Meet Harvey Weinstein: Hollywood liberal and an anti-gun zealot. One of his latest projects (which will bomb at the box office), is a movie specifically targeting the National Rifle Association.
They are going to wish they weren’t alive after I’m done with them,” Weinstein told Stern on Wednesday, referring to the NRA’s lobbying and political strength.
Weinstein did not go into specifics about the project, but said that Meryl Streep was involved and that it would not be a documentary but “a big movie like ‘Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.'”
“I don’t think we need guns in this country, and I hate it,” Weinstein told Stern. “The NRA is a disaster area.”
But it turns out, Weinstein may have more than an anti-gun political position to blame for his stance against firearms ownership, especially among women. From the Washington Times:
A 22-year-old Italian woman has accused Hollywood film producer and Miramax co-founder Harvey Weinstein of sexually assaulting her Friday night in New York City, police sources told the New York Daily News.Funny how anti-gun men often turn out to be creeps. It isn't the men who support firearms ownership among women who we should be worried about, instead, it's the men who don't.
The woman, who wasn’t identified, told police that Mr. Weinstein, 63, touched her private area and her breasts about 6 p.m. Friday at the Tribeca Film Center, the sources reportedly said.
Mr. Weinstein has been questioned by police, and Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance will decide whether to file charges, the Daily News reported.
“He initiated the contact,” the source said of Mr. Weinstein, the Daily News reported. “He saw her and spoke to her. She didn’t know who he was until he approached her.”
Gov. Mike Pence (R-IN) is under intense scrutiny after signing into law a statute that purportedly allows businesses to discriminate against certain classes of Hoosiers. Pushing back against all the misinformation, however, Gov. Pence defended the law in a press conference on Tuesday, thereby hopefully setting the record straight and addressing the controversy head-on.
“Let me say first and foremost I was proud to sign the Religious Freedom Restoration Act last week,” he said. “I believe religious liberty, as President Clinton said when he signed the federal law in 1993, [is] our first freedom and it is vital to millions of Americans who cherish faith as I and my family do. But it’s also vital to the framework of freedom in our nation.”
“This legislation was designed to ensure the vitality of religious liberty in the Hoosier State,” he continued. “But clearly, there’s been misunderstanding and confusion and mischaracterization of this law. And I come before you today to say how we’re going to address that.”
He then dove into the specifics of the widely-pilloried bill.
“The Religious Freedom Restoration Act was about religious liberty, not about discrimination,” he said. “As I said last week, had this law been about legalizing discrimination I would have vetoed it. This law does not give anyone a license to discriminate. The Religious Freedom Restoration Act in Indiana does not give anyone the right to deny services to anyone.”
“I don’t believe for a minute that it was the intention of the general assembly to create a license to discriminate or a right to deny services to gays, lesbians, or anyone else," he added. “But I can appreciate that’s become the perception, not just here in Indiana, but all across this country and we need to confront that."
He also announced, however, that the bill needed to be improved, and therefore would look to the state legislature first and foremost to help clarify and refine the bill’s language.
“I’ve come to the conclusion that it would be helpful to move legislation this week that makes it clear that this law does not give businesses a right to deny services to anyone,” he said, urging state lawmakers to act as soon as possible. “ We want to make it clear that Indiana is open for business. We want to make it clear that Hoosier hospitality is not a slogan, it’s a way of life.”
“Let me say I believe this is a clarification, but it’s also a fix,” he added. "[The bill] through mischaracterization and confusion, has come to be greatly misunderstood. And I’m determined to address this [problem] this week.”
Not surprisingly, he also characterized the national media’s reporting vis-à-vis the bill as both “reckless” and “irresponsible”—although he conceded in recent days it had “gotten better.”
