Viewing free internet porn in the United Kingdom is about to become markedly trickier when new legislation which seeks to protect children from internet excrement comes into effect as soon as the first of next month.
But for all the hopeless fappers and reprobates with voyeuristic proclivities, not to worry, if you must, you will still be able to unlock the smut by handing over some identification or by purchasing a £5 ‘porn card’ at your local retailer.
That means starting as soon as next month, to access porn sites like PornHub and YouPorn – which both attract almost two billion visits each month worldwide – Brits will be required to provide proof of ID before accessing any X-rated video clips.
These new regulations were approved as part of the 2017 Digital Economy Act.
These free sites will join many other internet porn sites which are already currently using what’s called the AgeID system. The AgeID system requires users to present an official form of identification like a passport or driver’s license to verify their age.
According to James Clark, the spokesman for AgeID, when the new system is launched, goatish internet prowlers will come to a non-pornographic ‘landing page’ where they must input the required information before they proceed on to the porn site.
“When a user first visits a site protected by AgeID, a landing page will appear with a prompt for the user to verify their age before they can access the site,” Clark told The Metro. He added that “Each website will create their own unique non-pornographic landing page for this purpose.”
When a potential porn viewer first clicks onto the website, AgeID will ask them to register and verify their age via Mobile SMS, a driver’s license, passport, or credit card. Conveniently enough, porn viewers will be able to use their username and password for AgeID to access each and every porn site that uses AgeID.
According to Clark, “It is a one-time verification, with a simple single sign-on for future access. If a user verifies on one AgeID protected site, they will not need to perform this verification again on any other site carrying AgeID.”
In addition to registering with AgeID, Britons will also be able to access internet porn websites by way of purchasing a ‘voucher’ at thousands of retail shops which will offer special ID cards, which porn watchers can link to the app Portes. Via the app Portes, people will be able to log into porn sides without having to provide their email address.
The scheme has already been pushed back a few times before. New rules were supposed to take effect during April of last year but were pushed back to the end of the year before it was again postponed until April of this year.
Porn sites that don’t comply with the rules will be subject to a £250,000 fine or a blanket block by UK internet service providers. Regulators will also have the authority to block sites that fail to exhibit that they deny access to under 18s
Some ‘experts’ aren’t so keen on the idea, however.
Dr. Victoria Nash from the Oxford Internet Institute commented on the policy, saying, “it may make it harder for children to stumble across pornography, especially in the younger age range, but it will do nothing to stop determined teenagers.”
Other experts are concerned about possible threats that the new system’s poses to the privacy of individuals.
Dr. Joss Write, who is another academic from the Oxford Internet Institute, also commented on the policy, saying, “There are privacy issues – you’re requiring people to effectively announce the fact they are looking at this material to the credit card authorities.
He added, “And there are serious security issues from requiring people to enter their credit card details into untrusted sites.”
It will be interesting to see how this policy works out and if other western countries will follow suit.
Among the more ludicrous claims made by disloyal and disbarred convicted felon Michael Cohen, is his assessment that if President Trump fails to win the 2020 election, he would not peacefully hand over power to the winning democratic candidate.
In his closing remarks before the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, Cohen said, “Given my experience working for Mr. Trump, I fear that if he loses the election in 2020, there will never be a peaceful transition of power.”
Immediately, left-wing pundits and other anti-Trumpers seized on Cohen’s words to propagate fear and loathing of the President.
After “Lying Cohen’s” internationally televised testimony, John Dean, President Richard Nixon’s former White House counsel, wrote an op-ed for the New York Times in which he drew parallels with his own defining testimony against Nixon, saying that he shared Cohen’s fears. In the op-ed Dean said that Cohen’s warning about a violent transition “was the most troubling — actually, chilling — thing he said in his five hours before the committee.”
Dean went on to say, “Since Mr. Cohen’s warning came in his closing words, there was no opportunity for committee members to ask follow-up questions. So I double-checked with his lawyer, Lanny Davis, if I had understood Mr. Cohen’s testimony correctly. Mr. Davis responded, “He was referring to Trump’s authoritarian mind-set, and lack of respect for democracy and democratic institutions.”
Main Stream Media Fear Mongering
Dean wasn’t alone in using Cohen words to stir up fear and resentment. In a piece published in the Miami Herald and other publications, syndicated columnist Leonard Pitts Jr. warned, “Should Trump lose in 2020, a smooth transition is not guaranteed.”
