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Westlake Legal Group > News Media (Page 139)

'Do less': Princess Diana's ex-secretary dubs Duchess Meghan 'constitutionally irrelevant'

A scathing piece from 60 Minutes Australia on Sunday painted the picture of a royal house divided, with Duchess Meghan at the root of all Buckingham Palace problems. 

“Can the ghost of Diana save Harry and Meghan’s fractured fairy tale?” prompted presenter Karl Stefanovic, who has been slammed on social media for the story, which many argued painted a baseless picture of the duchess as a source of drama and a “major headache for the royal family.” 

Buckingham Palace told USA TODAY it had no comment on the report.  

Patrick Jefferson, formerly Princess Diana’s private secretary, criticized the duchess for promising to “hit the ground running” without knowing where she’s “running to” and argued that Meghan should do “less” because “she is, after all, wife of the sixth in line to the throne. That means that she is constitutionally irrelevant.” 

“Meghan isn’t and never has been an ordinary British person, so part of her challenge is to work out what it feels like, what it is to be an ordinary British person and not to be one, but to understand therefore how to best use her extraordinary influence and high profile,” he added. 

Westlake Legal Group  'Do less': Princess Diana's ex-secretary dubs Duchess Meghan 'constitutionally irrelevant'

“As colorful as the British royal family has always been, their whiteness has dominated. And that brings us to a sensitive subject,” Stefanovic narrated, by way of introducing a one-sided debate over how Meghan’s race has influenced the way she has been criticized. 

“Honestly, it’s not even a second thought to me,” said Katie Hopkins, the controversial British commentator who once described African migrants as “cockroaches.” “It only comes up in the minds of people who are truly racist, and that’s never people like me. I’m just observing that the dress is better on Kate, how she wears it is better.”

Hopkins later speculated that Prince Harry’s relationship with Meghan was part of his determination to “go anti-establishment.”

“He’s flicking the V sign to everything that he was brought up by,” she added. “It’s Harry’s (fault), but Harry is redeemable because Harry was in a uniform. He was in a helicopter and he was in Afghanistan. Meghan was only ever in cheap movies.” 

Royal support:Duchess Meghan turns up at U.S. Open to watch pal Serena Williams try to make history

Parallels have been drawn between paparazzi coverage of Duchess Meghan and Princess Diana. Andrew Morton, who has written biographies on both women, chimed in to note similarities in how public opinions on women who married into the royal family declined in the years after their “fairy tale” weddings. 

“Meghan seems to be a version of the Antichrist, as far as Fleet Street is concerned,” Morton said of British press’ opinion of the duchess. “It’s almost a royal rite of passage you’ve got to go through. …The kind of casual vituperation of Meghan and Harry makes you shudder. It’s not like she’s done anything wrong; she’s just basically living her life. In my view, she’s done everything right.” 

Hopkins also called Duchess Meghan “fickle, of the moment” and shallow, slamming the royal couple for claiming to care about the environment while using private jets.

Last week, Harry opened up about the controversy, saying he spends “99% of my life traveling the world by commercial” but flying privately is sometimes necessary to keep his family safe. 

“What is she really? She’s a noone,'” Hopkins said of the duchess. “She’s a divorcee. When did we want a divorcee in the royal family? She wears bad clothes; when did we ask for that?” 

Contributing: Maria Puente, USA TODAY. 

Instagram:Here’s why Duchess Meghan and Prince Harry just unfollowed everyone

Related:Duchess Meghan launches clothing line to support unemployed women looking for work

Westlake Legal Group  'Do less': Princess Diana's ex-secretary dubs Duchess Meghan 'constitutionally irrelevant'

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Dr. Robi Ludwig: How to transform your back-to-school stress and turn it into a positive

Westlake Legal Group iStock-607037165 Dr. Robi Ludwig: How to transform your back-to-school stress and turn it into a positive Robi Ludwig fox-news/topic/back-to-school fox-news/opinion fox-news/lifestyle/parenting fox-news/health/education fox news fnc/opinion fnc article 35146d9a-18cf-598c-9f2c-a92b774c431b

When the carefree days of summer come to an end, it can be difficult to dive back into a scholastic routine equated with pressure and demands. Going back to school is often a stressful time of year for both parents and children.

