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Westlake Legal Group > News Media (Page 65)

What Bloomberg Said About His 2020 Rivals in a TV Interview

Michael R. Bloomberg on Friday brushed back critiques about his wealth and bristled at the suggestion that he was using it to buy success in the 2020 presidential race, arguing that other Democrats who have complained about his entry into their party’s primary could have taken it upon themselves to earn their own personal fortunes, as he had done.

In a television interview, Mr. Bloomberg’s first since he announced his presidential campaign, the billionaire and former mayor of New York City rejected the idea that he had an unfair advantage, saying that while other candidates asked donors for money, he had made his money himself and then given most of it away.

“I turn and they’re criticizing me for it,” he said on “CBS This Morning.” “They had a chance to go out and make a lot of money. And how much of their own money do they put into their campaigns?”

“I’m doing exactly the same thing they’re doing, except that I am using my own money,” he added. “They’re using somebody else’s money and those other people expect something from them. Nobody gives you money if they don’t expect something. And I don’t want to be bought.”

The interview with Mr. Bloomberg, 77, covered a wide range of topics, including the candidate’s recent apology for having defended so called stop-and-frisk policing as mayor of New York. Asked about the timing of his about-face, Mr. Bloomberg asserted that “nobody asked me about it until I started running for president.”

Discussing his reasons for entering the race, he said he worried that if other Democrats took on President Trump in a general election, Mr. Trump would “eat ’em up.” He described one of those Democratic hopefuls, Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey, as “very well-spoken,” a phrase that quickly drew criticism as belittling of a black politician.

In addressing his wealth and the way he has deployed it to help him play catch-up after his late entry into the race, Mr. Bloomberg confronted the central critique of his candidacy that his Democratic rivals have deployed early on: that he is seeking to “buy” the election and the presidency. Mr. Bloomberg, who built a successful financial information and media company, spent more than $30 million on his first week of advertising as a candidate last month — far more than the entire rest of the Democratic field spent that week.

For months, progressive candidates like Senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders have criticized billionaires, saying the rich have not paid their fair share in taxes and proposing a tax on wealth to help pay for the wide-ranging government programs they have pledged to install if elected.

Video

transcript

Who Is Michael Bloomberg? | 2020 Presidential Candidate

The billionaire businessman and former mayor of New York is hoping he can forge a path to the Democratic nomination by positioning himself as a centrist who can take on President Trump.

A billionaire businessman, philanthropist and former mayor of New York City. “Oh, you’re welcome.” Michael Bloomberg is making a late entry … “This is the road that I’m taking.” … into the Democratic presidential race. So who is he? Bloomberg grew up outside of Boston. After college and Harvard Business School, he got into investment banking. In the 1980s, he created the Bloomberg Terminal, a financial tool for investors that would make him a billionaire. And in 2001, Bloomberg ran for mayor of New York City as a Republican. “That should make a great politician.” Then in the middle of his campaign, New York City changed forever on Sept. 11. As New York’s outgoing mayor took the national stage, he gave Bloomberg the thumbs up. “Well, I’m urging people to vote for Mike Bloomberg.” “I, Michael R. Bloomberg —” Bloomberg won. One of his priorities as mayor was tackling public health. “Sixty-four ounce. Just think about that.” “Don’t go near these things.” He also pushed for controversial stop-and-frisk policies that disproportionately affected minority communities. “Everything the New York City Police Department has done is absolutely —is legal.” But just days before entering the presidential race this year, he apologized. “I just want you to know that I realize back then, I was wrong.” In 2007, he left the G.O.P. And in 2008, during the financial crisis, he asked the City Council to extend term limits in order to let him run for a controversial third term. “Yes.” “No.” “No.” “Aye.” “Aye.” The vote passed, and he won re-election. “We’re going to make the next four years the best yet.” So what about the issues? After he left office in 2013, Bloomberg went back to running his company, which includes a news division. But he’s also focused on supporting candidates … “Let’s elect a sane, competent person.” … and causes he cares about, many of which are now key parts of his platform. Bloomberg is a vocal supporter of gun reform. “We cannot have a society where you go out in the street, and you can get blown away. We just have to say enough is enough.” He also has big plans for health care reform and fighting climate change. “Trump has done us a favor. Every time he riles against climate change, the money comes flooding in.” Overall, Bloomberg is positioning himself as a moderate in the Democratic field. “With the right candidate, we can turn areas from red to blue.” So what about his chances? They’re somewhat unknown. As a billionaire and fellow New Yorker, Bloomberg supporters feel he is uniquely positioned to take on President Trump. “I’m a New Yorker, and I know a con when I see one.” “There is nobody I’d rather run against than ‘Little Michael.’ That I can tell you.” But he has challenges ahead. He’s as not well known outside of New York City. Also, Bloomberg probably won’t participate in any of the Democratic debates, and he’s likely to skip the early primaries and caucuses. His hope: to surge on Super Tuesday and chart a path to the nomination. “I am running for president to defeat Donald Trump, and to unite and rebuild America.”

Westlake Legal Group 05bloombergguns-02-videoSixteenByNine3000 What Bloomberg Said About His 2020 Rivals in a TV Interview Presidential Election of 2020 CBS This Morning (TV Program) Bloomberg, Michael R

The billionaire businessman and former mayor of New York is hoping he can forge a path to the Democratic nomination by positioning himself as a centrist who can take on President Trump.CreditCredit…Chet Strange for The New York Times

Ms. Warren and Mr. Sanders, two of the leading candidates in the race, have shunned high-dollar fund-raising events, relying instead on smaller contributions from grass-roots supporters and arguing that such a strategy prevents influence by wealthy donors.

Ms. Warren took aim at another top-tier candidate, Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Ind., on Thursday night, calling on him to open his fund-raising events to the news media. Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., the leader in national polling of the primary contest, has allowed journalists to attend his private fund-raisers.

In his interview, Mr. Bloomberg said he did not come from money and noted that his “father made $6,000 the best year of his life.”

“Nobody gave me a head start,” he said.

Still, the power of money in elections has been on full display in the 2020 race, as candidates have scrambled to meet donation and polling thresholds in order to qualify for the Democratic National Committee’s televised debates. Another billionaire, Tom Steyer, got into the race relatively late but has spent millions of dollars on advertising and other resources that have helped him become one of just six people in a 15-person field to qualify for this month’s debate.

The surprise departure this week of Senator Kamala Harris of California from the race has forced the Democratic Party to grapple with the possibility of having only white candidates on the stage in Los Angeles and prompted some candidates of color — like Mr. Booker and the former housing secretary Julián Castro — to sound an alarm about the diversity of the field.

Asked about Mr. Booker and the concerns he had raised, Mr. Bloomberg praised the senator’s ideas but said the current makeup of the field did not worry him.

