Does The Canadian Motion Condemning Islamophobia Put Free Speech In The Crosshairs? 30 Percent Of Canadians Think So

While it doesn’t make it against the law, some are saying that the motion that condemns Islamophobia in Canada could lead to criticisms of the religion being viewed was acts of Islamophobia, which could muzzle free speech rights. M-103, which was passed on Thursday, states that the House Of Commons condemns “Islamophobia and all forms of systemic racism and religious discrimination.”

Here’s the text of the motion:

That, in the opinion of the House, the government should: (a) recognize the need to quell the increasing public climate of hate and fear; (b) condemn Islamophobia and all forms of systemic racism and religious discrimination and take note of House of Commons’ petition e-411 and the issues raised by it; and (c) request that the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage undertake a study on how the government could (i) develop a whole-of-government approach to reducing or eliminating systemic racism and religious discrimination including Islamophobia, in Canada, while ensuring a community-centered focus with a holistic response through evidence-based policy-making, (ii) collect data to contextualize hate crime reports and to conduct needs assessments for impacted communities, and that the Committee should present its findings and recommendations to the House no later than 240 calendar days from the adoption of this motion, provided that in its report, the Committee should make recommendations that the government may use to better reflect the enshrined rights and freedoms in the Constitution Acts, including the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Doesn’t seem too controversial, though opponents say that this motion could put free speech in the crosshairs—and a substantial number of Canadians feel the same way (via The National Post):

Liberals, New Democrats, and Green Party MP Elizabeth May were in favour; most Conservative and all Bloc Quebecois MPs were opposed.

The vote was 201 for and 91 against.

[…]

The motion was proposed by Iqra Khalid, a first-time MP representing a Mississauga, Ont. riding. In addition to the resolution condemning Islamophobia, it asks the House of Commons Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage to study the issue of “eliminating systemic racism and religious discrimination including Islamophobia;” and calls on the federal government collect data on hate crimes for further study.

[…]

In debate earlier this week, Conservative MPs endorsed the sentiment but objected to the wording of the motion in the belief that it could lead to the suppression of speech rights.

“The word ‘Islamophobia’ can be used to mean both discrimination against Muslims and criticism of Islamic doctrine or practice. It is important that we not conflate the two – religious people deserve legal protection, but religions do not,” Conservative MP Garnett Genuis said during a Commons debate Tuesday night. “People should not discriminate against individuals, but should feel quite free to criticize the doctrine, history, or practice of any religion.”

[…]

Khalid’s motion changes no existing laws nor does it create any new laws.

And yet, the Angus Reid poll finds that three in 10 of those surveyed believed Khalid’s motion is, in fact, “a threat to Canadians’ freedom of speech.”

The publication added that the Angus Reid poll also noted that most Canadians are against the motion, with 42 percent saying they would vote against it if they were members of parliament. Twenty-nine percent would support it and another 29 percent weren’t sure or said they would have abstained. The sample size was 1,511 people.

Big League: Almost 100 Of The Fastest Growing Counties Broke For Trump

It was a rural uprising—and it looks like it will remain that way for now. We have yet to see the consequences that Republicans will have to deal with concerning their retreat from their promise to repeal and replace Obamacare, but that’s for another day. Out of the 100 fastest growing counties in the country, based on U.S. Census data, 93 broke for Trump. The counties that are usually Democratic bastions have seen a sharp decrease in their populations. Moreover, even in blue states, the fastest growing counties are firmly in the Trump columns. One might say this development is big league (via Lifezette):

The latest population estimates released Thursday by the U.S. Census Bureau make that starkly clear. Of the 100 counties of at least 10,000 residents that had the fastest growth rates from July 2015 to July 2016, 93 voted for President Donald Trump in November. Just six backed Democrat Hillary Clinton. The political leanings of the 100th, Matanuska-Susitna Borough in Alaska, are unclear because that state does not report presidential returns at the county level.

Clinton won 26 of the 100 counties that lost population at the fastest rate. That is a higher share than her performance nationwide, when she carried about 16 percent of counties.

[…]

Even in some blue sates, the fastest growth rates are in Trump counties. Clinton handily carried Washington State and Oregon. But the five counties in those West Coast states that made the top 100 all backed the president.

Yet, the publication did not something that could be ominous for the GOP in future elections. On paper, Dallas, Houston, Austin, San Antonio and El Paso areas will have enough votes to tilt the state leftward, as they’re Democratic bastions of support. So, that’s something to keep on the radar.

The Trump phenomenon firmly has the white working class lockstep behind Trump, a voting bloc that numbers in the tens of millions. While Democrats have long boasted about their demographic advantage, it’s all in areas that don’t matter. So what of tens of thousands of more Democratic voters come out of California? The state was going always going to the Democrats in the Electoral College. The point is we don’t decide our president by popular vote, which has been forgotten by the Left in their ongoing temper tantrum over Trump’s upset win over Hillary Clinton. Liberals thought there would be a Latino surge due to Trump’s rhetoric on the campaign trail. That didn’t happen. Moreover, the lion share of Hispanic voters live in states that aren’t competitive in national elections. We could have a scenario where if the GOP’s grip on the white working class remains this strong, Democrats could be facing an Electoral College nightmare. Yes, they could win the popular vote by a larger margin than Clinton, but still lost the election because the rural counties are able to run up the score thanks to Democratic counties losing their strength statewide.

The Democrats’ path out of the wilderness is staring at them right in the face. It’s reconnecting with white working class voters on jobs, pension protection, and infrastructure. Yet, that means sacrificing the transgender bathroom advocacy, the safe space antics, the political correctness, the endless lectures on race, and putting Black Lives Matter on the backburner. The Left pretty much has to set aside the core tenets of the progressive agenda that’s been dictated by urban-based elites. This is going to be a long road to recovery—and I don’t think liberals want to reach out to a vast group of voters they shun and view with revulsion.

America’s Nemeses: Russia and North Korea (Author Interview with Matthew Betley)

Matthew Betley is back again with his new addition to his Logan West thriller series, titled “Oath of Honor.” This time, the Russians, North Koreans, and international terrorists are the bad guys, and Betley has a lot to say about America’s main nemeses these days.

