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Westlake Legal Group > Posts tagged "Featured Story" (Page 89)

Attorney General Barr Starts A Crack Down On the Illegal Alien Amnesty Racket

Yesterday, Attorney General Bill Barr continued building upon the worthy legacy of Jeff Sessions in the issue of immigration law. While I might have had my doubts about Sessions’s abilities on the whole–I thought he was way, way too invested in fighting the states on marijuana laws, too much in search of positive affirmation from the Justice bureaucracy to really crack the whip, and a total p***y in dealing with the Russia hoax–he was a staunch warrior on the issue of immigration. This is how he was described in The New Yorker after he resigned:

But, as the Trump Administration adopted increasingly draconian policies, it became clear that, for Sessions, orchestrating the most systematic and wide-reaching assault on immigrants in modern history was well worth enduring near-constant humiliations from the President. As the government’s top lawyer, Sessions was responsible for, among other things, cancelling daca, spurring family separations, trying to defund sanctuary cities, dismantling the asylum system, reshaping the immigration courts, and retooling multiple travel bans. To the extent that the President has styled himself as an anti-immigration crusader, it’s with a script written entirely by Sessions.

These policies have moved ahead, though, due to a concerted campaign of lawfare, with fits and starts. The most significant reform made by Sessions was to remind immigration judges that they were executive branch employees and not some ersatz form of Article III judges. Significantly, Sessions broke tradition and assumed his legal authority to rule on immigration cases of his choosing. It was through this authority that Sessions cracked down on the use of “domestic violence” as a reason for awarding asylum (this is now in federal court even though the law clearly says federal courts have no role in interpreting immigration policy).

Barr hasn’t been a shrinking violet. He issued an order, now the subject of a lawsuit, that prevented illegals applying for asylum from automatically being granted bail. Now he’s taken another shot at the whole illegal immigration complex.

Attorney General William Barr is moving to cut off asylum for people whose claims are based on being related to persecuted family members in the Trump administration’s latest effort to restrict who is eligible to seek refugee status in the U.S.

Mr. Barr overturned a decision on Monday from the Board of Immigration Appeals, which had ruled that a Mexican man could apply for asylum on the basis of his father being targeted by a Mexican cartel.

Federal law gives the attorney general the authority to overrule the immigration appeals board’s decisions. It wasn’t immediately clear how many people Monday’s ruling could affect.

Asylum eligibility usually hinges on whether people are afraid to return to their country of origin because they face persecution on the basis of factors such as race, religion, political opinion or membership in a particular social group.

Membership in a family, Mr. Barr said, didn’t count as membership in a social group that might make the Mexican man eligible for asylum.

“An applicant must establish that his specific family group is defined with sufficient particularity and is socially distinct in his society,” Mr. Barr said. “In the ordinary case, a family group will not meet that standard, because it will not have the kind of identifying characteristics that render the family socially distinct within the society in question.”
This is so reasonable one wonders about the intelligence of the people on the Board of Immigration Appeals. If a family relationship to someone who is allegedly being threatened by criminals becomes the standard for asylum, you don’t have to be a very deep thinker so see how this ends. First off, what is the kinship relationship that allows this? Offspring? Cousins, Nephews and nieces? How many removals of cousins? What would be the process for adjudicating this. This is how Barr phrased it:

While the Board has recognized certain clans and subclans as ‘particular social groups,’ most nuclear families are not inherently socially distinct and therefore do not qualify as ‘particular social groups.

Further, as almost every alien is a member of a family of some kind, categorically recognizing families as particular social groups would render virtually every alien a member of a particular social group. There is no evidence that Congress intended the term ‘particular social group’ to cast so wide a net.

I’m sure this is headed for court. And I’m sure that a tame judge will be found to issue an injunction. When it reaches the Supreme Court, it will be upheld. The only fly in the ointment here is the fate of the Trump administration in November 2020. If President Trump wins, we’ll have locked in a solid body of immigration law to protect our borders. If we have a President Harris or Buttigieg, then all of this will have been for naught.

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The post Attorney General Barr Starts A Crack Down On the Illegal Alien Amnesty Racket appeared first on RedState.

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I Need to Complain About the Lion King Remake

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I argued with myself about writing about this seeing as how I’m a bit late to the party and it’s been reviewed and criticized over and over again, but I feel like if I don’t get this out I’m going to explode.

