Charles Krauthammer said that Trump’s tax-return reveal was only favorable for him, and went on to argue that Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer hurt his own cause by stridently criticizing the president.
Legacy: Barack Obama came into the White House in 2009 promising a “new era of responsibility.” What he’s left President Trump is a government careening toward fiscal ruin.That’s what the latest report from the Congressional Budget Office shows.
The CBO report looks at what federal spending and revenues will look like over the next decade if the government is left on autopilot. The picture is grim.
Deficits this year are expected to be $559 billion. By 2023, the government will once again be running trillion-dollar annual deficits that will quickly climb in the following years.
Left unchanged, the national debt will worsen by an additional $10 trillion in a decade, equaling almost 90% of the economy.
And that’s despite the fact that, thanks to Obama’s multiple tax increases, revenues are on track to consume more than 18% of the nation’s economy, which is a full percentage point above the average since 1967.
Spending, however, is completely out of control. It’s set to climb from 20.5% of GDP next year to 23.4% by 2027. The post-1967 average was 20%.
ObamaCare subsidies alone will, according to the CBO, climb 22% this year and 20% the next — thanks to the massive increase in premiums. This cost explosion is in addition to the vast increase in Medicaid spending ObamaCare already generated. And it’s all on top of fast-growing Social Security and Medicare, both of which are rapidly headed toward insolvency.
Perhaps the biggest driver of future deficits, however, is the incredibly sluggish economy the CBO expects current economic policies to produce. Read the rest of this entry »
TRUMPAGEDDON 2.0: For all of the hype about electors switching their vote from reports, the majority of those electors who cast protest votes were supposed to vote for Hillary Clinton.
For all of the hype about electors switching their vote from reports: Trump to anyone but Trump, the majority of those electors who cast protest votes were supposed to vote for Hillary Clinton.
Four electors in Washington state who were supposed to vote for Clinton instead voted otherwise: three for former Secretary of State Colin Powell, and one for a Native American leader. In contrast, just two electors in Texas voted against Trump.
— The Hill (@thehill) December 19, 2016
The rules vary by state. In 29 states, electors are legally bound to vote for the winner of their state. The rest are not.
Voters who fail to vote the will of their state are known as faithless electors. “That occurrence is nothing new,” said Paul Sracic, a Youngstown State University political scientist and expert in the electoral college. “There have been approximately 157 electors have done just that in the past 200 plus years.” Read the rest of this entry »
A description of the property posted on its architect’s website says it was inspired by Palladian villas and boasts a guesthouse and a “Z” shaped pool.
“The Democrat has a minimum net worth of $29.3 million, according to an analysis of her financial disclosure forms compiled by Roll Call.”
Especially when the House minority leader and her husband open up their bucolic Northern California estate and vineyard on the banks of the Napa River to the likes of Google’s Eric Schmidt, wealthy environmental activist Tom Steyer and Gov. Jerry Brown.
“The Pelosi estate on Zinfandel Lane, for example, is valued between $5,000,001 and $25 million, according to the records the congresswoman filed with the House clerk’s office for calendar year 2014.”
“When all the black SUVs are circling around the property — like planes gathering over O’Hare Airport — that is when you know they are here,” Susanna Kelham, who owns a winery next to the Pelosi property in St. Helena, told the Los Angeles Times.
“When all the black SUVs are circling around the property — like planes gathering over O’Hare Airport — that is when you know they are here.”
That was the scene last year when Pelosi hosted a dinner at the couple’s sprawling estate and vineyard about 65 miles north of Pelosi’s San Francisco district to close out a two-day conference in the wine country for political heavyweights.
Such is life for the fourth-richest Californian in Congress.
The Democrat has a minimum net worth of $29.3 million, according to an analysis of her financial disclosure forms compiled by Roll Call. The Los Angeles Times is using the data and for the first time is listing every asset and liability disclosed by the 55 members of the state’s congressional delegation.
“A description of the property posted on its architect’s website says it was inspired by Palladian villas and boasts a guesthouse and a “Z” shaped pool.”
Financial disclosure rules allow lawmakers to report broad ranges for the value of both their assets and liabilities starting at $1 to $1,000 and ending with any value greater than $50 million. Precise figures are not required. Roll Call calculated minimum net worth by subtracting the minimum value of liabilities from the minimum value of assets disclosed.
