Something is happening in America, and it should sound the alarm for every confessing Christian. Simply put, hostile efforts in many cities now threaten to suppress the First Amendment rights of all people to exercise our faith freely. In unprecedented acts of government-authorized injustice, Christians are being told they cannot gather for worship, they cannot sing songs of praise, and they cannot observe church ordinances.
Just last week, politicians in Seattle installed temporary fencing and security guards around Gas Works Park to prevent us from holding a “Let Us Worship” public outdoor service. Similarly, at Cal Anderson Park, Antifa protesters shouted obscenities, intimidated worshipers, cursed out my wife and four children, and damaged our equipment.
While followers of Jesus are being told we cannot worship in public spaces, violent paid rioters are taking over our streets and being given license to occupy and destroy entire sections of our cities. Churches are being covered in graffiti and even burned while civic leaders call for defunding the police. Never did I dream that this would happen, and never have I been more determined to do something about it.
The Church Is Being Persecuted Here in America
For the past 20 years, I’ve taken my entire family all over the world in support of the persecuted church. These efforts have brought greater exposure for dictatorial regimes and their anti-Christian tyrants in places such as North Korea, Iran, China, and Islamic Africa. In some parts of the world, Christians routinely face prison and even torture for nothing more than simple acts of faith, such as reading their Bibles, praying, and peaceably gathering with other believers to worship.
Now in major cities across America, godless politicians are adopting tactics that more closely resemble those of jihadist ayatollahs than men and women who are sworn to uphold the rule of law. Earlier this year in Kentucky, an elected leader tried to “criminalize” the celebration of Easter and would have gotten away with it if not for a federal judge, appointed by President Donald Trump, who blocked him.
In Virginia, the governor tried to stop Christians from gathering to worship under penalty of arrest and imprisonment. In Minnesota, the attorney general enforced the governor’s executive order that banned churches from worshipping but allowed dog groomers and golf courses to remain open.
In my home state of California, Gov. Gavin Newsom and many large-city mayors have ramped up their fight against the freedom of religion. As I write this, elected officials in Sacramento and Los Angeles are wringing their hands in desperation as they try to figure out how to shut down church leaders such as Grace Community Church’s John MacArthur.
In Portland, one of our brothers was stalked by an armed “protester” and shot at point-blank range while bystanders looked on with their phones, recording the whole thing. The victim, 39-year-old Jay Danielson, had weeks before joined hundreds of Christians who came to Oregon’s largest city for one of our “Let Us Worship” gatherings.
Truly, the actions of militant, anti-Christian forces, who want to shut down our churches, silence our worship, and even shoot our fellow believers in the streets, have stirred the soul of the American church. Where we have stood in solidarity with Christians around the world whose hostile governments threaten their religious freedom, we now stand with each other on our native soil.
I keep telling myself and my fellow Christians from every walk of life that this isn’t what America was founded to be. This isn’t how we are supposed to live. I will not stand idly by and watch it happen.
America Needs Revival
The American experiment, now approaching its 250th year, has proved our ability for more than two centuries to withstand foreign attacks from rogue states that despise and reject the freedoms we hold dear. What we face now is not a new threat; it is just no longer a foreign threat. The present madness has arisen from our own soil, cultivated and encouraged by our own politicians.
All across America, however, Christians are rising up. In recent weeks, thousands upon thousands have gathered and marched to assert their God-given freedoms. I’ve stood before them, armed with only a copy of the Bible and a simple guitar. People have asked me why we are holding these “worship protests” across the country, and the answer is simple: God is moving, and our nation needs it now more than ever in my lifetime.
In Seattle, a self-proclaimed satanist came to protest our worship, met the glory of God, and gave his life to Jesus. He is not alone. Thousands of hurting people have encountered the love of Christ in dozens of America’s most troubled cities through the simple act of gathering together in worship.
The church I believe in ministers to the sick and hurting; it doesn’t hide in the darkness. Jesus touched contagious lepers, and our fellow Americans need His healing touch right now. They need the bold, warm embrace of God’s love.
We are just getting started, with worship gatherings planned in Madison, Minneapolis, Kenosha, Chicago, and many more — culminating in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 25. I refuse to seek permission from politicians to adhere to my calling, the church’s calling.
Let me be very clear: Our fists are not held up in defiance; our hands are lifted in praise. Our voices are not raised in shouts of hatred, but our songs of hope and prayers for revival are piercing the darkness around us. God is not finished with America yet.
