Mike Fleming Jr reports: Amazon Studios has acquired Linda And Monica, the Black List script by Flint Wainess that details the budding friendship between D.C. pals Linda Trippand Monica Lewinsky that imploded when it led to the revelation of the scandalous relationship between the White House intern and President Bill Clinton.
Lewinsky was a 22-year old White House intern and Tripp a White House aide who secretly recorded her young pal’s revelations of sexual liasons with then President Bill Clinton in the White House. Tripp, who later said she was acting in her former friend’s best interests, leaked the tape to Kenneth Starr, the special prosecutor who was investigating Whitewater. It became a tawdry scandal complete with a subpoena of her blue semen-stained dress, and it later a congressional call for impeachment. It severely crushed the career and life of Lewinsky, and her family — I remember her father once speaking out publicly when the NBC series Law & Order took to calling a certain sex act a “Lewinsky.” Lewinsky said the notoriety made it impossible for her to find work, and she stayed out of the limelight until briefly resurfacing as an anti-bullying advocate several years ago. Read the rest of this entry »
SEATTLE – Dan Springer’s latest test launch over the weekend has raised concerns among U.S. officials. The Pentagon says the ballistic missile flew 1,000 miles higher than NASA’s International Space Station. It was then able to re-enter earth’s atmosphere and splash down just 60 miles from Russia. One official told Fox News it was a “big step forward” in North Korea’s nuclear missile program.
Emergency planners in Hawaii, the closest state to North Korea, have taken notice and are evaluating existing nuclear attack response plans. Meanwhile, another possible target on the West Coast is barred from taking any steps to plan for a nuclear attack.
Washington State allows evacuation plans for every disaster scenario except a nuclear bomb. Former state Rep. Dick Nelson remembers the prevailing thinking in the legislature at the time concerning response plans in the event of nuclear war.
“You are really sending a message that you’re getting ready to do something maybe yourself,” Nelson said.
The law passed in 1984, seven years before the end of the Cold War. It was the opposite approach taken by President Ronald Reagan, whose peace through strength doctrine helped lead to the collapse of the Soviet Union.
A current Washington state senator says the current law is irresponsible and naïve.
“I think it’s ridiculous and silly,” says state Sen. Mark Miloscia, “And sort of the head-in-the-sand mentality. If it has a probability of happening, prepare for it.”
Seattle could be in the crosshairs if North Korea’s leader, Kim Jung Un, ever did the unthinkable. Naval Base Kitsap reportedly has roughly 1,300 nuclear warheads — almost one-quarter of the U.S. arsenal — making it the largest stockpile of nukes in the world. The Puget Sound is also home to Joint Base Lewis McChord, home to the important Stryker Brigade. With the headquarters of Boeing, Microsoft and Amazon, the region is a high-tech hub. Read the rest of this entry »
The GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast (commonly known as the Mother of All Bombs) is a large-yield conventional (non-nuclear) bomb, developed for the United State military by Albert L. Weimorts, Jr. of the Air Force Research Laboratory. At the time of development, it was touted as the most powerful non-nuclear weapon ever designed.
The GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast (MOAB pronounced /ˈmoʊ.æb/, commonly known as the Mother of All Bombs) is a large-yield conventional (non-nuclear) bomb, developed for the United States military by Albert L. Weimorts, Jr. of the Air Force Research Laboratory. At the time of development, it was touted as the most powerful non-nuclear weapon ever designed. The bomb was designed to be delivered by a C-130 Hercules, primarily the MC-130E Combat Talon I or MC-130H Combat Talon II variants.
Since then, Russia has tested its “Father of All Bombs“, which is claimed to be four times as powerful as the MOAB.
The U.S. military dropped the largest non-nuclear bomb in eastern Afghanistan on Thursday just days after a Green Beret was killed fighting ISIS there, a U.S. defense official confirmed to Fox News.
The GBU-43B, a 21,000-pound conventional bomb, was dropped in Nangarhar Province.
The MAOB (Massive Ordinance Air Blast) is also known as the “Mother Of All bombs.” It was first tested in 2003, but hadn’t been used before Thursday.
Aside from two test articles, the only known production is of 15 units at the McAlester Army Ammunition Plant in 2003 in support of the Iraq War. As of early 2007, none of those were known to have been used, although a single MOAB was moved to the Persian Gulf area in April 2003.
On April 13, 2017, a MOAB was dropped on a target in the Nangarhar Province inside Afghanistan. It was the first non-testing use of the bomb.
The basic operational concept bears some similarity to the BLU-82 Daisy Cutter, which was used to clear heavily wooded areas in the Vietnam War and in Iraq to clear mines and later as a psychological weapon against the Iraqi military. After the psychological impact of the BLU-82 on enemy soldiers was witnessed, and no BLU-82 weapons remained, the MOAB was developed partly to continue the ability to intimidate Iraqi soldiers. Pentagon officials had suggested their intention to use MOAB as an anti-personnel weapon, as part of the “shock and awe” strategy integral to the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Read the rest of this entry »
[VIDEO] Charles Krauthammer on Trump Budget Proposal: Cuts Dead on Arrival, Entitlements Are What MatterPosted: March 17, 2017
Charles Krauthammer dismissed Trump’s budget as “dead on arrival” and pointed out that entitlements are what matter, even if proposed cuts focus on domestic discretionary spending such as public broadcasting:
“This is a budget, like every other one I’ve seen in decades that I’ve been here, it is dead on arrival at Capitol Hill. Capitol Hill is a huge morgue of presidential budgets. There is not one that actually croaked into life. They all come in dead. They are wish lists. They are expressions of one’s interests, and a way to respond to promises. The beginning of this, the premise of this is defense. In the eight years under Obama, we had a real destruction of the defense budget. Obama came in, it was about 4.6 percent of GDP. When he left, it was 3.2 percent. To put it in context, under the sainted John Kennedy it was around 10 percent. We are at the lowest ebb since about Pearl Harbor, and you can see it in the readiness, so that had to be done.”
“All the real stuff, where the money is — the Willie Sutton bank money — is in entitlements, which isn’t even in here. The problem is it’s not in here because we’ve got a president who promised in the campaign, unlike just about every other Republican opponent, he wasn’t going to touch a hair on the head of entitlements. So if you don’t, it all has to come out of the domestic discretionary spending, and when you do that, you end up with these cuts which are never going to happen, and you get the old perennials. Big Bird is going to get roasted again, or at least proposed to be. I guarantee you, he will or she will — I’m not sure which it is these days — it is going to escape unscathed.”
Source: National Review
The former U.S. attorney’s petty defiance shows why he needed to be shown the door.
Glenn Reynolds writes: In the excellent Paul Newman legal thriller, Absence of Malice, Wilford Brimley faced a misbehaving Justice Department prosecutor who refused to resign. He fired him. It was Brimley’s breakthrough role, as a no-nonsense older guy there to fix a mess. In a way it prefigured what’s going on with President Trump and former U.S attorney for the Southern District of New York, Preet Bharara. Bharara refused to resign, and Trump fired him.
