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[VIDEO] Charles Krauthammer on Trump Budget Proposal: Cuts Dead on Arrival, Entitlements Are What Matter 

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

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Preet Bharara proved Trump Right

Former U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara in New York on March 11, 2017. (Photo: Kathy Willens, AP)

Former U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara in New York on March 11, 2017. (Photo: Kathy Willens, AP)

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 »


[VIDEO] Judicial Watch Sues Intelligence Agencies Over Flynn Investigation

Judicial Watch director Christopher Farrell on why the organization is suing U.S. intelligence agencies over leaks of classified information about former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.

(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.

File photo : Retired Lieutenant General Michael Flynn, U.S. national security advisor, arrives to a swearing in ceremony of White House senior staff in the East Room of the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Sunday, Jan. 22, 2017. Trump today mocked protesters who gathered for large demonstrations across the U.S. and the world on Saturday to signal discontent with his leadership, but later offered a more conciliatory tone, saying he recognized such marches as a "hallmark of our democracy." Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg(Sipa via AP Images)

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 »


Deep State: Obama Agitators Are Subverting Government and Undermining Trump

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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.

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.

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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.

[Read the full story here, at thefederalist.com]

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.

Attorney General Eric Holder To Resign

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 Address 

 

WASHINGTON, JAN. 28, 2010—  It is not unusual for presidents to disagree publicly with Supreme Court decisions. But they tend to do so at news conferences and in written statements, not to the justices’ faces.

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.

President Obama’s approach at the State of the Union address Wednesday night was more personal, and he seemed a little self-conscious about it.

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.

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Several justices, in the first two rows, were sitting right in front of the president when he attacked the campaign finance ruling. Stephen Crowley/The New York Times

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.

Peter G. Verniero, a former justice on the New Jersey Supreme Court, said neither end of the exchange helped the prestige of the United States Supreme Court.

“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’ 

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.”

Sally Yates, during her confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee to be Deputy Attorney General at the U.S. Department of Justice. March 24, 2015. Photo by Diego M. Radzinschi/THE NATIONAL LAW JOURNAL.

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.”

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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 »


[VIDEO] General Jim Mattis Brings Insight and Clarity to the Nature of War 

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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 Sets Dizzying White House Pace

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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 trump-matchesout 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.”

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“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.

[Read the full story here, at TheHill]

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 Presidents

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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.

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“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%.

Only three presidents scored worse than Obama since Gallup started doing these surveys in 1945: never-elected Gerald Ford (47.2%), one-termer Jimmy Carter (45.4%), and Harry Truman (45.4%).

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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 »


Can Trump Win His Battle With The Unionized, Bureaucratic ‘Deep State’?

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On his first full day in office, Trump sent a powerful signal of intent by freezing pay raises and hiring of federal workers.

Public Unions: As the old expression goes, a new broom sweeps clean. And there’s no question that the new broom in Washington, D.C., is Donald Trump. Will he be able to sweep aside the massive Washington bureaucracy, the graveyard of good ideas and democratic governance?

Trump got off to a very promising start, as we noted on Monday. On his first full day in office, he sent a powerful signal of intent by freezing pay raises and hiring of federal workers. Trump administration officials have let it be known that he’d like to slice 10% off spending and 20% off the federal bureaucracy, part of a broad effort to slash just over $10 trillion from federal spending over the next decade.

Not surprisingly, this has frightened bureaucrats. An Associated Press headline captured it best: “Workers Dismayed By President Trump’s Federal Hiring Freeze.”

According to a Government Business CouncilGovExec.com poll, 28% of government employees said they will definitely or “maybe” consider quitting or retiring after Donald Trump was sworn into office. Another 7% said they don’t know. They know the ax is coming down.

Things are already moving along. Late last week, in the Senate, Sen. Marco Rubio reintroduced a spate of bills, including one that would enable Veterans Affairs employees to be fired for poor performance or misconduct. Meanwhile, the White House on Tuesday ordered the Environmental Protection Agency to stop awarding new contracts or grants, as part of a review of its operations. Read the rest of this entry »


47.9%: Obama Had Lower Average Approval Rating Than Nixon or Bush

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Terence P. Jeffrey reports: President Barack Obama had an average approval rating of 47.9 percent during his time in office, according to the Gallup poll.

That puts him behind Richard Nixon, who resigned, and George W. Bush, who saw his approval rating drop as low as 25 percent near the end of his term.

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“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.”

