Daily Recap — May 14

Happy Monday, everyone!

They do exist. No, really.


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PROMISE KEPT, HISTORY MADE

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The US officially relocated its Embassy to Jerusalem today, formally upending decades of political cowardice to make good on a promise that should have been implemented long ago. Make no mistake here, folks, the liberal tears were flowin’ #BigLeague.  

Communists hate the Bible. 

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PDT did not attend the ceremony, which took place in Jerusalem’s Arnona neighborhood, but in a video message broadcast at the event he congratulated Israel, saying the opening had been “a long time coming.”

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“Today, Jerusalem is the seam of Israel’s government. It is the home of the Israeli legislature and the Israeli supreme court and Israel’s prime minister and president. Israel is a sovereign nation with the right like every other sovereign nation to determine its own capital, yet for many years, we failed to acknowledge the obvious, the plain reality that Israel’s capital is Jerusalem,” PDT said in his video speech.
“As I said in December, our greatest hope is for peace.” he added.
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Politicians and dignitaries including Ivanka and her hubby Jared watched as Treasury Secretary and supernerd Steve Mnuchin unveiled the US seal, turning what was formerly the consulate building into the Embassy.
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Then Kushner, who is the senior adviser put in charge of Israeli/Palestinian peace talks by PDT, called for unity in his address:
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“We believe, it is possible for both sides to gain more than they give — so that all people can live in peace — safe from danger, free from fear, and able to pursue their dreams,” he said.
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“Jerusalem must remain a city that brings people of all faiths together,” Kushner finished. 

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu thanked PDT for his support on Twitter hours ahead of the opening ceremony.
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“What an amazing day! Thank you, @POTUS Trump,” Netanyahu said while re-tweeting a Twitter post from Trump.
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The opening of the Embassy happened a day after Israel celebrated Jerusalem Day, marking what Israelis consider the reunification of the city. Speaking at the ceremony, Netanyahu hailed the alliance between America and Israel as “stronger than ever,” which is the equivalent of holy water being thrown right into the commies’ faces. 
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“What a glorious day, remember this moment. This is history,” he said. “President Trump by recognizing history, you have made history. All of us are deeply moved, all of us are deeply grateful.”
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The most moving part of the ceremony, in this writer’s opinion, was the benediction given by Pastor John Hagee, a longtime advocate of Israel on biblical grounds. 
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“Let the word go forth from Jerusalem today that Israel lives. Shout it from the housetops  — Israel lives. Let every Islamic terrorist hear this message — Israel lives. Let it be heard in the halls of the United Nations — Israel lives. Let it echo down the marble halls of the presidential palace in Iran — Israel lives. “
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That, ladies and gentleman, is a man who knows what he believes and why, and which enemies seek to stop him. Let his courageous proclamation be contagious to all who wish Israel to flourish as a beacon of democracy in an otherwise bleak Muslim hellhole.
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Israel lives indeed, with the help of steadfast Christians such as John Hagee. 
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Unfortunately, those rousing speeches and goosebump-inducing moments were only part of the story. The Muslims in the area had their say as well, of course, which means bloodshed would become part of the landscape. 
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Outside the embassy, police and protesters clashed as tensions ran high. Fourteen protesters were arrested for confronting police officers and interrupting public order, Jerusalem police said. All in all, 43 protestors are said to have been killed for inciting violent clashes and attempting to breach the security apparatus, most of whom were pushed by Hamas toward martyrdom. In an area in which suicide bombers are employed with regularity, security breaches are taken seriously. Israel can’t afford to play games with their borders.
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Palestinians run for cover from tear gas during clashes at the fence separating Gaza and Israel.

Palestinians set tires on fire during a protest on Monday.