Here we go again. One of the High Priests of the so-called "reality-based community" has for the umpteenth time pronounced Obamacare a great success, asserting that people who believe otherwise (like, for example, the majority of the American people) have either been deceived, or are liars. Paint-by-numbers acerbic Leftist, reactionary smear artist, and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman calls Obamacare horror stories "imaginary disasters," made up from whole cloth to scare people and undermine a law that's working and helping people. We've spent quite a lot of time refuting variants of this argument in recent years, producing detailed responses to President Obama, Harry Reid, and two different bloggers at Vox. Here's Krugman -- in a column declaring Obamacare a success and its opponents discredited, no less -- bemoaning our "post-truth politics:"
In short, when it comes to the facts, the attack on health reform has come up empty-handed...And the favorable experiences of the roughly 16 million Americans who have gained insurance so far have had little effect on public perceptions. Partly that’s because the Affordable Care Act, by design, has had almost no effect on those who already had good health insurance: Before the act, a large majority of Americans were already covered by their employers, by Medicare or by Medicaid, and they have seen no change in their status. At a deeper level, however, what we’re looking at here is the impact of post-truth politics. We live in an era in which politicians and the supposed experts who serve them never feel obliged to acknowledge uncomfortable facts, in which no argument is ever dropped, no matter how overwhelming the evidence that it’s wrong. And the result is that imaginary disasters can overshadow real successes. Obamacare isn’t perfect, but it has dramatically improved the lives of millions. Someone should tell the voters.
Ms. Pineman, who is self-employed, accepted that she’d have to pay higher premiums for a plan with a narrower provider network and no out-of-network coverage. She accepted that she’d have to pay out of pocket to see her primary care physician, who didn’t participate. She even accepted having co-pays of nearly $1,800 to have a cast put on her ankle in an emergency room after she broke it while playing tennis. But her frustration bubbled over when she tried to arrange a follow-up visit with an orthopedist in her Empire Blue Cross/Blue Shield network: The nearest doctor available who treated ankle problems was in Stamford, Conn. When she called to protest, her insurer said that Stamford was 14 miles from her home and 15 was considered a reasonable travel distance. “It was ridiculous — didn’t they notice it was in another state?” said Ms. Pineman, 46, who was on crutches. She instead paid $350 to see a nearby orthopedist and bought a boot on Amazon as he suggested. She has since forked over hundreds of dollars more for a physical therapist that insurance didn’t cover, even though that provider was in-network...For still others, the new fees are so confusing and unsupportable that they just avoid seeing doctors...by endorsing and expanding the complex new policies promoted by the health care industry, the law may in some ways be undermining its signature promise: health care that is accessible and affordable for all.
I'll leave you with this interesting nugget from the Libre Initiative:
As the enrollment period for the Affordable Care Act (ACA) of 2015 ends, analysis by Avalere Health shows that while 76 percent of eligible individuals between 100 and 150 percent of the Poverty level signed up through Healthcare .gov this year, enrollment figures decline dramatically among people earning more. Just 16 percent of those earning between 300 and 400 percent of the federal Poverty level signed up, and just 2 percent of those earning $46,000 or more per year did so. The data shows that for consumers who bear a significant portion of the cost themselves, the federal exchange is simply not a popular option. Only when large taxpayer subsidies are provided are people choosing to enroll in significant numbers. But people are required by the ACA to purchase health insurance or face penalties, and as these penalties increase over time, more Americans will be compelled to comply with the law or face penalties that are simply too onerous.
The ends always justify the means.
Asked in a recent interview if he had any “regrets” about accusing 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney of not paying his taxes for ten years during the homestretch of the campaign, outgoing Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) essentially shrugged his shoulders.
“He didn’t win, did he?” he intoned.
The Washington Free Beacon captured the video:
We knew he was lying, of course, and the Romney campaign ensured in good time everyone else would, too. But such a smug and remorseless answer astonishes even me.
Don’t let the door hit you on the way out, Senator.
UPDATE: Watch the full clip here.
As former presidential candidate Rick Santorum closed his remarks Monday evening at George Washington University, controversy that’s been brewing for nearly a month at the school was visible: half of the students in the auditorium stood in applause while the other half of the room sat stone-faced.
The speech was hosted by GWU’s chapter of Young America’s Foundation, which has come onto the national media stage in the past month because the group boycotted mandatory “LGBT sensitivity training.” In response, GW YAF was labeled a “hate group,” a “cancer,” and was even compared to ISIS.
“The only sensitivity training we need is to respect every person,” Santorum said Monday, to strong applause from half the audience. “Tolerance is the most misused word in the English language.”
“Tolerance means you can say really horrible nasty things that I hate and offend me,” he added. “That’s how we get along. You have a right to be mean -- a right to be nasty to people. That’s how this country works, because we have thick skins and we aren’t offended.”
In his opening remarks, Santorum explained conservative policy on the Obama administration’s negotiations with Iran and the impending nuclear deal, and commented on the recent religious protection law passed in Indiana. Afterward, students queued to throw the former senator some tough questions.
“People aren’t dying in America because of this,” one student said, arguing that business owners should be forced to serve everyone regardless of sexual orientation -- one concept addressed in the Indiana law.