I saw the latest entry in Disney’s attempt at reviving its past glory by making everything a “live-action” remix of the original. I want to treat my take on it here like a compliment sandwich. The only problem is that the very well made and enticing bread is holding in what I can only describe as a mess of three-day-old compost.

The movie wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t at all good either.

Let’s start with the good. The movie really shows off the extent of Disney’s abilities with CGI. There was so much attention to detail that I couldn’t tell what was CGI and wasn’t if they used real elements in the movie at all. In fact, they call it a “live-action” remake, but it’s mostly all CGI and we’re okay with them calling it “live-action” because it really does look like it. I was blown away by the littlest things like the waving of the grass and trees, the way the wind played with feathers of birds on the wing, and the way water splashed and soaked things when it was run through.

With that out of the way, I need to list why this movie had me leaving the theatre feeling melancholy, and I’m using that word specifically. I left sad.

I remember going to see The Lion King when I was around 10 and thinking I had just seen Disney’s greatest accomplishment. Not only was the animation stunning, but the African inspired music took me to the setting faster than any supersonic jet could, and the rid wasn’t just comfortable, it was exciting. The first moment that sun rose and the man came in with that drawn-out “Nants ingonyama bagithi Baba” I was stunned and enraptured. 

Fast forward to now and I’m waiting for that amazing moment when the sun rose and the song began. The movie opens with an African setting with the sun still down. It’s peaceful and serene, and then it happens. The sun pops up and the music starts…and I laughed out loud. The sun pops up almost comically and the timing of the song takes you by surprise as if both the sun and the song were late and making a comedic entrance.

That was my first step back into the world of The Lion King and it wasn’t a good start. The laughter wasn’t mirthful. I was involuntarily laughing at something, not with it. Sadly this would define a lot of the rest of the movie for me. Many iconic moments from the film would find me somewhere between disappointed and ambivalent.

One example is the death of Mufasa, which is supposed to be a heart-wrenching moment in the movie. While it still produces feelings of sadness, none of it hits home like it did in the original. Even my fiance, who tends to feel emotions far better than I do, didn’t shed a tear. One of the main reasons was easy to deduce.

I felt like the characters didn’t care.

Sure they sounded sad, but for a photo-realistic movie with lions that have a concept of feudalism and existential crises, we can include a touch of facial animation to help carry emotion. Simba had the same look on his face during the trauma of trying to reawaken his dead father as he did when he was happily playing with Nala. It so removed me from the moment that I became detached from what should have been an affecting scene.

Facial expressions carry a lot of weight in a scene, and they just left these behind in favor of “realism.” You could easily still have the photo-realistic animals and still have human-esque facial expressions. I know this because they did it well in The Jungle Book remake.

Here’s a super-cut of some of the animations within The Jungle Book. Notice how the animals still maintain a realism to them while still expressing human emotion. A subtle lift or furrow of the brow here, a slight upturn of the mouth there. Emotion is translated without taking you out of the feeling that you’re looking at wild animals.

The Lion King fails to do this and results in a removal from the emotional weight of what the characters are going through. This was described perfectly by David Ehlrich of IndieWire:

Most often, the animation is just bland in a way that saps the characters of their personalities. Scar used to be a Shakespearian villain brimming with catty rage and closeted frustration; now, he’s just a lion who sounds like Chiwetel Ejiofor. Simba used to be a sleek upstart whose regal heritage was tempered by youthful insecurity; now he’s just a lion who sounds like Donald Glover.

Speaking of the voice-acting, it’s very hit or miss. I’m a fan of Donald Glover and I think he does everything he touches well, be it music or comedy. Here, however, I felt like Glover was somewhat flat. Like he tried to be there, but just couldn’t quite hit the mark.

Mathew Broderick, the original Simba, brought so much personality to the character that Glover had an uphill battle ahead of him, to begin with. However, there was a sort of detachment there that made me divest from the character. I’d like to chalk that up to the lack of expressive animations, but both James Earl Jones’s reprisal of Mufasa and Seth Rogan’s Pumba were incredible.

I get the impression that Glover wasn’t playing Simba, he was playing Glover playing Simba.

You felt this way for a few of the characters, especially Scar and the hyenas, but the largest character letdown, however, was Rafiki the baboon.