With each passing day, it seems Americans are more and more at each other’s throats. Black Lives Matter mobs accost people sitting outside at restaurants. Pro-mask and anti-mask agitators accost one another in grocery stores, even wishing death on toddlers over debates about the coronavirus pandemic. Republicans and Democrats each fear the other side is trying to interfere with the sanctity of the vote in the 2020 election, and it seems the stakes have never been higher. Predictions of a protracted and uncertain election have sparked concerns about a potential civil war that seems to have started on the streets of Portland and Kenosha.
In the midst of this chaos and fury, it seems America is ripping apart at the seams. But there is perhaps no better time than the present to deliver a full-throated defense of the system that holds all these passions in check.
The United States of America was not designed to be a winner-take-all system where a 50-percent-plus-one majority calls all the shots and rolls over the rights of the minority. We cannot always get what we want — and that is a good and vitally important feature of the system built upon our magnificent Constitution.
The Founding Fathers drafted a genius system to give the majority the power it rightly demands while seeking to protect the rights of those with far less political heft. That system frustrates both the Left and the Right in different ways, but the system itself is vitally important — especially with tensions as high as they are.
Democrats, believing they have both the true majority of voters and the moral imperative to enforce their will on the country, openly plot about changing the rules of the game. When they took control of the House in 2019, they drafted legislation to abolish the Electoral College. When the Senate confirmed Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, some responded by demanding the abolition of the Senate. After President Donald Trump nominated originalist justices to reverse some of the liberal activist Supreme Court rulings of past decades, Democrats called for packing the Supreme Court.
The nefarious New York Times “1619 Project” provides more impetus for drastic attacks on the U.S. Constitution by insisting that America’s true founding came not on July 4, 1776 but in 1619, when the first black slaves arrived in Virginia. (In truth, slaves arrived in the future U.S. long before this date, but who says the project has to be historically accurate?) Redefining America as inherently racist is yet another attempt to undermine the Constitution.
Rejecting the Constitution would be a truly tragic mistake for either political party, and the Left’s rush to change the rules of the game is perhaps one of the strongest arguments against Democrats up and down the ballot. Americans should hold fast to the Constitution, and that means denying a future
Harris administration — oh, sorry, I meant “Biden administration” — from teaming up with Democrats in Congress and altering the terms of the deal.
Americans should know the basic structure of the Constitution, but Constitution Day calls for a brief refresher.
The virtues of the Constitution
The U.S. federal government has limited powers, balanced by the Bill of Rights which reserves rights to the states and to the people. In the federal government, Congress makes the laws, the president and his administration enforce the laws, and the Supreme Court manages legal disputes.
Each of these “branches” of government must work within strict limits, and the other branches have the ability to restrain them. Congress consists of the House of Representatives (elected by popular vote to represent a congressional district) and the Senate (elected by popular vote to represent each state — in the Founders’ original version, the state legislatures elected senators). The Founders considered legislation the key power, and so they required both houses to agree for any bill to become law.
The president has the ability to veto any piece of legislation, at which point Congress can override the veto — pass the bill, anyway — with a two-thirds majority in both houses. The president can also appoint Supreme Court justices and federal judges, who must in turn be confirmed by the Senate. Congress can remove the president through impeachment, which requires a majority vote in the House and a two-thirds majority in the Senate.
The Supreme Court adjudicates disputes between the two other branches.
Over the past 100 years, the Progressive movement chipped away at parts of the Constitution. In the New Deal, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt created a vast bureaucracy that effectively made law, usurping the legislative power from Congress. Congressional gridlock has made it more convenient for both parties to pass the buck on divisive issues to the administration or the Supreme Court.
Under the Constitution, issues like prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity — and the corresponding need to protect religious freedom — call for Congress to compromise and make law. But neither Democrats nor Republicans want to compromise, so the Trump administration has vocally defended religious freedom while the Supreme Court usurped its authority by redefining federal law and opening up a Pandora’s Box of thorny legal issues.
Even in this confused state, the different branches of the federal government have checked one another. On religious freedom in particular, Congress actually checked the Supreme Court. In Employment Division v. Smith (1990), the Supreme Court upheld the State of Oregon’s refusal to give unemployment benefits to two Native Americans fired from their jobs after testing positive for drugs they used in a religious ceremony. Both conservatives and liberals came together to advocate for the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993, which Congress passed and President Bill Clinton signed.
