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RedState by Brad Slager - 1h ago

Making cat-fever scratch.

Coming into this weekend everyone was looking at theaters with one question: “Just how big is this going to be?!” Even by comic book movie standards there was expected to be impressive, and probably historic, numbers coming in. As a result the major studios got out of the way entirely, knowing there would be little business to be had. Some smaller distributors only offered token resistance in the hope of garnering some spillover business.

There was little to be had. The monstrous hit earned more than three times as much as the rest of the field, and outdrew all films for the weekend with just the Friday totals. Let’s just dig in and see how well it did, and how all other films ended up in the litter box.

1.  BLACK PANTHER – $192.02Million
The only question was where this release would land historically. That the totals are exceeding “Avengers: Age of Ultron” speaks to an amazing performance. Not only was “Ultron” a massive ensemble film but it was a summertime release. This draw in February is astounding, and the estimates continued to change throughout the weekend as the numbers continued to be scaled upward. On Friday alone this one earned over $76 million, serving as the eighth highest opening day of all time. By the end of the 4-day holiday there is a possibility of earning over $225 million.

2. PETER RABBIT – $17.25m
A very strong hold of -28% over a respectable opening is all the more impressive in this environment of “Panther” creating a vacuum. Being a pure child’s title helped as they may be the only demographic not directly drawn into the comic feature, and as a result it was not hammered directly.

3. FIFTY SHADES FREED – $16.94m
The Mommy-Porn enterprise shows some weakness as it drops below the film it beat in the opening last week. The -56% drop is not too surprising, and Universal is not crying over the figures at all; this has made nearly $200 million overseas already.

4. JUMANJI: WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE – $7.94m
Finally getting deflated by the powerhouse release, this smash hit is now the second highest grossing film ever for Sony.

5. THE 15:17 TO PARIS – $7.68m
The Clint Eastwood film about the real-life stopping a terrorist attack has held up well enough, with a respectable drop of -39%, however that is off of a rather disappointing opening.

6. THE GREATEST SHOWMAN – $5.1m
Finally dropping out of the top-5 (barely) after nine weeks. It has now earned more money than last year’s raved-about musical “La La Land”.

7. EARLY MAN – $3.15m
Lionsgate attempted to release this animated lark from the British Aardman studios as counter-programing, and it completely went ignored. The problem is the family side was already heavily covered, and this one did not draw the kids; ¾ of the audience was over-18, which spells disaster.

8. MAZE RUNNER: DEATH CURE – $2.52m
The end of this franchise has hit a dead-end here in the states, but it will eventually find the path to profitability in the foreign market.

9. WINCHESTER – $2.25m
Clearly this had been designed for a quick dollar (which did not really materialize) as this title saw it dropping 1,000 screens in just its third week of release.

10. SAMSON – $1.97m
The faith-based distributor Pure Flix attempts to offer up this Biblical telling as an alternative to the titan of the week.

The post The RedState Box Office Report appeared first on RedState.

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Yesterday, the Washinton Post ran a story with Philip Rucker’s byline titled Trump’s Russia ‘hoax’ turns out to be real.

When Donald Trump finally acknowledged publicly that Russians had hacked Democratic emails and interfered in the 2016 presidential election, the then-president-elect immediately regretted it. He confided to advisers that he did not believe the intelligence. The last thing Trump wanted to do was to endorse the notion that his victory may have been caused by any force other than his own strategy, message and charisma.

“Russia talk is FAKE NEWS put out by the Dems, and played up by the media, in order to mask the big election defeat and the illegal leaks!” Trump tweeted last Feb. 26.

But Trump’s own Justice Department has concluded otherwise. A 37-page federal indictment released Friday afternoon spells out in exhaustive detail a three-year Russian plot to disrupt America’s democracy and boost Trump’s campaign, dealing a fatal blow to one of the president’s favorite talking points.

A Russia “hoax” this was not.

The indictment — signed by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III and announced by Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein, both of whom Trump has at times mused about wanting to fire — reveals that the scope of Russia’s alleged efforts to help Trump defeat Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton was extraordinary.

Factually, this is not true. The FBI investigation found that the Russian effort was minimal in terms of people and material. The indictment clearly states that the object was to create confusion, distrust, etc. And the Russians pushed ads and themes supporting Trump, Sanders, and Stein. They attacked Rubio and Cruz and Clinton in the primary. After the election they sponsored anti-Trump rallies.