Robert Guillaume’s performance as 1994’s Rafiki is one of the most underrated voice acting performances cinema ever produced. Not only did Guillaume’s Rafiki really deliver a character you never forget, but he also added subtle habits and sounds to his voice that made you truly believe you were watching a baboon talk despite it being a toon.

Watch this interaction between Guillaume and Broderick during a scene that teaches a lesson that has stuck with me since I was a kid. Bonus: listen to the powerful music once Simba realizes who he is and what he must do. A superb scene all around.

The footage hasn’t been clipped from the 2019 version as of yet, but I can tell you that the scene from the recent version is like looking at a shadow of the real thing. This is in part because Rafiki has been neutered.

Despite the fact that Rafiki is considered a secondary character, the baboon acts as the connections between the old and the new, and when he moves, the movie moves with him. When he got excited, you felt it too. When he went to go find Simba personally, you felt like you were watching the agents of Heaven move to realign the players of Earth.

In 2019, however, Rafiki felt less. John Kani delivers Rafiki’s lines with a quarter of the personality of Guillaume, and the character feels like a Rafiki cut with water. For instance, 94′ Rafiki is known as something of a mystic who can deduce events from far away by means we don’t understand. The Rafiki of 2019 has lost that magical part of him.

The scene where he finds out Simba is alive is a perfect example of this. In 1994, Rafiki finds out Simba is alive by pondering debris in a turtle shell after receiving it from the wind. In 2019, he finds out Simba is alive because Simba’s hair was brought to him via ants, who got it from a dung beetle, who got it from a giraffe’s poop.

This loss of magic takes away from the potency of the discovery and epicness of the events that transpire. It goes from being a moment of fate to a moment of happenstance. We’re supposed to be in a world of talking lions and Kings, yet we’re consistently pulled back from the edge with attempts at “realism.”

Pardon the quality but watch the two scenes side by side and see which scene carries the emotion, excitement, and possibilities with it. Pay attention to the musical ambiance that acts as a storyteller all on its own as well as Rafiki’s reactions.

This article is already overlong. I could go into how Scar used to be a clever and devious villain of great magnitude but only comes off now as a flat villain who never grew out of his moody teenage phase, but I’ll wrap it up.

I said earlier in the article that I walked away feeling sad and I want to explain that now that I’ve laid out some details that I didn’t like.

This movie, at least to me, felt like Disney was trying to give me something it thought I and my generation wanted. It tried to deliver our childhood back to us but now in a more mature format. Personally, I didn’t want that at all. I don’t need a more realistic or mature Lion King. I’m happy with, and cherish, the one I got when I was ten.

And I know this movie was for the adults who grew up on the original Lion King despite it being a family film. So many moments and jokes were targeted at people like me that called back to the original, usually in fourth-wall-breaking moments by Timone and Pumba who practically acknowledge that the audience has seen this movie before.

My age has nothing to do with my love of the mystical and fantastical. I’ll watch family movies as a man as enthusiastically, if not more so than I did when I was young. I love the idea of a lion talking to a meercat about the quality of bugs, or a wise baboon teaching a young king an important life lesson. This doesn’t need to be mixed with so much realism that the magic begins to feel hollow.

It made me feel legitimately sad to watch something so exciting and welcoming from my childhood flicker and fade in the face of trying to grow up.

As C.S. Lewis said: “When I became a man I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown-up.

Disney shouldn’t be afraid to make a magical movie for the kids with nods to adults like it used to. Trust me, the kid is still there, he just has a driver’s license and bills now. Both of them will still love it regardless.

The post I Need to Complain About the Lion King Remake appeared first on RedState.

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Elijah Cummings Defends Himself Against Racism Charges…And Loses To Trump In the Process

Westlake Legal Group cummings-620x464 Elijah Cummings Defends Himself Against Racism Charges…And Loses To Trump In the Process Trump racism Race political theater Front Page Stories Featured Story elijah cummings defense Culture Baltimore Sun baltimore

By now we are all pretty much familiar with Trump’s latest tweet-heard-round-the-world.

I have started so many columns with that sentence in the last three years I should really keep a running tally.

