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The Russian Intel Story Shows the Price of Trump’s Lost Credibility

Loose Lips Sink Presidencies.

The state of the Trump Presidency has been perpetual turbulence, which seems to be how the principal likes it. The latest vortex is over Mr. Trump’s disclosure of sensitive intel to the Russians—and whatever the particulars of the incident, the danger is that Presidencies can withstand only so much turbulence before they come apart.

The Washington Post reported Monday night that in an Oval Office meeting last week Mr. Trump relayed high-level “code word” classified material obtained from an ally to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. Cue another Washington meltdown. The President took to Twitter on Tuesday morning to defend himself, claiming an “absolute right” to disclose “facts pertaining to terrorism and airline flight safety.”

National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster put a finer point on it at a Tuesday press conference, though without denying key details. He said Mr. Trump’s disclosure was “wholly appropriate” and didn’t expose intelligence sources and methods.

Presidents sometimes share secrets with overseas leaders—even to adversaries such as the Soviets during the Cold War—if they conclude the benefits of showing what the U.S. knows will aid diplomacy or strategic interests. From media accounts and his tweets, Mr. Trump said something about Islamic State’s laptop bomb threat to airlines. He may well have been trying to convince the envoys of the menace ISIS poses to Russian lives and foreign-policy goals, like the Russian airliner that exploded over Sinai in 2015. Read the rest of this entry »

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Noted Media Expert Van Jones Calls Out Hollywood, Reality TV for Trump’s Rise, Says ‘SNL’ Should Air 24/7

Ericka Franklin reports: Thursday morning, the Montage in Beverly Hills became the stomping grounds for EMA as it kicked off its inaugural two-day Impact Summit.

“Look, Hollywood created ‘The West Wing.’ That opened the door for a President Obama to be taken seriously as a cerebral, high-integrity candidate. Hollywood also produced reality television, which lowered the bar for any kind of rational discussion or role models and that gave you Donald Trump.”

Along with the most environmentally conscious suited professionals, the event drew Malin AkermanLance Bass, and Van Jones who delivered a keynote, “Where We Went Wrong and How We Can Change the Future.”

“I think this town needs to take a lot more seriously the stories it’s telling. The same Hollywood liberals that cash all these checks from reality TV when they look in their bank account are now sad from looking at their TV every night.”

Before addressing the crowd, “The Messy Truth” host spoke with Variety to weigh in on the media’s impact on politics.

“I’m hoping that we’ll be able to find better ways to listen to each other,” he said. “People are now almost completely isolated from each other from a media point of view. The media is no longer just what happens on television. Algorithms that Twitter and Instagram and [others] use that suggest you follow this person and this person are killing us. They only suggest you follow people that are just like you. The algorithms never say maybe because you’ve followed a hundred liberals maybe you want to consider following one conservative. Nope. You follow one hundred liberals, they’ll let you follow a thousand, ten thousand, and a million liberals. You’ll never hear from somebody else.”

“We can’t recover from two things and the world can’t recover from two things. One is nuclear war and the other is runaway catastrophic climate change. Those two threats are now more present than they’ve ever been in the history of this country because of the president.”

Regarding the impact of commentary from late-night television and President Donald Trump’s administration, the former Obama administration advisor was all for the satirical jab saying, “I think ‘SNL’ should be a 24-hour, seven-day a week station.”

He also mused on how film and television run adjacent with the vote. “Look, Hollywood created ‘The West Wing.’ That opened the door for a President Obama to be taken seriously as a cerebral, high-integrity candidate. Hollywood also produced reality television, which lowered the bar for any kind of rational discussion or role models and that gave you Donald Trump. I think this town needs to take a lot more seriously the stories it’s telling. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Krauthammer: ‘Encouraging’ That McMaster Questions ‘Prevailing Assumptions & Worldview’ 

Charles Krauthammer gave two main reasons why the selection of General H. R. McMaster to be national-security adviser was encouraging, and he also made another point about the language of Trump’s announcement.

