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For the Practicing Faithful, the Gospel Matters Most — Not Music or Pastors

Thu, 07/19/2018 - 17:30

The results of a recent survey may surprise many pastors and worship leaders across the country.

Most churchgoers will put up with a change in music style or even a different preacher, but they’ll choose to leave a church if the foundational beliefs are tampered with, according to a new study from Lifeway Research.

This is important for pastors who may be trying to reach people through music, programs or style — rather than through the substance of the Gospel.

“It is crucial that American churches return to the core of the Gospel — the true focus of who and what the church should be,” said Sam Rohrer, president of the Pennsylvania-based American Pastors Network, in a statement shared with LifeZette. “Today’s pastors can get caught up in the style of music, programs offered, the environment, and even how leaders dress. While these things may deserve some attention, they should not be the focus.”

He added, “The foundation of the church must be its theological position and how strongly it is rooted in the Word of God. Rightfully so, the people in the pews realize this.”

The new survey found that most of the practicing faithful are committed to staying at their current church for the long haul. Yet more than half the respondents (54 percent) said they would strongly consider leaving if their churches’ core beliefs or doctrine changed.

For the most part, churchgoers say they agree with their churches’ teaching. About half (52 percent) say their beliefs are completely aligned with those of the church, while 42 percent say their beliefs are mostly aligned.

“We see many churches today wrestling with what should be foundational beliefs for any church, such as God’s definition of marriage, his design for sexuality and gender, and many other cultural and societal issues,” Rohrer added in a statement. “While churches must maintain biblical positions on these matters and address them from the pulpit, it is a grave mistake for them to change their foundational beliefs in order to welcome more people, appease more members or otherwise engage the culture.”

Overall, 15 percent of churchgoers say they’ve considered going to another church in the past six months.

Of the 1,000-plus people surveyed, 35 percent have been at their church between 10 and 24 years, and 27 percent have been there for 25 years or more — so most church members have been at their church longer than the pastor.

Just under 40 percent have been at their current church for nine years or fewer.

Related: Six Reasons We Love Church Signs So Much

Overall, 15 percent of churchgoers say they’ve considered going to another church in the past six months. Eighty-five percent say they have not.

Besides a change in doctrine, churchgoers say several other reasons might cause them to switch:

  • 48 percent say they would change if they moved to a new home
  • 19 percent if the preaching style changed
  • 12 percent if the pastor left
  • 10 percent if a family member wanted a new church
  • 9 percent would leave over politics
  • 6 percent would leave if they didn’t feel needed
  • 5 percent if the music style changed
  • 4 percent if they had a conflict
  • 3 percent if a friend stopped attending

Sam Rohrer told LifeZette on Thursday, “When the church walks away from defined standards of morality, right and wrong, and unchanging truth, the culture will follow and the next generation will become aimless, without purpose and hope, while governmental authority becomes harsh and heavy-handed. This is what we’re seeing today in our culture.”

He added, “Yet the opposite is also true. When the church proclaims the truth, exalts God’s standard for morality and right and wrong, and recognizes Jesus Christ as both creator and judge as well as savior and redeemer, hope and purpose is restored; aimlessness becomes direction, and the next generation will return. As Jesus Himself said, ‘And ye shall know the Truth (Jesus) and the Truth shall set you free.’ The pulpit has always led the way in this nation — toward either freedom by the loving yet uncompromising proclamation of the truth of Scripture.”

The American Pastors Network is the largest national network dedicated to equipping pastors to be “a voice for truth in the public square,” as the group states.

The post For the Practicing Faithful, the Gospel Matters Most — Not Music or Pastors appeared first on LifeZette.

Ronald Reagan Might Never Have Been President Without Tom Ellis

Thu, 07/19/2018 - 15:59

Ronald Reagan’s rise from a near-miss in 1976 to his stunning success in winning the 1980 election against the incumbent, President Jimmy Carter, was a phenomenon in United States politics. With Reagan came conservatism and conservative philosophy of government to the forefront of the American consciousness.

Reagan made conservatism mainstream. No more than five years earlier, it had been deemed extremist. But although Reagan failed in the pursuit of the GOP nomination for the presidency — by the narrowest of margins — against incumbent Gerald Ford in 1976, it propelled him into the forefront of the political arena. From then on, he stayed in American politics, winning the presidency and becoming one of the most popular and successful chief executives in American history.

We can thank Tom Ellis for that. Ellis, who recently passed away at the age of 97, did not hold back his opinions on politicians or Americans across the aisle.

“Damned if I’m willing to turn [America] over to the liberals, commies or anyone else. If we don’t protect our freedoms, we’re going to lose ’em to the communists someday,” he told an interviewer in 1979.

Ellis was not a native of North Carolina, but you never would have known it. He was born in California and went to school in New England, but detested the cold weather. He headed south for warmer climes and found them in the Tarheel State.

During the 1976 Republican presidential primaries, Reagan was losing. Iowa went to Ford, New Hampshire went to Ford, and Massachusetts, Vermont, Florida, Illinois, went to Ford. From the Iowa Caucus in mid-January to Illinois in March 16, it seemed clear that Ford was going to blow Reagan out of the water.

The Hollywood actor simply had no chance against a sitting president. His campaign was $2 million in debt, and everybody in the GOP Establishment was calling on Reagan to get out of the race. Until North Carolina.

On March 23, 1976, voters in this Southern state went to the polls, and the results were staggering. Reagan won 52 percent against Ford’s 45 percent. It wasn’t even close and was justifiably regarded as one of the biggest upsets in modern American politics. And Reagan’s win was a seminal event in the history of the conservative movement, right up there with Goldwater’s 1964 upset win in the decisive California GOP primary over New York Gov. Nelson Rockefeller.

And once again, we can thank Tom Ellis for that Reagan win. With his experience assisting radio commentator Jesse Helms win the North Carolina Senate seat in 1972 (the first Republican senator from the state in 80 years), Ellis realized that Reagan had to shift his focus.

The no-nonsense Ellis essentially took charge of the Reagan campaign in the state, taking away the strategy of Reagan’s campaign manager, John Sears. Sears, and others, saw the successive losses and wanted Reagan to throw in the towel.

Ellis, on the other hand, thought this a stupid and un-Reagan idea. “It would be an understatement to suggest that Ellis didn’t have time for Sears and the D.C. people,” said Carter Wrenn, a local Ellis ally, later.

“They wanted to run a character campaign versus an issue campaign. Ellis and Helms wanted to talk about the gospel and the message. It got very contentious, lots of arguing and fighting back and forth,” Wrenn said.

Ellis made it a confrontational and hard-hitting campaign, and Reagan loved it. He always understood that effective campaigning was a constant offense. The Panama Canal issue emerged in the Tar Heel state and Ellis and Reagan beat Ford about the head and shoulders on the “giveaway” of the canal.

The Washington offices of Citizens for Reagan attempted to wrest control of the North Carolina effort, but Ellis swatted them away. Ellis stayed in control, overseeing Reagan’s speeches and schedule in the state.

Over the years, many people, and not just conservatives, have thanked Tom Ellis for saving Reagan and, by extension, saving America.

He played Reagan’s seminal 1964 “Time for Choosing” speech for Barry Goldwater on television, which had propelled the younger Reagan into national politics for the first time. Clearly, Reagan’s call for conservatism echoed just as much in 1976, when the GOP was on the brink of death in the aftermath of Watergate.

Ford was seen more and more as inadequate to the nation’s call. “When Ford comes to North Carolina, the band won’t know whether to play ‘Hail to the Chief’ or ‘Santa Claus is Coming to Town,’ said Charlie Black, another conservative political operative who would play a decisive role in later Reagan efforts.

