Keystone XL Pipeline Project Just Cleared Its Last Major Hurdle

TransCanada’s Keystone XL Pipeline is now approved to be built through the state of Nebraska, clearing one of the last major hurdles preventing the pipeline’s completion.

According to the Hill, the pipeline was okay’d to be built after a commission of Nebraska regulators voted 3-2. While the pipeline has been given the green light, it’s still subject to legal challenges.

The Hill reported that environmental and tribal activists are already gearing up to bring lawsuits against it.

The commission’s decision is a legal decision subject to appeal, something opponents of the pipeline have said they will do. Developers still need to secure approval from two federal agencies, and permitting decisions in South Dakota and federally are the subject of environmentalist and tribal lawsuits.

Legal challenges aside, with Keystone’s Nebraska problem out of the way, the pipeline faces no major challenges as both South Dakota and Montana have already approved the pipeline to cross their states. All the Trump administration has to do now is issue permits itself, though some of these may face legal challenges as well. The pipeline must get presidential approval as it passes the border into Canada.

The pipeline was fast-tracked by the Trump administration which had issued an executive order to get the project moving, something that then president Barack Obama had blocked in 2015.

 

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Marco Rubio: We Need to Reward Work Instead of Collecting Welfare for Having Children

Florida Senator Marco Rubio wants to start paying people for actually going to work instead of sitting at home and living off of government benefits while they have children.

Rubio appeared on Fox and Friends to promote his child tax credit plan, which would increase the child tax credit to $2,000.

“We need to encourage work.” said Rubio. “We cannot be a country where you’re better off not working and having three kids because of the government programs – than a country with $35,000 or $45,000 a year, you end up losing money.”

“We need to reward work,” added Rubio, “and we need to take care of people who work really hard and are trying to get ahead. To keep more of their own money instead of sending it Washington  so Washington can spend it on their behalf.”

Rubio’s increase on the child tax credit isn’t a new idea of his by a long shot. The Florida Senator has been pushing such a tax credit since 2014. During his 2016 presidential run, the amount had been $2,500.

With the Republican tax bill just around the corner, Rubio has begun pushing for the tax credit hard, thinking it will also please some on the left.

“Unless America’s tax code and our broader public policy does not begin to account for the struggles of working Americans who put in eight to 10 hours a day, five days a week, I think our political process will continue to become more raucous and more divisive,” said Rubio on Friday according to Naples Daily News. “And America will struggle to solve not just its economic problems, but many of its other problems as well.”

Rubio hasn’t indicated that he would remove his vote for the GOP tax plan should the child tax credit not be included, but if he did, it would endanger the bill greatly.  Republican Sens Susan Collins from Maine, and Wisconsin’s Ron Johnson have both already indicated that they can’t vote for the bill.

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Trump Invites Hillary to Another Election Showdown in 2020

President Donald Trump just threw the proverbial the proverbial gauntlet down in front of his 2016 Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton today.

Trump took to twitter and called  Clinton “the worst (and biggest) loser of all time,” in a tweet, adding “she just can’t stop, which is so good for the Republican Party. Hillary, get on with your life and give it another try in three years!”

The tweet was likely in response to Clinton’s attack on Trump, telling him to take responsibility for the sexual assault allegations leveled at him, while applauding Al Franken’s response to sexual assault allegations against him.

“I don’t hear that from Roy Moore or Donald Trump,” Clinton said during a Friday interview. “Look at the contrast between Al Franken, accepting responsibility, apologizing, and Roy Moore and Donald Trump who have done neither.”

Both Clinton and Trump have been in a back and forth since his election. Trump has recently pushed for Clinton to be investigated by the Justice Department for her, and the Clinton Foundation’s part in the Uranium One scandal, which saw then Clinton’s State Department okay the sale of an American uranium company to Russia in 2010.

Clinton in return has called this potential investigation an “abuse of power.

Despite Trump’s 2020 challenge to Clinton, Clinton says she’s done with being a political official and will not be running again.

