Matt Vespa - No, Threatening To Kill a U.S. Senator Isn't How You Start A Conversation On Gun Control
Posted: 6/28/2016 9:00:00 PM EST

Via the Blaze, comes the story of Kyler Schmitz. He’s a Virginia-based Uber driver, who’s been arrested and imprisoned over threatening tweets to Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO). Schmitz, who is gay, sent these tweets days after Omar Mateen executed the horrific shooting at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, which left 49 people dead. Well, it caught the eye of Capitol Police:

In the hours after Schmitz posted some of the messages, authorities used an automated license plate reader to track down his car, which was within two blocks of the U.S. Capitol, prosecutors said Monday.

Schmitz admitted to sending the tweets, his partner, Paul Cianciolo, told WRC, but said that the tweets were nothing more than “parody” and satire. Schmitz’s defense attorney deemed the messages “inartful political discourse” on the topic of gun control.

[…]

U.S. Capitol Police, however, argue in a court filing that Schmitz intended to make a “direct threat” to a U.S. senator, according to WRC.

Schmitz is accused of threatening other members of Congress with another tweet in which he wrote, “I can’t wait to shoot you in the face one by one.”

A judge ordered Schmitz held Monday until future court proceedings, WRC reported.

“I don’t know how to read these tweets in any way but as threatening,” the judge told Schmitz.

Right, because when liberals are threatening to assassinate members of Congress, it’s different. It’s to start conservations on gun control. That’s pure unadulterated crap, just like how it’s absurd say that Mateen attacked Pulse, which catered the gay community, because of conservative Republicans (via Huffington Post):

Orlando’s openly lesbian city commissioner, Patty Sheehan, a formidable long-time activist for LGBT equality, has been in the national spotlight for the past two weeks fighting to make sure the media didn’t take the focus off of the victims of the mass-shooting at the Pulse nightclub in her city: largely LGBT Latinx in a popular queer nightspot.

In an interview with me on SiriusXM Progress, she said she’s angry that many GOP politicians wouldn’t even say the words “LGBT” or “gay,” and were thereby attempting to straightwash the targets of the attack. She also has a message for those GOP politicians who both have voted against LGBT rights and voted against gun safety measures, yet expressed sympathy for the victims.

“Marco Rubio, the senator from Florida, walked on our blood-stained streets with people from the Hispanic community,” Sheehan observed of Rubio, who has been a vocal opponent of LGBT rights and even promised if elected president to try to overturn the Supreme Court’s historic marriage equality ruling. “And he went right back to Washington – one of the few times he actually showed up for work – and voted against sensible gun legislation.”

Oh, for crying out loud this was likely a terrorist attack. The FBI investigated Mateen, a registered Democrat, multiple times, he pledged allegiance to ISIS during the attack, and radical Islam is viciously homophobic. His ex-wife as unstable and violent described Mateen. His co-worker, Daniel Gilroy, described him as a violent, homophobic racist, according to the LA Times. The publication reported that Gilroy said Mateen would direct slurs towards blacks, women, and homosexuals. He said that Mateen wished he could kill all blacks when one drive by him on the street. In fact, things got so bad that Gilroy reported his behavior to his superiors. Nothing happened.

“You meet bigots, but he was above and beyond. He was always angry, sweating, just angry at the world," he said.

Prior to the attack, Mateen was reportedly enraged at seeing two men kiss. I’m pretty sure that he was acting on orders from his own twisted, inner-self. So, even if radical Islam wasn't a factor, this man was obviously disturbed, had anger issues, race issues, and adopted a virulent form of homophobia. That is not really due to the politics of the country. He was just a nutcase. Linking the GOP to this likely terrorist attack because they happens to support traditional marriage in their party platform is ludicrous.

Mateen was a terrorist and was in no way, shape, or form driven to kill due to the existence of the Republican Party. This once again shows how the progressive left, of whom the LGBT community is a cornerstone constituency, fails to see the horrors that radical Islam breeds. Folks, have we forgotten that ISIS throws gays off of buildings? But go on and blame Republicans.

Oh, and Mr. Schmitz—what on earth were you thinking?

Matt Vespa - Trump Campaign: We're Walking Back On The Muslim Ban Proposal
Posted: 6/28/2016 8:10:00 PM EST

There will be no “total and complete shutdown” of Muslims entering the United States under President Donald Trump. His advisers say that the presumptive Republican nominee is walking back on that December policy proposal to suspend all Muslim immigration into the United States “until our country's representatives can figure out what is going on." Instead, he’ll be focusing of preventing terrorists from entering the country (via The Hill):

In recent days, conflicting reports have emerged over whether Trump intends to stand by his controversial proposal to temporarily ban Muslims from entering the country. That “suggestion,” as Trump has described it, has been condemned as bigoted by liberals and dismissed by critics as impossible to implement.