The Constitution includes yet another check on federal power in the form of defending the rights of the states against the federal government. According to the Founders’ vision and the Christian principle of subsidiarity, government leaders make the best decisions for a community at the lowest level. A mayor will better reflect his constituents than a governor, for example, and a governor will better reflect his constituents than a president.
While many have faulted Trump for not doing more to fight the coronavirus pandemic, it would arguably have been illegal for the president to issue a nationwide lockdown, for example. Many of the lockdown restrictions that cities and states have put in place have arguably trampled on their constituents’ liberties, most notably religious freedom. Had Trump attempted any such thing, it would almost certainly have backfired badly, and if Joe Biden were to attempt any such thing as president (should he win in November), the national uproar will be deafening.
Stay the course
Americans often misremember the Civil War. It did not begin because the North wanted to impose the abolition of slavery on the South but because the South wanted to change the terms of the agreement after the South had long dominated the Union and used that control to expand slavery.
In the decade leading up to the Civil War, Southern Democrats fought to extend slavery north and west. The Founders had forged a grand bargain to allow the evil institution of slavery while restricting its spread. In 1820, Congress drew a line, saying that any state north of the line would enter the Union as free while states that entered below the line could have slavery. Yet Southerners started defending slavery as a positive good and arguing for “popular sovereignty,” the notion that white landowners in states north of the 1820 line would vote on whether the state would be slave or free. Abraham Lincoln grew to prominence by opposing this notion.
The South held tremendous sway in the federal government. In 1854, Congress passed the Kansas-Nebraska Act, opening up Kansas and Nebraska to “popular sovereignty.” Pro-slavery and anti-slavery settlers rushed into Kansas, seeking to tip the balance toward their side. The settlers fought and killed one another in a prelude to the Civil War known as “Bleeding Kansas.”
With the benefit of hindsight, Americans see “Bleeding Kansas” as a precursor to — if not the very first tremors of — the Civil War. In one sense, the Civil War had a “soft opening” in 1854, before the main event in 1861.
Like the Democrats before the Civil War, the far-left Democrats of today are trying to change the deal to force their increasingly radical agenda on the American people. Left-leaning journalists and politicians cover for looting and rioting, calling it “peaceful protest,” and suggesting the riots should continue — as if to blackmail America into electing Democrats.
Conservatives and Republicans should not respond in kind but rather embrace the principles of the Founding and the Constitution. America’s grand experiment as a democratic republic must continue — and Republicans are the champions of that experiment this November.
On September 9 — just last week — President Trump unveiled his shortlist of candidates to tap for the Supreme Court should a vacancy open up under his presidency.
With Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death Friday night, he now has that opportunity.
The Trump White House and his allies in the Senate have spent years preparing for the next Supreme Court vacancy.
Indeed, the judicial selection process may be the one professional and highly competent operation in this administration. Trump has filled the bench with fairly young, impressively credentialed ideologues who will reliably cast very conservative votes if appointed to the Supreme Court, and his Supreme Court shortlist reflects that work. Half of the names that Trump just announced are people he previously appointed to a lower court, and several more are individuals he’s appointed to non-judicial roles.
And it doesn’t actually matter all that much which specific name Trump chooses from his list — or whether he ultimately decides to go off-list. Though Trump has kept his promise to only name Supreme Court justices from a prereleased list, he frequently adds new names to it. Neither of Trump’s Supreme Court appointees, Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, was on the original list Trump first released in 2016, but were added in subsequent iterations.
What all the names on the list have in common — both old and new — is that they were vetted by Trump’s team (and often by the conservative Federalist Society) to ensure that they are reliable conservatives.
That said, there is one important divide among the names on Trump’s list.
Some, such as former Solicitor General Paul Clement or Fourth Circuit Judge Allison Jones Rushing, are solid conservatives who aren’t known for over-the-top, Trumpy rhetoric. Others, such as Sens. Ted Cruz (R-TX), Josh Hawley (R-MO), and Tom Cotton (R-AR) are politicians who spent their time in Congress flaunting their conservative bona fides and enraging Democrats. Still others, such as Fifth Circuit Judges James Ho and Kyle Duncan, are sitting judges who take the same trolly approach as Cruz, Hawley, and Cotton, but do so from the bench.
The biggest mystery, in other words, is not what the next potential Trump nominee to the Supreme Court might believe, it’s whether Trump would pick someone with a professional demeanor — or choose a professional troll.
