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Updated: 11 hours 51 min ago

Conservatives plan their own NFL protest in boycotting pro football on Veterans Day weekend

9 hours 38 min ago

A conservative group called Main Street Patriots is urging Americans to join its movement to show respect for the national anthem — as well as the flag — with a boycott of the NFL.

What is this event?

The Flags Across America Rally will be held throughout Veterans Day weekend (Nov. 10-12) to show solidarity against national anthem protests.

The group aims to fly the flag even more over Veterans Day weekend, wherever it is.

The event’s news release includes:

The US flag and the freedom for which it stands, at levels never before witnessed in our country, is under constant attack from the left and now pampered sports figures! We cannot allow these attacks to go unanswered! Now is the time to be united standing in defense and proper recognition of Old Glory!

All across our great country this Veterans Day weekend, Americans will be coming together to not only support our veterans — but to embrace and show the proper respect to our US Flag that our veterans so proudly served to protect.

We are encouraging Americans & liberty loving groups across our great country to host or attend a Flags Across America Rally the weekend of Veterans Day 11/10 – 11/12/17.

The group has hopes that people will fly American flags in all places and venues over Veterans Day weekend.

From shows of support at High School football games on Friday, Saturday College games to NFL games on Sunday, town squares, bridge overpasses, major intersections, etc … join in the nationwide show of support!

What is the group saying about its event?

TheBlaze spoke to Debbie Dooley, co-founder of the group, who hopes that Americans all across the country will fly their flags in honor of the country as well as those who died defending it.

“We encourage patriotic Americans to honor our veterans by honoring the flag they fought under to defend our liberty and freedoms during Veterans Day weekend,” Dooley said. “Many veterans paid the ultimate sacrifice defending our nation. Our American flag is the symbol of what our nation is to many around the world — a beacon of liberty.”

She also had a word about the NFL players’ national anthem protests: “It is unfortunate that many millionaire NFL players choose to dishonor our flag and the veterans that fought under it, by kneeling during the National Anthem at the beginning of football games.”

“It is even more unfortunate that the NFL owners have no intention of passing a rule that states players must stand and show respect for our flag,” she added. “We are encouraging a boycott of both the NFL and their sponsors by patriotic Americans exercising their First Amendment rights. Time to stand up for America.”

Trump asks supporters to sign ‘Stand for the National Anthem’ petition

10 hours 53 min ago

President Trump has taken his personal crusade to stop player protests during the national anthem at NFL games to the next level: He’s started a petition.

What’s the petition for?

The petition is hosted on the GOP website and offers this description: “The President has asked for a list of supporters who stand for the National Anthem. Add your name below to show your patriotism and support.”

The webpage says the petition is paid for by the Trump Make America Great Again Committee, a fundraising organization. It’s unclear what Trump or the committee will do with the list of petition supporters.

Will the NFL ban the protests?

President Trump supported the idea of the NFL simply banning protests during the national anthem. While there were reports that league commissioner Goodell was considering the move, he simply released a statement saying that players “should” stand for the anthem, but didn’t institute any rule change.

Here’s what the petition looks like:

screen-shot-2017-10-19-at-11-35-35-pm(Image Source: Website screenshot)

President Trump appeared to enflame the protests even more after he derided the act during a rally where he used the insult “son of a bi**h” to mock player protesters.

The next Sunday dozens more players joined the protests, ostensibly to rebuke Trump along with raising awareness about perceived racial inequalities. The protests have subsided since then, but have not stopped completely.

The Senate just passed a $4 trillion budget plan, and one Republican voted against it

Thu, 10/19/2017 - 20:36

The U.S. Senate passed a $4 trillion budget plan Thursday that would allow President Trump’s tax reforms to be passed by the “reconciliation” process.

What does it mean?

Reconciliation means the Democrats won’t be able to mount a filibuster challenge to the plan.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) praised the action, saying, “Tonight we completed the first step towards replacing our broken tax code by passing a comprehensive, fiscally responsible budget that will help put the federal government on a path to balance.”

“We have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to replace a failing tax code that holds Americans back with one that works for them,” he added.

Did any Republicans vote against the bill?

Yes. Only Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) joined all 46 Democrats and 2 Independents in voting against the bill.

“We can’t spend our way to prosperity,” Paul explained. “I will fight for the biggest, boldest tax cut we can pass, but I could not in good conscience vote for a budget that ignores spending caps that have been the law of the land for years and simply pretend it didn’t matter.”

The final vote tally was 51-49.

How did Democrats react?

Not surprisingly, Democrats were displeased with the vote.

“It shifts the burden from the wealthy and puts it squarely on the back of the middle class, and blows a hole in the deficit to boot,” Senator Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said. “I think it will go down in history as one of the worst budgets Congress has ever passed.”

An NHL player ended his anthem protests in the most productive way possible

Thu, 10/19/2017 - 19:30

Tampa Bay Lightning player J.T. Brown has been raising a fist during the national anthem since Oct. 7. Thursday, he announced that he was ending his protest and putting his energy toward doing real work in the community.

His statement

Brown posted his statement on Twitter on Thursday afternoon:

Less talk, more action

Brown used the protest to draw attention to the issue of police brutality, but instead of getting hung up on a public display, he’s now building relationships with the people who can make a difference.

Meeting with the Tampa Bay Police Department, giving police officers tickets to games, and participating in ride-alongs shows that Brown not only appreciates the work the officers do, but he has a desire to understand the challenges of the job that civilians don’t always see.

