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Westlake Legal Group > Posts tagged "Featured Story" (Page 309)

Taylor Swift Criticizes Trump, Lobbies Senate to Support LGBTQ Equality Act

For years, pop star Taylor Swift made headlines for the most unique of political stances: refusing to take one. In a crowd of actors and musicians who have protested wars and engaged in stream-of-consciousness rants on their social media accounts, Swift’s silence earned cheers from many who don’t always want a lecture with their entertainment selections, and sneers from the “woke” crowd who expect (with good reason) most celebrities to lean left, and to help carry the torch of their various causes. Swift shared photos from the voting line at her precinct during the 2016 elections, encouraging her supporters to go vote, but was enigmatic about for whom she was casting her ballot.

Lately, however, she has started speaking out occasionally on political issues, first breaking her political neutrality to endorse Democrat Paul Bresden, who was challenging Republican Marsha Blackburn for Tennessee’s Senate seat. Her latest round of activism targets President Donald Trump and Sen. Lamar Alexander, who represents her state of Tennessee, for their opposition to the Equality Act, an LGBTQ anti-discrimination bill that passed the Democrat-controlled House recently.

The bill faces an uphill battle in the Republican-controlled Senate, over concerns that the anti-discrimination provisions do not provide adequate consideration of religious liberties, and parental rights.

Swift takes issue with these objections, and posted an open letter to Alexander that she posted on Twitter yesterday, along with a Change.org petition in support of the Equality Act.

Swift’s letter asks Alexander to consider giving his support to the Equality Act, and mentions several dozen companies that have sent open letters to Tennessee lawmakers regarding this same issue. Near the end of the letter, Swift publicly criticizes Trump for the first time:

I personally reject the President’s stance that his administration “supports equal treatment of all,” but that the Equality Act, “in its current form is filled with poison pills that threaten to determine parental and conscience rights.” No, one cannot take the position that one supports a community, while condemning it in the next breath as going against “conscience” or “parental rights.” That statement implies that there is something morally wrong with you being anything other than heterosexual or cisgender, which is an incredibly harmful letter to send to a nation full of healthy and loving families with same-sex, non-binary or transgender parents, sons or daughters.

Swift cites a recent study that she does not identify as showing that over 64% of Tennesseans support laws protecting LGBTQ people from discrimination, and that nationally, this support crosses party lines, with 81% of liberals, 78% of moderates, and 55% of conservatives in favor.

“To vote against this bill would be to vote against the wishes of most Tennesseans and Americans,” wrote Swift.

Swift changed her Twitter bio to say “Support the Equality Act” and a link to her Change.org petition, which as of Sunday morning had over 80,000 signatures. She is also encouraging her 83 million Twitter followers to write and post their own letters to their Senators, using her hashtag #lettertomysenator.

Read my RedState article archive here.

Follow Sarah Rumpf on Twitter: @rumpfshaker.

The post Taylor Swift Criticizes Trump, Lobbies Senate to Support LGBTQ Equality Act appeared first on RedState.

Westlake Legal Group taylor-swift-shake-it-off-video-2-2014-billboard-650-300x198 Taylor Swift Criticizes Trump, Lobbies Senate to Support LGBTQ Equality Act taylor swift republicans Popular Culture Politics LGBTQ LGBT Lamar Alexander Front Page Stories Front Page Featured Story Featured Post Equality Act Entertainment donald trump Allow Media Exception   Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Barr’s Shrewd Decision To Speak To CBS; More Of This Please

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Attorney General William Barr appears before a Senate Appropriations subcommittee to make his Justice Department budget request, Wednesday, April 10, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

 

Last night, I held a dinner party. Most of my guests, predictably, leaned to the right. The conversation turned to how any American with a brain could believe that President Trump should be removed from office based on the evidence of obstruction contained in the Mueller Report. Although the Mueller team laid out eleven occasions where they alleged the President had obstructed justice, the incident Democrats frequently point to as the most egregious was Trump’s order to then-White House Counsel, Don McGahn, to fire Robert Mueller.

Yes, he became frustrated after then-Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein appointed a Special Counsel at all, much less the conflicted Robert Mueller.

McGahn refused to carry out the request, even threatening to resign if Trump forced the issue. The President backed off. The Mueller investigation was in no way impacted by this episode and continued on its merry little way.

Further, even if McGahn had fired Mueller, Trump had the constitutional authority to do so. It would have been unwise, but it was not illegal.

Finally, Trump had been falsely accused of a crime he hadn’t committed. The ongoing investigation into the deep state’s manufactured charges was tainting his legitimacy and undermining his ability to govern. Can anyone blame him for his outrage?

Because most Americans receive their news from the mainstream media, which pushed the conspiracy story aggressively, they believed that Trump had both colluded with the Russians to win the election and obstructed justice by trying to end the probe.

What does that say to conservatives? It says that it’s time to start making their message heard in the places most Americans go to for their news.

PJ Media’s Roger Simon discussed Barr’s decision to appear on CBS as opposed to the more friendly Fox News. He said, Barr “clearly wanted his words to be heard by the skeptical or confused more than those who already believe the Russia probe was politically motivated from the beginning.”

Attorney General William Barr was smart to give his response to Mueller’s statement to CBS News. The network’s legal analyst, Jan Crawford, wasn’t exactly warm and fuzzy, nor was she disrespectful or rude. She conducted a fair interview and Barr was able to present his case to a large number of voters. Although he probably didn’t change the minds of any die-hard liberals, he may have given pause to the less extreme among them.