“Without his performance in North Carolina, both in person and on television,” said esteemed Reagan biographer and former Los Angeles Times political reporter Lou Cannon, “Reagan would have faded from contention before Kansas City, and it is unlikely that he would have won the presidential nomination four years later.”

Over the years, many people, and not just conservatives, have thanked Tom Ellis for saving Reagan and, by extension, saving America. Ellis would have scoffed and laughed at the modern GOP celebrity consultants, spouting off on cable television, without a constituency or, in the case of many, without a clue. Ellis was too busy winning campaigns, moving the ball down the field.

Tom Ellis, RIP.

Craig Shirley is a New York Times best-selling author and presidential historian. He has written four books on President Ronald Reagan, along with his latest book, “Citizen Newt: The Making of a Reagan Conservative,” about the early career of former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich. He lectures frequently at the Reagan Library and is the Visiting Reagan Scholar at Eureka College in Illinois, the 40th president’s alma mater. He also wrote the critically acclaimed “December 1941.”

The post Ronald Reagan Might Never Have Been President Without Tom Ellis appeared first on LifeZette.

Michelle Obama Teams with Anti-Trump Celebs for Voter Registration Campaign

Thu, 07/19/2018 - 15:50

Former first lady Michelle Obama has launched a voter registration group with a handful of anti-Trump celebrities such as Lin Manuel-Miranda.

Also part of the drive are Tom Hanks, Tim McGraw, Faith Hill, singer-songwriter Janelle Monáe, and basketball star Chris Paul.

“Voting is the only way to ensure that our values and priorities are represented in the halls of power,” Michelle Obama said in a statement.

“And it’s not enough to just vote for president every four years,” she also said. “We all have to vote in every single election: for mayor, governor, school board, state legislature and Congress. The leaders we elect to these offices help determine just about every aspect of our lives and our democracy. So the future of our families, our communities and our country belongs to those of us who show up, cast our votes, and make our voices heard.”

The group released a video about its effort — see it here:

Along with Hollywood celebrities, the group is headed by many former Obama White House staffers, such as Valerie Jarrett (former senior adviser to President Obama) and Pete Rouse (former senior adviser and interim White House chief of staff), Politico reported.

The effort has a reported budget of $8 million; the group is planning star-studded events heading into the midterm elections this year.

Events are already scheduled in Boise, Idaho, and Houston, Texas, in September.

Considering those involved, it’s not difficult to see what this campaign actually is — an opportunity for Democrats to once again try to use celebrity and status in their fight against President Donald Trump.

(photo credit, article image: Tom Hanks…, CC BY 2.0, by Dick Thomas Johnson / Tim McGraw “NICU” Concert, CC BY 2.0, by Maryland GovPics)

The post Michelle Obama Teams with Anti-Trump Celebs for Voter Registration Campaign appeared first on LifeZette.

This Grandma Shows Mad Skills with Her Fitted Sheets Game

Thu, 07/19/2018 - 15:34

A grandmother who loves a good chuckle has found a rather delightful way to fold fitted sheets.

Prepare yourself — you’re not likely to expect what this lady has in store.

“I just got my sheets out of the dryer and I always hate that, because I hate folding sheets,” Indiana resident Terri Metz tells the audience.

“But I know everybody does.”

“So, today I will show you the easiest way ever to fold a fitted sheet,” she says.

Everything appears to be going fittingly in the video — until Metz suddenly changes the game.

Her laughable trick is quite the memorable one (check out the video above!).

Metz runs an eyelash salon known as Happy Lashes and has a number of adorable videos on her YouTube channel.

She’s slowly building a following due to her endearing brand of humor.

“I laughed so much watching this! You’re hilarious,” one commenter wrote.

“I tried this and now I am in Narnia,” another comically added.

Metz’s Facebook page describes her as a “wife, mom, grammy & friend.” She adds that she loves “to laugh and make others laugh.”

“Coffee is my friend,” she added.

The post This Grandma Shows Mad Skills with Her Fitted Sheets Game appeared first on LifeZette.

As Online Activity Rises, Teens’ ADHD Symptoms Increase as Well

Thu, 07/19/2018 - 15:16

A study released Tuesday by the Journal of the American Medical Association suggests a direct relationship between computer screen time among teens and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

The two-year study looked at a group of more than 2,500 high school students from Los Angeles whose ability to pay attention waned as they became increasingly involved in digital media platforms over the duration of the experiment, the Los Angeles Times reported.

For every notch a teens’ digital engagement rose, their reported ADHD symptoms rose by 10 percent, the study suggested. While significant digital media usage does not definitively cause ADHD, it does seem to induce symptoms that would warrant such a diagnosis or pharmaceutical treatment, the study said.

ADHD has long been thought to begin in the early stages of childhood development. But the exact circumstances — whether biological or brought on by one’s environment — are still debated among mental health professionals.

“We believe we are studying the occurrence of new symptoms that weren’t present at the beginning of the study,” said Adam Leventhal, a University of Southern California psychologist and senior author of the study.

Other studies involving digital engagement have suggested an inverse relationship with happiness: As digital media usage goes down, people generally report feeling happier.

Related: Parents Have Far More Sway Over Social Media Than They Realize

The JAMA study looked at teens, ages 15 and 16, intermittently over a two-year period. Subjects were asked about their frequency of online activities and if they’ve experienced any of 18 ADHD symptoms.

The study conceded that the subjects may have exhibited ADHD symptoms from the outset that were caused by other factors, but were nevertheless exacerbated by digital media usage.

This Fox News piece is used by permission.

Read more from Fox News:
Trump Slams May Over ‘Very Unfortunate’ Brexit Plan, Says ‘It Will Probably Kill’ U.S. Trade Deal
In U.K., Trump Throws Fuel onto Britain’s Fiery Political Debate over Brexit
Emmett Till Killing Reopened by Government Over ‘New Information’

The post As Online Activity Rises, Teens’ ADHD Symptoms Increase as Well appeared first on LifeZette.

John Schneider: ‘I Did Vote’ for Trump, and ‘I Don’t Mind People Knowing That’

Thu, 07/19/2018 - 14:52

John Schneider of “Dukes and Hazzard” fame has spent the past several months gaining a new perspective on the reasons he’s proud to be an American.

The actor has been in and out of court battling his ex-wife in a contentious divorce that even landed him in jail — albeit for five hours.

Schneider told Fox News the experience has made him grateful to live in the United States, where he is afforded many rights and freedoms.

“In America, you can dream, you can pursue your dream,” he said. “You can become anything that you want to become.”

The actor went on to say that we are “backed by a system” that allows us to pursue the American dream.

“You are backed by a people, you are backed by a system, you are backed by laws that help you, protect you, provide for you a road in which to get to your dream,” he explained.

The actor and country singer added, “There’s no one telling you, ‘You can’t do that. I won’t let you.’

“In America, you are anything and everything you have the stamina, you have the gumption, to be.”

He also added it’s important to give appreciation to those who protect those freedoms.

The 58-year-old caught up with Fox News hours after he was released from jail over unpaid spousal support in June.

He alleged at the time that his conservative values may have hurt him in court, adding that it’s time for more of his fellow Hollywood stars to “come out of the Republican closet.”

Related: Five Facts You Likely Never Knew About ‘The Dukes of Hazzard’

“I do think there’s a bias against conservatives, Republicans, in Hollywood, but I think if you let that alter how you are, then I question how you are,” he said. “If you believe it, speak it, live it.”

The outspoken star went on to say that it’s important to support the president.

“I supported the last president [even though] I didn’t vote for him, but I supported him because I believe that’s my duty as a United States citizen,” he said. “The difference here is that I did vote [for Trump], and I don’t mind people knowing that.”