Getting involved with the Boys and Girls Club and other youth organizations allows Brown to be a bridge between young people in his community and the police officers, hopefully laying the groundwork for positive relationships with law enforcement rather than an atmosphere of fear or animosity.

Collaborating with the owners of the franchise is a way to leverage his status as a professional athlete and tap into the vast resources of the organization that employs him to advance his cause.

This writer’s perspective

As we’ve seen in the NFL, national anthem protests have become such a convoluted topic that they are not leading to real progress on the original issue former quarterback Colin Kaepernick was protesting in the first place.

The best anyone can hope for is a situation like the one Brown has created: a graceful end to the controversial protests with a pivot into community service and activism that can advance the cause.

As Kaepernick himself said last September, “I don’t want to kneel forever.” It’s not a defeat to move past these protests. It doesn’t mean you’re giving up. It’s a sign that solving the issue is more important than anything else.

Rep Wilson reacts to John Kelly’s emotional speech by laughing it off

Thu, 10/19/2017 - 18:15

The controversy over what President Trump said to the widow of a fallen soldier continues with Rep. Frederica Wilson (D-Fla.) laughing off the criticism from White House chief of staff John Kelly in a compelling speech earlier Thursday.

Here’s the video of Rep. Wilson laughing:

Why is she laughing?

Wilson appeared to be mocking the White House and John Kelly in an interview Thursday with a local news station.

“You mean to tell me that I’ve become so important that the White House is following me and my words?” she said.

“This is amazing!” she added, laughing. “That’s amazing. I’ll have to tell my kids that I’m a rock star now.”

John Kelly explained in a poignant speech his own experience of losing a son who was in the military. He added that he was stunned a representative would listen in on a call from the president, something he said should be considered sacred.

What is the controversy?

The controversy came when Wilson claimed that Trump told the widow that her deceased husband “knew what he was getting into,” and that the insensitive statement was an insult to the widow. Trump responded by saying she was fabricating the event, and that he had not insulted the widow. The mother of the widow agreed with Wilson’s version of the story, but John Kelly corroborated Trump’s story.

‘Treason’: BLM activist who spoke at Trump rally is shunned by his own people

Thu, 10/19/2017 - 17:40

You may remember Walter “Hawk” Newsome. If the name is unfamiliar, he’s the Black Lives Matter activist who spoke at a pro-Trump rally in Washington, D.C., in September.

The reaction to his speech at the event was overwhelmingly positive in the media; it was portrayed as an example of two seemingly polar opposite sides finding some common ground during a time of extreme division in our nation.

There was, however, a segment of the population that had a real problem with what Newsome did that day — the people on his own side.

‘Tokenized by white supremacists’

Where Newsome and much of the nation saw a moment of productive unity, members of Black Lives Matter and other affiliated organizations saw what amounted to “treason.”

“What Hawk and [Black Lives Matter of Greater New York] did in one photo-op was dismantle a lot of the work that our groups have been doing for f—ing years,” activist Kimberly Ortiz of NYC Shut It Down said back in September.

Others shared Ortiz’s feelings.

“He has done a lot of work with us,” Chris Valencia, an activist for Hoods 4 Justice, said to Vice News. “It’s unfortunate that somebody who is very well educated [and] could represent the community from a more radical perspective had to stoop to being tokenized by white supremacists.”

No regrets

Despite being labeled a traitor by many Black Lives Matter activists and chapters, and being accused of “normalizing” white supremacists, Newsome doesn’t regret his decision to speak at the Trump rally that day.

“I’m not going to just give those people over to Trump without a fight,” Newsome told Vice News. “I’m truly sorry that I let people down. But this isn’t the first idea that I’ve had that was a break from the norm where people didn’t see the vision initially, but then were able to understand what I was doing later.”

(H/T Vice News)

Mike Pence left an NFL game in protest, now Dems want him to pay for it

Thu, 10/19/2017 - 15:50

Vice President Mike Pence attended an Indianapolis Colts game earlier this month, and then quickly left the game in protest after some players kneeled during the national anthem.

Now, some House Democrats are demanding that Pence reimburse the Treasury for the money it cost him to make that trip, which some dismissed as nothing more than a political stunt.

‘Costly publicity stunt’

A letter, signed by Ruben Gallego, Ted Lieu, Pramila Jayapal, Jamie Raskin and Brendan Boyle, can be read here.

Some excerpts:

“We are writing in response to your office’s use of taxpayer funding to orchestrate a costly publicity stunt at a National Football League (NFL) game on October 8th, an act which was then employed by the Trump-Pence reelection campaign for the purpose of soliciting donations. Given the inappropriate nature of this conduct, we strongly urge you to instruct your campaign to reimburse the Treasury for the full cost of your travel and expenses that day.”

“Flying across the country and back at taxpayer expense simply to enter and then immediately depart a football stadium serves no discernible public interest.”

“Again, given the appearance of serious impropriety in this matter, we request that you instruct the Trump-Pence campaign to immediately reimburse the Treasury for the full cost of your wasteful, unnecessary trip to Indianapolis.”

One estimate has the cost of the trip as approximately $242,500.

How the event played out

Pence tweeted that he was at the game, accompanied by a photo that was from 2014.

He left shortly after, with a statement about his reasons.

Later, the president tweeted that Pence left the game at his request.

Coaches are upset that this championship team hasn’t gotten a White House invite

Thu, 10/19/2017 - 14:56

Most conversation about championship sports teams visiting the White House recently has been about who doesn’t want to go, or who didn’t show up.