Like Dean, Pitts cited Cohen’s remarks and inquired: “Let that marinate a moment. And ask yourself: What happens if this guy whose self-definition, whose entire psychological structure, is founded upon a self-image as a man who always wins, loses? Can you see him quietly accepting it with dignity and grace? One can more readily imagine Mitch McConnell twerking in Times Square.”
In what Breitbart sarcastically referred to as “a stroke of originality,” Moveon.org activist Robert Reich, Bill Clinton’s former Secretary of Labor, wrote a piece for the Guardian titled, “If Trump loses, we know what to expect: anger, fear and disruption.”
Reich again utilized Cohen’s “warning” to exclaim, “The United States is now headed by someone pathologically incapable of admitting defeat. This doesn’t bode well for the 2020 presidential election.”
Michael Cohen Is a Convict and Pathetic Liar
Before we give any credence to anything that comes out of Cohen’s disgraced mouth, let us not forget that he is convicted criminal, and has been rightfully branded a “pathetic liar,” by the White House. Cohen is a convict who pled guilty to –among other things — lying to Congress in two separate prosecutions. The prison-bound Cohen also pled guilty to violating campaign finance laws and financial crimes, including tax evasion and bank fraud.
But none of that has stopped the left from using his words to lend credence to their ridiculous narrative of fear.
In a previous commentary, I handicapped the impeachment of President Trump at around 99 percent. I was being conservative. For obvious reasons, Democrats are denying any obsession to impeach Trump. They claim that their main focus will be on policy and issues – an agenda for America. That is nonsense.
Impeachment is the number one objective of the House Democrats – including a number who have made no secret of their desire to impeach. They have longed for it –and actually called for it – even before Trump took the oath of office. It was a mainstay in the Anti-Trump Resistance Movement. It was the subject of an ongoing media campaign financed by billionaire Tom Steyer. Impeachment is the entire reason for the flurry of congressional investigations. It is the objective behind the highly biased news media.
Democrats were setting the stage with the Michael Cohen hearings. It is the reason that they gave him an unusually long 30-minute opening statement as a lawyer’s brief against the President – and a long closing statement. The questions were designed to stitch together what appears to be impeachment issues – and remember, impeachment is a political process and does not require hard evidence. The perception of wrong-doing – even if not criminal – is enough to attempt impeachment.
By the way, you need to understand that all the questions and anticipated answers were well known in advance. Congressional hearings are scripted events – not real investigations. It is likely that Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was given some in-depth questions to offset her growing reputation as being a dim bulb in the Democrat marquee. And that new narrative was played out with the praise of the fawning media.
Democrats on the Committee acted surprised by the presentation of a check signed by Trump with Cohen on the payee line – a check written while Trump was President. They seized on it as hard proof that Trump committed a crime WHILE PRESIDENT – an impeachable offense. And, again, the anti-Trump media carried the interpretation as factual. CNN’s John Berman repeatedly insisted that it is proof of a crime. Of course, the existence of that check was very well known before the hearings.
The check, in and of itself, proves nothing. Cohen said it was part of the repayment for the money he put out to pay off porn performer Stormy Daniels. He did not offer any support for that contention. It could have easily been a payment for other services to Trump’s personal attorney. We will just have to see what comes out in the coming weeks on that issue.
In addition, the Democrats claim that the check is proof of a crime is highly questionable. Whether the payment to Daniels was an improper campaign contribution by Trump has not been determined by the Federal Election Commission or adjudicated in any court.
They claim that Cohen’s confession to committing a federal election crime and implicating “Individual 1,” the President of the United States. If Cohen confesses to the crime, it automatically means that Trump committed the same crime in conjunction with Cohen. That is the contention and on the surface it sounds reasonable.
It is not that simple. Is it possible that Cohen confessed to a crime that was not a crime and that he did not actually commit? Strange as that may seem, it is exactly what he did. It was because of prosecutorial abuse by Special Counsel Robert Mueller.
Cohen was potentially facing decades in prison for multiple convictions on tax evasion and bank fraud. Mueller offered Cohen a very short sentence in a plea deal. As part of that plea deal, Mueller insisted that Cohen also confess to the alleged violations of federal campaign laws.
Many knowledgeable legal scholars have expressed opinions that Mueller could never have gotten a conviction on the alleged campaign violation. Many even opine that the case would have been thrown out at the first traditional request for a dismissal.
