A top campaign aide for the 2020 presidential campaign of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) came under fire Wednesday for her attempts to defend her boss' refusal to release his medical records amid concerns about his age and health.
When asked whether the American people deserve to know more about Sanders' health going forward during a CNN appearance, Sanders campaign national press secretary Briahna Joy Gray compared the concerns to previous questions posed about other candidates' in the past.
"I think the American people deserve to know exactly as much as every other candidate has released in this race currently and historically," she said. "And what you're seeing right now is really reminiscent of some of the kind of smear, kind of skepticism campaigns that have been run against a lot of different candidates in the past, questioning where there from, their lineage, et cetera."
While vague, Gray's comment appears to be a direct reference to the "birther" theory about former President Barack Obama's birthplace that came up in previous presidential elections. The comparison was quickly trashed on social media, with critics pointing to Sanders' previous pledge to release his medical records (which he has since backtracked on) and the fact that he literally had a heart attack just a few months ago in October.
But that wasn't the only part of what Gray said that generated controversy; she also made a false claim about a rival candidate's medical history.
During her remarks, Gray also tried to shift the subject to Sanders' 2020 rival, former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, saying that "it's really telling that none of the same concern is being demonstrated for Michael Bloomberg, who is the same age as Bernie Sanders, who has suffered heart attacks in the past, and what we're seeing is a kind of, um, smear campaign from the likes of ... republicans who — if they were honest with themselves — don't support Bernie Sanders for other reasons."
However, there are no reports of Bloomberg ever having a heart attack in the past, and the Bloomberg campaign decried the assertion "an absolute lie" in a Wednesday statement.
"The truth is: After a positive stress test in his doctor's office at Johns Hopkins University in 2000, Mike had two coronary stents placed," said campaign manager Kevin Sheekey. "Facts matter. This isn't the way to defeat Donald Trump in November." A letter from Bloomberg's doctor in December also described the past stent placement, but no heart attacks.
Gray later corrected her comments record on Twitter, saying that she "misspoke" about Bloomberg's cardiac history.
Liberal billionaire George Soros insists that Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg — the company's CEO and COO, respectively — be "removed from control" over his allegations that the social media platform is helping President Donald Trump win his 2020 re-election bid.
In an open letter published Sunday in the Financial Times, Soros said Facebook should refuse to publish political ads on its platform and accused the company of having a "mutual assistance agreement" with Trump.
He also insisted that Facebook's refusal to remove political ads served only to help re-elect the president.
"Mr. Zuckerberg appears to be engaged in some kind of mutual assistance arrangement with Donald Trump that will help him to get re-elected," he wrote.
"I repeat my proposal," he continued. "Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg should be removed from control of Facebook."
"If there is any doubt whether an ad is political, it should err on the side of caution and refuse to publish," Soros' editorial added. "It is unlikely that Facebook will follow this course."
Last week, Zuckerberg wrote an editorial for the outlet insisting that he was committed to regulating political ads on the platform and said that it would go into effect when the U.S. government set forth applicable regulations to follow.
"Facebook does not need to wait for government regulations to stop accepting any political advertising in 2020 until after the elections on 4 November," Soros' letter insisted.
A spokesperson for the tech giant told USA Today that it will not comply with Soros' demands to deviate from its norm, saying that the notion it would be linked to a governmental organization or particular agenda "runs counter to our values and the facts."
Facebook recently issued a white paper on content regulation, discussing possible guidelines for governmental online regulation.
Four challenges the memo identified include "How can content regulation reduce harmful speech while preserving free expression?", "How should regulation enhance the accountability of internet platforms?", "Should regulation require internet firms to meet certain performance targets?", and "Should regulation define which harmful content should be prohibited on internet platforms?"
Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, has once again been caught exaggerating his support from a black leader or celebrity as he desperately tries to prove that he can put together a diverse coalition of support.