One study found that being a parent is more stressful for mothers than it is fathers, anyway.

According to Kelly Musick, an associate professor of policy analysis and management at Cornell University, mothers experience more stress than dads because they are more involved with the day-to-day parenting tasks society expects of them.

FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL PHOTO SHOWING 8-YEAR-OLD COMFORT CLASSMATE WITH AUTISM GOES VIRAL: ‘HE HELPED ME AND I WAS HAPPY’

Another recent survey conducted by the Kiddie Academy found that 62 percent of mothers have the hardest time in the family when it comes to dealing with the first day of school. This stress is a lot more common than you’d think, especially for mothers of younger children.

It makes perfect sense. Parents are trying to make their child’s life happy and comfortable as they head off to school, and they want to make everything as perfect for their children as they can.

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Parents suddenly find they must be very pragmatic and check off all the items on the school supply list.

It is the parent who must acclimate their children to the early to rise school schedule.

Life might be stressful in the moment, but that doesn’t make it unmanageable. Try to turn your negatives into a positive.

Parents have to create an upbeat attitude in their children toward school so they can feel comfortable. All these new routines after a relaxed summer are enough to spike anyone’s stress hormones. This anxiety often stems from a basic belief that we are not able to control or resolve stressful situations. It’s this feeling that causes us to question our capabilities, overestimate potential dangers, and to doubt positive outcomes.

For the mother who is sending her child off to school for the very first time, the fear she feels on her child’s behalf is very real.

Will her child make new friends?

Will the pressure cause too much stress?

Will his or her new teacher be kind and nurturing?

Will their child feel safe and be safe?

These concerns are not easy for any parent to manage, especially for new moms.

The reality is that going to school is a rite of passage all kids and their parents need to experience. It is a milestone moment that can be filled with understandable worry. Still, it’s important and healthy for children to get into a regular routine, to achieve moments of independence and to develop a sense of self-reliance when away from home.

As the school year begins, it’s essential to keep in mind some trusted ways to combat this common “back to school angst.”

Remember, kids will often reflect parents’ feelings, so it helps to try to take things one day at a time. Realize you are not alone. Most parents and children are a bit nervous at the beginning of the school year.

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Having said this, It is important for parents to put a calm perspective on re-starting school. The calmer and more positive the parent, the more comfortable the child.

In order to feel more relaxed, know everything will come together. Don’t overdo it. Take a step back, take little breaks, call another mom-friend who is probably also going through a similar experience.

We know stress can be harmful to our well-being, so de-stress by having a relaxed and positive conversation with your child about school.

Contact friends and family members who are supportive and positive people.

Focus on all the good that school life can bring both you and your child.

Life might be stressful in the moment, but that doesn’t make it unmanageable. Try to turn your negatives into a positive.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

Going back to school can also be an exciting time and provide moments to look forward to such as going to interesting classes, meeting old friends, making new ones, and joining school activities. With wise parental guidance, every child can have something to get enthusiastic about.

When you figure out what to look forward to, even the most stressed-out parents and kids can reduce their concerns and transform the stress of a new school year into exciting new moments filled with lots of possibilities.

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE BY ROBI LUDWIG

Westlake Legal Group iStock-607037165 Dr. Robi Ludwig: How to transform your back-to-school stress and turn it into a positive Robi Ludwig fox-news/topic/back-to-school fox-news/opinion fox-news/lifestyle/parenting fox-news/health/education fox news fnc/opinion fnc article 35146d9a-18cf-598c-9f2c-a92b774c431b   Westlake Legal Group iStock-607037165 Dr. Robi Ludwig: How to transform your back-to-school stress and turn it into a positive Robi Ludwig fox-news/topic/back-to-school fox-news/opinion fox-news/lifestyle/parenting fox-news/health/education fox news fnc/opinion fnc article 35146d9a-18cf-598c-9f2c-a92b774c431b

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Beto calls for red flag laws, mandatory gun buyback and national registry all in the same speech

Westlake Legal Group Beto-AP-Guns Beto calls for red flag laws, mandatory gun buyback and national registry all in the same speech Nick Givas fox-news/us/personal-freedoms/second-amendment fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox-news/person/beto-orourke fox-news/media fox news fnc/media fnc d4bf0837-5971-58b8-9555-5ee829657dc6 article

2020 presidential hopeful Beto O’Rourke, D-Texas, ramped up his rhetoric on gun control at the New Hampshire Democratic Party convention on Saturday, when he called for a mandatory gun buyback program, a national firearms registry and red flag laws, all in the same speech.