“If you wanted to enter and run for president of the United States, you could have done that. But don’t complain to me that you’re not in the race. It was up to you,” he said. “I thought there was a lot of diversity in the group of Democratic aspirants. Entry is not a barrier.”

Mr. Bloomberg’s description of Mr. Booker as “well-spoken” ricocheted on social media and on morning radio talk shows. Asked about the comments Friday morning on “Signal Boost,” a radio program on SiriusXM, Mr. Booker said he was “taken aback.”

“It’s sort of stunning at times that we are still revisiting these tired tropes or the language we have out there that folks I don’t think understand — and the fact that they don’t understand is problematic,” Mr. Booker said, also noting that his relationship with Mr. Bloomberg dates back to when they both were mayors.

At another point, Mr. Bloomberg agreed with his interviewer, Gayle King of CBS, that his longtime companion, Diana Taylor, would be a “de facto” first lady. He said he had been living with Ms. Taylor for 19 years, which would not change if he became president.

Westlake Legal Group democratic-polls-promo-1560481207024-articleLarge-v14 What Bloomberg Said About His 2020 Rivals in a TV Interview Presidential Election of 2020 CBS This Morning (TV Program) Bloomberg, Michael R

Which Democrats Are Leading the 2020 Presidential Race?

There are 15 Democrats running for president. Here’s the latest data to track how the candidates are doing.

Mr. Bloomberg’s interview aired one day after he released a sweeping plan on gun control, putting an issue on which he has a long record at the center of his emerging candidacy. He said Friday that the National Rifle Association, whose leadership has been in turmoil, “has basically been beaten.”

Mr. Bloomberg’s gun-control plan, which calls for a national gun licensing system and stricter background checks, among a host of other measures, represents some of the most left-leaning views of a candidate who is something of an ideological moderate. Mr. Bloomberg described himself in the interview as “a social liberal, fiscal moderate, who is basically nonpartisan.”

Mr. Bloomberg, who was elected mayor first as a Republican and then as an independent, and who registered as a Democrat more recently, has given millions of dollars to groups and candidates who he believes share his goals, including Republicans.

He delivered a speech just before kicking off his campaign in which he apologized for the controversial stop-and-frisk policing tactics that he defended as mayor. Under the program, officers stopped, questioned and often searched people on the street millions of times. The vast majority of those stopped were young black and Latino men, even though they were no more likely than white people to be arrested as a result.

In the interview, Ms. King pressed him on his assertion that “nobody” had asked him about his position on the tactics until he began his presidential run. He responded by once again expressing remorse.

“I’m sorry. I apologize,” he said. “Let’s go fight the N.R.A.”

Nick Corasaniti contributed reporting.

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

Con man arrested in Russia after allegedly building fake border posts for migrant workers

A con man was arrested by Russian authorities for allegedly constructing fake border posts designed to trick migrant workers into believing they had entered Finland — when in fact they had entered the Russian town of Vyborg.

The unidentified man promised migrant workers he could smuggle them into the European Union, erecting mock border posts and charging four men from South Asia over $10,000 each to supposedly enter Finland, an EU member country, the Russian FSB border guard service said on Wednesday.

The four Asian men were eventually stopped by real border guards, who informed them they were still in Russia.

MORE THAN 50 POLAR BEARS OVERRUN FAR-NORTH RUSSIAN VILLAGE

Westlake Legal Group finland-russia-border-iStock Con man arrested in Russia after allegedly building fake border posts for migrant workers fox-news/world/world-regions/russia fox-news/world/world-regions/asia fox-news/world fox-news/topic/the-european-union fox news fnc/world fnc David Aaro da3d0e8b-6d90-57ff-a821-f24377287fca article

No entry sign at border zone between Finland and Russia

“The man never planned to carry out his promises,” Interfax news agency said, according to The Guardian.

He installed fake posts marking the border between Russia and Finland and led the men on a complicated route by car and on foot — even marching along a lake where he brought an inflatable boat “just in case.”

The man planned to tell the migrants they were in Finland when they traveled past his constructed fence post, according to the outlet.

HOUSE DEMOCRAT SAYS TRUMP ‘ANSWERS TO VLADIMIR PUTIN; NOT THE AMERICAN PEOPLE

The migrants were detained on Nov. 28 and on Wednesday a court in St Petersburg fined them for immigration offenses and ordered their deportation. Video released by Russian authorities reportedly showed the men standing in the dark with their hands in the air.

The fake smuggler was also detained and is facing a more serious charge of fraud, pending a trial, according to The Guardian.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

“The incredible adventure of the foreigners in the night-time quiet of the Vyborg woods ended with a decision of the Vyborg district court,” the FSB statement said.

The two countries share a border of roughly 833 miles.

Westlake Legal Group finland-russia-border-iStock Con man arrested in Russia after allegedly building fake border posts for migrant workers fox-news/world/world-regions/russia fox-news/world/world-regions/asia fox-news/world fox-news/topic/the-european-union fox news fnc/world fnc David Aaro da3d0e8b-6d90-57ff-a821-f24377287fca article   Westlake Legal Group finland-russia-border-iStock Con man arrested in Russia after allegedly building fake border posts for migrant workers fox-news/world/world-regions/russia fox-news/world/world-regions/asia fox-news/world fox-news/topic/the-european-union fox news fnc/world fnc David Aaro da3d0e8b-6d90-57ff-a821-f24377287fca article

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For Biden, it’s always Iowa

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6113760704001_6113759076001-vs For Biden, it’s always Iowa fox-news/columns/fox-news-halftime-report fox news fnc/politics fnc Chris Stirewalt article 09b1efa0-d8e4-57d2-bf38-47c2fca1dbc8

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On the roster: For Biden, it’s always Iowa – How Harris drove Democrats off a cliff – Boffo jobs report boosts GOP hopes – Trump faces deadline today on hearings – Honked off

FOR BIDEN, IT’S ALWAYS IOWA
It’s always Iowa.

Joe Biden has thrice sought the presidency and each time, Iowa has been a rocky shoal. In 1988 it was at the Iowa State Fair where he plagiarized the lines of a British politician and it was a fifth-place finish in the Iowa Caucuses in 2008 that drove Biden from the race.

This time it is Biden’s “No Malarkey” tour of the Hawkeye State that threatens to at last strip him of front-runner status.

We are not here talking about Biden chomping on his wife’s digits or even his bouts of confusion. Those things are status quo for Biden who is unquestionably a weird dude. Whether you find them endearing or disturbing, Biden’s penchants for unusual physical contact and ginormous gaffes are well known.

Biden’s real boo-boo in Iowa this time was lashing out at a voter who was trying to troll the former vice president at a campaign event in New Hampton.

When the man accused Biden of corruption related to the lucrative contract with a Ukrainian energy company his son, Hunter, won by trading on his family name, Biden blew his top. “You’re a damn liar, man,” Biden said.