There’s been a lot of faux outrage about this decision of Trump’s, but it’s all bogus. And Bharara’s refusal to resign was childish, an effort to score anti-Trump points with Democrats that, all by itself, demonstrated why Bharara was unfit for office and why Trump was right to let him go.
Here’s the thing to understand: United States attorneys serve at the pleasure of the president. The prosecution of crimes, including the decision of which crimes to prosecute and which crimes not to prosecute, is at the discretion of the executive branch, which ultimately means the discretion of the president. U.S. attorneys work for the president in that capacity. And if the president thinks someone else would be better, he’s free to fire them and replace them.
And there’s nothing whatsoever unusual or improper about doing so, something the press has no trouble remembering when the incoming administration is run by Democrats. When Barack Obama took office, he dismissed a bunch of U.S. attorneys. Attorney General Eric Holder explained that “Elections matter — it is our intention to have the U.S. attorneys that are selected by President Obama in place as quickly as they can.”
Likewise, when Hillary Clinton was running for the White House in 2007, she said that replacing U.S. attorneys is “a traditional prerogative of an incoming president.” And, of course, she was right, and there was no outrage from the press. (As journalist and former Democratic staffer David Sirota tweeted, presidents have been replacing U.S. attorneys for decades. Why is this now a scandal? Well, because it’s Trump, and for the press, everything Trump does is a scandal.)
It’s traditional for new administrations to request the resignation of holdovers from the previous administration. It’s considered more polite than outright firing people. But that’s all it is: politeness. Read the rest of this entry »
(Washington DC) – Judicial Watch announced today that it filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the United States Department of Justice and the Department of the Treasury regarding records related to the investigation of retired United States Army Lieutenant General Michel Flynn’s communications with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak (Judicial Watch v. Central Intelligence Agency et al. (No.1:17-cv-00397)). (The National Security Agency refused to confirm or deny the existence of intelligence records about communications between Gen. Flynn and Amb Kislyak.)
Judicial Watch filed the lawsuit after the agencies failed to respond to a January 25, 2017, FOIA request seeking:
Any and all records regarding, concerning, or related to the investigation of retired Gen. Michael Flynn’s communications with Russian Ambassador to the United States Sergey Kislyak between October 1, 2016 and the present.
This request includes, but is not limited to, any and all related warrants, affidavits, declarations, or similar records regarding the aforementioned investigation.
For purposes of clarification, please find enclosed a CNN report regarding the investigation, which cites information that was provided to CNN by members of the Intelligence Community.
The officials all stressed that so far there has been no determination of any wrongdoing.
FBI and intelligence officials briefed members of the Obama White House team before President Barack Obama left office about the Flynn calls to the Russian ambassador, sources said.
“President Trump is on to something. The Obama-connected wiretapping and illegal leaks of classified material concerning President Trump and General Flynn are a scandal,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “Judicial Watch aims to get to the truth about these crimes and we hope the Trump administration stands with us in the fight for transparency.”
The officials all stressed that so far there has been no determination of any wrongdoing.
FBI and intelligence officials briefed members of the Obama White House team before President Barack Obama left office about the Flynn calls to the Russian ambassador, sources said. Read the rest of this entry »
The leaks that led to Michael Flynn’s resignation are just the beginning. Obama and his loyalists in and outside government are working to undermine Trump.
“As the leaks keep flowing from our intelligence agencies and the tweets keep flying from former Obama officials, keep in mind that although we haven’t heard much from Obama himself yet, the Trump administration is going to keep feeling the disruptions of what amounts to a shadow government.”
There are exceptions, of course. Jimmy Carter threw himself into international diplomacy, mediating an agreement in 1994 to return exiled President Jean-Bertrand Aristide to power in Haiti, and generally agitating for a Palestinian state.
Then there is Obama. Less than a month out of office, the broad contours of Obama’s post-presidency career are already taking shape. Obama and his loyalists, it seems, will remain in the center of the political fray, officially and unofficially, in an organized effort to undermine the Trump administration.
The bizarre scandal now unfolding over the resignation of national security advisor Michael Flynn is a case in point. Flynn’s resignation was prompted by a series of coordinated and anonymous leaks from current and former Obama administration officials in our domestic intelligence agencies.
“Obama had eight years in the White House to secure his legacy. Any efforts on his part to undermine his successor aren’t just an affront to the principles of our democracy, they’re an admission that he and his acolytes never put much stock in democracy to begin with.”
Regardless of any valid criticism of Flynn, the leaks are part of a larger, loosely organized effort now underway to preserve Obama’s legacy. This effort involves Obama-era officials still inside the federal government, former Obama staffers working in the private sector, and Obama himself.
This isn’t some conspiracy theory. After the election, Obama indicated he intends to stay involved in the political fray. In an email to his supporters on his last day in office, Obama encouraged them to stay engaged, promising “I’ll be right there with you every step of the way.” Less than two weeks later, he issued a statement saying he was “heartened” by anti-Trump protests over the executive order on immigration.
But there’s more to all this than Obama issuing solidarity statements to Trump protestors. For one thing, the former president isn’t moving back to Chicago. The Obama family will remain in Washington DC, within a couple miles of the White House, for the next two years as Obama’s youngest daughter finishes high school. Read the rest of this entry »
REWIND 2010: President Obama Insults Supreme Court Justices to Their Face at State of the Union AddressPosted: February 4, 2017
WASHINGTON, JAN. 28, 2010— Supreme Court decisions. But they tend to do so at news conferences and in written statements, not to the justices’ faces.It is not unusual for presidents to disagree publicly with
President George W. Bush, for instance, did not hesitate to criticize a 2008 rulingrecognizing the rights of prisoners held at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba — but he did it at a news conference in Rome. President Richard M. Nixon said he was disappointed with a 1974 decision ordering him to turn over the tapes that would help end his presidency — in a statement read by his lawyer.
Before he began his attack on a Supreme Court decision not yet a week old, Mr. Obama added a few words that had not been in the prepared text. The new preface — “with all due deference to separation of powers” — seemed to acknowledge that he was aiming unusual rhetorical fire at several Supreme Court justices sitting right in front of him.
Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr., one of the justices in the majority in the decision under attack, shook his head as he heard the president’s summary of Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, and he appeared to mouth the words “not true.”
It was not quite the shouted “You lie!” from Representative Joe Wilson, Republican of South Carolina, at September’s presidential address to a joint session of Congress. But in its way, the breach of decorum on both sides was much starker.
“The court’s legitimacy is derived from the persuasiveness of its opinions and the expectation that those opinions are rendered free of partisan, political influences,” Mr. Verniero said. “The more that individual justices are drawn into public debates, the more the court as an institution will be seen in political terms, which was not the intent of the founders.”
