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Jordan confronts protesters, finds no common ground

Jordan Confronts Protesters, Finds No Common GroundChip Somodevilla/Getty Images

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FREMONT, Ohio (CNN) – Ohio Republican Rep. Jim Jordan acknowledged protesters outside two events in his home district Monday — a break with many other Capitol Hill colleagues who have largely avoided such scenes — but was met with shouts of disapproval. The Ohio Republican, a 10-year veteran of the House and one of its most ardent conservatives, spoke with what his staff and protesters estimated were upward of 150 demonstrators in Marion, Ohio, at the historic home of former President Warren G. Harding. He then headed about an hour north where he talked briefly with a much smaller group of protesters at the Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Library in Fremont, Ohio, before heading into a presidential trivia contest for children (which prompted his former Democratic opponent to claim he was using the kids as “human shields”).

Jordan’s tour of his sprawling Ohio district Monday showed the dilemma for lawmakers eyeing up a repeat of the tea party protests which swept Democrats out of power in Congress in 2010 — but with the fire and the threat coming from the left this time. And it also shows how deep the anger has bled into staunchly conservative territory. Jordan beat his Democratic opponent 68 percent-32 percent last year and President Donald Trump won the district by a similar margin. The first hint of trouble for Republicans came two weeks ago, when Utah Republican Jason Chaffetz was confronted by hundreds of angry protesters at his town hall. Since then, Republican lawmakers have canceled town halls, while others have split town entirely — heading on Congressional delegation trips to spots like the Mexican border and Europe. Meanwhile, some Republicans have fully embraced the fury: Rep. Mark Sanford huddled hundreds of protesters at his South Carolina town hall this past weekend, even walking outside to address an overflow crowd.

Jordan didn’t give it the “Full Sanford” Monday, but he did attempt some outreach — with varying success.

“They may not agree with me, we may share different perspectives,” Jordan said, as a group of protesters laughed outside the Hayes Library. (“No, we don’t agree with you,” yelled one woman, interrupting Jordan.)

“But they’re allowed under the first amendment to speak up, and my job is to listen and tell them where I’m at,” Jordan said, which resulted in one man mocking him: “Listen and give the party line, no real reasons, no in-depth analysis.”

The sight of hundreds of protesters packed outside the Harding presidential home earlier in the day was compelling enough, Jordan said, for him to take questions from the angry crowd. But protesters claimed they had to force him to address them. As Harding Home director Sherry Hall attempted to read through a history of Harding from the wraparound porch, with Jordan by her side, angry protesters chanted at the “Stop Reading!” and yelled “Hold a town hall!” according to video of the event taken by one group of protesters. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell implored his Republican colleagues last week to face protesters and address them (even though he isn’t hosting any town halls himself — opting instead for a trio of closed-door fundraisers).

But the House of Representatives’ chief security officer urged House lawmakers to coordinate police protection for their public events while they were back in their home states. (A pair of Fremont police cars pulled up to Jordan’s second event, but the small number of police just watched while a few dozen protesters milled around outside.)

The showdowns are likely to be a common sight this week — with town halls in Arkansas, New Jersey and Florida acting like magnets for irate Democrats and even some independents who stayed out of politics until Trump took the White House.

Cheryl Laugherty, 62, a retired librarian from Fremont, Ohio, said she didn’t get active in protesting until Trump emerged as a force last year. Since his election, she’s been organizing with other women in northwest Ohio, and stood with a small group protesting Jordan in Fremont.

“It’s been off and on through the years, but his (Trump’s) behavior on the campaign trail this year just clinched it for me. I could not tolerate the way, like he made fun of the handicapped columnist, just things he said,” Laugherty said. “And it hasn’t changed, the belittling of people and the nicknames. It’s juvenile. It’s juvenile bullying.”

Jordan said Monday that it’s up to other Republicans to decide what they want to do, but suggested they honor the First Amendment and hear out the protesters. But Laugherty and others gathered outside the Hayes home Monday quickly pointed out that Jordan has yet to schedule any town halls himself.

CPAC rescinds Milo Yiannopoulos’ invitation after swift backlash

CPAC Rescinds Milo Yiannopoulos' Invitation After Swift Backlash2016 Getty Images

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NEW YORK (CNNMoney) – A weekend-long backlash over a decision to invite alt-right provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos to the Conservative Political Action Conference ended Monday with an abrupt reversal. Yiannopoulos, an editor at Breitbart News and a frequent supplier of racist and sexist rhetoric, will no longer speak at the annual confab, a decision that appeared to catch him off guard.