This tweet, of course is the Elijah Cummings/Baltimore mess. For days now we’ve been accusing Trump of being racist for talking poorly about someone who happens to be Black, and for talking poorly about a city that happens to have a very large Black population. The rules in 2019 are that if you’re White, any non-White person is unassailable regardless of their personal character or their personal responsibility.

That’s just another form of racism if you ask me, but I digress.

For the last forty years (at least) the media narrative on racism has been set in stone. If you’re not a Democrat, you’re a racist. If you’re not a progressive, you’re a racist. If you’re called a racist and you bring up your non-White friends as proof of your heart, you’re a racist. If you bring up Martin Luther King, Jr. and his “content of character” comments, you’re a racist. Most of all, if you must publicly utter the words “I am not a racist”…you’re totally a racist.

I’ve been doing this job for a decade now and Media Relations 101 is to never utter the accusations word-for-word out loud. What happens is that word just gets stuck to you, no matter what context you use it in. This is one of the shockingly attractive qualities of Donald Trump that got him elected. He rarely defends himself in the manner we’re used to seeing from a typical politician – contrite, apologetic, reassuring. Trump just flips the script on his opponents and hurls their own insults right back at them. He is no diplomat and he doesn’t seem to care to be.

So imagine my shock when I woke up to an open letter in the Baltimore Sun from a woman claiming she worked with Rep. Cummings in the past and proudly exclaiming, “Elijah Cummings Is No Racist”. And imagine my equal shock when Rep. Cummings himself retweeted the post, reiterating in his commentary “Elijah Cummings Is No Racist”.

Westlake Legal Group ecummings-620x628 Elijah Cummings Defends Himself Against Racism Charges…And Loses To Trump In the Process Trump racism Race political theater Front Page Stories Featured Story elijah cummings defense Culture Baltimore Sun baltimore

My jaw hit the floor. In all my years in this industry I cannot recall a time when a Black Democrat was cajoled into defending themself against such an accusation. Conservatives gave Obama his fair share of “You’re a racist bigot!” accusations but like most of the insults the Right hurled, he let it roll off his back. Protected by a sycophant media, Obama didn’t need to stoop to such levels. He was too smart for that, and his cool demeanor about it all only made the rest of us look batty.

The progressive Left in the media and political sphere have seized this Baltimore madness as a billy club. They are gleefully swinging it around, sure that this time they’ll connect. This time Trump has crossed the line. This time, he’s going down.

But that’s not what is happening.

Instead what has happened is that Trump’s refusal to play ball has turned the other side into the Washington Generals. Elijah Cummings – a man with an impeccable Civil Rights Era pedigree and a (too) long and notable career representing his district – has been reduced to publicly insisting he is not a racist.

My hand to God, I never in my wildest dreams thought Trump would be smart enough to flip the tables so hard on his political opponents.

To be quite honest, I have questioned for a while whether Trump’s media victories were more of an accident – in part due to the blinding rage the media exhibits on a daily basis, a rage that drains their professional bonafides and causes them to regularly make terrible mistakes – or whether he’s way smarter than people like me ever gave him credit for and he’s playing his opponents like a fiddle.

I’m beginning to think it’s the latter.

Elijah Cummings is not a racist. Neither is Donald Trump. They haven’t even always been enemies and I suspect a lot of Trump’s “bombastic” posturing when it comes to the likes of the Congressional Black Caucus is that up until the day he announced his plans to run for President, they considered him a “friend”. He’s been at tons of fundraisers and parties with CBC members over the years. He’s probably made a lot of donations to Cummings’ pet projects. I completely believe Trump when he says Al Sharpton apologized to him for how he was talking about Trump in public. We don’t have to reach back very far to see these men running in the same social circles. These are games. It is all a game. Trump knows it. Sharpton knows it. Cummings knows it too.

Elijah Cummings wants you to know that he’s not a racist – and that’s probably true.

But in the current form of this game…he is a loser.

The post Elijah Cummings Defends Himself Against Racism Charges…And Loses To Trump In the Process appeared first on RedState.