Buttigieg, who has failed in numerous polls to get even one black person to choose him as their top candidate, had to walk back a claim that he had received the endorsement of actor and comedian Keegan-Michael Key. From ABC News:
When Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg touted support from African American comedian and actor Keegan-Michael Key last week, his campaign was forced just hours later to clarify that the actor had not officially endorsed the former South Bend mayor, telling reporters he only sought to "encourage early voting and voter registration."
Key appeared with Buttigieg on Saturday to drum up voter support at his Henderson, Nevada field office.
Could this be an innocent misunderstanding? Possibly. But it's not the first time the campaign has been caught overstating its level of support from influential black leaders.
The Buttigieg campaign published a list of black supporters in South Carolina, which included three leaders and hundreds of other supporters. The problem is, those three leaders all said they had not endorsed Buttigieg. Even worse, many of the names on the list were shown multiple times — and about 40% of the names were white people.
Related to that situation, the Buttigieg campaign put out a promotion for a policy to benefit the black community, but in the promotion they used a stock image of a woman and a child in Kenya rather than an actual picture of black people who supported Buttigieg.
Buttigieg had moved up to 2% support with black voters in South Carolina in a January Fox News poll.
While new 2020 polling may show Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) with a strong double-digit lead among Democratic primary voters, it also suggests that his health could become a big factor against him if he's the party's nominee in the general election.
According to the results of an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll released Tuesday, the Vermont senator and self-described democratic socialist leads the Democratic primary field with 27% of support among Democratic primary voters, which is 12 points ahead of the second-place candidate, former Vice President Joe Biden.
But the results aren't all rosy for Sanders. The poll also asked an overall sample of registered voters about their thoughts on candidates' qualities in a general election.
That section of the poll shows that a total of 57% of registered voters either "had some reservations" (42%) or were "very uncomfortable" (15%) about a candidate who had a heart attack in the last year.
It also shows that 53% of voters "had some reservations" (39%) or were "very uncomfortable" (14%) about a candidate over the age of 75. Sanders, 78, shares that distinction in the Democratic field with 78-year-old former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and 77-year-old Joe Biden. President Donald Trump is 73 years old.
Sanders was already fielding concerns about his age before he had the heart attack in October, after which his campaign was accused of an "inexcusable three days of silence" for keeping people in the dark about what had happened. Earlier this month, the candidate backtracked on a pre-heart attack pledge he made to release his medical records, saying, "We have released a substantive part, all of our background. We have doctors who have, cardiologists who are confirming that I am in good health."
But the results show that Sanders' socialist views and image could prove to be a bigger stumbling block with voters than questions about his health. Some 67% of voters said that they either "had some reservations" (21%) or were "very uncomfortable" (46%) about a socialist candidate.
Democratic pollster Peter Hart, who helped conduct the survey, told NBC News, "There is one clear and inescapable set of results: Bernie Sanders is the definitive front-runner, and the current numbers do not represent his ceiling, but instead his base with room to grow." Hart also acknowledged that the candidate's "downsides are there" but have "yet to be exploited by his opponents."
A man with autism at the Virginia March for Life made an impassioned plea for not aborting unborn babies just because they have disabilities.
The man noted that though "we are getting better at detecting disabilities" before children are born that should not be a reason to end someone's life before it begins.
"Basically, I'm trying to encourage people to not abort children with disabilities," he told the Daily Caller while marching.
"A lot of people think, 'Oh, they'll have disabilities, their life is going to suck, and it will be terrible,' ... [but] you really should not have that viewpoint — I am learning, it is possible to have a happy life as a person with disabilities," he argued.
"You know people with disabilities are often portrayed as freaks, loners, and losers who have no friends. But that's not what has happened to me at all," he added.
Aborting unborn babies with disabilities has become a recent talking point for some on the left, who argue that terminating the life of a disabled child before birth could be seen as compassionate.
Some progressive countries have even put their so-called compassion into practice. In 2017, CBS News reported that Iceland was on pace to "virtually eliminate" Down syndrome in the country — by aborting all the unborn babies who had it.