In his understated and goodnatured way, he let the public know that he is aware of what occurred in 2016 and plans to sort it all out.

Instead of dodging questions as many politicians and pundits do when pressed, he simply said, “That’s all I really will say. Things are just not jibing.”

The man is unflappable. I wrote about his performance shortly after the interview here. I wrote:

Barr did not engage in the analysis of Mueller’s motives, nor did he criticize Mueller for triggering a new round of calls for the President’s impeachment. (I posted about Mueller’s comments here, here and here.)

However, Barr did make it crystal clear that, despite the Office of Legal Counsel guidance, Mueller “could have made a decision about whether it was criminal activity.”

He expressed his surprise when Mueller informed him he had not come to a conclusion. Because that’s what he was hired to do. He was expected to determine if any of Trump’s behavior rose to the level of criminality and to make a recommendation to the Attorney General.

More conservatives need to follow his lead. This means crossing into enemy territory, presenting the facts and preventing the interview from turning into a fighting match.

Although CNN and MSNBC have recently experienced drops in viewership, many on the left will continue to tune in out of habit and because of their aversion to the logical alternative, Fox News. So, Republicans would be smart to follow the Attorney General’s example and wade into hostile terrain.

The post Barr’s Shrewd Decision To Speak To CBS; More Of This Please appeared first on RedState.

Westlake Legal Group bill-barr-smiling-300x153 Barr’s Shrewd Decision To Speak To CBS; More Of This Please william barr President Trump Media Front Page Stories Featured Story donald trump democrats Conservatives CBS News Allow Media Exception 2020   Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Tales of The Trail Boss: Part III (The Great Train Robbery)

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Shamal-6 w/Iraqi Interpreter. Face hidden for Obvious Reasons

Tales of The Trail Boss: Part III (The Great Train Robbery)

Last week I regaled you with a story about the epic battle between The Trail Boss and Tallil Tom, an Iraqi turkey with a bad attitude. This week, the saga continues with, The Great Train Robbery. In this episode, I’ll introduce another character, whom I’ve mentioned before (here & here) my good friend and long time Battle Buddy, Sam.

Sam as he likes to tell it, was the brains behind the distribution of every kilogram of supplies throughout the entire Southwest Asia Theater of Operations. I won’t admit this in front of him, but he’s likely correct. He is flat out brilliant, even though he looks like he dresses out of a dumpster (to the great chagrin of Sweet Allie, his long suffering wife). He claims that he wanted to go North with my crew, but was too important to the logistics effort to to leave Kuwait. The way it really was; I put the kabosh on him coming. Sam had been my roommate for multiple previous deployments. He snores…loudly. I figured it might be worth getting shot at a time or two, just to get away from that racket and get a good night’s sleep for once. Sam will chime in from time to time in this episode, but his complete rebuttal will be found as a supplemental article later.

Mike: Task Force Shamal, as we named ourselves (after the dust storm laden desert wind) had a pretty good run. We first went Northwards into Iraq and captured an Iraqi airbase, where we established a logistics base, helped the Air Force establish a forward airbase to launch ground support aircraft and where The Trail Boss fought that Iraqi turkey to the death.

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USAF A-10 at Tallil air Base

We then bolted West to establish a base at Gharma rail head, just East of Fallujah, actually running a few “test” rail operations (more on that later).

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Shamal-6 Plays with his Train Set

We had accomplished all assigned missions and more than a few unassigned ones. We were feeling pretty full of ourselves and then…

Sergeant Major: The order from 377th TSC HQ in Kuwait to pull out of our current base of operations at Gharma Rail Station just outside Fallujah, Iraq was a huge disappointment. We had all trained for such an experience our entire careers and now were living it out in real time.  Nothing up ‘til that point had been so satisfying as doing what we had trained all our lives to do. We were ready for more. But orders are orders.

Mike: I briefed my stalwart CSM on the directive to head back to Kuwait telling him we probably had a couple days before we needed to head out. I don’t know what i was thinking.

Sergeant Major: I heard the tactical phone ring in our mobile command post and heard my Colonel answer, “Shamal-6 speaking,” followed by a a flurry of “YESSIRs.” After hanging up the phone COL Ford looked at me and said, “I just got my ass handed to me for not being out of here already.  Any way we can get the hell out of here by first thing in the morning?” I responded, “In the words of a famous American Infantry Colonel, “YESSIR!”  I cannot print his next reply and to tell the truth, I really didn’t get to hear all of it.  I was too busy high tailing it out of the CP before he could get off a shot.

Mike: After cooling off for a bit, I remembered from long experience that I had never been accused of cornering the market on brains and that I should probably convene my senior leaders to brainstorm some options.

Sergeant Major: Shortly after the phone call, COL Ford called a meeting of his leadership team.  He said the first thing we needed to do is decide how we are going to get back to Kuwait.   Everyone thought he meant to plan for a road convoy; which routes to take, and a Plan A, B & C for our return, to include contingency plans.  Everyone but The Trail Boss who wise cracked, “There’s a railroad right here.  Let’s just take the train.”  Boss erupted in laughter along with all the rest of us—again, except for one. I noticed our interpreter get up from his seat and leave the meeting. Knowing he would have little to do with the planning I gave his departure little thought.

Mike: I was just about to wrap up this initial planning meeting when our Iraqi interpreter who had left suddenly, returned saying, “I have the train. How many cars do you need and when do you want to depart?” I couldn’t believe it at first. But after some back and forth it really did appear that our interpreter had gotten us a train. So, I requested 7 flat cars to be on site the next day at 0700.