Listen to our exclusive author interview to learn where Betley gets his influences from and his remarkable personal story.

Learn more about Matthew Betley and his new book at the Conservative Book Club!

American Pizza Community Demands Changes to Job-Killing FDA Rule

The American Pizza Community held a meeting in the nation’s capital on Wednesday to sound the alarm over the Food and Drug Administration’s business-killing menu-labeling standards. Come May, if the Obamacare regulation goes into effect, chain restaurants will need to include calories on all their materials. It is a “one-size-fits-all approach that would significantly impact small business franchisees and their ability to grow and creates jobs,” the APC warns.

The APC went into detail about several burdens the regulation places on food establishments in a briefing document which was handed out at the event. Because of the broad definition of “menu,” restaurants will be forced to provide nutritional information on all their advertising, they explain.

Problems with FDA’s Approach

Definition of menu – FDA’s guidance document confirmed one of the most egregious elements of the final rule: the definition of most advertising and marketing materials as menus requiring calorie labels. FDA created a set of factors to determine whether or not it considers something to be a menu. FDA defines a menu as any material that lists, or has an image of, at least one standard menu item, includes the price of the item, and can be used by a customer to make an order (e.g., by including a phone number or web address). This broad interpretation means that a majority of print advertising, including door hangers, fliers, direct mail, and circulars, will have to be calorie-labeled. FDA insisted that this was not its intention and that it would clarify its position in a guidance document: in the guidance documents, FDA explained, “advertising or marketing material (including coupons) generally would not be considered menus or menu boards.” However, “in the example of a pizza coupon that includes a phone number or web address where the customer can place and that states ‘1 large pepperoni and sausage pizza $9.99,’” the coupon can be used to place and order, and therefore requires calorie labeling. Given the industry’s focus on remote ordering, many promotional materials include phone numbers of local pizza stores, and as a result, will now be considered menus that must be labeled. It is important to note that calories must be typed in a size “that is no smaller than that used for the name or price” of the item (whichever is smaller). This requirement risks creating serious confusion for impacted businesses and consumers.

The organization noted that Congress has tried to address the issue, introducing legislation like the Consolidated Appropriations Act to mandate that the FDA delay the regulation until more guidance was provided and the Common Sense Nutrition Disclosure Act (CSNDA) to address more challenges. Unfortunately, Congress adjourned before the Senate could consider the bills.

Moreover, even if Obamacare is repealed, public policy would revert to the regulations passed by states and localities that initially contributed to the federal statute.

The APC is urging the Trump administration to focus on a three-point plan to fix the FDA regulation: Delay the rule for at least 120 days, withdraw it and rewrite it.

Good News: Kentucky Passes Blue Lives Matter Law, Makes It A Hate Crime To Target Police

To counter the instances of shooting in which police officers were targeted, the state of Kentucky has passed a new law that makes it a hate crime to target law enforcement. Republican Gov. Matt Bevin signed the blue lives matter bill into law. Louisiana also passed a law that afforded hate crime protections to police officers. The bill received bipartisan support and goes into effect this summer (via Courier-Journal):

Bevin gave House Bill 14 – unofficially known as the commonwealth's "Blue Lives Matter" bill – the final approval it needed to become law this week, although the measure won't go into effect until this summer. The fledgling law will add provisions for police and other first responders to the state's current hate-crime law, which already includes race, religion, color, sexual orientation and national origin as protected classes.

People who supported HB 14 pointed to the officers in Louisiana and Texas who were fatally ambushed last year as well as to law enforcement officials who have been killed in Kentucky over the years as examples of why this measure is necessary. But others have said this proposal is a direct response to the Black Lives Matter movement, which continues to speak out against how police officers use lethal force against black citizens.

Trump Blames the Democrats, Predicts Obamacare Will 'Explode'

The GOP's American Health Care Act has been scrapped. Knowing they were several votes short of passage, President Trump and House Speaker Paul Ryan decided to pull the bill on Friday. Both conservative and moderate Republicans indicated they could not vote for it because they deemed it Obamacare 2.0. 

Trump is putting the blame, not on the conservative members of the House Freedom Caucus, but on Democrats.

"We had no Democrat support," he said at the White House on Friday. "They weren't going to give us a single vote."

He predicted that Obamacare will now "explode" as premiums continue to rise. Democratic leaders Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer are the real "losers," he said, because they own Obamacare. 

He did note, however, that he is willing to work with Democrats to fix health care.

Trump had no hard feelings toward Ryan or his HHS Secretary Tom Price, both of whom he said worked very hard.

In his own press conference following their decision to pull the bill, Ryan said he was disappointed, but optimistic because the party is now more passionate than ever to fix health care. Nevertheless, we are stuck with Obamacare for "the foreseeable future," he noted.

Paul Ryan On Health Care Defeat: We Came Up Short

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan held a brief press conference after the Republican health care replacement bill was pulled before an official vote. The speaker met with President Trump earlier today, where Ryan informed the White House that the votes were not there for the American Health Care Act. Trump reportedly asked Ryan to then pull the legislation from consideration.

He said that the shift from being an opposition party to a governing party has its “growing pains,” and that they came up short today. Ryan said that doing big things is hard in Congress, and much more remains on the table to improve the lives of Americans, which is what he and others in the Republican caucus plan to do after this legislative defeat.

Ryan had no regrets. He was proud of this bill, which he said would have provided relief to families struggling under the regulatory burdens of Obamacare. He also said that the worst is yet to come for Americans regretting the effects of this bill.

He thanked President Trump, Vice President Pence, the White House staff, and Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney for their contributions during this process.

Yet, he also said that this is a setback, but it’s not the end of the story. Ryan said that the GOP caucus is more motivated to step up their game and deliver on their promises.

When asked who’s to blame for the sinking on this bill, Ryan refused to point fingers, adding that a consensus couldn’t be reached, as a significant number of Republicans couldn’t be persuaded to switch their votes.