Schneider played Bo Duke on the hit series from 1979 to 1985, along with a handful of revivals in the early 2000s. He also had a major role in the CW series “Smallville” from 2001 to 2006.

This Fox News piece is used by permission.

Read more at Fox News:
‘NCIS’ Announces Pauley Perrette’s Replacement for New Upcoming Season
‘Big Brother’ Season 20 Houseguest Uses N-Word After CBS Warning
When Kathy Griffin’s Jokes Crossed the Line

The post John Schneider: ‘I Did Vote’ for Trump, and ‘I Don’t Mind People Knowing That’ appeared first on LifeZette.

Off-Duty Nurse Is Reunited with the Child She Saved

Thu, 07/19/2018 - 14:30

The off-duty nurse who saved an eight-year-old from nearly drowning at their apartment complex’s pool last month was recently reunited with the young patient and her grateful family.

Megan McGarity, who was lying poolside after completing the night shift at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta (CHOA), sprang into action when she saw a man carrying the girl’s body out of the pool.

Jaleah, whose last name was not revealed, had been playing on a float when she fell off. Her dad, who was not identified, jumped in the water to help, but the girl was foaming at the mouth and wasn’t moving.

McGarity, 27, relied on the CPR training she had just completed and was able to get the girl breathing after three rounds before paramedics arrived.

She was transferred to CHOA at Egleston and has made a full recovery.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 10 people die each day from unintentional drowning. Of the 10, two involve children ages 14 or younger.

In a news release about Jaleah and McGarity’s reunion, CHOA urged people to keep their guard up around water.

Related: Drowning Is Not What You Think: It’s Quick, Silent, and Easy to Miss

On Monday, the pair reunited over ice cream, and Jaleah introduced McGarity to her grandparents.

This Fox News piece is used by permission.

Read more from Fox News:
‘NCIS’ Announces Pauley Perrette’s Replacement for New Upcoming Season
‘Big Brother’ Season 20 Houseguest Uses N-Word After CBS Warning
When Kathy Griffin’s Jokes Crossed the Line

(photo credit, homepage and article: Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta)

The post Off-Duty Nurse Is Reunited with the Child She Saved appeared first on LifeZette.

Conservatives Troll Liberals on Twitter with #DemandVoterID Hashtag

Thu, 07/19/2018 - 14:12

For all of its ills, social media is good for at least one purpose — a hearty laugh.

In the wake of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein’s announcement of charges against 12 Russian military intelligence officers accused of election-related hacking, President Donald Trump’s summit with Russia’s President Putin, and the confusing press conference that followed — conservatives took an opportunity to make a humorous point on social media about requiring voter identification for American elections.

Their point, in essence, is that liberals — traditionally opposed to voter ID laws — should now support them, since the institution of such measures could help combat Russia’s interference in America’s election.

Some tweets and memes even sported the Democrats’ logo and/or links to the Democrats’ official website.

Most included patriotic imagery or photos of people in line to cast a vote.

Verbiage on memes included: “Don’t let Russia hack 2020,” “The Kremlin wants you to think IDs are racist. Don’t let Putin win,” “Take aim against Russian interference,” and “Sorry, Putin, this is our democracy.”

Some were revived from memes created months ago — and quickly started making the social media rounds once again.

Some were revived from memes created months ago — and quickly started making the social media rounds once again.

Rosenstein, in his press conference prior to Trump’s visit to Russia, specifically noted there was no allegation the hacking affected the vote count or election results.

Related: Illegal Immigrants Are Registering to Vote for the San Francisco School Board

The hacking was focused on the Democratic National Committee, the Clinton presidential campaign, and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee back in 2016.

This is called painting yourself into a corner…

— James Woods (@RealJamesWoods) July 18, 2018

#DemandVoterID :)

— foppa420 (@ricinneide) July 18, 2018

New memes! Would be a shame if these went viral and we turned the Democrats lies against them. #DemandVoterID

— Mike Tokes (@MikeTokes) January 6, 2018

We should take the Russian threat to our democracy very seriously and #DemandVoterID

— Andy Swan (@AndySwan) July 17, 2018

Now more than ever! #DemandVoterID

— Billy Valentine (@CdubaM) July 16, 2018

Michele Blood is a Flemington, New Jersey-based freelance writer and a regular contributor to LifeZette.

The post Conservatives Troll Liberals on Twitter with #DemandVoterID Hashtag appeared first on LifeZette.

Illegal Immigrants Are Registering to Vote for the San Francisco School Board

Thu, 07/19/2018 - 13:19

The city of San Francisco this week began allowing noncitizens, including illegal immigrants, to register to vote in the November election for the city school board.

The effort follows the city’s passage of a 2016 ballot measure that gave the right to vote in school board elections to non-U.S. citizens over age 18 who live in San Francisco and have children under age 19, as the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

The measure was approved by a majority of San Francisco’s eligible voters, but after the first two attempts failed.

“This is no-brainer legislation,” Hillary Ronen, of the city’s Board of Supervisors, told the publication. “Why would we not want our parents invested in the education of their children?”

“As a parent myself and a former member of the SF Board of Education, it is critical that the voices of all parents are at the table particularly those that have historically been denied a voice in the process,” Supervisor Sandra Lee Fewer said.

“We want to give immigrants the right to vote,” Supervisor Norman Yee told KGO.

A similar initiative of giving limited voting rights has also reportedly been approved in Chicago and multiple cities in Maryland and Massachusetts.

But other San Francisco residents are expressing dismay with noncitizens becoming eligible to vote in certain elections.

“The reason I voted against it is that I think the right to vote is something that goes along with citizenship — and should be,” said Harmeet Dhillon, a member of the Republican National Committee.

Some supporters of the measure, though celebrating, also expressed reservations that it could be weaponized by the federal government to crack down on illegal immigrants.

“The victory is that San Franciscans voted for this. In the face of what’s happening nationwide now, we stand strong … But there is also a risk. So we as San Franciscans have set aside a fund to make sure that these immigrant communities are fully educated on their rights, but also their risks in this time and place in our country,” Fewer told the Chronicle.

Related: Pennsylvania Accused of Hiding Noncitizen Voting

She said it’s not clear whether noncitizens’ voting registry could be hidden from the federal records, because voting records are considered public information.

“I think in this case in particular, what is very risky is that we don’t know where this president will go,” she added. “Are there risks involved? Absolutely. But quite frankly, there are risks involved for all of us with the Trump administration.”

The measure granting noncitizens the right to vote will expire in 2020, but can be renewed by the Board of Supervisors, reports said.

This Fox News piece is used by permission.

Read more at Fox News:
Trump Slams May Over ‘Very Unfortunate’ Brexit Plan, Says ‘It Will Probably Kill’ U.S. Trade Deal
In U.K., Trump Throws Fuel onto Britain’s Fiery Political Debate over Brexit
Emmett Till Killing Reopened by Government Over ‘New Information’

The post Illegal Immigrants Are Registering to Vote for the San Francisco School Board appeared first on LifeZette.

Five Cinematic Masterpieces Worth Revisiting This Year

Thu, 07/19/2018 - 12:32

The best that cinema has to offer can be watched and enjoyed decades beyond the initial release date — this is for sure.

People watch and rewatch certain films over the years for very good reason. A truly successful piece of art only grows in relevance and quality. It can age like a fine wine if done correctly.

Here is a look at five movies that are worth rewatching this summer if you haven’t seen them in a while.

Enjoying these stories in 2018 will give you an entirely new appreciation for them.

1.) “The Shawshank Redemption” (1994). Actor Tim Robbins nailed the lasting popularity of “The Shawshank Redemption” in an interview in which he broke down how the film “earned” its positive ending.