Sergeant Major: We now had another option besides an extended road convoy with our beat up vehicles. Before we pushed the button on the decision, COL Ford & I had one final talk. I reminded him how he had decided to take a less obvious route to Tallil airbase on D-Day. By doing so, the only folks we encountered where from one small tribe of curious but harmless Bedouin.  We had bypassed a huge number of Iraqi units that might have given us trouble. Taking a train back to Kuwait would be much the same…bypassing or outrunning potential trouble. However, he still had some concerns. Number of flat cars needed, cost, number of stops and secrecy.  The cars and secrecy were no problem.  The conductor would list his cargo as supplies; no mention of American Soldiers.  The cost and number of stops still posed a problem.

Mike: It looked like our need for rapid movement (no stops) conflicted with our need for secrecy (billing the train as a purely cargo movement meant it had a lower priority in the Iraqi rail system). I decided we might have to risk one or two stops along the way. The other issue, was how to pay for this little jaunt. Although there was some attraction in becoming known as the first American since the Civil War to hijack a train, I had once taken a 1 hour tour of Ft Leavenworth Military prison and a single hour in that place was more than enough for me.

Sergeant Major: Initially we thought our interpreter had quoted a price of $54.00 per man for our little train ride. After multiplying $54.00 times 18 men, COL Ford asked all the Officers to start shelling out the cash to see if we could get the $972.00 required.  As the table began stacking up with cash, the interpreter said “No. No. $54.00; that’s it.“ The interpreter reassured COL Ford he had negotiated the train to transport our men and equipment for a total cost of $54.00.  COL Ford told everyone to put their money back in their pockets and he gave the interpreter $54.00 out of his own money. Years later we would learn that…meanwhile back at our main headquarters in Kuwait…

Sam: Our command had been negotiating with the Iraqi Government, such as it was, in an effort to obtain permission to use their rail lines to move equipment and materials from the coast to Northern Iraq. The price appeared to be about $5,000 per rail car, once the rail lines got up and running sometime in early July.

Mike: The train arrived exactly at 0700 the next day. 7, count ‘em, 7 flat cars and a passenger car. Being as it was his idea in the first place, I assigned The Trail Boss to get the train loaded up with all our rolling stock and let me know when we were prepared to depart. As always, he got it done and done right. Soon, we were on our way.

Sergeant Major: We were off; rocking and rolling.  Literally.  Within the first five miles every piece of our field expedient blocking and bracing material had vibrated loose and fell to the ground.  It’s a miracle none of that stuff caused a derailment.

Although one or two of our stops caused some minor concern, there was one really hair raising incident. As darkness fell we had gotten well South of trouble and that same darkness provided us some concealment. COL Ford and I were commenting on lights that appeared to be a city.  One of the train crew came to us and explained the lights were from his home town.  I asked him where we were, and he tried to explain, but neither COL Ford nor I could understand his explanation.  Realizing that he asked, “Do you know the Garden of Eden”?  We replied that we did.  Rolling his hands around in a circle he said, “It is here”.  The hair stood up on my head. I pulled out our map.  Sure enough, we were south of Baghdad and Al Diwaniyah is flanked by the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers. Those two merge in extreme Southern Iraq and become the Shatt-el-Arab river.  That’s where we were, home of Adam and Eve and the Cradle of civilization. Meanwhile, back in Kuwait…

Sam: One of my many bosses, Major General C, who was responsible along with my Commander (known as “the Big Boss” in Meet The Trail Boss)called me into his office. He asked if it were not my job as DMC chief to know the whereabouts of all Coalition troops, especially US units? I assured him that he was correct. Looking me straight in the eye, he asked, “Who are the Soldiers on the train headed South from Baghdad with 377th TSC patches?”

Sweat poured from my face as I tried to convince him that there were no 377th TSC Soldiers on a train anywhere in our area of responsibility (AOR). I quickly tried to mollify him by firmly stating that I would look into it, as I escaped from his office lighter by one buttock. As I headed towards the Operations Center, I thought with venom, “Mike Ford!” “Yes, he who never reports and is totally unmanageable, along with his band of undisciplined misfits, has got to be responsible for this.”

My only question was, how was it possible that Mike could have come up with 5 grand per flat car and gotten the Iraqis to move freight in March, 3 months earlier than their promised start date in July? There was a rumor of two, 250-pound boxes of Saddam’s Gold missing. Had Mike captured it and was he using it to pay for the train?

Mike: It was a wild ride, but we finally made it to the Iraqi port of Umm Qasr. Once again, Trail Boss took care of getting the vehicles offloaded and in into formation for the final road convoy down into Kuwait and our base at Arifjan.

Sam: I put out an all points request to arrest any US troops on any train. I knew that they would have to stop for fuel and water in Tallil. A report did indeed come in from Tallil. The train was spotted alright, but it blew right through Tallil without stopping. However, I did have one ace up my sleeve. No matter what, the train had to stop at Umm Qasr, the last stop in Iraq prior to reaching Kuwait. in other words, it was the end of the line…and would be, for Mike Ford.

Our British friends at Umm Qasr reported that the Soldiers on the train, led by “ a cheeky bugger, Leftenant Colonel Mike Ford,” were indeed from the 377th TSC. MG C was gonna have my other buttock. I could only hope that Mike would be arrested and spend the rest of his career in the internment facility in Kuwait awaiting trial and ultimately be sentenced to life in Leavenworth for the hostile takeover of an allied train, the first train robbery in over 100 years!