Yes, it is true. It is arguable that Cohen confessed to a crime he did not commit under pressure to avoid proper punishment for his much more serious crimes — and that it will be very difficult to convict the President because he will fight any such charge – and probably successfully.
Even if true, it would not normally be addressed as a major criminal matter. Normally, violations of federal election laws are handled as a civil matter by the Federal Election Commission and usually results in a fine. Cohen was not getting time behind bars because of that issue. It was for the major crimes of tax evasion and bank fraud.
Folding in the relatively minor issue of an alleged election law violation is disturbing because it gives some indication that Mueller and his team are going out of their way to create the appearance of an impeachable case against Trump. That is not good for Trump or America.
So, there ‘tis.
President Donald J. Trump has announced that he plans to hold a July 4th “Salute to America” this Independence Day outside of the iconic Lincoln Memorial. The President tweeted, “HOLD THE DATE! We will be having one of the biggest gatherings in the history of Washington, D.C., on July 4th. It will be called “A Salute To America” and will be held at the Lincoln Memorial. Major fireworks display, entertainment and an address by your favorite President, me!”
The President did not say if this would include a military parade, which he had admired in other countries, and had planned here, but canceled in 2018, citing a high cost.
Washington D.C. already celebrates Independence Day annually with fireworks on the National Mall and a parade on Constitution Avenue.
Many have taken to social media in praise of Trump’s plans to expand the traditional D.C. celebration into something bigger and better.
Fourth of July Trump Style
This isn’t the first time the president has alluded to having a bigger celebration in D.C. for the yearly holiday. Besides his aforementioned currently scrapped plans for a military parade, he had suggested throwing an event for Independence Day at either National Mall or the Lincoln Memorial during a Cabinet meeting in January.
“It could be a very exciting day,” Trump said. “It’ll be a, really a gathering, as opposed to a parade I guess you’d have to say. Perhaps at the Lincoln Memorial. We’re looking at sites. But we’re thinking about doing something which would become perhaps, become a tradition, Salute to America, on July Fourth or July Fourth weekend, somewhere around that area.”
Despite Trump’s enthusiasm for the event, National Parks Service spokesman Mike Litterst told the Washington Post that “no final decisions have been made” as to where the Salute to America will take place, while the city’s mayor is struggling to find out what makes this celebration different than any other year.
“Every year, Washington, D.C. celebrates the 4th of July with a handful of parades, a matinee baseball game at Nationals Park, a Folklife Festival on the Mall and neighborhood cookouts in all eight wards,” a spokesperson for D.C. Mayor’s Office said. “The day culminates with music and fireworks stretching from the Capitol to the Lincoln Memorial on the National Mall. Like you, we are still assessing what will be different this year.”
What will be different is the celebrations will be led by a President who knows how to do things in a “huge” and exciting way, so as he says, I would “hold the date” and get ready for the best 4th of July since 1776!
Earlier this week on Tuesday, Hayden Williams, a young man who’s affiliated with the conservative youth organization Turning Point USA, was viciously attacked by a rabid leftist who disapproved of the signs that were set up around the organization’s recruitment table.
The politically motivated attack was caught on video, at first by Williams himself before the two attackers knocked it from his hands, and later by onlookers. Video footage shows the man who attacked Williams shouting, “Motherf*cker. You racist little inbred b*tch. C*nt. I’ll shoot you!”
Police reported that one of the two men knocked over the table, and then punched Williams in the face several times, inflicting noteworthy injuries.
The two suspects had left the scene by the time campus police arrived.
Witnesses of the attack have told members from the media that signs at the recruitment table read: ‘We Support Our President’, ‘This is MAGA Country’, and ‘Hate Crime Hoaxes Hurt Real Victims’, a reference to Empire actor Jessie Smollet’s staged racist and homophobic attack against himself last month in Chicago.
In an interview with Campus Reform, Williams said, “Some students nearby tabling were laughing, even one guy was smiling while I was being attacked and trying to hand me his flyer as a joke. The idea is free speech has consequences…. which include you getting assaulted if they find you promoting ideas others don’t agree with.”
The incident has garnered attention from several prominent conservative figures.
In a tweet, Donold Trump Jr. wrote, “When a liberal like Jussie cries wolf and fakes an attack he receives unmatched coverage, sympathy & support creating a tsunami of attention. When a conservative student literally gets punched in the face and it’s caught on video it barely makes a ripple.”
