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Rep. Pete King once again advocates destroying liberty to end terrorism

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Rep Pete King once again advocates destroying liberty to end terrorism

Yesterday morning a man reportedly inspired by ISIS set off a pipe bomb inside the New York Port Authority bus terminal in New York City.

While the attacker failed to achieve his goal of mass murder and destruction—not to mention missing out on 72 eternal virgins as promised by ISIS, the attack serves as a direct reminder of the threat America faces from radical Islam. Unfortunately, it also serves as an indirect reminder of how such attacks may one-day lead to the loss of liberty in America, especially if Rep. Pete King has his way.

In an interview on FOX News yesterday, the NY Republican who carries an “F” Liberty Score (30%) with Conservative Review insisted that the only way to end these random attacks is to throw away the Constitution by adding “extra vetting” along with increased “monitoring” and “surveillance” because “you can’t afford to be politically correct.”

King has a well-established infatuation with government spying. In the aftermath of a shooting in Garland, TX, a few years ago at a Draw Muhammad event hosted by Pamela Geller, King appeared on CNN and stated that “more surveillance on people living in Muslim communities” was necessary because that’s where the problems are.

King later admitted in the CNN interview that such surveillance could be considered unconstitutional, but necessary to get the job done.

When Trump was considering making King his Homeland Security Advisor last year, I documented other examples of King’s eagerness to see America exchange their Constitutional rights for a little government-provided safety, including:

  • After Edward Snowden exposed the spying abuses of the National Security Agency (NSA) a few years ago, King defended them in an interview, saying that he didn’t think “everyone has to know what a spy agency is doing,” and further stating that their job should be kept secret.
  • In another interview about the NSA, he defended the agency when it was discovered that it had been spying on some of our allies because of “how much they’ve done for our country.”
  • He also supported NSA data gathering–which was found to be unconstitutional last year–calling them “patriots” who get it right “99.99% of the time.”

Do you remember when the pro-Trump Great America PAC called for a federal registry of Muslim immigrants similar to WWII Japanese-American internment camps? Pete King advocated the same idea back in 2011 during a series of highly controversial Muslim hearings.

It would be tempting to write off King’s Constitution-killing position, but it should be remembered that the total disregard for our Constitutional rights has been growing in frequency at every level of government, and as far as spying goes, it was just last week that we learned of a plan by the administration to create a secret spy agency that would report only to Trump and the CIA director.

Originally posted on The Strident Conservative.

Foreign Affairs

Fighting in Kurdish-held Syrian town despite cease-fire

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Fighting in Kurdish-held Syrian town despite cease-fire

CEYLANPINAR, Turkey (AP) — Fighting continued Friday in and around a northeast Syrian border town at the center of the fight between Turkey and Kurdish forces, despite a U.S.-brokered cease-fire that went into effect overnight.

The town of Ras al-Ayn, scene of some of the fiercest fighting of the Turkish invasion, was emerging as an immediate test for the five-day cease-fire agreed on by Washington and Ankara. Before the deal’s announcement, Turkish-backed forces had encircled the town and were battling fierce resistance from Kurdish fighters inside.

A spokesman for the Kurdish-led fighters said Friday they were not withdrawing from Ras al-Ayn because Turkish forces are still besieging and shelling it. Elsewhere along the border, calm seemed to prevail.

Shelling hit in and around Ras al-Ayn on Friday morning, raising columns of smoke, seen by an Associated Press journalist in Ceylanpinar on the Turkish side of the border, but none was seen after noon, and only sporadic gunfire was heard from inside the town.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and the Rojava Information Center said fighting continued into the afternoon as Turkish-backed Syrian fighters clashed with Kurdish forces in villages on the outskirts of Ras al-Ayn. The Kurdish-led force said five of its fighters were killed and a number of civilians wounded in a Turkish airstrike on one of the villages.

Other activists reported a new exodus of civilians from the villages. Gun battles and shelling continued around a hospital in the center of Ras al-Ayn, and injured inside could not be evacuated, said Mustafa Bali, spokesman for the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces. The Kurdish Red Crescent said it was unable to enter the town to evacuate wounded because of fighting.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan denied any fighting took place Friday and said Kurdish fighters had begun withdrawing. Bali said that was not true. “The Turkish land and air bombing continue in Ras al-Ayn,” he said.

A senior U.S. official said they were awaiting confirmation on the reported fighting. The official said it takes time for information to filter down to field units especially for forces without strong command and control. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the press.