Sergeant Major: We finally made it back to our base in Kuwait. We pulled in to our unit compound, lining our vehicles up at the back entrance. We all dismounted and COL Ford posted himself at the head of our formation. I sent a Sergeant inside to inform our Commander, known as “the Big Boss,” that we were back. Out comes the Big Boss followed by at least 50 other staff members. COL Ford called us to attention, saluted the Big Boss and barked out, “Sir! Task Force Shamal reports back for duty with the Main Headquarters!” As the Big Boss returned the salute, cheers broke out and we were mobbed. A “near beer” (non-alcoholic Budweiser) was shoved into my hand. Never has any beer tasted so good.

Sam: Waiting on Mike were all the Senior Leaders and a good part of the staff of the 377th TSC. I was looking forward to seeing handcuffs clapped on his wrists and hearing his very limited rights being read to him. As Mike Ford saluted our Commander, instead of handcuffs there were cheers and hugs, even non-alcoholic beers were distributed as the miscreants where welcomed as returning heroes. There. Is. No. Justice.

Mike: We were back. Everyone came back alive and with no parts missing. We were very fortunate. I was most fortunate of all. I got to lead the best team ever assembled. When people congratulate me on becoming a Colonel, I am always quick to respond that it wasn’t my talent. It was the talents and effort of all those folks who “shoved me up there.” My CSM, The Trail Boss and Sam are just 3 of the many such folks.

The more senior I became, the less it was about actually doing stuff. It became more about leading and mentoring others. Finally it became about getting the generation behind me, ready to take charge of my beloved Army. Next Sunday’s episode, “The Trail Boss, Green Beans and Ice Cream,” is all about that. Stay tuned.

Mike Ford is a retired Infantry Officer who writes on Military, Foreign Affairs and occasionally dabbles in Political and Economic matters.

Follow him on Twitter: @MikeFor10394583

You can find his other Red State work here.

The post Tales of The Trail Boss: Part III (The Great Train Robbery) appeared first on RedState.

Westlake Legal Group 3925EFCF-836E-43D2-BDB7-49FD47E105A3-300x184 Tales of The Trail Boss: Part III (The Great Train Robbery) Uncategorized Military Humor Humor Front Page Stories Featured Story Allow Media Exception   Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Children, Behave: Liberal Protestor ‘Milkshakes’ Florida Congressman Outside Town Hall Meeting

Congressman Matt Gaetz (R-FL) had spent his afternoon doing what we want Members of Congress to be doing — holding a town hall meeting with his constituents — when he was assaulted by a liberal protestor who was caught on video dumping a drink on him. Media Matters campaign director Jordan Uhl gleefully tweeted the video, commenting, “Matt Gaetz got milkshaked in Pensacola.”

The video, posted by WKRG, Pensacola’s CBS affiliate, shows Gaetz leaving the town hall meeting in Pensacola, one of several he scheduled around his congressional district this weekend. Protestors can be heard yelling various chants, taunting Gaetz as he walks out, when a drink is lobbed at him, appearing to strike him in the back and shoulder.

WKRG reported that police “quickly detained and arrested” Amanda Leigh Kondrat’yev for the alleged assault. Kondrat’yev said she was there to protest the town hall.

Westlake Legal Group Amanda%20Kondrat%27yev%20MUG_1559423509898.jpg_90291016_ver1.0_640_360 Children, Behave: Liberal Protestor ‘Milkshakes’ Florida Congressman Outside Town Hall Meeting republicans Politics Matt Gaetz Front Page Stories Front Page Florida Featured Story Featured Post elections donald trump democrats Allow Media Exception

Amanda Leigh Kondrat’yev. Law enforcement photo.

According to WEAR, the local ABC affiliate, Kondrat’yev was one of the candidates who unsuccessfully ran against Gaetz in 2016 for the congressional seat. She has been charged with battery.

Gaetz has often attracted a higher degree of media attention than one might otherwise expect for a freshman Congressman, partly due to his enthusiastic and vocal support for President Donald Trump, and partly due to his penchant for controversial comments and social media posts.

Westlake Legal Group 53761861_2027068130675868_1364486542726266880_o-620x413 Children, Behave: Liberal Protestor ‘Milkshakes’ Florida Congressman Outside Town Hall Meeting republicans Politics Matt Gaetz Front Page Stories Front Page Florida Featured Story Featured Post elections donald trump democrats Allow Media Exception

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) takes a selfie with President Donald Trump. Photo via Representative Matt Gaetz on Facebook.

In other words, while Gaetz has his ardent supporters, he also attracts a large number of critics.

Fine. Hooray for the First Amendment. That’s part of what being an elected official entails. Kondrat’yev and her fellow protestors had every right to protest outside Gaetz’s town hall and speak their mind.

But when Kondrat’yev decided to physically attack Gaetz, she wasn’t exercising her free speech rights. She was committing a crime. [Allegedly, allegedly, allegedly, etc. — this incident was caught on video and Kondrat’yev was identified and arrested immediately at the scene. She is, of course, presumed innocent in our criminal justice system.]

I’ve certainly had my criticisms of Gaetz over the years, and I’ve made no secret of my skepticism of Trump. But how pathetic and childish are these protestors when they can’t figure out how to express themselves in words and resort to throwing drinks and food like toddlers?

Uhl, the Media Matters campaign director, and the other liberals who cheered Kondrat’yev’s [alleged] attack, drawing the parallel to the milkshakes thrown on pro-Brexit politicians in the UK, are perhaps even worse. They are openly cheering for physical assaults on other people, just because they don’t agree with them on a political issue.