At this time, Trump’s main 2020 opponents look to be Bernie Sanders, currently the politician with the highest approval rating, former Vice President Joe Biden who is already 11 points ahead in the 2020 polls.

 

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Apple’s VP of Diversity to Step Down After Proving She Understands What Real Diversity Is

You’ve no doubt heard the phrase “diversity is strength.” While in many cases this is correct, in many others, the adage rings completely hollow. Forging chromium into steel will craft you a blade resistant to the elements. Forge Frosted Flakes with steel and I’m pretty sure you’ll have a far less durable, but somewhat tasty knife.

It all boils down to the type of diversity we uphold.

That’s something Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion at Apple, Denise Young Smith, seemed to understand. Smith has only been VP of Diversity at the Silicone Valley giant for six months, but is already stepping down.

Why? Smith says she’s been discussing her departure with Cook for over a year now, and this departure is “planned.” However, it seems odd that Smith is suddenly leaving her brand new post after she arose a deluge of anger for recognizing that diversity of thought was more important than diversity of race or sex.

“I focus on everyone,” said Smith during a conference in Bogota, Colombia about fighting racial injustice, adding “Diversity is the human experience. I get a little bit frustrated when diversity or the term diversity is tagged to the people of color, or the women, or the LGBT.”

That was probably already too far for many social justice advocates, but then Smith took it into screeching territory for the left.

“There can be 12 white, blue-eyed, blonde men in a room and they’re going to be diverse too because they’re going to bring a different life experience and life perspective to the conversation,” said Smith as she sat next to Black Lives Matter’s DeRay McKesson.

McKesson took his turn to spew racist garbage about white people and their “privilege,” but it was Smith’s statement that drew a great deal of controversy despite Smith herself being black and a woman.

The problem with Smith’s statement for those on the social justice left is that diversity of the exterior is more important than diversity of thought. The idea that 12 white men in a room could have different experiences that effect their views or creative process is ludicrous to a people whose ideology demands that everyone has to fit into a specific box.

To SocJus advocates, there’s no way the white son of a rancher from Texas could be as different as night is from day when compared to the son of a white deli owner from New York. White guy Jim on 6th St., despite his different upbringing and life experiences, cannot be different from White guy Tom on 7th. They’re both white, and thus the exact same person.

If that seems like shallow, backward thinking, it’s because it is. For them, diversity cannot exist in the mind if the skin color is the same.

To them, diversity could only be achieved by bringing in different sexes, races, etc. While these differences do sometimes help, focusing on the exterior does necessarily mean the right person has been brought in for the job. A black woman may have been chosen for her exterior qualities, but her abilities to creatively problem solve may not be all that different from white guy Jim’s, or her style isn’t necessarily a good fit for the situation.

This is the problem of modern day diversity hires. The less qualified are made more qualified by the color of their skin, not the contents of their character…or their brain.

Smith seemed to understand this, and for this she was raked over the coals. While we can’t prove her stepping down after only six months is a result of her comments about appreciating diversity of thought, it seems awfully fishy that she’s disappearing so soon after taking her job, and so soon after expressing an opinion that many on the social justice left view as heresy.

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Treasury Paid Almost $1 Million in Harassment Settlements for Congress Alone in 2017

If you think congressional foul play begins and ends with Al Franken, I’m afraid the news gets far worse.

According to the Washington Times, the congressional office compliance report listed a number of payments our own treasury had to make for settlements pertaining to sexual harassment nearing $1 million:

In the first 10 and a half of months of this year, the Treasury Department paid $934,754 to Capitol Hill employees who were the victims of various work issues.

Last year, 15 victims were compensated a total of $588,049.

In total, 264 victims have been paid a total of $17 million since 1997.

According to the records, the most payments were made in 2007 when 25 victims were compensated a total of $4.05 million for abuses while employed by Congress.

In 2002, nearly $4 million was paid to only 10 victims.

