‘Obstruction of Congress’ is an utterly ridiculous impeachment charge

If one accepts the Democrats’ tendentious narrative of what transpired on the now-infamous July 25 phone call between President Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, their “abuse of power” impeachment article arguably fits within Alexander Hamilton’s description, in Federalist 65, of the Constitution’s “high crimes and misdemeanors” as an “abuse or violation of some public trust.” But their “obstruction of Congress” charge fails.

Worse, it is utterly nonsensical and misunderstands and undermines the entire separation-of-powers framework upon which our constitutional republic was built. To speak of a president “obstructing” Congress is to speak of spotting a unicorn. It is a nonsensical fantasy. And leveling the very allegation, in the first instance, evinces a fundamental constitutional illiteracy.

Our tripartite separation-of-powers edifice was hardly devised for the purpose of ensuring amiability between the legislative, executive and judicial branches. On the contrary, the Framers envisioned a national government in which the three branches existed in a state of continuous, unyielding tension with one another.

In particular, the two political branches — Congress and the executive branch — were meant to be jealous guardians of their own ambits and spheres of influence. Ceaseless tussling between them was to be the norm. “Ambition,” James Madison told us in Federalist 51, “must be made to counteract ambition.”

Accordingly, inter-branch political showdowns are routine. The president can veto legislation. Congress, using its power-of-the-purse prerogative, can defund presidential priorities. And so forth. Each branch has various tools at its disposal to help “counteract [the] ambition” of the other.

That is how our separation of powers is supposed to function — in a state far closer to animosity than to geniality. Which is precisely why House Democrats alleging “obstruction of Congress” as an article of impeachment makes no sense.

If the president disagrees with what Congress is doing, then he should lawfully impede or obstruct its efforts. And the proper way for Congress to push back on a frustrative president is not to resort to the extreme and uniquely anti-democratic remedy of impeachment but to simply defund his legislative priorities or perhaps force a government shutdown.

Fact is, it is wholly improper — and counter to the spirit embodied in our constitutional framework — for Congress to attempt to impeach the president for obstructing its congressional responsibilities. To pout over purported “obstruction of Congress” is to moan that the president is reasserting the truism that he is, in fact, a separate branch of government and capable of pushing back on the other branches.

By attempting to impeach the president because he wields presidential power, House Democrats reveal that it is they themselves who are the ones abusing power.

By contrast, an article of impeachment for “obstruction of justice,” especially if it were to entail the president directly defying a judicial order to heed a congressional subpoena, would carry more heft. Obstruction of justice has historically been cited in articles of impeachment. Not so the utter fabrication that is “obstruction of Congress.”

In resigning themselves to such a farcical impeachment article, especially in lieu of their nixing previously floated articles pertaining to either bribery or the Mueller report, House Democrats have hoisted themselves on their own petard. They have finally laid out their poker hand for the American people to see; turns out they were bluffing all along.

Their ruse, which is already polling heavily underwater in many pivotal swing states, will only go further south from here. Speaker Nancy Pelosi will likely be able to cobble together a bare majority to impeach, but the president’s inevitable acquittal in the Senate will redound to Republicans’ electoral interest next November.

To impeach for “obstruction of Congress” is akin to impeaching James Madison, the father of the Constitution, himself. And as much as modern Democrats loathe constitutional guardrails, surely that is too much for the American people as a whole.

Josh Hammer is editor-at-large of The Daily Wire and of counsel at First Liberty Institute.

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People's Vote campaign is scrapped

People’s Vote campaign is scrapped as organisers accept a second Brexit referendum is not going to happen under Boris Johnson

  • Open Britain, which runs campaign, conceded fresh vote is no longer possible 
  • The group will instead rebrand to hold the government to account over Brexit
  • Comms manager Tom Baldwin said there was no chance of second referendum

The so-called People’s Vote campaign is to be scrapped following Boris Johnson’s overwhelming Brexit mandate. 

Leading Remainers on Thursday watched their hopes of a second EU referendum go up in smoke as the Prime Minister stormed to a decisive 80-seat majority with which he can ram through his withdrawal deal.

Open Britain, which runs the campaign, conceded a fresh vote is no longer a realistic possibility and made the decision to mothball the grassroots movement.  

The group will instead rebrand to an organisation that holds the government to account as it charts a course outside of the EU.

Tom Baldwin, communications director of the People’s Vote campaign, said he ‘(didn’t) think there is much chance’ of the public having a final say.