The cease-fire agreement — reached after hours of negotiations in Turkey’s capital between Erdogan and U.S. Vice President Mike Pence — requires the Kurdish fighters to vacate a swath of territory in Syria along the Turkish border. That arrangement would largely solidify the position Turkey has gained after days of fighting. The Turks and the Kurds appear to disagree on the size of the area covered by the cease-fire. Turkey calls it a “pause” not a cease-fire.

It remains unclear if the Kurdish-led force was on board with pulling back even if a pause in fighting firmly takes hold.

Pence said the U.S. was already coordinating with it on a withdrawal. But American sway with the group has diminished after President Donald Trump turned his back on it by withdrawing U.S. soldiers from northeast Syria, opening the way for Turkey to launch its invasion 10 days ago.

The Kurdish-led force’s commander, Mazloum Abdi, said Thursday night that it would abide by the cease-fire and “do our best to make it successful.” He did not mention any withdrawal.

Asked about a withdrawal, a force spokesman, Mervan, said “so far there is nothing,” pointing to the continuing siege of Ras al-Ayn. “It seems that under this deal they want to commit more massacres,” he said. He uses a nom de guerre in accordance with the group’s regulations.

A member of the Syrian Kurdish force ruled out any pull-back from border towns, calling the U.S. deal with Turkey an “insult” and saying “no way this will work.”

“They think we will just leave our land and our people to Turks if we are asked,” he said. “They can come and take the land by force. Nobody should expect us to leave our land.”

“How does the U.S. think to enforce a deal without presence on the ground?” he added, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to reporters.

Elsewhere, no fighting was heard Friday along the stretch of the border that has been the main theater of the Turkish assault, running from Ras al-Ayn about 125 kilometers (75 miles) west to the Turkish-held town of Tal Abyad. Kurdish fighters have already been driven out of much, but not all, of that territory.

Trump framed the U.S. cease-fire deal with Turkey as “a great day for civilization,” but it aims to patch up a foreign policy crisis widely seen to be of his own making.

Turkish troops and their allied Syrian fighters launched the offensive two days after Trump suddenly announced he was withdrawing American troops from the border area. The Kurdish-led forces have since invited the Syrian government’s military, backed by Russia, to deploy there to protect them from Turkey. Syrian troops have already rolled into several key points along the border.

The Kurds were U.S. allies in the fight against the Islamic State since 2014, but Turkey considers the Kurdish fighters terrorists because of their links to outlawed Kurdish rebels fighting inside Turkey since the 1980s. Turkey has said its security depends on clearing them out of a border “safe zone.”

Turkey’s pro-government dominated media hailed the cease-fire agreement as a clear win for Erdogan. “Great Victory” read Yeni Safak’s banner headline. “Turkey got everything it wanted.” Sabah newspaper headlined: “We won both on the field and on the (negotiating) table.”

____

El Deeb reported from Beirut. Suzan Fraser in Ankara and Mehmet Guzel in Ceylanpinar contributed.

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Mark Sanford’s campaign launch had an attendee

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Mark Sanfords campaign launch had an attendee

When you’ve hit rock bottom, the only direction to go is up. But when you start from rock bottom, moving up can be a bit more challenging. That’s what former South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford learned quickly yesterday when his primary campaign against Donald Trump launched at a press conference in which a single reporter and zero supporters showed up.

What made the embarrassing exercise in futility even worse is that his team of two had set up a podium near Independence Hall in Philadelphia. When the campaign made the decision to launch there, it probably sounded like a great idea. But as Sanford himself noted, nobody knows him in Philadelphia. In fact, most who know him outside of South Carolina probably remember him as the guy who went down to Argentina for a week for activities that don’t need to be repeated.

Sanford’s chances of making a dent in President Trump’s nomination are somewhere around zero, barring a meteor striking Washington DC. Sadly, his message is one the GOP needs to hear – stop spending like Democrats. But there are better ways to deliver that message than trying to primary a sitting President with 95% approval rate within his party.

The attendee, a local reporter, covered the “event” nonetheless:

Mark Sanford kicked off his presidential campaign against Donald Trump in Philly. One person showed up.

https://www.inquirer.com/news/mark-sanford-campaign-kickoff-in-philadelphia-donald-trump-2020-20191016.htmlThe bell in the Independence Hall tower rang at 9 a.m., and Mark Sanford took a deep breath. He grabbed a giant check for “one trillion dollars,” stood next to a tiny wooden lectern, and asked me if I was ready for him to kick off a news conference announcing his bid to challenge President Donald Trump in the 2020 Republican primary.