Modern presidents and Supreme Court justices do not interact very much, and this particular president might be expected to have strained relationships with at least Justice Alito and Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., both of whose nominations he voted against as a senator. The president and chief justice would both also probably like to forget the flubbed administration of the presidential oath at Mr. Obama’s inauguration last year. Read the rest of this entry »
[VIDEO] Dershowitz: Acting AG ‘Made a Political Decision, Rather Than a Legal One’ on Trump EO, ‘Serious Mistake’Posted: January 30, 2017
On Monday’s broadcast of CNN’s “OutFront,” Harvard Law Professor Emeritus Alan Dershowitz reacted to Acting Attorney General Sally Yates’ announcement that the DOJ will not present arguments in defense of President Trump’s immigration order by saying Yates made a “serious mistake” and has “made a political decision, rather than a legal one.”
Dershowitz said, “Yates is a terrific public servant, but I think she’s made a serious mistake here. This is a holdover heroism. It’s so easy to be a heroine when you’re not appointed by this president and when you’re on the other side. She made a serious mistake. I think what she should have done is done a nuanced analysis of what parts of the order are constitutional, what parts are in violation of the statute, what parts are perfectly lawful. There’s an enormous distinction between green card holders on the one hand, people who are in the country and have to be thrown out on the second hand, and people who are simply applying to get visas. There is also a distinction between what’s constitutional, what’s statutorily prohibited, what’s bad policy. This is very bad policy, but what’s lawful. And I think by lumping all of them together, she has made a political decision, rather than a legal one.”
He added, “I think it’s — some of it’s constitutional, some of it’s not constitutional. For example, there is a statute that limits the president’s power, and says that visas may not be denied on the basis of religion. Read the rest of this entry »
Mattis retired from the Marine Corps as a full general in 2013, where he served as the eleventh commander of the United States Central Command. He also served as the commander for NATO supreme allied transformation, and as commander of the United States Joint Forces Command. Mattis is now an Annenberg Distinguished Visiting Fellow fellow at the Hoover Institution.
Trump’s pace is frantic, and many of his daily events are being captured by television cameras in his first week in office.
Amie Parnes reports: In his first days in office, President Trump is taking on a dizzying schedule that is decidedly different from those of his immediate predecessors.
Trump is in the Oval Office to take meetings earlier than President Obama, and he’s worked through dinner to stay in the West Wing later than President George W. Bush, who would generaly return to his residence at 6 p.m. sharp.
Trump doesn’t like to read books, those who know him say. And he doesn’t work out because he believes it’s an energy drain, according to the 2016 book “Trump Revealed.”
“When you’re making speeches for 25,000 people and shouting and screaming and having fun with everybody and making America great again, you get a lot of exercise,” he told People magazine last summer.
Trump does like to watch TV, and he is partial to cable news. On Tuesday night, he tweeted about sending help to Chicago shortly after Fox News host Bill O’Reilly’s show aired a segment about crime in the city.
One Trump ally familiar with the president’s routines said his White House schedule is similar to the one he’s held for years, and described him as “a late-night guy and early morning riser.”
“His body clock is one that is very conducive to running on little sleep,” the ally said, adding that Trump is known to get up before 6 a.m.
The White House has to adapt to each new occupant, including their management styles and lifestyles.
Obama sent a clear message to aides early on that he intended to be home for dinner with his family. But after dinner, the self-dubbed “night guy” would make his way into his personal office in the Treaty Room and resume work, tweaking his speeches and sending emails to staff.
Bush, also an early riser, started his day by getting his wife, former first lady Laura Bush, her coffee and reading the morning papers.
He told his advisers he wanted to be in the Oval Office at 7 a.m. on the dot. But he indicated he wanted downtime in the evenings to exercise and liked to be in bed no later than 10 p.m. and often earlier, Bush’s aides recalled. Read the rest of this entry »
Gallup Poll: President Obama’s Average Approval Rating was Among the Worst of the Post-War PresidentsPosted: January 26, 2017
Only three presidents scored worse than Obama since Gallup started doing these surveys in 1945.
As President Obama left the White House, the mainstream press was falling over itself proclaiming how popular he was.
“Obama leaving office on a very high note,” was a typical headline.
Yet despite the media’s fixation with polls, the press completely buried one of the more newsworthy poll findings — a Gallup report that came out last Friday, which took a final look at the President Obama’s popularity over his eight years in office.
“Obama even did worse overall than Richard Nixon, whose average approval was 49%, and was less popular overall than George W. Bush, who got an average 49.4%.”
That poll found that Obama’s overall average approval rating was a dismal 47.9%.
Obama even did worse overall than Richard Nixon, whose average approval was 49%, and was less popular overall than George W. Bush, who got an average 49.4%.
That sounds newsworthy, doesn’t it? But you’d never know this if you relied on the mainstream press for information. That’s because not one of them reported on Gallup’s finding. Read the rest of this entry »
“Obama’s approval ratings also fell to 38% in September 2014, shortly after the Islamic State terrorist group released videos showing the beheadings of U.S. journalists captured overseas.”
Gallup, in an analysis released Friday, published the average approval rating for all twelve presidents who have served since World War II.
“After his first year he received sustained majority approval only once more during his first term in office. Fortunately for him, that came during his 16th quarter in office — around the time he was re-elected in the fall of 2012.”
John F. Kennedy ranks highest with an average approval rating of 70.1 percent. He is followed by Dwight Eisenhower (65.0 percent), George H.W. Bush (60.9 percent), Bill Clinton (55.1 percent), Lyndon Johnson (55.1 percent), Ronald Reagan (52.8 percent), George W. Bush (49.4 percent), Barack Obama (47.9 percent), Gerald Ford (47.2 percent), Jimmy Carter (45.5 percent) and Harry Truman (45.4 percent). Read the rest of this entry »
The drapes were a change from the crimson drapes former President Obama had in his Oval Office, the Hill reported.
The change was first spotted as Trump signed executive orders on Obamacare and other things as his initial major acts as President. Read the rest of this entry »
Fox News contributor Charles Krauthammer told Fox News’ Bret Baier Saturday night that President Donald Trump’s remarks to the CIA, including a statement where he suggested keeping the oil after the 2003 invasion of Iraq, could be considered a “war crime.”
Appearing on “Special Report,” Krauthammer — along with Mollie Hemingway of The Federalist and Fox News’ Digital Editor Chris Stirewalt — took part in a panel discussion on Trump’s remarks to CIA officials and employees Saturday afternoon as one of his first stops as president following his inauguration Friday.
Hemingway asserted that Trump was successful in sending the message that he supports the “rank and file in the intelligence agencies.” Krauthammer expressed concern that Trump’s off-handed remark about keeping oil after the 2003 invasion were troubling because the president has enormous power to affect world events with just his words.
From Foreign Policy:
At one point, Trump regurgitated parts of his stump speech about how the United States “should have kept the oil” after invading Iraq. “Maybe we’ll have another chance,” he added. Aside from being physically impossible to sequester billions of barrels of underground oil, that would constitute a breach of international law. U.S. troops are currently embedded with forces of the country that Trump suggested again invading. Read the rest of this entry »
THE BIG IDEA: President Trump completed his hostile takeover of the Republican Party last July, and on Friday he completed his hostile, if temporary, takeover of Washington.