The Pensacola Congressman seemed unharmed, fortunately, other than some minor laundry issues for his shirt, but this idea that “milkshaking” is a harmless prank and an acceptable form of protest is absolutely wrong. Any time someone throws a physical object at someone, especially where a lot of people are gathered closely together, there’s a potential for injury or sparking an incitement in the crowd. There’s a long standing tradition for treating all unwanted physical contact as criminal behavior, for good reason.

James Gagliano, a CNN law enforcement analyst, tweeted that he was “no Matt Gaetz fan” but condemned the “utterly shameful and disgusting” assault and those who were celebrating it, expressing his worries that this was an escalation that could lead to violence.

As Kondrat’yev contemplates spending thousands of dollars on legal fees and court costs, plus whatever sentence the criminal justice system may impose, she should ask herself what she actually achieved today.

Matt Gaetz is not going to stop supporting Trump, resign from office, change his vote on any bill, or switch his position on any issue whatsoever. Her little stunt accomplished absolutely nothing, except to create potential challenges for her own future. “Assaulted a Congressman” isn’t the kind of resume line most employers crave.

Gaetz seemed in good spirits about the whole kerfuffle, tweeting his thanks to local law enforcement who “keep everyone safe at our events,” and quipping that “[c]learly it takes more than a drink to slow down our great team.”

UPDATE: The Pensacola News Journal confirmed that Kondrat’yev was one of Gaetz’s congressional opponents in the 2016 race, and further reports that she has been released from jail on a $1,000 bond. Kondrat’yev is also one of four plaintiffs suing the city of Pensacola to force the removal of a cross from Bayview Park.

Read my RedState article archive here.

Follow Sarah Rumpf on Twitter: @rumpfshaker.

The post Children, Behave: Liberal Protestor ‘Milkshakes’ Florida Congressman Outside Town Hall Meeting appeared first on RedState.

Westlake Legal Group 53595901_2027059740676707_3953697982162927616_o-300x200 Children, Behave: Liberal Protestor ‘Milkshakes’ Florida Congressman Outside Town Hall Meeting republicans Politics Matt Gaetz Front Page Stories Front Page Florida Featured Story Featured Post elections donald trump democrats Allow Media Exception   Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Children, Behave: Liberal Protestor ‘Milkshakes’ Florida Congressman Outside Town Hall Meeting

Congressman Matt Gaetz (R-FL) had spent his afternoon doing what we want Members of Congress to be doing — holding a town hall meeting with his constituents — when he was assaulted by a liberal protestor who was caught on video dumping a drink on him. Media Matters campaign director Jordan Uhl gleefully tweeted the video, commenting, “Matt Gaetz got milkshaked in Pensacola.”

The video, posted by WKRG, Pensacola’s CBS affiliate, shows Gaetz leaving the town hall meeting in Pensacola, one of several he scheduled around his congressional district this weekend. Protestors can be heard yelling various chants, taunting Gaetz as he walks out, when a drink is lobbed at him, appearing to strike him in the back and shoulder.

WKRG reported that police “quickly detained and arrested” Amanda Leigh Kondrat’yev for the alleged assault. Kondrat’yev said she was there to protest the town hall.

Westlake Legal Group Amanda%20Kondrat%27yev%20MUG_1559423509898.jpg_90291016_ver1.0_640_360 Children, Behave: Liberal Protestor ‘Milkshakes’ Florida Congressman Outside Town Hall Meeting republicans Politics Matt Gaetz Front Page Stories Front Page Florida Featured Story Featured Post elections donald trump democrats Allow Media Exception

Amanda Leigh Kondrat’yev. Law enforcement photo.

According to WEAR, the local ABC affiliate, Kondrat’yev was one of the candidates who unsuccessfully ran against Gaetz in 2016 for the congressional seat. She has been charged with battery.

Gaetz has often attracted a higher degree of media attention than one might otherwise expect for a freshman Congressman, partly due to his enthusiastic and vocal support for President Donald Trump, and partly due to his penchant for controversial comments and social media posts.

Westlake Legal Group 53761861_2027068130675868_1364486542726266880_o-620x413 Children, Behave: Liberal Protestor ‘Milkshakes’ Florida Congressman Outside Town Hall Meeting republicans Politics Matt Gaetz Front Page Stories Front Page Florida Featured Story Featured Post elections donald trump democrats Allow Media Exception

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) takes a selfie with President Donald Trump. Photo via Representative Matt Gaetz on Facebook.

In other words, while Gaetz has his ardent supporters, he also attracts a large number of critics.

Fine. Hooray for the First Amendment. That’s part of what being an elected official entails. Kondrat’yev and her fellow protestors had every right to protest outside Gaetz’s town hall and speak their mind.

But when Kondrat’yev decided to physically attack Gaetz, she wasn’t exercising her free speech rights. She was committing a crime. [Allegedly, allegedly, allegedly, etc. — this incident was caught on video and Kondrat’yev was identified and arrested immediately at the scene. She is, of course, presumed innocent in our criminal justice system.]

I’ve certainly had my criticisms of Gaetz over the years, and I’ve made no secret of my skepticism of Trump. But how pathetic and childish are these protestors when they can’t figure out how to express themselves in words and resort to throwing drinks and food like toddlers?

Uhl, the Media Matters campaign director, and the other liberals who cheered Kondrat’yev’s [alleged] attack, drawing the parallel to the milkshakes thrown on pro-Brexit politicians in the UK, are perhaps even worse. They are openly cheering for physical assaults on other people, just because they don’t agree with them on a political issue.