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Overstock CEO Who Says FBI Encouraged His Relationship With Maria Butina Reveals Order To Reconnect With Her Came From Very High Up

Westlake Legal Group 60e43139-3db9-44c0-8d33-2d7af3c370de.v1-620x317 Overstock CEO Who Says FBI Encouraged His Relationship With Maria Butina Reveals Order To Reconnect With Her Came From Very High Up patrick byrne Maria Butina Front Page Stories Featured Story elections crossfire hurricane

The strange tale of Overstock CEO and sometime FBI informant Patrick Byrne, who says the FBI gave him the “green light” to form a relationship with alleged Russian spy Maria Butina (we covered it here), now says that after he ended what became their sexual affair in March 2016 he was encouraged to rekindle their romance by someone “high enough” to make him agree in spite of  his better judgment.

Byrne, who ultimately decided that Butina was what she presented herself to be — “an inquisitive student in favor of better U.S.-Russian relations and not an agent of the Russian government or someone involved in espionage or illegal activities” — did initially worry when she first approached him in 2015 her Russian ties could be problematic so he informed the FBI.

He was, he says, encouraged to form a relationship with her, one that became sexual and that ended in March 2016. He then says he was “ordered” to rekindle that relationship.

By his account, the 57-year-old CEO, who said he holds a low-level security clearance, reported the contact with Butina, 30, to the U.S. government. The FBI then gave him a “green light” to get to know Butina. The two began a romantic relationship, which ended in March 2016. Four months later, he said, the FBI asked him to rekindle the relationship with Butina.

“The second period, I did it because I was instructed to rekindle it. However, I decided that was not the right thing to do,” Byrne said. “But I was told where the orders came from, and the orders came from high enough that I accepted the orders. I just want America to know that I didn’t lay a finger on her that second time.”

Byrne said this second phase with Butina lasted until March 2017, and that he was swept up in “political espionage,” meeting with the FBI to discuss her.

The rekindling would have happened right around the time the FBI says they were beginning to open their investigation into the Trump campaign and any Russian connections it may have had (although Republicans believe their probe began much earlier). Butina, who is serving 18 months for failing to register as a foreign agent since she was being supported by a Russian politician with ties to the Kremlin, was never questioned by Mueller’s team.

So the question is: was Maria Butina just a naive student and, if she was, why would the FBI want Byrne to rekindle his romance with her right (and around the time Crossfire Hurricane was heating up) to the extent he was ordered by someone high up in the chain of command?

Byrne seems to think there’s a connection between the Russia probe and his relationship with Butina, telling journalist Sara Carter, “make sure you are sitting down because [information about the Russia probe is] about to get worse.”

The post Overstock CEO Who Says FBI Encouraged His Relationship With Maria Butina Reveals Order To Reconnect With Her Came From Very High Up appeared first on RedState.

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Photos: Benny Johnson Visits Elijah Cummings’s District, Confirms Dire Situation in Residential Interviews

Westlake Legal Group BaltimoreTour2-620x358 Photos: Benny Johnson Visits Elijah Cummings’s District, Confirms Dire Situation in Residential Interviews Social Media racism Race Politics North Carolina Media Front Page Stories Front Page Featured Story Featured Post elijah cummings donald trump democrats Culture crime Congress benny johnson baltimore Allow Media Exception

An east Baltimore, MD neighborhood in the summer of 2018. Screen grab via Fox 45 – Baltimore.

There’s been a lot of talk over the last several days about President Trump’s criticisms of Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD-7) and the disturbing conditions in parts of his district. As usual, Trump’s political opposition (including the liberal media) have called him a racist who would never characterize a majority white area of the country as “infested” (which isn’t true).

Some of those same people also dispute what Trump has said about Baltimore, even though numerous investigative reports have been done in the past by the local media, concerned community activists, and PBS about the serious rat, trash, poverty, and crime problems that have plagued certain parts of the city for years.

But the people we haven’t heard much from are the people on the ground in the affected areas. The mainstream media don’t appear to be interested, but fortunately Baltimore Republican Kimberly Klacik has posted numerous videos and images of interviews she’s done with residents who live in Baltimore’s poorest neighborhoods, making sure their voices are heard.

The same goes for TPUSA’s Benny Johnson, who recently visited the district to conduct interviews with local residents. Here’s what he saw and heard:

Here is the thread unrolled.

In the summer of 2018, Fox 45 – Baltimore did a report that featured then-Mayor Catherine Pugh (D) touring the rows of dilapidated homes, and complaining of the smell of rats and dead animals. “What the hell? We should just take all this sh*t down,” Pugh can be heard saying in one part of the video:

Baltimore’s current Mayor Bernard “Jack” Young (D) did not dispute conditions on the ground in his city on Monday, instead saying that Trump should stop “childishly” tweeting about the issue and send federal assistance instead.