In some significant ways, Trump is more like a corporate raider of the 1980s, when he came of age, than a typical politician of 2017. Thirty years ago, Gordon Gekko might have been more likely to deliver the speech that the billionaire businessman did today than Ronald Reagan.
No president has ever before referred to “the establishment” in his inaugural address nor declared that every country in the world ought to pursue its own self-interest. But the guy who ended the Bush dynasty and then vanquished the Clinton machine, in a period of 17 months, put “the establishment” of both parties on notice once more.
“For too long, a small group in our nation’s capital has reaped the rewards of government while the people have borne the cost,” he said, as leaders from each side of the aisle looked on stoically. “The establishment protected itself, but not the citizens of our country. … What truly matters is not which party controls our government, but whether our government is controlled by the people.” Read the rest of this entry »
Dominic Puopolo, 51, is being held without bail in Miami on charges of threatening harm against a public servant.
The man arrested by Miami Beach police Tuesday for allegedly threatening President-elect Donald Trump online is a member of a prominent northeast family close to Bill and Hillary Clinton.
He once gave $20,000 to the Democratic National Committee, DailyMail.com has learned.
Dominic Puopolo, 51, is being held without bail in Miami on charges of threatening harm against a public servant.
Suspect Dominic Puopolo Jr., 51, sat near Hillary Clinton when she delivered the eulogy at the funeral of Puopolo’s mother, Sonia, who died in one of the jets that flew into the World Trade Center on 9-11.
During that eulogy on Oct. 6, 2001 in Boston, the former presidential candidate referred to ‘Dom Jr.’s latest computer wizardry.’
Trump is scheduled to be sworn in Friday in Washington, D.C. as Puopolo remains incarcerated on a charge of threatening to harm a public servant.
Puopolo reportedly admitted to posting a video to Twitter, saying: ‘This is the 16th of January 2017, I will be at the review/ inauguration and I will kill President Trump, President elect Trump today.’
Hillary Clinton sits with the Puopolo family at the funeral of Dominic Puopolo’s mother Sonia, who was among 92 people on American Airlines Flight 11 on Sept. 11, 2001, when it crashed into the World Trade Center’s north tower
He was nabbed after leaving a Washington Avenue Subway sandwich shop about 4 p.m. Tuesday.
Puopolo, however, may not be the average Trump hater.
On various social media platforms, where he posts as JesusChrist1701, the computer consultant claims to have testified in terror cases as an expert witness in a German federal court in Hamburg from 2003 to 2008.
He also says he served in the Navy.
He once posted a photo of himself holding an image of his mother in front of a wall that sports a picture of him with Colin Powell and a famous shot of Ronald Reagan.
Puopolo has published a number of pictures of outgoing Secretary of State John Kerry, whom he calls a friend.
According to news archives his mother, Sonia Mercedes Morales Puopolo was married to the wealthy Nantucket businessman Dominic J. Puopolo Sr.
She was once a professional ballet dancer and became a major philanthropist and political donor. Read the rest of this entry »
Chris Cox is the head of ‘Bikers for Trump.’
Chris Cox surveyed a small park near the U.S. Capitol, his German shepherd by his side. Wearing a Harley-Davidson jacket and a crocodile-skin cowboy hat adorned with the animal’s teeth atop his moppy, curly hair, Cox made for a particularly discordant sight in the heart of federal Washington on a misty weekend morning.
But Cox had logistics to sort out, an Inauguration Day demonstration with motorcycle die-hards from across the nation to plan.
The 48-year-old chain-saw artist from South Carolina was an early and enthusiastic supporter of President-elect Donald Trump. Now that his guy has won, Cox wants to ensure that the group he founded, Bikers for Trump, strengthens its political muscle during Trump’s presidency and beyond.
The group obtained a permit for what is expected to be the largest pro-Trump rally held by a private group in the nation’s capital timed to the inauguration. Cox calls the planned event at John Marshall Park a “halftime rally” and said there will be speakers, musical performances and upward of 5,000 bikers in attendance.
As he walked through the park with his dog, Trigger — the massive “Bikers for Trump” patch on the back of his jacket visible from every vantage — Cox began planning where to put the stage, the speakers and the portable toilets.
“Bikers are strongly organized locally,” Cox said. “They just haven’t been organized nationally before.”
Cox launched the organization in October 2015, back when Trump was still running what was considered a quixotic campaign. Since then, he has hosted rallies throughout the country, with his biker group growing to tens of thousands of mostly white men, many of whom are veterans.
During Trump’s own rallies, and at the Republican National Convention, the group has served as a vigilante security force, providing human barricades between supporters and protesters.
When Cox got Trigger a few months ago from the Czech Republic through trades he made with a guy he met at a Trump rally in South Dakota, he joked about naming the new pet Keith Schiller, after the head of security for the Trump Organization.
Ultimately, Cox said, he wants to transform bikers into a distinct voting bloc, akin to the Christian Coalition or Teamsters. His group is composed of members of established groups such as Bikers for Christ and Veteran Bikers MC, and Cox says there are many more unaffiliated “lone wolf” bikers to still bring into the political fray. But the plausibility of creating a unified voting bloc remains to be seen, particularly considering there are at least two other Trump motorcycle events happening in the District around inauguration. Read the rest of this entry »
Donald Trump has made no secret of the fact that he intends to rip up Barack Obama’s legacy when he takes office – ending the Trans-Pacific Partnership, redrawing Obamacare and loading up Guantanamo with “some bad dudes”.
However, one expected action is likely to be less controversial, certainly in Britain: that of restoring the bust of Winston Churchill to the Oval Office.
Mr Trump, who has frequently professed his admiration for Britain’s wartime leader, was asked earlier this week whether he was considering returning the bust, sculpted by Jacob Epstein, to the White House.
“I am, indeed, I am,” he said, during an interview at the New York Times, at which he was sitting in front of a picture of Churchill.
Mr Obama replaced the Churchill bust with one of Martin Luther King in the Oval Office in 2009, soon after he took over the presidency, causing outrage on both sides of the Atlantic.
Boris Johnson controversially wrote earlier this year, while he was Mayor of London, that Mr Obama’s decision to send the bust back to the British embassy in Washington had been a “snub to Britain”.
Mr Johnson, who is now Foreign Secretary, suggested it might have been linked to Mr Obama’s “ancestral dislike of the British Empire”.
However, Mr Obama later explained that he had a second sculpture of Churchill, who had an American mother and was the only person ever granted an honourary US passport, in his private quarters.
Source: Media Research Center
Incoming president Donald J. Trump inherits a presidential office more powerful than it has ever been.
The Growth of Presidential Power
Eisenhower warned that this was a problem.The dramatic increase in government services and departments during the Great Depression, coupled with the expansionary effects of a world war, left the federal government, and the president in particular, with new and broad powers. Gazing upon the redesigned government, Eisenhower warned of a military-industrial complex, saying, “Our military organization today bears little relation to that known by any of my predecessors in peacetime, or indeed by the fighting men of World War II or Korea.”