The office said it released the information ahead of schedule due to multiple requests for the information, likely in light of recent events.

“Nothing in this subparagraph requires the Office to release award and settlement figures referenced in Section 1415 of the CAA. However, based on the volume of recent inquiries regarding payment of awards and settlements reached under the CAA, I am releasing these figures beginning with Fiscal Year 1997, up to and including FY 2017,” Compliance Executive Director Susan Tsui Grundmann said in a statement.

 

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Cowboys Owner Jerry Jones to Roger Goodell: I’m Coming After You With Everything I Have

Dallas Cowboys Owner Jerry Jones is not at all happy with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and threatened to come down harder than anything Goodell has previously experienced.

According to ESPN, Jones didn’t mince words.

“I’m gonna come after you with everything I have,” Jones said. Then he mentioned Deflategate. “If you think Bob Kraft came after you hard, Bob Kraft is a p—y compared to what I’m going to do.”

The ever-deepening rift between Jones and Goodell is a combination of Jones’ belief that Goodell has mishandled the kneeling controversy, where players have been protesting America by kneeling during the national anthem. The other has been the upheld six-game suspension of Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott who was accused of domestic violence.

Jones has made it clear that he believes Elliott to be innocent of the charges, and considers this a “complete betrayal” on Goodell’s part, as Jones was once a major supporter of Goodell.

Between Goodell and Jones, the rivalry has gotten so deep that it was rumored that Jones had convinced Papa Johns pizza chain CEO to call out Goodell as a weak leader in the face of the NFL anthem protests. Goodell’s actions did cost the NFL quite a bit, including falling ratings for games and lower sales for sponsors.

All of this amounts to Jones waging something of a righteous war against the NFL commissioner. Jones has proven himself to be a bit more tenacious and business-minded in face of the many controversies within the NFL. Goodell may have a hard fight ahead of him.

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Taylor Swift Understands Something About Politics That Most Celebrities Don’t

I should start this off by saying I’m not much of a fan of Taylor Swift’s music.

Some of her songs are catchy, but I never understood the appeal. According to my sister — and I’m paraphrasing here — there’s a dancing white girl in all of us, and Taylor Swift encourages her to come out. I guess my inner white girl is a goth who doesn’t dance.

But sans my appreciation for her music, I do admire Swift. She’s a genuinely good person who treats her fans like they’re the stars. I’ve never seen her be overtly sexual like many of her fellow pop princesses, and even her Ghost in the Shell rip off costume for her song “Ready for It” wasn’t used as a way to gyrate something. And yes, she has a string of failed relationships, and she expresses that in sometimes sorrowful, sometimes jocular, and sometimes manic ways that even she acknowledges makes her seem simultaneously tragic and crazy. In other words, she’s your typical American girl.

But what I appreciate most about Swift is that she seems to be smarter than many of her peers. The grumpy socio-political commentator in me would summarize it as “she knows how to shut up.” The writer in me would say more succinctly, she knows not to mix her politics with her entertainment.

Despite the political firestorm raging around everything Trump does, be it his election or his breathing out of his left nostril, Swift has stayed mum about her thoughts and opinions on the goings on in D.C.’s pillared halls.

This doesn’t sit well with many on the left, as webzine Marie Claire openly expressed on Tuesday.

For many in the leftist media, your disapproval, or better your hatred, of Trump is what allows you to be taken seriously as an artist. A disavowal of the president, or better yet, a Twitter rant against (insert issue of the day here) will win you a standing ovation from the mainstream media, awards, and more.

However, for the left, silence in the face of such evil is equal to consent. Swift’s sealed lips on her politics might as well be a signed and notarized document that gives her approval to whatever dastardly thing Trump wishes to do next.

Marie Claire’s article was less of an honest question about why Taylor has stayed mum, and more like a Nazi Gestapo forcing a citizen to declare allegiance to the body politic lest there be consequences. What Marie Claire didn’t anticipate was that Swift’s celebrity was more powerful than their public attempt at verschärfte vernehmung.