“A lot of happy endings are tacked on[to] a film. They’re not earned through the long process of a journey. And this one got that. You got to the end of this thing and you went, ‘Oh my God, this is hopeful. This is life-affirming.’ It was a struggle to get there, but at the end it’s about something. It’s about the human capacity to survive intellectually, spiritually and physically … It’s a message we don’t often hear in a genuine way from our entertainment,” the actor told “The Off Camera Show.”

Based on the novella by Stephen King, “The Shawshank Redemption” follows the story of Andy Dufresne, a man accused of killing his cheating wife — and who is thrown into the world of the Shawshank Prison in Maine. It’s a powerful film about self-reliance, friendship, and perseverance.

While it is, to be certain, a look at the dark world of prison and corrupt bureaucracy, the actual Shawshank Prison is, in the end, a metaphor. Someone’s Shawshank Prison can be a bad relationship, a bad job, or anything in life holding a person back.

Related: The Four Best Stephen King Adaptations

2.) “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” (1939). Before the president ever uttered the words “drain the swamp,” political bureaucracy was shown for all it is in this classic film.

James Stewart stars as Jefferson Smith, an Everyman who finds himself lobbed into the United States Senate. His desire to do actual work and make real progress is derailed when difficult bureaucracy and political corruption hit him at every turn.

This film is still sadly relevant today. The world needs more Jefferson Smiths today. Seeing the world of D.C. through his eyes is a strong reminder to hold fast to one’s beliefs — and to never back down, even in the face of impossible odds.

Related: Slideshow: See These 12 Golden Age Movie Stars Who Are Still Alive

3.) “To Kill a Mockingbird” (1962). In the age of #MeToo and the growing groupthink on certain cultural and political issues, this is an incredibly important film to see today. Lawyer and father Atticus Finch (Gregory Peck) never wavers or backs down in the face of threats and groupthink as those things overtake a town gripped with fear and hatred.

Told through the perspective of his children (just as in the Lee Harper novel on which it’s based), the story takes Finch through the defense of a black man accused of rape — as those around him vilify his quest for truth and justice.

Related: It Is Your Patriotic Duty to See the New ‘Death Wish’

4.) “Saving Private Ryan” (1998). No film arguably serves as a better salute to America’s veterans, especially those who served in WWII, than “Saving Private Ryan.”

The film to this day sports one of cinema’s most powerful sequences and best presentations of what the brave souls who stormed the beaches of Normandy went through in 1944.

After that nail-biting sequence (which alone makes the film worth rewatching), we see a group of soldiers (led by Tom Hanks, in one of his signature performances) tasked with a special assignment: Find a young Private Ryan, the last surviving son of his family.

The men debate the merits of their mission, but they follow with a loyalty typically found only in those who wear military uniforms. At a time that our military is often forgotten or overlooked, “Saving Private Ryan” reminds us of the cost and the value of military service.

No movie does it better.

Related: The Four Best World War II Movies of All Time

5.) “Rocky” (1976). If you ever need reinvigorated faith in the American dream and the perseverance of the human soul, watch this film — the first one in the series.

Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone) is a simple but golden-hearted Philadelphia man with a dream. He wants to be a professional boxer — and never veers from that goal through his hard work and determination.

A story of love, struggle and the American dream, “Rocky” celebrates individualism and ambition. And even though it’s over 40 years old now, there’s not a moment that doesn’t ring true. Stallone injected a grittiness into his screenplay and treatment that still holds up today.

While the country is so divided in so many ways, this is the perfect movie to revisit. There is still much that is special about our country — including our right to pursue our own happiness with a freedom no other country allows. Plus, with “Creed II” dropping this year, it’s a good time to see the beginnings of Balboa’s story.

Disagree with our list? Want to share your choices? Drop us a note in the comments section below!

The post Five Cinematic Masterpieces Worth Revisiting This Year appeared first on LifeZette.

Facebook ‘Should Not Be a Censor — It Shouldn’t Be Blocking Certain Views’

Thu, 07/19/2018 - 11:59

“It’s like asking the fox to guard the henhouse,” said former Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain Wednesday night on Fox News’ “The Ingraham Angle.”

Cain was referring to the role that social media giants play as the primary determiners of which news and other content is — or is not seen — by millions of people online.

Big Tech defended itself before the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday against a variety of accusations, offering profuse apologizes to the conservative duo Diamond and Silk — Lynette Hardaway and Rochelle Richardson — who appeared at related hearings in the spring to air their grievances with Facebook.

“We badly mishandled our communications with them, and since then, we’ve worked hard to improve our relationship,” said Facebook’s head of global policy management, Monika Bickert, at the hearing on Tuesday. “We appreciate the perspective that they add to our platform.”

But that isn’t the whole story.

“I talked with Diamond and Silk personally last week,” Cain said to host Laura Ingraham. “And they are still getting the runaround.”

“The people that appear before Congress [such as Bickert] are professional spinsters … They will say one thing, but what’s actually happening does not match. And I know from personal experience that a lot of the censoring is happening.”

Cain said he experienced traffic disruptions on his own Facebook page similar to what Diamond and Silk described. He, too, attributes the decline in traffic directly to Facebook’s mysterious algorithms.

“Then are in denial that they are, in fact, trying to censor conservative content,” he concluded.

Bickert’s apology was directed at Diamond and Silk, who alleged months ago that Facebook was intentionally and unfairly censoring the conservative content they post on their very popular Facebook page.

Meanwhile, Facebook’s founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg, in an interview with Kara Swisher on “Recode Decode,” talked social media, politics, and the confluence of the two. Zuckerberg pointed out it isn’t Facebook’s job to fact-check websites that use his platform.

Laura Ingraham, echoing this theme, remarked Wednesday night, “We have companies now that have earnings that are a multiple of many sizable countries. They have an enormous amount of power. And when you’re talking about an information flow … Facebook … shouldn’t be a censor, shouldn’t be blocking certain views. And they also can’t control everything on their platform.”

On making the case for the continued ability of sites like InfoWars to use the platform like anyone else, Zuckerberg said in the “Recode Decode” interview, “As abhorrent as some of [that] content can be, I do think that it gets down to this principle of giving people a voice.”

Related: Diamond and Silk Know Just How to Fix Facebook

Zuckerberg, who is Jewish, made a comment at one point about Holocaust deniers. While he finds it deeply offensive and abhorrent, he said, he doesn’t consider this content Facebook should remove because “I don’t think they’re intentionally getting it wrong.”

The defining line for him, in terms of required removal, is whether the content is intended to cause harm or attack someone.

He later clarified and walked back the controversial statement after he was soundly routed on social media for it, CNN reported. He doubled down on the company’s strategy of reducing the distribution of “misinformation” in lieu of removing it unless it’s found to contribute to actual physical harm.

On this point, Ingraham shared her concern that a policy of removing misinformation that “could lead to violence” could potentially be weaponized against conservative content. “I hope that’s never going to be used to target conservative speech or liberal speech, for that matter. But once you start getting into that realm of ‘I’m gonna determine content,’ then I think you’re opening the door to real problems.”

“Censoring is in fact happening. I know it for a fact,” said Herman Cain on “The Ingraham Angle.” “And a lot of other people that I’ve talked to also know it for a fact.”

Zuckerberg expounded on Facebook’s commitment to striking a balance between a pair of competing company goals: giving people a voice and keeping the Facebook community “safe.” In this sense, safety involves avoiding Facebook’s becoming a vehicle for hoaxes, fake news, and the like.

Even before the hearing and Zuckerberg’s interview with Recode, anti-conservative bias was on full and shameful display in private meetings in New York City between the social media giant and publishing executives. But this time, the glaring bias wasn’t on the part of Facebook per se. It was on the part of liberal news outlets.