But Biden, 77, took particular umbrage at his questioner’s suggestion that he was too old. “You want to check my shape?” Biden demanded. “Let’s do push-ups together, man. Let’s run. Let’s do whatever you want to do. Let’s take an IQ test.”

A little bit of righteous anger is a good thing for a candidate. South Bend, Ind. Mayor Pete Buttigieg does well, for example, when he lets his goody-two-shoes shtick drop a bit. Nobody wants a president who’s that Episcopalian. But Biden has a different set of problems.

In 1987 Biden had a similar run-in with a voter who asked him how he had placed in his law school class. “I think I probably have a much higher IQ than you do, I suspect. I went to law school on a full academic scholarship,” Biden snapped. “I’d be delighted to sit down and compare my IQ to yours if you’d like.”

Almost no voter alive today would remember much, if anything, about Biden’s woe-begotten past presidential runs. They’re more likely to remember the kindly, folksy, avuncular character that the Obama campaign and administration helped create.

The Joe Biden America knew before 2008, insofar as it knew him at all, was a quick-tempered, vain politician. They remembered the guy from the Anita Hill hearings.

Biden has worked hard in his 2020 run to maintain his “Uncle Joe” persona. He is Barack Obama’s friend, and your friend too, America. But as we draw closer to the election and as threats to his candidacy multiply – first from Buttigieg and now from former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg – Biden has had to leave the bubble a bit.

And now Biden faces the additional threat from potentially being one of six on this month’s debate stage rather than part of the cast of thousands that have appeared in what have passed for debates so far this cycle.

If Biden finally does founder it would be fitting that it would, as ever, be because of Iowa.

HOW HARRIS DROVE DEMOCRATS OFF A CLIFF
Politico: “Kamala Harris was hosting a town hall in her hometown of Oakland, Calif., two years ago when she made an announcement that set off a mad scramble in the U.S. Senate. ‘Here, I’ll break some news,’ Harris told hundreds of people packed into the sanctuary at Beebe Memorial Church on Aug. 30. ‘I intend to co-sponsor the ‘[Medicare] for All’ bill because it’s just the right thing to do,’ she said… By Sept. 13 – just two weeks after Harris’ town hall – all of them… surrounded Sanders at a Capitol Hill news conference and talked about how ‘proud’ they were to co-sponsor his legislation to upend the health care industry. … Harris equivocated after her initial declaration, reinforcing nagging questions about her core beliefs. She dropped out of the race on Tuesday. The only person who hasn’t budged is Sanders himself. The story of the embrace and then retreat from single-payer closely tracks the arc of the Democratic Party since Donald Trump’s election.”

Continetti: Medicare for All, the campaign killer – Free Beacon: “Once thought to be the fulfillment of the age-old dream of universal health care, Medicare for All is more like one of those ingenious Acme devices Wile E. Coyote uses to catch the Road Runner. It’s a catapult that launches you into the stratosphere. And right into a wall.”

Booker, Castro complain about not being in debate – Politico: “Cory Booker and Julián Castro are taking aim at the Democratic National Committee over a primary process they say is excluding them from debates but allowing a billionaire to buy his way on to the stage. California Sen. Kamala Harris’ abrupt departure from the 2020 race Tuesday has exposed the lack of diversity among the remaining group of top candidates. Despite falling from the top tier, Harris was the leading candidate of color and the only minority candidate to qualify for the Dec. 19 debate in Los Angeles. … The Booker and Castro campaigns say Harris’ announcement triggered an outpouring of financial support for them. … But that momentum is unlikely to earn them a lectern at the upcoming debate, as both candidates have little chance of reaching the 4 percent threshold in four approved polls before next Thursday’s deadline.”

Dems face impeachment balancing act – WaPo: “Elizabeth Warren and Cory Booker are considering tele-town halls so they can beam into early-voting state campaign events. Advisers to Bernie Sanders hope his star supporter, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), will stand in for him in Iowa. And Amy Klobuchar is preparing to scramble onto late-night flights while sending a small army of supporters to campaign in her stead. The likely Senate impeachment trial of President Trump, expected to dominate the first half of January, is scrambling plans for the sizable number of Democratic presidential candidates who, as senators, will be required to sit as jurors — taking them away from the final sprint of campaigning before voting begins Feb. 3 in Iowa. The convergence of impeachment proceedings and presidential politics is without precedent, with five of the 15 contenders for the Democratic nomination looking for creative ways to remain in the mix in early-voting states while spending most of their time back in Washington.”

THE RULEBOOK: IF YOU KNOW, THEN YOU KNOW 
“Those who can best discern the intrinsic difficulty of the thing, will be least hasty in condemning that opinion, and will be most inclined to allow due weight to the arguments which may be supposed to have produced it.” – Alexander HamiltonFederalist No. 65

TIME OUT: ‘SINCE WE’RE TOGETHER, WE MIGHT AS WELL SAY…’
Psychologist Adelia Moore on what parents can learn from Fred RogersThe Atlantic: “Children’s demands for attention can be grating, especially in the middle of the night or as a work deadline nears. … But as Mister Rogers knew, attention is at the heart of human relationships. Children benefit from the attention grown-ups give them in ordinary, everyday ways as well as harder moments when they are struggling. … The ubiquity of screens has made attention scarcer than ever, but children need it just as much as they always have. When parents pay attention to their children as Mister Rogers did — with genuine curiosity — they tend to focus more on what is happening between them and their children, and less on their own stresses and to-do lists. If they can establish a pattern of responsiveness, they can do what Mister Rogers did with his sweater, shoes, and song, and build up the sense of security that kids need to thrive.”

Flag on the play? – Email us at HALFTIMEREPORT@FOXNEWS.COM with your tips, comments or questions.

SCOREBOARD
DEMOCRATIC 2020 POWER RANKING
Biden: 26 points (no change in points)
Warren: 19.4 points (no change in points)
Sanders: 17.2 points (no change in points)
Buttigieg: 10.2 points (no change in points)
[Averages include: Quinnipiac University, CNN, Monmouth University, NBC News/WSJ and ABC News/WaPo.]

TRUMP JOB PERFORMANCE 
Average approval: 43 percent
Average disapproval: 52.8 percent
Net Score: -9.8 percent
Change from one week ago: no change in points
[Average includes: Quinnipiac University: 40% approve – 54% disapprove; CNN: 43% approve – 53% disapprove; NPR/PBS/Marist: 44% approve – 51% disapprove; Gallup: 43% approve – 54% disapprove; Monmouth University: 45% approve – 52% disapprove.]

WANT MORE HALFTIME REPORT? 
You can join Chris and Brianna every day on Fox Nation. Go behind-the-scenes of your favorite political note as they go through the must-read headlines of the day right from their office – with plenty of personality. Click here to sign up and watch!