The former congressman and failed Senate candidate promised to stop the sale of “weapons of war” and said every American will have to obtain a federal license if they want to own a firearm.

“This is a country that has produced the leadership that will ensure that we not only have universal background checks and red flag laws and end the sale of those weapons of war, but that we go the necessary steps further as politically difficult as they may be,” he told the crowd.

AMY KLOBUCHAR SAYS SHE SUPPORTS AN ‘IMMEDIATE ASSAULT WEAPONS BAN’ 

He also promised a mandatory gun buyback that would see federal authorities force gun owners to sell certain firearms to the government, whether they wished to or not.

“A gun registry in this country, licensing for every American who owns a firearm, and every single one of those AR-15s and AK-47s will be bought back so they’re not on our streets, not in our homes, [and] do not take the lives of our fellow Americans,” O’Rourke said.

More from Media

He made similar comments about gun control last Saturday in Charlottesville, Va., where he outlined his proposed plan and how it would work.

CLICK HERE FOR THE FOX NEWS APP

“I want to be really clear that, that’s exactly what we’re going to do,” O’Rourke said. “Americans who own AR-15s, AK-47s, will have to sell them to the government. We’re not going to allow them to stay on our streets, to show up in our communities, to be used against us in our synagogues, our churches, our mosques, our Walmarts, our public places.”

Westlake Legal Group Beto-AP-Guns Beto calls for red flag laws, mandatory gun buyback and national registry all in the same speech Nick Givas fox-news/us/personal-freedoms/second-amendment fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox-news/person/beto-orourke fox-news/media fox news fnc/media fnc d4bf0837-5971-58b8-9555-5ee829657dc6 article   Westlake Legal Group Beto-AP-Guns Beto calls for red flag laws, mandatory gun buyback and national registry all in the same speech Nick Givas fox-news/us/personal-freedoms/second-amendment fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox-news/person/beto-orourke fox-news/media fox news fnc/media fnc d4bf0837-5971-58b8-9555-5ee829657dc6 article

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

NOAA Warned Staffers Not To Contradict Trump On Dorian: Report

Westlake Legal Group 5d7542822300009b035127dc NOAA Warned Staffers Not To Contradict Trump On Dorian: Report

The email obtained by the Post was sent last Sunday, just hours after Trump tweeted that Alabama “would most likely be hit (much) harder than anticipated” by Hurricane Dorian, even though projections at that time showed no such thing.

The official told staffers, who are tasked with accurately providing information during life-or-death situations, to “only stick with official National Hurricane Center forecasts if questions arise from some national level social media posts which hit the news this afternoon.”

A staffer who spoke to the Post on the condition of anonymity said it was clear to employees that “social media posts” referred to a tweet from the National Weather Service station in Birmingham, Alabama, which contradicted Trump.

“This is the first time I’ve felt pressure from above to not say what truly is the forecast,” the NOAA meteorologist told the Post. “It’s hard for me to wrap my head around. One of the things we train on is to dispel inaccurate rumors and ultimately that is what was occurring — ultimately what the Alabama office did is provide a forecast with their tweet, that is what they get paid to do.”

NOAA was already under fire for appearing to side with Trump over its own scientists. The agency sent out a statement on Friday in which it criticized the Birmingham office for its tweet.

A NOAA official, also speaking anonymously, told the Post there was “no political motivation” behind that statement and said the tweet from the NWS was singled out because an earlier NOAA hurricane forecast did show a 5% to 20% chance of tropical storm-force winds in one small part of Alabama.