Discussing pushback against a 2019 law in Indiana that would prohibit abortions based on disability, Glenn Beck illustrated how the strategy is about as compassionate as Nazi-style population control.
(H/T: The Daily Caller)
A black woman was recently caught on video in the newly opened Multicultural Student Center at the University of Virginia saying there are "too many white people in here, and this is a space for people of color." The university's official stance is that the MSC is for all students.
Here's the clip:
Naturally the clip drew quite a bit of attention and controversy — and in its wake, Young America's Foundation spokeswoman Kara Zupkus headed to UVA's campus this week to ask students if whites indeed should be allowed in the Multicultural Student Center.
"I'm pretty much fine, like, if that space is [for nonwhites]," a white male student replied, adding that "we have more areas where we can feel comfortable, and if [people of color] don't feel comfortable in those other areas ... it's nice for them to have a space where they do feel comfortable."
Image source: YouTube screenshot
A black female student noted that it's important to "be mindful that it is a space where students of color go to be comfortable and to feel safe and supported, and when ... white students ... are in there doing something that could be perceived as disrespectful ... you have to understand that that could be hurtful."
Image source: YouTube screenshot
It isn't clear from the clip if she offered an example of "disrespectful" behavior.
"White people need to be aware of the fact that it's not a space for them and make sure that ... when they're entering ... that space they're not ... taking up the space [from] people of color who want to use it," a black male student said.
Image source: YouTube screenshot
He added that the MSC "is a place for people of color and ... multicultural students to gather, and so they kind of want that to be a safe space for them," but that "you don't want it to be exclusive" to the point that "white people are being ostracized ... so it's kind of ... a tough balancing act."
But in the end he noted that UVA is predominantly white and that the school's "spaces ... are made for white people," and therefore other spaces where people of color and LGBTQ people can feel "safe" should exist.
A black female student added that UVA has a "history" of "oppressing people of color, and so it's very hard for people to have a space where they feel, like, safe, and the MSC is place where we feel safe." She also said that if white people do enter the MSC, it should be to "engage" with culture and to attend MSC events.
Image source: YouTube screenshot
A white female student said the MSC is "a multicultural student space and that white people need to be aware of the spaces that they occupy" and that the black woman who spoke in the viral video "had a good point, and she wasn't aggressive."
Image source: YouTube screenshot
Another female student said "as a white person I don't want to say that I should be allowed anywhere, and I think it should be up to those organizations to decide."
Image source: YouTube screenshot
Here's the video of the interviews:
(H/T: The College Fix)
Democratic presidential contender Pete Buttigieg on Tuesday again went after Christians who support President Donald Trump.
Responding to a question during a CNN town hall, Buttigieg said there is no compatibility between Trump's actions and the moral ethic prescribed by the Bible, which means Trump is not worthy of a Christian's endorsement or support.
"Do you think it is impossible to be a Christian and support President Trump?" CNN host Erin Burnett asked.
Buttigieg responded, "I'm not gonna tell other Christians how to be Christians, but I will say, I cannot find any compatibility between the way this president conducts himself and anything that I find in Scripture. Now I guess that's my interpretation but I think that's a lot of people's interpretation and that interpretation deserves a voice."
Buttigieg's critics likely find the former South Bend, Indiana, mayor's line of critique hypocritical. They argue that Buttigieg's personal lifestyle as a gay man is not compatible with Christian values, nor is his unequivocal support for abortion.
Indeed, the Bible establishes the equality of humanity and sanctity of all human lives, born or unborn, by declaring that every human being is created in the "Image of God." And despite progressive objections, the scriptures, apostles, and Jesus himself are clear about what constitutes God-honoring expressions of sexuality and that which is considered "sexual immorality."
Tuesday's remarks were not the first time Buttigieg has criticized Trump's Christian allies.
As Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) has become the front-runner in the Democratic presidential primary, several MSNBC hosts and contributors have had some unfavorable things to say about the socialist — and the Sanders campaign is getting fed up.