He lamented how Obamacare is and remains to be the law of the land until it gets replaced. Ryan also didn’t give a definite timeline on when this law will be repealed either, noting that House Republicans will be moving on to other items on their domestic agenda, like tax reform, rebuilding our military, and securing the border. He also conceded that the Obamacare taxes will remain law, but they’ll work on reforming the rest of the code.

The speaker also said he thinks HHS Secretary Tom Price can do some things to stabilize the health care market, but without legislation, a lot of the tools to make effective changes are now off the table.

President Trump also said that he does not blame Ryan in this failed attempt to repeal Obamacare.

Close Call: PM Theresa May Was Just Yards Away from London Attacker

British Prime Minister Theresa May was no more than 100 yards away from the Islamic attacker who killed numerous people on Wednesday and injured 40 others, according to British news outlet The Sun.

Pictures, video, and detailed maps from the report show the chaos after Khalid Masood breached Parliament's security forces and killed a police officer.

“There was clear air between the spot where the terrorist was shot down and Mrs, May’s car," according to one source.  “There were no locked doors, just two open archways for vehicles. If there had been more than one attacker, God only knows what might have happened. They could have run straight through one of the open arches and tried to stab or shoot her.”

Other sources said only three unlocked doors separated Masood and the prime minister.

The event was captured in the footage below:

AHCA is Dead: Facing Defeat, Ryan and Trump Pull Legislation From Floor

UPDATE V - And now it's official.  The ACHA is out.  Looking at a dire whip count, President Trump and Speaker Ryan decided to yank the bill from the floor, rather than forcing members to take difficult votes for no reason.  The game of chicken ended with a dramatic threat, then a climb-down. A debacle. So what, if anything, comes next on Obamacare 'repeal and replace'?  Nobody knows, but the president tells the Washington Post he isn't especially interested in revisiting the issue any time soon:


UPDATE IV - More indications now that this thing is going to fail. If that's the case, Trump reportedly wants an on-the-record vote so he can keep a hard tally of which Republicans betrayed him -- but Paul Ryan may have other incentives to not force his conference to have to cast really tough up or down votes on something that doomed legislation:


UPDATE III - This is not a vote leadership can afford to lose. It's looking like this thing is going down, and could be tanking so hard that they (again) pull the bill, rather than watching it collapse as the votes come in:


UPDATE II - If this is true, the goose is cooked, and they only question is whether the vote even gets held at all:

UPDATE - Well, it seems safe to say that losing a powerful chairman from your own party's leadership team doesn't seem like a particularly hopeful sign:


*** Original Post ***


The president's gauntlet has been thrown down. The stakes have been made clear by his emissaries and by House leadership. The vote is happening. What happens next? As we reported last night, it appears as though this 'Art of the Deal' tactic might be playing dividends in terms of whip count movement -- both among moderates and hard-line conservatives. Why? My guess is that a lot of people don't want to cross Trump on his first major legislative test, which just so happens to coincide with the most prominent campaign pledge the entire party has been making since 2010. Also, does anybody doubt the White House's sincerity when it says that the president is tired of all of this, and is willing to walk away from health care altogether? It's do or die time, and some tea leaves suggest that Trump and Ryan may just pull this one out after all:


Or...maybe not:


I've heard increased optimism from some supporters over the last few hours, but the fact that the White House is already testing 'blame game' trial balloons against Paul Ryan does not project confidence, to put it mildly. As of now, the vote is expected late this afternoon. A few things to remember as this vote unfolds: (1) If it fails, it's a humiliating black eye to House leadership, and a real blow to Trump's agenda moving forward. The idea that Republicans can just "move on to tax reform" isn't as simple as it may seem. Absent a new, post-Obamacare budget baseline, tax reform becomes a lot harder, politically and procedurally. And the GOP is already warring over how to implement tax reform. Almost nobody believes it would be easier than 'repeal and replace' was supposed to be. (2) If it passes, it isn't law. As Quin Hillyer wrote yesterday, this is still multiple steps removed from final passage, with really significant excavations expected in the Senate, and then in a conference committee. That's a good thing, because as the current bill stands, it is flawed and shoddily thrown together. Read these pieces:
More time and consideration is necessary to re-craft a coherent, functional piece of legislation. Good ideas are still out there, and they should get substantive hearings that aren't rushed through at warp speed under this "pass it now" gun. The Senate is ostensibly the world's greatest deliberative body. Let them fortify that reputation. The point is, passage today is still a far cry from the current AHCA being law. That's a good thing.

(3) The procedure here stinks, there's no getting around it. After rightly slamming how the Democrats rammed through Obamacare, Republicans are about to vote on a bill that has not been posted for public consumption for several days as promised (remember the "read the bill" mantra?), and doesn't even have a finalized Congressional Budget Office score (last night's problematic addition was already totally out of date upon arrival). One big difference that cuts in the GOP's favor is that Obamacare repeal is hardly a surprise, as they've been successfully campaigning on it for the better part of a decade. But that doesn't change the fact that the current legislation isn't popular with the public, due in part to Democratic unity, hostile media narratives, and Republican infighting; not to mention a barely-defensible, cobbled-together bill with questionable additions tacked on at the very last second.  If an eventual law works, Republicans will have nothing to worry about. If it doesn't work, and the individual market continues to collapse while prices fail to drop for consumers, they're in deep trouble.

That's why any finalized bill that may emerge as this process unfolds must reassure enough Republican lawmakers that those key objectives have been fulfilled in a responsible and sound manner. But if President Trump is to be believed, an eventual bill will never emerge if this first step is killed in the cradle. Perhaps the best argument in favor of voting 'yes' on today's iteration of the AHCA is that it allows 'repeal and replace' to live to fight and legislate another day. That's not exactly a ringing endorsement, but it's something. When Monday arrives, will the press be discussing unclear, difficult next steps -- or combing through a humiliating post-mortem? Nobody seems to know the answer to that question just yet, including the people whose job it is to know such things. Stay tuned!