In the case of the NCAA champion South Carolina women’s basketball team, however, coaches are wondering where the invitation is.

A ‘slap in the face?’

Every NCAA women’s basketball champion since 1983 has been invited to the White House, as is tradition for championship teams in major professional and college sports leagues.

But, more than six months after South Carolina beat Mississippi State to win the first national championship in program history, the Gamecocks have not been invited.

Coaches in the Southeastern Conference expressed their displeasure about the situation during the SEC’s women’s basketball media day Thursday.

Vanderbilt coach Stephanie White: “From someone who has had that experience and understanding what that experience means and for [South Carolina head coach] Dawn [Staley] and their team, it’s kind of slap in the face. It bothers me for them. I think when you’re inviting every other champion, it’s a slap in the face. It bothers me for them because they deserve that opportunity, if that opportunity is presented to everyone else.”

Tennessee coach Holly Warlick: “We enjoyed the White House. I hope that if Dawn wants to go and take her team, I hope she gets that opportunity. It’s a special time.”

Louisiana State coach Nikki Fargas: “They should be given the opportunity to [visit the White House]. It’s something that every team before them has been able to do. Why now? Change in leadership? I don’t know.”

What did South Carolina’s coach say?

Dawn Staley, South Carolina’s head coach, avoided directly addressing the situation. Instead, she spoke about her appreciation for her fellow coaches’ sentiments, and for their ability to speak freely.

“Our coaches in our league stand up for what’s right,” Staley said. “The fact that they can speak out on it, it’s a great thing. It’s what America is all about, being able to exercise your First Amendment right.

“What I am most looking forward to is getting an invitation to the NCAA tournament in 2018. That’s more important.”

(H/T USA Today)

Monica Lewinsky tweets ‘#MeToo,’ gets slammed by Bill Clinton accuser Juanita Broaddrick

Thu, 10/19/2017 - 14:36

Monica Lewinsky joined the “#MeToo” movement started by actress Alyssa Milano who asked Twitter users to respond with that message if they had been subject to unwelcome advances.

Lewinsky, best known for her affair with then-President Bill Clinton while working as a White House intern in the 1990s, posted her tweet on Sunday.

Juanita Broaddrick, who has long accused Clinton of raping her in the 1970s, lashed out at Lewinsky on Thursday for marking herself as a victim of sexual harassment or assault, Fox News reported.

What happened in the ’90s with Clinton?

Several women have accused Clinton of sexual misconduct, dating back to his tenure as governor of Arkansas. Clinton has admitted only to having consensual relations with Lewinsky and Gennifer Flowers and denied Broaddrick’s allegation through a lawyer back in the ’90s, Fox News reported. (CNN’s chronology breaks down the Clinton-Lewinsky saga.)

What did the Lewinsky and Broaddrick tweets say?

In almost back-to-back tweets on Thursday, Broaddrick slammed Lewinsky for her silence more than two decades ago.

Also, in a tweet pinned to the top of Broaddrick’s Twitter account, she accused Hillary Clinton of trying to silence her from speaking out about the alleged rape.

 

In emotional press briefing, John Kelly blasts controversy surrounding Trump’s call to Army widow

Thu, 10/19/2017 - 14:21

White House chief of staff John Kelly gave a detailed statement about what happens to fallen servicemen and women, and defended President Donald Trump’s conversations with Gold Star families Thursday during remarks to reporters at a press briefing.

Kelly’s remarks followed Florida Democratic Rep. Frederica Wilson’s claim that Trump was disrespectful to the widow of an Army sergeant who was killed during an attack in Niger earlier this month.

What did Wilson say?

Politico reported that Wilson told reporters this week that Trump told Myeshia Johnson, Sgt. La David Johnson’s widow, in a phone call that her husband knew what he signed up for. Wilson called the remark insensitive.

Johnson’s mother, Cowanda Jones-Johnson, told The Washington Post that “President Trump did disrespect my son and my daughter and also me and my husband.”

What did Kelly say?

Kelly, whose son, 2nd Lt. Robert Kelly, was killed in Afghanistan in 2010 at the age of 29, said most Americans don’t know what takes place after a service member dies in combat.

“Their buddies wrap them up in whatever passes as a shroud, puts them on a helicopter as a routine and sends them home,” he said, adding:

Their first stop along the way is when they are packed in ice, typically at the airhead, and then they’re flown to usually Europe, where they’re then are packed in ice again and flown to Dover Air Force Base, where Dover takes care of their remains, embalms them, meticulously dresses them in their uniform with the metals that they’ve earned, the emblems of their service and then puts them on another airplane linked up to the casualty officer escort that takes them home.

Kelly said that a casualty officer will then visit the service member’s next of kin, where they will “break the heart of a family member and stays with that family until, well for a long, long time, even after the internment.”

He said that he was “stunned” and “brokenhearted” when he saw the controversy surrounding Trump’s phone call, and blasted Wilson’s comments.

“A member of Congress who listened in on a phone call from the president of the United States to a young wife, and in his way tried to express that opinion that he’s a brave man, a fallen hero,” Kelly said. “He knew what he was getting himself into because he enlisted — there’s no reason to enlist, he enlisted — and he was where he wanted to be, exactly where he wanted to be with exactly the people he wanted to be with when his life was taken. That was the message. That was the message that was transmitted.”