The real question, of course is when did Trump refer to the entire investigation, as opposed to the Russia collusion part, as a hoax.

If you read the article, there is no evidence he ever did. But there is this correction:

Correction: Due to an editing error, an earlier version of this story made reference to a May 2017 tweet by President Trump. That reference has been deleted.

What was that “May 2017” tweet:

The Russia-Trump collusion story is a total hoax, when will this taxpayer funded charade end?

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 8, 2017

Notice it refers specifically to the collusion narrative which seems more and more like a conspiracy theory every day.

The article itself notes that Trump admitted over a year ago that the Russians did attempt to meddle in the election.

It was not until January 2017 that Trump’s advisers persuaded him to acknowledge for the first time that he believed Russians were behind the cyberattacks.

Non sequitur time. WaPo headline is "Justice Dept. deals fatal blow to Trump’s Russia 'hoax.'" Quotes Trump tweet saying collusion charge is hoax. Then says Mueller indictments, which do not allege collusion, have destroyed Trump's claim. https://t.co/nKOmrX1xEu pic.twitter.com/q5XA5phaU1

— Byron York (@ByronYork) February 17, 2018

The Wall Street Journal’s James Taranto, sums it up:

Fallacy of equivocation. Trump's claim was that "the Russia-Trump collusion story is a total hoax." Story cites no evidence of collusion. https://t.co/sHN5arJhqG

— James Taranto (@jamestaranto) February 17, 2018

The quote "the Russia-Trump collusion story is a total hoax" was in the Post story when I initially tweeted about it. That was what Trump called a "hoax," not broader claims of Russian meddling.

— James Taranto (@jamestaranto) February 18, 2018

The Post realized this was a problem. It deleted the quote from the story and appended this cryptic note. https://t.co/gGFF84m7LQ pic.twitter.com/HveCAtcjfa

— James Taranto (@jamestaranto) February 18, 2018

There is now no reference in the story to Trump's calling anything a "hoax," but the headline still uses that word in quotes. pic.twitter.com/WYYeyyEgTs

— James Taranto (@jamestaranto) February 18, 2018

The lede makes the same assertion, albeit without quote marks. pic.twitter.com/54ORxlKHuB

— James Taranto (@jamestaranto) February 18, 2018

If you look at Trump's tweets, you find lots of tweets in which he says "collusion" is a hoax, as in the one the Post quoted then deleted.

— James Taranto (@jamestaranto) February 18, 2018

You can also find tweets with vague references like "the Russia hoax." https://t.co/S8TEK8K2EU

— James Taranto (@jamestaranto) February 18, 2018

The redacted Post story quotes another such tweet, referring to "Russia talk." pic.twitter.com/8OuHoCWpSm

— James Taranto (@jamestaranto) February 18, 2018

But if Trump has ever said, as the story claims, that "Russian interference was a hoax," the Post was unable to find any evidence. Indeed it quotes several instances in which he acknowledged interference.

— James Taranto (@jamestaranto) February 18, 2018

Courtesy of @Bioreducer, here is a screenshot of the deleted part of that Post story. pic.twitter.com/k1YtgbaQ9O

— James Taranto (@jamestaranto) February 18, 2018

If Trump called "Russian interference" a "hoax," why can't the Post produce a quote to that effect? And it appears you can't either. https://t.co/7bnF8NT1oJ

— James Taranto (@jamestaranto) February 17, 2018

This Post story is simply false throughout. It is false in its characterization of the information in Mueller’s indictement. It is false in its characterization of Trump’s view of Russian meddling. But is is also par for the course for a media that that is deeply invested in opposing Trump for no larger reason than opposing him.

The post Uh Oh. Washington Post Calls President Trump Out On Russia “Hoax” and Then the Fun Started appeared first on RedState.

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In my view, there were two salient findings in the unsealed indictment brought in by special counsel Robert Mueller on Friday. First, the Russians began laying the groundwork for their low-level meddling in 2013. Second, it is very obvious that the FBI was aware of their activities from 2013 through the end of the 2016 presidential campaign. All of this, as I posted, begs the question of why, if this was an existential threat to the republic, did Barack Hussein Obama allow it to continue?(See my post on the subject)

Adam Schiff, darling and intellectual godfather of the never-Trump movement and the #Resistance, was at a forum at the Council on Foreign Relations yesterday and he addressed that subject.