The Pensacola Congressman seemed unharmed, fortunately, other than some minor laundry issues for his shirt, but this idea that “milkshaking” is a harmless prank and an acceptable form of protest is absolutely wrong. Any time someone throws a physical object at someone, especially where a lot of people are gathered closely together, there’s a potential for injury or sparking an incitement in the crowd. There’s a long standing tradition for treating all unwanted physical contact as criminal behavior, for good reason.

James Gagliano, a CNN law enforcement analyst, tweeted that he was “no Matt Gaetz fan” but condemned the “utterly shameful and disgusting” assault and those who were celebrating it, expressing his worries that this was an escalation that could lead to violence.

As Kondrat’yev contemplates spending thousands of dollars on legal fees and court costs, plus whatever sentence the criminal justice system may impose, she should ask herself what she actually achieved today.

Matt Gaetz is not going to stop supporting Trump, resign from office, change his vote on any bill, or switch his position on any issue whatsoever. Her little stunt accomplished absolutely nothing, except to create potential challenges for her own future. “Assaulted a Congressman” isn’t the kind of resume line most employers crave.

Gaetz seemed in good spirits about the whole kerfuffle, tweeting his thanks to local law enforcement who “keep everyone safe at our events,” and quipping that “[c]learly it takes more than a drink to slow down our great team.”

UPDATE: The Pensacola News Journal confirmed that Kondrat’yev was one of Gaetz’s congressional opponents in the 2016 race, and further reports that she has been released from jail on a $1,000 bond. Kondrat’yev is also one of four plaintiffs suing the city of Pensacola to force the removal of a cross from Bayview Park.

Read my RedState article archive here.

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That Squirrelly Guy from Vox Is Trying to Get Steven Crowder Banned on Youtube

Westlake Legal Group Capture-1-620x369 That Squirrelly Guy from Vox Is Trying to Get Steven Crowder Banned on Youtube youtube Whiney vox thin-skinned Steven Crowder Squirrelly Politics media bias Front Page Stories Front Page Free Speech Featured Story deplatforming democrats comedy Censorship carlos maza banning

If you’ve ever visited Steven Crowder’s Youtube channel before, you’ve probably stumbled across some of his rebuttal videos. In them, he uses comedy and facts to challenge claims made by politicians or media members.

One outlet that’s been the subject of several of his videos is Vox. Why? Because it’s a flaming pile of garbage that routinely makes false or misleading claims in their “explainer” videos.

That’s apparently got Carlos , a particularly grating host at Vox, up in arms. He’s accusing Crowder of “bullying” him and is working directly with Youtube to get him banned from the platform.

Spoiler: It’s absolutely about trying to get conservatives voiced silenced.

Maza’s campaign includes trying to start a drive to flag Crowder’s videos. He also claims that he’s getting direct messages from Youtube to discuss taking action based on his “concerns.”

The irony here is that what set Maza off was a rebuttal video to his claims that Fox News was a propaganda outlet. So it seems he can dish it out but can’t take it. This dude sounds pretty sensitive.

Here’s a tip, and it’s the same way I feel about people like Talia Lavin (who savages conservatives with smears and then whines that she gets criticized).

If you don’t want pushback, criticism, or to be made fun of, then get out of the public eye. You may have a right to trash others falsely with silly explainer videos, but you don’t have a right to do so while demanding a protective bubble be maintained around you. In this country, we are allowed to dissent and Maza doesn’t seem to understand that. If he doesn’t want to be rebutted or laughed at, then he’s welcome to go find another job.

What’s more concerning here is that Youtube appears to be playing along with Maza.

Crowder has routinely been wrongly flagged or copyright claimed on Youtube, only to win each and every case he engages in. Despite that, Youtube has never DMed him personally to work out an issue. That Youtube is jumping to “investigate” Crowder based on the word of some clown from Vox isn’t a good sign and shows the clear double standards at play.

Has Crowder made some off-color remarks about Maza? Sure, but again, it’s a freaking comedy show. Maza, for his part, has never had an issue with bad language and personal attacks in his videos. It’s pretty hypocritical for him to now cry about it being done back to him.

At some point conservatives are going to have to wake up and decide if they want to be subservient to the tech giants or if they are ready to put up a fight. These companies have the right to curate speech. They don’t have the right to do so while avoiding all liability for the speech on their platforms.

This is why I didn’t rush to make fun of Devin Nunes for his lawsuit against Twitter. Someone needs to get this stuff in court so these companies are forced to chose one path or the other. They can’t keep straddling the fence in a middle ground that doesn’t actually exist. If they want to be publishers, then they should bare the full brunt of liability that comes with that.

I have a feeling that when push comes to shove, they’ll chose the profit that comes from being an open platform over pandering to Vox.

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Salesforce.com Is The Latest Company To Join The Ranks of Corporate Activists

Westlake Legal Group ffguns Salesforce.com Is The Latest Company To Join The Ranks of Corporate Activists salesforce.com Liberal Elitism Guns gun control Front Page Stories Featured Story democrats Culture corporate activism Camping World Business & Economy Allow Media Exception

 

Salesforce.com is the world’s largest seller of customer relationship management platforms. Although it’s not a household name like Google or Apple, it’s an enormous company with a market capitalization of $120 billion and over 40,000 employees.

One of their largest, long time customers, Camping World (CW), happens to be one of America’s largest gun retailers.

For many years, this wasn’t a problem for Salesforce. But it appears now that times have changed. And the woke corporation just doesn’t feel comfortable doing business with a retailer that sells guns. Especially when one of their most profitable products happens to be the much-maligned AR-15 rifle.