“The estate is not just for show. The couple also collects between $5,001 and $15,000 in income from the sale of grapes grown at the vineyard. A spokesman for Pelosi did not say who the grapes were sold to or for what purpose.”
The Pelosi estate on Zinfandel Lane, for example, is valued between $5,000,001 and $25 million, according to the records the congresswoman filed with the House clerk’s office for calendar year 2014. A description of the property posted on its architect’s website says it was inspired by Palladian villas and boasts a guesthouse and a “Z” shaped pool.
The estate is not just for show. The couple also collects between $5,001 and $15,000 in income from the sale of grapes grown at the vineyard. A spokesman for Pelosi did not say who the grapes were sold to or for what purpose. Read the rest of this entry »
Elaina Plott reports: House Freedom Caucus members confirmed that they were not able to reach the 80% threshold required to endorse Paul Ryan for Speaker.
“Paul is a policy entrepreneur who has developed conservative reforms dealing with a wide variety of subjects, and he has promised to be an ideas-focused speaker who will advance limited-government principles and devolve power to the membership.”
— the caucus said in its statement
Representative Raul Labrador called it a “supermajority support” for Ryan. “We were not able to reach a consensus” on an official endorsement, he told reporters, but added that “two thirds of the caucus will be voting” for a Ryan speakership….(read more)
...The Freedom Caucus met with Ryan for an hour in the Capitol earlier in the day. Many of its members had balked at the conditions Ryan attached to his decision to serve as speaker, and the meeting represented their first chance to question him directly on his intentions.
The meeting broke up without resolution, setting up a high-stakes decision for a group that played a key role in easing the current speaker, John A. Boehner, into retirement and blocking Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s bid to succeed him….(read more)
The Wall Street Journal reports:
…Members of the Freedom Caucus said their offer of support—less-resounding than what Mr. Ryan had sought—thrusts the decision back on Mr. Ryan, who has been publicly reluctant to take the job.
“Paul Ryan needs to decide now what he’s going to do,” Mr. Labrador said. “He’s got to decide whether that’s sufficient for him.”
Mr. Labrador also noted that the caucus had not agreed to a series of conditions Mr. Ryan had set, but declined to say which of the Wisconsin Republican’s demands had triggered the most concern.
In a statement released Wednesday night, the group praised Mr. Ryan, who met with them earlier Wednesday. Read the rest of this entry »
Alan Gomez States around the country are on the verge of passing laws to crack down on “sanctuary cities” that protect undocumented immigrants from being deported.
The efforts are a broad response to the July death of Kathryn Steinle, the San Francisco woman shot by an undocumented immigrant who had been released from a local jail instead of handed over to federal immigration officials.
Her death, publicized by Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump and others, brought so-called sanctuary cities into the national spotlight, prompting politicians in Congress, state legislatures and local governments to call for sweeping changes. The U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill in July cracking down on those cities, and the Senate is scheduled to take up the bill next week.
Now, after three months of hearings and intense debate, the first state law targeting sanctuary cities is about to be signed into law in North Carolina. State Rep. George Cleveland, a Republican from Jacksonville, N.C., has been trying to pass laws combating illegal immigration for a decade. He said it took Steinle’s death to get enough legislators on board to pass his bill, which Republican Gov. Pat McCrory is likely to sign into law this month.
“Everyone says, ‘It’s a federal government problem.’ No, it isn’t. The federal government is not doing its job, so it’s our problem,” Cleveland said. “We’ve become so multiculturalist that we don’t have the common sense to see that we’re ruining our country. Instead, we let cities pat (undocumented immigrants) on the back and here we are.”
Defenders of sanctuary cities worry about a national overreaction to the shooting at popular Pier 14 in San Francisco’s Embarcadero district. Sam Liccardo, Democratic mayor of nearby San Jose, said communities like his should use the shooting as an opportunity to review their sanctuary policies. He worries that in the rush to respond to Steinle’s death, cities could pass extreme laws that hurt all immigrants. Read the rest of this entry »
WASHINGTON — Kristina Peterson and Siobhan Hughes report: House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy is expected to win House Republicans’ internal election Thursday to be the next speaker. Then his high-stakes audition begins.
