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Trump Copied Another Family’s Coat Of Arms

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WASHINGTON ― President Donald Trump’s company, the Trump Organization, is marking golf properties and related products in the U.S with a coat of arms that belongs to a different family, after being barred by British authorities from doing so in the United Kingdom, according to a New York Times report on Sunday.

The Trump emblem is a nearly exact copy of the crest Britain granted to American diplomat Joseph Edward Davies in 1939. There’s just one tweak: where the original featured “integritas,” the Latin word for integrity, the president’s version substitutes, inevitably, the name “Trump.”

The billionaire developer appears to have begun using the coat of arms after he bought the Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Baech, Florida, in 1985. The property was being run by a foundation set up by Davies’ third wife, cereal-company heiress Marjorie Merriweather Post.

Davies’ grandson, former Sen. Joseph D. Tydings (D-Md.), told the Times Trump never asked for his permission to adopt the crest. The corrupted version of the emblem is now used on a range of Trump products ― even body wash.

British law is very specific about the use of these kinds of emblems. Trump first ran into that problem in 2007, when he started using the crest on promotional materials for a planned golf course in Scotland. Scottish media began to report on the snafu and suggested Trump had personally designed the coat of arms without consulting heraldic authorities.

But British trademark regulators knew there was a different kind of problem: like some of those the president has sought to place in powerful positions, Trump had plagiarized. The Times secured Trump’s failed application for a trademark using a freedom of information request. The newspaper confirmed with an expert herald at the College of Arms in London that the problem with the application was that the coat of arms was already in use.

Without similar regulation in the U.S., Trump has trademarked the coat of arms, and critics have little recourse. Tydings told the Times his cousins gave up on the idea of a lawsuit. “I just told the other members of my family that you can’t win on this,” he said. “You’ll borrow for two generations to sue him … I know Trump very well.”

He believes his grandfather “would be rolling over in his grave to think [Trump] was using his crest.”

Trump has appointed his sons to run the Trump Organization for the duration of his presidency, but he continues to profit from the company’s properties ― crest and all. The president frequently talks about the virtues of his developments and hosts government business at them, boosting their profile and the perception that patronizing them is a way to win Oval Office approval. 

“I think our brand is the hottest it has ever been,” Eric Trump told the Times earlier this year.

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John McCain: Vladimir Putin Is A Greater Threat To National Security Than ISIS

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In an interview with the Australian Broadcasting Corp. on Monday, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said Russian President Vladimir Putin is “the premier and most important” national security threat to the United States, “more so” than the Islamic State, also known as ISIS.

“I think ISIS can do terrible things, and I worry a lot about what is happening with the Muslim faith, and I worry about a whole lot of things about it,” McCain said. “But it’s the Russians who are trying, who tried to destroy the very fundamental of democracy, and that is to change the outcome of an American election.”

The comments come as McCain met with Australian leaders for security talks Monday and one week after the Manchester, England, terror attack, for which the Islamic State claimed responsibility.

McCain pointed to Russian attempts to influence elections in France and the United States, along with “pressure” Russia is applying to the Baltic States.

“They just tried to affect the outcome of the French election. So I view Vladimir Putin, who has dismembered Ukraine, a sovereign nation, who is putting pressure on the Baltics — I view the Russians as the far greatest challenge that we have,” he said.

The Arizona Republican also weighed in on a Washington Post report from last week that President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner wanted to set up back-channel communications with Russia.

“I don’t like it. I just don’t,” McCain said. “I don’t think it’s standard procedure prior to the inauguration of a president of the United States by someone who is not in an appointed position.”

Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly defended the arrangement on Sunday in an interview with ABC.

“It’s not a bad thing to have multiple communication lines to any government,” Kelly said.

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George Takei Dismantles Racist, Sexist Criticism Of ‘Star Trek: Discovery’

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CBS released a trailer earlier this month for its upcoming “Star Trek: Discovery,” the first television series in the franchise since “Star Trek: Enterprise” ended in 2005. 

The trailer excited many fans, but it also led to a familiar anger, as many people decried the casting of Michelle Yeoh, an Asian woman, as the ship’s captain and Sonequa Martin-Green, a black woman, as the ship’s first officer.

The trailer for “Star Trek: Discovery”

“Enough with your racial and gender quotas Hollywood,” one commenter wrote. Many others wrote similar comments, much of it even more vile. 

On Sunday, George Takei, who played the iconic character Hikaru Sulu in the original “Star Trek” series and multiple movies, joined MSNBC’s “AM Joy” to discuss the views of people who believe the Star Trek franchise is being tainted in an attempt to diversify the cast. 

On the show, he quickly and swiftly dismantled the criticisms, exposing the critics as ignorant of the intentions of creator Gene Roddenberry.

