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Koch Network To Spend $400 Million To Help Republicans In 2018 Mid-Terms

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INDIAN WELLS, Calif. (Reuters) – The conservative Koch network spent its annual donor conference celebrating policy victories under President Donald Trump such as the tax overhaul, but the elation was tinged with anxiety over November’s congressional elections that could pose a risk to its agenda.


To that end, the network plans to spend what would be unprecedented sums for the Kochs to maintain Republican majorities in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, while trying to sell voters on the benefits of the newly passed tax package, according to network officials who briefed reporters on their strategy during the conference this weekend in Indian Wells, California.


Historically, the party in power loses seats in congressional elections after a new president’s election. This year, Republican angst is compounded by Trump, whose tumultuous presidency helped galvanize Democratic and independent voters to go to the polls in special and state elections last year.


“It’s going to be a very challenging environment,” said Tim Phillips, president of Americans for Prosperity, a grassroots political group that is part of the Koch network. “The left is energized. There’s no question about that.”


The network is prepared to spend up to $400 million on the congressional races – a 60 percent increase from its investment in the 2016 election, officials said.


Energy magnates Charles and David Koch have long been outsized players in Republican politics, but they never warmed to Trump during the 2016 campaign.


With Trump in the White House, however, they have seen several policy goals realized, including the tax legislation and cutting federal regulations.


But the Koch network still diverges from the Republican president on issues such as immigration and trade. The Kochs strongly support legislation that would protect “Dreamers” – people brought illegally to the United States as children – from deportation.


Two Koch operatives, Daniel Garza and Jorge Lima, were at the White House on Friday to try to help broker a deal with Congress over the Dreamers. The network issued a statement on Friday disagreeing with a proposal in Trump’s immigration blueprint that would set new limits on legal immigration.


On trade, Phillips and other Koch operatives are deeply concerned about the administration’s moves to impose tariffs on some imports and ardently support the North American Free Trade Agreement with Canada and Mexico, which is being renegotiated and that Trump has threatened to abandon.


Senator John Cornyn, the No. 2 Republican in the Senate, was an attendee at the Koch event, a measure of the network’s deep ties to conservatives in Congress and an example of the leverage it would lose should Democrats take control next year.


Of the $400 million the network is looking to spend, $20 million will go toward promoting the tax law, which passed Congress in December and included big cuts in corporate tax rates along with tax reductions for many individuals.


Polls at the time of passage showed Americans divided about the bill’s merits, but Phillips said he believed that would change as voters see increased paychecks. Democrats condemned the tax measure as favoring corporations and the rich.


Americans for Prosperity is positioned to be a ground-level force in the congressional elections. Its largest presence is in Florida, where Democratic Senator Bill Nelson may face a fight from Republican Governor Rick Scott. The group also has offices in Arizona, Nevada, and Wisconsin, among other states, all of which are expected to see highly competitive Senate races.


Phillips said his group would likely stay out of Republican primaries.


One variable hanging over the Kochs’ effort is Trump. Republican losses in a special U.S. Senate election in Alabama last month and a governor’s race in Virginia in November were attributed in part to discontent with the president.


In 2010, Republicans seized on voter worries about Democratic President Barack Obama’s signature healthcare law, known as Obamacare, to capture the House and thwart Obama’s policy goals.


For the Koch network, the challenge will be to avoid having every local race become a referendum on the president, which could propel a Democratic wave.

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Military

Lucas Gage Returns to X After Exposing Palestine Atrocities & Ban Over Alleged Harassment

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In today’s digital age, social media platforms serve as vital tools for raising awareness and advocating for causes. However, they also present challenges such as harassment and censorship. Recently, actor and activist Lucas Gage faced these challenges head-on when his X account was suspended for several months following harassment from certain groups unhappy with his efforts to expose war atrocities in Palestine. Now, after a prolonged absence, Gage has returned to X, ready to resume his important work of shedding light on crucial issues.

Lucas Gage, known for his roles in various television shows and films, has also been vocal about social justice issues, particularly regarding the Palestinian cause. His advocacy drew the ire of individuals and groups who disagreed with his stance. Gage utilized his platform on X to spotlight the human rights violations and war atrocities occurring in Palestine, which led to backlash from some pro-Israeli factions.

The backlash against Gage escalated into harassment, predominantly from individuals identifying themselves as Zionists. He faced a barrage of abusive messages, threats, and attempts to undermine his activism. Despite his efforts to report and block the harassers, the situation persisted, taking a toll on Gage’s mental well-being and sense of safety.

In a controversial decision, X suspended Gage’s account, citing violations of its community guidelines. Many criticized X for what they perceived as a failure to address harassment effectively, especially given the circumstances surrounding Gage’s case. The ban sparked debates about freedom of expression, censorship, and the responsibilities of social media platforms in safeguarding users from harassment and abuse.

After a hiatus spanning several months, Lucas Gage has made his comeback to X. His return has been met with an outpouring of support from fellow activists, fans, and individuals concerned about censorship and human rights. Gage expressed gratitude for the overwhelming solidarity he received during his absence and reiterated his dedication to advocating for justice and raising awareness about the plight of the Palestinian people.

The incident involving Lucas Gage underscores the significance of advocacy and the hurdles activists encounter, especially when addressing contentious issues. It also highlights the complexities of navigating social media platforms where differing viewpoints often clash, sometimes resulting in hostility and censorship.