Kelly added, “It stuns me that a member of Congress would’ve listened in on that conversation. Absolutely stuns me. And I thought at least that was sacred.”

Kelly said phone calls to Gold Star families by the president are “about the most difficult thing you could imagine.”

“There’s no perfect way to make that phone call, when I took this job and talked to President Trump about how to do it, my first recommendation was he not do it because it’s not the phone call that parents, family members are looking forward to,” Kelly said. “It’s nice to do in my opinion, in any event.”

Kelly said that former President Barack Obama did not call his family after his son’s death.

“That was not a criticism,” Kelly said, adding that presidents generally write letters rather than call.

Kelly said Trump “bravely” decided to call anyway.

“He called four people the other day and expressed his condolences in the best way that he could,” Kelly said.

Becoming emotional, Kelly said he told Trump what his best friend told him in the wake of his son’s death.

“He said, ‘Kel, he was doing exactly what he wanted to do when he was killed. He knew what he was getting into by joining that 1 percent. He knew what the possibilities were, because we’re at war,'” Kelly said. “And when he died — in the four cases we’re talking about in Niger and my son’s case in Afghanistan — when he died, he was surrounded by the best men on this Earth, his friends. That’s what the president tried to say to four families the other day.”

Kelly expressed frustration with the story, saying, “When I was a kid growing up, a lot of things were sacred in our country.”

“Women were sacred and looked upon with great honor. That’s obviously not the case anymore as we’ve seen from recent cases,” Kelly said, alluding to recent allegations of sexual assault in Hollywood and other industries. “Life — the dignity of life — was sacred, that’s gone. Religion, that seems to be gone as well. Gold Star families, I think that left in the convention over the summer. I just thought the selfless devotion that brings a man or a woman to die on the battlefield I just thought that that might be sacred.”

Kelly said he spent an hour and a half in Arlington National Cemetery to collect his thoughts “among the finest men and women on this earth.”

“Went over there for an hour and a half, walked among the stones, some of whom I put there because they were doing what I told them to do when they were killed,” he said.

Kelly again hit “the selfish behavior by a member of Congress.”

“So I still hope as you write your stories and I appeal to America that let’s not let this maybe last thing that’s held sacred in our society, a young man, young woman going out and giving his or her life for our country, let’s try to somehow keep that sacred,” he said.

Roseanne says she ‘drank too much,’ started spat with liberal Rob Reiner over ‘all that Russian BS’

Thu, 10/19/2017 - 13:50

It may come as a shock to some, but iconic TV star Roseanne Barr has been leaning right in the face of ultra-liberal Hollywood for quite some time.

So it’s not too surprising that Barr — who’s never seemed fearful in the least about speaking her mind — tweeted Wednesday that she started a spat with none other than liberal filmmaker Rob Reiner over “all that Russian BS.”

Oh yeah, Barr added that she “drank too much” prior to the encounter.

Anyway, Rosie said that Reiner — who’s on the advisory board of the Committee to Investigate Russia and is no fan of Republican President Donald Trump — wasn’t keen on sticking around for the end of the scene.

She added:

Reiner was mum Thursday on his Twitter page regarding Barr’s claims, but he could’ve had it worse: At least Archie didn’t interrupt his meal.

For more on Barr, here’s an interview she gave to the Rubin Report last year. (Content warning: Profanity):

(H/T: Consequence of Sound)

Father of soldier killed in Niger recounts his call with Trump

Thu, 10/19/2017 - 13:15

On the heels of allegations that President Donald Trump was disrespectful to the widow of a fallen soldier, the father of another slain soldier opened up about his phone call with the president.

What’s the story?

Four Green Beret soldiers, Staff Sgt. Dustin Wright, Sgt. La David Johnson, Staff Sgt. Jeremiah Johnson, and Staff Sgt. Bryan Black died in an ambush in Niger on Oct. 4. Two Americans were also wounded.

Trump made condolence calls earlier this week to the families of the fallen soldiers. Those calls are now under scrutiny.

What did Trump say?

Arnold Wright, father of Staff Sgt. Dustin Wright, told CBS News that he spoke with Trump on Tuesday for about 20 minutes. He said Trump was cordial and listened to him as he talked about his son.

“He [Trump] talked to me about the loss of my son,” Wright told Time, “and how he [Wright’s son] served with honor and dignity and he just wanted to give me a call to thank me.”

Will Wright, brother of the fallen soldier, said his father was appreciative of Trump’s call.

“It went well, he was pleased with the phone call,” Will Wright told People. “He got to talk about what he wanted to talk about and Trump was very receptive and [my dad] is very grateful for the phone call.”

What’s the controversy?

On Tuesday, Trump also called the pregnant widow of Army Sgt. La David Johnson to offer his condolences for her husband’s death. She was on her way to Miami International Airport at the time to receive her husband’s body.

The Miami Herald reported that Rep. Frederica Wilson (D-Fla.), who was present for the call, alleged Trump told Myeshia Johnson that her husband “knew what he signed up for.”

That comment stirred the controversy that has continued since late Tuesday when the Miami Herald published a story about Trump’s alleged remarks. Trump has denied the allegations.

Officer reportedly meant to use his Taser on 18-year-old suspect but grabbed his gun instead

Thu, 10/19/2017 - 12:50

A Milledgeville, Georgia, sheriff’s deputy says he mistakenly pulled a gun and shot a suspect in the arm last week instead of using a Taser. The incident was documented through police bodycam footage.

What happened?