“Today in this society we have alien life forms that we call trolls,” he said. “And these trolls carry on without knowing what they’re talking about and knowing even less about the history of what they’re talking about.”

“Now these so-called trolls haven’t seen a single episode of the new series, because it hasn’t been aired,” he continued. “And they don’t know the history of Star Trek [either] … [Star Trek creator] Gene Roddenberry created this with the idea of finding strength in our diversity ― and also the delight of life in diversity.”

He then added: “We had a guiding acronym ― IDIC ― which stood for infinite diversity in infinite combinations. We boldly went where we hadn’t gone before because we were curious about what’s out there. And when you go out into space you are going to have even greater diversity.”

During the interview, Takei also compared the ignorance of these “trolls” to the recent actions of President Donald Trump, whom he described as “ignorant” when it comes to issues of Japanese internment, which affected Takei’s family during WWII. 

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Texas Lawmaker Calls ICE On Group Protesting Anti-Immigrant Law

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A Republican lawmaker in Texas responded to protests over an anti-immigrant law restricting sanctuary city policies by calling U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials on the participants. 

State Rep. Matt Rinaldi (R) said in a statement that he called ICE because several of the protesters, who filled the Texas House gallery and briefly drowned out proceedings with loud chanting, held signs saying, “I am illegal and here to stay.”

“We called law enforcement trying to incentivize them to leave the House,” Rinaldi told the Texas Tribune. “They were disrupting. They were breaking the law.” 

Reports of the call to ICE surfaced because Rinaldi, who did not return a request for comment from HuffPost, approached members of the House’s Mexican American Legislative Caucus on Monday to repeatedly tell them he made the call, several members said at a press conference.

“Fuck them, I called ICE,” Rinaldi allegedly said, according to Rep. Ramon Romero Jr. (D).

“For us, this looks like the fabric of Texas, and this looks like Texans exercising their First Amendment right against a law that they perceive to be hateful and unjust,” Rep. Rafael Anchía (D), chairman of the caucus, said about the diverse group of protesters. “That is a cornerstone of our democracy.”

“To others, I guess it appeared like a group of undocumented persons in the gallery somehow doing something unlawful who need to be deported. Those were some of the words used by Representative Rinaldi,” Anchía continued.

Rinaldi’s comments to the Democratic lawmakers caused a tense moment on the House floor Monday. Rinaldi said in his statement that one lawmaker assaulted him and another, Rep. Poncho Nevárez (D), threatened him with violence.

Rinaldi said he “made it clear” to Nevárez that he would shoot him in self-defense if Nevárez acted on the threat. Rep. Philip Cortez (D) attested that Rinaldi spoke in the direction of Nevárez and said, “I’ll put a bullet in your head.”

The moment came on the last day of Texas’ legislative session after some of the caucus members spoke in solidarity with the few hundred protesters who filled the House gallery to voice their displeasure with the law

Authorities broke up the protest Monday and eventually cleared the gallery. Outside, protesters continued to sing and chant.

Activists have continued to fight against Senate Bill 4, which targets so-called sanctuary cities that enact policies to protect immigrants, even after it was signed by Gov. Greg Abbott (R) this month. It is set to go into effect in September. Cities that don’t cooperate with ICE requests to detain an undocumented immigrant will face fines, and local officials who violate the law could be sent to jail.

The law, which follows President Donald Trump’s anti-immigrant rhetoric and threats to withhold funding from sanctuary cities, was opposed by a number of law enforcement agencies and has been criticized for undermining trust in police and putting Hispanics at risk for racial profiling.

“I think you finally [heard] some honesty from some members of the legislature, who really do believe that Latinos should be deported from the United States, be they citizens or noncitizens alike,” Anchía said Monday.

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Twitter Had Lots Of Theories About Those Flashing Red Lights On The White House

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Late on Sunday, videos and photos of flashing red lights seemingly going off inside the White House started making their way around Twitter.

A local Fox station, which had its camera feed pointed at the White House, said the flashes could be seen around 8:30 p.m. EDT from windows on the executive mansion’s second-floor. “The lights seemed to be strobing inside the building,” the news station wrote on its Facebook page. “We’re working to find out what those were.”

No explanation was immediately available from the White House, so naturally Twitter users started offering up some thoughts:

Fox 35 anchor Tom Johnson tweeted that the lights eventually turned off, and it could have been a reflection of sirens or from something happening on the street.

Apparently, Johnson’s speculation was correct. The New York Post reported Monday that the Secret Service said a medical incident occurred outside the White House grounds, and the lights were a reflection from the emergency vehicles responding to the matter.

“The red lights had nothing to do with the White House,” the newspaper quoted a Secret Service spokesperson as saying.