Sanders campaign manager Faiz Shakir has grown increasingly frustrated with the tone of MSNBC's coverage toward the candidate and his supporters (the so-called "Bernie Bros"), and is concerned that because MSNBC is so influential on the left, it is hurting the perception of Sanders as an electable candidate with a chance to beat President Donald Trump in November.
"You can feel the disdain they have for Bernie Sanders's supporters," Shakir told Vanity Fair. "It's a condescending attitude: 'Oh, they must not be that intelligent. They're being deluded. They're being conned. They're all crazy Twitter bots.' My view is that there's a bit of detachment from MSNBC and the people who this campaign gets support from. It feels like they're covering progressives from an elitist perspective."
MSNBC's coverage has been so bad, in Shakir's opinion, that Sanders has gotten "more fair" coverage from Fox News — a conservative-leaning outlet that obviously holds a general belief that a socialist administration is the worst possible outcome of the 2020 election.
"Fox is often yelling about Bernie Sanders' socialism, but they're still giving our campaign the opportunity to make our case in a fair manner, unlike MSNBC, which has credibility with the left and is constantly undermining the Bernie Sanders campaign," Shakir said.
Perhaps the most aggressive Sanders opponent on MSNBC has been host Chris Matthews, who has had some spectacular rants about Sanders and socialism in recent weeks.
"I have my own views of the word socialist and I'd be glad to share them. … They go back to the early 1950s," Matthews said after the New Hampshire primary debate. "I have an attitude about them. I remember the Cold War. I have an attitude towards [Fidel] Castro. I believe if Castro and the Reds had won the Cold War there would have been executions in Central Park and I might have been one of the ones getting executed. And certain other people would be there cheering, okay?"
Once again, some of 2020 Democratic presidential candidate and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's past comments are drawing controversy — this time they're about people who identify as transgender.
The remarks in question were made at a March 2019 forum hosted by the Bermuda Business Development Agency in which he criticized Democrats' focus on social issues like transgenderism as an election strategy.
"If your conversation during a presidential election is about some guy wearing a dress and whether he, she, or it can go to the locker room with their daughter, that's not a winning formula for most people," Bloomberg said in a video first reported by BuzzFeed News. "They care about health care, they care about education, they care about safety and all of those kinds of things."
"And some of these social issues, that — and it's not just the American government; the E.U. government does it as well — we're focusing on a lot of things that have little relevance to people who are trying to live in a world that is changing because of technology and communications and things like that," he continued.
Later in his remarks, he also argued that Democrats' leftward trajectory helps explain the election of President Donald Trump in 2016.
"You can understand if you take a look at the Democratic Party; they are so far left that, two years ago, there was nobody on their side that would take these positions, and, today, virtually all the candidates for president of the Democratic Party have been so 'progressive,'" Bloomberg said. "I don't know what 'progressive' means."
In a statement touting the former mayor's record on transgender issues, a Bloomberg campaign spokesperson told BuzzFeed, "Mike understands that the transgender community has been under attack for decades and the advance of rights has not been equal. ... Mike is running to defeat Donald Trump and reverse the many policies he has implemented that attack the rights of the transgender community."
As expected, the remarks were met with harsh criticism on social media.
Human Rights Campaign President Alphonso David called on the candidate for apologize "for using language that demoralizes and dehumanizes members of our community."
New York Magazine writer Sarah Jones called the comments "appalling."
Former CNN host Reza Aslan wrote, "I am literally salivating over the prospect of watching this worm get pounded on the debate stage tomorrow night."
Actor and filmmaker Andrew Keenan-Bolger described Bloomberg's comments as "dehumanizing and completely unacceptable."
But the 2019 remarks weren't the first of their kind for Bloomberg. He has also taken taken criticism for similar comments he made at an event in Oxford, England, in 2016 in which he also discussed the politics of transgender issues.
"If you want to know if somebody is a good salesman, give him the job of going to the Midwest and picking a town and selling to that town the concept that some man wearing a dress should be in a locker room with their daughter," the former mayor said, according to a story at NBC News. "If you can sell that, you can sell anything. They just look at you and they say, 'What on Earth are you talking about?'"