But that explanation glosses over some key inaccuracies: Such wind speeds very rarely cause the damage Trump suggested in his tweet, and Alabama was not in the National Hurricane Center’s “cone of uncertainty” when Trump tweeted. 

Several former top officials with NOAA also spoke out against their former employer’s actions, saying they were potentially putting lives at risk. 

This is the latest detail to emerge in a controversy in which Trump has continually refused to admit any error. The president has spent days trying to prove he was right about Alabama, going as far as to show apparently altered maps to the press and reportedly reaching out to Fox News to back him up. 

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Beto calls for red flag laws, mandatory gun buyback and national registry all in the same speech

Westlake Legal Group Beto-AP-Guns Beto calls for red flag laws, mandatory gun buyback and national registry all in the same speech Nick Givas fox-news/us/personal-freedoms/second-amendment fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox-news/person/beto-orourke fox-news/media fox news fnc/media fnc d4bf0837-5971-58b8-9555-5ee829657dc6 article

2020 presidential hopeful Beto O’Rourke, D-Texas, ramped up his rhetoric on gun control at the New Hampshire Democratic Party convention on Saturday, when he called for a mandatory gun buyback program, a national firearms registry and red flag laws, all in the same speech.

The former congressman and failed Senate candidate promised to stop the sale of “weapons of war” and said every American will have to obtain a federal license if they want to own a firearm.

“This is a country that has produced the leadership that will ensure that we not only have universal background checks and red flag laws and end the sale of those weapons of war, but that we go the necessary steps further as politically difficult as they may be,” he told the crowd.

AMY KLOBUCHAR SAYS SHE SUPPORTS AN ‘IMMEDIATE ASSAULT WEAPONS BAN’ 

He also promised a mandatory gun buyback that would see federal authorities force gun owners to sell certain firearms to the government, whether they wished to or not.

“A gun registry in this country, licensing for every American who owns a firearm, and every single one of those AR-15s and AK-47s will be bought back so they’re not on our streets, not in our homes, [and] do not take the lives of our fellow Americans,” O’Rourke said.

More from Media

He made similar comments about gun control last Saturday in Charlottesville, Va., where he outlined his proposed plan and how it would work.

CLICK HERE FOR THE FOX NEWS APP

“I want to be really clear that, that’s exactly what we’re going to do,” O’Rourke said. “Americans who own AR-15s, AK-47s, will have to sell them to the government. We’re not going to allow them to stay on our streets, to show up in our communities, to be used against us in our synagogues, our churches, our mosques, our Walmarts, our public places.”

Westlake Legal Group Beto-AP-Guns Beto calls for red flag laws, mandatory gun buyback and national registry all in the same speech Nick Givas fox-news/us/personal-freedoms/second-amendment fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox-news/person/beto-orourke fox-news/media fox news fnc/media fnc d4bf0837-5971-58b8-9555-5ee829657dc6 article   Westlake Legal Group Beto-AP-Guns Beto calls for red flag laws, mandatory gun buyback and national registry all in the same speech Nick Givas fox-news/us/personal-freedoms/second-amendment fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox-news/person/beto-orourke fox-news/media fox news fnc/media fnc d4bf0837-5971-58b8-9555-5ee829657dc6 article

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Ratcliffe says media and fellow Republicans are reason he withdrew nomination for top intelligence post

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6067489990001_6067492566001-vs Ratcliffe says media and fellow Republicans are reason he withdrew nomination for top intelligence post fox-news/politics/senate fox-news/politics/executive/white-house fox-news/politics/elections/house-of-representatives fox-news/person/donald-trump fox news fnc/politics fnc f138246e-41f5-5e35-bb3a-17e3d1ef7b87 article Andrew O'Reilly

Rep. John Ratcliffe, R-Texas, blamed “false media stories” and some fellow Republicans for derailing his hopes of becoming President Trump’s next director of National Intelligence and forcing the lawmaker to withdraw his nomination last month for the post.

“I certainly expected because of that a wave of false media stories that came, I expected there to be a lot of senators saying that I was too political,” Ratcliffe said during an interview of Fox News’ “Sunday Morning Futures.” “I just didn’t expect some of those senators to be Republicans whose support that I needed.”