Nonetheless, many citizens did not worry as Johnson to create “The Great Society.”
With Nixon, however, Americans awakened to the real problem of providing presidents with so much control over foreign and domestic affairs. Nixon claimed the power to unilaterally authorize the bombing of Cambodia (after Congress explicitly condemned any action in that country) and he authorized the NSA to spy on American citizens without a warrant.
Congress attempted to check these actions, creating the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court intended to provide government oversight of domestic surveillance. Instead, it provided the government with judges they needed to rubber stamp warrants for domestic surveillance.
They also passed the War Powers Resolution intended to contain presidential discretion over military affairs. Instead, it served to provide the executive with a way to legally justify unilateral action that falls below the 60-90 day threshold. Presidents came to have legal authority to engage in actions without having to go through Congress.
For this reason, Reagan saw a genuine opportunity to maintain popularity and achieve his objectives as president by using the power of his office to dramatically increase the arms race in order to defeat the Soviet Union. His gamble paid off as the Soviet Union fell.
Both George H.W. Bush and Clinton followed this model, seeing major domestic policies frustrated while enjoying heightened popularity when they intervened internationally.
By the time George W. Bush came to power, the executive branch had an established focus on international crises, only paying lip service to any sweeping legislative changes. The War on Terror served as a shot of steroids to presidential unilateralism and continues juicing it to this day.
While the president today has a variety of powers (enumerated, implied, discretionary and — more controversially — inherent ones), none are more controversial and disconcerting than the commander-in-chief power and the ability to authorize executive orders.
The Commander-in-Chief Power
As we all know from reading the Constitution (that’s something everyone does, right?) the president is the commander-in-chief of the armed forces. This provides him with the ability to initiate hostilities against any organization or country around the world at any time by ordering the armed forces into action.
They are duty-bound to follow his orders. Even if the president orders an illegal action, such as waterboarding suspects or targeting the families of terrorists, it is likely that the military would have the same reaction as they did when George W. Bush ordered illegal actions — they obeyed and simply wrote memos outlining their legal and moral concerns. Read the rest of this entry »
The Founding Fathers got it right, and California is proof.
Consider this: Hillary Clinton’s 2.3-million-popular-vote plurality over Trump depends on the votes in a single state.
James E. Campbell writes: Shocked and appalled by the prospect of a Donald Trump presidency, some supporters of Hillary Clinton have turned to minimizing and even delegitimizing Trump’s election. In an era of severe political polarization, in an election with two candidates seen from the outset in highly unfavorable terms, after the most brutal campaign in modern history, and with an outcome that astonished just about everyone, these reactions are understandable, but wrong.
Many diehard Clinton supporters cannot bring themselves to believe their candidate could lose to Donald Trump. They think: How could such a crude and inept con man be elected president? Even after it has happened, it is unthinkable, a nightmare. So, the election must not have been fair.
Those on the fringe raise the specter of diabolical Russians hacking away at our democracy. More grounded Clintonians have less malevolent bogeymen — our Founding Fathers. As they see it, the election’s outcome should be blamed on a dysfunctional and archaic electoral-vote system. Hillary won the national popular vote. She should be president. It is as simple as that. The Electoral College should go the way of Trump University.
They are right about one thing: Clinton did win the popular vote, by some 2.8 million votes, as the most recent data show.
Yet Clinton has only 232 electoral votes (in 20 states plus Washington, D.C.) to Trump’s 306 (in 30 states plus one from Maine), making him the president-elect. So Trump’s election without a popular-vote plurality is regarded as an injustice. Some Democrats claim a moral victory as victims of an electoral-vote system that once again horribly “misfired.” Their claim, however, neglects two facts.
First, had the election been conducted with rules awarding the presidency to the popular-vote winner, the candidates and many voters quite probably would have acted very differently, and the popular vote might not have been the same. Trump and Clinton would have campaigned in the “safe” states. Potential voters in those states would have felt more pressure to turn out and to vote for “the lesser of two evils” and not to waste their votes on third-party candidates. Some additional Clinton voters would probably have shown up, but gains on the Trump side would probably have been larger as more reluctant Republicans would have been pushed to return to the fold, particularly in big blue states like California, New York and Illinois. Read the rest of this entry »
The mainstream media is the biggest purveyor of fake news.
Debra Heine writes: You gotta love our liberal media. Their entire modus operandi for at least the past two decades has been to shamelessly disseminate false left-wing narratives to the masses in their ongoing effort to discredit conservatism and further a progressive agenda. It’s what they do.
But since the election of Donald Trump, they have been obsessed with a new pet narrative: that a so-called “fake news” epidemic is occurring on the right.
This is partly because, I’m convinced, they resent the fact that some people on the alt-right are making inroads on their turf. But the “fake news” excuse also functions as a soothing balm for their wounded egos after their devastating 2016 election losses. It helps them deal with the uncomfortable fact that the electorate just rejected the hell out of the candidates for whom they blatantly shilled.
This happens every time the mainstream media’s favored party suffes a massive defeat at the polls, by the way. In 1994, they blamed their losses on the “angry white male.” After the 2010 “shellacking,” they attributed it to a menacing “climate of hate,”as personified by Sarah Palin and the Tea Party.
And now we are asked to believe that fringe conspiracy theories like “PizzaGate” swung the 2016 election for Donald Trump. That may make the left feel better about losing, but their pathetic “fake news” narrative is a conspiracy theory in and of itself.
PizzaGate refers to a spectacular conspiracy theory surrounding Comet Ping Pong, a Baltimore pizza parlor that some internet sleuths claim is at the center of an international child sex ring run by Hillary Clinton and the Podesta brothers. This month, a man with an assault rifle walked into Comet Ping Pong to “self-investigate,” and reportedly fired the rifle at least once inside the restaurant. Luckily, no one was injured.
If only one could say the same about the countless left-wing fake news narratives that have been pushed by the MSM over the years.
For example, the PizzaGate conspiracy theory festered online only in places like 4Chan, Infowars, and Reddit.
But the “hands up, don’t shoot” conspiracy theory — which suggested a racist white cop shot an unarmed black teenager for no reason at all in Ferguson, Missouri — was propagated all over the mainstream news: CNN, NBC, CBS, ABC, MSNBC, and others. It even was heavily spread by elected members of the Democratic Party.
That fake news led to riots, and it’s no stretch of the imagination to assume that the ensuing murdered policemen were the result of some bad actors feeling justified in retaliating.
Here is a list of ten memorable fake news stories from the mainstream media.