In an email exchange with The Hill, Trump’s national security adviser, Walid Phares, sought to clarify Trump’s position.

He argued that Trump’s original proposal to temporarily ban Muslims was necessary in the chaotic moments following the San Bernardino, Calif., shootings in order to “raise the issue and open a debate about it.”

Now, Phares says Trump’s concerns that terrorists are seeking to infiltrate the U.S. by posing as refugees have been confirmed by government agencies, and so Trump can be expected to take a more nuanced approach on Muslim immigration going forward.

Well, that’s certainly not controversial. In fact, this is the sort of behavior you’d expect from any candidate in the sense of shifting more towards pragmatism while gearing up for the general election. I’m not saying proposing ludicrous proposals, like banning Muslims from entering the U.S., is a good thing. Trump says what he wants, but it was obviously a way to make him stand out in a crowded GOP field with this remark, which is a giant lurch to the right on immigration policy. Now, Trump has a more sensible approach, supporting measures that would prevent terrorists from feigning as refugees from entering the U.S. to launch attacks. I think almost everyone agrees with that. What those measures are going to be is unknown? But it’s certainly not the out-of-step policy some thought he might actually try to impose should he become the next president of the United States. That being said, it wasn’t the most responsible way to engage in a discussion about the refugee crisis and terrorism.

Justin Holcomb  - Desert Storm Veterans Deserve DC Memorial: "We Had a Mission, We Completed That Mission"
Posted: 6/28/2016 7:30:00 PM EST

Efficient, precise, swift, and dominating.  

Those are just a few of the words that come to mind when recollecting Operation Desert Storm.  

Scott Stump, president and founder of the National Desert Storm War Memorial Association, came up with the idea for a Washington, D.C. based Persian Gulf War memorial years ago. He, like many others, sees the war at risk of being forgotten.  

“This was one of the pivotal events in the nation’s history. While the war ended very quickly, we cannot forget the nearly 400 servicemen who did not come home,” he told told Fox News. “We owe it to their families and to all of those who fought to remember.” 

Stump’s group recently obtained congressional approval for the $20 to $40 million project.  

“There is a tendency to downplay the war because it only lasted about 100 hours,” he said. “We had a mission to liberate Kuwait. We completed that mission. But it certainly was not easy. The relatively low casualty rate should not determine the worth of this memorial.”

Stump reminds us of what was.  A time where efficiency and overwhelming forces could neutralize a million man army within hours.  In the post 9/11 war era, those ideas would be scoffed and laughed upon by our 'modern' military leaders.  

Stump said that the quick victory reestablish a positive relationship between the American public and the military after years of a tiresome Vietnam War.  

The memorial's proposed design incorporates the maneuver credited with breaking the back of the Iraqi forces, a slamming left flank that took Saddam and his army by surprise.

The association received its biggest endorsement when former President George H.W. Bush joined the organization as honorary chairman of the Board of Directors.

“During Operation Desert Storm, our troops served with valor and honor to defend what was right and just. Some lost their lives; others still live today with the wounds suffered in battle. Their sacrifices must not be forgotten,” Bush said in a statement.    

We must certainly never forget the lessons of the Persian Gulf War.  No matter what enemy our nation faces in the future, we must never forget the premium of 'winning' and doing so in a manner that displays to the world how quickly and effectively our military might can conduct business.  Veterans from Operation Desert Storm do not deserve a memorial for participating in the war, they deserve a memorial for putting on a grand display American military strategy and winning that war.  

Catherine  Dunn - The Democrats' Radical New Stance On Abortion
Posted: 6/28/2016 6:31:00 PM EST

The final draft of the new Democratic Party platform calls for repealing the Hyde Amendment and Helms Amendment, a move that would allow tax dollars to fund abortions both domestically and abroad. This is the most extreme stance on abortion that a major party has ever endorsed.

In a press release published on Saturday, the Democratic Platform Committee released a list of key progressive policies that will be voted on at the Democratic National Convention. The committee boasted that the platform “goes further than previous Democratic platforms on women’s reproductive rights,” supporting the repeal of “harmful restrictions that obstruct women’s access to healthcare across the world.”