The so-called People’s Vote campaign is to be scrapped following Boris Johnson’s overwhelming Brexit mandate (rally in London in October)

Leading Remainers on Thursday watched their hopes of a second EU referendum go up in smoke as the Prime Minister (celebrating outside CCHQ) stormed to a decisive 80-seat majority with which he can ram through his withdrawal deal 

In a statement, Open Britain said: ‘The People’s Vote will now refocus its campaign to concentrate on vital social issues that this Government must urgently prioritise in its Brexit.

‘We urge the Government to avoid a hard Brexit that will be a disaster for our country and instead work with our European partners to get the fair deal that British people deserve.

‘The poorest and most vulnerable will be further marginalised if Boris Johnson’s Government crashes us out of the EU with no deal.

‘Early next year, the People’s Vote campaign will rebrand and reorganise to campaign for a fair deal for Britain.’

Open Britain formed out of the ashes of Britain Stronger In Europe, the official 2016 Remain campaign, and looked to convince the electorate that the public should be given a final say on any Brexit deal.

In October, just as a December election was looking on the cards, the outfit was wracked by division as infighting broke out at the top of its ranks.

Roland Rudd, the now former chairman of Open Britain, looked to oust director James McGrory and Mr Baldwin in a bid to re-shape the messaging.

PR guru Mr Rudd – brother to ex-Home Secretary Amber Rudd – would go on to quit the organisation after failing in his bid to bring in new leadership.

Tom Baldwin (right), communications director of the People’s Vote campaign, said he ‘(didn’t) think there is much chance’ of the public having a final say. In October, just as a December election was looking on the cards, the outfit was wracked by division as in-fighting broke out at the top of its ranks when Roland Rudd (right) made a power grab

Reflecting on the election result, Mr Baldwin laid the blame for the lack of ‘people’s vote’ campaign impact at Mr Rudd’s door, citing how 52 per cent of the electorate had voted for parties supporting a second referendum.

‘Sadly, I don’t think there is much chance of a Peoples Vote now, even though you can argue a majority voted for parties backing it yesterday,’ tweeted the ex-political spin doctor for former Labour leader Ed Miliband.

‘@RolandRudd really did for the campaign a few weeks back.’

In a post on Twitter, Mr McGrory – an adviser to Nick Clegg during his time as deputy prime minister in the coalition government – said: ‘When my niece, nephew and godson ask me about these times, I’ll only be able to say: I tried.

‘I gave it everything I had but I failed you. And I am so sorry. But I will spend the rest of my life making it up to you by fighting for the progressive values needed now more than ever.’ 

The People’s Vote campaign spearheaded a huge London rally this October, where it claimed close to a million supporters took to the streets.

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A High School Senior's Heartbreaking Film Demonstrates the Impact of Gun Violence on Gen Z

In a time where news of the nation’s most recent mass shootings is becoming more and more recurrent, teenagers are speaking out more than ever before about the impact of of growing up in a world where the fear of being shot could become a reality at any moment. In order to address this impact, Molly Smith, a high-school senior and aspiring filmmaker from Florida, directed the heartbreaking short film Dear America: A Film by Generation Z, a message to our country from the generation filled with anger and fear.

The film is set to a spoken word poem inspired by tragedies like the mass shooting at the Pulse nightclub in 2016, the Parkland shooting in 2018, and the Walmart shooting in El Paso, TX, on Aug. 3. “America, why do you think that thoughts and prayers are enough to save us from being another news story?” one student asks. “How many final texts will students have to send to their parents from under a desk to be safe again?” asks another.

As younger and younger children begin to worry about gun violence, Smith’s film sends an important message that everyone should hear: this needs to stop now. Watch the full video here.

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Colin Firth & Livia Giuggioli Announce Separation — After Enduring Affair & Stalker Drama

It’s been a year full of celebrity couples calling it quits, and it isn’t slowing down as 2019 comes to an end. And this one was truly unexpected…

Colin Firth and Livia Giuggioli have announced their separation after a whopping 22 years of marriage in a joint statement, saying:

“Colin and Livia Firth have separated. They maintain a close friendship and remain united in their love for their children. They kindly ask for privacy. There will be no further comment.”

The former couple have two teenage sons together, Luca (18) and Matteo (16), who were born in Rome but have dual Italian and UK citizenship. (Colin also has one older son from his previous relationship with Valmont costar Meg Tilly.)

Colin met Livia on the set of a BBC drama called Nostromo in 1996. She was working as a producing assistant at the time; she later became a film producer. They were married in 1997 and moved to the Umbria region, where Colin learned fluent Italian for her.

It’s so much like his storyline in Love, Actually! How romantic! Well, until now…

The pair separated once before, in 2015 and 2016, but ultimately reconciled. However, that temporary split ended up having lasting consequences. Last year the couple reported they were being harassed by a stalker — who turned out to be a man with whom Livia had an affair during the trial separation, a reporter named Marco Brancaccia.