The California Republican will have three weeks to try to tame the conservative opposition threatening to block his Oct. 29 election on the House floor. The timing is tough. Congress this month could consider a rush of contentious legislation—including a possible two-year budget deal and a debt-ceiling increase—likely to spark some GOP opposition.
Conservatives have made clear they will be weighing how Mr. McCarthy acts as they decide whether to stage an insurrection on the House floor. On Wednesday, the House Freedom Caucus, a group of about 40 conservatives, said at least 30 of its members would vote for Rep. Daniel Webster (R., Fla.) as speaker on Thursday and later on the House floor, unless Mr. McCarthy pledges to overhaul how the chamber is run.
“Whoever wins tomorrow has three weeks to make those changes,” Rep. Raul Labrador (R., Idaho) said Wednesday. This week’s vote, he said, “won’t settle anything.”
Mr. McCarthy, expected to easily win a majority of votes in the House Republicans’ secret-ballot election on Thursday, faces a higher hurdle at month’s end. To be elected speaker, a candidate must win a majority of all votes cast for individuals on the House floor, and almost all Democrats are expected to vote for Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) as speaker.
Mr. McCarthy therefore can only afford to lose 28 Republicans, assuming all members vote, excluding departing Speaker John Boehner. Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R., Utah) is also running for speaker. If no one wins a majority, the House repeats the roll-call vote.
“You’re much more likely to get some changes in how things operate in this place when people are trying to get votes,” said Rep. Jim Jordan (R., Ohio.), chairman of the Freedom Caucus. Read the rest of this entry »
John Boehner’s successor inherits a diminished role.
Kevin D. Williamson writes:
…The plot of the Shakespearean succession drama is fixed as the stars: The entertainment wing of the conservative movement prepares to rain brimstone upon Republican whip Kevin McCarthy, the presumptive front-runner among House leaders, or Paul Ryan, a conservative hero until the day before yesterday now cast into the outer darkness for various heresies related to his being an elected lawmaker rather than the host of a radio program.
“Due in part to the massive shift in power away from the most accountable representatives of the people to a president and five judges, we have needed leadership with vision for the future that did not continue the downhill slide.”
— Representative Louie Gohmert
Expect Louie Gohmert or another conservative standard-bearer to shine for a moment before opinion settles on some disappointment or another, and expect the vast majority of the American electorate to go on not knowing who the speaker is or what he does regardless of who is elected.
“The waxing of the president and the consequent waning of Congress is a result of the deep psychological structure of mass democracy on the American scale, probably an inevitable one.”
On the subject of Representative Gohmert, his statement following the speaker’s resignation is on point: “Due in part to the massive shift in power away from the most accountable representatives of the people to a president and five judges, we have needed leadership with vision for the future that did not continue the downhill slide.”
“…these United States are in the process of transforming the form of their union government from that of a democratic republic to that of a unitary autocratic administrative state. Barack Obama and other progressives have hastened that transformation in no small part because they consider the American constitutional order in purely instrumental terms rather than as a good in and of itself.”
As Gohmert notes without quite saying so, these United States are in the process of transforming the form of their union government from that of a democratic republic to that of a unitary autocratic administrative state. Barack Obama and other progressives have hastened that transformation in no small part because they consider the American constitutional order in purely instrumental terms rather than as a good in and of itself. Sometimes the constitutional order serves progressive ends and sometimes it constrains them, which is why President Wilson despised the Constitution and President Obama simply ignores it when he believes it necessary, adopting as he has — with rather less fuss than one might have expected — a Gaullist rule-by-decree model.
“Sometimes the constitutional order serves progressive ends and sometimes it constrains them, which is why President Wilson despised the Constitution and President Obama simply ignores it when he believes it necessary, adopting as he has — with rather less fuss than one might have expected — a Gaullist rule-by-decree model.”
The familiar ratchet effect is in operation: The Left in power expands the state, particularly the executive, and the Right in power does not reverse the turn, in part because conservative politicians like power, too, in part because reversing those expansions is difficult, and in part because even if conservatives win the fight there’s not much juice in it.
As my colleague Charles C. W. Cooke points out, the lack of an American king and an American prime minister has not prevented the traditional English contest between crown and parliament from sneaking into American politics. And the crown is winning.