Senator Rand Paul, a Republican from Kentucky, wrote, “’This is abhorrent behavior against free speech on campus. No form of violence is acceptable.”
Conservative groups across the country have claimed for a long time now that students who lean to the right side of the political spectrum have repeatedly been targets for harassment and violent assault by leftists over the views that they hold. In an interview given to Fox News, Charlie Kirk, the founder and executive director of Turning Point USA stated that, “ College campuses have become increasingly unsafe for conservatives.”
They aren’t wrong.
The incident is just the most recent in a series violent, ideologically inspired attacks against conservatives on college campuses across the United States.
Campus police are currently investing that assault and are asking the public for information on the perpetrators.
During the run-up to the 2020 elections, look for political violence and the hate campaign against conservative Americans to reach levels that have never been seen before.
In a response to a largely unsubstantiated article in the New York Times, President Trump has targeted the paper as the “true enemy of the people.” While the president has often used such terminology referring to the mainstream media in general, this time he singled out the NYT, tweeting, “The New York Times reporting is false. They are a true ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE!”
Trump’s tweet was believed to be a response to a recently published Times article which detailed his alleged “two-year war on the investigations encircling him.”
In an earlier tweet, Trump claimed journalists “don’t even call asking for verification” about stories they are planning to publish about his administration ― a post which is also being interpreted as an attack on Times reporters.
That tweet said, “The Press has never been more dishonest than it is today. Stories are written that have absolutely no basis in fact. The writers don’t even call asking for verification. They are totally out of control. Sadly, I kept many of them in business. In six years, they all go BUST!”
Times Reporter Fires Back
The writer of the piece that raised Trump’s ire, Maggie Haberman, fired back in response to the president’s assertions, claiming that she indeed did contact the White House about her story. In an interview with CNN’s “New Day,” she said that she sent several emails to the White House about the planned story “that went unanswered” until the story was published.
“We went through a detailed list of what we were planning on reporting,” she explained. “They chose not to engage and then afterwards the president acts surprised.”
“Now whether his aides are not telling him what we are looking at or whether this is a game and he knows what it is and he’s pretending that he doesn’t, I can’t read his mind,” she speculated. “We certainly followed normal reporting practices and went over it at length with both the White House and the Department of Justice.”
Haberman’s piece touched on everything from the firing of James Comey to Trump allegedly pressuring former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer to lie about Trump asking for Michael Flynn’s resignation. It also alleges, with no evidence, that Trump discussed having Flynn and Paul Manafort pardoned as a means to entice them against cooperating with Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.
Trump also took to twitter to take a jab at the Washington Post when he learned of the Covington students suing the Washington Post for 250 million dollars for “practicing a modern-day form of McCarthyism.”
“The Washington Post ignored basic journalistic standards because it wanted to advance its well-known and easily documented biased agenda against President Donald J. Trump.” Covington student suing WAPO. Go get them Nick. Fake News!
There is no part of our public policy establishment that is more demonized than THE LOBBYIST. Nary a kind word is said about them and they are virtually always portrayed as evil, conniving, ruthless, heartless, greedy, dishonest, corrupt … well, you get the idea. Just as Wall Street has become synonymous for banking, Madison Avenue for advertising and Broadway for theater, Washington’s K Street is the collective reference to lobbyists.
According to common lore, they influence our legislators against the interests of we the people. They are deemed to have powers over our legislators at all levels of government that would may Zeus look like a wimp in comparison. And the source of their power is money that puts lawmakers into indentured servitude.
This image of the lobbyist is contorted by left-leaning politicians, the news profession and the entertainment industry. This terrible image of lobbyist applies only to those who are not on the side of the left-leaning politicians, the news profession and the entertainment industry. The bull’s-eye in their target of wrath is the “corporate lobbyist” and organizations like the National Rifle Association (NRA).
But, what about all those high-paid union lobbyists, the education associations and organizations like Planned Parenthood. These are among the highest-funded lobbying operations in the country. In an example of characteristic hypocrisy, the left spends billions of dollars on the very kind of lobbyists they eschew. If you hang around Capitol Hill even for a short time, you will discover that there are lobbyists representing every view in our remarkably diverse nation – and that is a good thing.
The genius of our Constitution is that it puts the power of governance in the hands of the people. It is our right and responsibility to elect our representatives and to let them know what we would like them to do. That is why our First Amendment is so important. It is why we can speak out against our government. It is why we are free to assemble – and free to influence our public officials. That all-important First Amendment states that we have the right “to petition the government for a redress of grievances.” And remember that virtually all legislation is a redress of some perceived grievance – a correction to a problem.