CBS did its own investigation in the matter, and determined there were several serious breaches of handling this story, among them failure to identify the sources of the documents properly; failure to document the chain of custody of the documents; failure to establish the credibility of the documents.Those that tendered their resignations on request were: Senior Vice President Betsy West, the supervisor of primetime programs for CBS News; Josh Howard, the executive producer of Wednesday’s version of 60 Minutes; Mary Murphy, senior broadcast producer and Howard’s deputy. Mary Mapes, the actual producer of the Killian documents story, was terminated, in part for calling a senior official in John Kerry’s presidential campaign (Joe Lockhart) and offering to put him in touch with Burkett. The CBS panel called Mapes’ action a “clear conflict of interest that created the appearance of political bias.”
Unbowed and still convinced of the document’s authenticity, Rather filed a $70 million lawsuit against CBS and its former corporate parent, Viacom on September 19, 2007, claiming he was made a “scapegoat”. A day later, Mapes wrote a column in the Huffington Post, claiming that far-right blogs have “pronounced themselves experts on document analysis, and began attacking the form and font in the memos. They screamed objections that ultimately proved to have no basis in fact … They dominated the discussion by churning out gigabytes of mind-numbing internet dissertations about the typeface in the memos, focusing on the curl at the end of the “a,” the dip on the top of the “t,” the spacing, the superscript, which typewriters were used in the military in 1972. It was a deceptive approach, and it worked”.
In a clear contradiction of her rant, Mapes did in fact have prior knowledge of Bush’s guard service in her hands but chose to ignore it. In a press release on January 10, 2005, Accuracy in Media reported that the internal investigation conducted by CBS into the “Rathergate” matter revealed that Mapes had documented information on hand which detailed Bush’s attempt to volunteer for duty as a fighter pilot in Vietnam but was denied by his superiors at the time due to his inexperience. Accuracy in Media Editor Cliff Kincaid explained:
“Mapes, who was very close to Rather and enjoyed his confidence, had the evidence exonerating Bush of this malicious charge. The report shows that there were multiple credible sources to prove that Bush did not try to avoid Vietnam by going into the National Guard and that he was in fact willing to go to Vietnam as a pilot. However, CBS News deliberately kept this information from its viewers and conveyed an opposite impression because Rather, Mapes & Company were trying to depict Bush as a coward who, as Commander-in-Chief, was sending American soldiers to their deaths in Iraq.”
The truth is that Bush, the alleged slacker, had volunteered to go to Vietnam while in the Texas Air National Guard, but was he was turned down because he didn’t have enough flight hours to qualify.
On January 8, 2011, Jared Lee Loughner opened fire on a Safeway parking lot in Casas Adobes, Arizona, shooting U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords in the head, and eighteen others. Six people died, including a federal judge, one of Rep. Giffords’ staffers, and a nine-year-old girl. Read the rest of this entry »
There’s no other way to describe it.
In 2013, Cillizza’s selection was Barack Obama. He cited the botched rollout of Healthcare.gov, the NSA domestic-surveillance scandal, the IRS’s targeting of tea-party groups, and the continuing questions about the administration’s actions before, during, and after the attack on Americans in Benghazi.
“These are strenuous efforts to avoid the obvious: Obama’s ideas didn’t work. He failed to deliver what he promised.”
In 2014, Cillizza’s selection was Obama, again. The midterm elections went abysmally for Democrats, the threat of ISIS became much clearer, Russia moved into Ukraine, and former CIA director and secretary of defense Leon Panetta painted an unflattering portrait of the president’s leadership in his memoirs.
In 2015, Cillizza picked two co-“winners,” Jeb Bush and Hillary Clinton. The reasons were obvious. By December 2015, it was clear Bush’s odds of winning the nomination were small and shrinking quickly. Clinton, meanwhile, looked likely to emerge bloodied from the Democratic primaries after a tougher-than-expected fight with Bernie Sanders.
“President Obama’s second term has been a terrible failure for the country. A nation that is pleased with the status quo — a nation that feels prosperous, safe, and confident about the future — doesn’t choose to roll the dice with Donald Trump.”
This year, Cillizza assessed the surprising post-election political landscape and selected “The Democrats”:
The Democrats may be effectively locked out of power in all three branches of government for years. At the state level, after last month’s elections, they’ll control only 16 governorships and 13 legislatures.
This year, punctuated by Hillary Clinton’s loss, exposed the remarkably shallow depth of the Democratic bench. The size of the Republican primary field — for which the GOP was relentlessly mocked — was also a sign of the party’s health up and down the ballot. Democrats simply didn’t have the political talent to put forward 17 candidates (or even seven). That’s partly because there’s been limited opportunity to move up in the leadership ranks. Pelosi (Calif.) and Reps. Steny H. Hoyer (Md.) and James E. Clyburn (S.C) have had a death grip on the party’s top congressional slots for a very long time. It’s also partly because the Democratic farm system is hurting.
Lined up one after another, Cillizza’s picks create a broader narrative: President Obama’s second term has been a terrible failure for the country. A nation that is pleased with the status quo — a nation that feels prosperous, safe, and confident about the future — doesn’t choose to roll the dice with Donald Trump.
After eight years as an autocratic president with a maximalist view of executive authority, Barack Obama is handing his successor an expansive interpretation of the commander in chief’s authority to wage war around the globe.
Josh Lederman writes:
…In his final weeks in office, Obama has broadened the legal scope of the war on extremism, the White House confirmed Monday, as it acknowledged for the first that the administration now asserts it is legally justified to take on the extremist group al-Shabab in Somalia.
The determination is based on an expanded application of a 9/11-era use of force authorization, a statute Obama has repeatedly leaned on to justify military operations. That rationale has raised concerns about how Trump might use Obama’s precedent to justify other overseas entanglements — without consulting Congress.
The White House staunchly defends Obama’s use of military power, arguing in a detailed report Monday that all operations have been firmly grounded in domestic and international law. White House counsel Neil Eggleston called the report — the first of its kind — a demonstration of how Obama has ensured “that all U.S. national security operations are conducted within a legal and policy framework that is lawful, effective and consistent with our national interests and values.”
Yet the report, which Obama said should be updated annually, also reveals how his administration has relied overwhelmingly on the 2001 authorization, which even Obama acknowledges is outdated.
Though the law’s targets were al-Qaida and the Taliban, a clause in the bill includes “associated forces” of al-Qaida, in Afghanistan or beyond. That clause is now being used as a catch-all for military action in Yemen, Iraq, Syria, Somalia and Libya, the report shows, plus the basing of U.S. troops in other countries.
As for al-Shabab, until recently, the U.S. determined only that its individual leaders were linked to al-Qaida, which limited targeting of those individuals. Now the broader group is included.
Trump has promised a more muscular and militaristic approach to counterterrorism, occasionally using expletives to suggest he’d aggressively bomb ISIS militants, although he has been vague on details.
Deborah Pearlstein, a former White House official and international law professor at Yeshiva University, said it’s likely the next administration will use Obama’s framework as its starting point. “By practice and long history, those opinions tend to stand,” she said. Read the rest of this entry »
— Jonathan Chait (@jonathanchait) December 2, 2016
The Regulatory Gray Goo Nightmare
Paul Bedard reports: The new implementation of EPA rules on heavy trucks has boosted the 10-year regulatory burden on America past $1 trillion, 75 percent of which have been imposed by the Obama administration.
