Free association should not be for powerful liberals only
Stephanie Slade writes: “As one who celebrates and strives for diversity, individual freedom, and respect for all lifestyles, I will not participate in dressing or associating in any way with the next First Lady,” wrote fashion designer Sophie Theallet in an open letter this week.
“Personally, I applaud Theallet’s design to disassociate herself with the next occupant of the White House. I see Donald Trump as a shameful human being with few redeeming qualities as a leader and even fewer as a person, and if I were a business owner, I too would decline to serve his administration.”
People magazine reports Theallet, who has designed and donated clothes for outgoing First Lady Michelle Obama numerous times over the last eight years, may not be alone: “A source tells People, ‘This has already been going on for months. Designers wouldn’t lend to Melania, Ivanka or Tiffany, so they either bought the items themselves or wore Ivanka’s brand. … There was a lot of shopping their own closets.'”
As Theallet put it, ‘we consider our voice an expression of our artistic and philosophical ideals.’ I suspect Barronelle Stutzman, the white-haired grandmother who owns Arlene’s Flowers, feels the same way about her craft.”
Personally, I applaud Theallet’s design to disassociate herself with the next occupant of the White House. I see Donald Trump as a shameful human being with few redeeming qualities as a leader and even fewer as a person, and if I were a business owner, I too would decline to serve his administration.
“But instead of assuming a live-and-let-live attitude on the matter, Washington state has systematically worked to destroy Stutzman’s business unless she agrees to take part in a celebration to which she is morally opposed.”
Both are examples of associational freedom—the right to make decisions for yourself about how and with whom you spend your time and energy. This includes the right not to take on a client or project that elevates, in your view, a value you disagree with. Read the rest of this entry »
Trump-Hating Cuckoo Bananas Matt Harrigan of PacketSled Loses His Mind, Makes Public Death Threats, Declares on Facebook, ‘Bring it, Secret Service’
Sean Gallagher reports: Matt Harrigan, the CEO of San Diego-based network security startup PacketSled, resigned yesterday after a flurry of comments he made on Facebook went viral over the weekend, prompting the company to place him on administrative leave and to report his comments to the Secret Service. Harrigan’s comments weren’t the usual sort of executive meltdown—they amounted to a declaration that Harrigan was going to assassinate President-elect Donald Trump.
In a Facebook thread about last week’s presidential election, Matt Harrigan wrote, “I’m going to kill the President Elect.”
“Bring it secret service,” he wrote.
While those may have been rage posts stemming from the election last week, Harrigan went on to describe how he was going to buy a sniper rifle and hunt down Trump when he moved into the White House. “Getting a sniper rifle and perching myself where it counts,” he wrote in one of a series of comments on a thread about the election. “Find a bedroom in the whitehouse [sic] that suits you motherfucker. I’ll find you.”
— vanguard ninja (@INTJutsu) November 14, 2016
The comments went viral in screenshots, being posted first on Reddit’s The_Donald subreddit. On Sunday, Harrigan apologized on his company’s blog for the comments, saying that his rant “was intended to be a joke, in the context of a larger conversation, and only privately shared as such.” Read the rest of this entry »
Adds 6.5 million hours of paperwork needed to comply with federal rules. This is not a bug, it’s a feature.
Elizabeth Harrington reports: The Obama administration’s effort to eliminate red tape added $16 billion in regulatory costs, according to a new report by the American Action Forum obtained by the Washington Free Beacon.
“Too often for this administration, regulations are regularly expanded and rarely repealed or modified.”
“President Obama signed executive orders (13,563 and 13,610) as part of an effort to ‘eliminate red tape.’ Federal agencies were told to ‘modify, streamline expand, or repeal’ existing regulations,” according to the report released by AAF, a center-right nonprofit led by Douglas Holtz-Eakin, former director of the Congressional Budget Office.
“Once again, HHS is the runaway leader by imposing $16 billion in net costs and more than 25 million paperwork burden hours. The agency is, amazingly, responsible for 101 percent of the net cost increase, due to cost-cutting measures from other agencies.”
The American Action Forum has found the reviews consist mostly of recycled regulations by federal agencies that have actually increased regulatory costs.
“The American Action Forum concluded the retrospective review initiative is ‘little more than an attempt to promote additional regulation under the veil of ‘eliminating red tape.’”
“The recent ‘retrospective reports’ from the administration reveal that executive agencies have added more than $16 billion in regulatory costs, up from $14.7 billion in the previous update, and 6.5 million paperwork hours,” the report said.
