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Ilhan Omar and ‘Send Her Back’‘Send her back!” they chanted, meaning Representative Ilhan Omar, the Somalia-born Jew-hating weirdo elected to Congress by the ghastly fruitcakes who run things in Minneapolis. President Donald J. Trump, elected president by the ghastly nut cutlets who run things in much of the rest of the country, basked in the chant, glowing like a gopher sauntering forth from Chernobyl — he was, in effect, hearing his own daft words shouted back at him ecstatically, and he has a real weakness for that sort of thing.Much has been made about whether the episode and Trump’s words inspiring it were racist; my own view is that Donald Trump is incapable of being a racist in the traditional sense of that word, because racism is derived from a perverted and misapplied sense of loyalty, a sentiment from which President Trump is manifestly immune. What is more interesting — and more troubling — is what the exchange says about our eroding sense of citizenship.The American Revolution was the process by which our Founding Fathers elevated themselves from subjects to citizens, and citizenship is the foundation of the American identity. You can become an American because you can become a citizen — you can move to Poland or China, but you cannot become Polish or Chinese, no matter how long you live there, no matter how the state classifies you, no matter how well you learn the language, even if you make a really mean bigos or niu za tang. America is not an idea or a collection of documents, but neither is it a closed ethnolinguistic set. It is a nation in which relations among the people and between the individual and the state are defined by the terms of citizenship.Citizenship is a precious thing. To be a citizen is more dignified and more honorable than to be a subject. When the Romans lost their republic and slid into empire, it was not democracy they were losing — they never suffered from that particular superstition — but their status as citizens. There were things the Roman state could not do to a Roman citizen — crucifixion, for example. The state had to respect the citizen because the citizen was the building block out of which the republic was built. The conversion of the Roman republic into an empire under god-emperors was a catastrophe for the Roman citizen — not only politically but also culturally and spiritually and, eventually, economically. God-emperors are not traditionally real big on property rights and due process.The idea that Ilhan Omar could — even as a matter of mass-dunderhead rhetoric — be treated as a non-citizen because the president and his admirers do not like her politics (which are quite unlikeable) does violence to the idea of citizenship per se. In that much, it is fundamentally and literally un-American.It is not the worst act of violence committed against the concept of citizenship in recent years: That particular distinction belongs to Barack Obama, who unilaterally arrogated to himself (and his successors!) the power to order the extrajudicial killing of American citizens in conditions that, once the legalistic mumbo-jumbo is penetrated, amount to “whenever and wherever the president damned well feels like it.” In principle and as a matter of citizenship, there is no meaningful difference between Barack Obama’s ordering the assassination of Anwar al-Awlaki — “the Osama bin Laden of Facebook,” they called him — and Donald Trump’s (hypothetically) ordering the assassination of a political critic in Reno. The pretext of “national security” will cover a multitude of sins.Ilhan Omar became a U.S. citizen when she was a teenager. (As Jake Tapper wryly points out, she has been a citizen longer than the president’s wife has.) Maybe it was a mistake to let her into the club — I am open to the argument that we should be far choosier about whom we offer the honor and dignity of American citizenship. I might even ask some pointed political questions: Are you a Communist? Are you a Jew-hating weirdo? But we didn’t do that. Ilhan Omar is a citizen and must be dealt with as one.“Oh, they’re just being puckish!” comes the inevitable response. “It’s a high-spirited response to how genuinely awful Ilhan Omar is! They’re just trolling the Democrats and the media!” That may be the fact, in which case — grow the hell up. Ideas have consequences, even half-formed and half-understood ones.“We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies.” So said Abraham Lincoln in much more difficult times than these. We should resist the urge to treat our presidents as god-emperors, but Lincoln testifies to the fact that presidential words matter.Alas, so does Donald Trump.