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Legendary Sports Writer Frank Deford Dead At 78

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Frank Deford, who is widely regarded as one of the greatest sports journalists ever, has died at the age of 78.

The Washington Post reports that Deford died Sunday in Key West, Florida. His wife confirmed the news to the paper.  

Deford spent half a century crafting words for magazines, radio and television. During his decades at Sports Illustrated, he published some of the most iconic sports profiles in magazine history. Starting in 1980, he delivered memorable sports monologues on NPR’s “Morning Edition.” And for two decades, he served as a senior correspondent for HBO’s “Real Sports With Bryant Gumbel.”

This is a breaking news story. Please check back for updates. 

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Tillerson Declines Request To Host Ramadan Event

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Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has declined a request to host an event to mark Islam’s holy month of Ramadan, two U.S. officials said, apparently breaking with a bipartisan tradition in place with few exceptions for nearly 20 years.

Since 1999, Republican and Democratic secretaries of state have nearly always hosted either an iftar dinner to break the day’s fast during Ramadan or a reception marking the Eid al-Fitr holiday at the end of the month, at the State Department.

Tillerson turned down a request from the State Department’s Office of Religion and Global Affairs to host an Eid al-Fitr reception as part of Ramadan celebrations, said two U.S. officials who declined to be identified because they were not authorized to speak publicly.

According to an April 6 memo seen by Reuters, the office – which typically initiates such events – recommended that Tillerson hold an Eid al-Fitr reception.

His rejection of the request suggests there are no plans this year for any high-profile Ramadan function at the State Department. The month of fasting and prayer for Muslims gets under way in many countries on Saturday.

When asked by Reuters to comment on Tillerson declining a request to host an Eid al-Fitr event in July for Ramadan, a State Department spokesperson said:

“We are still exploring possible options for observance of Eid al-Fitr, which marks the end of the month of Ramadan. U.S. ambassadors are encouraged to celebrate Ramadan through a variety of activities, which are held annually at missions around the world.”

Muslim activists have accused President Donald Trump’s administration of having an unfriendly attitude toward Islam, encapsulated by its attempts to ban citizens of several Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States.

The administration says that while it strongly opposes Islamist militants, it has no quarrel with Islam. Aides point to Trump’s visit this month to Saudi Arabia, the birthplace of Islam where he addressed the leaders of more than 50 Muslim countries, as evidence of that.

Members of Congress, Muslim civil society and community leaders, diplomats from Muslim countries and senior U.S. officials usually attend the State Department Ramadan event, a symbol of the U.S. government’s diplomatic efforts with Muslim countries and people.

 

If Tillerson avoids hosting one this year, that could send a message “that it is not as important to this administration to engage with Muslims,” said former U.S. diplomat Farah Pandith, who served in the Bush and Obama administrations and helped plan Ramadan events at the White House and State Department.

Tillerson issued a statement on Friday to mark the start of Ramadan, which he called “a month of reverence, generosity, and self-reflection.”

“Most importantly, it is a cherished time for family and friends to gather and give charity to those who are less fortunate,” he said.

PAST RAMADANS

Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright started the tradition 18 years ago of America’s top diplomat hosting a public event for Ramadan, a lunar month.

The secretary of state of the time usually gives remarks there on the meaning of Ramadan.

In April, the State Department’s Office of Religion and Global Affairs made a request to Tillerson’s office that he deliver remarks at an Eid al-Fitr reception this year, and suggested a two-week range of dates in July. The event would serve to “highlight State Department initiatives and the importance of Muslim engagement,” the memo said.

It noted that by hosting a reception just after Ramadan, rather than an iftar – an often sumptuous dinner at sunset – a State Department event could be held any time of the day, thus preventing “a very late evening for the Secretary.”

Several weeks later, that office and other offices at the State Department were alerted that Tillerson declined the request, the officials said.

Reuters was told of the request being declined but did not see Tillerson’s reply. An official with the Office of Religion and Global Affairs did not respond to a request for comment.

Several prominent Muslim-American groups in the Washington area who are normally invited to the Ramadan event told Reuters this week that they had yet to receive an invitation from the State Department, which they said was unusual.

“If they’re having one, we haven’t been invited,” said Rabiah Ahmed, spokeswoman for the Muslim Public Affairs Council in Washington. A representative for her group has been invited to the State Department event in the past, she said.

 

FRAUGHT RELATIONSHIP

Trump’s administration has had a fraught relationship with Muslims. As a presidential candidate, the Republican urged a temporary ban on Muslims entering the United States, called for more surveillance of mosques and warned that radical Muslims were “trying to take over our children.”

Trump has since toned down his rhetoric and courts have halted his temporary travel ban on people from six mostly Muslim countries.

White House officials did not respond to a request for comment on whether they would continue the tradition this year of hosting a Ramadan-related event at the White House.

