serving as acting defense secretary for about three weeks following the departure of former Defense Secretary James Mattis, said he has spoken to his Iraqi counterpart about the plan to shift the more than 700 troops from Syria into western Iraq, the AP reported.

TRUMP SAYS US TROOPS IN SYRIA TO BE WITHDRAWN, REDEPLOYED IN REGION

Esper, who previously served as Army secretary, did not rule out the possibility that U.S. forces relocated to Iraq could still conduct counterterrorism missions inside Syria. But he said those details will be worked out over time.

The U.S. defense chief was traveling as a fragile cease-fire, negotiated by the U.S. and Turkey, was underway in Syria – but according to Reuters some Turkish military vehicles crossed into Syria on Saturday, and Turkish officials claimed aboyt 14 “provocative attacks” had been launched from the Syrian side.

In Iraq, U.S. troops were heading to a country that has seen violent political protests in recent week, leading to more than 100 deaths, Reuters reported.

Trump ordered the withdrawal of most of the U.S. troops in Syria after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said his forces were about to invade Syria to push back Kurdish fighters that Turkey views as terrorists.

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Critics of the president say the plan amounts to an abandonment of the Kurds, who have helped the U.S. military combat ISIS, but Trump argued that the Kurds have not always been the pro-American allies their supporters claim them to be.

“They’re not angels, if you take a look,” Trump said Wednesday. “They did well when they fought with us. They didn’t do so well when they didn’t fight with us.”

Meanwhile, a group of House Democrats, accompanied by one Republican, traveled to Syria neighbor Jordan on Saturday, where they held talks with Jordan’s King Abdullah II and other Jordanian leaders about the Syria situation. Results from those talks were not immediately known early Sunday in the U.S.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6094498192001_6094500292001-vs US troops leaving Syria will go to western Iraq, defense chief Esper says fox-news/world/world-regions/iraq fox-news/world/conflicts/syria fox-news/us/military fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/middle-east fox-news/politics/foreign-policy fox-news/politics/defense/pentagon fox-news/person/donald-trump fox news fnc/world fnc Dom Calicchio article 8fa4b29e-bb6f-5f48-9719-8b6e2e67e8b8   Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6094498192001_6094500292001-vs US troops leaving Syria will go to western Iraq, defense chief Esper says fox-news/world/world-regions/iraq fox-news/world/conflicts/syria fox-news/us/military fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/middle-east fox-news/politics/foreign-policy fox-news/politics/defense/pentagon fox-news/person/donald-trump fox news fnc/world fnc Dom Calicchio article 8fa4b29e-bb6f-5f48-9719-8b6e2e67e8b8

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