Santorum was quick to respond: “Should a gay or lesbian-owned printshop have to print signs for the Westboro Baptists that say ‘God hates fags’?”
“If they have the money to pay, they should,” the student shot back, to “ooohh” from the audience.
Taking the gloves off, Santorum continued: “Should a Jewish printshop have to make signs for the KKK? Should a kosher deli have to serve non-kosher food? It’s a two-way street. Tolerance is a two-way street. If you’re saying that ‘your religious liberties are not as important as my -- fill in the blank,’ then I’ve got a problem with that.”
Peppered with other inquiries ranging from follow-ups on Iran policy and immigration to Santorum’s new book “Bella’s Gift,” about his severely disabled daughter, the theme of the Q&A always returned to gay rights.
“I am a proud and confident lesbian woman, and I’m just wondering why are you denying me my rights to marry the love of my life, to adopt my future children -- both of which I will do?” another student asked, to thunderous applause from half the room.
The former senator was ready to point out her fallacy:
“I don’t come in and say ‘because you have a different point of view, you’re denying me my view of marriage,’” he said. “You’re expressing your opinion -- you have a right to do that, and I have a right to do that.”
The overly secure environment of the auditorium added to the obvious clash of ideologies as the members of GW YAF and various liberal and gay pride campus organizations came together: five security guards lined the walls of the auditorium.
Attendees were notified before the event not to bring any book bags or purses with them, and signs carried in protest were also not permitted. A posted message outside the auditorium read “any person who disrupts the event will be removed by the University Police Department.”
“If you intend to participate in the larger conversation about American politics and culture, it’s really important to understand about the 40 percent of Americans that call themselves conservatives,” said GW YAF President Emily Jashinsky after introducing Santorum. “I want to invite everyone to demonstrate their very best sense of inclusivity, tolerance, and respect tonight -- let’s have a great debate.”
Both Santorum and questioners were repeatedly interrupted by approving applause from both divisions of the audience -- yet Santorum coolly and patiently responded to even the most disgruntled students.
“No matter what your passion is on the issues, we need to have a system that says everybody’s allowed in,” Santorum said.
Santorum’s speech came on the eve of Trans Day of Visibility, hosted by the student group Allied in Pride -- a key opponent of GW YAF on campus.
“Their decision to bring Rick Santorum -- a man who has compared homosexuality to pedophilia and bestiality -- to campus the day before Trans Day of Visibility underscores their intolerance and pattern of hate,” Allied in Pride posted on Facebook.
His name was the only one in red. Yet, just hours after the pro-life organization Susan B. Anthony List declared Gov. Chris Christie was the only potential 2016 GOP candidate who hadn’t pledged his support for the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, the outspoken New Jersey governor made his stand much clearer.
2016: Where Do They Stand? is a new resource for pro-life voters heading into next year’s presidential election. Specifically, it provides the candidates’ opinion on the Pain-Capable bill. The legislation has been surrounded by controversy thanks to Congress’ missed opportunity, yet the goal of the bill itself is anything but.
The Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act is compassionate legislation that would protect babies from brutal abortions after 20 weeks, or five months of pregnancy. If enacted into law, it would save approximately 15,000 babies every year from brutal, painful deaths.
Think this sounds like common sense? The majority of Americans would agree with you. Passing the pain-capable bill is the SBA List's main priority in the lead up to the race to the White House. Because it's so important, the organization wanted to make sure their supporters knew where the 2016 candidates stood on the issue.
The only one they weren't sure of was Gov. Christie. The SBA List explained this to the press in a Monday email, informing them that the New Jersey Governor was the only one had not endorsed the bill. Therefore, while every other candidate's picture was included with a pro-life quote, Gov. Christie's name was simply placed in red with no corresponding quote. Just hours later, however, Christie sent the SBA List this statement:
“I am proud to be a pro-life Republican. I believe that every life is an individual gift from God, and that no life is disposable...I urge Congress to take swift action on this important issue."
SBA List President Marjorie Dannenfelser gladly accepted his announcement:
"There is complete unity on the Republican side around this highly reasonable proposal to protect pain-capable children after five months,” Susan B. Anthony List President Marjorie Dannenfelser said in a statement after Christie's endorsement. “Meanwhile, the national Democratic Party and its leaders remind us almost daily of the abortion lobby’s importance in their policy and politics. We expect this clear difference to be a focal point of the general election debate.”