In fact, over the last couple of months, Salesforce began applying pressure to their gun-selling customers. “Stop selling military-style rifles, or stop using our software.” This latest directive puts their customers in a tough situation. “Camping World, for example, spends more than $1 million a year on Salesforce’s e-commerce software, according to one analyst estimate. Switching to another provider now could cost the company double that to migrate data, reconfigure systems and retrain employees.”

Mark Oliva, public affairs director of the National Shooting Sports Foundation, a firearms trade group takes issue with Salesforce’s new “acceptable-use” policy. Oliva said:

These types of rules are “corporate-policy virtue signaling” and discriminate against gun owners, whose rights are protected by the Second Amendment. It is a very chilling effect when a company as large as Salesforce puts out a policy like this. A policy like this is not surprising from a company based in that part of the country.

Company spokeswoman Gina Sheibley said their new policy:

Bars customers that sell a range of firearms – including automatic and semiautomatic – from using its e-commerce technology. The policy also precludes customers from selling some firearm parts, such as “magazines capable of accepting more than 10 rounds” and “multi-burst trigger devices.” And it will affect “a small number of existing customers when their current contracts expire, as well as all new customers.”

In December, Salesforce opened a department which they call the “Office of Ethical and Humane Use” to coordinate their foray into corporate activism.

They are not the first corporation to take a stand against gun retailers. Dick’s Sporting Goods stopped selling guns in the last year (which has led to a sharp decline in sales). “Walmart banned the sale of military-style firearms in 2015 and last year it raised the minimum age for purchasing firearms and ammunition from 18 to 21.

Salesforce provides technology that helps power the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency’s border activities and agent recruiting, something that drew increasing scrutiny as the agency implemented Trump administration policies that included separating families at the U.S.-Mexico border. Last summer, roughly 650 Salesforce employees signed a letter to co-chief executive Marc Benioff raising concerns about the agency’s use of its products, first reported by Bloomberg News.”

The day after the Parkland, FL shooting last year, Benioff said, “The AR-15 is the most popular rifle in America. Ban it.”

He has expanded his company’s social activism into other areas. In 2015:

He also publicly campaigned against a controversial Indiana law, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, arguing it could lead to discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. Salesforce, which had 1,400 employees in Indianapolis at the time, threatened to “dramatically reduce” the company’s investments in the state, before the legislature eventually amended the law.

I suppose, as long as shareholders approve of these policies, companies are free to do whatever they please. Still, it’s starting to become a bit scary when a company like Disney decides suddenly to pull out of Georgia because they disagree with a new abortion law the state legislature has passed. I know a man, a freelance movie set designer, who moved his family from California to Georgia two years ago because so many production companies were moving into the state. Netflix is considering leaving Georgia as well. These decisions are going to affect many industry workers.

Should a business software company have the right to dictate the business decisions of their established customers? Has the shift toward social activism gone a bit too far?

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Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan Decides He Won’t Challenge Trump in 2020

Today, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) put to rest chatter that he was considering challenging President Donald Trump for the 2020 Republican presidential nomination. Hogan announced his decision in an interview with the Washington Post‘s Robert Costa.

“I’m not going to be a candidate for president in 2020,” said Hogan.

Hogan had refused to vote for Trump in 2016, instead casting a write-in vote for his father, a former congressman. Hogan had continued to be an outspoken critic of the President, one of the few current Republican office holders to continue to do so after Trump was sworn into office.

Hogan has enjoyed high favorability ratings as governor, and received a lot of personal support from his constituents when he was diagnosed with stage 3 non-Hodgkins lymphoma in 2015. Hogan reported that the cancer was in remission late that year, and finished his final chemotherapy treatments in 2016.

Still, popularity in Maryland is not necessarily the same kind of popularity that can take on an incumbent president. A Baltimore Sun poll conducted April 29-May 4 showed that while Hogan had a sky-high approval rating of 76%, among Maryland Republican primary voters, he would capture only 24% of the vote to Trump’s 68%, with 8% undecided.

In the interview with Costa, Hogan acknowledged the uphill path his potential presidential challenge would have, but that the more important issue in his mind was the commitment he had made to the people of Maryland who just re-elected him as their governor in 2018.

“I have a commitment to the 6 million people of Maryland and a lot of work to do, things we haven’t completed,” said Hogan.

Hogan added that he had discussed the possibility of a presidential campaign with his family, and his wife had encouraged him to stay focused on Maryland.

“Her big push was, ‘You just got reelected to a second term as governor. You made a commitment to the people of Maryland and that’s where your focus should be,’” said Hogan. “She said there is plenty of time to think about the future but right now my attention should be on my day job.”

In addition to his gubernatorial duties, Hogan will launch an advocacy organization called “An America United” this week, which he described as attempting to “transcend partisanship” and find issues both political parties could support, like infrastructure improvements. He dismissed suggestions this group was laying the groundwork for an independent presidential run.

He confirmed he is still considering running for President in 2024, saying “I believe there’s going to be a future in the Republican Party beyond President Trump. It’s either going to be next year or four years later. But at some point we’re going to be looking for what the future is going to be like.”

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End Of An Era: Apple Is Scrapping iTunes

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Apple CEO Tim Cook is expected to announce some big changes for the tech company at an upcoming software development conference in San Jose, CA.

Bloomberg reports that Apple intends to streamline their app service by making new tools available to developers in order to easily develop apps across the platforms rather than platform by platform.