It puts him ahead of only Gerald Ford (47.2 percent), Jimmy Carter (45.5 percent) and Harry Truman (45.4 percent).

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.”

— the Gallup analysis said of Obama’s poll numbers

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 »


President Dwayne Elizondo Mountain Dew Herbert Camacho Trump is In the House

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Katherine Rodriguez reports: The Oval Office was redecorated with gold drapes just in time for President Trump’s arrival at the White House Friday.

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 »


[VIDEO] Stirewalt, Hemingway, Krauthammer Talk Trump’s Media Attacks 

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.

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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 Hostile Takeover Rolls On

hostile-takeover

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 »


[VIDEO] The Ultimate Inaugural Address 

Source: Washington Examiner


Close Family Friend Of Clintons Arrested For Threat To Kill Donald Trump

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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.3c3ee0a800000578-0-image-a-62_1484773813947

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.’

The ‘wizard’ is now being held in a Miami-Dade County jail after using Twitter to threaten Trump’s life.

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.

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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.’

 Both Hillary and Bill are close friends of the Puopolo family. The  suspect, according to federal elections records, gave $20,000 to the Democratic National Committee in 1996

Both Hillary and Bill are close friends of the Puopolo family. The suspect, according to federal elections records, gave $20,000 to the Democratic National Committee in 1996

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.

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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 »


Crying Staffers Leaving White House

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WASHINGTON (AP) — They line up near the Oval Office, down the hallway toward the Cabinet Room, trailed by their spouses and young kids in their finest clothes. When it’s their turn, the White House staffers enter for a few private moments with President Barack Obama, a photo and a farewell hug from the boss.

There’s a mass exodus underway this week at the White House. As Obama holds his last news conference Wednesday, his staff is busy packing up their offices and turning in their BlackBerrys. For some who joined Obama’s team right out of college, it’s the end of the only professional experience they’ve ever known.

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The finals days of any president’s administration are always bittersweet and heavy on nostalgia, as officials face the transition back to being “civilians” who will no longer have their hands on the nation’s levers of power. Yet there’s added sadness this time for Obama staffers who are mostly horrified by the incoming administration of President-elect Donald Trump.

“You’re always aware that it’s a special privilege to work there and not something to take for granted,” said Nate Lowentheil, who worked on Obama’s National Economic Council for the last three years. “It’s particularly hard knowing the next wave of people coming are going to be working to reverse the things you were working to advance until your very last hour.”

There were tears on the faces of some White House aides on Tuesday as press secretary Josh Earnest appeared in the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room for his final press briefing — his 354th as press secretary, Earnest said. Even former staffers were invited to return to the White House witness Earnest’s last round of jousting with reporters.

“I’m going to miss it,” Earnest said. “It will take some getting used to seeing somebody else standing up here doing it.”

“Or not,” he added, in a nod to the prospect that Trump’s team may make changes to the daily briefing. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] #ThanksObama: 5 Scary Powers Trump Will Take Over as President 

As Barack Obama bids farewell to his presidency, keep in mind these five scary powers that President Trump will inherit from him.

Remember when those pesky other branches of government wouldn’t bow down to Obama’s whims, and the president famously bragged about going it alone? Now Obama’s out and it will soon be Donald Trump wielding his pen and phone.

As Barack Obama bids farewell to his presidency this week, keep in mind these five scary powers that President Trump will inherit from him.

US President Barack Obama attends a military briefing with US Ambassador to Afghanistan James Cunningham (L) at Bagram Air Field, north of Kabul, in Afghanistan, May 25, 2014. Photo: SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images

1. War Without Congress

During the Libya intervention, Obama decided that he didn’t need Congress to approve massive bombing campaigns and regime change.

Obama has done legal gymnastics to justify using the same authorizations that George W. Bush got to fight al Qaeda and the Taliban to send our armed forces to places like West Africa, Somalia, Yemen, and Syria —not to mention staying in Pakistan and Afghanistan and going back to Iraq—all without Congress.

So if the Mexicans won’t pay for his wall, President Trump could just as well decide to bomb them.

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2. Kill Lists

Obama made up his own rules on targeted killings, denying that courts could review his “kill list” and only paying lip service to drone guidelines when he thought Mitt Romney might win in 2012. That never actually happened, and even in his last months in office, Obama has continued to expand the reach of our flying robots and special operations forces.

So President Trump can now vaporize any person he puts on his kill list, even American citizens, even outside of acknowledged battlefields, even if civilians die—all without due process.