Adam Schiff (D-CA): Obama’s Weak Response To Sony Hack Emboldened Russia’s Cyber Attacks - YouTube
Russians are equal-opportunity malevolent actors they’re not Republicans and they’re not Democrats…

Actually, Democrats are also equal-opportunity malevolent actors, but let’s get on with the transcript.

they’re just designed in their foreign policy, in their cyber policy, to undermine the United States.

Like I said, Democrats.

They view the world as a zero-sum game where anything that’s good for us is bad for them and vice versa. I do think though that in fairness some of the responsibility is also attributed to the Obama administration for not establishing a more forceful deterrent. I think it goes back to the Korean hack of Sony in which there was a minimal response. I think that others around the world watched that and determined that cyber is a cost-free intervention. There will always be a certain level of plausible deniability with cyber because even though we’re quite good at attribution now, we’re never going to want to fully show our hands about how we know who did what. But you don’t need to show your hand as long as you can establish a deterrent. And you don’t need to necessarily respond to a cyber attack with another cyber response. I think the response in North Korea should have been an informational response. The North Koreans hate it when South Korea responds with information about how terrible their regime is that I think if we had embarked on an informational response would have been in deterrent to further North Korean meddling.

With all due respect, this is an insane idea. My lord, we labeled them as part of the “Axis of Evil” and that didn’t change their behavior. We should have unleashed–or authorized Sony to unleash–a massive and disproportionate cyber response to the North Korea hack—targeting the North Korean government and foreign entities that deal with them–and said nothing about it whatsoever. They would have connected the dots damned quick. Factually, I think linking the Russian adventure in 2016 to the Sony hack is just crazy pants. There was a hacking analog in 2016 to Sony and Russia had been linked to cyber attacks in several places, particularly on NATO members Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia. And they had a very good idea of what a U.S. response to a hack would be. They also knew what a U.S. response to political meddling would be.

And with the Russians we should have called them out much earlier. Senator Feinstein and I were the first to make an official attribution but it’s not the same coming from two members of Congress, from the same party, as it is from an administration. And while I respect the motive in terms of the administration, they didn’t want to be seen as meddling…

Again, this is just a blatant lie. The Russian activity was known years before Schiff said a word about it. In 2014, Devin Nunes was warning about how Russian meddling in the politics of Eastern Europe was going to find its way to the United States.

the American people had a right to know what was going on and could be trusted to do the right thing with it and they should have defended being more public and aggressive at the time at least in my view

But, this is an amazingly lucid statement from a usually deranged Schiff.

And President Trump noticed:

Finally, Liddle’ Adam Schiff, the leakin’ monster of no control, is now blaming the Obama Administration for Russian meddling in the 2016 Election. He is finally right about something. Obama was President, knew of the threat, and did nothing. Thank you Adam!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 18, 2018

Now that Adam Schiff is starting to blame President Obama for Russian meddling in the election, he is probably doing so as yet another excuse that the Democrats, lead by their fearless leader, Crooked Hillary Clinton, lost the 2016 election. But wasn’t I a great candidate?

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 18, 2018

On the merits, Trump is exactly right.

Stylistically, I’m not a fan of this kind of thing, but saying stuff in this manner gets much more attention in the media than saying it diplomatically. Or, in the words of Al Capone, “You can get much farther with a kind word and a gun than you can with a kind word alone.”

The post Adam Schiff Discovers Who Was President During Russian Meddling and Donald Trump Takes Notice appeared first on RedState.

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The Trump Wing of the GOP is having hysterical fits about Mitt Romney. They’ll say anything to try to take him down, but he’s right about school shootings.

President-elect Donald Trump calls out to the media as Mitt Romney leaves Trump National Golf Club Bedminster in Bedminster, N.J., Saturday, Nov. 19, 2016. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

Mitt Romney is running for Senate in such a strong position that his announcement video didn’t even mention his name. He didn’t even feel the need to say “I’m Mitt Romney.” It’s no wonder a top establishment figure in the state attacked him.

Mitt Romney is a threat to the Trump establishment because he’s that powerful. Everyone knows who he is, and he’s not beholden to anyone to gain or keep his standing in the Utah GOP. Neither Mitch McConnell nor Donald Trump will have any ability to bully him about anything. Senator Romney would be free to take any position of conscience that he wants, even more so than Mike Lee, Ted Cruz, and Rand Paul are able to.