Rep. Cummings has represented Maryland’s 7th Congressional district since 1996.

—————-
— Based in North Carolina, Sister Toldjah is a former liberal and a 15+ year veteran of blogging with an emphasis on media bias, social issues, and the culture wars. Read her Red State archives here. Connect with her on Twitter. –

The post Photos: Benny Johnson Visits Elijah Cummings’s District, Confirms Dire Situation in Residential Interviews appeared first on RedState.

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Josh Hawley’s War Against Social Media Continues With Strange New Bill Banning “Addictive Features”

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Image courtesy of Sen. Josh Hawley YouTube account

Senator Josh Hawley has become the biggest thorn in the side of social media with a series of tough Senate hearings and pro-regulation bills aimed at curtailing their influence on the American public.

His strategy appears to be to use the full weight of government to regulate their influence into non-existence. His latest strategy? Effectively banning social media innovation by labeling several features as “addicting” in a sweeping new legislative ban.

Hawley’s Social Media Addiction Reduction Technology (SMART) Act would make it illegal for social media platforms to hook users by offering them more content than they requested in order to get them to continue on their respective platforms.

The bill takes aim at practices specifically employed by the country’s top social networking sites – YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat.

For example, it would ban YouTube’s “autoplay” feature, which loads up new videos for users automatically; Facebook and Twitter’s “infinite scroll,” which allows users to continue scrolling through their homepages without limit; and Snapchat’s “streaks,” which reward users for continuing to send photos to their friends.

More troubling than being so very pro-regulation is the fact that Hawley wants to empower the already overly-powerful executive branch through this bill.

Hawley’s legislation would empower the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and state attorneys to take action against companies that did not remove “addictive” features within a few months.

It would also allow the FTC and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to jointly write new rules aimed at getting ahead of new “deceptive” tactics, anticipating that there will be new innovations in technology that the bill doesn’t cover.

Believe me when I say that I am concerned with the addictive qualities of social media. I work with teenagers every day, and their attention to SnapChat and Instagram, in particular, is worrisome. But what Hawley is doing here is effectively banning social media from attempting to innovate their products.

The same business models that push for featured to make you spend more time on their apps are the ones that lead to new foods, drinks, and other products. Sugar is addictive. Nicotine is addictive. Should we ban companies from developing new products with them inside because they will cause customers to crave them more?

Have we forgotten how well prohibition worked in the United States?

Let no one doubt that Hawley’s heart is in the right place. Social media is very much addicting and there needs to be a cultural conversation on the topic. But coming in waving Big Government around has never been a good solution, and it is definitely not a conservative solution. That is something that we would expect the nanny statists in the Democratic Party to do.

It’s not a good idea, and we need to stop and talk about this before we just start throwing around legislation on the matter.

The post Josh Hawley’s War Against Social Media Continues With Strange New Bill Banning “Addictive Features” appeared first on RedState.

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Fusion GPS Media Mouthpieces Take Aim At DNI Nominee John Ratcliffe

Westlake Legal Group ap-glenn-simpson-fusion-gps-620x435 Fusion GPS Media Mouthpieces Take Aim At DNI Nominee John Ratcliffe Politics Politico NBC News natasha bertrand Media ken delanian joihn ratcliffe Glenn Simpson Fusion GPS Front Page Stories Featured Story donald trump Director of National Intelligence democrats Allow Media Exception

Glenn R. Simpson, co-founder of the research firm Fusion GPS, arrives for a scheduled appearance before a closed House Intelligence Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2017. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Sunday, President Trump announced the long overdue departure of Dan Coats as Director of National Intelligence and nominated former US Attorney and Texas Congressman John Ratcliffe to replace him. Replacing a creating of Washington, like Coats, with a conservative firebrand like Ratcliffe made a lot of people uneasy. In fact, as my colleague Bonchie noted, all the right people are sweating bullets.