It didn’t really feel like a news conference. I was the only reporter there.

And when it began, the only others around besides his two aides were a family 30 yards away with a selfie stick and a group of students from Paris who wanted to know why he had such a big check. (Answer: It represented the burden of the national debt.)

This should be a wake-up call to any Republican considering a presidential challenge. Don’t. President Trump is far too popular within the GOP to realistically challenge. Stop watching CNN or ABC News. It’s embarrassing.

We are currently forming the American Conservative Movement. If you are interested in learning more, we will be sending out information in a few weeks.

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Powerful Democratic Congressman Elijah Cummings has died

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Powerful Democratic Congressman Elijah Cummings has died

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — Maryland Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, a sharecropper’s son who rose to become the powerful chairman of a U.S. House committee that investigated President Donald Trump, died early Thursday of complications from longstanding health issues, his office said. He was 68.

Cummings was a formidable orator who passionately advocated for the poor in his black-majority district , which encompasses a large portion of Baltimore as well as more well-to-do suburbs.

As chairman of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, Cummings led multiple investigations of the president’s governmental dealings, including probes in 2019 relating to the president’s family members serving in the White House.

Trump responded by criticizing the Democrat’s district as a “rodent-infested mess” where “no human being would want to live.” The comments came weeks after Trump drew bipartisan condemnation following his calls for Democratic congresswomen of color to get out of the U.S. “right now,” and go back to their “broken and crime-infested countries.”

Cummings replied that government officials must stop making “hateful, incendiary comments” that only serve to divide and distract the nation from its real problems, including mass shootings and white supremacy.

“Those in the highest levels of the government must stop invoking fear, using racist language and encouraging reprehensible behavior,” Cummings said in a speech at the National Press Club.

Cummings’ long career spanned decades in Maryland politics. He rose through the ranks of the Maryland House of Delegates before winning his congressional seat in a special election in 1996 to replace former Rep. Kweisi Mfume, who left the seat to lead the NAACP.

Cummings was an early supporter of Barack Obama’s presidential bid in 2008. By 2016, Cummings was the senior Democrat on the House Benghazi Committee, which he said was “nothing more than a taxpayer-funded effort to bring harm to Hillary Clinton’s campaign” for president.

Throughout his career, Cummings used his fiery voice to highlight the struggles and needs of inner-city residents. He was a firm believer in some much-debated approaches to help the poor and addicted, such as needle exchange programs as a way to reduce the spread of AIDS.

A key figure in the Trump impeachment inquiry , Cummings had been hoping to return to Congress after a medical procedure he said would only keep him away for a week. His statement then didn’t detail the procedure. He had previously been treated for heart and knee issues.

His constituents began mourning shortly after his death at 2:45 a.m. Thursday at Johns Hopkins Hospital.

In a statement, his widow, Maya Rockeymoore Cummings, chairwoman of Maryland’s Democratic Party, said “Congressman Cummings was an honorable man who proudly served his district and the nation with dignity, integrity, compassion and humility. He worked until his last breath because he believed our democracy was the highest and best expression of our collective humanity and that our nation’s diversity was our promise, not our problem.”

Cummings was born Jan. 18, 1951. In grade school, a counselor told Cummings he was too slow to learn and spoke poorly, and he would never fulfill his dream of becoming a lawyer.

“I was devastated,” Cummings told The Associated Press in 1996, shortly before he won his seat in Congress. “My whole life changed. I became very determined.”

It steeled Cummings to prove that counselor wrong. He became not only a lawyer, but one of the most powerful orators in the statehouse, where he entered office in 1983. He rose to become the first black House speaker pro tem. He would begin his comments slowly, developing his theme and raising the emotional heat until it became like a sermon from the pulpit.

Cummings was quick to note the differences between Congress and the Maryland General Assembly, which has long been controlled by Democrats.

“After coming from the state where, basically, you had a lot of people working together, it’s clear that the lines are drawn here,” Cummings said about a month after entering office in Washington in 1996.

Cummings chaired the Congressional Black Caucus from 2003 to 2004, employing a hard-charging, explore-every-option style to put the group in the national spotlight.

He cruised to big victories in the overwhelmingly Democratic district, which had given Maryland its first black congressman in 1970 when Parren Mitchell was elected.

We are currently forming the American Conservative Movement. If you are interested in learning more, we will be sending out information in a few weeks.

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