Obviously, tens of millions of us cannot give our opinion to our city council member, state legislators and members of Congress – much less all those mayors, governors and lesser officials. Individually, we have no opportunity to sit down with the President of the United States.
So, what must we do? We have to make our opinion known collectively as an “interest group” through organizations composed of and supported by like-minded people – and let the leaders of those groups press our case with all those government officials. And all those people who carry our water – so to speak — are called … lobbyists.
There are lobbyists on all sides of every issue. Without them, my voice and yours would not be heard and considered in the hall of government. Without lobbyists our Republic would not exist. Lobbying is unique to a free people living in a Republic. You can rest assured that authoritarian nations do not have a lot of lobbyists representing the views of the public.
Another lobbyist-related issue that gets a lot of attention is the money. Critics of lobbying – corporate lobbying in most cases — mount a double-pronged attack on the money. The first, is tied to campaign contributions – which are only indirectly related to lobbying. The vast majority of campaign contributions come through political action committees that are forbidden to lobby. And many organizations that provide information to public officials – all those foundations and think tanks you read about — are not allowed to give campaign contributions. That is also true of advocacy (lobbying) groups.
The distinction is determined by the Internal Revenue Service. An education-only group – designated as a 501(c)(3) – is tax exempt and can provide information to legislators, but not lobby. An advocacy group – 501 (c)(4) – can lobby but does not enjoy tax exemption and cannot donate to campaigns. Political Action Committees (PACs) can donate, but not lobby.
What makes lobbys, such as the NRA, Planned Parenthood or the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), so powerful is not as much the money as their grassroots support among voters. This was noted by journalists Emma Green, writing in The Atlantic. She wrote, “What gives groups like the NRA or AIPAC clout on Capitol Hill are the supporters who stand behind them, and their passion for the issues these groups champion.”
The second assault on the money deals with the amount of cash spent by lobbyists on our public servants – you know, those fancy dinners where drinks flow like the Mighty Mississippi, Super Bowl tickets for the VIP boxes, gifts and other perquisites (perqs or perks, as we commonly refer to them) designed to circumvent legal limitations.
The image of a high-rolling lobbyist spending lavishly on members of Congress is iconic in movies and television shows, but it is an exaggerated imagery. For sure, some of that goes on as a normal course of business, but for the most part lobbying is issue-based and requires a lot of research, statistics and persuasive communication. There are a lot more meetings in congressional offices than there are dinners at the Mini Bar at José Andres – where the average dinner goes for around $390. But hey! It includes a glass of wine.
There is a bit of a canard in terms of the money. It is widely believed that the money buys the vote – that a legislator’s vote is purchased. To the extent that may happen with an occasional corrupt lawmaker, it is very rare – and criminal. Believe it or not, you cannot offer money to a legislator in return for a vote. Furthermore, campaign money cannot legally be requested or offered on government property.
The money goes to candidates and legislators who ALREADY support the position of the lobbyists representing an interest group. Did you ever see candidates who want to confiscate all guns get money from the NRA? Of course not. They get money from the anti-gun lobby. Duh!
Campaign money may help candidates get elected based on their platform, but even that is overstated. Incumbency is the primary reason politicians get re-elected – and where there is no incumbent, candidates with less resources often win. Trump won the presidency spending a lot less money than the Clinton campaign.
Lobbying is not the bane of democracy, it is essential to the existence of a republic. Lobbyists are the education arm of the legislature. They bring information and statistics that are otherwise beyond a legislator’s ability to research on the Internet. Lobbyists provide the facts and figures upon which legislators rely to make their decisions.
Lobbyists come with a point of view. But you can bet that the legislator will be presented with facts and figures that are a counterpoint. In many ways it is like a court-of-law in which the prosecution and defense present their best argument for the judge to decide.
The demonizing of lobbying and lobbyists is just another one of those mendacious left-wing narratives that is foisted on the public purely for political purposes. In singling out lobbyists who represent a more conservative viewpoint, the left – politicians and their media allies – are hypocritical, to say the least. Those who condemn lobbyists the most rely on them regularly. They are downright hypocritical … un-American.
So, there ‘tis.