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Tomorrow, Palestinians will mark what they call the “Nakba” or Catastrophe, in memory of the more than 700,000 Palestinians who were either driven from, or fled, their homes during the Arab-Israeli war that accompanied the creation of the State of Israel in 1948.
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Trump’s decision to declare Jerusalem the capital of Israel and relocate the Embassy from Tel Aviv is obviously contentious for Palestinians, who hope to claim part of the city as their future capital.
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The city is also home to deeply holy sites for Jews and Christians. The issue has been so thorny that international negotiators had left the question of Jerusalem to the final stages of any peace deal. That is, until Trump took office, called time on all this nonsense and made good on his promise to treat Jerusalem exactly as what it is: the friggin capital of Israel. 
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Much of the news coverage has decision has centered on the criticism the move has received from leaders throughout the Middle East. 
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Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif accused the US of “ignoring international regulations and global agreements.”
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Rami Hamdallah, the Palestinian Authority’s Prime Minister, also criticized the decision, claiming the date of the move, the day before “Nakba” showed “disrespect” for the peace process. Because we all know that the Palestinian Authority is all about respect for the peace process.
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The Arab League said it would hold an “extraordinary meeting” on Wednesday to discuss the “illegal” move, the Middle East News Agency MENA reported on Monday.
International condemnation also came from our supposed friends in France, which said it “disapproves” of the relocation. If France disapproves, you know we must be doing the right thing.
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“This decision contravenes international law and in particular the resolutions of the Security Council and the UN General Assembly,” a statement from the French Foreign Ministry read.
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But while it’s not shocking that friendly words for Israel from Muslims are few and far between, what the #FakeNewsCrew fails to report is that while anti-Semitism is still alive and well in the Middle East, many folks have decided that Iran is much worse than the Jews.
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The Saudis have visited with their Jewish counterparts several times over the past few months in an effort to join forces against the Iranian jihadist regime. Jordan and Egypt have also made common cause with Israel as a hedge against rising Iranian power.
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BIG PICTURE:
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While violence and harsh words were and are to be expected, the Armageddon predicted by the #FakeNewsCrew has yet to come to fruition and likely won’t. The truth is we’re seeing unprecedented cooperation between people who have hated each others guts since the dawn of their respective Peoples. 
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Peace in the Middle East, if it’s to come at all, will do so on a foundation of truth, not comfortable lies meant to appease those who refuse to acknowledge Israel’s right to exist. The truth is Jerusalem is the capital of Israel. It always has been. While three major religions all share Jerusalem as crucial parts of their respective histories, it is no doubt an Israeli city. 
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I’ve had my qualms with Jared Kushner for various reasons, but I believe in credit where credit is due, and thus I must tip my hat to him for the events today. He did well and seems to be doing well overall in regards to this conflict. It’s perhaps the most difficult task handed down to anyone in the administration and he’s done admirably. 
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Don’t get caught up in the Fake News hysteria. What happened today was good. The lone democracy in the Middle East got stronger. Jews and Christians became closer. Courageous men stood up and proclaimed the truth regardless of what anyone thought.
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Just another historic day in the Trump administration. 
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A TASTE OF HIS OWN MEDICINE

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There are few things more satisfying than seeing a rabid Trump-hater get a taste of what he’s been doling out left and right. It should be happening to so many more people than we’ve currently been blessed, but it must be enjoyed wherever possible nonetheless.

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Yesterday, the incomparable Daily Caller published a report about the increasingly high-profile #Resistance lawyer known as Michael Avenatti. Let’s not kid ourselves here. He may be retained by “Stormy Daniels,” but he really represents everyone trying to remove our guy from office. Stormy is a mere means to an end for this scumbag. And now he’s getting his time in the sun.

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Avenatti allegedly failed to pay his bills, has a past marked by legal conflict, and, according to a juicy anonymous quote, is a voracious self-promoter who craves attention.  You know, all the things they portray PDT as being. And today, right in line with the Trump caricature that Avenatti seems to embody perfectly, the poor little aggrieved subject threatened to sue the reporters who exposed him.


 

The awesome Daily Caller report included the allegation that Avenatti, when he owned a coffee chain, stiffed a wholesale roaster on $160,000 in bills. It also cited a March complaint to the California State Bar by vendors accusing Avenatt of running a “pump and dump scheme,” and quoted from a 2013 lawsuit affidavit from Avenatti’s business partner, the actor Patrick Dempsey (Yes, the dude from Grey’s Anatomy), accusing Avenatti of misrepresenting how the venture would be funded. Avenatti, of course, denies all allegations.

“Let me be clear. If you and your colleagues do not stop with the hit pieces that are full of lies and defamatory statements, I will have no choice but to sue each of you and your publication for defamation,” Avenatti wrote in his email to Hasson.

“During that process, we will expose your publication for what it truly is. We will also recover significant damages against each of you that participated personally. So if I were you, I would tell Mr. Trump to find someone else to fabricate things about me.”

Avenatti concluded, “If you think I’m kidding, you really don’t know anything about me. This is the last warning,” he warned.

LOL……listen to the tough guy. If he goes to court he’ll get creamed. The press has wide latitude in these types of cases. If he doesn’t know that, he’s an even worse lawyer than I thought. Then again, he’s probably just trying to scare them from publishing any further information.

I wouldn’t bet on that plan bearing fruit.


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Avenatti confirmed today that the email was indeed from him, releasing a statement saying: “All attorneys are not ethical nor are all journalists,” he said in an email. He added, “They purposely failed to follow basic journalistic standards, misstated facts, ignored facts that did not fit their predetermined narrative, and failed to properly seek comment. This is not an exhaustive list of their unethical conduct.”