That amounts to a one-time charge of $3,080 per person, or an annual cost of $540, according to a new analysis from American Action Forum.
“In other words, each year every person, regardless of age, in the nation is responsible for paying roughly $540 in regulatory costs. These burdens might take the form of higher prices, fewer jobs, or reduced wages,” said AAF’s Sam Batkins, director of regulatory policy at the watchdog group.
The staggering amount is likely to surge even higher as President Obama scrambles to lock in several environmental regulations before leaving office. He has already broken records for new regulations and added red tape this year and still has 50 days in office.
Incoming President-elect Trump has promised to kill two current regulations for every new one he adds.
The new high in regulatory costs, said Batkins, came after new fuel standards for trucks were implemented. Read the rest of this entry »
USCIS, which handles immigration cases and the distribution of green cards, was found to have produced at least 19,000 green cards during the past three years that were duplicates or contained incorrect information.
During the same period, more than 200,000 green card holders reported their cards missing and an increasing number of cards were sent to incorrect addresses, posing a risk to national security.
USCIS, which handles immigration cases and the distribution of green cards, was found to have produced at least 19,000 green cards during the past three years that were duplicates or contained incorrect information, according to a new report by the Department of Homeland Security’s inspector general. Read the rest of this entry »
‘How was I supposed to know that cowboy George Bush would announce he wanted us ‘dead or alive’ and then invade Afghanistan to hunt us down?’Posted: November 29, 2016
As of the close of business, on Wednesday, Oct. 5—the latest day for which the Treasury has reported—the total federal debt was $19,663,411,497,797.40. That means that so far in Obama’s presidency, the federal debt has increased $9,036,534,448,884.32.
Terence P. Jeffrey reports: The federal government passed a fiscal milestone on the first business day of fiscal 2017—which was Monday, Oct. 3—when the total federal debt accumulated during the presidency of Barack Obama topped $9,000,000,000,000 for the first time.
On Jan. 20, 2009, when Obama was inaugurated, the total debt of the federal government was $10,626,877,048,913.08, according to data published by the U.S. Treasury.
As of the close of business on Friday, Sept, 30, the last day of fiscal 2016, the total federal debt was $19,573,444,713,936.79. At that point, the total federal debt had increased under Obama by $8,946,567,665,023.71.
On Monday, Oct. 3, the first business day of fiscal 2017, the total federal debt closed at $19,642,949,742,561.51. At that point, the debt had increased under Obama by $9,016,072,693,648.43 from the $10,626,877,048,913.08 it stood at on the day of Obama’s inauguration.
As of the close of business, on Wednesday, Oct. 5—the latest day for which the Treasury has reported—the total federal debt was $19,663,411,497,797.40. That means that so far in Obama’s presidency, the federal debt has increased $9,036,534,448,884.32. Read the rest of this entry »
Evidence keeps piling up that the American people have a very low opinion of how the media reports on our elections. The latest Pew Research Center opinion survey revealed “Just 22% give the press a grade of an A or B, while 38% give it a failing grade” – an F. The approval of the media has been declining for years. After the 2004 re-election of George W. Bush, 33 percent of voters gave the press an A or a B, compared to just 16 percent picking “F.” Read the rest of this entry »
President Obama patted himself on the back for a job well done at a press conference on Monday, after voters rebuked his policies in the November election.
2016 Election: Voters just rejected his policies, rejected his Pollyannaish view of the economy and handed his party defeats at every level of government. But as far as President Obama is concerned, everything he’s done is magic.
“Between 2009, when Barack Obama took office, and today, as he prepares to retire from it, more than 1,100 Democratic elected officials lost their jobs to Republicans. That number is unprecedented.”
— John Podhoretz and Noah Rothman, in Commentary
After the shellacking they took in the election last week, Democrats have been counseling each other to get outside their liberal “bubble” so they can reconnect with regular Americans. But not Obama.
At his press conference on Monday, Obama failed to show a scintilla of humility. His economic polices are working, ObamaCare is doing better than expected, all is well. “We should be very proud,” he said, that “when we turn over the keys the car is in pretty good shape.”
Proud? Is he kidding? Let’s review the evidence.
First, Obama has just suffered one of the harshest repudiations on record.
Despite Obama’s continued insistence on his own masterful handling of the economy, working class Americans handed the keys to the candidate who pledged to undo just about all of Obama’s so-called achievements. Trump vows to repeal ObamaCare, do a 180 degree turn on Obama’s tax policy, undo Dodd-Frank, reverse course on his immigration policy, walk away from Obama’s global warming agreements and heavy-handed regulations. Read the rest of this entry »
Progressive centrism was never thoroughly fleshed out, but the basic idea was to combine the goals of populism—harnessing the power of government to do good for the ‘little guy’—with the New Democrats’ recognition of markets as a powerful tool for achieving those goals. Combined with an incrementalist approach, Judis and Teixeira argued, Democrats would form a new majority coalition. Oops.
Sean Trende writes: The 2000 election left a Democratic Party that was simultaneously angry, dispirited and divided. Populists believed that Al Gore made a terrible mistake by embracing the “New Democrats”—what we then called a group of socially moderate, culturally cosmopolitan, fiscally cautious Democrats in the ’90s—thereby failing to excite working-class whites. New Democrats, by contrast, thought Gore’s late adoption of heavily populist rhetoric had needlessly alienated whites with college degrees, costing him the election.
As this fight wore on, two important left-of-center thinkers, John Judis and Ruy Teixeira, wrote a book called “The Emerging Democratic Majority.” Although the book is known as a demographic work, the demographics discussed so extensively in it are, in fact, subordinate to the larger goal of the book: to find a way for the two factions in the Democratic Party described above to live together, and to win. Their framework was explicitly Hegelian/Fichtean: They described the “thesis” and “antithesis” as being the populist Democrats and the “New Democrats.” Their proposed synthesis: what they called “progressive centrism.”
Progressive centrism was never thoroughly fleshed out, but the basic idea was to combine the goals of populism—harnessing the power of government to do good for the “little guy”—with the New Democrats’ recognition of markets as a powerful tool for achieving those goals. Combined with an incrementalist approach, Judis and Teixeira argued, Democrats would form a new majority coalition. This coalition would be an expansion of the old “McGovern” coalition, and would consist of working-class whites, women, African-Americans and Hispanics, as well as professional whites living in what they called “ideopolises” – high-tech areas filled with state employees and professional workers.
In keeping with the progressive view that history is something with an arc that can be predicted and even bent to our will, “The Emerging Democratic Majority” was expressly grounded in realignment theory. This view of elections holds that the arc of history moves in roughly 30-year epicycles, where the country progresses through stages where different parties hold a position as the dominant “sun” party, or the pale “moon” party (to borrow the terminology of Samuel Lubell). The Democratic majority, we were told, would emerge fully in the 2000s. Read the rest of this entry »
The public’s loathing and distrust of the media is richly deserved and indicative of one of Western society’s greatest failings: the free press has failed.