But more than that, Marie Claire — and indeed many in the media — never even considered the fact that Swift’s silence has made her more powerful than their wagging tongues. For all we know, Swift is a raging leftist who donates to Planned Parenthood, believes in safe spaces, cheers on Antifa, and hopes one day Al Franken will grab her by the bulletproof vest. Then again she might be a MAGA hat wearing Israel supporter who thinks the moment an NFL player’s knee touches grass he should be summarily kicked in the jock strap and dragged off the field.

She might be none of those things. We’ll never know, and that is the sharpest arrow in Swift’s quiver.

Swift respects her audience, no matter which way they lean. Whether they’re blue haired SJWs, or troop loving patriots, Swift welcomes all. She’s a performer who is there to bring her audience emotion, depth, fun, and what have you, not divisive commentary and political stances. She never forces anyone to pick a side.

The rest of Hollywood hasn’t learned this. Celebrities spew political verbal diarrhea between takes, songs, plays, and during acceptance speeches, alienating fans and ruining the medium.

A look ratings for everything politics has touched will tell you just how damaging becoming a political talking head or symbol can be for your career, and the space you work in. ESPN and the NFL are seeing their ratings and subscriptions tank daily by the thousands. The Emmys, which has become more of a place for celebrities to to live out their fantasy of being an MSNBC host, is also seeing ratings in free fall. Late night show hosts that engage in partisan commentary like Colbert and Kimmel are bleeding viewers.

A entertainer’s job is to entertain. Those who engage in political commentary leave a bad taste in our mouths. We go to them to get away, not stay in the world we needed a break from. And what’s more the ones there to entertain us always seem half informed about what’s going on as they take themselves so seriously. Many of us reacting negatively feel like Woody from Toy Story yelling “YOU. ARE. A. TOY.” at a very self-important Buzz Lightyear.

But Swift doesn’t have this problem. She respects her audience by not alienating them. She doesn’t see her platform as a soapbox, but a stage by which to serve her fans. I’m not a big Swift fan in terms of her music, but I am a huge Swift fan in terms of her character, and her intelligence, and many in the entertainment industry could learn from her example.

 

 

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Leftists Are Going Nuts Over a “Racist” Billboard That’s Not at All Racist

A gun range in southern New Jersey’s Camden County is causing leftist’s heads to explode and call it “racist.” Why? Because it’s a clear swipe at the NFL kneelers.

The NFL kneelers have become ground zero for social justice advocacy, ranging from causes like police brutality against minorities to the debunked wage gap myth.

But instead of actually doing anything to improve their communities, NFL players choose to kneel during the national anthem, a clear sign of disrespect toward the country that amounts to little but a virtue signaling-fest that accomplishes nothing but falling ratings for the NFL.

It’s that disrespect that the South Jersey Shooting Club decided to one up with a pro-military billboard featuring a kneeling soldier with gun drawn, and the words “the only time we take a knee…”

The billboard was photographed by a woman named MoNeke Ragsdale, who urged people to call the manager and take the “racist” billboard down.

The Camden County chapter of the NAACP soon got involved. According to The Inquirer, the NAACP claims the “signs twist the message of kneeling, which is meant to bring attention to systemic racism and police brutality against people of color.”

“We’re talking about police murdering unarmed black people,” NAACP member Keith Benson Sr. said. He called the signs racially divisive and has encouraged people to call the club to complain. “They deserve all the disrespect they’re going to get as a result of putting it up. But they probably thought they were clever. They probably thought they were strong, patriotic Americans.”

“We’re living in a very difficult time right now,” said Susan Druckenbrod, a member of the South Jersey Women for Progressive Change, who also believes the billboard is racist. “People are trying to stand up for black and brown people to say, ‘Hey this is not right. That sign really is just mocking the idea of taking a knee.”