It’s pretty amusing to hear the man who didn’t even bother to get the right Michael Cohen in his latest document dump lecture DC on “journalistic standards” and “ignoring facts that don’t fit their predetermined narrative.”

The shameless hypocrisy borders on schizophrenia. 

Of course, Avenatti declined to go into more detail about all those darn lies he’s being forced to defend himself against, saying, “We will include more detail when and if we file a complaint in lawsuit.”

He also offered no proof for his absurd conspiracy theory about a connection between the story and PDT. 


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Daily Caller News Foundation editor-in-chief Christopher Bedford pushed back against Avenatti’s claims, saying in an email, “Unethical? Ridiculous. I absolutely stand by our reporting.”

They’re licking their chops at the prospect of a defamation lawsuit. It won’t go well for Mr. Resistance, #ThatICanTellYou. 

The Daily Caller News Foundation is a nonprofit organization which allows sites that agree to its conditions to run its stories. Though it is a separate organization from The Daily Caller website, the site frequently runs its stories, as it did with the piece on Avenatti.

Bedford also defended publishing Avenatti’s email today, explaining the situation to Avenatti and his legion of moron followers: “Here’s what off-the-record is: An agreement between two parties to not officially attribute information,” Bedford said. “It’s a principle my team holds sacred. Now here’s what it isn’t: An unagreed-to precursor to threaten our reporter in secret.”


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Please please please, Mr. Avenatti — take Daily Caller to court. Oh my how that would make my entire month.

Avenatti’s sleazy past is coming home to roost, and we’re all here to enjoy it.

Bring it on!

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LET’S GO GAMBLING

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The Supreme Court says it’s okay!

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The SCOTUS cleared the way today for states to legalize sports betting, striking down a 1992 federal law that had prohibited most states from deciding for themselves. If you’re a fan of the 10th Amendment, today was for you.

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The 6-3 ruling is a victory for New Jersey and other states who have considered allowing sports gambling as a way to encourage tourism and tax revenue.  The court said the federal law violated constitutional principles limiting the federal government from controlling state policy, unconstitutionally forcing states to prohibit sports betting under their own laws.
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“The legalization of sports gambling requires an important policy choice, but the choice is not ours to make,” Justice Samuel Alito wrote in the 6-3 opinion. “Congress can regulate sports gambling directly, but if it elects not to do so, each state is free to act on its own.”

The controversy started in 2011, when New Jersey voters approved a measure to legalize sports betting to help the casino industries when their economy was crap. But the state law was immediately challenged by professional sports leagues and the NCAA, which pointed to a federal law passed in 1992 that bans state sports betting with some exceptions.
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The sports leagues are concerned with the integrity of their games, though honestly if that were an issue it would be one long before the SCOTUS ruling. 
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So, being that this decision puts the power back into the hands of the states, you probably want to know how your own state will be affected. I’m going to go down a list to let everyone know the prospects for their particular neck of the woods. 
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Alabama 

The state Constitution currently prohibits all forms of gambling,. Asked whether there has been any legislative discussion about — or a proposal or referendum aimed at — changing the state constitution, the Alabama AG replied: “Not to my knowledge and our legislature doesn’t meet again until March 2019.”


Alaska 

A spokesperson for Gov. Bill Walker’s office, confirmed that “there has been no legislative activity on this issue in Alaska.”


Arizona 

While the  legislature did not consider any sports gambling bills in its most recent session, governor Doug Ducey called Monday’s decision “positive news.” So Arizona looks like they’ll be getting in on the action. 

“We have been working on a modernized gaming compact,” Ducey wrote on Twitter. “This ruling gives Arizona options that could benefit our citizens and our general fund.”


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Arkansas 

Has not considered any sports gambling legislation, and governor Asa Hutchinson said he is reviewing the Supreme Court’s decision and “we will be monitoring this closely.”

“Historically, Arkansas has opposed any broad expansion of gambling with the scholarship lottery being the one exception. I have supported this more restrictive approach,” Hutchinson said in a statement provided to USA TODAY Sports. “Now, we will need to review the Supreme Court decision and also track how the states react to this expansion of state flexibility under the 10th amendment.”

Translation: We’ll see if the revenue outweighs the cons. If so, it’s coming.


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California 

An active bill would authorize the  legislature to permit sports betting if a change in federal law occurred that would allow the state to have sports betting.

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Colorado 

Title 18 of Colorado’s constitution explicitly notes that gambling on sports is illegal, therefore the legalization of sports gambling in the state would therefore require a vote of the People.