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THE PEN: Trump Administration Issues 3rd in Series of Executive Headline Corrections

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President Trump: ‘I’m Proud to Have the Bust of Winston Groovy Back in the Oval Office’

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Bust of Reggae Recording Artist Winston Groovy Finally Returned to Oval Office

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Winston Tucker (born 1946), better known as Winston Groovy, is a Jamaican reggae singer best known for his recordings between the late 1960s and 1980s.

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Tucker was born in the Waltham Park Road area of Kingston, Jamaica in 1946. His first recording session was for producer and sound system operator King Edwards, which resulted in “She’s Mine”; It was never released but was played exclusively on Edwards’ sound system. Tucker relocated to Birmingham, England in 1961 to join his father. He joined The Ebonites while still at school and toured with the band. He moved to London in 1969 and began working with producer Laurel Aitken, adopting the stage name Winston Groovy.

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He had minor hits with “Yellow Bird” and “Standing on the Corner” and had his first big hit with the Lee “Scratch” Perry-produced “I Wanna be Loved”. With Aitken, he recorded a reggae version of Rufus Thomas‘ “Funky Chicken”. Further 1970s singles included a cover version of Dr Hook‘s “Sylvia’s Mother”, “Oh My My“, “I’ve got a nose for Trouble”, and “Please Don’t Make Me Cry“, recorded in 1970 for Eddy Grant‘s Torpedo label.

He continued to record in the 1980s and his career was given a boost in 1983 when UB40 recorded a version of “Please Don’t Make Me Cry” for their Labour of Lovealbum, which was also a top 10 single for the band. This led Trojan Records to reissue the original. Groovy had a minor hit in 1985 with a reggae version of The Commodores‘ “Nightshift”, reaching number 83 in the UK.

In 1990, he set up the W.G. Records label, and released his self-produced albums Talking LovePlease Don’t Make Me Cry and Coming On Strong. Read the rest of this entry »


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 »


[VIDEO] White House Press Briefing: Trump Administration Will ‘Strip Federal Grant Money from Sanctuary States and Cities’ that Harbor Undocumented Illegal Immigrants

White House Press Briefing FULL 1/25/17 President Donald Trump‘s Press Secretary Sean Spicer White House Press Briefing FULL 1/25/17 President Donald Trump’s Press Secretary Sean Spicer President Donald Trump Wednesday moved to strip Chicago of federal funds, making good on a campaign promise to withhold aid from cities that protect undocumented immigrants from deportation.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel has repeatedly vowed to remain a sanctuary city despite Trump’s threat — which he said Nov. 16 that he did not expect the Republican politician to fulfill, expecting him to find “other priorities” once in the White House.

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It is unclear what the move will mean for Chicago’s budget, or whether it would be approved by Congress.

In a Wednesday news conference, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said the administration will “target illegal immigrants for removal” and “strip federal grant money from sanctuary states and cities that harbor illegal immigrants.” White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer announced Wednesday that President Donald Trump will strip federal funding from so-called sanctuary cities like Philadelphia. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Howard Kurtz: Media ‘War’ Overshadows Trump’s Early Moves

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THE PEN: Trump Administration Issues 2nd in Series of Executive Headline Corrections

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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 »


Churchill Bust Returns to Oval Office

bustchurchill-bust-newsWinston-Churchilltrump-pen-phone Read the rest of this entry »


Day One: Erasing Obama

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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 »


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 »


What Will Become of White House Tech’s Juicebox Mafia? 

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Obama-era techies weigh staying under Trump

An impassioned debate is raging among software engineers, designers and other techies as to whether they want to stay in Washington under Donald Trump.

While some high-ranking tech staffers in the federal ranks say they’re not going anywhere, others worry that staying could put them in a tough spot, especially if the new administration asks them to work on projects at odds with their values.