Related: House Panel Worries About Google, Facebook Censoring Conservatives

In the closed-door meeting, editors of the liberal outlets BuzzFeed and Huffington Post decried the mere presence of a well-respected conservative outlet, The Daily Caller, The Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday.

They were put out by the half-and-half ratio in the room of liberal to conservative outlets. During the meeting, they accused Facebook of being “overly accommodating” to purveyors of conservative-friendly content, the outlet reported. Further, Ben Smith, BuzzFeed’s editor-in-chief, characterized conservatives’ level of inclusion as a demonstration of Facebook’s poor grasp on the true workings of the news industry.

His point, apparently, was to deny the liberal bent of The New York Times (obvious to anyone who reads it, of course). And he seemed to reason there was no commensurate need to provide political “balance” in the meeting by including conservative voices at all. So much for the inclusive Left.

“The fox guarding the henhouse is not going to work,” Cain told Ingraham last night. “I don’t care what they say to Congress. I don’t believe that it is the true story as to what’s really happening.”

He added, “Censoring is in fact happening. I know it for a fact. And a lot of other people that I’ve talked to also know it for a fact.”

Michele Blood is a Flemington, New Jersey-based freelance writer and a regular contributor to LifeZette.

(photo credit, homepage and article images: Mark Zuckerberg, CC BY 2.0Anthony Quintano)

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Engagement with Putin? Trump Is Hardly the First

Thu, 07/19/2018 - 09:00

Vladimir Putin, the president of Russia, has become such a boogeyman in American politics that public statements sounding even remotely in his favor elicit cries of treason.

President Donald Trump kicked over a huge hornet’s nest in Helsinki, Finland, on Monday when he failed to challenge Putin forcefully on interference in the 2016 presidential election and questioned whether he accepts the judgment of U.S. intelligence agencies about Russia’s role in the meddling.

Trump has complained that the obsessive focus on the election and the probe led by special counsel Robert Mueller are derailing efforts to build better relations with the world’s second-largest nuclear power.

Russia experts are deeply skeptical that Putin is disposed to constructive cooperation with the United States. But Trump seems to believe he might succeed. And he’s not the first occupant of the Oval Office to think so.

“It’s not just Trump,” said Robert Kaufman, a foreign-policy expert at Pepperdine University in California. “It’s American presidents in general.”

Trump is the fourth American president Putin has dealt with since he first took control at the Kremlin in 2000. Here is a look at how the others have fared:

Bill Clinton. The 42nd president did not have much time left in office when Putin won his first election, but Clinton tried to lay the groundwork for a good relationship amid growing disputes over expansion of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and concerns over the long-term health of the then-nascent Russian democracy.

During a news conference after meeting Putin in June 2000, Clinton expressed optimism.

“If you want to know what my personal assessment is, I think he is fully capable of building a prosperous, strong Russia, while preserving freedom and pluralism and the rule of law,” Clinton said.

In reality, Putin quickly moved to isolate reformers, curtail civil liberties and press freedom, allow wealthy oligarchs to exert greater influence, and crush a rebellion in the breakaway republic of Chechnya.

George W. Bush. Clinton’s successor met Putin in June 2001 at a summit in Slovenia and came away thinking he had a partner.

“I looked the man in the eye,” Bush said in remarks that drew much scorn at the time. “I found him very straightforward and trustworthy — I was able to get a sense of his soul.”

Bush kept up the charm offensive, inviting Putin to his ranch in Texas in November of that year. The two leaders rode around the expansive property in a jeep, traded jokes and pledged to bring stability to Afghanistan. They dined on barbecue, danced to “Cotton-Eye Joe,” and visited a local high school.

But disputes over missile defense remained a point of contention. After winning a second term in 2004, with popularity high at home, Putin spoke of restoring Russia to a position of prominence on the world stage. And in perhaps the most revealing statement about how Putin views the world, he declared during a 2005 address at the Kremlin that the breakup of the Soviet Union was the “greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the 20th century.”

Russia prosecuted the country’s richest man, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, which Kremlin critics saw as retaliation for the businessman’s support of Putin’s political opponents.

By the end of the Bush presidency in 2008, Russia had invaded the nation of Georgia in support of rebels in the province of South Ossetia who wanted to rejoin the Bear. Putin at the time had given up the presidency and become prime minister, but most observers contend he remained the true power in Moscow.

Barack Obama. Despite Russian aggression, Obama came into office determined to change the U.S.-Russian relationship, launching the infamous “Russian reset” policy. His secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, presented her Russian counterpart with a red button labeled “reset” to visualize the new tone. (The administration flubbed the execution, however, using a Russian word that translated into “overload” rather than “reset.”)

In August 2009, Obama endured a lecture from Putin that lasted nearly an hour at a breakfast between the two leaders. Obama appeared unbowed by Putin’s complaints about alleged misdeeds by the United States.

Related: Not ‘Much Daylight’ Between Trump and Obama on Russia, Actually

“I don’t have a bad personal relationship with Putin … I know the press likes to focus on body language, and he’s got that kind of slouch, looking like the bored kid in the back of the classroom,” he said. “But the truth is, is that when we’re in conversations together, oftentimes it’s very productive.”

In 2010, the two countries signed the new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) in which both sides agreed to reduce strategic nuclear arms by half.

“To get there, you have to have a pretty healthy opinion about your persuasive abilities.”

As late as 2012, Obama held onto hope that Russia and the United States could be partners. In a hot mic incident, Obama could be heard telling Russian President Dmitry Medvedev that he would have more “flexibility” after he got past the next election. Medvedev dutifully replied he would “transmit” the message to Putin.

But Putin proved no more amenable to Obama in the long run than he was to previous presidents. Russia invaded Ukraine in 2014 and annexed Crimea. In 2015, Putin authorized Russian military intervention in the Syrian civil war on the side of President Bashar al-Assad — in contrast with American interests.

And, of course, Russian agents sought to influence the presidential election in 2016, according to U.S. intelligences services. So why do presidents continually believe they can succeed with Putin where others have failed?

“It’s the nature of American politics,” said Kaufman, the Pepperdine professor.

Related: Sarah Sanders Tangles with Russia-Obsessed Media Types

Kaufman noted that Lyndon Johnson was convinced he could negotiate an end to the Vietnam War if only he could get North Vietnamese leader Ho Chi Minh alone in a room.

He said the same qualities that help presidents win elections sometimes lead them to exaggerate their capacity to change the course of foreign governments.

“To get there, you have to have a pretty healthy opinion about your persuasive abilities,” Kaufman said.

But Kaufman said that presidents’ domestic political skills often do not translate to foreign policy.

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Dems Are ‘Being Boxed in’ by Ocasio-Cortez’s Progressive Socialism

Thu, 07/19/2018 - 03:55

Democrats are “being boxed in” by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s (D) explicit socialism and her calls for abolishing the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency and “occupying” its offices across the country, according to Fox News contributor Rachel Campos-Duffy.

“They’re being boxed in by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez,” Campos-Duffy said Wednesday on Fox News’ “The Ingraham Angle,” warning that “most Americans believe in the rule of law and that if you want to reform ICE, you vote for it. You don’t occupy. You don’t resist.”

Ocasio-Cortez stunned the political Establishment in June by defeating 10-term incumbent Rep. Joe Crowley (D-N.Y.), the heavily funded chairman of the House Democratic Caucus. The 28-year-old first-time political candidate is a member of the Democratic Socialists of America and worked as a bartender less than a year ago.

After Ocasio-Cortez began calling for ICE to be abolished — a radical position formerly only espoused on the Democratic Party’s furthest-Left fringe — a handful of Democratic lawmakers joined suit. Ocasio-Cortez insisted Monday during an interview with Democracy Now’s Amy Goodman that Americans must “have a rapid response” if they want to see ICE abolished.