The governor said his administration is currently weighing the pros vs cons.


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Connecticut 

Gov. Dannel Malloy issued a statement that said he is prepared to call the General Assembly into a special session to consider legalizing sports betting in the state.

“It is incumbent on us to consider the question of legalized sports betting in a thoughtful way that ensures our approach is responsible, smart, and fully realizes the economic potential that this opportunity provides,” he said in the statement.

It’s coming.


Delaware 

Sports betting of a sort already is allowed in the state, but it is limited to multi-game bets on NFL games. “If it is permissible under the (Supreme Court) opinion, full-scale sports gaming could be available at Delaware’s casinos before the end of June,” Gov. John Carney said in a release.

That’s a yes.


Florida 

“We will review the court’s ruling. Any changes to Florida’s gaming laws would be made by the Florida Legislature,” McKinley Lewis, deputy communications director for Gov. Rick Scott, said in a statement.

They have no clue.


Georgia 

“There is no pending legislation regarding this and the next session to debate something like this is in January 2019, when the governor (Nathan Deal) will no longer hold office,” said Jen Talaber Ryan, the deputy chief of staff for communications in Deal’s office.

Not anytime soon.


Hawaii 

An active bill would establish a commission that would undertake “an independent analysis of the economic and social costs and benefits” of an array of gaming and wagering in the state, including sports betting. The commission also would determine if gaming would be feasible and what form of gaming would be most appropriate for the state.

It’s coming.


Idaho 

Has not recently considered any sports gambling legislation, and a statement from Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter’s office was not available at press time.

Doubtful.


Illinois

There are several bills active, including one that — with today’s ruling — would authorize sports betting in the state to occur with licensees under the Illinois Horse Racing Act of 1975. This bill also would create the Division of Sports Wagering within the Illinois Gaming Board to issue licenses.

Another bill authorizes sports wagering at a facility that is authorized to conduct gambling operations under the Riverboat Gambling Act. This bill would requires a sports betting operator to pay a 12.5% tax of its gross sports wagering revenue.

They can’t wait for it. It’s just a matter of figuring out how to best get their greedy hands on tax revenue. Illinois is broke. They’ll try anything at this point.


Indiana 

State Rep. Alan Morrison has introduced bills the past few years, but they haven’t advanced far enough for a vote. Morrison said he’s “very pleased and excited about the decision” and that he thinks legalizing sports gambling in Indiana has a “fairly good” chance of passing next year.

I would say it’s 50/50.


Iowa 

State Rep. Jake Highfill said today that he will introduce a proposal to legalize sports betting when the legislature convenes in January to allow wagering on college and professional sports events. Brenna Smith, press secretary to Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds, issued a statement saying: “Given the Supreme Court’s opinion, the governor will explore options with the legislature next year.”

Yep, they’re on board.


Kansas 

There are several active bills that would allow sports betting, but the bills differ about where such betting would be allowed to occur — only at race tracks, or also at other sites.

It’s coming, but in a very limited way.


Kentucky 

Had bills that would have authorized sports betting at horse racing tracks and/or under authority or the Kentucky Lottery Corp.

They’re going to get it just for the Kentucky Derby.


Louisiana 

An active bill that would allow sports betting at eligible live horse racing facilities.

Another one that will adopt it but with a limited scope.


Maine 

Has not recently considered any sports gambling legislation, and a spokesperson for Gov. Paul LePage’s office did not immediately reply to a request for comment.

Probably not. Not much sports action in Maine.


Maryland 

Bills that would have put sports betting to a referendum vote this November did not get through the legislature.

Surprisingly, Maryland looks like a no-go.


Massachusetts 

There is an active bill that, with Monday’s ruling, would create a “special commission to conduct a comprehensive study and offer proposed legislation relative to the regulation of online sports betting.”

Translation: It’s coming, just as soon as we figure out how to give the gubmint the biggest cut.


Michigan 

There are currently eight bills that would expand gambling, including several that would legalize sports betting and wagers on fantasy sports. Four have gotten votes in committee — three that would allow internet gambling and another that would legalize fantasy sports betting — but none have gotten votes in either the full House of Representatives or the Senate.

Four other bills, including three that would legalize sports betting and allow the Michigan lottery to handle those wagers and another fantasy sports betting bill, haven’t gotten hearings yet in committee.

It’s coming, but no one knows how the hell it will look.


Minnesota 

Rep. Pat Garofalo has publicly stumped for Minnesota to work under the assumption that sports betting will be legalized, prior to today’s news. Despite his efforts, however, the legislature has yet to consider a sports betting bill. The legislature will adjourn on May 21.

This state is a wildcard.