Who is on Trump’s list?
The 20-name list Trump released last week augments an existing list of 25 names that he has released gradually.
Most of the names on both lists possess many of the elite credentials one would expect to find in a Supreme Court nominee. Close to half of the individuals on the new list clerked on the Supreme Court shortly after graduating from law school. And, though the lists include a few politicians like the three senators mentioned above and Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron, both lists are dominated by sitting judges — including many Trump appointees.
Judge Amy Coney Barrett, of the Seventh Circuit, is a prominent Trump appointee on both lists. She was favored by religious conservatives for Trump’s previous Court pick, perceived as potentially more likely to allow restrictions on abortions than Brett Kavanaugh.
Because so many Trump appointees make the list, many of these judges have not served long enough to develop substantial records on the bench. But several of the names on Trump’s new list will raise deep concerns among Democrats.
Judge James Ho has spent his not even three years on the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit writing opinions that read like something published by Breitbart. His very first judicial opinion was a sweeping attack on campaign finance laws — and it included an entirely gratuitous swipe at the Affordable Care Act. Ho argued that “if you don’t like big money in politics, then you should oppose big government in our lives,” and he cited the Supreme Court’s decision largely upholding Obamacare to drive home his point.
Ho has also railed against the “moral tragedy of abortion” in an opinion where he accused a fellow federal judge of retaliating “against people of faith for not only believing in the sanctity of life—but also for wanting to do something about it.”
Ho’s Fifth Circuit colleague Kyle Duncan, meanwhile, spent much of his pre-judicial career litigating against LGBTQ rights and the right to vote. As a judge, he’s best known for an opinion where he spent more than 10 pages explaining why he insists on referring to a transgender woman using masculine pronouns.
Ninth Circuit Judge Lawrence VanDyke is a particularly surprising addition to Trump’s list because VanDyke’s nomination to the federal bench was panned by the American Bar Association due to concerns that VanDyke is too lazy to do the job.
“Mr. VanDyke’s accomplishments are offset by the assessments of interviewees that Mr. VanDyke is arrogant, lazy, an ideologue, and lacking in knowledge of the day-to-day practice including procedural rules,” the ABA explained in a scathing letter deeming him unqualified for the federal bench. The ABA’s investigation found that VanDyke “lacks humility, has an ‘entitlement’ temperament, does not have an open mind, and does not always have a commitment to being candid and truthful.”
It’s unclear why Trump loyalists would want to see someone appointed to the Supreme Court who may lack the temperament and the work ethic to do the job well.
That said, VanDyke is an outlier on Trump’s list. For the most part, the nearly four dozen names Trump has suggested as possible Supreme Court nominees are diligent and highly talented lawyers. They just also happen to be lawyers who are eager to move the law sharply to the right.
The White House’s judicial selection process is the most professional operation in the Trump administration
To his many critics, “Donald Trump” is a name practically synonymous with goonish incompetence. But Trump’s judicial selection operation is nothing like that. It is both efficient and highly effective in identifying reliable conservative ideologues with sterling legal resumes.
In less than four years as president, Trump has appointed 201 lawyers to lifetime appointments on the federal bench, including 53 to powerful seats on the United States Courts of Appeal. By contrast, President Obama appointed only 55 appellate judges during his eight years as president.
One reason for this disparity is that Senate Republicans, led by McConnell, imposed a near-total blockade on appeals court confirmations during Obama’s final two years in the White House. That meant that Trump has effectively been able to fill all the appeals court vacancies that arose during his presidency, plus nearly all the vacancies that should have been filled in Obama’s last two years in office.
Trump’s judges, moreover, are quite young. “The average age of circuit judges appointed by President Trump is less than 50 years old,” the Trump White House bragged in November of 2019, “a full 10 years younger than the average age of President Obama’s circuit nominees.” And a large percentage of them have amassed impressive credentials such as Supreme Court clerkships and other government jobs of great influence.
All of this is a reason for liberals to be more afraid of Trump’s judges — and potential justices — than if Trump were picking undistinguished hacks to fill the bench. Judges of great ability are far more likely to find innovative ways to reshape the law than incompetents and mediocrities.
Moreover, Trump is filling the bench with some of the Federalist Society’s brightest minds at the very moment when the judiciary is gaining power relative to the other branches. As I wrote several months ago in a piece laying out Trump’s impact on the bench:
In an age of legislative dysfunction, whoever controls the courts controls the country. In the past decade or so — or more precisely, since Republicans took over the House in 2011 — Congress has been barely functional. You can count on one hand — and possibly on just a few fingers — the major legislation it has enacted.