“The familiar ratchet effect is in operation: The Left in power expands the state, particularly the executive, and the Right in power does not reverse the turn, in part because conservative politicians like power, too, in part because reversing those expansions is difficult, and in part because even if conservatives win the fight there’s not much juice in it.”
This isn’t only a matter of executive opportunism and legislative sloth. The waxing of the president and the consequent waning of Congress is a result of the deep psychological structure of mass democracy on the American scale, probably an inevitable one. Read the rest of this entry »
Ted Cruz Zings Outgoing John Boehner Over ‘Early Reports’ That He ‘Cut a Deal’ With Nancy Pelosi Before ResigningPosted: September 25, 2015
“I will say, the early reports are discouraging. If it is correct that the speaker, before he resigns, has cut a deal with Nancy Pelosi to fund the Obama administration for the rest of its tenure, to fund Obamacare, to fund executive amnesty, to fund Planned Parenthood, to fund implementation of this Iran deal — and then, presumably, to land in a cushy K Street job after joining with the Democrats to implement all of President Obama’s priorities, that is not the behavior one would expect of a Republican speaker of the House.”
Cruz told reporters at the conservative Values Voter Summit in Washington.
[VIDEO] Standing Ovation: Values Voters Summit Attendees Respond to John Boehner’s Resignation AnnouncementPosted: September 25, 2015
Marco Rubio announced Speaker John Boehner‘s upcoming resignation at the Values Voter Summit, the crowd erupted into a standing ovation. Rubio, one of the many speakers invited to the 10th annual VVS in Washington, paused from discussing his paid family leave plan to mention Boehner’s resignation: “Just a few minutes ago, Speaker Boehner announced that he will be resigning.”
Needless to say, the audience’s reaction to the news was everything but silent. “With all due respect to people who serve in government,” Rubio continued, “it is important at this moment, with respect to him and the service he has provided to our country, it’s not about him, and I’m not here today to bash anyone, but the time has come to turn the page.” Initial reports described the VVS crowd’s response as a “standing ovation,” a choice of phrase that could be interpreted one of two ways. The audience was either (a) applauding Boehner’s service as speaker with a salutatory round of clapping and standing, or (b) expressing a wild excitement akin to “Ding Dong! The Witch Is Dead!” in The Wizard of Oz.
The New York Times broke the news Friday morning, citing aides in his office…Boehner has served as a Congressman from Ohio since 1991. He was elected House Majority Leader in 2006, and became House Minority Leader in 2007 after Republicans lost control of the House. He became Speaker of the House in 2011 after the Tea Party resurgence saw massive Republican sgains in the House and Senate. from mediaite…..Religious conservatives broke into a rowdy and prolonged cheer when they learned House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) would resign from Congress. Read the rest of this entry »
Michael Barone writes: in this presidential cycle, voters in both parties, to the surprise of the punditocracy, are rejecting experienced political leaders. They’re willfully suspending disbelief in challengers who would have been considered laughable in earlier years.
“In our system the widespread rejection of experienced leaders ultimately comes from dismay at the leader in the White House. In 1960 Richard Nixon, after eight years as vice president and six in Congress, campaigned on the slogan ‘Experience counts.’ No one is running on that theme this year.”
Polls show more Republicans preferring three candidates who have never held elective office over 14 candidates who have served a combined total of 150 years as governors or in Congress. Most Democrats are declining to favor a candidate who spent eight years in the White House and the Senate and four as secretary of state.
Psephologists of varying stripes attribute this discontent to varying causes. Conservatives blame insufficiently aggressive Republican congressional leaders. Liberals blame Hillary Clinton’s closeness to plutocrats and her home email system.
But in our system the widespread rejection of experienced leaders ultimately comes from dismay at the leader in the White House. In 1960 Richard Nixon, after eight years as vice president and six in Congress, campaigned on the slogan “Experience counts.” No one is running on that theme this year.
Nixon could, because over the preceding quarter-century the majority of Americans mostly approved of the performance of incumbent presidents. Presidents Roosevelt, Truman and Eisenhower still look pretty good more than 50 years later.