The agency reviews are a result of President Barack Obama’s initiative for a “government-wide review of rules on the books,” which the White House claims to have led to $28 billion in net five-year savings since 2011.
However, the American Action Forum has found retrospective reviews often add additional costs to the economy. A review in 2014 added $23 billion in costs and 8.9 million paperwork burden hours.
“Too often for this administration, regulations are regularly expanded and rarely repealed or modified,” the organization said.
The most recent review listed 409 rules, up from last year, with agencies averaging 20 regulations apiece. The rules increased net costs by over $16.4 billion, with only two agencies reducing costs. One silver lining of the report was the Department of Transportation, which eliminated $847 million in costs and more than 21 million hours of paperwork. Read the rest of this entry »
US Weekly recently spotlighted two outfits that Obama wore during appearances in Havana on Sunday and Monday that, according to a Free Beacon analysis, together cost more than 23 times the average annual state salary in Cuba recorded in 2014.
When the president and his family landed in Cuba Sunday, the first lady descended Air Force One wearing a sleeveless, rose-print dress made by designer Carolina Herrera. The dress is currently sold for $2,190 at Bergdorf Goodman, an upscale department store. Read the rest of this entry »
Obama and first lady Michelle Obama instead will go to the Supreme Court on Friday “to pay their respects to Justice Scalia” while the justice lies in repose in the Great Hall, press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters Wednesday.
The most recent member of the Supreme Court to die was Chief Justice William Rehnquist in 2005. In that instance, President George W. Bush not only attended the funeral, he also eulogized Rehnquist…(read more)
[VIDEO] White House: Obama’s Joe Biden for Vice President Decision Better Than Hillary Clinton for Secretary of State DecisionPosted: August 24, 2015
WH: Obama’s Biden VP Decision Better Than Clinton Sec. State Decision (August 24, 2015)
UPDATE: Here’s Hillary Clinton’s lawyer in a private meeting, responding unfavorably to having seen the press conference.
Media analyst Mark Dice asks minorities in San Diego, California to sign a petition to support adding a “White Privilege Tax” on the income of all white Americans to help fund social programs for minority communities to offset Caucasians’ supposed “white privilege.” The results are predictable.
Poll: Clinton’s standing falls among Democrats
WASHINGTON (AP) — Hillary Rodham Clinton’s standing is falling among Democrats, and voters view her as less decisive and inspiring than when she launched her presidential campaign just three months ago, according to a new Associated Press-GfK poll.
The survey offers a series of warning signs for the leading Democratic candidate. Most troubling,
perhaps, for her prospects are questions about her compassion for average Americans, a quality that fueled President Barack Obama’s two White House victories.
Just 39 percent of all Americans have a favorable view of Clinton, compared to nearly half who say they have a negative opinion of her. That’s an eight-point increase in her unfavorable rating from an AP-GfK poll conducted at the end of April.
The drop in Clinton’s numbers extends into the Democratic Party. Seven in 10 Democrats gave Clinton positive marks, an 11-point drop from the April survey. Nearly a quarter of Democrats now say they see Clinton in an unfavorable light.
“I used to like her, but I don’t trust her,” said Donald Walters of Louisville, Kentucky. “Ever since she’s announced her candidacy for the presidency I just haven’t liked the way she’s handled things. She doesn’t answer questions directly.”
While Clinton’s approval rating fell, Obama’s stayed constant at 46 percent since April. More than 8 in 10 Democrats have a positive view of the president.
At least part of Clinton’s decline may be due to questions about her character, a topic Republicans have been trying to make central to the 2016 campaign. In ads, stump speeches and online videos, they paint her as a creature of Washington who flouts the rules to get ahead.
While Clinton has spent decades in the public eye, she’s focused in recent months on creating a more relatable — and empathetic — image. In public events, she frequently talks about her new granddaughter, Charlotte, and references her early career as a legal advocate for impoverished children. Read the rest of this entry »
[VIDEO] REWIND 2011: Andrew Breitbart: Illiberal Democrat Collectivism Vilifies Individualism, Independence, Part 2Posted: May 24, 2015
http://democracybroadcasting.com Hollywood blacklisting silences dissent against Obama. Filmed at BlogWorld NYC June, 2011.
Luxurious Life As First Lady Takes Toll On Michelle Obama Because She Is Black, She Complains
Eric Owens writes: Globetrotting, Ivy League-educated, Marchesa gown-wearing first lady Michelle Obama’s commencement address at Tuskegee University on Saturday described the trials and tribulations she believes she has faced as the first black first lady in American history.