BOFFO JOBS REPORT BOOSTS GOP HOPES
WaPo: “The United States added 266,000 jobs in November as the jobless rate decreased to 3.5 percent, reflecting a surge of strength in the labor market that has muscled through recession fears that flared over the summer. The data, released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, beat expectations. Analysts had forecast roughly 180,000 new jobs for the month. The 3.5 percent unemployment rate is back at a 50-year low. The jobs data offer the latest snapshot into an economy that appears to have lost some steam from 2018 but continues to grow. Heading into President Trump’s fourth year in office, the labor market remains one of the economy’s biggest engines, and Trump regularly touts the low unemployment rate as one of his top achievements. ‘Looking at the high number of jobs that were added in November, you might forget that the story for most of this year was that the economy was slowing down,’ Indeed Hiring Lab research director Nick Bunker wrote in an analysis of the data Friday.”

SENATE GOP PUMPS BREAKS ON WILD TRIAL IDEAS
Politico: “Senate Republicans are beginning to deliver a reality check to the president and House Republicans that there are limits to what they can do. ‘You got two different bodies here,’ [Lindsey Graham], a stalwart Trump ally, told reporters on Thursday. ‘Are we going to start calling House members over here when we don’t like what they say or do? I don’t think so.’ Senate GOP leaders have signaled they intend to defend Trump wholeheartedly, but they’re also loath to let the upper chamber descend into chaos or divide their caucus ahead of a tough 2020 cycle. And even if Senate Republicans wanted to embrace the hard-line posture of the House, the party’s narrow majority makes that all but impossible under Senate rules. Calling controversial witnesses will require near lockstep party unity from 51 of the 53 Senate Republicans to make any procedural maneuvers, a tough task given the diverse views in the GOP, according to senators and aides.”

Trump faces deadline today on hearings – WaPo: “President Trump faces a 5 p.m. deadline Friday to announce whether he intends to have a lawyer participate in the remaining impeachment proceedings before the House Judiciary Committee, as Democrats accelerate their attempt to remove him from office. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) directed committee chairmen Thursday to begin the process of drafting articles of impeachment against Trump, with many Democrats anticipating that a full House vote could come before Christmas. At the heart of the Democrats’ case is the allegation that Trump tried to leverage a White House meeting and military aid, sought by Ukraine in the face of Russian military aggression, to pressure President Volodymyr Zelensky to launch an investigation of former vice president Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden… In a bid to bolster the argument that Trump is facing a ‘partisan impeachment,’ his campaign manager, Brade Parscale, tweeted a two-decade-old video of Biden protesting Republican efforts to oust then-President Bill Clinton.”

Pelosi’s impeachment leap  NYT: “For months, Ms. [Nancy] Pelosi had resisted calls for impeachment. … People close to the speaker say that she has said privately what she often says publicly: She has never been eager to impeach the president. She worried that vulnerable moderates would lose their seats, that it would tear the country apart. And it was a distraction from the poll-tested agenda Democrats had campaigned on: lowering the cost of prescription drugs, raising the minimum wage, fighting corruption and gun violence. … How Ms. Pelosi got to ‘where we are today’ is in part the story of her sense of timing, her methodical approach to decision making and her ability to read the sensibilities and political needs of her fractious and often unruly caucus. As Washington’s most powerful Democrat, she is the only lawmaker in the Capitol who can, and routinely does, go toe to toe with the president.”

DEMS SWOON FOR BULLOCK SENATE RUN
Politico: “Washington Democrats are no longer pining for Beto O’Rourke. They’re far more infatuated with another ousted presidential candidate: Steve Bullock. O’Rourke has just three days before the Texas filing deadline to decide whether he wants to run against incumbent GOP Sen. John Cornyn. Yet many Senate Democrats aren’t sure O’Rourke would even be the strongest Senate candidate at this point after running to the left in his presidential run… Instead, Democrats are all about Bullock, even though the Montana governor has tried to squash talk of a Senate run every chance he gets — the latest on Wednesday when he said in Montana, ‘that’s just not what I want to do.’ But even as party officials are desperate for Bullock to run, they’re taking a soft approach for fear going too hard would backfire. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said he hasn’t talked to Bullock or O’Rourke… Still, Democratic senators are publicly encouraging Bullock to join their club.”

AUDIBLE: ANSWER THE PHONE!
“Let me be more blunt: When your caller ID says it’s a pollster calling, pick up.” – Cory Booker said to supporters in Iowa, per Politico. Booker still hasn’t qualified for the next Democratic debate.

ANY GIVEN SUNDAY
This weekend Mr. Sunday will sit down with Secretary of Defense Mark Esper and Rep. David Cicilline, D-R.I., live from the Reagan National Defense Forum in Simi Valley, California. Watch “Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace.” Check local listings for broadcast times in your area.

#mediabuzz – Host Howard Kurtz has the latest take on the week’s media coverage. Watch #mediabuzz Sundays at 11 a.m. ET. 

FROM THE BLEACHERS
“Is it possible the Dem’s rush to impeach has as much to do with Biden as Trump? Could it be they know he is a weak, tainted candidate and exposure is better before early primaries than later – leaving space for a more viable candidate to gain ground?  Locking in to Biden could be very damaging to their 2020 prospects.” – Sheila Willis, Toronto, Canada

[Ed. note: Without delving into the particulars of your accusation, Ms. Willis, let me offer this general advice for political observers: We all, regardless of party or sect, tend to attribute excessive wickedness and competency to our rivals. The misperception of wickedness is understandable since we would like to always think of ourselves and our fellows as the most virtuous. But the misperception of excessive cunning is because we never would like to think of our team losing in a fair fight. It is true that sometimes politicians pull off complicated, strategic maneuvers informed by great foresight. But that almost never happens. Almost everything you see in politics and government is the result of short-term thinking born of necessity.]

“…yesterday you wrote the word ‘allegation’ when referring to Dems impeachment push, but wrote ‘unfounded theory’ (not that I myself am a believer) when it comes to the Ukraine interference possibility. That is the definition of an allegation. Unsubstantiated yes, but an allegation. My God, with the absence of an actual witness, it is the impeachment accusations that are unfounded theories. … By this time last election cycle Halftime was providing updates on the various races for house and senate. Although I skimmed these then, where are they now?” – Anthony LoRe, Whitestone, N.Y.

[Ed. note: Oh how we would rather be doing Senate race ratings, Mr. LoRe! We love maps and charts and lists. It’s kind of our jam. But a couple of things: First, impeachment is just a huge, massively consequential story. We don’t have any idea what the near or long-term political ramifications will be (and neither does anyone else), so we have to stay on the story. Second, in a quadrennial presidential election, down-ballot races tend to be much more dependent on the national political climate. It’s almost impossible to say with useful exactitude which races will be competitive – beyond a few obvious ones – until we know the shape of the presidential contest. We will soon enough be doling out plenty for you to skim, though. As for the word choices you find objectionable, those were from the WaPo. When you’re trying to lead with breaking news, sometimes you have to accept imprecision from sources. I wouldn’t have used the loaded ‘unfounded theory,’ but c’est la vie.]     