That makes him a threat to Trump establishment power, and so they must try to take him down. The latest shot against him is that he’s joining the gun grabbers, which is absolutely not true. His positions are perfectly in step with Republicans:

He encouraged states to consider solutions like building security, police patrols and intervention teams. He also said he would back a measure to bolster the federal database for firearms background checks.

“I think we can’t just sit and wait and hope for things to get better,” he said. “It is wrong and unacceptable for children in our schools to fear for their lives.”

What do Romney’s critics propose? That we do just sit, wait, and do nothing? When evil people seek to murder us, inaction is traditionally not the Republican preferred response.

What exactly is wrong with getting greater security into public schools, including the reversing of gun free zone policies to get armed security there? Or making sure that convicted violent criminals, who are already by law supposed to be in databases barring them from acquiring more guns, are actually put in?

We keep hearing about the failure to flag people who, under current law, were supposed to be flagged as threats. Conservatives tend to support the withholding of civil rights, including voting, from convicted felons. Why should we not also restrict second amendment rights from individuals known to be a threat?

Mitt Romney is right on this, and the attacks on him just show how worried the DC leadership is about him joining the Senate as a maverick accountable only to the voters of Utah.

The post Mitt Romney Is Right on School Shootings, Despite Trump Wing Attacks appeared first on RedState.

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Robert Mueller’s indictment of thirteen Russian agents for meddling in (among other things) the 2016 election sure does have President Trump on edge. Similarly, Trump’s most ardent defenders are out in full force, declaring the indictments to be “nothing” and with some laughably saying Mueller’s indictment may violate free speech.

People forget Trump was thrilled when Russians fed information to their toady Julian Assange at WikiLeaks, who then dumped DNC emails on a public server for all to see. “I love WikiLeaks!” Trump declared at a campaign rally, holding one of the emails aloft as if he were Neville Chamberlain.

Trump, throughout the campaign and well into his first year as president, repeatedly denied or downplayed Russia’s role in the 2016 presidential election. It wasn’t just the “collusion” aspect. Granted, criticism of the media’s breathless “collusion” angle is definitely warranted. Many in the press were hoping for the smoking gun of an email to Trump from Putin saying, “We got this” and it never emerged. Still, Trump didn’t even want to admit the obvious.

Today, however, Donald Trump wants to tell a different story. He’s claiming he never cast doubt on meddling and only focused on collusion. He tweeted the following:

I never said Russia did not meddle in the election, I said “it may be Russia, or China or another country or group, or it may be a 400 pound genius sitting in bed and playing with his computer.” The Russian “hoax” was that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia – it never did!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 18, 2018

The internet, while often used as a tool to make people think they’re experts in fields they are not, does provide a functional way for people to check on whether somebody else is lying or not.

And President Trump is lying.

First off there’s the evidence from his tweets. Here are several where he claims Russian meddling was “made up” by Democrats to cover for their loss:

Totally made up facts by sleazebag political operatives, both Democrats and Republicans – FAKE NEWS! Russia says nothing exists. Probably…

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 13, 2017

The Democrats had to come up with a story as to why they lost the election, and so badly (306), so they made up a story – RUSSIA. Fake news!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 16, 2017

The Democrats made up and pushed the Russian story as an excuse for running a terrible campaign. Big advantage in Electoral College & lost!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 20, 2017

While Trump did refer to the collusion angle as a hoax, he also referred to the entire investigation as a hoax as well:

…Why did Democratic National Committee turn down the DHS offer to protect against hacks (long prior to election). It's all a big Dem HOAX!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 22, 2017

Stock Market hit another all-time high yesterday – despite the Russian hoax story! Also, jobs numbers are starting to look very good!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 15, 2017

The Russia hoax continues, now it's ads on Facebook. What about the totally biased and dishonest Media coverage in favor of Crooked Hillary?

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 22, 2017

Outside of Twitter, there exist plenty of statements Trump made after his inauguration where he attempted to cast doubt on the legitimacy of Russian meddling even after the CIA, NSA and FBI all agreed it happened. Their joint report, released on January 6, 2017, left no doubt the Russians actively interfered with our presidential election.

Yet here are Trump’s denials after the fact:

May 11, 2017: In an interview with Lester Holt, President Trump says it is a “made up story.” He said, “It’s an excuse by the Democrats for having lost an election that they should’ve won.”

July 6, 2017: Trump says, “nobody knows for sure” if Russia meddled.