Ratcliffe added: “There is a toxic environment that makes it a difficult place to go to work.”

REP. JOHN RATCLIFFE: ‘IMPEACHMENT BALLOON GOT POPPED COMPLETELY TODAY’

Trump announced in early August that Ratcliffe was withdrawing his nomination, with the president citing the reason being the treatment the Texas lawmaker received from “the LameStream Media.”

Ratcliffe, a former federal prosecutor who had been a fierce defender of Trump and his agenda, was one of the most vocal critics of former Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

He also sided with Trump in taking a hard line on immigration, voting in January against the appropriations bill to end a government shutdown because it did not include all the funding for the president’s proposed border wall.

In the House, Ratcliffe has served on the Intelligence, Homeland Security, Judiciary and Ethics Committees. In 2016, the Heritage Foundation ranked Ratcliffe as the most conservative Texas legislator in Congress and second-most conservative legislator in the country.

Ratcliffe likely would have faced a fierce confirmation battle as Democrats claimed the former mayor of the small town of Heath had been selected due to his loyalty rather than experience.

“It’s clear that Rep. Ratcliffe was selected because he exhibited blind loyalty to President Trump with his demagogic questioning of former Special Counsel Robert Mueller,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said in a statement. “If Senate Republicans elevate such a partisan player to a position that requires intelligence expertise and non-partisanship, it would be a big mistake.”

A source familiar with Trump’s thinking told Fox News that there were “deep reservations” about Ratcliffe among multiple senior administration’s officials and Republican senators.

Ratcliffe also has been the subject of a number of media reports that said he overstated part of his biography and record.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

The New York Times reported that Ratcliffe, who claimed he had tried suspects accused of funneling money to Hamas, had in fact investigated side issues relating to an initial mistrial rather than prosecuting the case itself.

The Washington Post, meanwhile, challenged a claim on Ratcliffe’s website saying that as U.S. attorney he arrested “over 300 illegal immigrants in a single day.” The outlet reported he played only a supporting role in a 2008 roundup of illegal immigrants, and only 45 workers were charged by prosecutors.

Later in August, Trump announced that National Counterterrorism Center Director Joseph Maguire would become acting director of National Intelligence following the departure of Dan Coats from the post.

Fox News’ Adam Shaw contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6067489990001_6067492566001-vs Ratcliffe says media and fellow Republicans are reason he withdrew nomination for top intelligence post fox-news/politics/senate fox-news/politics/executive/white-house fox-news/politics/elections/house-of-representatives fox-news/person/donald-trump fox news fnc/politics fnc f138246e-41f5-5e35-bb3a-17e3d1ef7b87 article Andrew O'Reilly   Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6067489990001_6067492566001-vs Ratcliffe says media and fellow Republicans are reason he withdrew nomination for top intelligence post fox-news/politics/senate fox-news/politics/executive/white-house fox-news/politics/elections/house-of-representatives fox-news/person/donald-trump fox news fnc/politics fnc f138246e-41f5-5e35-bb3a-17e3d1ef7b87 article Andrew O'Reilly

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Employees Were Reportedly Given Guidance On How To Handle Trump’s Flubbed Alabama Warning

Westlake Legal Group 5d7542822300009b035127dc Employees Were Reportedly Given Guidance On How To Handle Trump’s Flubbed Alabama Warning

The email obtained by the Post was sent last Sunday, just hours after Trump tweeted that Alabama “would most likely be hit (much) harder than anticipated” by Hurricane Dorian, even though projections at that time showed no such thing.

The official told staffers, who are tasked with accurately providing information during life-or-death situations, to “only stick with official National Hurricane Center forecasts if questions arise from some national level social media posts which hit the news this afternoon.”

A staffer who spoke to the Post on the condition of anonymity said it was clear to employees that “social media posts” referred to a tweet from the National Weather Service station in Birmingham, Alabama, which contradicted Trump.

“This is the first time I’ve felt pressure from above to not say what truly is the forecast,” the NOAA meteorologist told the Post. “It’s hard for me to wrap my head around. One of the things we train on is to dispel inaccurate rumors and ultimately that is what was occurring — ultimately what the Alabama office did is provide a forecast with their tweet, that is what they get paid to do.”