Mississippi 

Gambling officials in the state have said casinos here could be up and running with betting on professional and college sports within 45 days of Monday’s ruling. The Mississippi Legislature, unbeknownst to most lawmakers and citizens, legalized sports betting in Mississippi casinos last year by deleting a snippet of law that prohibited betting on any games that occur outside casinos. The deletion was made — and not announced to most lawmakers — in a measure dealing with regulation of fantasy sports.

Mississippi is no stranger to gambling. This baby will be up and running in no time.


Missouri 

Several sports gambling bills have been discussed in Missouri, but only one of them has advanced out of committee, making it unlikely that any measure will pass before the state legislature adjourns next week.

Missouri is another wildcard state. I’d put it at 50/50. I can see Christians making a stink. It’s a more evangelical state than people realize.


Montana

Some forms of sports gambling are already legal in Montana — including fantasy sports leagues and pools in which people bet against one another, rather than the house. But it’s immediately unclear whether today’s news will lead to a broader legalization of sports gambling.

Wildcard.


Nebraska 

The state has not recently considered any sports gambling legislation, and spokespeople for Gov. Pete Ricketts’ office did not immediately reply to requests for comment.

I don’t think the corn folk are going for it.


Nevada 

It’s Nevada. Of course it will be there. In fact it’s already there.


New Hampshire 

Gov. Chris Sununu said in a statement: “Legalized sports betting in New Hampshire? I’ll give it 3-1.”

I’ll take the governor’s word for it.


New Jersey 

They started this whole thing. I’m pretty sure they’ll get it.


New Mexico 

The state has not recently considered any sports gambling legislation, and a spokesperson for Gov. Susana Martinez’s office did not immediately reply to a request for comment.

Not looking good.


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New York 

State lawmakers and Gov. Andrew Cuomo approved language in 2013 approved language that would allow wagering on athletic events if the federal ban on sports wagering was struck down. But Cuomo said today he’s in no rush to move forward and suggested a new law would have to be passed, questioning whether it can be done this year before lawmakers end their annual session next month. 

Cuomo, as always, is being a coward who won’t take a stand until he gauges public interest. But they’ll probably get it. NYC is a huge sports market.


North Carolina 

The state has not recently considered any sports gambling legislation, and a spokesperson for Gov. Roy Cooper’s office did not immediately reply to a request for comment.

I don’t think the Christians in NC are going for it.


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North Dakota 

Gov. Doug Burgum was among the state governors who signed an amicus brief in support of New Jersey’s case, but there are no plans for sports betting legislation anytime soon.

Put them in the “no” column unless otherwise notified.


Ohio 

“Expanding gambling has not been a priority for this administration, and that remains unchanged,” said communications director Jim Lynch. “We’re aware of the ruling and looking to see what impact it will immediately have on Ohio policies.”

Another state weighing the pros and cons.


Oklahoma 

The Oklahoma legislature was, at one point in its most recent session, considering language that would legalize sports betting in the state. But the final version of House Bill 3375, which is colloquially known as the “ball and dice,” instead focused on the expansion of casino games, and it is immediately unclear whether legislators will renew sports gambling efforts in 2019.

They appear to be concerned with little more than casinos. Dicey proposition for sports gambling (see what I did there?).


Oregon 

The state, via the Oregon Lottery, was offering its “Sports Action” NFL parlay game before the enactment of the law that was struck down today, so the game had always been grandfathered in. But the Lottery stopped offering the game in 2007 as the state wanted to get out from under the NCAA’s refusal to stage championship events where any type of sports betting was allowed. Now that appears to be moot, but it remains to be seen what the state’s next move will be. 

They want it, though, so chances are they’ll have it.


Pennsylvania

In 2017, they passed a law authorizing sports betting in the state if federal law allowed states to regulate the activity. Now that day is here. But the law also called for a $10 million licensing fee and 34% tax rate on this revenue, and those may tough conditions for potential sports betting operators. 

They want it but are already taxing themselves out of the market.


Rhode Island 

Active bill would allow sports betting to be operated by the state lottery at existing casinos in the state, but it would prohibit betting on any collegiate sports event in the state or any college sports event outside the state involving any “state college team.”

Eh, it’s Rhode Island. Who really cares?


South Carolina 

Active bill would amend the state constitution so that the legislature would have the authority to allow gambling, including sports betting and betting on horse racing.

My home state is very Christian, but has always loved gambling. It’s a weird mix.


South Dakota 

There is no active legislation related to sports gambling in the state.

“Governor Daugaard is leaving office at the end of this year, so it will be up to the new Governor and Legislature elected in November to consider this possibility next year,” Venhuizen wrote in an email.