As Gage resumes his activism on X, it is imperative to continue discussions about online harassment, censorship, and the necessity for improved mechanisms to shield users from abuse. Social media companies must reevaluate their policies and enforcement strategies to ensure that platforms remain spaces for constructive dialogue and activism, rather than avenues for harassment and stifling dissenting voices.

Lucas Gage’s return to X serves as a testament to the resilience of individuals committed to social justice causes despite facing obstacles and adversity. His experience sheds light on broader issues surrounding online harassment and censorship, prompting important conversations about the role of social media platforms in shaping public discourse. As Gage continues his advocacy, his story serves as inspiration for others to speak out against injustice and strive for positive change.

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Culture

Rabbi Shmuley Having ‘Nervous Breakdown’ says Alex Jones

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In the whirlwind of social media controversies, few can match the intensity and unpredictability of Alex Jones. Known for his provocative statements and unyielding conspiracy theories, Jones recently took to Twitter to express his disdain for Rabbi Shmuley Boteach’s Purim costume choice.

In a scathing tweet, Jones condemned Rabbi Shmuley’s attire and behavior, accusing him of having a “nervous breakdown.” The rabbi had donned a costume portraying what he termed a “Candace Owens Jew,” accompanied by a bizarre ensemble featuring references to money and a provocative assertion about Jewish identity.

“For Purim I’ve dressed up as a Candace Owens Jew,” Rabbi Shmuley wrote, adding a string of controversial remarks about Jewish stereotypes and dual loyalties. The costume, seemingly intended as a satirical commentary, sparked outrage and criticism from many quarters.

Jones, never one to shy away from confrontation, seized the opportunity to denounce Rabbi Shmuley’s actions. “You go around starting fights with people and then flip out when they respond,” Jones tweeted. He urged the rabbi to seek help for the sake of his family, implying that Rabbi Shmuley’s behavior was symptomatic of a deeper issue.

The exchange between Jones and Rabbi Shmuley highlights the complexities of social media and the power of provocative speech. Both figures are no strangers to controversy, with Jones notorious for his conspiracy-laden rants and Rabbi Shmuley often courting controversy with his outspoken views on various issues.

Purim, a Jewish holiday known for its revelry and merrymaking, is traditionally marked by costume parties and playful satire. However, Rabbi Shmuley’s choice of attire crossed a line for many, tapping into sensitive issues of anti-Semitism and racial stereotypes.

By dressing as a caricatured version of a “Candace Owens Jew,” Rabbi Shmuley waded into dangerous territory, perpetuating harmful stereotypes and reinforcing negative perceptions of Jewish people. His attempt at satire fell flat for many, instead sparking condemnation and outrage.

In response, Alex Jones delivered a blistering rebuke, calling out Rabbi Shmuley’s behavior and urging him to seek help. While Jones himself is no stranger to controversy, his criticism of Rabbi Shmuley’s costume choice underscores the seriousness of the issue at hand.

In an era where social media amplifies voices and magnifies controversies, individuals must exercise caution and responsibility in their online interactions. What may seem like harmless satire to some can perpetuate harmful stereotypes and fuel division.

As the dust settles on this latest social media skirmish, it serves as a reminder of the power of words and the importance of thoughtful discourse. In a world already fraught with tensions and divisions, it is incumbent upon all of us to strive for understanding and empathy, even in the midst of disagreement.

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Border

AG Ken Paxton: “SB 4, is Now In Effect”

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In the heart of Texas, amidst the sweltering heat and the vast expanse of rugged terrain, a battle was being waged—a battle not fought with guns and swords, but with words and legal maneuvers. It was a clash between the Lone Star State and the might of the federal government, with the fate of immigration law hanging in the balance.

Ken Paxton, the Attorney General of Texas, stood at the forefront of this struggle. With unwavering determination and a deep sense of duty, he had taken up the mantle to defend Texas and its sovereignty against what he saw as overreach from the Biden Administration.

Just a few minutes ago, he had sent a tweet echoing across the digital landscape, announcing a monumental victory: “🚨🚨 HUGE WIN: Texas has defeated the Biden Administration’s and ACLU’s emergency motions at the Supreme Court. Our immigration law, SB 4, is now in effect.”

The news reverberated through the state like a thunderclap, igniting a spark of hope in the hearts of many Texans who had felt their voices drowned out by the clamor of national politics.

Among those who felt the weight of this victory was Maria Sanchez, a young immigrant who had come to Texas in search of a better life. For years, she had lived in the shadows, fearing the consequences of being discovered by authorities. But now, with SB 4 in effect, she felt a glimmer of hope that perhaps she could finally step out into the light without fear.

On the other side of the divide stood federal agents, tasked with enforcing the laws of the land as decreed by the Biden Administration. They watched with frustration as their efforts were thwarted by legal challenges and political maneuvering.

But for Ken Paxton, this victory was not just about winning in court—it was about standing up for what he believed was right. It was about defending the values and principles that he held dear, even in the face of adversity.

“As always, it’s my honor to defend Texas and its sovereignty, and to lead us to victory in court,” he declared, his words resounding with conviction.

The battle may have been won for now, but the war was far from over. In the days and weeks to come, the struggle between state and federal authority would continue to unfold, shaping the destiny of not just Texas, but the entire nation.

But for now, amidst the heat of the Lone Star State, a moment of triumph had been achieved—a testament to the resilience and determination of those who dared to stand up and fight for what they believed in.

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