President Donald Trump plans to declare a national emergency after Congress passed a government spending deal that provides further funding for border security. Speaking to NBC News, a Trump administration official confirmed that the president will announce around $8 billion for a border wall under executive actions, part of which will be an emergency declaration.
That figure includes $1.375 billion in the spending bill for fencing in Texas; $600 million from the Treasury Department’s drug forfeiture fund; $2.5 billion from a Defense Department drug interdiction program; and $3.5 billion from a military construction budget under an emergency declaration by the president.
The president will hold an event in the Rose Garden about the border at some time on Friday morning, the White House said.
“President Trump will sign the government funding bill, and as he has stated before, he will also take other executive action — including a national emergency — to ensure we stop the national security and humanitarian crisis at the border,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement Thursday afternoon.
Democrats Would Take Legal Action
Trump plans to use a declaration of emergency to divert funding from multiple parts of the federal government to extend the border barrier, most notably the Defense Department, two senior administration officials and a congressional aide told NBC News.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said in response that if Trump declares a national emergency, Democrats could consider legal action to stop him.
“That’s an option, and we’ll review our options,” Pelosi said. “But it’s important to note that when the president declares this emergency, first of all, it’s not an emergency. What’s happening at the border, it’s a humanitarian challenge to us. The president has tried to sell a bill of goods. But putting that aside, just in terms of the president making an end run around Congress, here he said let us respect what the committee will do, then walks away from it.”
Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., released a joint statement after the White House announcement vowing to defend the constitutional separation of powers.
“Declaring a national emergency would be a lawless act, a gross abuse of the power of the presidency and a desperate attempt to distract from the fact that President Trump broke his core promise to have Mexico pay for his wall,” their statement said.
Even some Republicans are not on board with the president decision. “I think it’s a dangerous step,” said Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas. “One, because of the precedent it sets. Two, because the president is going to get sued and it won’t succeed in accomplishing his goal, and three, because I think Mrs. Pelosi will then introduce a resolution which will pass the House, then come over here and divide Republicans. So to me, it strikes me as not a good strategy.”
The bill that Trump is expected to sign, provides $1.375 billion for 55 miles of pedestrian and levee fencing in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas, far short of Trump’s $5.7 billion request. It also would prohibit the use of a concrete wall or other Trump prototypes and specify that only “existing technologies” for fencing and barriers could be used.
Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Richard Shelby, R-Ala., who helped negotiate the deal, said he had told Trump and Vice President Mike Pence that the bill should be viewed as a “down payment” to fund border security.
President Trump has long taken an “only I can fix this approach” to crisis politics, and in this case, he seems to be ready willing and able to strike unilaterally to ensure his most quintessential campaign promise, and “build that wall!”
According to the Miami Herald, President Donald Trump is headed to Miami on President’s Day to speak about the ongoing turmoil in Venezuela — a move that many believe will embolden interim president Juan Guaidó and put further pressure on Nicolás Maduro to renounce his bid to maintain power and leave the embattled country
Trump is scheduled to speak at Florida International University, where he’ll reaffirm his support for Guaidó and, according to the Herald reporter David Smiley, hammer home his message that socialism is a scourge that has caused the economic collapse of the once prosperous nation.
The president will deliver his address at the university’s Modesto A. Maidique campus in Sweetwater, which is immediately south of Doral, home to the largest concentration of Venezuelans in the U.S.
Trump Ups the Pressure on Maduro
Trump, who is expected to travel to Mar-a-Lago ahead of the Holiday weekend, is looking to increase pressure on Maduro to leave Venezuela while extending an opportunity for military leaders to disobey the Venezuelan leader and allow aid into the country, the Herald report said. The timing is crucial as Trump and the administration seek to keep momentum building against Maduro.
“We have tremendous support all over South America, all over the world, really” [for our position on Venezuela], Trump said during a White House meeting with Colombian President Ivan Duque.
Trump and Duque are trying to figure out how to get tens of millions of dollars’ worth of aid from the United States into Venezuela that Guaidó promised would be delivered as of Feb. 23. The Maduro government has blocked a bridge connecting the once oil-rich nation to Colombia, and the humanitarian aid, requested by Guaidó, sits at the border.
Trump’s visit to Miami is a continuation of the aggressive stance his administration has taken towards Maduro, which began with a recent consultation with Miami congressional leaders. His appearance at FIU comes just two weeks after Vice President Mike Pence traveled to Doral to emphasize the Trump administration’s support for Venezuelans and Venezuelan exiles who’ve fled to the U.S.