November 11, 2017: Trump is explicitly asked by the press if he believes Vladimir Putin when he told Trump that Russia did not meddle in the election. Trump responds, “I really believe that when he tells me that.”

Before the intelligence report release, President Trump was briefed on the contents and he still publicly denied it was Russia:

Mr Trump said it might have been Russia but it was impossible to know.

“They have no idea if it’s Russia or China or somebody sitting in a bed some place,” he said.

He tweeted the following in December 2016:

Unless you catch "hackers" in the act, it is very hard to determine who was doing the hacking. Why wasn't this brought up before election?

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 12, 2016

And this on January 3:

The "Intelligence" briefing on so-called "Russian hacking" was delayed until Friday, perhaps more time needed to build a case. Very strange!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 4, 2017

And this on January 4:

Julian Assange said "a 14 year old could have hacked Podesta" – why was DNC so careless? Also said Russians did not give him the info!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 4, 2017

Trump and his defenders can say he only denied the “collusion” allegation, but the evidence is clear he most certainly did try to dismiss the claims of Russian interference as well.

The post Trump: I Never Said Russia Did Not Meddle in Our Election. Reality: Your Pants Are on Fire appeared first on RedState.

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No matter Mitt Romney’s virtues as a human being, the comments he made in the aftermath of the mass murder at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL, should solidify, at least for all of us who vigorously opposed Romney’s candidacy in 2012 GOP primary, the reasons why we do not need Mitt Romney in a leadership position in the GOP.

Romney lingered longer on one issue: school shootings. He was originally scheduled to announce his bid Thursday but pushed it back “out of respect for the victims and their families” after a gunman killed 17 people at a Florida high school.

He encouraged states to consider solutions like building security, police patrols and intervention teams. He also said he would back a measure to bolster the federal database for firearms background checks.

“I think we can’t just sit and wait and hope for things to get better,” he said. “It is wrong and unacceptable for children in our schools to fear for their lives.”

People who feel we have to “do something” terrify me because the impulse to “do something” rapidly overrides any value of the “something.”

A quick look at the Florida shooting shows that “bolstering the federal database for background checks” would have had no effect whatsoever. The building, like virtually every other school in the country, had a security system. The shooter had been identified as a potential risk. He had been expelled from school. He had been reported to the local authorities and the FBI. I don’t know what more “intervention” you need.

No less than 4 state/local government agencies knew Parkland shooter was "in crisis" & posed "danger to himself & others" after cutting himself on Snapchat a year before massacre.
That's in addition to ignored FBI tip.https://t.co/5JnXNkKipP pic.twitter.com/REKZeOInR7

— Michelle Malkin (@michellemalkin) February 17, 2018

If local and federal authorities don’t accept the risk as being worth their time or effort to investigate, that is not a gun control problem.

Romney is a technocrat. He views problems as something to be fixed. That’s fine. If you are an agency administrator, or cabinet secretary, or Supreme Galactic Warlord. He’s not a politician. If you doubt my word on that, look at the state of the Massachusetts GOP on the eve of Mitt Romney’s election as governor and compare it to that same party the day after Mitt Romney left office. When he ran against Barack Obama it was clear that he simply did not have the instincts necessary to function in a 100% political environment. In fact, he was much more focused on not doing or saying anything that could be taken as “racist” than he was on winning. When you let the corpulent Candy Crowley hand you your ass in a presidential debate, you have exhibited that you deserve to lose.

The problem we are facing is not one that can be cured by more laws. It is particularly not a problem that is going to be solved by depriving law abiding citizens of their constitutional rights–or increasing the scope and reach of an already oppressive federal bureaucracy–because we feel we have to “do something.”

Make no mistake about it. Utah is sending another Susan Collins to the Senate, not another Mike Lee.

The post Mitt Romney Joins the “We Gotta Do Something” Crowd on Gun Control appeared first on RedState.

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In the wake of the Parkland, Fla. school shooting, in which a deranged 19-year-old took the lives of 17 innocent people at a school from which he had recently been expelled — and from a community that had unsuccessfully tried to warn authorities about the shooter’s state of mind — there has been no shortage of outcry from people frustrated that something must change.

One young man, a 17-year-old survivor of the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting named Colton Haab, already lauded a hero for helping protect students using his ROTC training, is suggesting that what needs to be done looks less like gun control and more like gun training, particularly for teachers.