The pro-life movement should be cheering to know that the SBA List clearly has influence in this election and Christie's wake-up call should be a warning to all presidential wannabes who don't stand up for the unborn. I hope all of them escape the red ink.
When Hillary Clinton stepped to the microphones three weeks ago to explain why she used a personal email account on a private server hosted in her home to conduct all of her official State Department business, she claimed she did it out of convenience because she didn't want to carry two devices.
We already knew Clinton didn't simply own just one device capable of sending and receiving email. After all, she said so during a February 2015 event in California when she admitted to using an iPhone, iPad, mini iPad and a Blackberry.
Now, the Associated Press has confirmed Clinton did in fact use multiple devices to conduct her official State Department business, not the one phone she previously claimed.
Hillary Rodham Clinton emailed her staff on an iPad as well as a BlackBerry while secretary of state, despite her explanation she exclusively used a personal email address on a homebrew server so that she could carry a single device, according to documents obtained by The Associated Press.
The State Department released a total of four emails between Clinton and her top advisers as part of a Freedom of Information Act request filed in 2013 by the AP, which sought Clinton's correspondence with senior advisers over a four-year period relating to drone strikes overseas and U.S. surveillance programs.
While limited, the emails offer one of the first looks into Clinton's correspondence while secretary of state. The messages came from and were sent to her private email address, hosted on a server at her property in Chappaqua, New York, as opposed to a government-run email account.
Meanwhile, Congress is still trying to figure out how to handle new revelations Clinton "wiped her server clean."
Senator Marco Rubio (R - FL) stopped by Fox News' The Five yesterday to discuss his presidential plans and the state of the country moving forward.
"I strongly believe that the future of this country will depend on the next election and what's at stake in 2016 is not simply what party is going to win or the candidate. The fundamental question in 2016 is what kind of country do we want to be in this new century? Do we want to remain an exceptional country, a land of equality of opportunity, the strongest nation on earth, or are we prepared to diminish and decline? And decline is a choice, it's not our destiny," Rubio said. "The country is really at a hinge point in terms of moving forward into the future. We are really transitioning from out of the 20th century, well into the 21st century, a dramatically different world. Globalization has changed the nature of our economy, technology has changed the nature of work, the entire global order that we've had since the end of World War II is now in flux and I think it's really important we move in the right direction as a country by not just confronting the challenges of this new era, but increasing its opportunities."
As he said in the interview, Rubio will make an announcement about his presidential plans on April 13, 2015.
Ground troops from the Arab League could be moving into Yemen to fight the Shiite Houthi rebels that have forced President Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi from the capital Sanaa and the southern city of Aden. Hadi was reportedly trying to rebuild his power base there after escaping house arrest. The embattled president was able to go to the Egyptian resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh to attend an Arab League summit, according to CNN:
[Arab League] Support is already broad. The coalition nations participating in the bombardments make up about a third of the league's membership.
On Saturday, Hadi called the Houthis out: "You violated the sovereignty (of Yemen), and you bear the responsibility for what happened and what is going to happen."
Airstrikes have hit Houthi militant groups, smashed their big air defense guns and crumbled key infrastructure that links major towns with the capital, Sanaa, a Saudi official has said. The coalition has destroyed Yemeni army weapons caches and military facilities.
Saudi naval special forces have also rescued dozens of diplomats, the official said. And many U.N. representatives have fled the unrest.
Saudi Arabia has set up a blockade, effectively cutting off Houthi supply lines, and its air force controls Yemeni airspace. They have threatened to attack ships that might supply the rebels.
Concerning the strategic situation, the rivalry between Saudi Arabia and Iran encapsulates the Sunni-Shiite schism, which often times has led to violence between the competing sects of Islam. Saudi Arabia, which sees the Houthis as being backed by Iran–they did send a delegation to Tehran–can’t have an Iranian satellite state on their border:
Iran and Saudi Arabia are bitter rivals. Having Yemen become an Iranian satellite country on its border would be unacceptable to the kingdom.
Iran has sharply denounced the Saudi-dominated armed intervention.
And two Arab League members, Lebanon and Iraq, have voiced opposition to Determination Storm [the current air campaign against the Houthis], Lee reported. Both countries are majority Shiite.
In all, a force of about 40,000 men from the Arab League could be heading into Yemen. The United States has been providing logistical support for the airstrikes as well (via the Hill):
The Arab League on Sunday decided it would build a joint military force featuring combat units from each of its 22 member nations.