Judges, by contrast, have become the most consequential policymakers in the nation. They have gutted America’s campaign finance law and dismantled much of the Voting Rights Act. They have allowed states to deny health coverage to millions of Americans. They’ve held that religion can be wielded as a sword to cut away the rights of others. They’ve drastically watered down the federal ban on sexual harassment. And that barely scratches the surface.
If Trump gets to replace a liberal justice, this practice of judicial policymaking will only accelerate. Environmental regulations are likely to be dismantled en masse. Voting rights will be hollowed out even more. Obamacare could be struck down. And, perhaps most significantly, purely partisan Republican arguments will gain even more purchase in the Supreme Court.
Anyone Trump names to the Supreme Court, if Trump’s allowed to do so, is likely to push the law relentlessly to the right.
NEVER-before-seen photographs capture Jeffrey Epstein’s life on his private Caribbean island with scantily dressed young women he allegedly demanded sex from several times a day.
Epstein is pictured driving a jet ski with a woman wearing a bikini hugging him to hold on.
Locals referred to Little St James as “pedophile” and “orgy” island because of Epstein’s perverted interactions with women there.
An anonymous source who went to the island claimed Epstein watched topless college girls on Girls Gone Wild while he exercised on a bike because they served as “inspiration.”
He was reportedly engrossed with videos of girls bearing their breasts at bars and clubs.
In one photo taken on the island, Epstein wears a white robe and appears to be doing work, while a blonde woman sits next to him.
Another shot shows Epstein going on a hike with three women who are not identified.
The woman photographed on the jet ski is Epstein’s associate Sarah Kellen, 41, who worked for him for a decade and was apparently “second in command” after the financier’s madam Ghislaine Maxwell.
Meanwhile, the woman sitting by his side while he worked is Yugoslavian model Nadia Marcinkova.
It is not known when the pictures were taken.
The source described the island as having the “best of the best” amenities for the women, including clothing, decor and food.
“The bedrooms were like your ideal Caribbean bungalow that you would find in a five star hotel suite.
The linens were crisp and thick. Super high end. Best quality everything,” the source told the Daily Mail.
The $7.95M home and the island were “paradise and idyllic,” the source said, “but then on the opposite spectrum the dark side was just as extreme.”
Surrounding the home were various hiking trails and the island had bungalows and cabins with beds
Until recently the biggest source of global conflict had to do with energy, oil, and gas resources, but today data is more valuable, and much more disruptive. The bits and bytes of the information revolution are, it turns out, are disruptive economically and geopolitically. In The Economist’s words highlighting this tectonic shift: “Data are to this century what oil was to the last one: a driver of growth and change.” That change is coming swiftly, and — in the coming years — violently.
Governments are slow to recognize this fact. It is nonetheless jumping out and slapping them in the face. Data can be captured, mined, processed and sold — it can also be routed, rerouted, ’listened’ to and stolen. Nord Stream 2 and the conflict between Russia and Europe gets all the attention, but there is another — digital — conflict between Russia and one of its smallest neighbors that is just as important and is getting nobody’s attention. The Regional Digital Hub connecting Kazakhstan to Azerbaijan and – through its Georgian properties — on to Europe is a transformational project creating hope, and potentially stability, in a troubled region. Russia is doing everything it can to block the project. Why? Because it allows five former Soviet States to bypass Russia with their incredibly powerful bits and bytes of data, connecting directly to Europe.
The project connects Europe with Kazakhstan, through Georgia and Azerbaijan, with a spur through Turkmenistan and Afghanistan. In bypassing Russia, the project gives the entire region data autonomy, and the opportunity of developing its own data businesses. Russia has identified the weakest spot in this data network, and prior to Georgia’s October 21st parliamentary elections, it is putting heavy pressure on Georgia’s National Communications Commission to annul the sale of Georgia’s assets to the developer of the project, NEQSOL Holding, a group from neighboring Azerbaijan that bought the Georgian properties with permission from Georgia’s government.
What role are the U.S. and the EU playing in protecting their ally, Georgia? As one local observer notes, “the U.S. government is MIA on this [issue].” He goes on to say “what is unique about this is that it isn’t just Georgia that suffers in this but every country involved in the deal.” By the way, the deepwater port of Anaklia, another large Georgian infrastructure project that threatened Russia — and that has U.S. investors — was also torpedoed by Moscow, without any condemnation from the U.S.