“Unfortunately, gun control, it’s definitely needed a little bit more,” Haab said Saturday. “I believe if we did bring firearms on campus to teachers that are willing to carry…and they got their correct training for it, I think that would be a big beneficial factor for school safety.”

“If Coach Feis had had his firearm in school that day, I believe that he most likely could’ve stopped the threat.”

ROTC Student: “If Coach Feis had had his firearm in school that day, I believe that he most likely could’ve stopped the threat.”

Feis was the football coach who died shielding students, he was a trained security guard but wasn't allowed to carry a gun to protect students. pic.twitter.com/qrXCk6pj6N

— Ryan Saavedra (@RealSaavedra) February 17, 2018

Haab explained that Feis — the hero teacher who gave his life shielding students from gunfire (who was a trained security guard as well as an assistant coach) — upon hearing gunshots, took his golf cart and headed toward the fray. The question Haab is presenting is what would a man willing to give his life have been able to do had he actually been armed?

It’s a good question and is one Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos is already beginning to consider as she attempts to figure out what the federal role will be in protecting children in schools from the possibility of future tragedy like horror of last Wednesday.

“I think this is an important issue for all states to grapple with and to tackle,” she told conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt. “They clearly have the opportunity and the option to do that, and there are differences in how states approach this.”

“I think this needs to be part of the broader, more robust conversation about how can we avoid these things in the future, and how can we ensure that when my child, your child, goes to school in the morning they’re going to go to a safe and nurturing environment, and they’re going to be able to pursue their learning in a way that is going to excite and energise them.”

Pressed further on whether she personally supported arming teachers if they were stringently vetted and rigorously trained, Ms DeVos she said: “I think that is a question and issue for communities to wrestle with, and I’ve seen approaches in different cities done different ways.

“It is one that has to happen at the local level and at the state level. Communities need to share best practices and results from the steps that they take to ensure that kids have a safe environment in which to learn.”

DeVos is treading the fine line that conservatives favor: keeping the federal government out of community policing as much as possible. Appropriate here because in the case of Parkland, the community, by most accounts, did its job. There were apparently many warnings about the behavior of the shooter, with reports indicating police had been called to his home 39 times since 2011, while the FBI apparently ignored more recent warnings called into their tip line.

Wow.

Person close to Florida shooter called tipline on January 5 2018 – left info about gun ownership, potential for school shooting.

Appears no one ever followed up.

FBI statement: pic.twitter.com/aHFIfoPyo4

— Dianne Gallagher (@DianneG) February 16, 2018

Stoneman Douglas High School had, indeed, banned the boy from returning to campus grounds with a backpack. Failed attempts to make authorities aware of the shooter’s mental state should prompt those who do not favor arming teachers to insist the federal police force step up their game. And those, like Haab, who favor training teachers to protect students from possible future calamity can also use the failure of the FBI to act as justification for their opinions.

In short: the FBI has some work to do.

The post Parkland Student Survivor Ponders: ‘If Coach Feis Had Had His Firearm…’ appeared first on RedState.

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As someone else so perfectly pointed out, this is what happens when Donald Trump is cooped up inside all day, freebasing Fox News, until he passes out on the bathroom floor (h/t Kilgore).

Late Saturday evening, the president took to Twitter to rail, mindlessly (As if he knows any other way) about the FBI, the Parkland shooting, and the Russia investigation.

According to Trump, had the FBI not been investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election, along with all the nasty threads that seem to link to Trump’s campaign team, the Parkland shooting would not have happened.

Very sad that the FBI missed all of the many signals sent out by the Florida school shooter. This is not acceptable. They are spending too much time trying to prove Russian collusion with the Trump campaign – there is no collusion. Get back to the basics and make us all proud!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 18, 2018

Yes, he went there. He used a national tragedy as a weapon to defend himself against a lawful investigation.

The problem with this take is that it wasn’t just the FBI.

Certainly, the FBI dropped the ball. In a statement, FBI Director Christopher Wray said that protocols were not followed, which allowed for Cruz to slip through the cracks.

The FBI were already looking into a YouTube account with the name “Nikolas Cruz,” after a statement had been made, saying he wanted to become a “professional school shooter.”

The comment was made on a video from a Mississippi bail bondsman, who reported the comment to the FBI Mississippi field office, back in September.

They contacted the man, Ben Bennight, immediately to ask questions. He heard from them again, after the shooting.

At the time, the FBI said they couldn’t confirm the identity of the person behind the comment.

