Did Rubio’s comments on gay marriage go too far?

Marco Rubio

Marco Rubio is taking a decidedly conservative turn when it comes to the issue of gay marriage. The Florida U.S. senator, who is vying for the Republican presidential nomination, saying gay marriage proponents pose a “danger” to Christianity. And suggesting that, if things continue the way they are, the teachings of mainstream Christianity could be labeled hate speech.

Christie attacks Paul for siding with Edward Snowden

Chris Christie answers questions on NJ 101.5
Chris Christie answers questions on NJ 101.5

We all know that Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, a Republican presidential hopeful, doesn’t like the Patriot Act for its infringements on civil liberties. Well, now another potential GOP candidate for president, is attacking Paul. Perhaps – some might say, below the belt. Charging that Paul is “siding with Edward Snowden” – the former NSA whistle blower.

That Republican verbally smacking Paul around is, of course, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. We say, of course, because that kind of rhetoric comes quite naturally to him.

 

Man threatens suicide, girlfriend calls cops, cops shoot man to death

Kaitlyn Christine Lyons and Justin Way/Facebook
Kaitlyn Christine Lyons and Justin Way/Facebook

This happened in Florida. The suicidal man’s name was Justin Way. He was in bed, with a knife, and threatening suicide. His live-in girlfriend, Kaitlyn Christine Lyons, called a non-emergency number for the police. She wanted him involuntarily committed (a process followed in the past to help the troubled man). But when two deputies arrived, they were carrying assault rifles. Moments later, they shot Way dead. Police say he lunged at them with a knife. But the family questions why they came in with assault rifles to help a mentally ill person.

Putin: U.S. is trying to take World Cup away from Russia

2015-05-28 07_33_21-FIFA World Cup 2018 Logo - 2018 FIFA World Cup - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedi

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Russian President Vladimir Putin today accused the U.S. of meddling in FIFA affairs and trying to take away the 2018 World Cup away from Russia.

As they announced a sweeping indictment against 14 FIFA soccer officials and marketing executives who they said had corrupted the sport through two decades of shadowy dealing and $150 million in bribes, U.S. authorities on Wednesday described the beautiful game in terms normally reserved for Mafia families or drug cartels.

Hours after Swiss authorities arrived unannounced at a luxury Zurich hotel and arrested top FIFA officials, the Justice Department and prosecutors for the Eastern District of New York forcefully declared that their investigation had only just begun. The federal indictment lists 47 counts, including bribery, fraud and money laundering.

Attorney General Loretta Lynch said she never had qualms about bringing charges in the U.S. U.S. law allows for extradition and prosecution of foreign nationals under a number of statutes and court documents say that the activity affected interstate and foreign commerce and took place in part in New York’s Eastern District.

Lynch compared the FIFA investigation to cases involving Mafia members in Rome or Sicily. In this case, she said, FIFA officials used the American banking system as part of their scheme. “They clearly thought the U.S. was a safe financial haven for them,” she said. There’s no suggestion that any actual matches were fixed or crooked

Lynch said some FIFA executives, “used their positions to solicit bribes. They did this over and over, year after year, tournament after tournament.” FBI Director James Comey said, “The defendants fostered a culture of corruption and greed that created an uneven playing field for the biggest sport in the world.”

FIFA has been dogged by accusations of corruption for years but top officials typically avoided any punishment. Sepp Blatter, the organization’s longtime president, who is widely regarded as the most powerful man in sports, wasn’t named in the indictment. He’s up for reelection for a fifth term tomorrow.

Some of the means used to hide payments were intricate, the indictments says: Using fake consulting contracts; sending money through associates working in the financial industry, creating shell companies in tax havens, hiding foreign bank accounts, using safe deposit boxes etc.  Others were more straightforward. When FIFA was considering which country would host the 2006 World Cup, committee member Jack Warner sent a relative to a Paris hotel room to collect a briefcase filled with cash in $10,000 stacks from a South African bid-committee official, according to the indictment.

While the 2018 World Cup in Russia  and the 2022 World Cup in Qatarweren’t mentioned in the American charges, the Office of the Attorney General in Switzerland says it’s opened a criminal investigation into how those hosts were selected.

Now we’re going to supply arms directly to Sunni fighters in Iraq

Sunni fighters near Ramadi
Sunni fighters near Ramadi

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WASHINGTON – The Pentagon has plans to provide military equipment to Sunni tribal fighters, a Pentagon spokesperson says.

This represents a shift in policy. Up until now, the U.S. military only provided equipment through the central government in Baghdad.

The change comes in the wake of Sunni tribal fighters suffering an embarrassing defeat by ISIS last week in Ramadi. The United States has blamed the Iraqi military for abandoning the fight even though ISIS was out-manned.

Nebraska overrides governor’s veto – kills death penalty

Ricketts signing the veto the legislature overrode
Ricketts signing the veto the legislature overrode

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Nebraska on is now the first conservative state in more than 40 years to abolish the death penalty, with lawmakers defying their Republican governor, Pete Ricketts, a staunch supporter of capital punishment who had lobbied vigorously against banning it. The vote was 30-19 across party lines to override the governor’s veto.

The vote capped a months-long battle that pitted most lawmakers against the governor, many law enforcement officials and some family members of murder victims whose killers are on death row. Ricketts appeared repeatedly on TV interviews to lobby. Tuesday, he signed a veto in front of reporters and talked about a gruesome bank robbery and murder in 2002.

Though it formally considers itself nonpartisan, the Nebraska Legislature is dominated by Republicans. GOP legislators who have voted in favor of abolition said they believed the death penalty was inefficient, expensive and out of place with their party’s values. Other pols cited religious or moral reasons.

Catholic bishops in Nebraska issued a statement on Tuesday criticizing Ricketts’s veto. “We remain convinced that the death penalty does not deter crime, nor does it make Nebraska safer or promote the common good in our state,” they said. The bill replaces capital punishment with life imprisonment.

Push on to get a deal with Iran over nukes

2015-05-28 07_11_06-Photos_ Secretary Kerry Travels to Switzerland

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WASHINGTON – Secretary of State John Kerry and Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif will hold talks Saturday in Geneva as efforts intensify to reach a comprehensive nuclear deal. U.S. chief negotiator Wendy Sherman will leave State when negotiations are finished.

France is threatening to oppose a deal if it doesn’t include access to military sites in Iran, something that some Iranian officials say they won’t allow.