The State Department celebrates other religious traditions though some of those commemorations are not as well-established as the State Department’s Ramadan event. In 2014, then-secretary of state John Kerry hosted the first ever celebration at the State Department marking Diwali, the Hindu festival.

The White House also traditionally hosts annual Christmas and Easter events as well as a Seder dinner to mark the Jewish Passover.

The top U.S. diplomat has personally hosted a Ramadan event every year since 1999, often in the State Department’s grand Benjamin Franklin room, apart from three years.

In 2006 and 2015, deputies of the secretary of state at the time hosted either an iftar dinner or an Eid al-Fitr reception. In 2014, Kerry hosted a reception for Eid al-Adha, another important Muslim holiday.

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Bryce Harper Tells Kids: ‘No Participation Trophies’

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While some psychologists champion the merit of participation trophies in sports, baseball great Bryce Harper declared he is no fan of them.

The Washington Nationals star told a group of youth baseball players on Saturday that awards for merely playing the game are a no-win situation.

“As much as they might tell you, ‘Oh, it’s OK you guys lost,’ but no, Johnny, no. No participation trophies, OK? First place only,” he said in a Q&A with youngsters from the D.C. area. 

Here’s the exchange: 

Harper got laughter and applause, so apparently the message hit home somehow.

At age 24, Harper is already a four-time All-Star and winner of the National League MVP award and is set to earn more than $21 million next season.

He, for one, probably has no use for a participation trophy.

H/T Yahoo

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News Roundup for May 29, 2017

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The world distilled down to five short headlines.

1. In Texas, your college ID is no longer a valid form of voter identification BUT your gun permit is. More here.

2. Japan is ready to take action on North Korea. Goodbye world, we hardly knew thee… More here.

3. Paris’ mayor, Anne Hidalgo, is moving to ban a black feminist festival in Paris and wants to prosecute the organizers for discrimination. More here.

4. Muslim security guards have lodged complaints against Amazon for religious discrimination. The company has denied it, but are offering Amazon Prime memberships as a settlement. More here.

5. Angela Merkel said Europe cannot rely on their allies. We all know who she’s talking about. More here.

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Gus Kenworthy And Other Queer Stars Strip Down For A Powerful Reason

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Olympic freeskier Gus Kenworthy and singer-actress Hayley Kiyoko are just two of the celebrities who are “celebrating themselves” by stripping down for an inclusive Pride month effort.

Online underwear retailer MeUndies unveiled their new rainbow polka dot designs May 23 with a colorful spread featuring Kenworthy and Kiyoko for its “Celebrate Yourself” campaign. But the photo series ― which also features musician Big Freedia and YouTube personalities B. Scott, Stevie Boebi and Ally Hills ― isn’t just an excuse to spot the stars in their skivvies. For every pair of underwear sold, MeUndies will donate $1 to the Los Angeles LGBT Center to help expand its youth center. 

Los Angeles LGBT Center’s Chief Marketing Officer Jim Key told HuffPost that underwear was “a very appropriate choice” for their new campaign, which was launched to coincide with Pride month in June. “We lift, support and comfort people of all types and ages,” he quipped, noting that much like MeUndies’ polka dot designs, “we’re bold and courageous.”

Given the current political climate, Key said, funding for homeless LGBTQ youth services is more at risk than ever, which is one of the many reasons he’s grateful for the MeUndies campaign. It’s a particularly pertinent issue in Los Angeles, where about 40 percent of the homeless youth population in the city identify as LGBTQ, he said. 

Kiyoko, who made waves in 2015 with her “queer girl love” anthem, “Girls Like Girls,” said the campaign really spoke to her as an artist who has never shied away from exploring sexuality in her work. “In the artist community, we do have a responsibility to use our platform to spread messages of hope and acceptance,” she said. “Whether or not someone decides to do that is their choice, but I’ve always used my art as a way to bring people together ― if you could call that political.”

Kenworthy echoed those sentiments. For him, the campaign wasn’t so much of a political gesture as it was one more way for him to express “that I am proud of who I am.” 

“It’s about trying to just embrace the things that make me different and the things that make me unique, and not allow myself to be dictated by other people’s expectations,” the Olympian, who came out as gay in a 2015 ESPN Magazine cover story, told HuffPost. The best ways to “celebrate yourself,” he explained, weren’t necessarily grand gestures. “I think on the most stripped back, grassroots level, the way that I celebrate myself is just being proud of who I am walking down the street holding my boyfriend’s hand, living my life unapologetically.”

Check out more photos from the MeUndies “Celebrate Yourself” campaign for the Los Angeles LGBT Center below.  

 

Find ways to celebrate Pride by subscribing to the Queer Voices newsletter.  

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