In a statement from a rep, they explained:

“A few years ago Colin and Livia privately made the decision to separate. During that time Livia briefly became involved with former friend Mr Brancaccia. The Firths have since reunited. Subsequently, Mr Brancaccia carried out a frightening campaign of harassment over several months, much of which is documented. As a consequence of his stalking, threats and refusal to desist, the legal complaint was lodged with the Italian authorities.”

Brancaccia subsequently defended his actions, attesting:

“The reality is that Livia and I have known each other since we were youths, then in 2015-2016 we had an 11-month love affair. After it ended in June 2016 I never called her again. I did send her two WhatsApp messages, one happy birthday and an email to Colin, the latter which I truly regret.”

It’s unclear if this drama had anything to do with this split. Nor can anyone say if they’ll get back together this time.

Obviously they are far from the only couple, even the only longtime couple, to break up in 2019. See the ever-growing list (below)!

CLICK HERE to view “Celebrity Breakups Of 2019!”

CLICK HERE to view “Celebrity Breakups Of 2019!”

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Jeff Shell: Who Is the NBCUniversal Heir Apparent?

Analytical, decisive, loyal, fair, empowering. Those are just a few of the choice words industry insiders who have worked with incoming NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Shell — set to succeed current chief exec Steve Burke, as Variety exclusively reported — use to describe the longtime media exec. 

On Universal’s North Hollywood lot, many insiders who work alongside Shell were relieved that the cat was finally out of the bag. In the wake of January’s corporate restructuring, succession lines were clearly drawn for those inside the company, one top Universal executive said on the condition of anonymity, despite NBCUniversal sports, news, and cable head Mark Lazarus having been positioned as a potential challenger. The Comcast-owned company had at the beginning of the year expanded Shell’s role to include NBC Entertainment, NBCUniversal’s international division and Telemundo, elevating him to his current role as chairman of NBCUniversal Film and Entertainment

Multiple insiders characterize Shell as a well-liked exec (and huge L.A. sports fan) whose overall goodwill was compounded this year by the man hours he’s put in to understand the larger scope of the corporate business. He has traveled quite a bit since the bolstering of his title in January at Burke’s behest, trying to educate himself on arenas outside of filmed entertainment and corporate strategy.

Shell is a show-business veteran. Prior to his leap into his current post, he occupied the role of chairman of Universal Film and Entertainment Group, which includes Universal Pictures, for about five and a half years. It’s a tenure that includes the theatrical premieres of titles from the “Jurassic World” and “Fast & Furious” franchises plus the oversight of Universal’s consumer products, games, live entertainment and digital properties such as movie ticket site Fandango. His past professional lives include time as president of Comcast Programming Group, CEO of Gemstar TV Guide International and president of Fox Cable Networks Group. 

According to several television executives who have worked with Shell over the past decade, he seems like an ideal choice for the top spot at NBCU. His former colleagues praised his uncanny ability to both grasp difficult concepts while presenting those ideas to others in a simple, effective way. They also described him as a person who doesn’t seek to hog all the credit for accomplishments for himself. Rather, Shell is characterized as someone who remains humble, despite his stature, and capable of making others feel like part of a team.

Given the current fast-moving state of the media environment, flexibility and a willingness to pivot and adapt are key. Shell, says one exec who worked with him years ago, is not afraid to try things that might fail, describing him as a leader able to course-correct swiftly. 

Shell’s ascent to the top of Universal’s filmed entertainment group in 2013 was preceded by an extensive career in television, and he told Variety in a cover story interview four years ago that the movie business was “the hardest business [he’s] ever worked in.” Alongside current group chairman Donna Langley and NBCUNiversal vice chairman Ron Meyer, the three execs propelled Universal in 2015 to its best year in its 103-year existence.

In the confines of the C-suite, Shell is a straight-shooter, on a level that still surprises his longtime colleague Langley. 

“I marvel at just how brutally honest he is. … I’m always sort of walking on eggshells, and he’s taught me you can be blunt,” said Langley back then about Shell.

In terms of the specific flavor Shell will bring as a CEO, insiders said he is not the type to be caught lounging on David Geffen’s yacht Rising Sun or brokering acquisitions on the back nine of the Riviera Country Club in the Palisades. Shell is closer to the archetype of an American corporate honcho, buttoned up with less Hollywood pizazz, but has has distinguished himself through philanthropy.