Stuart Varney: The GOP Is 'A Disgrace'

Fox News’ Stuart Varney slammed the Republican Party on Friday for being so divided on the American Health Care Act.

“I personally believe at this moment in time the Republican Party is a disgrace,” he said in an interview with Fox contributor Juan Williams. "I’m serious. I am serious.”

“We elected the Republicans who run the House, the Senate, and the White House and the very, very first thing that comes up on the legislative agenda they vote no, they’re split. They can’t do it. They can’t govern. I am really fit to be tied." 

His criticism wasn’t just pointed at Republicans, however. Varney said he was also “disgusted” by the Democrats.

"You guys [Democrats] totally screwed up Obamacare. Totally screwed up 15 percent of the American economy. Now all you're doing is just chucking peanuts from the sidebar there, and making fun of the mess you have made," he said.

"This is what happens when the government gets involved in healthcare. Get out of it!" 

House Speaker Paul Ryan will hold a press conference at 4 p.m. to provide updates on healthcare reform after pulling the bill Friday afternoon. 

Scrapped: Trump, Ryan Pull Health Care Bill

Short on votes and heavy on controversy, the GOP's American Health Care Act has been pulled from consideration.

President Trump had endorsed the bill, but as conservative and moderate Republicans vowed to vote "no," the White House realized it would not pass. He and House Speaker Paul Ryan pulled the bill and the president called members of the press to tell them the news.

Following up his tweets, Costa noted on MSNBC that Trump said the bill would not be back in the near future and will see if Democrats are willing to work with him on fixing health care.

In the final hours before the vote, upwards of 36 Republicans were solid "no"s. The bill could only afford to lose 22.

On Thursday, White House officials warned lawmakers that Trump was done negotiating and if they could not come to an agreement and get the legislation passed, Obamacare would remain in place. 

Speaker Ryan is expected to hold a press conference on their embattled health care plan at 4 p.m. ET.

This post has been updated.

Rockville Rape: Montgomery County School Superintendent Paid $275,000 Per Year, Rakes in Massive Benefits

Montgomery County School Superintendent Dr. Jack Smith, under fire for his delayed response to the alleged rape of a 14-year-old girl at Rockville High School last week, rakes in a taxpayer funded salary of $275,000, months of paid time off and a whole goody bag full of other pricey benefits. 

According to Smith's contract, he receives the following: 

-$275,000 salary per year, with a review each year for an increase and pay cannot be reduced

-$40,000 per year paid by the board for his retirement fund

-25 days of annual paid leave which can be rolled over and cashed out 

-20 days of sick and/or personal leave per year, which can also be cashed out 

-Disability insurance up to $8000 paid by the board

-All school holidays off

-A vehicle for personal and professional use with all "expenses for gasoline, insurance, maintenance, and repairs,  in  connection with the use of said  vehicle" paid for by the school board

Montgomery County School Superintendent Jack Smith Contract by Katie Pavlich on Scribd

Further, Smith was paid as much as $12,000 to relocate to Montgomery County. He abruptly resigned from a previous position as superintendent of Calvert County Public Schools in 2014 when questions about his inflated paycheck and secret contracts were raised by new board members.

From a March 2014 Southern Maryland Newspapers Online article

Before Smith’s departure, newcomers to the board Joe Chenelly and Kelly McConkey began asking questions regarding Smith’s compensation and did not like what they found.

When Chenelly and McConkey asked Smith directly how much he made, “that became a point of contention, and he said you can look at the contract and figure it out for yourself,” Chenelly said, adding that when he continued to ask more questions, “out of the blue,” Smith asked for the addendum to his contract allowing him to leave with 45 days notice.

“We granted him the addendum, and then he shortly after resigned,” Chenelly said. “Then we heard from the executive team about their contracts, and I was completely unaware of those contracts.”

Chenelly and McConkey found that while Smith’s contracts paid him a base salary of $169,000 a year, his total compensation was upwards of $300,000 in his last year as superintendent. Smith has said that is due to benefits, including life and health insurance coverage that will continue for life for him and his wife, paid by the school system and approved by the previous board. Smith also was permitted to cash in annual sick leave he hadn’t used.

From Jan. 1 to Dec. 31, 2008, payments of $195,274.18 were made — $26,274.18 beyond Smith’s reported salary.

In 2009, Smith’s total compensation was $203,606.06 — $34,606.06 more than the reported salary.

In 2010, the total was $261,491.98 — $92,491.98 more than the reported salary.

In 2011, $318,561.23 was paid out, nearly $150,000 more than Smith’s reported salary. In 2012, which is the last amount available, Smith took home $330,888.54, which is $161,888.54 more than his reported salary of $169,000.

In total for those years, Smith was compensated more than $464,000 beyond his base salary.

Smith publicly said during this time that his salary of $169,000 was continuing to stay the same because he would refuse a raise if teachers were not given a raise. Smith was praised at board meetings for being the lowest-paid superintendent in the state.

Earlier this week, Smith accused parents upset about illegal alien men being allowed into Maryland schools of racism. The 17 and 18 year old suspects charged with the alleged rape, which took place in the boys restroom of Rockville High School last week, are in the United States illegally from Guatemala and El Salvador. At least one has a deportation detainer from Immigration and Customs Enforcement. 

For days after the alleged assault, Smith refused to grant interviews about the situation and was eventually tracked down by a reporter in the parking lot outside of his office for answers. 

Reports: Bannon Told Trump ‘To Keep A ‘S**t List’ Of Republicans Who Will Vote Against Health Care Bill

UPDATE: As Cortney reported, the American Health Care Act has been pulled by House Republicans. President Trump and Speaker Paul Ryan met earlier today, where the Ryan reportedly informed the White House that they didn't have the votes to pass the AHCA. Trump is said to have called Ryan to ask him to pull the bill.

***

The American Health Care Act, the Republican bill that seeks to replace Obamacare, looks like it’s going down. At least 36-38 House Republicans plan to vote against the bill; the GOP could only afford to lose no more than 21 votes. Rep. Barbara Comstock of Virginia announced she would be opposing the bill. During the White House press briefing, Rep Dave Joyce (R-OH) said he couldn’t support the bill over concerns about Medicare funding. Just now, on Fox News, FiveThirtyEight’s Harry Enten said that this bill will either go down in defeat or be pulled.