NOAA was already under fire for appearing to side with Trump over its own scientists. The agency sent out a statement on Friday in which it criticized the Birmingham office for its tweet.

A NOAA official, also speaking anonymously, told the Post there was “no political motivation” behind that statement and said the tweet from the NWS was singled out because an earlier NOAA hurricane forecast did show a 5% to 20% chance of tropical storm-force winds in one small part of Alabama.

But that explanation glosses over some key inaccuracies: Such wind speeds very rarely cause the damage Trump suggested in his tweet, and Alabama was not in the National Hurricane Center’s “cone of uncertainty” when Trump tweeted. 

Several former top officials with NOAA also spoke out against their former employer’s actions, saying they were potentially putting lives at risk. 

This is the latest detail to emerge in a controversy in which Trump has continually refused to admit any error. The president has spent days trying to prove he was right about Alabama, going as far as to show apparently altered maps to the press and reportedly reaching out to Fox News to back him up. 

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Kevin Hart walking again but in ‘excruciating pain’ after crash: reports

Westlake Legal Group kevin-hart-getty Kevin Hart walking again but in ‘excruciating pain’ after crash: reports New York Post Lee Brown fox-news/entertainment/genres/comedy fox-news/entertainment/celebrity-news fox-news/entertainment fnc/entertainment fnc article 1ab4a833-b43c-548b-8d77-5e9ab979d946

Kevin Hart is able to walk again a week after his terrifying car smash — but is still in “excruciating pain,” according to reports.

The 40-year-old actor reportedly fractured his spine in three places in the LA crash early last Sunday and faces weeks of extensive rehab.

KEVIN HART’S CAR REPORTEDLY MISSING KEY SAFETY FEATURES

“He’s already walking. He’s good,” close friend Tiffany Haddish told Entertainment Tonight.

However, sources stressed to TMZ that the star is “still in excruciating pain” despite the positive mood he tries to radiate to friends. The sources also stressed that while he is on his feet he is “walking slowly and gingerly.”

Another source said that Hart’s wife, Eniko Parrish, is not yet ready to talk about the accident and his road to recovery.

KEVIN HART SUFFERS MAJOR BACK INJURIES IN MALIBU CAR CRASH

DWAYNE ‘THE ROCK’ JOHNSON SUPPORTS KEVIN HART AFTER CRASH

“They … don’t want people to worry, so Eniko has put on a strong face and is saying he is doing well, but it’s very serious. He has suffered a great deal and has a long road ahead,” the source told ET.

“Kevin’s spinal injuries are very serious, he sustained several fractures and had no choice but to have surgery as soon as possible.

KEVIN HART’S WIFE SAYS HE’S ‘FINE’ AFTER CRASH

“Since the surgery, he has been heavily sedated. The physicians are doing everything they can to keep him out of pain.”

Hart’s friend Jared Black, 28, had been driving the electric blue 1970 Plymouth Barracuda, which Hart named Menace and had bought for himself as a birthday present in July.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

It swerved off Mulholland Highway in Malibu Hills, crashing through a wooden fence and falling into a gully around 1 a.m. last Sunday. The roof of the car was crushed from the impact.

This article originally appeared on Page Six.

Westlake Legal Group kevin-hart-getty Kevin Hart walking again but in ‘excruciating pain’ after crash: reports New York Post Lee Brown fox-news/entertainment/genres/comedy fox-news/entertainment/celebrity-news fox-news/entertainment fnc/entertainment fnc article 1ab4a833-b43c-548b-8d77-5e9ab979d946   Westlake Legal Group kevin-hart-getty Kevin Hart walking again but in ‘excruciating pain’ after crash: reports New York Post Lee Brown fox-news/entertainment/genres/comedy fox-news/entertainment/celebrity-news fox-news/entertainment fnc/entertainment fnc article 1ab4a833-b43c-548b-8d77-5e9ab979d946

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Chris Wallace Grills Pompeo On Taliban Invite: ‘Who Thought It Was A Good Idea?’