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3. Access to All of Your Information

Obama expanded the powers of secret courts that provide little more than a rubber-stamp for mass surveillance of Americans.

He supports weakening encryption, general warrants that cover millions of people, and a host of powers with the ultimate goal of giving spooks what the NSA has called “Total Information Awareness“—access to your every word, move, purchase, and relationship, all without your knowledge.

Orwell would have been impressed, and Trump certainly will be.

Publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr. holds up four fingers to indicate the four Pulitzer Prizes won by the New York Times, as winners for the 2013 Pulitzer Prize are announced at The New York Times newsroom in New York April 15, 2013. Also pictured are (from L-R): CEO Mark Thompson, Sulzberger, Assistant Managing Editor Susan Chira, Editorial Page Editor Andrew Rosenthal (obscured by Chira) and Executive Editor Jill Abramson. REUTERS/Ruth Fremson/Pool (UNITED STATES - Tags: MEDIA SOCIETY) - RTXYN1U

4. Prosecuting Whistleblowers and Journalists

The leader of the self-anointed “most transparent administration” in history has prosecuted more whistleblowers under the Espionage Act than all other presidents in history, put together. His administration exploded the number of classified documents and fought the ACLU and New York Times in court to keep its legal interpretations secret.

Oh, and Obama’s Justice Department spied on journalists and investigated them as co-conspirators.

Based on what Trump thinks of the media, reporters should take care not to violate any secret laws going forward, especially in secret drone zones.

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5. Screwing Immigrants

Many undocumented immigrants trusted Obama with their personal information in exchange for his promise not to deport them. That may have been a huge mistake. First off, he’s deported more people than any president in history, so that should have been a red flag. Read the rest of this entry »


Meet the Biker Hosting the Biggest Pro-Trump Demonstration at the Inauguration 

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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.

[Read the full story here, at The Washington Post]

“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 »


Winston Churchill Bust Set for Oval Office Return by Incoming President Donald Trump

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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”.

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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.

Read the rest of this entry »


The Survival of the Left

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Thomas Sowell writes: Biologists explain how organisms adapt to their physical environment, but ideologues also adapt to their social environment. The most fundamental fact about the ideas of the political left is that they do not work. Therefore we should not be surprised to find the left concentrated in institutions where ideas do not have to work in order to survive.

“The academic world is the natural habitat of half-baked ideas, except for those fields in which there are decisive tests, such as science, mathematics, engineering, medicine;and athletics. In all these fields, in their differing ways, there comes a time when you must either put up or shut up. It should not be surprising that all of these fields are notable exceptions to the complete domination by the left on campuses across the country.”

The academic world is the natural habitat of half-baked ideas, except for those fields in which there are decisive tests, such as science, mathematics, engineering, medicine;and athletics. In all these fields, in their differing ways, there comes a time when you must either put up or shut up. It should not be surprising that all of these fields are notable exceptions to the complete domination by the left on campuses across the country.

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“You might think that the collapse of communism throughout Eastern Europe would be considered a decisive failure for Marxism, but academic Marxists in America are utterly undaunted. Their paychecks and their tenure are unaffected. Their theories continue to flourish in the classrooms and their journals continue to litter the library shelves.”

In the humanities, for example, the test of deconstructionism is not whether it can produce any tangible results but whether it remains in vogue. So long as it does, professors skilled in its verbal sleight-of-hand can expect to continue to receive six-figure salaries.

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“Socialism in general has a record of failure so blatant that only an intellectual could ignore or evade it. Even countries that were once more prosperous than their neighbors have found themselves much poorer than their neighbors after just one generation of socialistic policies. Whether these neighboring countries were Ghana and the Ivory Coast or Burma and Thailand, it has been the same story around the world.”

You might think that the collapse of communism throughout Eastern Europe would be considered a decisive failure for Marxism, but academic Marxists in America are utterly undaunted. Their paychecks and their tenure are unaffected. Their theories continue to flourish in the classrooms and their journals continue to litter the library shelves.

Socialism in general has a record of failure so blatant that only an intellectual could ignore or evade it. Even countries that were once more prosperous than their neighbors have found themselves much poorer than their neighbors after just one generation of socialistic policies. Whether these neighboring countries were Ghana and the Ivory Coast or Burma and Thailand, it has been the same story around the world.

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Discredited elsewhere, the nostrums of the left live on in public television. 