On Shell’s mantle is a recognition of the Fulfillment Fund, which works to help Los Angeles students afford the opportunity to attend college. In 2016, he was presented with the group’s Tom Sherak Award and hailed for his commitment to improving educational opportunities for area students. Among his work with nonprofits, Shell has spent time serving as chairman of the Broadcasting Board of Governors, now known as the U.S. Agency for Global Media, between 2013 and 2017.

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Five Finger Death Punch Forced to Scrap Concert Over Jason Hook’s Medical Emergency

Fans of the ‘Lift Me Up’ rockers have been alerted to the sudden cancellation of the Amsoil Arena gig in Duluth, Minnesota via social media just hours before showtime.

AceShowbiz -Rockers Five Finger Death Punch had to scrap a concert in Minnesota at late notice on Thursday, December 12 after guitarist Jason Hook suffered a “medical emergency.”

Fans due to attend the Amsoil Arena gig in Duluth were alerted to the change via social media just hours before showtime, but a representative for the band stopped short of offering up specific details about Hook’s condition.

The live date is expected to be rescheduled.

It’s not yet known if the remaining two Five Finger Death Punch tour dates for 2019 will be affected – the band is next due to perform in Omaha, Nebraska on Saturday night, before wrapping up the trek in Des Moines, Iowa on Sunday.

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Joe Swash in ‘horrible’ Dancing On Ice accident as he smashes head

Joe Swash was in a "horrible" Dancing On Ice accident when he smashed his head during rehearsals.

The former EastEnders actor, 37, was hurt in a tumble on the ice as he prepared for the launch of the hit ITV show.

Joe, who became a dad for the second time earlier this year, was not seriously hurt in the fall but show insiders revealed he was one of a number of stars to get injured just weeks before the show begins.

Creative Director Dan Whiston told The Sun Online : "Joe Swash fell and hit his head in rehearsals. It’s horrible when it happens but it does sometimes.

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"There are cuts bruises, knocks and scrapes. They’ve all had their fair share, there's nobody that's had one bigger or worse than the others. They've all had that."

Following the fall, the hardy actor dusted himself off and was able to carry on skating but is one of a number of people to get hurt in preparation for the show's launch in January.

Ex-footballer Kevin Kilbane has also been left bruised after a nasty fall on his back.

Dan revealed: "He soldiered through that injury and he’s not let it hold him back."

Dancing On Ice has a history of injured celebrities with former children's presenter Michael Underwood left in tears in 2008 after breaking his ankle.

Last year Gemma Collins took a face first tumble onto the ice during a show but was not seriously hurt.

Joining Joe on the ice is Love Island's Maura Higgins, Steps star Ian 'H' Watkins, Michael Barrymore, Perri Kiely, Trisha Goddard, Caprice, Lisa George, Lucrezia Millarini, Kevin Kilbane, Libby Clegg and Ben Hanlin.

John Barrowman, Torvill and Dean and Ashley Banjo are on the judging panel.

As usual it will be hosted by Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby.

Dancing On Ice returns to ITV on Sunday, January 5.

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Sofia Carson’s New Song ‘I Luv U’ Is The Most Added Song In The World on Spotify

Sofia Carson shows off her short hair while hitting the streets to promote her new song on Friday afternoon (December 13) in Beverly Hills, Calif.

The 26-year-old did an interview with Univision host Raúl De Molina, and shared a selfie on her Twitter account.

“I luv u @rauldemolina thank you forever…” she captioned the snap of the duo.

That day, Sofia dropped her brand new track “I Luv U” with R3HAB and it’s already received so much love!

“(I luv u is the most added song IN THE WORLD right now @R3HAB @Spotify I luv u I luv u I luv u forever),” Sofia shared.

Check out the music video for “I Luv U” RIGHT HERE if you haven’t already (or to watch again and again)!

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10 Best Bad Movies of the 2010s, From 'Gotti' to 'Sex and the City 2'

These are the decade’s most awful movies — that you’ll want to enjoy again and again

A great bad movie makes you ask, “What did I just see? And when can I see it again?” as opposed to a run-of-the-mill stinker, the kind you wish you’d never watched and will immediately forget that you did. The great bad movies inspire think-pieces, podcasts, watching parties and feverish cult adoration. The regular ones merely wallow in mediocrity. Here’s my alphabetical list of the greatest bad movies the 2010s had to offer:

“Collateral Beauty” (2016)   Will Smith is sad, and his best friends gaslight him by hiring actors to pretend to be Love, Time and Death, but we’re supposed to find their efforts — noble? Charming? None of this makes a lick of sense, but it’s all delivered with hilarious gravitas by the likes of Kate Winslet and Helen Mirren. Make sure to stick around for the shameless third-act twist, and a labored explanation of the title.