Two facts stand out. First, the U.S. has spent more than 20 years aggressively supporting Georgia and Georgian independence. Why back off now at such a critical moment, on an issue in which we have all the power and influence in the world? Second, in the emerging data economy the U.S. and the EU are superpowers, and Russia (along with North Korea and Iran) are spoilers, provocateurs. Shouldn’t the U.S. aggressively support the right of nations to develop this resource?
North Korea may soon conduct its first underwater-launched ballistic missile test in about a year, a top South Korean military official said Wednesday, amid long-stalled nuclear talks between the North and the United States.
In written remarks to lawmakers ahead of a confirmation hearing, Won In-choul, the nominee for chairman of South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff, said North Korea has been repairing recent typhoon damage at its northeastern Sinpo shipyard, a place where it builds submarines.
Shortly after the repairs are complete, there is a chance it will carry out a submarine-launched ballistic missile test, Won said. He said South Korea’s military is keeping a close watch on developments there, according to a copy of his remarks provided by a lawmaker, Kang Dae-sik.
In recent years, North Korea has been pushing hard to acquire the ability to launch missiles from submarines in what experts say is a worrying development because such weapons are difficult to detect before launch. A test of an underwater-launched missile by North Korea last October was the first of its kind in three years, and the most provocative weapons test since North Korea entered nuclear negotiations with the U.S. in 2018.
The nuclear talks have made little headway since the second summit between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and U.S. President Donald Trump in Vietnam in early 2019 collapsed due to disputes over U.S.-led sanctions against North Korea.
Jung Changwook, head of the private Korea Defense Study Forum in Seoul, said North Korea could perform a submarine-launched ballistic missile, or SLBM, test to upgrade its nuclear attack capability and put pressure on Washington after the U.S. presidential election in early November.
There has been speculation that North Korea may test such a missile before the anniversary of the founding of its ruling Workers’ Party on Oct. 10. Jung said that is possible, but stressed that North Korea is aiming more at pressuring the U.S. rather than celebrating its state anniversary.
Some experts say it’s unlikely that North Korea will conduct any major weapons test soon because it is grappling with multiple crises, including typhoon damage, the coronavirus pandemic that led to the closure of its border with China — its biggest trading partner — and harsh U.S.-led sanctions.
Foreign experts say past North Korean underwater-launched missile tests were conducted from a submersible barge with a single launch tube, not a functioning submarine. In July 2019, North Korean state media said Kim inspected a newly built submarine which observers said appeared to be the North’s most sophisticated model with several launch tubes.
Jung said the possible upcoming test would also be made from the barge, not the new submarine, to not provoke the United States too much.
According to 38 North, a website specializing in North Korea studies, recent satellite images of the Sinpo shipyard show the repositioning or departure of the submersible test barge. It said the barge’s location “may signal an impending SLBM test though conducting such a launch on the heels of a destructive typhoon seems unlikely.” It said the barge may have been moved somewhere for repairs.
Jung said a missile fired from the barge would have a potential range of 300-500 kilometers (185-310 miles), thus posing no direct threat to the U.S. mainland. Despite the deadlocked nuclear talks, North Korea hasn’t conducted nuclear or long-range missile tests in an apparent bid to keep chances for a resumption of diplomacy alive.
Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
The director of hits like “Knocked Up” and “Anchorman” sat down for an interview for MSNBC’s “Mavericks with Ari Melber” in which he briefly touched upon the “chilling” idea that corporations linked to the filmmaking industry are so reliant on capital from markets like China that they’re unwilling to allow anything critical of the country to make their way onto the screen.
“For me what I perceive as more chilling is a corporate type of censorship that people don’t really notice, which is a lot of these giant corporate entities have business with countries around the world, Saudi Arabia, China, and they’re just not going to criticize them and they’re not going to let their shows criticize them or they’re not going to air documentaries that go deep into truthful areas because they just make so much money,” he explained. “So, while we’re all going, ‘can we say this joke or not say that joke?’ on a much bigger level, they’ve just completely shut down critical content about human rights abuses in China. And I think that’s much scarier.”
Apatow was recently one of the vocal critics of Disney’s “Mulan,” which caught backlash after it came to light that parts were filmed in the Xinjiang province, which has been the epicenter of a debate about how China treats its Muslim minorities. Many Uighur residents have been detained in internment camps where they are reportedly subject to forced political indoctrination, forced labor and forced sterilization.