Barack Obama doesn’t. His deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes recently said that the president’s nuclear weapons deal with Iran was as important an achievement of his second term as Obamacare was of the first. Historians may well agree.
These two policy achievements have many things in common. Read the rest of this entry »
…When Barack Obama demanded Assad step down in 2011, he took immediate ownership of any consequences to follow. Assad — not being much more than a photo-op for Nancy Pelosi or a dinner date for John Kerry, and owing us utterly nothing (unlike Mubarak or Khaddafi) — told Obama to get bent around a tree, and from that point onward the administration’s strategy has been one long assay into the question of how best to manage an Asshole Who May Still Be Preferable To Outright Anarchy. Obama hedged military action against Assad and against his (now obviously disastrous) decision to withdraw from Iraq and the impending nuclear deal with Iran. When his declaration that Assad Must Go went ignored (and thus became problematic), he simply crossed it off his list, told a nefarious Vladimir Putin to handle it, and went golfing. When his administration realized that any military intervention in Syria would complicate his Iran nuclear deal, he folded. Except the world didn’t fold with him.
“That’s always been this President’s problem: his complete inability to deal with the world at hand, as it exists right in front of his face. When the world forces Barack Obama off his script, he simply retreats to a golf course, ESPN, or most recently the remote wilds of Alaska.”
When reports emerged that Assad had utilized chlorine gas against both rebels and civilians, Obama was suddenly boxed into a world which preceded his ascension and more importantly, didn’t give a damn about what he thought. Obama and his famously anti-war Secretary of State John Kerry reaped the consequences of spending the prior five years demonizing the difficult decisions made by their predecessors, either unaware or unfazed by the idea that they might one day have to rally the country and the world around a “Red Line” they themselves had set, and as it turns out weren’t very good or very interested in necessitating either….
That’s always been this President’s problem: his complete inability to deal with the world at hand, as it exists right in front of his face. When the world forces Barack Obama off his script, he simply retreats to a golf course, ESPN, or most recently the remote wilds of Alaska.
“It wasn’t ‘the United States’ that let Obama get away with declaring ‘I didn’t set that red line, the world did’ only to have him to walk out the door like a dejected child needing an afternoon snack and media-induced nap.”
Nowhere was this more evident than when his habit of diplomatic detachment inconveniently washed up on the shores of the Greek island of Kos last week when a boat carrying Syrian refugees capsized. While President Jor-El embarked on a magical mystery end-of-summer climate cruise to call attention to Alaskan glacier-melt in summer, the world was suddenly captivated by the lifeless body of Aylan Kurdi lying face down in front of rescue workers….
“No, that was our media: rather than hold him accountable for his own declarations of removing Assad and setting a “red line,” they simply shrugged, muttered a word or two about how war Totally Sucks Anyway, and went back to writing think pieces on the cultural impact of the President’s NCAA tournament bracket.”
…The New York Times, for instance, attributes responsibility to some mysterious governing entity known as “The United States” and scorches the country as whole for ignoring Syria and ISIS, yet manages somehow not to mention the names Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton or the terms “JV” and “Red Line” once in about 1,500 words.
It wasn’t “the United States” that let Obama get away with declaring “I didn’t set that red line, the world did” only to have him to walk out the door like a dejected child needing an afternoon snack and media-induced nap. No, that was our media: rather than hold him accountable for his own declarations of removing Assad and setting a “red line,” they simply shrugged, muttered a word or two about how war Totally Sucks Anyway, and went back to writing think pieces on the cultural impact of the President’s NCAA tournament bracket.
Because of DC media’s nerd-prom infatuation at the thought of being a part, any part, of this socially cool West Wing Presidency, we have to turn to other sources in calling out this ridiculous clipboard hashtag foreign policy. Earlier this year in a brief appearance during Jon Stewart’s Night of Too Many Stars, and much to the horror of the crowd, stand up comedian Bill Burr tore into Michelle Obama over the White House’s penchant for doing nothing to stop these events except guilt-shaming us with puppydog eyes:
“She’s sitting there holding up those hashtags, Bring Back Our Girls. Remember that hashtag #BringBackOurGirls? That blew my mind, like, why are you showing me that? I’m a stand up comedian. Like what am I going to do to get back the girls? Why don’t you look across the dinner table — you see that guy? That is the Leader Of The Free World. Tell him to pick up a phone, call some Navy SEALs and solve it….what am I going to do? Show up with a sharpened mic stand? HEY EVERYONE MICHELLE TOLD ME TO BRING THEM BACK”
The whole routine is worth watching, if for no other reason than to see an overly-sensitive politically correct crowd, saturated with social media activism for the past seven years, pucker helplessly in their seats. And yet that’s where we’re at. Using Twitter to hold up signs — it’s exasperating precisely because the one “Red Line” that actually seems to still exist is the one forbidding the media from holding the one guy who can do anything about these foreign policy meltdowns and humanitarian crises responsible.