“We’ve both felt the sting of those daily slights throughout our entire lives.”
The intense media scrutiny, occasional critical and disparaging remarks — it’s all too much and she said it has led to sleepless nights either in the White House or in posh, five-star hotels where she and her retinue stay, according to The Hill.
“You might remember the on-stage celebratory fist bump between me and my husband after a primary win that was referred to as a ‘terrorist fist jab,’” she told graduates of the private, historically black science- and engineering-heavy school in Alabama.
“As potentially the first African-American first lady, I was also the focus of another set of questions and speculations; conversations sometimes rooted in the fears and misperceptions of others.”
“And over the years, folks have used plenty of interesting words to describe me. One said I exhibited ‘a little bit of uppity-ism,’” Obama said. “Another noted that I was one of my husband’s ‘cronies of color.’ Cable news once charmingly referred to me as ‘Obama’s Baby Mama.’”
“Was I too loud, or too angry, or too emasculating? Or was I too soft, too much of a mom, not enough of a career woman?”
The international jetsetter, a graduate of both Princeton University and Harvard Law School, also complained that she feels she endured a set of expectations during her husband Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign that was different than the expectations for other would-be presidential wives.
Specifically, she believes the questions she faced as a potential first lady were overly invasive.
“And over the years, folks have used plenty of interesting words to describe me. One said I exhibited ‘a little bit of uppity-ism.”
“As potentially the first African-American first lady, I was also the focus of another set of questions and speculations; conversations sometimes rooted in the fears and misperceptions of others. Was I too loud, or too angry, or too emasculating? Or was I too soft, too much of a mom, not enough of a career woman?” Obama said, according to The Hill.
Obama said she and her husband, the president of the United States and arguably the most powerful man in the world, have faced “frustrating” racism, which is “a heavy burden to carry.”
Michelle Obama has made sure to spend plenty of taxpayer dollars on an impressive run of sweet luxury vacations
“We’ve both felt the sting of those daily slights throughout our entire lives,” she griped. Read the rest of this entry »
The cost for ‘Rental Vehicles for Flotus in Kyoto’ is $78,741, according to a contract signed last week
Elizabeth Harrington reports: First Lady Michelle Obama’s visit to a Buddhist Temple in Kyoto is costing taxpayers nearly $80,000 for rental cars, according to a government contract.
Mrs. Obama, who is travelling to Japan and Cambodia for a girls’ education initiative, will arrive in Kyoto, Japan, on Friday.
According to the White House press office, “The First Lady will travel to Kyoto on March 20 and visit the Kiyomizu-Dera Buddhist Temple and the Fushimi Inari Shinto Shrine. She will also greet staff from the U.S. Consulate in Osaka.”
Fushimi Inari Shinto is a shrine dedicated to a god of rice. Visitors of the temple can pay to go into a pitch-black basement that symbolizes the womb of Buddah’s mother…. Read the rest of this entry »
Releases Video Depicts Captured Jordanian Pilot Burned Alive
Asa Fitch, Suha Ma’ayeh and Maria Abi-Habib report:
If the video is authentic, the killing would mark the first time Islamic State has used burning to execute a high-profile prisoner.
The 22-minute video, which SITE said was distributed via Twitter , begins with footage of Jordanian involvement in a U.S.-led coalition against Islamic State’s spread, before showing a man with a black eye who appears to be Lt. Kasasbeh describing Jordan’s military operations.
The video ends with the apparent execution of the man. He is shown being burned alive inside a cage by Islamic State fighters.
SITE, an organization that tracks extremist activities, has verified numerous Islamic State videos in the past that later proved to be authentic, but government authorities have yet to declare the latest video is genuine.
— Conflict News (@rConflictNews) February 3, 2015
If the video is authentic, the killing would mark the first time Islamic State has used burning to execute a high-profile prisoner. The group has beheaded numerous high-profile hostages in the past, including two Japanese men in the past two weeks. Read the rest of this entry »
“Obama entered the presidency trailing clouds of intellectual self-regard. His carefully cultivated persona was of a uniquely thoughtful, judicious, deliberative, evidence-driven man comfortable with complexity. The protracted consideration of Keystone supposedly displayed these virtues.”
“Now, however, it is clear that his mind has always been as closed as an unshucked oyster.”
— George Will
‘Did you tingle?’ Chris Matthews feels that old thrill at WH Christmas party [photo]; Update: Tweet deletedPosted: December 18, 2014
“She has thrown her entire life into their cause, and she’s made it very clear that she would happily run in front of a speeding truck for them.”