However, the owners of the billboard say this isn’t a racial issue, and it’s about respect for the military. The owner of the billboard ads, Wesley Aducat, says he has no intention of taking the billboards down, adding that while he agrees with people’s right to protest, he doesn’t believe it should happen during the national anthem.

Aducat is right to keep his billboards up. While so many are concerned that the sign is a show of disrespect toward minorities, no one seems to question whether or not the kneeling is a sign of disrespect toward those who gave their lives so the rich and famous can have the right to virtue signal.

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Now Sylvester Stallone Is on the Sexual Assault Chopping Block After Police Report Emerges

Famed star Sylvester Stallone, known for his portrayal of Rocky Balboa in the Rocky movies, is the latest in a long string of Hollywood stars to be accused of sexual assault.

According to a police report dug up by the Daily Mail, Stallone — then 40-years-old — allegedly had sex with a 16-year-old girl while filming Over the Top in 1986 alongside his bodyguard Michael ‘Mike’ De Luca.

According to the anonymous girl, she was willingly having sex with Stallone but felt intimidated when De Luca was invited to join in by Stallone. The girl reported that she was “intimidated” into giving oral sex to De Luca while Stallone penetrated her.

The girl told police that Stallone and De Luca told her not to tell anyone due to the fact that they were married, and that if she did “they would have to beat her head in.”

The teen later told the story to police who described the girl as “extremely emotional” and had trouble relaying her thoughts. However, the girl told police that she did not want to prosecute Stallone.

“I’m kind of scared and I’m very ashamed. I don’t want anybody else to have that happen to them, but I don’t want to prosecute. I cannot talk about this anymore, please leave me alone,” she reportedly told police.

According to the Daily Mail, this isn’t the first time Stallone was accused of rape:

The bombshell police report was made a year before Stallone’s half-sister Toni-Ann Filiti, threatened him with a lawsuit in 1987, alleging that Stallone raped her and sexually assaulted her for years.

Although court documents show the actor ‘vigorously denied and continues to deny and dispute all claims of wrongdoing’, he agreed to give Filiti a lump sum of $2 million, as well as $16,666 a month for the rest of her life.

His half-sister, whose own mother claimed she was a drug addict, died in 2012 after a battle with lung cancer.

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Looks Like We Can Finally Kiss Net Neutrality Goodbye

The often disputed Obama-era regulation known as “net neutrality” that political parties and corporations have warred over for years now looks like it will finally meet its end very soon.

For those who don’t know what net neutrality is, there are two ways to describe it:

One is that government regulation forces internet services providers to dole out equal speeds for all sites, and not pick and choose which sites get the best service. It’s often described as the internet being “equal” and a way to stop big corporations from picking and choosing winners.

The other is that net neutrality is a burdensome regulatory solution looking for a problem and an excuse for control over an industry using the free market to problem solve and allow companies to charge what they will for premium speeds. They view net neutrality as Trojan horse for further regulations that would pick and choose winners.

Either way, net neutrality will likely become a thing of the past due to an oncoming December vote by the regulatory FCC lead by Trump appointed FCC Chairman Ajit Pai.

According to Bloomberg, Pai has a Republican majority, and will likely be able to pass whatever he proposes. According to insiders, he’s decided to put net neutrality up on the chopping block.

But while Pai may do away with Net Neutrality, he’ll be keeping the parts that force ISP’s to be more open about their practices:

One of the people said Pai may call for vacating the rules except for portions that mandate internet service providers inform customers about their practices — one of the more severe options that would please broadband providers. They argue the FCC’s rules aren’t needed and discourage investment, in part because they subject companies to complex and unpredictable regulations.

Not only will Pai gut Net Neutrality, he may pass rules that make the FCC unable to touch the idea in the first place, essentially by removing the internet from the column of being a public service.

Pai could also choose not to find authority in the FCC’s powers to promote broadband. That would leave the rules without an apparent legal footing, leading in turn to a conclusion the agency lacks authority even to issue revised, less-stringent regulations.

 

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