So basically, we have no idea but it’s not on the horizon at the moment.


Tennessee 

Nothing happening right now. Don’t see it changing.


Texas 

Texas has not recently considered legislation pertaining to sports gambling. A spokesperson for Gov. Greg Abbott’s office has no comment.

Looks like a no-go for Texas.


Utah 

The state has not recently considered any sports gambling legislation and its Mormon population makes it unlikely.


 

Vermont 

No legislation happening right now. Maybe #CrazyBernie will change their minds and turn the state into a bunch of degenerate gamblers. 


 

Virginia 

No bills at the moment and none appear to be on the horizon.


Washington 

There has been some support conveyed but lawmakers don’t think they have the 60% of votes required to push legislation.


West Virginia 

A bill that became law in March was just waiting for a favorable ruling from the high court. Regulations need to be set, but sports wagering should soon be allowed at licensed casinos in the state.

They’ve been waiting on this for a while and will get it soon.


Wisconsin 

“The legislature is not in session and there is no pending legislation on this,” said Steve Michels, assistant deputy secretary of the state’s department of administration. “Sports gaming is prohibited by the Wisconsin constitution, state law, and is not allowed under the state tribal compacts.”

They don’t appear to be fans.


Wyoming

No bills on the docket and none appear to be coming down the pipe.


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PHEW….I hope you folks found that useful.

 

Bottom line: Watch out for a whole lot of sports betting coming down the pipe. 

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IS TODAY IRONY DAY OR SOMETHING?

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First we have the lawyer for the #Resistance flying off the handle at reporters for uncovering his past. And now, we have King Bob Mueller with ties to……could it be……OMG RUSSIA?!?!

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In 2009, when Mueller was running the FBI and looking the other way as his own investigators uncovered corruption related to the sale of Uranium One, the bureau asked Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska to spend millions of his own dollars funding an FBI-supervised operation to rescue a retired FBI agent, Robert Levinson, captured in Iran while working for the CIA in 2007.

For those keeping score, yes, that’s the same Deripaska who has surfaced in King Bob’s current investigation and who was recently sanctioned by the Trump administration.


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The Levinson mission is confirmed by more than a dozen participants inside and outside the FBI, including Deripaska, his lawyer, the Levinson family and a retired agent who supervised the case. Mueller was kept apprised of the operation.

Some aspects of Deripaska’s help were chronicled in a 2016 book by reporter Barry Meier, but sources provide extensive new information about his role.

They said FBI agents courted Deripaska in 2009 in a series of secret hotel meetings in Paris; Vienna; Budapest, Hungary, and Washington. Agents persuaded the aluminum industry magnate to underwrite the mission. The Russian billionaire insisted the operation neither involve nor harm his homeland.

 

One agent who helped court Deripaska was none other than Deep State McCabe..


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Deripaska’s lawyer said he ultimately spent $25 million assembling a private search and rescue team that worked with Iranian contacts under the FBI’s supervision. Photos and videos indicating Levinson was alive were uncovered.

Then in fall 2010, the operation secured an offer to free Levinson. The deal was scuttled, however, when the State Department become uncomfortable with Iran’s terms, according to Deripaska’s lawyer and the Levinson family. God only knows what those were. Probably a plane full of unmarked bills for Hamas. I’m surprised they didn’t get it. 

FBI officials blamed the State Dept. for their failure to get Levinson:

“We tried to turn over every stone we could to rescue Bob, but every time we started to get close, the State Department seemed to always get in the way,” said Robyn Gritz, the retired agent who supervised the Levinson case in 2009, when Deripaska first cooperated, but who left for another position in 2010 before the Iranian offer arrived. “I kept Director Mueller and Deputy Director [John] Pistole informed of the various efforts and operations, and they offered to intervene with State, if necessary.”

FBI officials ended the operation in 2011, concerned that Deripaska’s Iranian contacts couldn’t deliver with all the U.S. infighting. Levinson was never found; his whereabouts remain a mystery 11 years after he disappeared.

“Deripaska’s efforts came very close to success,” said David McGee, a former federal prosecutor who represents Levinson’s family. “We were told at one point that the terms of Levinson’s release had been agreed to by Iran and the U.S. and included a statement by then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton pointing a finger away from Iran. At the last minute, Secretary Clinton decided not to make the agreed-on statement.”

The State Department, a Clinton spokesman, a Mueller’s spokesman and Deep State McCabe all declined to comment, unsurprisingly.


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The FBI’s choice of Deripaska for this mission was a logical one. First, his aluminum empire had business in Iran. Second, the FBI wanted a foreigner to fund the operation because spending money in Iran might violate U.S. sanctions and other laws. Third, agents knew Deripaska had been banished since 2006 from the United States by State over reports he had ties to organized crime and other nefarious activities. He denies the allegations, and nothing was ever proven in court.