Developers will get new tools to build iOS apps for Mac laptops and desktop computers, essentially unifying Apple’s app ecosystem. This follows last year’s rollout of iPad versions of Apple’s News, Voice Memos, Home, and Stocks apps on the Mac. The expectation is that single versions of all apps will eventually be able to run on every Apple device. As part of the shift, more underlying technologies will also merge.

iTunes has been the way Apple users listen to music, watch movies and TV shows, hear podcasts, and manage their devices for almost two decades. This year, Apple is finally ready to move into a new era. The company is launching a trio of new apps for the Mac – Music, TV, and Podcasts – to replace iTunes. That matches Apple’s media app strategy on iPhones and iPads. Without iTunes, customers can manage their Apple gadgets through the Music app.
There will be other tweaks as well to things like health monitoring, most interestingly an app that monitors audial health – how loud headphones are and how much stress the sound is putting on the ears. Apple apparently will also be working on more “augmented reality” capabilities like 3D glasses and devices.

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The Case For Trump’s Tariffs on Mexico; A Shakeup Will Bring Short Term Pain, But Long Term Gain

Westlake Legal Group migrant-caravan-adjusted-cropped-AP-620x328 The Case For Trump’s Tariffs on Mexico; A Shakeup Will Bring Short Term Pain, But Long Term Gain President Trump migrants immigration Front Page Stories Foreign Policy Featured Story donald trump Business & Economy Andrés Manuel López Obrador Allow Media Exception 5% tariff on Mexican imports

Members of a US-bound migrant caravan stand on a road after federal police briefly blocked their way outside the town of Arriaga, Saturday, Oct. 27, 2018. Hundreds of Mexican federal officers carrying plastic shields had blocked the caravan from advancing toward the United States, after several thousand of the migrants turned down the chance to apply for refugee status and obtain a Mexican offer of benefits. (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd)

 

News of President Trump’s proposed tariffs on Mexican goods delivered a shock to politicians on both sides of the aisle and sent financial markets into a tailspin on Friday.

On Thursday evening, the President tweeted that starting “June 10th, the U.S. will impose a 5% Tariff on all goods coming into our Country from Mexico, until such time as illegal migrants coming through Mexico, and into our Country, STOP. The Tariff will gradually increase until the Illegal Immigration problem is remedied…” then adding “….at which time the tariffs will be removed. Details from the White House to follow.”

And follow they did. The White House issued a statement that said:

If the illegal migration crisis is alleviated through effective actions taken by Mexico, to be determined in our sole discretion and judgment, the Tariffs will be removed. If the crisis persists, however, the Tariffs will be raised to 10 percent on July 1, 2019.

Tariffs will be increased to 15 percent on August 1, 2019, to 20 percent on September 1, 2019, and to 25 percent on October 1, 2019. Tariffs will permanently remain at the 25 percent level unless and until Mexico substantially stops the illegal inflow of aliens coming through its territory.

According to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, the U.S. imported $346.5 billion of goods from Mexico in 2018, a 10.3% jump from the prior year. Imports from Mexico accounted for 13.6% of total U.S. imports last year.

Needless to say, this unexpected move was not received well by many in Washington. There is much “not to like” about it. Clearly, there will be short term pain for American consumers, especially for those whose livelihoods are dependent upon trade with Mexico. It will increase the price of numerous products Americans purchase on a regular basis, from avocados to cars. The measure will also have a dampening effect on U.S. Gross Domestic Product initially.

On the plus side, it certainly got Mexico’s attention, didn’t it? Mexico’s president, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, immediately condemned the tariffs. He issued a statement saying that, Social problems are not resolved with taxes or coercive measures” and “the Statue of Liberty is not an empty symbol.” Tucker Carlson made the point that, “Mexico’s corrupt ruling class believes it is America’s duty to absorb their country’s problems forever.” Actually, much of the world feels the same way.

The Mexican government has for too long ignored the flow of illegals through their country. Recently, illegals have been entering the U.S. at the rate of 100,000 per month. It is hurting our country.

As with most political decisions, there are two unpleasant choices and usually one is worse than the other.

In this case, the first option is to let sleeping dogs lie. We can allow Mexico to continue to ignore, and in some cases, to even assist, the hundreds of thousands of illegals who travel through their country annually to reach the U.S. This choice would ensure that we maintain a positive trading relationship with Mexico and will keep prices of goods at current levels. Additionally, it will not depress short term GDP.

It also means that huge numbers of impoverished South Americans will continue to flow into the U.S. who will expect us to provide them with shelter, food and medical care. Those who can will cast their votes for Democratic candidates who are far more sympathetic to their needs than Republicans.

Tucker Carlson addressed some of the problems we face due to uncontrolled immigration.

For decades, the Mexican government has sent their poor up north to our country. This has allowed their criminal oligarchy to maintain power and get richer, but at great expense to us. In the U.S., it has damaged our communities, ruined our schools, burdened our health care system and fractured our national unity. It has supressed wages for our most vulnerable. It has been a slow motion attack on this country and its affects have been devastating.

Alternatively, we can shake things up by applying some much-needed pressure. We will certainly have to accept some short term financial pain. But Mexico, China and the rest of the world will hear the message that the U.S. will no longer be the world’s doormat.

CNN’s Steve Cortes sums it up perfectly:

If countries want access to the American market, then they must act like responsible partners. America desires peace and prosperity with all nations, but will not be abused. If China wishes to continue as a trade partner, it must cease the systemic theft of our intellectual property, technologies, and cease hacking our critical systems. If Mexico desires real friendship with the United States, including the benefit of selling into the world’s greatest consumer market, then it must share in the burden of confronting this migrant calamity.

Mexico can’t continue to have it both ways.

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