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It’s “a brutal line for some of us to walk,” said one senior tech specialist in the federal government, who would only speak without being named. The specialist said staffers are caught between “serving the public in ways that are obviously still very much needed,” versus “serving a person — and a ‘regime’ — who, for some of us, is fundamentally disrespectful of our existence.”

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“The arguments are really clear,” says Anil Dash, a New York City entrepreneur whose commentary is widely followed in the tech industry. “The one side is, ‘You came to serve and there’s still a need.’ The other is, ‘Do we legitimize this administration?'”

[Read the full story here, at POLITICO]

Dash says he has stopped recommending that people in tech join the U.S. Digital Service, but that he also sees little upside to those already on the federal payroll leaving now.

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People open to staying include Rob Cook, a former Pixar executive who just three weeks ago began a three-year appointment as the head of the Technology Transformation Service, a branch of the General Services Administration created this summer to reinvent how the federal government buys and builds technology. “If it’s important, it’s important for all administrations,” Cook says.

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Cook’s view that civil servants serve regardless of who occupies the Oval Office has its adherents. But among the rank and file in the federal tech service, conversations are swirling. They’re weighing whether those who joined the Obama administration to apply the thinking of the so-called civic tech movement — the idea that modern digital tools can create a government more responsive to citizens — would be guilty of aiding a president whose policies and politics many of them utterly oppose.

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Obama created the Digital Service as what he called a tech “SWAT team” after being burned by the failed launch of HealthCare.gov. He has tapped that team of technology experts to execute some of his policy priorities, such as making it easier for would-be immigrants to the U.S. to track their applications online. Read the rest of this entry »


Obama: ‘The Arc of the Moral Universe Sometimes Goes Sideways’

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Obama Reckons with a Trump Presidency

Inside a stunned White House, the President considers his legacy and America’s future.

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Source: The New Yorker


Condescending Lame Duck President Lectures President-Elect in Patronizing Speech

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Barack Obama scolded Donald Trump for inaccurate’ rally speeches and warned ‘everybody is paying attention’ when he speaks. Obama also predicted Trump won’t be an ‘ideological’ president.

President Barack Obama delivered a series of patronizing backhanded compliments to President-Elect Donald Trump on Monday during a lengthy White House press conference conducted before his final trip abroad as America’s leader.

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While he praised Trump for pulling off ‘one of the biggest political upsets in history,’ Obama scolded his Republican successor for believing he can deliver on his campaign promises.

‘I think that he successfully mobilized a big chunk of the country to vote for him,’ Obama told reporters.

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But ‘regardless of what experience or assumptions he brought to the office, this office has a way of waking you up.’ Read the rest of this entry »


Noonan: What Comes After the Uprising

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President-elect Trump needs to reassure the country, including those who opposed him.

Sometimes there comes a crack in Time itself.

Sometimes the earth is torn by something blind. . . .

Call it the mores, call it God or Fate . . .

That force exists and moves.

And when it moves

It will employ a hard and actual stone

To batter into bits an actual wall

And change the actual scheme of things.

— Stephen Vincent Benét,

“ John Brown’s Body”

Time for an Intervention - Peggy Noonan's Blog - WSJPeggy Noonan writes: Hand it to him, the hard and actual stone who changed the actual scheme.

There were actually many stones, some 60 million, but Donald Trump did it, battering not just the famous blue wall but a wall of elites and establishments and their expectations.

“It was a natural, self-driven eruption. Which makes it all the more impressive and moving. And it somehow makes it more beautiful that few saw it coming.”

The moment for me that will never be forgotten:

I was in a busy network green room late on election night. We were scrolling down, noting margins in various battlegrounds, looking for something definitive. Then someone read aloud from his phone: “AP calls it—Donald Trump elected president of the United States.” There was quiet for just a moment. I wrote in my notes “2:32 a.m., 11/9/16.” Soon we went into the newsroom for a panel, and I said what I thought, again from my notes: “We have witnessed something epochal and grave. It is the beginning of a new era whose shape and form are not clear, whose personnel and exact direction are unknown. But something huge and incalculable has occurred. God bless our beloved country.”