These restrictions include the Hyde Amendment, which bars taxpayer dollars from being used for abortion, and the Helms Amendment, which bars foreign assistance funds from being used to provide abortion as a method of family planning.

Pro-life advocates have harshly criticized the new platform. Kristen Day, executive director of Democrats for Life, warned that the measure “will usher in an era of unsafe abortion paid for with taxpayer funds during all nine months.” Political commenter Ben Shapiro echoed this sentiment, summarizing the platform as “abortion for everybody on earth, and you pay.”

Many on the left have praised the platform, however. Senior policy adviser Maya Harris issued a statement on behalf of Clinton's campaign voicing support for the measure, quoting Congressman Elijah Cummings in saying, “Our platform does not merely reflect common ground—it seeks higher ground.”

“For the first time, the Democratic Party platform explicitly calls for repealing the Hyde Amendment, which restricts access to women’s reproductive rights, particularly low-income women and women of color,” Harris said.

The platform will be presented for ratification this July at the Democratic National Convention.

Sophie  Carson - Egypt Authorities Burst Into TV Host's Home, Forcibly Expel Her From Country
Posted: 6/28/2016 5:45:00 PM EST

Egyptian authorities arrested and deported a British-Lebanese journalist who was critical of the government on her popular television news program Tuesday, the latest in a string of arrests of reporters.

The lawyer for TV host Liliane Daoud, Zyad el-Elaimy, told the Associated Press that men in plain clothes claiming to be police came to Daoud’s home and arrested her in front of her 10-year-old daughter. The officers took her cell phone and her British passport and took her to an “unknown location,” according to her ex-husband.

Officials said Daoud had been taken to the airport and put on a plane to Lebanon, “expelling” her from the country.

“An Egyptian security official confirmed the arrest, saying Daoud's residency permit has expired and that she will be deported,” AP reported. “The official added, however, that she had crossed red lines in her TV program and will not be allowed to return to Egypt as punishment.”

The forced deportation came just hours after Daoud’s contract with the television network ONTV expired. The network had been bought in May by Ahmed Abou Hashima, a businessman and supporter of Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi.

Daoud had hosted a political talk show called Al-Soura Al-Kamila, or The Full Picture. The show had aired commentary critical of el-Sisi, which seems to have angered the network’s new owner.

"This is a campaign against respectable media and free journalism," the editor-in-chief of Daoud’s show told BBC. “All we were doing was presenting a respectable show... so we don't know what we are being punished for.”

Bassem Youssef, an Egyptian political satirist whose TV show was also canceled due to criticism of the government, called Daoud’s deportation a kidnapping in a Facebook post and said it was “just the beginning.”

“Egypt can’t tolerate the rest of the world,” he wrote.

Youssef’s statements resonate with journalists in the country, who have experienced a widespread crackdown on free speech and expression of dissent under el-Sisi’s administration.

In May, three top members of a journalist union were arrested and charged with “publishing false news” and “harboring a fugitive,” according to Deutsche Welle. The European Union called this “a worrying development” and Amnesty International said it signaled “a dangerous escalation of the Egyptian authorities’ draconian clampdown” on free speech.

Daoud’s lawyer reiterated that the government was "not prepared to hear any diverse voices or to hear anyone who is supportive" of the uprising that took down Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak in 2011. He added that Daoud’s arrest indicated a step up in the brutality of the government’s suppression of free press.

“It's the first time someone is deported in this fashion in Egypt,” el-Elaimy said. “Even criminals are asked to leave, not taken from their homes.”

Telegraph reported that Daoud used to work for the BBC in London before moving to Egypt with her young daughter in 2011 to cover the protests that took down Mubarak.

Guy Benson - Brutal: New Ad Destroys Rubio's Likely Opponent Over Fabricated Accomplishments
Posted: 6/28/2016 5:15:00 PM EST

National Republicans are referring to Marco Rubio's likely Democratic Senate opponent in Florida "privileged Patrick."  But the problem with Congressman Patrick Murphy -- who overcame revelations that he was involved in a drunken altercation with police while in college to very narrowly win a redistricted House seat in 2012 -- isn't his wealthy background.  (I'd rather see the GOP go hard after Sen. Elizabeth Warren on "privilege" grounds, given the racial fraud she cynically perpetrated to further her career).  No, Murphy's problem is that he appears to be a serial liar and embellisher of his own paper-thin CV.  It seems he hasn't accomplished much on his own merits, so he's relied on his family's money to help bankroll political campaigns in which he boasts about things he hasn't actually done.  On the same day that Rubio announced his intention to seek re-election after all, a CBS News affiliate in the state ran an absolutely savage report exposing numerous fabricated elements of Murphy's resume:

The National Republican Senatorial Committee has now turned the investigative piece's lowlights into a hard-hitting attack ad:

The Democrat is flailing and denying, angrily contending that the original report is full of inaccuracies -- but a Miami Herald fact-check shows that unlike Murphy's fairly tale biography, CBS 4's journalism stands up under scrutiny.  On a lighter but also hilarious note, Murphy surrendered the game-winning base hit in the GOP's walk-off Congressional baseball game victory last week.  As Republican fans serenaded him with chants of "Mar-co Rub-i-o," Murphy lost the game for his party's team, snapping Democrats' extended winning streak in the series:

Snark! Get your snark here:

If Murphy's fabulist history pushes him out of the race or cost him the primary, Rubio may face crazy Alan Grayson, whom even Harry Reid detests.

Connor  Hoffman - Senate Poised To Debate Puerto Rico Bailout Bill
Posted: 6/28/2016 4:00:00 PM EST

Today, Puerto Rico may finally have received some desperately needed good news. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced Monday night that the Puerto Rico bailout bill passed by the House would be voted on in the Senate this week. 

McConnell filed cloture on the bill, which is a process designed to limit debate on a bill. This means that the bill could be passed by the Senate as soon as Wednesday, and be waiting for President Obama's signature as soon as Thursday morning. 

This bill is meant to help prevent Puerto Rico from defaulting on a $2 billion payment of their $70 billion debt that is due this Friday. 

The bill would create a board composed of seven members that would be in charge of overseeing the financial recovery of Puerto Rico. They would negotiate with creditors and courts to reduce some of the debt. The bill does not provide any taxpayer funds to pay for the debt. Although, the bill does not provide funds it is needed because Puerto Rico cannot declare bankruptcy under federal law.

Some Senate Democrats aren't happy with the current proposed bailout bill, and have several amendments that they will try to propose. If any of these amendments pass, they would have to be debated in the House, and by that time Puerto Rico will have defaulted. 

"I'm very concerned about the labor provisions, I'm very concerned about the makeup of the commission," said Sen. Sherrod Brown. He is not happy that the board created to oversee the process is composed mostly of Republicans. 

Sen. Robert Mendez, one of the most critical opponents of the bills, said that he plans to propose several amendments to the bill. He is going to propose amendments that would add two oversight board members that would be chosen by the Puerto Rican governor and senate, give more power over debt restructuring to the local government and increase funding for public services. 

Even some Republicans in the Senate aren't happy with the bill. 

"I haven't seen that the bill is going to guarantee that the lack of fiscal frugality and the collection of taxes is taken care of enough to satisfy me," said Sen. Chuck Grassley. 

Some believe the Senate vote is a response to a letter Treasury Secretary Jack Lew sent to McConnell urging action to stop Puerto Rico from defaulting. 

"In the event of default, and if creditor lawsuits are successful, a judge could immediately order Puerto Rico to pay creditors over essential services such as health, education, and public safety," wrote Lewis. "This could force Puerto Rico to lay off police officers, shut down public transit, or close a hospital. Even a retroactive stay on litigation passed by Congress a few days later would not reverse such a court order."

The Senate is scheduled to vote tomorrow on the cloture of the bill and for it pass it will require 60 votes on the bill, rather than the normal amount of 51. 

Matt Vespa - BREAKING: Suicide Bombers Assault Ataturk Airport In Istanbul; UPDATE: 28 Reportedly Killed; UPDATE; Three Suicide Bombers?
Posted: 6/28/2016 3:35:00 PM EST

NBC News' Richard Engel says witnesses are telling him they saw three suicide bombers.

***

There are reports of explosions and gunfire erupting at Ataturk Airport in Istanbul, Turkey. Multiple people have been injured in the attack. Two explosions were heard, with gunfire emanating from the airport parking lot. It's been reported that the two suspects appeared to have executed their attack before passing through security. Police fired at the suspects. 

We’ll keep you updated in this situation.

UPDATE: Forty It's been lowered to 20 people reportedly injured.

UPDATE II: There are reports that 10 people have been killed in the attack.

UPDATE III: Sky News reporting that attacker opened fire with Kalashnikov rifle. A broadcast ban has reportedly been imposed on coverage regarding the attack. The number wounded has been lowered to 20 people

UPDATE IV: State Department issued a travel warning yesterday.