“I haven’t seen you discuss Sturgill’s new record that just came out. ‘Sound and Fury’ is by far his most rock-n-roll album to date. I can’t stop listening to it. I remember you discussing ‘A Sailor’s Guide to Earth,’ a few years ago. I thought your readers may want to check out this amazing record to take their collective minds off of the absolute sh*t-show that is happening in Washington right now. Right or Left, it’s just depressing to see what’s going on in our Capital. However, we’re Americans and this too shall pass. Merry Christmas.” – Patrick Wittbrodt II, Flint, Mich. 

[Ed. note: A battlefield commission for the Army of the Level-Headed for you, Brevet Col. Wittbrodt of the Old Northwest Division. Tippecanoe would be proud. As for Sturgill Simpson’s roadhouse rockabilly turn, I am a fan! “Sing Along” kicks ass. But I also thing he’s making a point. Listen to “Make Art Not Friends.” He sings, “Think I’m gonna just stay home and make art, not friends. I love saying ‘No’ to all the ‘Yes’ men just to see the look on their face.” Great artists sometimes have to defy expectations and conventions in order to retain their creative power. I think of David Bowie, the Coen brothers and Dave Chappelle and so many other great creators who were willing to blow up their brands rather than seek commercial success by replicating past successes. There’s a lot to be said for giving the people what they want, but for a handful of truly gifted artists, the quest for creativity outstrips the need to please. My hat is off to Mr. Simpson in a big way.]    

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HONKED OFF
KSL: “Utah Department of Transportation spokesman John Gleason had never seen anything like it. A video taken on I-15 in Lehi shows a man playing a trumpet while he’s behind the wheel, with both of his hands on the instrument and both eyes looking at the sheet music in his lap, with the car speeding forward the entire time. The video is only a few seconds long but has gone viral on social media. … Utah Highway Patrol Sgt. Nick Street said there is technically no law against what the man was doing, but officers do have discretion to pull over unsafe drivers and would most likely advise him not to do it. Street also said there is a way the driver could have been arrested. ‘If they commit one or two moving violations while playing the trumpet with two hands going down the roadway, they would be in violation of the careless driving statute,’ Street says.”

AND NOW, A WORD FROM CHARLES…
“But there is a problem with a clone. It is not really you. It is but a twin, a perfect John Doe Jr., but still a junior. With its own independent consciousness, it is, alas, just a facsimile of you.” – Charles Krauthammer (1950-2018) writing in Time magazine on June 24, 2001.

Chris Stirewalt is the politics editor for Fox News. Brianna McClelland contributed to this report. Want FOX News Halftime Report in your inbox every day? Sign up here.

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6113760704001_6113759076001-vs For Biden, it’s always Iowa fox-news/columns/fox-news-halftime-report fox news fnc/politics fnc Chris Stirewalt article 09b1efa0-d8e4-57d2-bf38-47c2fca1dbc8   Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6113760704001_6113759076001-vs For Biden, it’s always Iowa fox-news/columns/fox-news-halftime-report fox news fnc/politics fnc Chris Stirewalt article 09b1efa0-d8e4-57d2-bf38-47c2fca1dbc8

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Jillian Michaels says political correctness is ‘glamorizing’ obesity

Westlake Legal Group jillian-michaels-wide Jillian Michaels says political correctness is 'glamorizing' obesity Tyler McCarthy fox-news/entertainment/genres/diet-fitness fox-news/entertainment/celebrity-news fox-news/entertainment fox news fnc/entertainment fnc article 72e16469-56a9-5df3-b4e2-3e5ab2f1353d

Jillian Michaels says the body positivity movement and political correctness are posing a potential health crisis in America.

The trainer, 45, spoke with Women’s Health U.K. ahead of the January relaunch of “The Biggest Loser” where she candidly discussed her concerns that being too accepting of obesity can pose a problem for society in the long run.

JILLIAN MICHAELS SLAMS THE KETO DIET: ‘BAD PLAN FOR A MILLION REASONS’

“I think we’re politically correct to the point of endangering people. Yes, we want to be inclusive of everyone [and respect that] everyone comes in all different shapes and size,” she told the outlet. “That nobody should ever be body shamed or fat-shamed or excluded and that everyone is equally deserving and should feel equally valuable. But obesity in itself is not something that should be glamorized. But we’ve become so politically correct that no one wants to say it.”

Michaels went on to note that she believes “The Biggest Loser” was a victim of this culture. After airing from 2004-2016, the show took a four-year break and is only just now coming back.

“I think the world has shifted to a place where that format and messaging is considered fat-shaming. But it isn’t, and it’s not meant to be. Now we’ve gone so far in the opposite direction,” Michaels explained.

For those unfamiliar, the reality competition series took obese contestants who wanted to lose weight and puts them through a difficult workout and diet regimen in the hopes of being the person to lose the most weight by the end of the competition.

JENNA JAMESON GAINS 20 POUNDS AFTER DITCHING KETO DIET: ‘I DECIDED TO LIVE MY BEST CARBY LIFE’

The fitness trainer caught some heat for her controversial opinions in January when she unequivocally came out against the ketogenic diet, which has a growing trend after celebrities such as Jenna Jameson and Halle Berry spoke out in support of the lifestyle. The diet requires people to be on a very low-carb and high-fat eating plan that Michaels said is an overall bad move.

“I don’t understand. Like, why would anyone think this is a good idea,” Michaels said in a Women’s Health video.

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“Your cells, your macromolecules, are literally made up of protein, fat, carbohydrates, nucleic acids. When you do not eat one of the three macronutrients — those three things I just mentioned — you’re starving yourselves,” Michaels continued. “Those macronutrients serve a very important purpose for your overall health and wellbeing. Each and every one of them.”

Westlake Legal Group jillian-michaels-wide Jillian Michaels says political correctness is 'glamorizing' obesity Tyler McCarthy fox-news/entertainment/genres/diet-fitness fox-news/entertainment/celebrity-news fox-news/entertainment fox news fnc/entertainment fnc article 72e16469-56a9-5df3-b4e2-3e5ab2f1353d   Westlake Legal Group jillian-michaels-wide Jillian Michaels says political correctness is 'glamorizing' obesity Tyler McCarthy fox-news/entertainment/genres/diet-fitness fox-news/entertainment/celebrity-news fox-news/entertainment fox news fnc/entertainment fnc article 72e16469-56a9-5df3-b4e2-3e5ab2f1353d

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4 Dead After Armed Robbers Hijack UPS Truck

Westlake Legal Group ap_19340086406406_wide-e353cf7fadbd096968ab97256854158367228fc0-s1100-c15 4 Dead After Armed Robbers Hijack UPS Truck

An FBI official at the scene of a shooting, Thursday in Miramar, Fla. Four people, including a UPS driver, were killed in the shootout between the armed robbers and police authorities. Brynn Anderson/AP hide caption

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Brynn Anderson/AP

Westlake Legal Group  4 Dead After Armed Robbers Hijack UPS Truck

An FBI official at the scene of a shooting, Thursday in Miramar, Fla. Four people, including a UPS driver, were killed in the shootout between the armed robbers and police authorities.