7/21/2019 4:30:22 AM

Alleged American ISIS Sniper Brought Home by the Defense Department to Face ChargesAn American citizen who allegedly served as a sniper for ISIS and became a leader for the terrorist group is expected to appear in federal court on Friday after being returned to the United States by the Defense Department, officials said.Ruslan Maratovich Asainov, who was born in Kazakhstan and became a naturalized U.S. citizen, is charged with providing and attempting to provide material support to ISIS, the Justice Department announced on Friday.A U.S. official confirmed to Task & Purpose that the Defense Department had transported Asainov from Syria to the United States. Asainov had been in the custody of Syrian Democratic Forces.No further information about the military's role in transporting Asainov, to the United States was immediately available.Asainov is accused of leaving Brooklyn in December 2013 to fight for ISIS in Syria, a Justice Department news release says. After becoming an ISIS sniper, he was promoted to become an "emir" in charge of training fighters how to use weapons and also tried to recruit someone else to leave the United States and become an ISIS fighter.Prosecutors claim Asainov tried to buy a scope for his rile by paying roughly $2,800 to a confidential informant, the news release says."Asainov subsequently sent the confidential informant two photographs depicting the defendant holding an assault rifle fitted with a scope," the news release says. "He messaged one associate exclaiming, in reference to ISIS, 'We are the worst terrorist organization in the world that has ever existed' and stating that he wished to die on the battlefield."


7/20/2019 6:52:44 AM

Vatican college space holds bones of dozens, expert saysThe expert, Giorgio Portera, said the "enormous" size of the collection under the Teutonic College was revealed when Vatican-appointed experts began cataloguing the remains, which were discovered last week . "We didn't expect such an enormous number" of bones and other remains which "had been thrown into a cavity," Portera said. "We want to know why and how" the bones ended up there.


7/20/2019 12:38:49 PM

UPDATE 1-Saudi Arabia says evacuated crew member of Iranian ship sent to Oman - SPASaudi Arabia said on Saturday it had sent a crew member of an Iranian ship who was previously evacuated for medical reasons from a vessel off the Yemeni port of Hodeidah, to Oman. Iran and Saudi Arabia are arch-adversaries in the Middle East, backing opposite sides in several regional wars including in Yemen where a Saudi-led coalition has been battling the Iran-aligned Houthi movement for four years.


7/20/2019 7:41:07 AM

El Chapo: Mexico president calls life sentence ‘inhumane’ as drug lord moved to supermax prisonThe Mexican president has described Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman’s life sentence as “inhumane” after the notorious drug lord was sent to live out his remaining years in a supermax prison in Colorado.Guzman was sentenced to life behind bars in the US plus 30 years after being found guilty of running a murderous criminal enterprise, having already escaped Mexican prisons twice.In his home country, President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador referred to sentences like the one handed to Guzman to be served in a “hostile jail” as "hard” and “inhumane", adding that it made life no longer worth living.The 62-year-old had been protected by an army of gangsters under the Sinaloa cartel, which he founded in 1989, up until his most recent incarceration.In 1993 he was sentenced to 20 years in prison in Mexico, however he was able to bribe guards to receive favourable treatment while also managing the cartel from inside his cell through his brother, who ran the cartel in his absence.In 2001 he escaped from the maximum-security Puente Grande prison in Jalisco, reportedly in a laundry basket.Some 13 years later he was imprisoned for a second time, but escaped again through a tunnel running 30ft beneath the Toluca prison showers to a house under construction a mile away.In 2016 he was arrested after a gunfight in Los Mochis before being extradited to the US, where he has remained since.Guzman has lodged frequent complaints about the conditions of his detention in the US, describing it as “torture”.Just hours after his sentencing, Guzman was flown by helicopter to USP Florence Admax, a top security prison in Colorado dubbed the “Alcatraz of the Rockies”.His fellow prisoners include the “Unabomber” Ted Kaczynski, 9/11 conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui and Terry Nichols, who was convicted of being an accomplice in the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing.“I drink unsanitary water, no air or sunlight, and the air pumped in makes my ears and throat hurt,” he said at his sentencing. “This has been psychological, emotional and mental torture 24 hours a day.” It comes as the Mexican president, who took office in December last year, introduces a militarized police force to help limit violence across the country as cartels splinter and smaller groups fight to consolidate territory.In 2016 the drug wars in the country made it the second deadliest place in the world, while in 2018 Mexico broke its own homicide record with 28,816 murder cases opened across the year.Mr Obrador added: “I also have many victims in mind, it’s something very painful.”An opinion poll hosted by Mexican newspaper Reforma found that 52 per cent of people surveyed believed Mr Obrador’s attempts to limit crime in the country were lacking, while 55 per cent said they believed he was failing to reduce violence in the country.


7/20/2019 7:23:52 AM

Kentucky host Matt Jones yanked amid speculation he'll challenge Mitch McConnellSports radio host Matt Jones is being pulled from his "Hey Kentucky!" anchor job until he makes a decision on running for U.S. Senate in 2020.