UPDATE V: There’s footage of one of the explosions at Ataturk Airport. Sky News now reporting that there are at least 60 wounded, with six having very serious injuries. They also reported a witness told NBC News that a police officer had wrestled with one of the attackers before detonating an explosive device. CNN added that a Turkish official has risen the death toll to 28 people.

UPDATE VI: Christine jumping in here for Matt. A new revised death toll puts the number of deaths at 31, with an additional 147 people injured. Nobody has claimed responsibility yet. The death toll is expected to rise.

Cortney O'Brien - Code Pink Confronts Cruz at Senate Hearing on Islamic Terror, Says He Has a ‘Serious Case’ of Islamophobia
Posted: 6/28/2016 3:00:00 PM EST
Washington, D.C. - Code Pink was in attendance for Sen. Ted Cruz’s (R-TX) hearing to address to White House’s downplaying of Islamic terror on Tuesday – and they immediately made their presence known. Standing in their infamous bright pink shirts with signs that read “Islamophobia is un-American,” they began by asking the room if anyone was “suffering from Islamophobia.”

When Cruz walked in, they asked him the same thing. 

The senator kept his cool, slammed down the gavel and began the hearing. He opened his remarks by referencing the terror attack at Fort Hood in 2009 waged by Nidal Hasan. Cruz noted the innocent people Hasan had slaughtered and how he chanted “allahu akbar” during his rampage. When Cruz accidentally mispronounced “allahu Akbar,” Code Pink and other attendees laughed out loud. 
“You said it wrong, you said it really wrong,” a Code Pink member said.
At this point, Cruz could no longer keep his cool. "Apparently some people think it’s funny” that a terrorist killed innocent people, he reacted. 

They weren't the only ones to define the hearing as racist. Even before the discussion got underway, one representative from the Muslim Public Affairs Council handed out literature to the press that insisted Tuesday's hearing "is a political circus to exploit post-Orlando hysteria" and is "against engagement with the Muslim community."

None of this, of course, stopped Cruz from proving how the Obama administration has consistently placed political correctness over national security by scrubbing references to Islamic terrorism.

Update: Here's the video of Sen. Ted Cruz's opening remarks. You can hear Code Pink laughing in the first 30 seconds as the chairman speaks somberly about the Fort Hood attack. Despicable.

Katie Pavlich - DOJ Using Taxpayer Money to Teach Agents and Lawyers About Their Unknown Racism
Posted: 6/28/2016 2:15:00 PM EST

Do you work in law enforcement? Are you a racist? No? Well according to the Department of Justice you are certainly biased, even if you don't know it. From Reuters

The U.S. Justice Department announced on Monday that more than 33,000 federal agents and prosecutors will receive training aimed at preventing unconscious bias from influencing their law enforcement decisions.

The training will bring Justice Department employees in line with many local police departments across the country that have implemented bias prevention plans following a spate of shootings of unarmed black men by white police officers.

In a memo to Justice Department employees, Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates said the program targets "implicit biases" - subtle, unconscious stereotypes or characterizations nearly everyone makes about certain groups of people.

"But implicit bias also presents unique challenges to effective law enforcement, because it can alter where investigators and prosecutors look for evidence and how they analyze it without their awareness or ability to compensate," Yates said in the memo.

The training will be mandatory for all Justice Department agents and prosecutors and will be rolled out over the next year, Yates said.

Unarmed? Reaching for an officer's gun, as Michael Brown did when he tried to grab Officer Darren Wilson's gun in Ferguson two years ago, counts as "unarmed"? As I've written before

The “unarmed” media narrative creates a false moral equivalence between a victim and an attacker. The media definition of armed seems to be someone carrying a firearm or a knife, when in fact people are most often armed with their own hands and feet for aggravated assault, and in other cases, murder. Perpetuating an “unarmed” narrative extremely distorts the truth and promotes criminals who use them- selves to prey on innocent victims. Being armed doesn’t require carrying a gun, bat, or knife. Hands, feet, and fists are plenty capable of being used to achieve the same goal: severe bodily injury or death.

This is the same Department of Justice that dropped charges against the Black Panthers after members stood outside of a Philadelphia polling station and intimidated voters. This is also the same DOJ with a Civil Rights Division full of attorneys with their own bias against white police officers with zero interest in protecting the rights of white victims. Under Obama's leadership, the Department of Justice has become race obsessed and not for the betterment of the country or race relations. In fact, race relations in American are at a low point. 

I'll leave you with this from former DOJ attorney and whistleblower J. Christian Adams: 

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