This latest transgender controversy comes as Bloomberg is set to take the stage for his first Democratic primary debate on Wednesday amid a wave of other past controversial comments he's made. Last week, audio surfaced of 2015 remarks he made in defense of "stop and frisk" policing where he talked about profiling young minorities. The candidate has also come under scrutiny in recent days for his 2016 comments insulting the intelligence of farmers.
Actress Rosario Dawson — who is dating New Jersey Democratic Sen. and former presidential candidate Cory Booker — "came out" during a recent interview.
During a Friday interview with Bustle, Dawson said that she's not exactly straight despite dating a man.
Dawson, in a 2018 post, celebrated gay pride in an Instagram post.
She wrote, "Happy pride month! Sending love to my fellow LGBTQ+ homies. Keep being strong in the face of adversity. Loud & proud."
Just months later, it was announced that she was dating Booker — a male.
"People keep saying that I [came out]," she said of the post during the interview. "I didn't do that. I mean, it's not inaccurate, but I never did come out come out. I guess I am now."
She added, "I've never had a relationship in that space, so it's never felt like an authentic calling to me."
Of her relationship with Booker, the activist actress says she's comfortable she "found [her] person" despite it being a public government figure.
"It's the first time I felt like I had to be responsible about my choice of love, which is a challenging thing to do," she admitted. "If you fall in love, you fall in love. But there's another aspect I had to consider: what this meant in [putting] a microscope on my family and particularly on my daughter. ... But in each other I think we found our person."
In January, Booker announced that he was ending his presidential campaign.
In an email to his supporters, the New Jersey senator said:
It was a difficult decision to make, but I got in this race to win, and I've always said I wouldn't continue if there was no longer a path to victory. Our campaign has reached the point where we need more money to scale up and continue building a campaign that can win — money we don't have, and money that is harder to raise because I won't be on the next debate stage and because the urgent business of impeachment will rightly be keeping me in Washington.
On Tuesday's episode of "Pat Gray Unleashed," a shocking 47 percent of Americans say they would vote for a qualified candidate who is a socialist. Watch the video below to hear Pat's take.
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Far-left activist and comedian Chelsea Handler made a bold assumption after President Donald Trump granted clemency to eleven people on Tuesday, suggesting her social media followers "notice what color" all of the "criminals" are.
But Handler herself appears not to have read past the headlines, and the Twittersphere was happy to enlighten her as to the fact that there was quite a bit of diversity in the group of people who received either a pardon or a commutation of their sentence from the president earlier in the day.
President Trump issued pardons to seven individuals and commuted the sentences of four others on Tuesday, and several of them were high-profile — even controversial. The media, in turn, highlighted the release of former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich and the pardons of former New York City Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik, financier Michael Milken, and former San Francisco 49ers owner Eddie DeBartolo Jr.
While the notable names dominated the presses, one critic accused President Trump of granting favors to "crooks" with his executive actions. CNN's Chris Cuomo tweeted that President Trump "just pardoned only elites."
But several outlets took the time to reveal all eleven people who were soon to either reunite with their families or have their records wiped clean thanks to the president. Evidently, Ms. Handler did not read any such coverage.
"While our president exonerates criminals and releases them from jail, notice what color they all are," Handler tweeted, apparently ignorant of the fact that a number of women of color were pardoned or freed thanks to President Trump's actions on Tuesday.
"I've noticed a lot of them are black! What are you trying to say, Chelsea?" replied conservative writer and media analyst Mark Dice.
Director and producer Robby Starbuck took the time to educate Handler further, tweeting pictures of three of the women impacted with the message, "Chelsea, This is @theangiestanton, Tynice Hall & Crystal Munoz. All were granted commuted sentences or a full pardon. He did 11 commutations or pardons today. Out of 11, 7 looked white (63%). Whites (including white Hispanics) account for 77% of the population. You're ignorant."