“I haven’t heard any indication that they are reconsidering,” Yiannopoulos told CNNMoney early Monday afternoon. That changed less than an hour later, with the sponsor of the conference, the American Conservative Union, announcing that it had rescinded Yiannopoulos’ invitation.

The reason for the turnabout: A pair of video clips that surfaced Sunday in which Yiannopoulos appears to be speaking sympathetically about sex with young boys and cracking a joke about his own sexual encounter with a Catholic priest as a child.

“We continue to believe that CPAC is a constructive forum for controversies and disagreements among conservatives, however there is no disagreement among our attendees on the evils of sexual abuse of children,” ACU president Matt Schlapp said in a statement. That statement was apparently released to the public before it was seen by Yiannopoulos. When asked to confirm that his invitation to CPAC had been rescinded, Yiannopoulos told CNNMoney it was news to him.

“If so,” he said in an email, “I haven’t heard that.”

Later Monday, Simon & Schuster announced that it was canceling publication of Yianopoulos’ forthcoming book “Dangerous.”

The decision marked the culmination of a firestorm that erupted Saturday, when the ACU announced Yiannopoulos’ appearance at the conference. Many prominent conservative pundits provided the loudest voices of opposition to the decision. By Sunday, following the release of the two incendiary videos, the chorus of dissent had grown nearly deafening. Bill Kristol, the editor-at-large for the conservative Weekly Standard, said the invitation to Yiannopoulos was “despicable.”

Ned Ryun, a board member for the ACU, likewise objected to the decision. He said on Monday morning that members of the board were not consulted on the decision.

“While I’m all for free speech, there is such a thing as vile, hateful speech that does not deserve a platform,” Ryun tweeted.

Jonah Goldberg, a senior editor at the conservative National Review, described Yiannopoulos as “a promoter and apologist for the ‘Alt Right,’ a white supremacist coalition that seeks to be the alternative to mainstream conservative movement.”

“That in itself should be the only red flag CPAC needs,”

Following the decision to disinvite Yiannopoulos, Goldberg responded with something close to an eyeroll.

“Apparently the racism and anti-Semitism wasn’t a deal breaker,” Goldberg said. Rich Lowry, the top editor at the National Review, said it was “a colossal misjudgment to invite him.”

“He’s not a conservative, and in fact wants to overthrow Reagan conservatism, besides his other obvious failings,” Lowry said. “Now having disinvited him, CPAC looks like the censor–the worst of both worlds.”

In one of the videos, Yiannopoulos defended sexual relationships between “younger boys and older men.”

“In the homosexual world, particularly, some of those relationships between younger boys and older men the sort of ‘coming of age’ relationship those relationships in which those older men help those young boys discover who they are and give them security and safety and provide them with love and a reliable, sort of rock, where they can’t speak to their parents,” he said. Yiannopoulos wrote in response that the videos were “deceptively edited” and accused establishment Republicans of trying to smear him.

“I do not support pedophilia. Period,” he wrote.

In a phone interview on Monday, Yiannopoulos reiterated that point and said he was “guilty of imprecise language.”

“My kind of dry British sarcasm and penchant for provocation could have come off as flippant to other people, and that was unintended,” he told CNNMoney. “To be clear, I think it’s a vile and disgusting crime, and I’m horrified that people think I believe otherwise.”

Yiannopoulos said he believes his teenage experience with a member of the clergy gave him a license to discuss the matter in his own way, likening it to “gallows humor.”

“As a gay man who has some experience with this in his own childhood and adolescence, I thought it was OK to talk about the subject however I wanted because I felt like I owned it,” he said. CPAC, which regularly attracts political and media luminaries on the right, will kick off on Wednesday in National Harbor, Maryland. The event has become an essential stop for Republicans seeking public office and conservative commentators vying for a larger audience. The ACU announced Monday that President Donald Trump will speak Friday at the conference.

In some ways, the objections raised by the likes of Goldberg and Kristol harkened back to last year’s Republican presidential primary, when old guard conservatives opposed Trump while right-wing upstarts like Breitbart embraced his candidacy. Yiannopoulos said Monday that the uproar on the right over his CPAC invitation was another “chapter in that story.”

It wouldn’t have been Breitbart’s maiden voyage at CPAC. The site’s founder and namesake, Andrew Breitbart, spoke there in 2012, weeks before his death. The outlet has seen its influence swell in the years since. Its web traffic surged to record highs last year, establishing itself as perhaps the go-to source for Trump supporters. Steve Bannon, the former Breitbart chairman, now serves as one of Trump’s top advisers and will speak at the conference.