Brynn Anderson/AP

A pair of armed robbers and two others, including the driver of a hijacked UPS truck, were killed in an exchange of gunfire with South Florida police officers after the suspects on Thursday led authorities on a high-speed chase.

The robbers held up a jewelry store before commandeering the UPS truck and holding its driver hostage, according to Coral Gables Police. After fleeing the scene and evading police for dozens of miles, the truck stopped in the middle of rush hour traffic as dozens of armed officers surrounded it.

In addition to the suspects and the driver, a female bystander was also killed in the crossfire. No further details regarding her death and identity have been provided.

“There was exchanged fire between law enforcement and the suspects and unfortunately the suspects are now deceased,” George Piro, the special agent in charge of the F.B.I.’s Miami office, said. “But two additional innocent civilians were also deceased.”

A total of 19 officers fired at the truck, according to NBC Miami. In one video, a bystander caught between the UPS truck and law enforcement captured video of the shootout from inside their vehicle.

The UPS employee taken hostage was killed in the ensuing shootout. His name was not publicly released, but family members confirmed his death to local news outlets.

“We are deeply saddened to learn a UPS service provider was a victim of this senseless act of violence,” the package delivery company said in a statement. “We extend our condolences to the family and friends of our employee and the other innocent victims involved in the incident. We appreciate law enforcement’s service and will cooperate with the authorities as they continue the investigation.”

The incident quickly sparked criticism of law enforcement’s handling of the situation.

Former Department of Housing and Urban Development official Brandon Friedman described the shootout as “appalling.” He said the department should be held accountable for “choosing to assault the vehicle in the middle of stopped rush hour traffic” and using occupied vehicles as “human shields.”

The Coral Gables Police Department declined to comment and the F.B.I. has not responded to NPR’s inquiries.

Paolo Zialcita is an intern on NPR’s News Desk.

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Moment deaf baby hears mom’s voice after hearing aids switched on

4-month-old baby girl who was born deaf lights up with joy every morning when her parents switch her hearing aids on, often breaking out in happy squeals.

CONSTRUCTION WORKER SAVES TODDLER CHOKING ON COIN: ‘I AM SO THANKFUL’ 

Westlake Legal Group sweetest-smile-449791 Moment deaf baby hears mom's voice after hearing aids switched on fox-news/health/wellness fox-news/health/vision-and-hearing fox-news/health/healthy-living/childrens-health fox-news/good-news fox news fnc/health fnc article Alexandria Hein 9a2f8cb8-15d9-528c-9706-a5e95a2fde1d

Georgina was born deaf and fitted with hearing aids just a few weeks after her birth. (SWNS)

“It’s like she’s having the lights switched on and she can hear her mum’s voice,” Paul, the father of Georgina Addison, told SWNS. “She is instantly delighted and becomes much happier straight away. Her face lights up and she looks delighted.”

TODDLER WITH FACIAL GROWTH UNDERGOES LIFE-CHANGING SURGERY IN US

Paul, of Harrogate, England, told SWNS that his daughter was fitted with the hearing aids when she was just a few weeks old. Paul said he and his wife, Louise, discovered their daughter was deaf shortly after her birth, and that while it was “difficult,” they chose to focus on the positive.

Westlake Legal Group sweetest-smile-449781 Moment deaf baby hears mom's voice after hearing aids switched on fox-news/health/wellness fox-news/health/vision-and-hearing fox-news/health/healthy-living/childrens-health fox-news/good-news fox news fnc/health fnc article Alexandria Hein 9a2f8cb8-15d9-528c-9706-a5e95a2fde1d

Her father said she breaks out in smiles and giggles each morning when they turn her hearing aids on.  (SWNS)

Part of that positive is that each morning, Paul said Georgina reacts to hearing her parents like it’s a completely new experience.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

“It fills my heart with joy, and you just can’t put a price on things like this,” he told SWNS.

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6113748168001_6113748271001-vs Moment deaf baby hears mom's voice after hearing aids switched on fox-news/health/wellness fox-news/health/vision-and-hearing fox-news/health/healthy-living/childrens-health fox-news/good-news fox news fnc/health fnc article Alexandria Hein 9a2f8cb8-15d9-528c-9706-a5e95a2fde1d   Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6113748168001_6113748271001-vs Moment deaf baby hears mom's voice after hearing aids switched on fox-news/health/wellness fox-news/health/vision-and-hearing fox-news/health/healthy-living/childrens-health fox-news/good-news fox news fnc/health fnc article Alexandria Hein 9a2f8cb8-15d9-528c-9706-a5e95a2fde1d

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Pink Buzzes Off Her Iconic Short Hair: I’m ‘Letting Go’

Pink’s latest hairdo is getting a lot of buzz.

The 40-year-old pop star, who is known for her short locks, posted a photo on Instagram Thursday to show off her new, even more minimalist style.

The “What About Us” singer’s photo features the top of her sleek new trim while showing her clutching her cut blonde tresses in her hands.

“Letting go,” she captioned the post.

Fans and fellow celebrities praised Pink on her “Perfect” new look in the comments.

“The most liberating!” Kate Hudson wrote.

It seems Pink’s hubby, Carey Hart, 44, is also a fan of the style, writing: “Love it!!!!!!!!!”

Pink didn’t elaborate on why she decided to make the chop (nor should she have to), but the new look may have something to do with her recent decision to also let go of making music for the next year to concentrate on her family, which includes her daughter Willow, 8, and son Jameson, 2.

Westlake Legal Group 5dea8aea24000032005a290d Pink Buzzes Off Her Iconic Short Hair: I’m ‘Letting Go’

Emma McIntyre/E! Entertainment via Getty Images Carey Hart, Pink, Jameson Hart and Willow Hart in November.

“We did two and a half years [of music], and Willow’s back in school now,” Pink told Entertainment Tonight in November. “Jameson’s going to start preschool soon. It’s kind of the year of the family. And Carey has a lot going on as well. He’s super supportive. He follows me around the world and now it’s his turn.”

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Stephen Colbert’s Nancy Pelosi song gets mixed reactions: ‘What happened to comedy?’

“The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” drew mixed reactions Thursday night after a bizarre comedy tribute to Nancy Pelosi.