One of the nonviolent offenders pardoned by President Trump, Angela Stanton-King, even weighed in herself, telling Handler, "I'm BLACK."
Others on social media reminded Handler that President Trump pushed for and signed into law the bipartisan criminal justice reform legislation, the First Step Act.
Senior Trump 2020 adviser Katrina Pierson pointed out that according to criminal justice reform advocacy group The Sentencing Project, since the First Step Act was passed, 91 percent of the people resentenced under its reforms have been black Americans.
Presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg took a swipe at President Donald Trump and the Stormy Daniels affair during a CNN town hall event on Tuesday.
The former South Bend, Ind., mayor was being interviewed by CNN's Erin Burnett about a critique made against him by right-wing radio talk icon Rush Limbaugh.
"The idea of the likes of Rush Limbaugh or Donald Trump lecturing anybody on family values, I mean," he responded.
"Sorry, but one thing about my marriage is, it's never involved me having to send hush money to a porn star after cheating on my spouse with him or her," he added.
"So, they want to debate family values, let's debate family values, I'm ready!" he concluded to applause from the audience.
During another part of the town hall, Burnett asked Buttigieg if he believed it was impossible to be a Christian and support Trump.
"Well, I'm not gonna tell other Christians how to be Christians. But I will say, I cannot find any compatibility between the way this president conducts himself and anything that I find in scripture," responded Buttigieg.
"Now I guess that's my interpretation, but I think that's a lot of people's interpretation, and that interpretation deserves a voice!" he concluded to loud applause from the audience.
Attorney General William Barr has reached out to multiple allies of President Donald Trump warning that he might quit over the president's insistence on tweeting about Department of Justice cases, according to numerous reports.
The Washington Post reported Tuesday that Barr "has told people close to President Trump — both inside and outside the White House — that he is considering quitting" over the president's tweets relating to DOJ investigations. The outlet cited three unnamed administration officials. One source told the Post of Barr, "He has his limits."
The Associated Press also cited an administration official in reporting that "Barr has told people close to him he's considering quitting his post after President Donald Trump wouldn't heed his warning to stop tweeting about Justice Department cases."
Last week, the attorney general sat down for an interview with ABC News and expressed his frustration over the president commenting on DOJ cases on social media, saying such messages "make it impossible for me to do my job."
White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham reacted to the interview a few hours after it aired, issuing a statement saying, "The President wasn't bothered by the comments at all and he has the right, just like any American citizen, to publicly offer his opinions. President Trump uses social media very effectively to fight for the American people against injustices in our country, including the fake news. The President has full faith and confidence in Attorney General Barr to do his job and uphold the law."
The news that Barr is purportedly mulling resignation came the same day President Trump tweeted that, in his opinion, the DOJ's case against his friend, Roger Stone, should be thrown out.
The Post reported that Barr's alleged signals to Trump advisers over the tweets could amount to "foreshadowing a possible confrontation between the president and his attorney general over the independence of the Justice Department." Neither the White House nor the DOJ offered a statement to the Post on the matter.
Yet DOJ spokesperson Kerri Kupec took to Twitter as the reports rolled in, tweeting, "Addressing the Beltway rumors: The Attorney General has no plans to resign."
An 88-year-old crossing guard was struck and killed by a car, but he's being hailed as a hero because he saved the lives of two elementary school boys.
The incident occurred on Tuesday morning near Christ the King Elementary School in Kansas City, Kansas.
"He saved two of our students today," said principal Cathy Fithian. "I'm confident they would not be here if (he) had not stepped in and we are thankful, we feel very blessed to have had him in our lives for five years. We just pray for his family at this time."
The two boys were aged seven and eleven years.
The school later identified the crossing guard as Bob Nill. A neighbor to the school said he was well liked by the children and that it was a shock that he died.
"He had the stop sign in one hand and he yelled stop," explained Fithian. "The boys listened and they weren't struck because he saved their lives."
Police say the driver of the car is cooperating with the investigation.
Nill had worked as a crossing guard for the school for five years.