According to a video released by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, Baldwin County Deputy Charles Gillis shot an 18-year-old in the arm when the officer mistakenly drew his service weapon instead of his Taser.

Gillis was at the scene of a domestic disturbance between a mother and her son when the incident occurred. The mother called police to report the disturbance after her son struck her in the face, according to The Union-Recorder.

In the video, officers can be seen congregating around the suspect who began resisting them.

One of the officers shouted, “Taser, Taser!” but in a split second, Gillis realized that he’d pulled his gun and shot the young man in the arm instead of using his Taser on the suspect.

Gillis, clearly shocked, yelled, “Oh my God! Dang it!”

Another officer on the scene said, “You shot him!”

Gillis can later be seen clearly distressed as the other officers phone EMTs for medical assistance.

What happened after the deputy shot the suspect?

The suspect was taken to the hospital and treated. He was later released and jailed on misdemeanor charges of battery and obstruction of a law enforcement officer.

Gillis was placed on paid administrative leave following the incident, which is being investigated by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.

Baldwin County Sheriff Bill Massee attended a Monday night local NAACP meeting in which he addressed questions about the shooting. The NAACP chapter president asked Massee how an officer could mistake a gun for a Taser.

Massee answered, “Well, I’m sorry this happened to the Baldwin County Sheriff’s Office, but I don’t think this is the first time that this has occurred where someone has grabbed his firearm as opposed to a Taser.”

“People wear the Taser on what we called the off-hand side and wear their weapon on the good side. We do that, to be real honest with you, we do that so people won’t do what this deputy did and that is to grab his firearm,” Massee explained.

“That is not what happened in this circumstance,” he added. “The deputy did not go to his weak side hand. He pulled his service weapon and thought he was shooting a Taser and shot him [with his gun].”

Detective Chuck Downing, who works at the sheriff’s office and was also in attendance at the NAACP meeting, spoke and was adamant that the incident was not racially motivated.

“It’s not racial,” Downing said and explained that he felt sorry for Gillis.

“He’s one of the nicest guys you would ever want to meet,” he added. “I feel sorry for him. It was just a human mistake.”

George W. Bush on state of American politics: ‘We’ve seen our discourse degraded by casual cruelty’

Thu, 10/19/2017 - 12:13

Former President George W. Bush delivered a rebuke Thursday of the coarsening of American politics during a speech at a forum sponsored by the George W. Bush Institute in New York City.

Bush condemned rising nationalism in Western societies and issued a defense of free markets as a means of promoting freedom. Some characterized the speech as a condemnation of Trumpism, although Bush did not use the current president’s name.

What did Bush say about democracy?

Bush told attendees at the forum that “We are gathered in the cause of liberty this is a unique moment.”

“The great democracies face new and serious threats – yet seem to be losing confidence in their own calling and competence,” he said. “Economic, political and national security challenges proliferate, and they are made worse by the tendency to turn inward. The health of the democratic spirit itself is at issue. And the renewal of that spirit is the urgent task at hand.”

Bush argued that since the end of World War II, American presidents of both parties have “encouraged and benefited from the global advance of free markets” because they knew “that American security and prosperity were directly tied to the success of freedom in the world.”

“Free nations are less likely to threaten and fight each other,” he said. “And free trade helped make America into a global economic power.”

Bush said that challenges such as terrorism and economic insecurity have frayed confidence in American institutions.

“Our governing class has often been paralyzed in the face of obvious and pressing needs,” he said.” The American dream of upward mobility seems out of reach for some who feel left behind in a changing economy.”

“Discontent deepened and sharpened partisan conflicts,” he continued. “Bigotry seems emboldened. Our politics seems more vulnerable to conspiracy theories and outright fabrication.”

What did Bush say about political discourse?

On American political discourse, Bush said, “We have seen our discourse degraded by casual cruelty.”

“At times, it can seem like the forces pulling us apart are stronger than the forces binding us together,” Bush said. “Argument turns too easily into animosity. Disagreement escalates into dehumanization. Too often, we judge other groups by their worst examples while judging ourselves by our best intentions – forgetting the image of God we should see in each other.”

He said “nationalism distorted into nativism – forgotten the dynamism that immigration has always brought to America.”

“We see a fading confidence in the value of free markets and international trade – forgetting that conflict, instability, and poverty follow in the wake of protectionism,” Bush said.

He said “isolationist sentiments” became prominent as some forgot that “American security is directly threatened by the chaos and despair of distant places, where threats such as terrorism, infectious disease, criminal gangs and drug trafficking tend to emerge.”

What does Bush say America should do?

Bush said the United States should harden its own defenses against external attacks on democracy, maintain America’s role in defending freedom and free markets, and strengthen democratic citizenship.

“We should not be blind to the economic and social dislocations caused by globalization,” he said:

People are hurting. They are angry. And, they are frustrated. We must hear them and help them. But we can’t wish globalization away, any more than we could wish away the agricultural revolution or the industrial revolution. One strength of free societies is their ability to adapt to economic and social disruptions. And that should be our goal: to prepare American workers for new opportunities, to care in practical, empowering ways for those who may feel left behind.

He called for more efforts to teach young people about the value of democracy.

“Our identity as a nation – unlike many other nations – is not determined by geography or ethnicity, by soil or blood,” he said. “Being an American involves the embrace of high ideals and civic responsibility. We become the heirs of Thomas Jefferson by accepting the ideal of human dignity found in the Declaration of Independence. We become the heirs of James Madison by understanding the genius and values of the U.S. Constitution. We become the heirs of Martin Luther King, Jr., by recognizing one another not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”

“This means that people of every race, religion, and ethnicity can be fully and equally American,” Bush continued. “It means that bigotry or white supremacy in any form is blasphemy against the American creed. And it means that the very identity of our nation depends on the passing of civic ideals to the next generation.”