YouTube removed the account that the comment came from, due to violations of their rules on violence.

In January, someone called the FBI tip line to report concerns about his weapons and violent nature. The Florida field office was not notified.

It’s all tragic, and the FBI certainly needs to do some internal butt-kicking over this one. The signs were there that Cruz was a dangerous, unhinged individual, but what happened can’t be hung around their necks, solely.

The Broward County Sheriff’s Department was alerted about Cruz around 20 times. Authorities at the school knew about him. Security specialists at the school received complaints from students.

There are a lot of agencies and individuals who need to reassess their actions.

What’s more, the idea that every FBI agent was off chasing Russians just doesn’t fly, and it’s not ok to say. It’s not ok to exploit this tragedy, while parents are burying their children.

As a sociopath, Trump is incapable of expressing human emotion or empathy that isn’t written out for him. Even when it is, he seems plastic and uncomfortable with it, like he’s holding something sour on his tongue.

He even took a swipe at his national security adviser, H.R. McMaster last night (This one was straight from Hannity).

General McMaster forgot to say that the results of the 2016 election were not impacted or changed by the Russians and that the only Collusion was between Russia and Crooked H, the DNC and the Dems. Remember the Dirty Dossier, Uranium, Speeches, Emails and the Podesta Company!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 18, 2018

He didn’t say it, because that’s secondary to the fact that you were proven wrong: Russia did attempt to meddle in a U.S. election, as well as to sow confusion, anger, and discord among Americans.

THAT is where your concerns should be today, you ridiculous, gilded toad.

So, how about signing off on those sanctions that our lawmakers overwhelmingly voted in favor of? That everyone agrees that Russia was out to disrupt not just an election, but to cause division and chaos in our streets, so much so that they came together to vote on increased sanctions, and you have balked and ignored  your duty to implement those sanctions is telling.

Tweet about that, next.

The post What Tragedy? Trump Spends His Saturday Night Using Parkland as an Excuse to Blast Russia Probe appeared first on RedState.

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It is the first Sunday in Lent. The title of today’s cantata is “Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott” (A Mighty Fortress Is Our God). The cantata was written for Reformation Day, but that won’t fall on a Sunday until 2021, and I can’t wait that long to give you one of Bach’s best-loved cantatas. And as we will see, the text relates nicely to today’s Gospel reading — and many congregations will be singing the Martin Luther hymn today that is the basis of the cantata. Listen to Bach’s cantata and rejoice:

Johann Sebastian Bach. Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott, BWV 80 - YouTube

The most recognizable iteration of the melody, from Luther’s hymn, is contained in the final chorale at 23:20 of the recording.

Luther is said to have uttered these words: “Next to the Word of God, the noble art of music is the greatest treasure in the world.” These words ring true to me, especially because musical works — Bach’s cantatas in particular — have played a primary role in bringing me back to the church.

Today’s Gospel reading is Mark 1:9-15, and describes Jesus’s 40 days in the wilderness being tempted by Satan:

The Baptism and Testing of Jesus

At that time Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. Just as Jesus was coming up out of the water, he saw heaven being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”

At once the Spirit sent him out into the wilderness, and he was in the wilderness forty days, being tempted by Satan. He was with the wild animals, and angels attended him.

Jesus Announces the Good News

After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. “The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!”

Last week’s Gospel reading concerned the Transfiguration of our Lord — another milestone of Jesus’s life, and another one where a voice came from the heavens, proclaiming that Jesus is God’s son. We have already heard verses 9-11 this church year, on the first Sunday after the Epiphany, but now we carry on the story to Jesus’s temptation and the proclamation of good news.

The text of today’s cantata is available here. The theme of fighting Satan is also apparent in this cantata, making this an appropriate cantata for the occasion. The opening chorus speaks of God being a fortress against “the old, evil enemy … and his horrid armaments”:

Our God is a secure fortress,
a good shield and weapon;
He helps us willingly out of all troubles,
that now have encountered us.
The old, evil enemy
is earnestly bent on it,
great strength and much deceit
are his horrid armaments,
there is nothing like him on earth.

A recitative proclaims God’s victory in “the war against Satan’s host”:

Only consider, child of God, that such great love,
which Jesus Himself
with His blood signed over to you,
through which He,
in the war against Satan’s host and against the world and sin,
has won you!
Do not make a place in your soul
for Satan and depravity!