Nor is economic failure the worst of it. The millions slaughtered by Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot for political reasons are an even grimmer reality.

People who live and work in a world where there is a business bottom line, an athletic scoreboard, a military battlefield or life-and-death surgery may find it hard to fully Marx-TVappreciate the difference between that kind of world and one in which the only decisive test is whether your colleagues like what you are saying.

“These endowed and insulated institutions, often full of contempt for the values of American society and Western civilization, are not the only bastions of the left counter-culture. So are Hollywood and Broadway.”

Academia is only one of the places where wholly subjective criteria rule;and where leftists predominate. Endowed institutions such as foundations and museums likewise often face no test other than what like-minded people find “exciting” and what enables those who run these institutions to get the heady feeling that they are “making a difference.” The same is true of cultural institutions supported involuntarily by the taxpayers, such as the Smithsonian or the National Endowments for the Arts and the Humanities.

Taxpayer-supported “public” radio and television are similarly insulated from reality and similarly dominated by the left, not only in the United States but in other countries as well. All the nostrums of the left that have brought hunger to millions in countries which used to have surplus food to export, all the pretty words and ugly realities that have caused millions more to flee the lands of their birth, these nostrums live on in public television;much like old classic movies with familiar lines that the audience of aficionados can recite along with the characters on the screen.

These endowed and insulated institutions, often full of contempt for the values of American society and Western civilization, are not the only bastions of the left counter-culture. So are Hollywood and Broadway. Although show biz faces the financial need to get an audience, the truth of what they portray is hardly crucial. Read the rest of this entry »


REWIND November-December, 2008: ‘We Must Swear In Obama Right Now’

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Source: Media Research Center


A Super-Power Presidency Is Unconstitutional 

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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.”

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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.

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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.

[Read the full story here, at Foundation for Economic Education]

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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 »


EMOPALOOZA 2.0: Electoral College

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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.

 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.

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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.

[MORE: Lobbied, pressured, even threatened: What life has been like for Electoral College voters]

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.

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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 51obn4k-t2l-_sl250_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.

[Order James E. Campbell’s book “Polarized: Making Sense of a Divided America” from Amazon.com]

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 »


Mainstream Media’s Top 10 #FakeNews Stories

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The mainstream media is the biggest purveyor of fake news.

debra-heine-sized-50x50xfDebra 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.

[Read the full list here, at PJ Media]

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.

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1. RatherGate:

In an effort to influence the 2004 presidential election, Dan Rather used fake documents to claim that George W. Bush served dishonorably during his time in the Air National Guard:

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”.

[Read the full list here, at PJ Media]

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.

And Mary Mapes knew it.

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2. The Tucson Massacre Was Inspired by a “Climate of Hate” 

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 »


Barack Obama Second Term: A Complete Failure

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There’s no other way to describe it.

Jim Geraghtygeraghty writes: Every December, Chris Cillizza of the Washington Post picks the biggest political loser of the past year.

In 2013, Cillizza’s selection was Barack Obama. He cited the botched rollout of Healthcare.gov, the NSA domestic-surveillance Tall-censorship-campusscandal, 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.

[Read the full story here, at National Review]

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.

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“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 hillary-tallelections, they’ll control only 16 governorships and 13 legislatures.

[Read more here, at The Washington Post]

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.

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Jonathan Chait’s ill-timed forthcoming book argues that “in the eyes of history, Barack Obama will be viewed as one of America’s best and most accomplished presidents.” Read the rest of this entry »


Obama Legacy: Endowing the Trump Administration with Broadened War Powers 

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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.”

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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.

[Read the full story here, at ABC News]

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.

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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 »


DEPARTMENT OF BAD TIMING: Jonathan Chait’s Post-Election Obama Book Do-Over

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New EPA Rules Push Regulatory Costs Past $1 Trillion, $3,080 Per Person

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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.

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“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.

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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.

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Incoming President-elect Trump has promised to kill two current regulations for every new one he adds.

[Read the full story here, at Washington Examiner]

The new high in regulatory costs, said Batkins, came after new fuel standards for trucks were implemented. Read the rest of this entry »


Department of Homeland Security Overwhelmed by Green Card Catastrophe 

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American Green Card - United States Permanent Residency Card Closeup.

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?’

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Debt Under Obama Up $9,000,000,000,000

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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.

[Read the full story here, at cnsnews.com]

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 »


New Pew Research Poll: 38% Give the Press a Big Fat ‘F’ for Campaign Coverage

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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 »