Yet, the Trump White House says they’re optimistic about the legislation, despite the whip counts showing doom and gloom. Asawin Suebsaeng of The Daily Beast reported that sources from the Trump administration told him that Chief Strategist Stephen Bannon told the president to keep a “shit list” of the members who plan to vote against the bill, though some officials said they wouldn’t necessarily call it an enemies list—but they wouldn’t want to be on it. Talk about parsing words right there.
According to multiple Trump administration officials speaking to The Daily Beast on the condition of anonymity to talk freely, the president is angry that his first big legislative push is crumbling before his eyes—and his chief strategist Stephen K. Bannon is advising him to take names and keep a hit list of Republicans who worked for Trumpcare’s defeat.

“[Bannon] has told the president to keep a shit list on this,” one official told The Daily Beast. "He wants a running tally of [the Republicans] who want to sink this…Not sure if I'd call it an 'enemies list,' per se, but I wouldn't want to be on it."

One aide described it as a proposed “hit list” for Republicans not sufficiently loyal. Courses of action stemming from any related tally is yet to be determined, but the idea and message is that “we’ll remember you.”

Should the Trump camp decide to go after Republicans who vote against AHCA later today, these members could find support (and campaign cash) with the Koch Brothers, who promised to defend lawmakers who vote against the bill. The Koch Network has been staunchly opposed to the AHCA, saying it doesn’t go far enough to repeal Obamacare.

Hot Air’s Allahpundit has some thoughts about today’s events, specifically that Ryan should pull the bill.

Another MSNBC Host: Gorsuch Is Mainstream

In February, MSNBC host Rachel Maddow, who recently embarrassed herself by reporting that Trump’s actually follows the law and pays millions of dollars in taxes, said that Judge Neil Gorsuch, who had just been nominated by President Trump for the Supreme Court, was a mainstream pick by Republicans.

Now, host Ari Melber said that Gorsuch is the perfect pick for legal conservatives and Trump supporters, which was seen from the initial reactions to his nomination.

Melber described Gorsuch as perfect for the Right’s goals because “He was measured, he was thoughtful, at times conservative, but conservative in his words within the legal mainstream.” Melber may have botched fact checking about Hillary Clinton’s involvement with the sale of Uranium One, but he’s right about this.

Despite the Left trying to paint him as the spawn of Satan, Gorsuch, who also holds a Ph.D. from Oxford on top of his other academic credentials, is eminently qualified to be on the Supreme Court. No one really denies that, though Democrats also bring up that Obama’s original nominee to fill the vacancy left by the late Antonin Scalia, Merrick Garland was also qualified. They’re still sour over Senate Republicans blocking Garland, though Republicans were following precedent regarding the Biden rule. They have to get over it—and some senators, like Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Angus King (I-ME), have said that it’s time for their side to move on from what happened last year.

Still, we have nine Democrats who said that Gorsuch deserves a hearing and a vote. This filibuster could end with Senate Republicans finishing what Harry Reid started regarding nuking the procedural rules of the Senate, or end up amounting to nothing—as this group meant invoking cloture concerning their support for giving Gorsuch a vote. We’ll see. At any rate, while MSNBC’s main purpose is to keep the blood pressure of the Democratic base at normal levels, the network has been saying that Gorsuch is all but a slam-dunk. Maybe that’s because there is nothing wrong with this man, except the fact that a) he’s not Merrick Garland; and b) not a liberal. Well, elections have consequences, Democrats—and you lost.

Uh Oh: At Least 36 Republicans Plan To Vote Against GOP Health Care Bill

Ohio Republican Congressman Dave Joyce just announced his intention to vote against the American Health Care Act. He issued this statement on his Facebook page, citing issues with the bill’s provisions regarding Medicare.

I’m eager to support legislation that doesn’t reduce funding in the Medicare trust fund and actually helps lower healthcare costs for the more than 465,000 people in my district who obtain their health insurance via their employer. Those individuals, who make up 65 percent of the district, have seen nothing but higher premiums, higher deductibles, and higher co-pays. We need to find solutions to help them and their families. The middle class cannot keep bearing the brunt of everything.

Katie and Guy have been following the vote all day. The bill’s failure seems all but certain as at least 36 Republicans (CBS News has the count as high as 38) plan to vote against the bill. Rep. Barbara Comstock (R-VA), who hails from a competitive district in Northern Virginia, is also voting against the bill. The Hill has a list of the solid “no” votes:

HOUSE REPUBLICANS

No (36)

Rep. Justin Amash (Mich.) — “While I've been in Congress, I can't recall a more universally detested piece of legislation than this GOP health care bill," Amash tweeted on March 20.

Rep. Mark Amodei (Nev.) — We’ve done our homework. We’ve closed on the issue in preparation for a vote tonight. I’m a no on the #AHCA," Amodei tweeted on Thursday.

Rep. Rod Blum (Iowa) — "I'm a no as the bill stands today," Blum told The Hill on March 21. "We need real competition driving prices down. We don’t need the government telling us what should be in an insurance policy. The government has a role to play. We need to help people who need the help."

Rep. Dave Brat (Va.) — Brat voted against the bill in the House Budget Committee.

Rep. Mo Brooks (Ala.) — "I'll vote NO," Brooks tweeted Tuesday, March 21.

Rep. Andy Biggs (Ariz.) — While praising GOP leaders and President Trump for their efforts to negotiate, Biggs said on March 23 he would vote no, saying in a statement "In short, the legislation wrongfully perpetuates national control over health care, and I will not support a piece of legislation that fails to meet the expectations of my district."

Rep. Ted Budd (N.C.) — “As currently written, I cannot support the American Health Care Act,” Budd said in a statement on March 21. Budd, a freshman, was backed by Club for Growth in the election. The conservative group opposes the GOP bill.