“We have to occupy all of it,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “We need to occupy every airport. We need to occupy every border. We need to occupy every ICE office until those kids are back with their parents, period.”

Ocasio-Cortez and other Democrats ramped up their calls for ICE to be abolished amid the ongoing controversy surrounding the Trump administration’s since-scrapped zero-tolerance policy of separating illegal immigrant children from their parents at the border.

In retaliation, Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Wis.) crafted an “Abolish ICE” bill. But a Politico/Morning Consult poll found last week that only 25 percent of those surveyed believe ICE should be abolished, while 54 percent believe the federal government should keep the agency intact.

Related: Most House Democrats Refuse to Vote Yes or No on Pro-ICE Resolution

Most Democratic House members declined Wednesday to vote either for or against a GOP-sponsored, nonbinding resolution supporting ICE amid calls for its abolishment. Most copped out by merely voting “present” while only 18 voted for the bill.

Campos-Duffy said that Ocasio-Cortez’s victory “got the Democrats really excited because her election was just so shocking. And they kind of all pulled their masks … off for a minute. Mark Pocan, who represents Madison in Wisconsin, came out with a bill to abolish ICE. And everyone was really excited.”

“Then they polled it and they realized that the American people weren’t really with them. So they sort of pulled the punch,” Campos-Duffy continued. “So when Republicans put this bill forward, [the Democrats] all still want to speak to that base that gets everyone excited — the party of [Sen.] Bernie [Sanders], the party of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. So they voted present instead of for the bill.”

Liberal Fox News political analyst Juan Williams told host Laura Ingraham that Democrats believe ICE “is implicated in the separation of children from parents.”

Related: Most Americans Don’t Want ICE Abolished, Survey Finds

“And not only that, raiding communities, raiding businesses, making people extremely, extremely nervous about their status here and breaking up families,” Williams continued. “But the political maneuver here was that the Democrats — and this is the boxed in you were talking about — the Democrats initially said, ‘Let’s vote to abolish ICE.’ Then the Republicans pulled the bill and then came back with this latest effort, which is ‘Let’s vote in support of ICE.'”

“So, like, both sides are playing big politics here,” Williams concluded.

As for Ocasio-Cortez, Williams admitted that he doesn’t believe she is “politically sophisticated.”

But if the Democratic Party moves further toward the far left heading into the 2018 midterm elections and the 2020 presidential election, it could spell trouble for them among the voters, Campos-Duffy warned.

“There’s all this talk about Russian influence going on. But if you really think about it, the real takeover of the Marxists, the Socialists, the old Soviet Union is on the Democratic Party and on American universities,” Campos-Duffy insisted.

“Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is a product of a Marxist, Socialist, anti-American ideology that is permeating — and has for several decades now — permeated American higher education and now going even into high schools and lower,” Campos-Duffy continued. “That’s the real concern I have with Russian influence — it’s on the Democrat Party and on our education system.”

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Ambassador Nikki Haley Calls Human Rights Council U.N.’s Greatest Failure

Thu, 07/19/2018 - 00:12

U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley condemned the Human Rights Council as the United Nation’s greatest failure Wednesday during a speech at the conservative Heritage Foundation think tank.

“The United States was instrumental in creating the United Nations Human Rights Commission,” Haley said. “The Human Rights Council, as it is now known, has provided a voice for the voiceless, it has brought the injustice suffered by political prisoners to international attention. It has put a spotlight on crimes committed by Syria’s Assad and the Kim dictatorship in North Korea. But these have been the exceptions, not the rule.”

“More often the Human Rights Council has provided cover, not condemnation, for the world’s most inhumane regimes. It has been a bully pulpit for human rights violators,” Haley said. “Judged by how far it has fallen short of its promise, the Human Rights Council is the United Nation’s greatest failure.”

Haley was appointed by President Donald Trump as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations in January 2017 and has been an outspoken advocate on behalf of American interests and causes. She drew support and fierce backlash June 19 when she announced plans for the U.S. withdrawal from the council.

Related: Conservatives Cheer U.S. Withdrawal from U.N. Human Rights Council

Haley told the Heritage audience the council too often gives political cover to oppressive and inhumane regimes, especially in the Middle East, while unfairly targeting countries like Israel. Such actions display the council’s political and corrupt nature, which ought not be supported with American tax dollars.

“We made a good faith effort to see if we could fix the council’s problems.”

“For these reasons and others, there were voices in Congress and elsewhere, encouraging the Trump administration to withdraw from the Human Rights Council immediately when we took office,” Haley said.

Related: Nikki Haley Says ‘No Turnaround’ in Trump’s Tough Talk on North Korea

“We could have easily done that. But instead, we made a good faith effort to see if we could fix the council’s problems. We engaged in a public campaign, President Trump called for changes to the council in his speech to the General Assembly last fall and we also worked relentlessly behind the scenes,” she said.

Haley added that it was disappointing when groups that work to fight oppression came out against the decision, especially when it came to countries that actually uphold human rights. She said that those countries expressed support for reforms in private but would not face the scrutiny of sharing their views publicly.

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Sarah Sanders Tangles with Russia-Obsessed Media Types

Wed, 07/18/2018 - 22:10

Spokesperson Sarah Sanders told combative members of the White House press corps on Wednesday that President Donald Trump is “working very hard to make sure that Russia is unable to meddle in our elections” ever again.

“We certainly believe that we are taking steps to make sure [the Russians] can’t do it again,” Sanders said. “Unlike previous administrations, this president is actually taking bold action and reform to make sure it doesn’t happen again. But he does believe that they would target certainly U.S. elections again.”

Sanders faced the bevy of Russia-obsessed media figures a couple of days after Trump’s appearance with Russian Federation President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, Finland. The flap that began Monday in Europe continued Wednesday in the nation’s capital when ABC News reporter Cecilia Vega asked Trump if he believed Russia is “still targeting the U.S.” Trump replied, “Thank you very much. No.”

Trump’s comment sparked yet another apoplectic round of outrage among mainstream media members and Democratic lawmakers, claiming the president was again denying the U.S. intelligence community’s conclusion that Russia meddled in the 2016 presidential election and is doing so again in the 2018 midterm elections. But Sanders insisted that wasn’t what Trump meant at all.

“I had a chance to speak with the president after his comments. The president was … said, ‘Thank you very much,’ and was saying ‘no’ to answering questions,” Sanders insisted. “The president and his administration are working very hard to make sure that Russia is unable to meddle in our elections as they have done in the past.”

But outraged media types remained unconvinced. In a particularly testy exchange, Sanders and NBC News’ Hallie Jackson battled back and forth over what Trump really meant.

Jackson claimed that this represented the second time in three days that Trump or White House officials have “come out and reversed what the president has said” about Russia. Sanders corrected Jackson, saying, “Actually, I’m interpreting what the president said. I’m not reversing it.”

“I was in the room as well, and I didn’t take it the way you did,” Sanders told Jackson.

The NBC News reporter continued, asking, “But why should this president have any credibility to Americans in what he says if in fact 24 hours, or in this case, three hours later, the White House comes out and says, ‘Just kidding?'”

“First of all, that’s not what I said. I was interpreting what the president’s intention was in stating the administration’s policy. It’s not exactly what you just explained. We never said, ‘Just kidding,'” Sanders replied.

Related: Trump Throws Server Wrench Into Mueller Indictment Machine

“And I think that you can take the fact that the president has credibility because he saw that he had misspoken and he wanted to clarify that yesterday, which he did. So when he sees that he has misspoken, he comes out and he says that,” Sanders continued.

Trump clarified Tuesday that he has “full faith and support for America’s great intelligence agencies” and has pledged to “repel” any future election interference attempts.