Westlake Legal Group 5d752a633b00002b88d0c228 Chris Wallace Grills Pompeo On Taliban Invite: ‘Who Thought It Was A Good Idea?’

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Sunday defended President Donald Trump’s controversial decision to invite Taliban leaders to meet with him in the U.S. just days before the 18th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Fox News Sunday” host Chris Wallace questioned whether it would have been politically prudent for Trump to personally attempt to negotiate a peace deal with members of the Islamic militant group at Camp David in Maryland.

“Who thought it was a good idea for the president of the United States to meet with Taliban leaders who have the blood of thousands of Americans on their hands just … days before 9/11?” Wallace asked Pompeo.

The secretary of state said the White House had reflected on the “history of Camp David” and felt it was “perfectly appropriate” to extend the invitation to the Taliban leadership. The Taliban, an Islamic militant group in Afghanistan, recently reiterated its support for the 9/11 attacks.

“President Trump ultimately made the decision,” Pompeo said of the Camp David invite. “He said, ‘I want to talk to [Afghan President Ashraf Ghani], I want to talk to these Taliban negotiators, I want to look them in the eye.’”

“Lots of bad folks have come through that place,” he added, referring to Camp David. “There’s been lots of peace negotiations taking place. It’s almost always the case that you don’t get to negotiate with good guys.”

The president on Saturday announced that peace negotiations between the U.S. and the Taliban were on hold indefinitely after the group claimed responsibility for a car bombing in Kabul that killed 12 people, including a U.S. soldier, last week.

Trump said in a series of tweets that he had secretly invited Taliban leaders to meet with him at Camp David, but that he had canceled the meeting after the group “admitted” to carrying out the attack.

The invitation drew backlash from Democrats and some members of the media.

“The Taliban had the deaths of thousands of Americans, and it’s just three days before 9/11. No concerns about that?” Wallace asked Pompeo on Sunday. “I can understand the envoy talking to them ― why does the president have to confer that status on them?”

Pompeo claimed Trump was “very clear” about wanting to make sure negotiations with the Taliban “got to the right place.”

Trump is “willing to take risks if he believes he can deliver a good outcome for the American people,” he said. “We’ve got to make sure we get it right.”

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Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch decries lack of access to justice for many Americans

CLOSEWestlake Legal Group icon_close Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch decries lack of access to justice for many Americans

Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch’s new book calls for civility, and better access and understanding of the legal system for Americans. Hannah Gaber, USA TODAY

WASHINGTON – Lawyers cost too much. Getting to trial takes too long. Juries promised by the Constitution are rarely used. And just try counting all the criminal laws on the books.

Those are among the provocative criticisms made by the Supreme Court’s youngest associate justice, Neil Gorsuch, in a USA TODAY interview and his new book, “A Republic, If You Can Keep It.”

Gorsuch, 52, is convinced that warning – reportedly issued by Benjamin Franklin after the Constitutional Convention – can be met, and the republic will be preserved. But the problems he observes in the justice system and what he describes as the nation’s “crisis in civility” are obstacles he would like to see removed.

That Gorsuch would highlight civility and kindness as prescriptions for what ails us might seem counterintuitive. His was the seat that Senate Republicans blocked President Barack Obama from filling in a vituperative, year-long battle in 2016. The president who chose him, Donald Trump, berates in harsh tones the federal judges Gorsuch extols.

The book is, like the justice himself, a study in contrasts. Folksy and self-deprecating, the court’s lone westerner came from Colorado in 2017 with rhetorical guns blazing, amply filling the late conservative Associate Justice Antonin Scalia’s seat on the bench. It took him only two terms to lead his colleagues in dissents.

At the same time, Gorsuch has made peace with the court’s liberals, often siding with Associate Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg in defense of the “little guy” being surveilled, accused, tried or convicted of a crime. 

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Gorsuch doesn’t offer solutions for all the problems he identifies in the book. But he expresses confidence that his judicial methodology – strictly following the words in the Constitution and federal laws rather than his preferred policies – is winning the day. It’s a method decried by many liberals as a means to produce conservative results, to which Gorsuch has a simple reply: “Rubbish!”