“The American media turned itself inside out trying to portray Trump as a misogynist, a racist and an authoritarian populist whipping up mobs and inciting violence. All this was unmitigated rubbish.”
The public’s loathing and distrust of the media is richly deserved and indicative of one of Western society’s greatest failings: the free press has failed. Only the fact that there is no alternative keeps it going. Few people now pay much attention to the common misrepresentation of public issues and people; nor should they. The American media turned itself inside out trying to portray Trump as a misogynist, a racist and an authoritarian populist whipping up mobs and inciting violence. All this was unmitigated rubbish. President Barack Obama strutted about the campaign trail in a last-ditch effort to salvage the Clinton campaign (despite the notorious absence of any affection between the Obamas and the Clintons), and accused Trump of being a sympathizer of the Ku Klux Klan. The president would have his listeners believe that Trump, who has an unblemished record as an equal opportunity employer, approves of thugs surging about in hoods and bedsheets, burning crosses on the lawns of African-Americans, Jews and Roman Catholics (most of whose 30 million voters cast their ballots for Trump).
“Fareed has generously invited me back this Sunday. But his program wasn’t fair comment or thoughtful information: it was propaganda, less virulent and hateful, certainly, than that of infamous promoters of the big lie in totalitarian states, but almost as lacking in integrity or balance.”
The media screamed for Trump’s blood when the Clinton campaign released an 11-year-old tape of boorish remarks about women, though what Trump said was the bland and pious reflection of a Baptist minister compared to the normal conversation of Lyndon Johnson, or the actual conduct, while discharging presidential business, of Bill Clinton. It was magnificent watching the Clinton News Network (CNN) robots on autocue scurrying around like asphyxiated roaches as it became clear that Trump would do the impossible and win, and that the public saw through the animosity of the lazy, complacent, boot-licking, myth-making claque of the Washington media, with its liars, defamers, frauds and idiots.
Last Sunday, I was a token expositor of a positive view of Trump, though I am no Clinton-basher, on Fareed Zakaria’s television program GPS. Fareed, a pleasant and capable man and a friend of many years, opened with a frenzied recitation of Trump’s status as a sexist, racist, xenophobic and crooked demagogue. What followed for 45 minutes, apart from Zbigniew Brzezinski’s artful debunking of the Obama foreign policy (“engaged but ineffectual”), was a sequence of Clinton-parrots. There was a debate between two pollsters about the breadth of Hillary Clinton’s almost inevitable margin of victory. I politely demurred from all this when my turn came after 50 minutes, and Fareed has generously invited me back this Sunday. But his program wasn’t fair comment or thoughtful information: it was propaganda, less virulent and hateful, certainly, than that of infamous promoters of the big lie in totalitarian states, but almost as lacking in integrity or balance. Read the rest of this entry »
Liberals liked executive authority as long as Obama wielded it. Now they’ve set a precedent.
Glenn Greenwald writes: Liberals are understandably panicked about what Donald Trump can carry out. “We have a president-elect with authoritarian tendencies assuming a presidency that has never been more powerful,” Franklin Foer wrote this past week in Slate. Trump will command not only a massive nuclear arsenal and the most robust military in history, but also the ability to wage numerous wars in secret and without congressional authorization; a ubiquitous system of electronic surveillance that can reach most forms of human communication and activity; and countless methods for shielding himself from judicial accountability, congressional oversight and the rule of law — exactly what the Constitution was created to prevent. Trump assumes the presidency “at the peak of its imperial powers,” as Foer put it.
“After Obama took office, many liberals often tolerated — and even praised — his aggressive assertions of executive authority. It is hard to overstate how complete the Democrats’ about-face on these questions was once their own leader controlled the levers of power.”
Sen. Barack Obama certainly saw it that way when he first ran for president in 2008. Limiting executive-power abuses and protecting civil liberties were central themes of his campaign. The former law professor repeatedly railed against the Bush-Cheney template of vesting the president with unchecked authorities in the name of fighting terrorism or achieving other policy objectives.
“After just three years of the Obama presidency, liberals sanctioned a system that allowed the president to imprison people without any trial or an ounce of due process.”
“This administration also puts forward a false choice between the liberties we cherish and the security we provide,” he said in 2007. Listing an array of controversial Bush-Cheney policies, from warrantless domestic surveillance to due-process-free investigations and imprisonment, he vowed: “We will again set an example for the world that the law is not subject to the whims of stubborn rulers.”
“Blinded by the belief that Obama was too benevolent and benign to abuse his office, and drowning in partisan loyalties at the expense of political principles, Democrats consecrated this framework with their acquiescence and, often, their explicit approval. This is the unrestrained set of powers Trump will inherit.”
Yet, beginning in his first month in office and continuing through today, Obama not only continued many of the most extreme executive-power policies he once condemned, but in many cases strengthened and extended them. His administration detained terrorism suspects without due process, proposed new frameworks to keep them locked up without trial, targeted thousands of individuals (including a U.S. citizen) for execution by drone, invoked secrecy doctrines to shield torture and eavesdropping programs from judicial review, and covertly expanded the nation’s mass electronic surveillance.
“Beginning in his first month in office and continuing through today, Obama not only continued many of the most extreme executive-power policies he once condemned, but in many cases strengthened and extended them.”
Blinded by the belief that Obama was too benevolent and benign to abuse his office, and drowning in partisan loyalties at the expense of political principles, Democrats consecrated this framework with their acquiescence and, often, their explicit approval. This is the unrestrained set of powers Trump will inherit. The president-elect frightens them, so they are now alarmed. But if they want to know whom to blame, they should look in the mirror.
Obama’s approach to executive power flipped so quickly and diametrically that it is impossible to say if he ever believed his campaign-era professions of restraint. As early as May 2009, Jack Goldsmith, a Justice Department official under George W. Bush, celebrated Obama’s abandonment of his promises to rein in these authorities, writingthat “the new administration has copied most of the Bush program, has expanded some of it, and has narrowed only a bit.” He added that the “Obama practices will be much closer to late Bush practices than almost anyone expected in January 2009.”
“Obama’s approach to executive power flipped so quickly and diametrically that it is impossible to say if he ever believed his campaign-era professions of restraint.”
By putting a prettier liberal face on these policies, and transforming them from a symbol of GOP radicalism into one of bipartisan security consensus, the president entrenched them as permanent fixtures of the American presidency. As Goldsmith put it, Obama’s actions were “designed to fortify the bulk of the Bush program for the long-run.”
“In fact, a new Democratic Party orthodoxy took hold under Obama: the right of a president to detain people, or even assassinate them, without charges or a whiff of judicial oversight. This included even American citizens.”
Liberals vehemently denounced these abuses during the Bush presidency. From 2001 through 2008, Democrats called them the embodiment of tyranny, an existential threat to democracy, a menacing expression of right-wing radicalism. Read the rest of this entry »