— New York Times reporter Jodi Kantor
Carol Felsenthal writes: Almost since the start of Barack Obama’s presidency, people who have actual, real duties in the West Wing of the White House—the working, executive part of the government, that is—have been urging him to do something about Valerie Jarrett.
“Very moving. But the fact is, on balance it appears that Jarrett has been more an obstructer than a facilitator over the past six years when it comes to governing, and it’s probably long past time for the president to move her gently into another role.”
— Carol Felsenthal
Push her into the East Wing, where she can hang out with Michelle Obama and the White House social secretary, or give her an ambassadorship—or something—but for Pete’s sake get her out of the way of the hard work of governing that needs to be done.
Now it’s really time to do it.
Let’s stipulate right away that it would be unfair to blame Jarrett, the longtime Obama family friend and confidante, for the walloping that the president and his party suffered at the polls on Tuesday. And Jarrett will no doubt be needed in the weeks ahead to comfort her old pals, Barack and Michelle.
“Jarrett is more than a mere senior staffer to this president, and of course she is not going to be fired outright. Not ever. If her role in this administration reflected reality, Jarrett would be called “First Big Sister” to both Michelle and Barack.”
What happened on Tuesday almost couldn’t be worse for Obama personally—not just the Senate’s going Republican but all those governorships lost, including Illinois Governor Pat Quinn’s defeat in Obama’s adopted home state, even after the president and first lady came to Illinois to campaign for him. The morning after the elections, Democrats and their top staffers were hopping mad, blaming Obama and, by extension, his staff for the defeat.
[Check out Carol Felsenthal’s book “Power, Privilege and the Post: The Katharine Graham Story” at Amazon]
But let’s also face facts—and expect the president to do so as well. We’re at that point in an already long-toothed presidency when things inside really need to change. In the days before anyone knew how brutally the Democrats would get beaten, politicians and staffers and pundits were urging a shakeup of the White House staff. Read the rest of this entry »
BREAKING: President Obama Jets to New Rochelle to Attend Wedding of his Personal Chef Sam Kass to MSNBC’s Alex WagnerPosted: August 30, 2014
UPDATE: White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest clarified Obama’s schedule Friday afternoon, noting that he would return to the White House tonight after his fundraisers in New York. He is expected to travel back to New York on Saturday for the wedding of his personal chef Sam Kass to MSNBC’s Alex Wagner.
According to Earnest, Obama decided to “sleep in his own bed,” do a little work tomorrow, and spend some time with his family before going to the wedding. Read the rest of this entry »
“Uh umm, you give me this office and in turn my, fears, doubts, insecurities, foibles, need for sleep, family life, vacations, leisure is gone. I am giving myself to you.“
Full in-context video here
The Daily Caller‘s Eric Owens reports: Students at Waccamaw Middle School in Pawleys Island, S.C. did something pretty cool this spring when they baked cupcakes and cookies to sell during lunchtime to raise money so six World War II veterans could go on an Honor Flight to Washington, D.C.
The fundraising effort was a smashing success. The students raised $2,500 in just three weeks to help the six vets visit the various national memorials that venerate their sacrifices, according to the Georgetown Times.
If the kids want to act similarly selflessly this academic year, though, they’ll be out of luck.
They can thank first lady Michelle Obama for getting them out of such do-gooderism.
The 2010 Hunger-Free Kids Act that the first lady has strongly advocated now prevents such bake sales at all schools taking the associated federal funding. Read the rest of this entry »
Video: Protesters spoke out at the Nigerian embassy in Washington, D.C. to express their disappointment in the Nigerian government after an extremist group kidnapped nearly 300 girls on April 15th
For The Washington Post, Charles Krauthammer writes: Mass schoolgirl kidnapping in Nigeria — to tweet or not to tweet? Is hashtagging one’s indignation about some outrage abroad an exercise in moral narcissism or a worthy new way of standing up to bad guys?
“As always, however, we tend to romanticize the power of the tweet…”
That is nothing but preening, a visual recapitulation of her boss’s rhetorical fatuousness when he sternly warns that if the rape of this U.S. friend continues, we are prepared to consider standing together with the “international community” to decry such indecorous behavior — or some such.