“We got this thing called a Constitution, right? And it starts with the three words, ‘We the People’ – not ‘We the judges,’ not ‘We in Washington,’ not ‘We nine old folks’ are going to rule the country,” he says.

Avoiding the headlines

Gorsuch’s nomination to the high court became headline news within days of Trump’s inauguration. His Senate confirmation ended a 14-month conflagration dating back to Scalia’s death and federal appeals court Judge Merrick Garland’s doomed nomination that divides Republicans and Democrats to this day

But his fellow conservative Associate Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s contentious confirmation last year amid allegations of decades-old sexual misconduct pushed Gorsuch off the front page. Now the precarious medical condition of Ginsburg, who’s been treated this year for pancreatic and lung cancers, could portend an even more titanic battle for the seat of the court’s leading liberal.

Less attention is just fine by Gorsuch, who professes to be uncomfortable with the media blitz his book requires – though perhaps not with the $225,000 in royalties it produced before publication, according to his 2018 financial disclosure report. 

As he sees it, the public’s perception of the court as just another political branch of government is best combatted by a nose-to-the-grindstone approach to handling cases. Or as he puts it: “Do our job, stick to our lane, do the judge thing, do it really well, not answer your questions about headlines.”

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Those questions – duly unanswered – include any misgivings Gorsuch may have about Trump’s contribution to incivility. And early on in the book, he reprises a speech he gave to new citizens at a naturalization ceremony, which he calls “a reminder to us of the wonder of our country” even as the president seeks to curtail legal immigration.

Yet Gorsuch is anything but a go-along-to-get-along guy, as made clear by his expressed desire to fix what ails the nation’s justice system.

Most Americans can’t afford to hire a lawyer – “I couldn’t afford my own services when I was in private practice,” he writes – nor endure months or years of legal wrangling to reach trial. Too often, he says, defendants are forced to cut a deal with prosecutors or accept a judge’s ruling rather than face a jury of their peers.

In a span of seven weeks last term, Gorsuch dissented twice from the court’s refusal to hear Sixth Amendment challenges to criminal prosecutions. One involved evidence he said was not subjected to proper testing and cross-examination. The other involved a decision on restitution based on findings by a judge, not a jury. He was joined both times by Sotomayor, perhaps the court’s most liberal justice.

‘The Great Dissenter’

Adorning Gorsuch’s Supreme Court chambers is a portrait of Associate Justice John Marshall Harlan, the 19th century jurist known as “The Great Dissenter.” Harlan was the lone justice to dissent from the court’s ignominious 1896 decision in Plessy v. Ferguson, which upheld the “separate but equal” doctrine permitting segregation.

It’s the sort of courageous independence Gorsuch admires. He notes that his Colorado predecessor on the court, Associate Justice Byron White, for whom Gorsuch served as a law clerk a quarter century ago, dissented frequently from the court’s refusal to hear cases. A bust of White sits on the mantel below Harlan’s portrait.

Still, Gorsuch has been a reliable member of the court’s five-man conservative majority in major cases over the past two terms. Those include 5-4 decisions upholding Trump’s ban on travel from several majority-Muslim nations, barring public employee unions from collecting “fair share” fees from non-members, and removing federal courts from policing even the most extreme partisan election maps.

And when Chief Justice John Roberts joined the court’s four liberal justices to deny the Trump administration’s effort to add a question on citizenship to the 2020 census, Gorsuch joined the other conservatives in dissent.

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During the interview, however, he highlighted cases in which he sided with liberals or when the justices’ votes were jumbled beyond ideological explanation. In most years, he notes, about 40% of cases are decided unanimously.

“Get nine people to agree on where to go to lunch!” he dares his inquisitor. “It happens through collegiality and hard work and persuasion and thoughtfulness.”

His votes align most often with Associate Justice Clarence Thomas, the court’s most conservative member, but Gorsuch eschews labels. Ilya Shapiro of the Cato Institute cites his “libertarian streak.” Jonathan Adler of Case Western Reserve University School of Law says he’s “more willing to question precedent” than many of his colleagues.

Gorsuch’s self-examination is simpler. 

“What I’m doing is not my preference. I am trying to follow the law,” he says. “Nobody’s telling me what to do.”

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