“And I have felt very strongly that while Russia’s actions had no impact at all on the outcome of the [2016 U.S. presidential] election, let me be totally clear in saying that — and I’ve said this many times — I accept our intelligence community’s conclusion that Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election took place,” Trump continued, emphasizing that “there was no collusion — at all.”

When asked Monday about Putin’s denials of Russian election interference, Trump replied that Putin “just said it’s not Russia. I will say this: I don’t see any reason why it would be.” Trump clarified Tuesday that he meant to say “wouldn’t,” not “would.”

“And I realized that there is a need for some clarification,” Trump said. “In a key sentence in my remarks, I said the word ‘would’ instead of ‘wouldn’t.’ The sentence should have been, ‘I don’t see any reason why I wouldn’t, or why it wouldn’t be Russia.'”

Sanders noted that Trump and his officials believe the Russian threat “still exists, which is why we are taking steps to prevent it. Again, you wouldn’t go through that lengthy process if you weren’t.”

Related: Trump Clarifies Controversial Helsinki Remarks on Putin’s Meddling Denial

“Let’s not forget that [the meddling] didn’t happen under President Trump’s watch. This happened under the Obama administration,” Sanders reminded the reporters. “But to act like [Trump] hasn’t been tough on Russia, that he hasn’t called them out, is simply not true.”

“[Trump] wants to create a more stable world, a more peaceful world. And we can’t do that if we don’t get along with Russia in some capacity,” Sanders said. “So certainly we’ve called them out. We’ve been tough. We’ve approached this in a totally different fashion than has been previously done because what’s been done in the past hasn’t worked. So we’re trying a new approach.”

April Ryan from American Urban Radio Networks, also a political analyst for CNN, interrupted Sanders without being called upon during the briefing to ask her about voter suppression.

“I’m just asking you a question because you choose not to call on me,” Ryan said. “Are you not going to answer that?”

Sanders replied, “If I call on you, I’ll be happy to answer your question.” Sanders moved on before returning to Ryan later.

CNN’s Jim Acosta also wanted to know if Trump actually brought up Russian election interference face to face during his meeting with Putin Monday and warned the Russian president to cease it immediately.

“The president has made clear to Vladimir Putin that he should stay out of U.S. elections,” Sanders replied.

The post Sarah Sanders Tangles with Russia-Obsessed Media Types appeared first on LifeZette.

Gun Store Owner Didn’t Fall for Sacha Baron Cohen’s Trickery

Wed, 07/18/2018 - 21:48

Sacha Baron Cohen lured many prominent conservatives into ridiculous interviews by disguising himself for his new Showtime series — but one gun store owner wasn’t buying it.

Norris Sweidan, the owner of Warrior One Guns & Ammo in Riverside, California, agreed to have his store participate in a documentary about a Hungarian immigrant who was trying to buy a gun in the U.S.

The documentary did not actually exist, of course. It was an elaborate scheme by Cohen to embarrass the gun store owner. In the premiere episode of his “Who Is America?” show, for instance, Cohen tricked a Republican politician into admitting that arming young children was a good defense against school shootings.

Sweidan was not fooled by the so-called Hungarian immigrant when he saw him in person — Cohen was presumably playing the part — in February of last year.

“He comes in — [and] off the bat you can see in the video I’m looking like, ‘This guy does not look like an Hungarian immigrant.’ Tight-a** leather pants, a beard, it just didn’t fit,” Sweidan recently told Fox 11. “The moment his words came out of his mouth, I was like, ‘This guy is full of s***.”

You can see the security camera footage Sweidan is referencing below:

Sweidan immediately called out Cohen. “I’m looking at the producer and I’m just like, ‘Am I being fooled right here?'” he said. “And I just kept looking at the guy and I was, like, ‘You’re Borat.'”

Sweidan said Cohen then left the store and the producers who were left behind provided no answers. Sweidan eventually kicked everyone out of his store.

“Once I knew it was Borat, we already know his game and his bulls***. So we knew he’s here to make a mockery, and of what? Gun owners? The gun business? Gun shops?” he said.

He continued, “He was fake, the producers were fake, the show was fake, and Showtime is fake, to be honest with you. They want a real story, come talk to us. We’ll give you a real story.”

The real estate mogul was having none of it.

It is worth noting that at least one other person wasn’t duped by Cohen.

The comedian, in character as Ali G for “Da Ali G Show,” attempted a ridiculous interview with Donald Trump back in 2003 — but the then-real estate mogul was having none of it, and swiftly ended the interview.

(photo credit, article image: FOX 11 /  Sacha Baron Cohen, CC BY-SA 2.0, by Joella Marano)

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Most House Democrats Refuse to Vote Yes or No on Pro-ICE Resolution

Wed, 07/18/2018 - 21:27

Most Democrats in the House of Representatives refused on Wednesday to vote for or against a nonbinding resolution supporting the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency.

Rep. Clay Higgins (R-La.) sponsored the resolution in response to calls from some Democrats to abolish the agency. He noted during debate on the House floor that ICE last year arrested 127,000 illegal immigrant criminals whose crimes included 1,800 homicides, 76,000 drug offenses, 48,000 assaults, and 11,000 weapons violations.

Higgins, who is a reserve deputy marshal in the Lafayette City Marshal’s Office, said he was a member of the “thin blue line” and wanted to show solidarity with the men and women of ICE.

“This attack on ICE is personal to me,” Higgins said.

The resolution passed 244-35, with 34 Democrats joining Republican Justin Amash of Michigan in voting “no.” Only 18 Democrats supported it; 133 Democrats voted “present,” including Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), who argued it was a stunt that had no meaningful impact while leaving pressing immigration problems unaddressed.

“This resolution is the legislative equivalent of fiddling while Rome is burning,” he said.

Nadler said the House should be concentrating on reuniting children separated from parents charged with immigration offenses.

“We do not have the time to waste with political stunts like this bill while the moral fiber of our country is torn apart … I have no desire to play the Republicans’ immoral games on this right now,” he said. “We have much more important things to do right now.”

Ira Mehlman, a spokesman for the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), suggested most Democrats took the cowardly route by neither standing with their constituents who want immigration enforcement, nor risking offense to radical immigration activists.

“They lack courage,” Mehlman said. Mehlman said the vote is just the latest sign of how far the Democratic Party has moved from just a few years ago, when its lawmakers regularly pledged to improve border security.

“What we’re seeing here now [is that] for many Democrats, the question is not how we should enforce immigration laws but whether we should enforce them at all,” he said.

Rep. Mark Walker (R-N.C.) lambasted his Democratic colleagues.

“Today, House Democrats made a public profession in our immigration debate: they are completely and irresponsibly absent,” he said in a statement. “After weeks of radical and dangerous calls to abolish ICE, almost every House Democrat voted neither yes or no on supporting the ICE officers who risk their lives to combat violent criminals, drug cartels and human traffickers. It is crystal clear they only want to exploit our broken immigration system for political gain at the cost of American families, wanting no part of working towards a solution.”

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) originally had intended to move a bill sponsored by several Democrats to eliminate ICE. The idea was to put mainstream Democrats on the spot.

Related: U.S. Needs New Justice Who Understands Immigration Law

But they substituted the resolution sponsored by Higgins instead at the behest of Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), according to The Hill.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) noted during the debate that Democrats and Republicans used to work together on immigration enforcement issues. He pointed out that the vote to create the agency as part of a reorganization of the federal government after 9/11 enjoyed bipartisan support.

“Now, it appears that they are outraged that ICE has the audacity to actually enforce the laws that we have enacted,” he said.

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Hollywood Still in Full-Blown Panic Over Trump: ‘Impeach and Remove Him’

Wed, 07/18/2018 - 20:36

The leftists in Hollywood remain in full-blown panic mode after President Donald Trump’s press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday (yes, from two days ago — and yes, even after Trump clarified his remarks).