The late-night show sent social media into a frenzy after it released a comedic jingle about Pelosi, hours after she had announced articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump will proceed.

STEPHEN COLBERT ‘LATE SHOW’ WRITER: ‘I’M JUST GLAD WE RUINED BRETT KAVANAUGH’S LIFE’

The musical tribute was a song that included several jabs at POTUS, 73, and Pelosi, 79, who were respectively described as a “bum” and “grandma” in the first few lines.

“DC’s got its hustlers / the White House got its bum / Speaker of the House is Nancy Pelosi / she’s as pant-suited as they come,” the song begins.

STEPHEN COLBERT CALLS DONALD TRUMP A ‘DELICIOUS IDIOT,’ SAYS HE STOLE ‘COLBERT REPORT’ LINE

Westlake Legal Group AP18311090097145 Stephen Colbert's Nancy Pelosi song gets mixed reactions: 'What happened to comedy?' Melissa Roberto fox-news/person/stephen-colbert fox-news/person/nancy-pelosi fox-news/entertainment/genres/late-night fox-news/entertainment/celebrity-news fox news fnc/entertainment fnc article 46b8a77d-07b8-5a6f-ac9b-1aef096646ec

House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi of Calif., speaks to a crowd of volunteers and supporters of the Democratic party at an election night returns event at the Hyatt Regency Hotel, on Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018, in Washington.  (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

“If you violate the constitution / she’s not a grandma you wanna cross,” the song continues, which refers to Pelosi’s now-viral comment of telling a reporter not to mess with her on Thursday.

“Though Donald Trump calls her nervous Nancy / he better best call her boss just because / they say you don’t quid pro quo on her watch / you don’t withhold Ukraine finances / you don’t hand foreign policy to Giuliani / and you don’t mess around with Nancy.”

The tribute instantly sparked an online debate, with some fans calling the sketch “embarrassing,” while others thought it was “hilarious.”

WOULD COLBERT INVITE TRUMP ON HIS SHOW AGAIN? ‘THE QUICK ANSWER WOULD BE NO’

“That’s the greatest!!!” one Twitter user wrote.

Another commenter claimed to be so into the song that she “didn’t want it to end so quickly.”

But others claimed it was distasteful, and even questioned the future of the show.

STEPHEN COLBERT, IN NEW ZEALAND, SAYS HE MISSES FEELING PROUD OF HIS COUNTRY

“What happened? Late-night used to be funny,” a user tweeted.

Another Stephen Colbert follower agreed, “This is so embarrassing. Holy s–t. And people are commenting saying it’s the best thing ever. What happened to comedy?”

An additional fan simply responded, “RIP late night.”

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Of course, loyal fans of Colbert’s may not be surprised by the song’s treatment of Trump. Last month, Colbert said he misses being proud of the United States.

In 2018, Pelosi appeared on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert,” where she confidently said she was going to win the Speaker of the House seat. She was re-elected to the position in January.

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6010284049001_6010294166001-vs Stephen Colbert's Nancy Pelosi song gets mixed reactions: 'What happened to comedy?' Melissa Roberto fox-news/person/stephen-colbert fox-news/person/nancy-pelosi fox-news/entertainment/genres/late-night fox-news/entertainment/celebrity-news fox news fnc/entertainment fnc article 46b8a77d-07b8-5a6f-ac9b-1aef096646ec   Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6010284049001_6010294166001-vs Stephen Colbert's Nancy Pelosi song gets mixed reactions: 'What happened to comedy?' Melissa Roberto fox-news/person/stephen-colbert fox-news/person/nancy-pelosi fox-news/entertainment/genres/late-night fox-news/entertainment/celebrity-news fox news fnc/entertainment fnc article 46b8a77d-07b8-5a6f-ac9b-1aef096646ec

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Samoa Arrests Anti-Vaccination Activist As Measles Death Toll Rises

Westlake Legal Group gettyimages-1192003659-2f50d510e9740a0b045147945590a0a272fad1e1-s1100-c15 Samoa Arrests Anti-Vaccination Activist As Measles Death Toll Rises

Red flags hang outside of homes in Apia, Samoa, indicating that the residents have not been vaccinated for measles. Getty Images/Getty Images hide caption

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Getty Images/Getty Images

Westlake Legal Group  Samoa Arrests Anti-Vaccination Activist As Measles Death Toll Rises

Red flags hang outside of homes in Apia, Samoa, indicating that the residents have not been vaccinated for measles.

Getty Images/Getty Images

Samoan authorities have arrested a prominent anti-vaccination activist amid an outbreak that has killed at least 63 people, most of them children.

Edwin Tamasese has been charged with “incitement against a government order,” according to the BBC.

Government officials say anti-vaccination advocates such as Tamesese have complicated their sweeping efforts to turn the tide on the highly contagious disease that has sickened more than 4,300 people on the independent Pacific islands.

The government has declared a state of emergency and ordered mandatory vaccinations. It shut schools indefinitely. This week, it launched a door-to-door mass vaccination campaign, asking families to pin a piece of red cloth on their homes if they haven’t been vaccinated.

On Thursday and Friday, the government closed all of its offices except public utilities, so that civil servants could focus on the campaign. Officials say more than 20,000 people have received vaccines.

“Let us work together to … convince those that do not believe that vaccinations are the only answer to the epidemic. Let us not be distracted by the promise of alternative cures,” Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi said earlier this week.

The anti-vaccination movement “unfortunately has been slowing us down,” Samoa’s Minister of Communication, Afamasaga Lepuiai Rico Tupai, told New Zealand’s 1 News Now.

He blamed “anti-vaxxers” for the deaths of children. “We find out it’s the message of anti-vaxx that’s got to these families. … What we say to them is, ‘don’t be in the way of government. Don’t be contributing to the deaths and the numbers rising.'”

As Tamesese was being taken into custody, he spoke out again on social media against the vaccine, falsely claiming that a combination of vitamin C and sodium ascorbate, a mineral salt of ascorbic acid, can cure the disease. “This will save your kids,” posted on Facebook before, he said, authorities took his phone.

Response to Tamasese’s arrest has ranged from support from people who call him a hero to derision from critics who accuse him of worsening a deadly crisis.

“In jail for somthing he said? Do you all not see somthing wrong with this?” one Facebool user said. Another called for significant penalties: “Spreading antivaxx propaganda and lies which endangers children in the middle of an epidemic. He should be locked up for good.”

Samoa’s Attorney General told Stuff that authorities were responding to the following statement Tamasese allegedly made about the government’s vaccination campaign: “I’ll be here to mop up your mess. Enjoy your killing spree.”

In a speech on Thursday, Simona Marinescu, the United Nations Resident Coordinator for the region, called the outbreak “one of the greatest challenges that this country experienced in its recently history.” Last week, the Samoan government asked the U.N. for help in controlling the epidemic.