One can see where mockingly wearing blackface can be seen as offensive to many people – black and white. Besides, any accusations of sexual assault – rape – must be taken seriously. Rape is among the most serious crimes while putting on blackface as a party costume is in very poor taste, but not a crime. Both activities, however, have resulted in calls for Virginia Governor Ralph Northam and Attorney General Mark Herring to step down because of their youthful antics in going to costume events in blackface. And Lt. Governor Justin Fairfax to resign after two women have accused him of sexual assault.
The fact that long ago youthful high jinx appears to be equated with Class A felony crime is a bit unsettling. But in these days of hyper-sensitive political correctness, that seems to be the case.
The charges against Fairfax need to be investigated and adjudicated if there is sufficient evidence to warrant prosecution. If true, the Lt. Governor will not only be compelled to resign. He has a good chance of landing in prison.
Still, all this has become a comic opera – a situation comedy that is a satire of itself. It would not take much-scripted exaggeration to become a sketch on Saturday Night Live, or a front-page piece in the satirical publication, The Onion.
That is not to say that the wearing of blackface is not a seriously offensive activity – even considering the times in which it occurred. Of course, it was meant to be funny at the time but still reflected a contemptuous mocking of black people. Those who were laughing at the time, were not guffawing in sympathy WITH black people, but at them.
While the long events may not be considered humorous by today’s standards, the way they were handled – and how they unfolded — is what evokes that special you-gotta-be-kidding laughter. It is pure situation comedy played out on the real stage of life.
First, for a progressive Democrat governor being caught in such a politically incorrect situation is the kind of irony that evokes a humorous response – cynical as it may be. The comedic level increases as Northam explains that one of the persons in the photo – the guy in blackface or the person concealed by the Ku Klux Klan hook – is him. He just does not know which one it is. That is a laugh line, for sure.
As if that is not enough, Northam next claims he is not sure the that either of them is him. What? He then goes on to claim that neither of them is him. Such public floundering is the essence of “pratfall” comedy, but at least he is finally off the hook. Right? On no. His disclaimer turns out to be a set up for even a funnier line.
Though he is not in the offensive photograph – as questionable as his claim may be – he then admits that he did do black face another time to imitate Michael Jackson – with gloves and all, as he put it. When a reporter asked if he could do Jackson’s iconic moon-walk, Northam clutches and looks over to his wife.
She advises him that performing in front of the press would be in bad taste. Well duh! Northam probably should have known that without outside counsel, but then again, he IS the guy who put on the blackface in the first place and now cannot recall when or why.
This was just about the time that it seemed Northam would be resigning under pressure from every Democrat member of the Virginia legislature and virtually every Democrat presidential candidate and prospective presidential candidate.
This would mean that Lt. Governor Fairfax — a black man – would be taking over. Oh, the irony of it all. Northam does black face and a black person is in line to take his place. But this production is far from over. That is when Fairfax gets hit with a credible accusation of sexual assault – and then, in accordance with the modern #MeToo culture, he gets hit with a second accusation.
Now it would appear that both the Governor and the Lt. Governor were going to have to resign – turning over the office to Attorney General Herring. But this comedic farce is not about to come to an end. Great humor is always full of surprises.
Weeell … this is where the Attorney General sheepishly admits that he ALSO donned blackface way back when. (We should pause here until the laughter subsides.) Herring gets hoisted on his own petard as the guy who demanded Northam resign for doing exactly what he has done.
With the prospect of the three top Virginia Democrats all leaving office, who – pray tell – would take over the governorship? It would be the Speaker of the House – and he is a Republican. This has now become a comedic melodrama par excellence.
Suddenly, the Democrats have a problem. All those calls for Northam, Fairfax and Herring to resign based on the self-proclaimed “high moral ground” are suddenly muted as high morality comes in conflict with political pragmaticism. Northam’s transgression against political correctness and racial tolerance that commenced this bit of political theater is suddenly downgraded from a mortal to a venial sin. And, suddenly Northam’s mandatory resignation is no long a requirement of contrition.
Northam again goes for humor when he explains that he will not resign because he feels that he is the one person who can lead Virginia into a new age of racial tolerance. Laughter continues as the curtain falls – assuming that is the end of the last act.
In the final irony, it is the black guy in the middle who is likely to be the only political casualty. The gods of Greek comedy could not have spun a better tale.
So, there ‘tis.