“Gotti” (2018)   From the narration to the needle-drops, this fawning portrait of a real-life mafioso tries desperately to be as Scorsese as possible, never mind that director Kevin Connolly (yes, the “Entourage” guy) has neither the skill nor the point of view to make any of this work. Between the anachronisms and the rationalizations for bad behavior, however, there’s plenty here to chew on in repeat viewings.

“The Identical” (2014)   What if a twin brother of an Elvis-esque pop singer had lived (in a universe in which Elvis himself still exists) and became the subject of a faith-based movie that’s particularly focused on the idea of converting Jewish people to Christianity? And what if the lead character were played by an Elvis impersonator who can’t really act and who is forced to sing rock-and-roll songs that would get booed offstage at Knott’s Berry Farm? This nutty movie answers those burning questions.

“Kirk Cameron’s Saving Christmas” (2014)   Perhaps no single work of art in the 2010s brought Christians and atheists closer together than this holiday saga, which both groups could agree is one of the most misbegotten and perplexing movies ever made. It is dedicated to its star’s singularly bizarre ideas about the holiday, all of which were presented as, you’ll pardon the expression, gospel truths.

“Life Itself” (2018)   Writer-director Dan Fogelman tried to blame white male critics and their lack of emotion for this film’s blisteringly bad reviews, until reviewers who were women and/or people of color mentioned that, no, they hated it too. This multi-generational, lattice-of-coincidence love story demands to be seen (to be disbelieved).

“The Oogieloves and the Big Balloon Adventure” (2012)   Yes, we grade kids movies on a curve, but this one is so outlandishly wrong-headed and baffling that attention must be paid. Its messages for children are patently dangerous — Jump from high places while holding a balloon! Get into a stranger’s vehicle! Drink milkshakes really fast! — which almost distracts from the unsettling lead characters and the generally surreal levels of weirdness. Decide for yourself which is odder: Christopher Lloyd and Jaime Pressly cast as a Mexican couple (Lero and Lola Sombrero) or a vacuum cleaner that professes its love for a lady window that has a Southern accent.

“Sex and the City 2” (2010)   A landmark TV series led to a perfectly entertaining big-screen version, which somehow got us to this tone-deaf sequel, which seems to misunderstand completely why we ever liked or cared about these characters. You’ll stare at this version of Carrie and company and wonder when it was, exactly, that they were all abducted by aliens and replaced by uncanny-valley versions of themselves.

“Stonewall” (2015)   If there’s a running thread through many great bad movies, it’s that the people involved really, really wanted to create something important and meaningful. Any hack can phone it in, but it takes a special kind of filmmaker to aim for the stars and crash instead. Which brings us to Roland Emmerich’s well-intentioned attempt to document a turning point in the American LGBTQ civil rights movement, which wound up being an object of mockery for queer and straight audiences alike.

“Surfer: Teen Confronts Fear” (2018)   The success of Tommy Wiseau and “The Room” opened the door for any number of imitators, none of which were half as sincere or half as unhinged as this combo of biblical allegory, home-movie surfing footage, military espionage and mouths full of black goop. This one’s still popping up in theaters, and I can safely say you’ve never seen anything quite like it.

“Tyler Perry’s Temptation: Confessions of a Marriage Counselor” (2013)   The man behind Madea is a more capable filmmaker than he’s often given credit for, but this absurd, slut-shaming melodrama brought out his worst habits as a writer, director and scold. But even if Kim Kardashian weren’t in the cast (and boy, is she), this would still rank among the very best of his very worst.
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Live+3 Ratings for Week of Dec. 2: ‘The Good Doctor,’ ‘9-1-1’ Top Gainers

“The Good Doctor” on ABC and “9-1-1” on Fox were the two biggest gainers in the Live+3 TV ratings for the week of Dec. 2.

The pair benefited from the absence of NBC’s “This Is Us,” which to date has shown the largest gains across all scripted shows after three days of delayed viewing.

“Good Doctor” jumped 89% from a 0.9 rating to a 1.7, while “9-1-1” translated a 1.4 rating in Live+Same Day to a 2.1 in Live+3. The Fox drama finished in third place among all non-football shows for the week behind “The Masked Singer” and “60 Minutes.”

In terms of total viewership, the Freddie Highmore led series again saw the biggest gain, leaping up to just under 10 million viewers from 6 million. Meanwhile “9-1-1” was beaten into fourth place by “Blue Bloods” and “The Rookie.”

Read the full week’s rankings below.

Live+3 Adults 18-49

Live+3 Total Viewers

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