The FBI dealing with Russian mobsters. Tssk tssk tssk. 

Nonetheless, the bureau rewarded the OMG RUSSIAN for his help. In fall 2009, according to U.S. entry records, Deripaska visited Washington on a rare law enforcement parole visa. And since 2011, he has been granted entry at least eight times on a diplomatic passport, even though he doesn’t work for the Russian Foreign Ministry.

Former FBI officials confirm they arranged the access.

Deripaska said in a statement through Adam Waldman, his American lawyer, that FBI agents told him State’s reasons for blocking his U.S. visa were “merely a pretext.”

“The FBI said they had undertaken a careful background check, and if there was any validity to the State Department smears, they would not have reached out to me for assistance,” said the OMG RUSSIAN WE’RE ALL GOING TO DIE. 


 

Then, things got interesting.

Over the past two years, evidence emerged tying him to former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, the first defendant charged in #PutinGate with money laundering and illegal lobbying.

Deripaska once hired Manafort as a political adviser and invested money with him in a business venture that went bad. Deripaska sued Manafort, alleging he stole money.

Mueller’s indictment of Manafort conspicuously makes no mention of Deripaska, even though prosecutors claim to have evidence that Manafort contemplated inviting his old Russian comrade for a 2016 Trump campaign briefing. Deripaska said he never got the invite and investigators have found no evidence it occurred. And there’s no public evidence Deripaska had anything to do with election meddling.

But wait, there’s more!

Deripaska also appears to be one of the first Russians the FBI asked for help when it began investigating the pee-pee dossier. 

Two months before PDT was elected president, Deripaska was in New York as part of Russia’s United Nations delegation when three FBI agents awakened him in his home; at least one agent had worked with Deripaska on the aborted effort to rescue Levinson. During an hour-long visit, the agents posited a theory that Trump’s campaign was secretly colluding with Russia to hijack the U.S. election.

“Deripaska laughed but realized, despite the joviality, that they were serious,” the lawyer said. “So he told them in his informed opinion the idea they were proposing was false. ‘You are trying to create something out of nothing,’ he told them.” The agents left though the FBI sought more information in 2017 from the Russian, sources tell me. Waldman declined to say if Deripaska has been in contact with the FBI since Sept, 2016.

So the G-men were even trying to get their old Russian asset to hop aboard the Trump/Russia collusion train and he laughed in their faces.

Why, then, is Deripaska part of this story now. I’ll quote John Solomon, who broke this story, to complete the circle:


So why care about some banished Russian oligarch’s account now?

Two reasons.

First, as the FBI prepared to get authority to surveil figures on Trump’s campaign team, did it disclose to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court that one of its past Russian sources waived them off the notion of Trump-Russia collusion? 

Second, the U.S. government in April imposed sanctions on Deripaska, one of several prominent Russians targeted to punish Vladimir Putin — using the same sort of allegations that State used from 2006 to 2009. Yet, between those two episodes, Deripaska seemed good enough for the FBI to ask him to fund that multimillion-dollar rescue mission. And to seek his help on a sensitive political investigation. And to allow him into the country eight times.

I was alerted to Deripaska’s past FBI relationship by U.S. officials who wondered whether the Russian’s conspicuous absence from Mueller’s indictments might be related to his FBI work.

They aren’t the only ones.

Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz told me he believes Mueller has a conflict of interest because his FBI previously accepted financial help from a Russian that is, at the very least, a witness in the current probe.

“The real question becomes whether it was proper to leave [Deripaska] out of the Manafort indictment, and whether that omission was to avoid the kind of transparency that is really required by the law,” Dershowitz said.

Melanie Sloan, a former Clinton Justice Department lawyer and longtime ethics watchdog, told me a “far more significant issue” is whether the earlier FBI operation was even legal: “It’s possible the bureau’s arrangement with Mr. Deripaska violated the Antideficiency Act, which prohibits the government from accepting voluntary services.”   

George Washington University constitutional law professor Jonathan Turley agreed: “If the operation with Deripaska contravened federal law, this figure could be viewed as a potential embarrassment for Mueller. The question is whether he could implicate Mueller in an impropriety.”

Now that sources have unmasked the Deripaska story, time will tell whether the courts, Justice, Congress or a defendant formally questions if Mueller is conflicted.

In the meantime, the episode highlights an oft-forgotten truism: The cat-and-mouse maneuvers between Moscow and Washington are often portrayed in black-and-white terms. But the truth is, the relationship is enveloped in many shades of gray.