Rep. Barbara Comstock (Va.) — A Comstock spokesman told reporters Friday the lawmaker is a no.

Rep. Rick Crawford (Ark.) — "As it stands right now, I'm going to vote against it," Crawford told Arkansas Online on Wednesday. "I can't see changing my vote to yes at this point."

Rep. Charlie Dent (Pa.) — "I believe this bill, in its current form, will lead to the loss of coverage and make insurance unaffordable for too many Americans, particularly for low-to-moderate income and older individuals," Dent, co-chair of the centrist Tuesday Group, said in a March 22 statement.

Rep. Scott DesJarlais (Tenn.) — DesJarlais told The Hill on Thursday March 23 he is a no. “We’ve got to have a means to bring the premiums down,” he said.

Rep. Dan Donovan (N.Y.) — “I do not believe the legislation as currently written is in the best interest of the 740,000 people I represent in Congress, and I believe we can do better,” Donovan wrote in an op-ed to explain why he will vote no.

Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (Pa.) — "[I]n its current form I cannot support this legislation," Fitzpatrick wrote in a statement posted to Facebook on March 18.

Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (N.J.) — In a Facebook post Friday, the chairman of the Appropriations Committee called the bill "currently unacceptable."

Rep. Tom Garrett (Va.) — Garrett told The John Fredericks Radio Show he would vote against the bill on March 7. In an interview on CNN on March 14, he stressed that: “Right now, I am a firm no.”

Rep. Louie Gohmert (Texas) — "I’m determined to help my president and so many of my colleagues keep their word. And the bill in its present form doesn’t do that,” Gohmert told The Hill on March 22.

Rep. Andy Harris (Md.) — A spokesman for Harris told NBC News he would not vote for the bill.

Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (Wash.) — “While I appreciate this week’s efforts by Speaker Ryan and his leadership team to better protect older Americans from health care cost increases, the difficulties this bill would crete for millions of children were left unaddressed,” she said in a statement.

Rep. Jody Hice (Ga.) — “Since the American Health Care Act was introduced, my staff and I have been reviewing it in depth. Unfortunately, in it’s current form, I do not believe it delivers on lowering health care costs or fully eliminating many of Obamacare’s most harmful provisions,” Hice wrote in a Facebook post on Thursday morning.

Rep. Walter Jones (N.C.) — Jones has bucked GOP leaders on a number of occasions.

Rep. Jim Jordan (Ohio) — Jordan, a former chairman of the House Freedom Caucus, has said he would unveil his own clean repeal bill.

Rep. David Joyce (Ohio) — Joyce said Friday he is a no.

Rep. John Katko (N.Y.) — "Despite some promising reforms, I do not support the proposal before the House in its current form," Katko said in a statement on March 17. Clinton won Katko's district in November.

Rep. Raúl Labrador (Idaho) — "We need to make sure that we repeal and replace ObamaCare. But this bill is not it," Labrador said on CNN's "The Situation Room" on March 9.

Rep. Leonard Lance (N.J.) — Lance told reporters Tuesday he was a no after a meeting at the White House.

Rep. Frank LoBiondo (N.J.) — “Regrettably, current healthcare proposal falls far short & is not better for #SouthJersey. I will be voting no on American Health Care Act,” LoBiondo tweeted on Wednesday.

Rep. Thomas Massie (Ky.) — Massie told the Washington Examiner on March 7 that the bill was a "stinking pile of garbage." He also voted in January against the budget resolution that began the process of repealing ObamaCare.

Rep. Mark Meadows (N.C.) — The leader of the House Freedom Caucus had been demanding major changes to the ObamaCare bill.

Rep. Bill Posey (Fla.) — “As of now, Rep. Posey is a ‘no’ on the bill unless there are changes made,” a spokesman told local station WFTV on March 22.

Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (Fla.) — The GOP lawmaker tweeted on March 14 that she plans to vote no on the current bill, saying it leaves "too many" people in her south Florida district uninsured. Clinton won Ros-Lehtinen's district by nearly 20 points.

Rep. Mark Sanford (S.C.) — Sanford voted against the bill in the House Budget Committee. He is also a member of the Freedom Caucus.

Rep. Chris Smith (N.J.) — "The overriding concern I have is the Medicaid expansion being significantly altered," Smith told the Asbury Park Press. "It affects so many of our disabled individuals and families, and the working poor."

Rep. Glenn Thompson (Pa.) — Thompson on March 18 said he "could not support the bill in its current form," according to the Centre Daily Times.

Rep. Rob Wittman (Va.) — “After reviewing this legislation and receiving the Congressional Budget Office score today, it is clear that this bill is not consistent with the repeal and replace principles for which I stand,” Wittman said in a statement on March 13.

Rep. Ted Yoho (Fla.) — “I could not support the bill as it is right now,” Yoho said on “PBS Newshour” on March 14. On March 17, he introduced a bill to give insurance companies more flexibility while Congress works on a replacement plan.

Rep. David Young (Iowa) — Young in a statement said he "cannot support" the bill in its "present form."

At the White House briefing, Press Secretary Sean Spicer said the vote is set for 3:30 P.M. EST.

Spicer: There's More Evidence Of Collusion Between The Clinton Campaign And CNN Than Russia And Trump

There’s still no evidence of collusion, but CNN decided to report that the FBI has new information that Trump associates may have been in contact with Russian intelligence figures to coordinate release of damaging emails about Hillary Clinton. They can also confirm that nothing is conclusive.

“The FBI cannot yet prove that collusion took place,” reported the news organization. Senate Democrats involved with the investigation involving Russia, the Trump campaign, and the 2016 election have admitted that no solid evidence is going to be found. Still, in the absence of evidence, the news media still wants to keep this narrative alive—that Russia coordinated with the Trump campaign to fix an election. There’s no proof that any of these ludicrous allegations are true. At the White House Press Briefing yesterday Press Secretary Sean Spicer reiterated CNN’s reporting that none of this is conclusive. Second, there’s more evidence of collusion between the Clinton campaign and CNN than Trump and Russia [emphasis mine]:

Q Just finally, CNN reported yesterday that U.S. officials believe that -- are investigating that associates of President Trump communicated with suspected Russian operatives to coordinate the release of information damaging to Hillary Clinton’s campaign. I’m wondering if you can respond to that or say definitely that they did not do so.