One of the major players in the Russia hoax seems to be in a state of near panic. And by that I mean Fusion GPS. Fusion GPS is the company that was hired by the Clinton campaign, using a law firm as a cutout, and who in turn hired Christopher Steele to compose his dossier and then shopped that dossier around Washington. FusionGPS was involved in setting up the now-infamous Trump Tower meeting between senior Trump campaign officials and the “Russian lawyer,” Natalia Veselnitskaya. Veselnitskaya had actually worked for Fusion GPS and she met with Fusion PS chief Glenn Simpson both before and after the Trump Tower meeting. Simpson kept up his efforts to push the dossier even after Trump had been elected making it very clear that there was more at play here than a mere contract. Either this was a labor of love for Simpson or there was another paymaster lurking behind the scenes.

As has been documented here and elsewhere two reporters are closely associated with pushing Fusion GPS stories and story lines. Ken Delanian of NBC is so blatant that he’s often called “Fusion ken.” Natasha Bertrand of Politico’s stories, in addition to being a cornucopia of NeverTrump nutbaggery, also parallel what Fusion GPS seems to be pushing. So we’ve seen these stories emerge from those sources.

Why, you might ask, aren’t they saying the same thing? My guess is that Bertrand is pushing Ratcliffe as a “Russia hawk” as a way to diminish trust of him among Trump’s inner circle and put him in the same grouping as Coats. Delanian is pushing “he’s a Trump Tool” at Congress and advocacy groups. That one of the reporters closely associated with Fusion GPS is departing from the political conventional wisdom that is settling in about Ratcliffe seems more of an information operation than the reporting we’ve come to expect from her about anything concerning Trump.

Admittedly, they could be working on their own initiative but their relationship with Fusion GPS over the past three years has been both close and undeniable. Why would they suddenly bolt now when it is more important than ever that the role of Fusion GPS is pushing the Russia Hoax be buried deep because if it isn’t a lot of media reputations are going to go down in flames.

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Senior DCCC Staff Fired for Being Too White

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Someone make this news cycle stop. I need a break from the absurdity.

Last night, some information broke regarding the DCCC, which is the campaign committee that helps get Democrats elected to the House. By the end of the evening, all the top senior officials were out.

The top echelon of staffers at the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee left their jobs Monday, a shakeup following a pair of POLITICO stories detailing deep unease with the party’s campaign apparatus over a lack of diversity.

On Monday morning, Allison Jaslow, DCCC executive director and a close ally of Rep. Cheri Bustos (D-Ill.) — chair of the committee — resigned during a tense meeting at the party’s Capitol Hill headquarters. And in the next 10 hours, much of the senior staff was out: Jared Smith, the communications director and another Bustos ally; Melissa Miller, a top DCCC communications aide; Molly Ritner, political director; Nick Pancrazio, deputy executive director; and Van Ornelas, the DCCC’s director of diversity.

To be clear, none of these people actually left voluntarily. To the extent that they “resigned,” it was because of the pressure they were forced into it.

POLITICO reported last week that top lawmakers in the Congressional Black Caucus and Congressional Hispanic Caucus were furious with Bustos, saying she was short-changing minorities by excluding them from her senior staff and failing to live up to promises she made during her campaign for the chairmanship. Bustos surrounded herself with loyalists, eschewing the typical campaign hands that run major party apparatuses.

“Today, I recognize that, at times, I have fallen short in leading these talented individuals. To my colleagues, who I have the upmost respect for, I hear your concerns, and we can and must do better,” Bustos said.

After the meeting, the resignations began, no doubt at Bustos demand. She’s desperately flailing about, trying to preserve her own position and she was willing to push out her entire senior staff to do it.

The reason is simple. Her staff was too white. It didn’t reflect the “diversity” of the Democratic party. Why that matters when we are talking about a behind the scenes, number crunching campaign committee, I’m not sure. But this is the modern Democratic party. They are so woke that it was always just a matter of time before they started eating themselves.

I’m not sure what’s more pathetic here. That this is what the Democratic party has become or that none of these people are willing to stand up for themselves in the face of this inter-sectional nonsense. Bustos immediately folded and threw what were seemingly her friends under the bus to appease the mob.

If I were these senior staff members, I’d have made them fire me. No one should be forced to give up a job they are qualified for just to meet racial quotas.

How many stories in the mainstream media on the disarray within the Democratic party do you think we’ll see today in response to this? One? None? I’m gonna go with none. Republicans can disagree about what’s for lunch and it’s a “civil war,” but this won’t garner anything because protecting the left is the priority.