Vaccination rates in Samoa have dramatically dipped in recent years, according to a new report from UNICEF. Coverage “plummeted from 58 per cent in 2017 to just 31 per cent in 2018, largely due to misinformation and mistrust among parents.” UNICEF says vaccination rates of at least 95% are needed to prevent outbreaks.

The government’s campaign has given that effort a huge boost. It said that as of Thursday, 82% of children under 5 on Samoa’s two main islands are vaccinated.

Samoa’s crisis comes during a global resurgence in the preventable disease. The World Health Organization estimates there were nearly 10 million measles cases last year — and 140,000 deaths.

NPR’s Bill Chappell contributed to this report.

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France Suffers Travel Woes As General Strike Enters Second Day

On a typical Friday, the Gare de Lyon railway station in Paris would be positively seething with travelers hustling to catch their trains or greet arrivals. After all, it saw some 110 million passengers walk through its doors last year alone.

This, however, was not exactly a typical Friday in Paris.

Westlake Legal Group ap_19340328410608_wide-d9a628440f4629469968fb19116722c0873d094a-s1100-c15 France Suffers Travel Woes As General Strike Enters Second Day

The Gare de Lyon railway station in Paris, typically brimming with busy travelers, stands empty Friday as general strikes snarled transportation across France for a second day. Rafael Yaghobzadeh/AP hide caption

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Rafael Yaghobzadeh/AP

Westlake Legal Group  France Suffers Travel Woes As General Strike Enters Second Day

The Gare de Lyon railway station in Paris, typically brimming with busy travelers, stands empty Friday as general strikes snarled transportation across France for a second day.

Rafael Yaghobzadeh/AP

Gare de Lyon, much like other stations across the city, including subway platforms, stood eerily empty Friday morning as a nationwide strike stretched into its second day. Similar scenes played out across France — where, one day after hundreds of thousands of people took part in massive protests, the general strike against a proposed pension overhaul has taken a quieter, but no less disruptive turn.

President Emmanuel Macron’s government has released few formal details of the proposal, but the uncertainty around his reform effort has done little to mitigate the widespread anger it has elicited among union leaders, who have vowed to resist whatever he lays out. They expect the strike to continue at least through Monday.

Westlake Legal Group ap_19339517881586_wide-e1faeb3a9d41c550a0ec02675d65c9f2325be57a-s1100-c15 France Suffers Travel Woes As General Strike Enters Second Day

A man perched on a traffic light pumps his fist amid the chaos of a demonstration Thursday in Paris. Several thousand protesters took part in open-ended nationwide strikes, begun Thursday under union leadership. Thibault Camus/AP hide caption

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Thibault Camus/AP

Westlake Legal Group  France Suffers Travel Woes As General Strike Enters Second Day

A man perched on a traffic light pumps his fist amid the chaos of a demonstration Thursday in Paris. Several thousand protesters took part in open-ended nationwide strikes, begun Thursday under union leadership.

Thibault Camus/AP

Meanwhile, in Paris, the protests largely subsided, but the continued work stoppage meant “extreme disruptions” for metro and bus services in Paris, according to public transit authorities. Many schools in the capital also remained shuttered, with too many educators staying home in protest for classes to carry on as planned.

The disruptions also did not end at Paris’ city limits. Aviation authorities projected the cancellation of at least a fifth of all incoming and outgoing flights at more than a half-dozen major airports across the country. France’s national railway company, SNCF, estimates that a substantial chunk of its workforce is on strike, disrupting a vast majority of its popular routes across the country.

A handful of petrol refineries also expect to see operations impacted by strikes carried out by major industry unions.

Westlake Legal Group gettyimages-1186713149_wide-d720ea1b605cf9244d3ffc20168ac2b1497ed430-s1100-c15 France Suffers Travel Woes As General Strike Enters Second Day

This collage of photographs depicts a slew of demonstrators who turned out Thursday to protest the pension reforms proposed by the French government. Their group pictured includes educators, firefighters, government employees and transportation workers. Lionel Bonaventure/AFP via Getty Images hide caption

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Lionel Bonaventure/AFP via Getty Images

Westlake Legal Group  France Suffers Travel Woes As General Strike Enters Second Day

This collage of photographs depicts a slew of demonstrators who turned out Thursday to protest the pension reforms proposed by the French government. Their group pictured includes educators, firefighters, government employees and transportation workers.

Lionel Bonaventure/AFP via Getty Images

Protesters object to the general reforms Macron has proposed for the country’s convoluted pension system, which boasts 42 different plans usually determined by one’s occupation and region. According to its backers, the idea is to consolidate the potpourri of pension plans into a universal, points-based system — though firm details of the proposal are not expected until at least next week.

Still, critics have seen no reason to wait for the new plan.

Dating back as far as last year, a series of opinion polls, including one issued last month, have consistently shown Macron’s popularity to be underwater. And few voters have been willing to give the French president the benefit of the doubt as his ministers try to assert that the proposal offers a fairer, simpler alternative to the variety of plans in place now.

“Considering what Macron’s already done to social rights, this gives us a good idea of what he’s going to do with our retirement,” retired engineer Christian Jeannot told NPR’s Eleanor Beardsley on Thursday. “He’s given millions to billionaires, and he wants to take away what little the working class has.”

Westlake Legal Group gettyimages-1192148118_wide-10075b268ccc8cdb3b5b0d1d05c63f3dad217431-s1100-c15 France Suffers Travel Woes As General Strike Enters Second Day

Protestors brandish colored flares during a rally Thursday in Paris, as part of one of France’s largest nationwide strikes in years. President Emmanuel Macron’s intended changes to the pension system are facing resistance from transportation workers, teachers, students, airline workers and other union employees. Kiran Ridley/Getty Images hide caption

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Kiran Ridley/Getty Images

Westlake Legal Group  France Suffers Travel Woes As General Strike Enters Second Day

Protestors brandish colored flares during a rally Thursday in Paris, as part of one of France’s largest nationwide strikes in years. President Emmanuel Macron’s intended changes to the pension system are facing resistance from transportation workers, teachers, students, airline workers and other union employees.

Kiran Ridley/Getty Images

The protests recall a similar strike from 1995, which also sought to resist a pension reform plan. At the time, roughly two million people took part in protests lasting nearly three weeks. By the time the center-right government dropped the proposal, the leaders found their position badly undercut by the popular unrest.

Macron himself is no stranger to protests. Since he took office in 2017, France has witnessed the rise of the so-called gilets jaunes, or “yellow vests” — named for the neon safety vests often donned by protesters. The distinctive garment has become a mainstay in demonstrations against his environmental policies, attempts at tax hikes and economic inequality in France, in general.

Nevertheless, his government intends to carry on with the pension reform effort, if gradually. “I believe in social dialogue,” Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said in an address Friday, according to a translation by Reuters. “I will never be in a logic of confrontation.”

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