Our media collectively demands accountability for these conflicts from every single person…except the one person who has any real power to stop or mitigate it. This has always been the anecdote in Obama’s foreign policy: 1) show up 2) demand the world follow him 3) world leaders balk at his demands 4) he shrugs his shoulders and goes and plays with his selfie stick somewhere. If Obama really feels like going “all-out,” sometimes there will be an additional step 5 involving Twitter pictures of the State Department’s junior-hipster mall brigade flashing grins, thumbs-up, and razor-edged hashtags (fashioned by America’s sharpest military scientists working in the depths of DARPA to help win The Bloody War Of Memes).
Eastern Ukraine is still occupied by Putin and “our girls” have still not been returned and beyond hashtagvism, an administration far more interested in mobilizing mobs at home has all but failed to mobilize allies abroad. The repercussions of this President’s media-abetted lethargy and diplomatic ADHD will echo for generations and the same click-driven SEO Wizards of Trends that tell us now not to look away at the horrors flooding Europe will immediately torch the next Republican President for being boxed into intervening there. The Warmongering Neocon cliches will flood social media via progressive outlets like an undimmed tide, and passed off as the same interventionism nonsense by the Sunday morning peacock mafia.
It’s hard to quell the suspicion that this is why western leaders will not do what is necessary to rid the world of both ISIS and Assad. Legacy media demands we pay attention, but absolutely refuses to admit what in fact would be necessary for ending this: boots on the ground. Blood and treasure. War. Again, war. And war against whom? ISIS, yes, sure. But Assad? Do we risk all-out war with Assad in Syria, who is now backed now by Vladimir Putin, who has ramped up support with ground troops and armored divisions inside Syria? Better do a quick hit on ESPN Radio talking sports instead.
Responding to the tragedy unfolding in Syria right now means overwhelming and eliminating ISIS with uncompromising force, and returning to Iraq with a significant number of troops. ISIS can instantly erase 2,000 years of archaeological history overnight (A practice the Taliban employed as they rose to power in pre-9/11 Afghanistan) and the people charged with questioning the current administration about it refuse to address it beyond a few sad tweets…. Read the rest of this entry »
“Regardless of color, regardless of income status, you are not predestined to be poor.”
— Mia Love
Rep. Mia Love, R-Utah, sits down with The Daily Signal and shares her goals in Congress and why the conservative message remains strong.
Edward-Isaac Dovere writes: President Barack Obama and his aides launched a full-court press to save his trade package on Thursday, as House Democrats’ internal struggles pushed Obama’s top legislative priority perilously close to defeat.
As Obama made phone calls to reluctant Democrats from the White House, Chief of Staff Denis McDonough, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew and Labor Secretary Tom Perez went face-to-face with trade opponents including AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka in a testy closed meeting on Capitol Hill…(read more)
A former security agent shows the leader lived large while preaching revolutionary sacrifice
Mary Anastasia O’Grady writes: For 17 years Juan Reinaldo Sánchez was part of the elite team of Cuban security specialists charged with protecting the life and privacy of Fidel Castro.But in 1994 his loyalty came into question when, with a daughter already living abroad, a brother jumped on a raft for Florida. Castro fired him.
“The Obama administration has just removed Cuba from the U.S. list of state sponsors of terrorism amid sharp criticism from exiles. Their concerns are sensible: Though Castro is now rumored to be feebleminded, the intelligence apparatus he built—which specializes in violence to destabilize democracy and trafficks in drugs and weapons—remains as it has been for a half century.”
Sánchez was imprisoned for two years and tortured. In 2008 he defected to the U.S., making him the only member of el maximo lider’s personal escort ever to flee the island.