Despite the president’s comments on Tuesday, in which he set the record straight on initial controversial statements that seemed to show him siding with Russia over American intelligence, Trump’s Hollywood critics are still in code red. If you listen to the people trapped in their bubble of anti-Trump hysteria, you’d think we were embroiled in World War III.

These people are calling for everything from impeachment without hearings (Michael Moore) to a seeming war with Russia (Rob Reiner).

Actress Mira Sorvino even said the president was the “prison b****” of Putin.

Actor Ron Perlman took to his Twitter account (which has devolved into full Trump derangement) to say that impeachment was not enough to remedy what he saw as the crisis of the current presidency.

“Here’s a hypothetical for ya: What if the 2016 election was illegitimate? Even the founders never pondered that eventuality. And so therefore never even proffered a remedy. Impeachment is no remedy. Not for an election that was illegitimate. So if one is to hold up our Republic??” the “Sons of Anarchy” star wrote to his 700,000 followers.

He continued, “The GOP, in admitting that Russia most definitely tampered with the election, has said that the results we not altered. But the GOP has lied about every aspect of this affair, and so we can assume that won’t change. So what if the results were engineered? What’s the remedy?”

Patricia Arquette, for her part, used off-color language to suggest Trump’s actions were treason.

Read more reactions below:

In Trump’s stunning act of open, televised treason yesterday, it is clear the Russians are holding him hostage by whatever they got on him or whatever harm they are threatening to do to a family member of his. For his and our safety, he must be removed from office. 25th Amendment

— Michael Moore (@MMFlint) July 17, 2018

Likewise, Congress needs no more proof than Trump’s admission yesterday that he sides with Putin to impeach & remove him. No hearings are needed. Fast action is a must. The House should vote to Impeach & the Senate should hold the trial. Those who don’t act should be tossed Nov 6

— Michael Moore (@MMFlint) July 17, 2018

The United States was attacked. We didn’t see bombs hitting Pearl Harbor. We didn’t see planes crash into buildings. But cyber missiles struck the heart of our Democracy. It was an insidious Act of War. Anyone who aids and abets this is committing Treason.

— Rob Reiner (@robreiner) July 17, 2018

Yesterday, we had a President show himself to be an obvious Russian asset on the world stage, completely consistent with his every other action as President, serving Putin's desires at every turn. Today, the GOP criticize, but do nothing. WE WILL REMEMBER AND SO WILL HISTORY.

— James Gunn (@JamesGunn) July 17, 2018

Now that Trump is finally vulnerable, watch the Democrats NOT go for the jugular. Sad. And I say that very strongly.

— Bill Maher (@billmaher) July 17, 2018

(photo credit, homepage and article: YouTube)

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Supreme Court Reaches Highest Approval Rating Since 2009

Wed, 07/18/2018 - 18:16

Fifty-three percent of Americans now view the Supreme Court favorably, thus giving the tribunal its highest approval rating in nine years, according to a Gallup poll released Wednesday.

“The latest reading on the nation’s highest court follows several controversial rulings by the court last month at the end of the 2017-2018 term, as well as President Donald Trump’s nomination of conservative judge Brett Kavanaugh to replace retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy,” Gallup noted.

Approximately 53 percent of Americans now approve of the Supreme Court’s performance — up from 49 percent in September — while 41 percent disapprove. Seventy-two percent of Republicans, 52 percent of independents and 38 percent of Democrats are among those who approve.

Republican approval, in particular, experienced a sharp increase from 26 percent to 72 percent from September 2016 — two months prior to Trump’s Election Day victory — through September 2017, several months after Trump’s first Supreme Court nominee, Justice Neil Gorsuch, assumed his position on the bench.

“As the Senate prepares to hold confirmation hearings on Kavanaugh, approval of the current Supreme Court is in majority territory for the first time in nearly a decade, a result of an increase in Republicans’ and independents’ positive views,” Gallup noted in its review of the poll.

“A conservative, Kavanaugh could shift the balance of power on the court if he is confirmed, and the result could be that Democrats and moderate and liberal Americans could become even less positive about the court than they are now,” Gallup added.

Approximately 44 percent of Americans believe the court’s ideology is about right while 29 percent and 21 percent believe it is too conservative or liberal, respectively.

Gallup conducted its latest survey July 1-11 among 1,033 U.S. adults. Trump nominated Kavanaugh to replace Kennedy on July 9.

The survey also was taken following several Supreme Court rulings that delivered significant conservative victories, some of which were 5-4 decisions.

The court upheld Trump’s travel ban in a 5-4 decision on June 26. Trump’s critics refer to the travel ban as a “Muslim ban,” since it targets immigration from a few of the dozens of Muslim-majority countries with inadequate vetting systems for national security purposes.

Related: Dems Will Unleash ‘A Lot of Scare Tactics’ Against Kavanaugh

Also on June 26, the court voted 5-4 in favor of pro-life pregnancy centers’ free speech rights to refuse advertising abortion services.

The court sided with the Christian baker from Colorado who refused to bake a cake for a gay wedding because it violated his religious beliefs in a 7-2 decision on June 4, rejecting the Colorado Civil Rights Commission’s hostility against Christianity.

Also on June 4, the court ruled unanimously against a pregnant immigrant teenager who obtained an abortion in the U.S., thus siding with the Trump administration.

Trump campaigned heavily in 2016 on the importance of a Republican president appointing Supreme Court nominees, making it one of his signature campaign promises to appoint a replacement for the conservative late Justice Antonin Scalia in his “mold.”

The post Supreme Court Reaches Highest Approval Rating Since 2009 appeared first on LifeZette.

Kimmel: ‘I Would Rather We Had a Chimpanzee as President of the United States’

Wed, 07/18/2018 - 18:02

On a stage and under the hot lights, Jimmy Kimmel simply cannot stop talking about the president or making extreme statements in an effort to “entertain.”

Kimmel went after President Donald Trump on Tuesday night after the chief executive clarified the comments he made Monday about Russian tampering in the 2016 presidential election and his view of American intelligence teams.

Trump originally appeared to say Russia was not at fault for any election interference, but he clarified his comments on Tuesday — yet that clarification was not enough for Kimmel.

“We thought yesterday was the craziest day of this ridiculous presidency,” the comedian said. “Turned out today made yesterday feel like a visit to historic Gettysburg.”

He continued, “The news today is our president is a liar, and not even a good one. President Trump today, in an attempt to explain what-the-Helsinki was going through his cotton candy-covered head when he stood next to Vladimir Putin, of all people, and took sides with Russia over our own American intelligence agencies, now says it was just a tiny little slip-up, even smaller than his fists.”

Kimmel added crudely that he’d rather have a chimpanzee as president than Trump. “I would rather we had a chimpanzee as president of the United States. At least with the chimp there would be someone to eat the bugs out of Rudy Giuliani’s hair.”

If Kimmel prefers a leader other than Trump, someone should inform him that he is free to leave the country. If he’s this bothered by the direction the country is headed, then maybe that would be a healthy move for him. He’s free to go to Russia, North Korea, or numerous other nations.

Watching how Kimmel would fare outside his liberal bubble would be more humorous, actually, than anything that’s been on his show for the past two years.

Related: Voters to Hillary Clinton: Don’t Run Again

And as if more tired jokes about Trump weren’t enough, Kimmel also went after the NRA on Tuesday night, joking the group had been infiltrated by the Russians.

Kimmel aired a clip of a fake NRA ad featuring two “Russians” who played into some rather obvious and lazy stereotypes.

The post Kimmel: ‘I Would Rather We Had a Chimpanzee as President of the United States’ appeared first on LifeZette.