“It is shameful that no US companies and very few politicians speak up about concentration camps in China,” he tweeted shortly after “Mulan” was released on Disney+. “The United States has abandoned the world when it comes to human rights.”
In his MSNBC interview, Apatow went on to accuse studios of killing stories critical of China or other countries where business is done with U.S. corporations in the pitch phase.
“‘Hey I want to write a movie about the concentration camps in China, and the Muslims in concentration camps. I want to write a movie about someone who escapes,’ no one would buy the pitch,” he explained. “Instead of us doing business with China and that leading to China becoming more free, what has happened is a place like China has bought our silence with their money.”
The seven “comrades” — including wealthy Upper East Sider Clara Kraebber — had their mugshots tweeted out by the NYPD early Wednesday, days after their arrests for smashing storefront windows in the Flatiron District.
They were cuffed during a protest organized by the Panthers and the Revolutionary Abolitionist Movement groups condemning the death of Daniel Prude, who was killed while in custody of the Rochester Police Department in March.
Aside from Kraebber, the redhead daughter of an architect and a child psychiatrist with a second home in Connecticut, five of the others arrested appear to also come from privileged backgrounds — leading one police source to call their actions “the height of hypocrisy.”
Frank Fuhrmeister, 30, of Stuyvesant Heights, charged with rioting and possession of a graffiti instrument, is a freelance art director who’s designed ads for Joe Coffee and has also worked for Pepsi, Samsung and The Glenlivet, among other high-profile brands, his LinkedIn profile and portfolio show.
He studied fine arts with a concentration in photography at Florida State College in Jacksonville, according to his LinkedIn, and his most recent address is a stately home on Reed Island Drive in the city’s tony Beacon Hills and Harbour Neighborhood, public records show.
Calls to Fuhrmeister went unreturned.
Adi Sragovich, 20, is a student at Sarah Lawrence College from Great Neck, LI, according to police and her family.
The young activist lost her phone during the rowdy weekend protests and promptly called up her mother, who “made arrangements” to replace the cellphone right away, her mom told The Post.
“She hasn’t been terribly in touch, she’s been off doing her own thing,” said Sragovich’s mom, Susan Jacobowitz, an English professor at Queensborough Community College.
“I kept thinking I would get a call from the hospital or she’d get arrested because it seems like it’s just dangerous times right now,” Jacobowitz, who didn’t know her daughter was arrested, told The Post.
“At least she’s not on Rikers!” she said.
Before joining the protest, Sragovich was an accomplished musician who spent time performing in local theater groups and at the Sea Cliff Yacht Club, according to the Great Neck Record, which photographed her during a 2017 show.
The article quotes her teacher saying “how impressed she was” with Sragovich, who performed “from her extensive repertoire of jazz numbers.”
In 2018, while a senior at Great Neck High School, Sragovich organized a walkout at the school following the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, according to The Island Now.
“It really invigorated me. I feel like my generation is finally coming into its moment,” Sragovich told the outlet at the time. “Unfortunately, that power comes from the fact we’re the ones being hunted and killed.”
Most recently, Sragovich in July was at Occupy City Hall, where she spent time fixing sandwiches and plastic bags of granola for breakfast, according to the New York Times, which interviewed her.
Sragovich has been charged with rioting and did not respond to a request for comment.
Claire Severine, 27, who lives in Washington Heights and was charged with rioting, appears to be a signed model with the We Speak agency who had the ability to jet among Montreal, Quebec and Dublin, Ireland, before settling in the Big Apple to “pursue a career in acting,” according to a modeling profile with the same name.
“Claire has always had a profound respect for nature and enjoys hiking, photographing these hikes, and trying to get other people excited about our wonderful planet!” her modeling profile gushes.
“She believes beauty can be found everywhere and in everybody, if you just look around.”
Severine, who lives on Audubon Avenue, could not be reached for comment.
Etkar Surette, a 27-year-old from Brooklyn who summered in Europe as a kid, is charged with rioting and possession of a graffiti instrument.
When approached for comment at his Prospect Park South apartment Wednesday, Surette barked, “I don’t want to talk to you. You can go away,” and slammed the door in a reporter’s face.
Elliot Rucka, a 20-year-old from Portland, Oregon, charged with rioting, is the son of famed comic book writers Greg Rucka and Jennifer Van Meter, according to his father’s online bio.