Bush added that “civic learning” is vital to the American experiment. in schools.

“Our young people need positive role models,” he said. “Bullying and prejudice in our public life sets a national tone, provides permission for cruelty and bigotry, and compromises the moral education of children. The only way to pass along civic values is to first live up to them.”

He said, “In short, it is time for American institutions to step up and provide cultural and moral leadership for this nation.”

Is Bush optimistic?

The 43rd president said it is “the great advantage of free societies that we creatively adapt to challenges, without the direction of some central authority.”

“Self-correction is the secret strength of freedom,” Bush said. “We are a nation with a history of resilience and a genius for renewal.”

“Right now, one of our worst national problems is a deficit of confidence,” he added. “But the cause of freedom justifies all our faith and effort. It still inspires men and women in the darkest corners of the world, and it will inspire a rising generation.”

“The American spirit does not say, ‘We shall manage,’ or ‘We shall make the best of it.’ It says, ‘We shall overcome,’” he concluded. “And that is exactly what we will do, with the help of God and one another.”

Left-wing protesters invade College Republicans meeting, reportedly declare ‘dialogue is violence’

Thu, 10/19/2017 - 11:46

Leftist students invaded a school-approved meeting of the College Republicans at the University of California, Santa Cruz, on Sunday, reportedly chanting that “dialogue is violence” and accusing the GOP students of being Nazis, fascists, racists, and white supremacists.

How did this start?

  • Student activist Haik Adamian — a “ringleader” of the protest, according to Campus Reform — posted on the official UCSC Student Facebook group about the College Republicans meeting, the outlet said.
  • “White Supremacist, fascist sympathizing College Republicans are having a meeting at McHenry library, room 0332. Everybody be aware of this violent racist activity happening everyday on this campus!” his post said, Campus Reform reported. “We need a movement of people on this campus that rejects the ‘right of assembly’ or ‘right of free speech’ for white supremacists and fascists.”

What happened next?

  • According to a statement from the College Republicans, posted by City on a Phil — which Campus Reform referred to as a moderate school news site — the student activists “banged open the door and started screaming at the top of their lungs and demanding we leave the space immediately.”
  • The protesters called the meeting “a threat to the library,” the statement read.
  • “We invited the activists to stay and discuss ideas,” the statement continued. “However, any attempt at civil communication was met with the response, ‘Dialogue is violence.’”
  • “The protesters called us a number of different epithets, including ‘fascists,’ ‘racists,’ and ‘white supremacists’ and berated McHenry Library staff, calling a school employee a ‘white supremacist,’” the statement added.
  • One protester was caught on video telling a school official to not follow the “f***ing rules.”
 YouTube screenshotImage source: YouTube screenshot
  • Some of their targets included students of color at the meeting, the statement said.

What else did video catch the protesters saying to meeting attendees?

  • “Your existence is a disturbance.”
  • “It’s gonna help if these motherf***ers leave, and we don’t allow racists on this campus.”
  • When a meeting attendee argued that Communist students wouldn’t be treated this way, one protester replied that’s “because Communists aren’t f***ing racists.”
  • “So you believe that Nazis should be able to express their racist ideas?” a protester asked, adding that he concluded the group members are Nazis because they “had a Build the Wall march” a year before.

How did it end?

  • A school official was on hand attempting to mediate the dispute and got nowhere.
 YouTube screenshot)A school official tried to calm things down. (Image source: YouTube screenshot)
  • The College Republicans refused to vacate the room.
  • One attendee who identified himself as a Democrat and defended the GOP students was heard on video saying in reference to the protesters that “we’re not indulging these children.”
 YouTube screenshot)A self-described Democrat defended the College Republicans against the protesters. (Image source: YouTube screenshot)
  • All those not actively attempting to get the College Republicans out of the room became a “white supremacist” to the protesters, the statement continued.
  • One of the protesters even ran into the main library area screaming that there were “Nazis downstairs,” Campus Reform reported.
  • School officials called campus police, the College Republicans’ statement read, and three protesters were arrested for disturbing the peace.

How did one Democrat react?

  • “As a Democrat, I am embarrassed that some people on the left act this way,” Phil Leonard Vogel, creator of the City on a Phil, told Campus Reform. “They give all of us a terrible name.”
  • “I have a lot more sensational footage of the protesters being arrested and yelling at police,” City on a Phil added. “I don’t feel comfortable releasing that at this time. Although the protesters called me a litany of hurtful names and acted belligerently, I realize they are very young, and may not understand the full ramifications of their actions.”
  • In regard to the “your existence is a disturbance” statement, the City on a Hill post noted: “This is the exact rationale that the NAZIs used to murder members of my family. Basically, a Jew’s existence is such a ‘disturbance’ to the lives of other people, that any action of extermination is justified for the good of society. Many fascist groups frame their political enemies in this light, before taking violent action against them. The protesters who interrupted our meeting made it clear that they see everybody in that room (regardless of their viewpoints or ideologies) as defective people, who have no right to an opinion, or to assemble. I think it is important for the students on campus to see what fascism actually looks like.”

The College Republicans’ statement also said “many liberal students, who were initially skeptical of our group, now come to our meetings on a regular basis.”