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“The previous 16 months were, for the Trump campaign, the victory project. What has to begin now is the reassurance project.”

I am not one of those who knew how the evening would end. I saw Hillary Clinton winning for all the usual reasons. Now the usual reasons are pretty much out the window.

But some things should be said:

First, our democratic republic is vibrant and alive. It is not resigned. It is still capable of delivering a result so confounding it knocks you into the next room.

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Nobody rigged this. Nobody hacked it. There weren’t brawls at polling places, there was kindness and civility. At the 92nd Street Y I got to embrace three neighbors. All this in a highly charged, highly dramatic and divisive election. We did our democratic work and then went home. It all worked.

[Read the full story here, at WSJ]

Second, Donald Trump said he had a movement and he did. This is how you know. His presidential campaign was bad—disorganized, unprofessional, chaotic, ad hoc. There was no state-of-the-art get-out-the-vote effort—his voters got themselves out. There was no high-class, high-tech identifying of supporters—they identified themselves. They weren’t swayed by the barrage of brilliantly produced ads—those ads hardly materialized. This was not a triumph of modern campaign modes and ways. The people did this. As individuals within a movement.

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“Nobody rigged this. Nobody hacked it. There weren’t brawls at polling places, there was kindness and civility. At the 92nd Street Y I got to embrace three neighbors. All this in a highly charged, highly dramatic and divisive election. We did our democratic work and then went home. It all worked.”

It was a natural, self-driven eruption. Which makes it all the more impressive and moving. And it somehow makes it more beautiful that few saw it coming. Read the rest of this entry »


Dark days for Obama’s White House 

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President Obama on Thursday will welcome Donald Trump to the White House.

Jordan Fabian reports: President Obama on Thursday will welcome Donald Trump to the White House, beginning a transition of power that is pure anguish for many in the Democratic Party.

The meeting, which seemed improbable just 72 hours ago, will likely stand as one of the most humbling moments of Obama’s presidency.

Trump rose to political stardom in Obama’s first term by questioning his birthplace, spurring Obama to label him a “carnival barker.” The feud carried over into this year’s campaign, where Obama repeatedly described Trump as unfit for the Oval Office.

But despite his efforts, and vigorous campaigning by first lady Michelle Obama, Trump vanquished Hillary Clinton with victories in swing states that Obama had carried in 2008 and 2012.

Now Obama must begin to hand the keys to the White House to a leader who has pledged to unravel much of his legacy, from ObamaCare to environmental protections to Wall Street reform and the Iran nuclear deal.

WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 09: U.S. President Barack Obama makes a statement on the election results as Vice President Joseph Biden listens in the Rose Garden at the White House November 9, 2016 in Washington, DC. Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has won the election and will become the 45th president of the United States. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON, DC – NOVEMBER 09: U.S. President Barack Obama makes a statement on the election results as Vice President Joseph Biden listens in the Rose Garden at the White House November 9, 2016 in Washington, DC. Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has won the election and will become the 45th president of the United States. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

“I’m not saying it’s going to be an easy meeting,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest said.

Dark clouds hung over the White House the day before Trump’s visit, mirroring the mood inside the executive mansion.

But the sky cleared before Obama entered the Rose Garden Wednesday afternoon to put a positive spin on the results.

The president recalled a video he recorded on election night, in which he reminded the country that “the sun would come up in the morning” no matter who won.

“That is one bit of prognosticating that actually came true,” he said. “The sun is up. And I know everybody had a long night. I did as well.

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“But the day after, we have to remember that we’re actually all on one team.”

While Obama emphasized the importance of a smooth transition and a unified American government, there was no mistaking the pain felt by those on hand.

Dozens of shell-shocked staffers filed into the Rose Garden to watch the statement, including Valerie Jarrett, Denis McDonough and Susan Rice — all members of the president’s inner circle.