Earlier this month, the University of California-Berkeley canceled a scheduled appearance by Yiannopoulos after protests over the event turned violent. Last year, Yiannopoulos was permanently banned from Twitter for leading a harassment campaign against “Saturday Night Live” cast member Leslie Jones. For a while, it appeared that Yiannopoulos might survive the controversy, as Schlapp defended the decision into the evening on Sunday. But by Monday, the pressure — particularly from those on the right — proved too much.

“We realize that Mr. Yiannopoulos has responded on Facebook, but it is insufficient,” Schlapp said in a statement. “It is up to him to answer the tough questions and we urge him to immediately further address these disturbing comments.”

At airport security, signs point to confusion about driver’s licenses

In my recent travels through Las Vegas and Long Beach airports, I have seen a Transportation Security Administration[1] notification that prompts my question. It mentions that in 2018, driver s licenses and state identification cards must comply with federal government standards in order to be used to board an airplane. I am curious if I will have problems for future flights. I recently received my renewed California driver s license. Paul Perez

Whittier

Answer: The signs Perez writes about have to do with Real ID, an effort to make driver s licenses comply with federal standards. Signs that went up toward the end of 2016, when Obama was still president, said, Starting Jan. 22, 2018, you will need an alternate ID to fly if you have a driver s license or ID issued by any of the following states: Kentucky, Maine, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Washington.

In small print below, the signs explain that the Real ID act establishes the minimum security standards for state-issued driver s licenses and identification cards and prohibits federal agencies, like the TSA, from accepting licenses and identification cards for certain official purposes, including boarding federally regulated commercial aircraft from states that do not meet these standards. Another sign directs you to TSA s website[2] for more information. You can find that information at www.lat.ms/tsandrealid. How did we get to this point and what does it mean to you? It has been a long and winding road and could change again with the new administration.

The 9/11 Commission, convened after the attacks, addressed perceived weaknesses in identification. Congress in 2005 OK d a law that toughened requirements for driver s licenses. Simple math tells you it has been easier to make the law than to put it in place. Slow forward to 2016 when a series of deadlines (2016, 2018 and 2020) were set up for driver s license compliance.

To see which states are OK, check out the Department of Homeland Security map[3] at www.lat.ms/dhscompliancemap, a sort of naughty/nice list that shows which states licenses are OK (23 states and the District of Columbia) and which are not. But click on Missouri, for instance, and it gives you a big red bar that says Not compliant. Then it explains that as of January 2016 (the first Real ID deadline), Missouri licenses could be used for identification to get on a plane but not for entrance to nuclear power plants and federal facilities. By Jan. 22, 2018 (the second deadline), Missouri license holders will need an alternative identification to fly in the U.S. and access federal facilities, the site says.

Which brings us to California, which is painted yellow on the site and has a lot of company, including Oregon, Idaho and Texas. When you click on California, it tells you that our state has an extension and that Californians can continue to use your license to fly in the U.S. and access federal facilities and nuclear power plants. But the Oct. 1, 2020, (third) deadline? Unclear at this point whether California licenses will be OK.

I asked the California Department of Motor Vehicles for an update on where we are. Here is the official statement that was sent:

The DMV strongly supports the goal of ensuring there is one license, one record and one identity for each Californian. We will continue to implement practices to comply with the intent of the law while ensuring privacy protections and minimizing impacts to the over 30 million Californians who already have a driver license or identification card. Uh huh. That s helpful. On the other hand, given some of the uncertainty about implementation under a new set of administrators, the state can t say for sure because it doesn t know what s going to happen. What is certain: Californians are fine for now. We may be fine by the 2020 deadline . We don t know yet and probably won’t be for a while.

I believe in built-in redundancies, as anyone knows who has asked me for a pen and is offered one of a dozen from my purse. I now carry my Global Entry card when I travel. It is among the acceptable forms of ID for airport checkpoints.(You can see the list at www.lat.ms/acceptableid.) And by 2020, it just may be the key to boarding a plane. Have a travel dilemma? Write to travel@latimes.com. We regret we cannot answer every inquiry.

travel@latimes.com

@latimestravel

References

  1. ^ Transportation Security Administration (www.latimes.com)
  2. ^ TSA s website (lat.ms)
  3. ^ Department of Homeland Security map (www.lat.ms)
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