For the Democrats’ part, they deserve this. Feed the monster, but don’t be surprised when it eats you.

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Video: Ted Cruz Confronted at Airport by Screaming Immigration Protesters

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Poor Texas Senator Ted Cruz can’t seem to go anywhere without people finding him and screaming at him. He can’t even get off of a plane without being confronted in a terminal.

According to the Daily Caller, Cruz was at a terminal at LAX this weekend when a group of protesters from the organization “Voto Latino” surrounded him and made a show of making it seem like Cruz himself was locking up kids at the border.

Protesters can be heard shouting “family matters” (great show), “Americans will not be silenced,” and  “free the children,” at Cruz as if he, right then, would produce a key from his pocket that would unlock cages full of immigrant children.

Cruz stood silently but shook his head.

Voto Latino posted the video of themselves bravely confronting Cruz to Twitter where they used the same logic leftists used to justify confronting he and his wife while they attempted to eat a peaceful dinner and were forced out of a restaurant.

“Politicians like [Ted Cruz] that allow our people to be locked in cages don’t get to be comfortable in public. Those in positions of power must be held accountable for the treatment of children and families at the border,” tweeted Voto Latino.

Like every single one of these protests, you have to wonder where they and their perpetual outrage were during the Obama administration. Again, as has been discussed ad nauseum, this isn’t about the children, this is about political positioning and optics. If Cruz looks like a massive racist for the U.S. following established U.S. law that has been around for decades, then maybe that will translate into people leaving Trump’s camp.

Sure enough, when the children controversy first reared its head, Trump’s approval dipped. The left has been trying to bang that drum ever since.

The truth is that, while our immigration system does need an overhaul, separating children from their families at the border isn’t necessarily a bad practice. Children are often used as product or payment, and it’s in the interest of their safety that we separate them from their parent or guardian until we can check out that everything is on the up and up.

These protesters accomplished nothing but making themselves look like the bad guys by confronting a lone man who obviously knows more about what goes on at the border than they do and doesn’t easily cave to pressure.

What they did accomplish was getting the “Family Matters” theme song stuck in my head.

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“He Counts Judges”: Conan O’Brien Asks How Cocaine Mitch Sleeps at Night, Gets Brilliant Response

Westlake Legal Group CocaineMitch “He Counts Judges”: Conan O’Brien Asks How Cocaine Mitch Sleeps at Night, Gets Brilliant Response washington D.C. Supreme Court Social Media SCOTUS republicans Politics North Carolina Mitch McConnell Media Kentucky judicial nominees Judicial Hollywood Front Page Stories Front Page Featured Story Featured Post Entertainment democrats Culture Courts Congress Cocaine Mitch Campaigns Allow Media Exception 2020

“Cocaine Mitch” graphic. Image via Team Mitch.

As the self-appointed “Grim Reaper” of the Senate, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has made it crystal clear that one of his top priorities is getting President Donald Trump’s judicial nominees confirmed.

The Politico reported last week on how the longtime Kentucky Senator was keeping his promises:

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Thursday set up votes on lifetime appointments for 19 judicial nominees next week, setting up a busy pre-recess work session on a top GOP priority.

McConnell’s move means likely confirmation of 19 District Court judges; the GOP leader had focused on higher-level Circuit Court judges for the first 30 months of Donald Trump’s presidency, filling all but four vacancies on the appeals courts.

Now McConnell is beginning to work his way through the 111 District Court vacancies even as the House heads home for the summer this week.

[…]

“Not bad for a week’s work and that’s what the Senate will accomplish before we adjourn for August,” McConnell said on the floor.

Naturally, this makes McConnell an enemy in Democratic circles, which might explain why late night TV talk show host Conan O’Brien took a swipe at McConnell’s looks on Monday, asking how the Majority Leader managed to sleep at night:

Twitter user “Vixen Rogue” had a brilliant response:

Even New York Times alums see McConnell’s laser-like focus on filling court vacancies and begrudgingly praise him:

‘Nuff said.

(Hat tip: Twitchy)

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— Based in North Carolina, Sister Toldjah is a former liberal and a 15+ year veteran of blogging with an emphasis on media bias, social issues, and the culture wars. Read her Red State archives here. Connect with her on Twitter. –

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