7/20/2019 9:27:24 AM

Ex-NRA Ad Firm: Um, Wayne LaPierre is LyingLucas Jackson/ReutersIn a new filing against the National Rifle Association, lawyers for ad agency Ackerman McQueen suggest that longtime NRA executive Wayne LaPierre is lying about a critical moment in the gun rights group’s recent leadership shake up. At issue is multi-million-dollar litigation between the NRA and its ex-ad firm. In court filings of its own, the NRA has alleged that Oliver North, the groups's former president, was ousted in part because he withheld information from the NRA about payments he took from Ackerman McQueen, which had served as the gun rights group’s primary ad contractor until just months ago. The NRA claims North kept the nature of his deal with Ackerman McQueen a secret from LaPierre and the gun group’s leadership. But in a July 16 filing that was reviewed by The Daily Beast, Ackerman McQueen alleges that LaPierre himself helped negotiate the deal between their firm and North. And they hint that they have documentation to prove it. In a statement, the NRA denied the suggestions. “The facts are clear – Mr. LaPierre and the NRA had no idea that Col. North was negotiating to become an employee of Ackerman McQueen,” said Andrew Arulanandam, managing director of NRA Public Affairs. “And to the extent Col. North was pushing a contrived narrative about Mr. LaPierre and the NRA, he was conflicted. He was an employee of Ackerman at the time he was allegedly scheming with the agency to unseat Mr. LaPierre.”  It’s a messy new chapter in the months-long legal battle between the NRA and the ad firm it used for more than three decades. And it comes as the gun group has jettisoned senior staff and faced revolts from grassroots activists and donors. “LaPierre negotiated the terms of the North Contract directly with Lt. Col. North and a detailed term sheet was sent to AMc [Ackerman McQueen] for completion of the formal agreement,” the filing reads. The NRA’s then-treasurer, Wilson “Woody” Phillips, also reviewed and approved North’s contract with the firm, according to the filing, and the NRA board’s audit committee green-lit the contract as well. “On at least two occasions, counsel for the NRA has reviewed the North Contract,” the filing adds. NRA Pulls the Plug on NRATVAckerman McQueen’s insistence that NRA officials were aware of the contract with North is directly at odds with the contention the NRA made in a suit it filed against the ad agency in April. North was ousted from the NRA that month during the group’s annual meeting and has since accused LaPierre of gross mismanagement and making highly questionable expenditures. The NRA, meanwhile, has alleged that North tried to oust LaPierre in a coup. And in a separate suit in May, it accused Ackerman McQueen of breach of contract by leaking information about both LaPierre and the NRA’s finances. Ackerman McQueen had been a central force behind the NRA’s evolution from a gun rights group to a conservative cultural institution. As part of that mission, the ad firm helped launch and manage NRATV, the NRA’s recently shuttered internet-video arm. The NRA has alleged in court that Ackerman McQueen had refused to share its analytics with the gun group. But In its July 16 filing, Ackerman McQueen claims that the opposite is true. “Two days before the lawsuit was filed, LaPierre was in AMc’s office and was in attendance for the presentation of the NRATV analytics,” it reads. “LaPierre walked out of the meeting.” A spokesperson for the NRA’s legal team did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The filing indicates that the fight between the NRA and Ackerman shows no signs of losing steam. Earlier this week, longtime NRA director of public affairs Jennifer Baker left the group. And a month ago, the group parted ways with its longtime top lobbyist, Chris Cox. Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.


7/19/2019 11:46:23 AM

Twitter blocks accounts of Iranian state media outletsA day after Twitter suspended the accounts of several Iranian state media outlets, the social networking service said Saturday it acted after harassment of people linked to the Baha'i faith. Amid soaring tensions in the region, heightened by Iran's seizure on Friday of a British-flagged tanker, some of the affected media outlets had speculated that the suspensions were related to their coverage of the seizure.


7/20/2019 2:55:07 PM

A Passenger Was Fined $105,000 and Banned for Life for 'Extremely Disruptive Behavior' on an AirplaneShe was also banned for life by British budget carrier Jet2


7/19/2019 2:09:25 PM

Michelle Obama counters Trump: 'There's a place for us all'Former First Lady Michelle Obama countered President Trump’s attacks on four Democratic congresswomen of color by emphasizing the importance of America’s diversity.


7/19/2019 2:18:21 PM
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