I have given up both alcohol and chips for Lent — a double sacrifice that I’m sure we can all agree is very close to spending 40 days in the wilderness being tempted by Satan! OK, maybe not quite — but close, right?

I’ve been criticized for bringing you only Bach in these Sunday posts. I’m going to continue to present Bach cantatas, but I’ll give you some other music when it relates — and today is a perfect example, because one of my favorite composers, Felix Mendelssohn, used the same Martin Luther King hymn as the basis of the fourth movement of his “Reformation Symphony”:

Mendelssohn Symphony No 5 D major minor Reformation John Eliot Gardiner Bayerischer Rundfunk - YouTube

The entire symphony is available there for you to listen to, but I have set it up to begin at the fourth movement, so you can hear the stirring melody used in Bach’s cantata. It begins in the flute, spreads to other woodwinds, and is gradually taken up by the full orchestra. At 27:42, there is a stirring rendition of the theme to close the symphony. The symphony was labeled Mendelssohn’s Fifth, but was actually his second, and is not performed nearly often enough.

If you’re interested in hearing a beautiful performance of Luther’s hymn sung in English, there’s this performance by the Choir of King’s College, Cambridge. (Don’t ask me why there is an Arabic letter shown on screen during the performance. I have no idea.)

A Mighty Fortress is Our God - Choir of King's College Cambridge - YouTube

Gorgeous.

Happy listening!

[Disclaimer]

The post Sunday Music: Bach Cantata BWV 80: “Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott” appeared first on RedState.

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In the wake of the horrifying shooting in southern Florida, we are once again having the talk about gun violence and gun control. But, the fact that we’re “having the talk” has inevitably driven folks mad.

Their argument is that if we’d just do something we can make a difference. We can find some change we can make. Maybe we should ban more guns. Or maybe we should ban fewer guns.

On the Left, we have the usual suspects – the folks who will call for gun bans. These are the people who will probably never be quite satisfied with the number of things they can ban when it comes to firearms, as they don’t see the point in firearms at all. These are the people who will say “This should be banned,” and when it does get banned, something else will come up and they’ll move the goalpost again.

However, on the Right, you have the people who believe that more guns will surely scare the evildoers into submission. It’s the lack of people who can fight back, they say, that encourages crazed gunners to mow down school children. In this scenario, guns not only survive liberals’ actions to ban them but thrive despite them.

Both sides, it may shock you to discover, are wrong.

It is a fact that banning something does not make a problem go away. Having and using heroin is against the law, but that doesn’t stop junkies. Banning child pornography doesn’t stop the sexual exploitation of children. Hell, in trying to decrease schoolchildren’s sodium intake, Michelle Obama accidentally created a black market for salt and other seasonings in schools.

Simply put, banning any/all guns does not stop guns from getting into the wrong hands. But, it is entirely unreasonable to just go ahead and flood the zone with them, either.

Especially when that zone is a school zone.

A lot of solutions from the Right include allowing teachers with the proper permits to carry on campus, which is a great idea until you realize that a properly disturbed and motivated student will find a moment and the means to take a teacher’s firearm and wreak the same kind of havoc the plan is supposed to prevent.

The other idea from the Right is for armed security to have a greater presence in schools. Often, that armed security comes in the form of law enforcement, and law enforcement (for those who haven’t been paying attention lately) doesn’t exactly have the best track record when it comes to dealing with minorities, of which there are many in schools these days.

There is no easy solution to the problem, but complex, thought-provoking discussion doesn’t make for good soundbites, tweets, and political memes on Facebook. The answers to our problems aren’t always memeable.

The first thing that we have to do is address the culture of gun violence. Our media is absolutely saturated with guns and gun violence, and while I’m not saying I blame media outlets for allowing such easy access to fictional gunslingers and the like, I am saying that we need the adults to step up and do a better job of teaching their kids the rights and wrongs of guns.

The second thing we need to do is start doing a better job of address clear mental health issues and stop stigmatizing the identification of it when something like last week’s shooting happens. We have to be willing to say “This person had some major, identifiable issues” and pay attention to the signs.

Ultimately, though, these are cultural issues, and true cultural issues don’t get the proper airtime they need because people want a quick hit – a fast solution – to the problems that are still going on in the world around them. Rarely does that solve an actual problem. It’s time we put in the effort to solve these problems with more than political talking points.

The post We Still Haven’t Learned You Can’t Just “Solve” School Shootings appeared first on RedState.

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