It would likely boast 40,000 elite troops backed by light armor and mechanized air and naval power, he added.
The Al Arabiya network said the league declared any member state could request the joint military if its security was threatened. The league would then act if the situation warranted combat, Al Arabiya concluded.
The league’s first potential battleground might be in Yemen, which is currently tangled in a fierce civil war. Yemeni President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi on Tuesday fled his hometown of Aden as Shiite Houthi rebels advanced on his position.
The embattled leader next retreated to Saudi Arabia, another league member, Wednesday. The Sunni government in Saudi Arabia has since conducted air strikes on the rebels, hoping it will prevent the Houthis from partnering with its Shiite rival, Iran.
The Obama administration revealed on Wednesday it is providing logistical and intelligence support to the Saudi military campaign. It has additionally ruled out direct military intervention, despite its close alliance with Hadi’s former government.
CNN added that Saudi Arabian officials have insisted that if an invasion occurs, they won’t leave Yemen until the rebels’ fighting capabilities are irrevocably crippled. That being said, the publication noted that the Houthis are skilled guerrilla fighters that could turn this incursion into a bloody affair.
Yemen had been used by this administration as a blueprint for future counter-terrorism operations. When the country continued to devolve into chaos, this administration maintained that position. Even Vox knew better, as this post shows, as they pretty much took Obama’s foreign policy to the woodshed.
As you may have gathered via breathless headlines and hyperbolic social media rants, Indiana Governor Mike Pence recently signed into law a draconian attack on LGBT rights under the guise of "religious liberty." This unprecedented assault on equality, or whatever, has elicited strident condemnations and boycott threats from a number of celebrities and organizations. Almost all of this hyperventilating is rooted in some brew of abject ignorance, mindless alarmism, and ostentatious moral preening. The latter, anti-intellectual phenomenon is especially widespread: "Look at me, I'm a good person because I'm outraged about this terrible law, about which I know very little. Those who disagree with me are exposing themselves as bad people who support discrimination against gay people, which offends my tolerant and progressive sensibilities, of which I'm reminding everyone right now."
In fact, Indiana's Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) very closely mirrors a federal law cosponsored by Congressional liberals and signed by President Clinton in the early 1990s. It is also extremely similar to laws enacted in 19 other states over recent decades. That list of red and blue states includes Illinois, where then-state Senator Barack Obama cast his vote in favor of the legislation, which may help explain why some Democrats are struggling to logically defend their table-pounding over Indiana's law. In short, the Hoosier State's RFRA isn't remarkable or radical under any fair reading. In a must-read piece today, writer and attorney Gabriel Malor (who is a gay conservative who supports same-sex marriage) sticks to facts in addressing common misconceptions about these laws -- starting with what they are, and the two-pronged balancing test at their core:
This legislation sets the same minimum standard for burdening the exercise of religion. Under the various RFRAs, a state or the federal government—by law or other action—may not substantially burden an individual’s exercise of religion unless the burden is in furtherance of a compelling government interest and is the least restrictive means of furthering that interest. Twenty states, including Indiana, and the federal government have RFRAs.
Could Indiana businesses soon be displaying "Straights Only" signs? http://t.co/xXRxCwNcTM— HuffPost Politics (@HuffPostPol) March 30, 2015
This big gay freak-out is purely notional. No RFRA has ever been used successfully to defend anti-gay discrimination, not in twenty years of RFRAs nationwide. Why Is Everyone So Mad about Indiana’s RFRA, Then? The fear is that it could be used to deny service to gay people in places of public accommodation like businesses and restaurants. But, as discussed above, no RFRA has ever been used that way before. Also, Indiana does not have a public accommodation law that protects against anti-gay discrimination, meaning there’s no state law in Indiana preventing anti-gay discrimination in businesses even before the state RFRA was enacted. Notably, despite the lack of such a law, nobody can point to any Indiana businesses that were discriminating against gays...It is entirely consistent to favor broad religious freedom protections and also favor gay rights. Many gays are religious, and so themselves benefit from religious freedom protections like RFRA. But even where gay Americans and religious Americans find themselves in conflict, there is ample room in communities to peaceably coexist. That’s the point of a RFRA. No side gets an automatic-victory card. The interests of all sides gets weighed.
Connecticut's RFRA provides far more religious protections than the Indiana and federal laws https://t.co/yLM5jWccRq— Sean Davis (@seanmdav) March 30, 2015