“When a Canadian company offered to build a modern sports-facility for the nation, Castro used the donation for a private basketball court. Wherever he traveled in the world, his bed was dismantled and shipped ahead to ensure the comfort he demanded.”
Last month Sánchez died, weeks after he published “The Double Life of Fidel Castro,” an English-language version of “La Vida Oculta de Fidel Castro,” first published in 2014 in Spain. The timing of his demise has some wondering if the long arm of the dictatorship did not reach out to exact revenge for his tell-all about his former boss. The official cause of death has been reported as lung cancer.
The legend of Castro as a great revolutionary who sacrifices for his people is preserved by keeping the details about his life a state secret. Sánchez’s account shows the real Castro: vengeful, self-absorbed and given to childish temper tantrums—aka “tropical storms.” “The best way of living with him,” Sánchez wrote, “was to accept all he said and did.”
The book is timely. The Obama administration has just removed Cuba from the U.S. list of state sponsors of terrorism amid sharp criticism from exiles. Their concerns are sensible: Though Castro is now rumored to be feebleminded, the intelligence apparatus he built—which specializes in violence to destabilize democracy and trafficks in drugs and weapons—remains as it has been for a half century.
Sánchez witnessed firsthand Castro’s indifference to Cuban poverty. The comandante gave interminable speeches calling for revolutionary sacrifice. But he lived large, with a private island, a yacht, some 20 homes across the island, a personal chef, a full-time doctor, and a carefully selected and prepared diet. Read the rest of this entry »
The claims in the Daily Beast story are completely 100% unsubstantiated
Mollie Hemingway writes: This week, a group of Republican senators led by Tom Cotton of Arkansas (pictured above, with a kitten, in Iraq) issued a very brief open letter to the leaders of Iran explaining the differences between mere executive agreements and international treaties ratified by the Senate. It’s a fairly basic letter that includes reminders about the Constitutional system under which we operate. I couldn’t begin to speculate why, but the media lost their collective minds over this letter. Along with other Democrats and progressive activists. You can read the breathless, outraged, totally-over-the-top headlines if you’d like to see this melt-down in action.
Now, that’s fine. That’s their business. To be completely honest, and not that you care, I’m not the biggest fan of such letters myself. I mean, they’re not as bad as Nancy Pelosi going to Syria to undermine Bush’s foreign policy, Jimmy Carter helping North Korea get nuclear weapons, Ted Kennedy secretly asking the Soviets to interfere in the 1984 election or any of the many other interjections we’ve seen, but I think it’s generally a good idea to yield to the president on foreign negotiations, even if it’s a really bad president who couldn’t negotiate his way out of a paper bag if the stakes involved, oh I don’t know, going ahead with Iran as a nuclear power.
“What he sure as MOTHERFREAKING FREAK doesn’t say is that he’s a senator, that he thought it was a dumb idea to sign the letter, that he signed it and then realized it was a bad call or that he represents the ‘some’ in the headline.”
But let’s look a little deeper at just one part of this media campaign against Republican senators. It comes from Tim Mak of the Daily Beast and it looks like he’s got an explosive story:
Whoa. Check that out. Republicans now “admit” that the letter was “a dumb idea”! That’s huge. And “some Republicans who signed on” are now “realizing” it was a bad call? I can’t wait to read this story — taglined “HINDSIGHT” for extra flair — can you?
“Other than this low-level staff aide who didn’t even say he thought the letter was a bad idea, much less a dumb one, we have two Republican Senators who always opposed the letter and then also a Democratic Senator who didn’t like the letter…”
What are their names? Which of the senators are changing their minds and “admitting” and “realizing” that the media were right after all? Who are they?
Oh dear. That’s … weird. Very weird.
“So, in other words, we have a story that in no way supports the headline. Not even close…”
Hunh. Tim Mak’s story doesn’t even claim a single senator changed his mind. Not even close. Yikes.
Um. So it turns out that the only people quoted in the story against the letter are people who always opposed the letter. There’s also a quote from an unnamed, completely anonymous “Senate Republican aide” who doesn’t in any way say anything even remotely close to the claims made in the headline or anywhere else in the piece. Read the rest of this entry »