When a superpower, with multiple means at its disposal, reverts to rhetorical emptiness and hashtag activism, it has betrayed both its impotence and indifference. But if you’re an individual citizen without power, if you lack access to media, drones or special forces, then hashtagging your solidarity with the aggrieved is a fine gesture and perhaps even more. Read the rest of this entry »
For the Wall Street Journal, Eliot A. Cohen writes: As American foreign policy continues its long string of failures—not a series of singles and doubles, as President Obama asserted in a recent news conference, but rather season upon season of fouls and strikes—the question becomes: Why?
Why does the Economist magazine put a tethered eagle on its cover, with the plaintive question, “What would America fight for?” Why do Washington Post columnists sympathetic to the administration write pieces like one last week headlined, “Obama tends to create his own foreign policy headaches”?
The administration would respond with complaints, some legitimate, about the difficulties of an intractable world. Then there are claims, more difficult to support, of steadily accumulating of minor successes; and whinges about the legacy of the Bush administration, gone but never forgotten in the collective memory of the National Security Council staff.
More dispassionate observers might pick out misjudgments about opportunities (the bewitching chimera of an Israeli-Palestinian peace, or the risible Russian reset), excessively hopeful misunderstandings of threats (al Qaeda, we were once told, is on the verge of strategic defeat), and a constipated decision-making apparatus centered in a White House often at war with the State and Defense departments. Read the rest of this entry »
“Are these barbarians in the wilds of Nigeria supposed to check their Twitter accounts and say, ‘Uh oh, Michelle Obama is very cross with us — we better change our behavior’?”
“It’s an exercise in self-esteem. I do not know how adults stand there, facing a camera, and say, ‘Bring back our girls.’”
“Power is the ability to achieve intended effects, and this is not intended to have any effect on the real world.”
— Jen Psaki (@statedeptspox) March 26, 2014
The Secret Service won’t give any details about how often the fox trips the White House’s obviously sophisticated security alarms, but rest assured, officials say, they’re watching.
President Obama was apparently “stunned” to see the fox roaming freely down the oft-photographed White House colonnade, home to the world’s shortest, but most dramatic, outdoor strolls.
Matthew Boyle reports: New Air Force documents show that the tab to taxpayers for recent trips President Obama and his family took to Africa and Honolulu was nearly $16 million – and that’s just for the flights.
The documents obtained by activist group Judicial Watch show the Africa trip required 35.5 flight hours. At a cost of $228,288 per flight hour, the total cost was a staggering $8,104,224.
For the Obamas’ Christmas vacation in Honolulu, starting in December 2013 and ending in January 2014, the documents, obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, show the first family accumulated 36.9 total flight hours. At a cost of $210,877 per flight hour, the flight costs alone for that trip totaled $7,781,361.30, according to the Air Force documents.
First lady Michelle Obama‘s Spring Break trip to China with her daughters and mom has received some glowing news reports, but not because her press corps has had an easy time covering the event-filled trip. Reporters say that they have been blocked from events, screamed at by officials, held back with red tape and told not to move from prepositioned lookouts, possibly to avoid taking embarrassing photos.
On Monday, the New York Times filed a pool report about the first lady’s tour of Xi’an, a city dating to the 14th century. “Event below marred for press by obnoxious Chinese advance man screaming and shoving us behind his ever moving red tape line,” said the report. Another from Friday said that officials wouldn’t dish what the first lady and Chinese President Xi Jinping talked about or even ate during their dinner.
Hint: It’s Not Hillary
Matthew Continetti writes: So long have I waited for the glass ceiling to be shattered, for the barrier to be breached, for the blessed moment to arrive. I had thought that the day that begins with a woman in the Oval Office, with more than 50 percent of our population feeling truly represented, was a day long in coming. I had thought 2008 would be the year we made history, with Hillary Clinton coming so close to the Democratic nomination, with Sarah Palin becoming the first woman on the Republican ticket.
“It is clear to me now that we have had a woman president since January 20, 2009. Barack Obama’s story is America’s story. It is our story. It is the female story.”
But it was not to be. America reverted to her old habits of sexism and gynophobia, denying Clinton her place in the sun, even questioning the maternity of Palin’s youngest child. Barack Obama was elected to the White House. The contest four years later was, in sheer numbers, a regression: In 2012 no women were present on any major party ticket. Obama won his second term.
“…Barack Obama has as much of a claim as the next girl to being the first woman president. Do not “other” him. Love him. Celebrate him. Open your mind, as I have. And Hillary: Take note. We already have a woman in the White House.”
Only now do I see how mistaken I have been, how shallow my thinking, how guilty of succumbing to the confines of the hetero-normative imagination.