Greg penned the comic book series “The Old Guard,” which he then adapted for a Netflix film of the same name — and co-created the “Stumptown” comic series that ABC optioned into a TV show last year.
Calls to Rucka and his family went unreturned.
Joaquín ‘El Chapo‘ Guzmán admitted the only addiction he ever suffered from was ‘women’ and that he was the father of 23 children.
The revelations were made during a tell all interview with renown criminologist Mónica Ramírez Cano after Mexican security forces had captured the fugitive co-founder of the Sinaloa Cartel.
Ramírez Cano, who in the past profiled some of Mexico most infamous drug lords, shared a five-second clip of the interview session that was recorded in 2016.
She sat across from El Chapo and asked ‘what have you liked the most Joaquín?’ before the recording came to an abrupt end.
The complete interview session was never uploaded.
Ramírez Cano, who posted the video on social media Monday, said she asked El Chapo ‘what are you addictions?’ to which the jailed drug lord then replied, ‘none, my only addiction are the women.’
The 63-year-old reportedly has been been married four times.
He first got married in 1977 to Alejandrina María Salazar Hernández, with whom he had four children, including César, Iván Archivaldo, Jesús Alfredo and Alejandrina Giselle. He then married bank clerk bank clerk, Estela Peña, but did not have any children with her.
El Chapo’s third marriage came in the mid-1980s when he tied the knot with Griselda López Pérez, the mother of Édgar, Joaquín Jr., Ovidio and Griselda Guadalupe.
His fourth and last marriage came in 2007 when he said yes to former beauty queen Emma Coronel, who in August 2011 gave birth to the couple’s twin daughters, Maria Joaquina and Emali Guadalupe.
According to Infobae, Ramírez Cano possesses a ‘normal IQ’ although he proved to be utterly astute in carving out a successful yet illicit career as the mastermind behind a criminal syndicate whose influence stretched out across the globe.
‘He is a respectful person, takes great care of manners, cordial, kind, very reserved, but when you establish trust you can talk with him in an extraordinary way, which allows you to know how his mind operates,’ Ramírez Cano said.
During the interview, El Chapo opened up about how he opposed the kidnapping tactics used by many a cartel, which he considered to be the worst crime that could be committed.
Guzmán also said that people became drug user because they simply wanted to do it.
El Chapo, who is serving a life sentence at a supermax penitentiary in Colorado, reportedly made $12.6 billion as the cartel’s chief, money which federal New York prosecutors stressed should be turned.
‘He is not a psychopath. He has psychopathic traits and narcissistic traits that are reflected in a need for admiration, to feel unique and special,’ Ramírez Cano said.
‘What he has is a very important strategic capacity. He knows who to put in the right place, who to remove and how to move his pieces, like in a chess game.’
An appeal filed on last Friday argues that a judge made rulings allowing a jury to hear faulty evidence at Guzmán’s trial.
It also cites reports that before reaching a guilty verdict, some jurors sought out news accounts about sex abuse allegations against him that were barred from the trial.
‘Chapo Guzmán’s prosecution was marred by rampant excess and overreach, both governmental and judicial – needless resorts if he was really the kingpin extraordinaire his adversaries insisted,’ Guzmán’s lawyers said in the 245-page appeal, which was presented to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in New York.
Iran said it had warned U.S. aircraft to keep away from military drills its holding over three days in a large maritime region reaching from the Persian Gulf to the northern Indian Ocean.
Military spokesman Commodore Shahram Irani said foreign manned and unmanned aircraft had been cautioned on Wednesday to avoid the exercises taking place over 2 million square kilometers of ocean, state-run Islamic Republic News Agency reported.
The area lies to the east of the Strait of Hormuz, a major choke point for oil shipments.
Iran and the U.S. are locked in a dispute over Tehran’s nuclear program and regional role. The Trump administration left the 2015 nuclear deal and reimposed sanctions two years ago, raising tensions that have on occasion sparked fears of another war in the region, including over attacks on Gulf shipping.
Irani said Iran’s military had witnessed increased activity by U.S. drones in the exercise area, and the aircraft had “changed their behavior” after receiving the warning, IRNA said.
The drills will involve warships, submarines, aircraft and a domestically produced drone, the Tasnim news agency said.
In a separate report, it said Iran would also join military exercises in southern Russia later this month, along with forces from China and several other countries.