Here’s an edited clip of the confrontation via Campus Reform. You can view the full video here. (Content warning: Rough language):

This story has been updated.

Commentary: UK single-payer health system’s new policy targeting obese people, smokers is horrifying

Thu, 10/19/2017 - 10:51

In the months leading up to the passage of the Affordable Care Act, conservatives and Republicans railed against Democrats’ plan to increase government’s role in health care, with many arguing an expansion could eventually lead to the creation of “death panels” — government committees that determine which health care services will be covered and for whom.

Conservatives’ theory went something like this: If government is responsible for health care and thus dependent on tax revenue to provide health care services, then government has an incentive to cut services. Further, if government is in charge of health care, then it could theoretically use its power to force people to behave in a certain way if those people want to continue receiving government services.

Conservatives called these bureaucrats making health care decisions “death panels” because, they reasoned, they could eventually be used to deny certain life-saving treatments to people in the name of the “public good.”

The left roundly attacked conservatives for daring to make such a bold statement and the left, since Obamacare’s passage, has often used death panels as an example of how conservatives allegedly lied about the dangers of expanding government’s power over health care. Politifact even went so far as to call it 2009’s “lie of the year.”

Fast-forward to 2017. Obamacare is collapsing, insurance premiums and deductibles have skyrocketed compared to the pre-Obamacare era and people have fewer health insurance options in the individual market than ever before. And now a new story out of the United Kingdom seems to justify the many fears limited-government Americans have had for the past decade about the potential development of government-controlled health care decision-making panels.

A dangerous new policy

According to a report published Tuesday in The Telegraph (U.K.), “The NHS [United Kingdom’s National Health Service] will ban patients from surgery indefinitely unless they lose weight or quit smoking,” a policy change Royal College of Surgeons Senior Vice President Ian Eardley said could be just the “tip of the iceberg.”

The Telegraph reports in some parts of the country, those who refuse to give up smoking “could wait indefinitely” for access to surgical care, and “those with a Body Mass Index of 30 or more will be set targets to reduce their weight by 10 percent over nine months, with those with a BMI over 40 will be told to cut their weight by 15 percent.”

Once a patient is identified by the government as being, quite literally, too fat to be worthy of medical attention, a “clinical panel” will be summoned to determine whether an exception should be made for an overweight or still-smoking patient.

Why is this happening?

If you’re angry, you shouldn’t be — at least according to the British health officials who made the rule. Apparently, this is all for the good of the patients and society. According to the agency making the new rule, “This policy is designed to improve patient safety and outcomes, both during and immediately after non-urgent surgery. No financial savings are expected as a result of these measures. We do however hope to improve the long-term health of our residents through the targeted stop-smoking and weight-loss support on offer to patients.”

The reason the agency goes out of its way to say it won’t save any money from this new policy — which, by the way, doesn’t seem to make any sense — is because many have argued the policy is direct result of NHS being significantly underfunded and facing numerous staff shortages.

As The Telegraph notes, “While hospital doctor and nurse numbers have risen over the last decade, they have not kept pace with the rise in demand. Meanwhile 2016 saw record numbers of GP [general practitioner] practices close, displacing patients on to A&E [accident and emergency] departments as they seek medical advice.”

Why this matters

Whatever the reasons are behind the NHS decision, the result is the same: People considered to be too fat to matter and smokers will be treated as second-class Brits under the new rule. Why? Because they aren’t healthy enough to deserve the same resources as “more responsible” citizens. Who decides? Of course, the government, who in socialist-leaning nations like the United Kingdom is the final arbiter of what’s right and wrong and who has rights and who doesn’t.

Needless to say, this is truly horrifying, and when coupled with the tragic story of United Kingdom baby Charlie Gard, it should serve as a very clear warning to all those Americans crying for more government power in health care. When the government is in charge, systems are cold-hearted, inefficient, and designed to enhance the power of the ruling administrative state — or, as President Donald Trump likes to call it, “the Swamp.”

A better way forward

There is hope elsewhere, however. Rather than put your faith in government to manage health care — a government that can’t even manage to run the Post Office, Amtrak or DMVs without chaos ensuing — Americans should put their trust in each other.

Yes, the health care system that existed prior to Obamacare was a disaster and in desperate need of reform. It had become a crony-capitalist market full of unfair rules, regulations, and greed. But replacing the failures of the previous system with the current, much-worse model was the wrong way to go.

We need more freedom in health care, not less, and there are several ways this can be accomplished. Perhaps the most important is to move away from a model that makes everyone dependent on insurance companies for every health care service they get.

When you get an oil change, you don’t pay using your car insurance, so why would you use insurance when getting a check-up with your primary care doctor? This is a huge part of the problem, because insurance companies act as a costly middle man in almost every health care transaction, even those where they clearly aren’t needed.

Further, because consumers don’t ever think about prices when they go to the doctor, even for routine services, there are no market forces working in most of the health care system. Most of us don’t even know how much health care services cost!

This system needs to change so that patients work directly with their primary care doctors when getting routine services, negotiating prices as they would in any other situation. People would only use health insurance in extreme emergencies, which would make insurance much, much cheaper.

There are plenty of other solutions, too, but for any of them to happen, we need stop thinking about ways to make it easier for government to be involved in our lives and start thinking about how we can thrive without government.