MR. SPICER: So let’s actually look at what CNN reported. They reported that anonymous U.S. officials have told them that information indicates that association of the campaign and suspected operatives coordinated, which they admit is not conclusive of anything, is bordering on collusion. The last line of the thing said, “The FBI cannot yet prove that collusion took place.”

I think there’s probably more evidence that CNN colluded with the Clinton campaign to give her debate questions than the Trump campaign gave any kind of collusion. So I think when it comes down to that reporting, it is filled with a bunch of subjective terms about this person may have done this, possibly could have done that. And at the end of the story, if you wade to the very bottom it says, “The FBI cannot yet prove that collusion took place.”

So I’ve addressed this type of reporting in the past, and this fits right in.

That swipe at the news network alludes to former CNN contributor Donna Brazile, who was serving as interim chair of the Democratic National Committee during the 2016 cycle, admitting to passing off debate questions to Hillary Clinton during the primaries. Brazile was promptly shown the exit when Wikileaks exposed this.

Spicer: We Can't Force Members To Vote Yes on Healthcare

Just one day after saying the White House was going to "win" by passing the American Health Care Act through the House, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer has changed his tune as current vote totals for the legislation continue to come up short. 

"The Speaker has done everything he can, at the end of the day, you can't force people to vote," Spicer said. "At some point, you can honestly only do so much."

Spicer repeatedly said "you can't force someone to do something" during the Friday press briefing, referring to members still opposed to the bill. He also argued if the bill fails, there will be no negative impact on passing the rest of President Trump's agenda, mainly tax reform and an infrastructure bill. 

Shortly before the briefing began, House Speaker Paul Ryan held a meeting with President Trump at the White House amid multiple reports the legislation could ultimately be pulled from the floor.

"We've done everything, we've done every single thing. Every meeting, every call, every discussion, every idea has been out there, adjudicated, listened to and now it's time to vote," Spicer said.

A vote has been scheduled for 3:30 p.m. after being delayed Thursday afternoon. Thirty-eight members plan to vote no on the bill, the White House can afford to have only 21 opposed. 

Democratic Senator Who Thought Filibustering Judges Was Tyranny Of The Minority Now Supports Blocking Gorsuch

Guy wrote about Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM) said in 2013, that filibustering judges was nothing more than tyranny of the minority. This is what he said:

I think what our role is, is to step out there, advise and consent, and if we don't believe the person's qualified, if there's some real serious problem, vote against them. You remember Bork. He wasn't filibustered. He was voted down, 58 votes against him. People like Scalia, everybody says, oh, well, there are going to be more Scalias. Scalia passed unanimously. Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the Supreme Court passed with just three votes against her, 96-3. So the issue really is advice and consent, not with supermajorities. Right now, we have the tyranny of the minority. And that's what we have taken care of."

Well, that was 2013 Udall, who’s been kidnapped by 2017 Udall. The New Mexico Senator now says he will hop on Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer’s inane ‘filibuster Gorsuch’ train and oppose his nomination (Albuquerque Journal):

Sen. Tom Udall will oppose the nomination of Neil Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court, saying that the 10th Circuit Appeals Court judge failed to answer key questions during his Senate confirmation hearings this week.

Udall’s announcement comes in the wake of Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer’s call on Thursday to filibuster Gorsuch. Sen. Martin Heinrich, a New Mexico Democrat, has not yet publicly said whether her intends to vote for or against Gorsuch’s nomination.

“I have met with Judge Gorsuch, followed the hearings in the Senate Judiciary Committee, and studied his record, and decided that I can’t support his confirmation,” Udall said in a statement provided to the Journal. “He failed to answer questions that are critical for me — his position on the rights of working mothers, whether women can choose their own health care decisions, LGBTQ rights, and dark money in our elections.”

Ever since Schumer announced his intention to lead this idiotic crusade to block Gorsuch, all eyes are on the nine or so Senate Democrats who have said that Trump’s Supreme Court nominee—Gorsuch—should get a hearing and a vote. What that is remains to be seen. Are they talking about the panel vote? Do they mean cloture? If it is cloture, then that’s the ballgame. Gorsuch will get the 60 votes to end debate and move his nomination for a final vote in which only a majority is needed for confirmation. If it isn’t, well—Democrats are acting dumber than usual, trying to cater to their hyper left wing base that demands all-out war against Trump’s agenda, despite the party being ill-equipped to put up much of a fight against Republicans. You would think that Senate Democrats would opt to keep their powder dry for when the balance of the Court would be threatened (in their eyes) if a second vacancy should occur during Trump’s presidency. Instead, they’re lining up for this circus, where a conservative is replacing a conservative on the Supreme Court.

Virginia Judge Sides With Trump Admin On Travel Ban

The Trump administration can (finally) check off a win in court for the president's revised travel ban. Virginia Judge Anthony Trenga upheld the White House's travel order on Friday. 

"The president has provided a detailed justification for the Order based on national security needs, and enjoining the operation of [executive order] would interfere with the President’s unique constitutional responsibilities to conduct international relations, provide for the national defense, and secure the nation," Trenga wrote in conjunction with his decision. 

He rejected the notion that the immigration ban was in any way a discriminatory religious test.

Justice Department spokeswoman Sarah Isgur Flores praised Trenga's decision in a statement on Friday.

“As the Court correctly explains, the President’s Executive Order falls well within his authority to safeguard the nation’s security,” she said.

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer echoed the DOJ's remarks at Friday's press briefing, saying the court ruling gives the administration even more confidence that the president's plan will be able to "move forward."

Because other U.S. federal judges have blocked the White House order, most recently in Maryland and Hawaii, Trenga's ruling has no immediate impact and the order is still in limbo. The White House has appealed the injunction in Maryland.