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BIG PICTURE: 

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Many of you are probably reading all this wondering what the hell I’m talking about. It’s understandable as there are many moving parts. So allow me to break down the gist of why this is news.

Deripaska was the FBI’s man. He spent a metric buttload of his own money helping us inside of Iran. He’s also very much plugged into Putin world, as is every Russian billionaire. If you want to know what’s happening at the highest levels of the Russian government, there’s no better person to ask than a Russian oligarch. 

To top things off, he’s an enemy of Paul Manafort, the very guy the FBI believes is the link between OMG RUSSIA and the Trump campaign. Taking all these facts together, Deripaska is the dream guy for King Bob. He checks all the boxes for someone who will put the nail in the PDT’s #PutinGate coffin.

Except he wasn’t.

Not only did he not support the FBI’s witch hunt against Trump, he literally laughed in the faces of FBI agents who asked him to corroborate their absurd conspiracy theory. So did Deripaska’s testimony make it into the FISA application to spy on the Trump campaign? You better your ass it didn’t. It was conveniently left out.

So who did the FBI trust? RUSSIAN FRIGGIN INTELLIGENCE, WHO MAKE A LIVING OUT OF PUTTING OUT DISINFORMATION MEANT TO SOW CHAOS WITHIN AMERICA. 

So the guy who would actually know something (if there were anything to know) is completely ignored when he gives inconvenient denials against a man he has every reason to screw over (Manafort), yet the shady Russians who gave the disinformation that comprised the pee-pee dossier were credible enough to get a friggin spying order for an American political campaign.

That’s the story. King Bob’s probe is looking more and more ridiculous by the day. Their biased witch hunt is being exposed exactly for what it is, an evidenceless farce in search of a unicorn. 

This is in addition to the recent revelation of a possible mole inside the Trump campaign planted by this same disgrace for an FBI; one for whom Florida Rep. Ron DeSantis believes to know the identity. 

“I know that we’re actively trying to get the underlying documents that would tell us — did they spy on the Trump campaign or not?” DeSantis said on Fox & Friends this morning. “The reason why a lot of us were suspicious was because Glen Simpson at one point, the head of Fusion GPS, testified that there was a human source inside the Trump campaign, based on his conversations with Christopher Steele. So it suggests that Steele as a British agent, may have been working with somebody who the FBI was also working with.”

“I think I may know the person just based on what I’ve learned, not even classified. But we don’t even need to know the name. We just need to know did they, in fact, target Trump’s campaign? Yes or no,” he said. “It’s a very crucial fact to know, to see how all this thing started.”

“I think there needs to be follow up,” DeSantis concluded. “That’s why we’ve been going back and forth on this stuff for months and different varieties. [The Department of Justice] need[s] to produce the information, otherwise, there needs to be some type of sanction, whether that’s contempt of Congress or something else.”

Folks, this thing is unraveling more and more by the day.

The Swamp is a tedious thing to defeat, but your patience is in the process of being rewarded.

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GET WELL MELANIA!

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Our beautiful, elegant and classy First Lady Melania underwent a kidney procedure at Walter Reed Medical Center.

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She had been experiencing an issue with her kidney that her office described as benign but requiring medical attention.
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“This morning, first lady Melania Trump underwent an embolization procedure to treat a benign kidney condition. The procedure was successful, and there were no complications,” Melania’s communications director, Stephanie Grisham, said in a statement.
 
 
“Mrs. Trump is at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center and will likely remain there for the duration of the week. The first lady looks forward to a full recovery so she can continue her work on behalf of children everywhere,” Grisham wrote.
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PDT stayed in the White House during Melania Trump’s surgery but tweeted just after 5 p.m. today that he was heading to hospital to visit his wife in Marine One.
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“Heading over to Walter Reed Medical Center to see our great First Lady, Melania. Successful procedure, she is in good spirits. Thank you to all of the well-wishers!” Trump tweeted.
This procedure makes Melania the first, first lady to undergo such a serious medical procedure while in the White House since Nancy Reagan had a mastectomy in October 1987. Rosalynn Carter underwent surgery to remove a benign lump from her breast in April 1977. Weeks after Betty Ford became first lady, she was diagnosed with breast cancer and underwent a mastectomy in September 1974.

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From all accounts, everything seems to have gone well and Melania will be 100% in no time. What welcome news that is, as Melania truly is a national treasure and the best first lady of my lifetime at the very least.
Get well, Melania. We love you!
#MakeFirstLadiesHotAgain

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There it is, homeskillet. You know the drill: questions, comments, concerns, memes, insults, compliments, stickers, jokes, emojis and, if we have time, complaints.


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