Celebrities unite in new video to ‘reject the NRA and its dangerous agenda’

Wed, 10/18/2017 - 13:50

Celebrities like Julianne Moore and Sheryl Crow have teamed up in a brand-new public service announcement to urge Americans to “reject the National Rifle Association and its dangerous agenda” in the wake of the deadly mass shooting in Las Vegas.

What’s in the video?

The latest entertainer-centric, anti-gun campaign for Everytown For Gun Safety featured the PSA, which specifically calls out the NRA and targets silencers and concealed carry permits.

A variety of celebrities appear on-screen, urging watchers to text “REJECT” to the Everytown group to support their cause.

The entertainers tell viewers that the gun control group will call those who text “REJECT” and provide them with contacts for their lawmakers, as well as provide them with a script on how to handle the call to their congressmen.

What is Everytown trying to tackle now?

One bill in particular that Everytown is concerned with is HR 38 — the “Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017” — which would amend federal criminal code to allow people to carry concealed weapons in any state if they are eligible and qualified to do so in their home state.

Everytown, however, would have you believe that HR 38 would allow people to “carry hidden, loaded handguns in public throughout the country without ever getting a permit, passing a background check or receiving gun safety training.”

Another provision in HR 3668 — the “SHARE Act” — which would remove a federal tax from silencers and make it easier for qualified citizens to acquire silencers.

Everytown’s concern here would be that the SHARE Act “would make it easy for anyone — including domestic abusers and felons — to get a silencer.”

Trump in hot water with mother of fallen soldier for showing ‘disrespect’ to soldier’s family

Wed, 10/18/2017 - 13:35

President Donald Trump is in hot water with the family of a fallen soldier.

What happened?

On Tuesday, Trump called the widow of Army Sgt. La David Johnson, who was killed in Niger earlier this month, to offer his condolences for her husband’s death. She was on her way to Miami International Airport at the time to receive her husband’s body.

Rep. Frederica Wilson (D-Fla.) was present for the call and alleged Trump told Myeshia Johnson that her husband “knew what he signed up for.”

The comment was the crux of controversy late Tuesday and early Wednesday after the Miami Herald published a story about Trump’s alleged remarks.

What did Trump say about it?

Trump denied making the remark. He wrote on Twitter that he has “proof” that he didn’t.

According to the Washington Post, Trump said Wednesday that Wilson is lying and she knows it. He said:

“I didn’t say what that congresswoman said; didn’t say it all. She knows it. I had a very nice conversation with the woman, with the wife who was — sounded like a lovely woman. Did not say what the congresswoman said, and most people aren’t too surprised to hear that,” he said.

Who is telling the truth?

If you ask Johnson’s mother, Cowanda Jones-Johnson, Wilson is telling the truth and Trump is not.

She told the Post that she also heard the phone call and heard Trump tell her daughter-in-law exactly what Wilson claimed.

“President Trump did disrespect my son and my daughter and also me and my husband,” Jones-Johnson said.

‘Not inclusive’: Another elementary school bans Halloween parade; adults rip ‘political correctness’

Wed, 10/18/2017 - 13:10

Yet another elementary school has canceled its annual Halloween costume parade because it’s “not inclusive” — and adults who heard about the decision said it smacks of “political correctness.”

 WBZ-TV video screenshotImage source: WBZ-TV video screenshot

What did the school say?

  • The principal of Boyden Elementary School in Walpole, Massachusetts, told parents “…the costume parade is out of our ordinary routine and can be difficult for many students. Also, the parade is not inclusive of all the students and it is our goal each and every day to ensure all student’s individual differences are respected,” WBZ-TV reported.

What will the school do instead?

  • The school will have a Halloween party after school hours Friday but will celebrate “Black and Orange” spirit day on Halloween, the station reported.

How did adults react?

  • “I think it’s a lot of political correctness,” one Walpole woman told WBZ. “I think it’s a shame because Halloween is the funnest day of the year next to Christmas for children.”
  • “We have grandkids going to Boyden school. Wonderful school,” a grandmother of a student added to the station. “Halloween party should happen on Friday ’cause all the kids are excited.”
  • “Put a costume on. Parade down the street. Let ’em have their little time,” a Walpole man told WBZ. “Why do you have to turn it into something political?”
  • “I think they should go ahead and do it,” another man told the station. “It’s just a Halloween thing, that’s it.”

TheBlaze previously reported on similar Halloween bans this year at elementary schools in Needham, Massachusetts, and Waukesha, Wisconsin.

(H/T: The Daily Wire)

Ben Sasse ‘accidentally’ dumps a Dr Pepper on Ted Cruz during hearing — and things only got weirder

Wed, 10/18/2017 - 12:55

Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) had a tongue-in-cheek Twitter feud on Wednesday during Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

During the hearing, after a tense exchange between Sessions and Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.), Sasse began his line of questioning to Sessions with an apology.

“There was some drama there, sorry to have added to the drama and distracted you for a minute,” Sasse told Sessions. “I was paying enough attention there that I dumped a Dr  Pepper on Sen. Cruz. So that’s what was distracting us on this side of the dais.”

Cruz responded on Twitter, instructing his staff not to allow Sasse to take from their supply of Dr Pepper.

Sasse, asked if he really spilled the soda on Cruz “accidentally,” replied, “no comment.”

Sasse also responded to a Twitter user’s joke about President Donald Trump’s accusation that Cruz’s father, Rafael Cruz, was involved in the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

Cruz replied by alluding to an internet conspiracy theory that Cruz is the Zodiac Killer:

Sasse joked that the tweet contained clues about the assassination:

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