Lindsey Graham: Yeah, If Democrats Keep This Gorsuch Filibuster Game Up, We'll Just Nuke Them

Sen. Lindsey Graham isn’t going to tolerate these Democratic games regarding Supreme Court nominee Judge Neil Gorsuch. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) announced that he was going to attempt a filibuster of the eminently qualified candidate and is working to cobble together fellow Democratic colleagues in support. It comes at a time when Democrats have to balance the rabid anti-Trump tendency of their left wing base and the political reality at hand, which is that the party is ill-equipped to fight the Republicans on some of the big ticket items, especially the Supreme Court. They simply cannot wage total war against the Trump White House with the numbers they have in Congress. Some thought that Senate Democrats would keep their powder dry in case a second vacancy opened up, in which case the balance of the Court could turn decidedly conservative. I guess they’re giving the progressive base what they want—but the GOP isn’t going to stand idle. They could nuke the Senate rules and pass Gorsuch by a simple majority.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) was not so subtle with CNN’s Kate Bolduan about the threat of the nuclear option if Democrats keep these silly antics up. Graham said he simply would not tolerate Democrats denying President Trump, the winner of the 2016 election, the opportunity to put well-qualified judges on the Supreme Court. He added that he will not play the game where Democrats get everything they want, and the GOP gets nothing. Bolduan took the heavy insinuation as a threat to Senate Democrats—and rightfully so.

Guy wrote about the laughable deal Democrats want concerning Gorsuch. They want Senate Republicans to guarantee they won’t go nuclear if a second vacancy arises in exchange for confirming Gorsuch. That could be for one reason only:

They'll offer Republicans a smooth confirmation for a man who is obviously going to be confirmed in exchange for...a guarantee that Republicans won't interfere if and when Democrats mount a campaign of nasty, knee-jerk opposition to President Trump's next SCOTUS nominee? Cue the laugh track.

Republicans should walk away from this deal. At least nine Senate Democrats have said that Gorsuch deserves a hearing and a vote. The latter part of that statement remains to be seen. Do they mean a cloture motion? In which case the ballgame would be over, the motion to end debate on Gorsuch’s nomination would get 60 votes to end debate and advance the final vote that only needs a simple majority for confirmation. Maybe they meant the Judiciary Committee vote. It remains to be seen, but Democrats have to know that either way Gorsuch will be confirmed. This isn’t the hill to die on, but if they do—filling the second vacancy isn’t even going to be a fight.

WATCH LIVE: White House Daily Press Briefing

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer briefs reporters on the issues of the day.

UPDATE: White House Says Vote Set at 3:30; Rumor: GOP Healthcare Bill Could Get Pulled Altogether, Speaker Ryan Heads to The White House

UPDATE II: President Trump has asked for the bill to be pulled just moments before the vote.

UPDATE: White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer says the vote will be held at 3:30 p.m. 

***Original Post***

As President Trump continues to apply pressure to skeptical House members currently planning to vote against the American Health Care Act, Speaker Paul Ryan headed to the White House Friday morning in a last ditch meeting as desperation for the bill to survive sets in. 

Meanwhile, as the vote numbers stand now the bill will die on the floor which may prompt House leadership to pull the legislation altogether. At least 32 Republicans, both very conservative and moderate, are currently expected to vote no. Ryan can only afford to lose 21 votes. 

Needless to say, Ryan's visit could well be to tell the President this vote and this bill aren't happening.

Awful: Gang Member Who Stabbed Two Women And Sexually Assaulted Two-Year Old Was Deported Multiple Times

Katie has been covering the horrific story out of Maryland, where two illegal aliens raped a 14-year-old at Rockville High School. She touched upon how Alexandria, VA is just south of Rockville, where law enforcement has been dealing with the Salvadorian MS-13 gang, most of which is comprised of illegal aliens in the U.S. Well, in New York, one MS-13 member, who had been deported four times, managed to stab two women and sexually assaulted a two-year old (via CBS News):

A MS-13 street gang member who had been deported from the U.S. four times stabbed two women and sexually assaulted a 2-year-old girl in a New York City suburb, police said Thursday.

Tommy Vladim Alvarado-Ventura, 31, of Hempstead, New York, pleaded not guilty and was ordered held without bail Thursday. His court-appointed attorney declined to comment.

Alvarado-Ventura is suspected of assaulting the child Tuesday night while the girl’s mother was at work, acting Nassau County Police Commissioner Thomas Krumpter said at a news conference.

Krumpter said that in his 28 years in law enforcement, the alleged crime is “probably the most heinous criminal act I’ve ever seen. It really is nauseating.”

Alvarado-Ventura could face life in prison if convicted of these new charges, which include assault with a deadly weapon and attempted murder.

President Trump: Charter Cable Closing Offshore Facilites, Investing $25 Billion in US

President Donald Trump, along with CEO Thomas Rutledge and Texas Governor Greg Abbott, announced on Friday that Charter Communications Inc will be investing $25 billion in the United States and will hire 20,000 workers over the next four years.

He said Charter will close offshore call centers and move them to the United States, according to Reuters.

In December, before taking over the White House, President Trump accepted Japan's SoftBank offer to invest $50 billion in the United States and create 50,000 more jobs for Americans.  In January, Walmart announced that it will invest $6.8 billion in the United States and create 10,000 more jobs in stores and e-commerce.  

Previously Sentenced to Life, Ex-Egyptian Pres. Hosni Mubarak Freed

Hosni Mubarak, president of Egypt from 1981 to his ouster in 2011, was freed from detention on Friday. 

Mubarak was originally sentenced to life for initiating the assassinations of hundreds of protesters during the peak of the Arab Spring. An estimated 900 died in the fight to remove Mubarak from power, but at the beginning of this month, the highest Egyptian court of appeals detached him from any involvement in the deaths of those protesters, according to al-Jazeera. Mubarak had resided in a military hospital since 2013, where he was sent after making bail. 

Current Egyptian President al-Sisi was "reportedly reluctant to free him because of the public backlash that might accompany such a move," as BBC reported. 

Meanwhile, some have brought up other concerns from past relationships.