Obama’s team gave him an ovation that lasted for more than a minute after Vice President Biden and he returned to the Oval Office arm in arm.

No two-term president did more than Obama to ensure the election of his preferred successor in Clinton. But her colossal failure on Election Day could result in much of his legacy being wiped away. Read the rest of this entry »


Intel: White House Lie Of The Year, 2015

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“One of the things I insisted on the day I walked into the Oval Office was that I don’t want intelligence shaded by politics. I don’t want it shaded by the desire to tell a feel-good story. I believe that the Department of Defense and all those who head up our intelligence agencies understand that, and that I have made it repeatedly clear to all my top national security advisers that I never want them to hold back, even if the intelligence or their opinions about the intelligence, their analysis or interpretations of the data contradict current policy.”

— President Barack Obama, November 2015


President Dwight D. Eisenhower

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“We must be ready to dare all for our country. For history does not long entrust the care of freedom to the weak or the timid. We must acquire proficiency in defense and display stamina in purpose. We must be willing, individually and as a Nation, to accept whatever sacrifices may be required of us. A people that values its privileges above its principles soon loses both.” 


[VIDEO] Who Be Hillary Clinton?

Hillary Clinton has been in the public eye for decades, but the more we learn about her, the more we PANTSUIT-REPORTrealize how little we actually know. As the former First Lady attempts another run for President, let’s uncover exactly who she is before it’s too late.

Read more…

National Review Online

 


BREAKING: Russian Hackers Read Obama’s NCAA Brackets, Officials Say

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WASHINGTON — Some of President Obama’s email correspondence was swept up by Russian hackers last year in a breach of the White House’s unclassified computer system that was far more intrusive and worrisome than has been publicly acknowledged, according to senior American officials briefed on the investigation.

The hackers, who also got deeply into the State Department’s unclassified system, do not appear to have penetrated closely guarded servers that control the message traffic from Mr. Obama’s BlackBerry, which he or an aide carries constantly.

But they obtained access to the email archives of people inside the White House, and perhaps some outside, with whom Mr. Obama regularly communicated. From those accounts, they reached emails that the president had sent and received, according to officials briefed on the investigation.

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White House officials said that no classified networks had been compromised, and that the hackers had collected no classified information. Many senior officials have two computers in their offices, one operating on a highly secure classified network and another connected to the outside world for unclassified communications.

But officials have conceded that the unclassified system routinely contains much information that is considered highly sensitive: schedules, email exchanges with ambassadors and diplomats, discussions of pending personnel moves and legislation, and, inevitably, some debate about policy.

Officials did not disclose the number of Mr. Obama’s emails that were harvested by hackers, nor the sensitivity of their content. The president’s email account itself does not appear to have been hacked. Aides say that most of Mr. Obama’s classified briefings — such as the morning Presidential Daily Brief — are delivered orally or on paper (sometimes supplemented by an iPad system connected to classified networks) and that they are usually confined to the Oval Office or the Situation Room.

Even though Obama's email is protected by Secret Service guards, somehow Russians got access

Even though Obama’s email is protected by Secret Service guards, somehow Russians got access

Still, the fact that Mr. Obama’s communications were among those hit by the hackers — who are presumed to be linked to the Russian government, if not working for it — has been one of the most closely held findings of the inquiry. Senior White House officials have known for months about the depth of the intrusion.

“This has been one of the most sophisticated actors we’ve seen,” said one senior American official briefed on the investigation.

Others confirmed that the White House intrusion was viewed as so serious that officials met on a nearly daily basis for several weeks after it was discovered. “It’s the Russian angle to this that’s particularly worrisome,” another senior official said. Read the rest of this entry »


Captain America Won’t Save Us

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Republicans look like they’re obsessed with finding a superhero

Daniel Henningerrenocol_DanHenninger writes: You have to feel sorry for the Democrats. In a world warming to presidential politics, what do they talk to each other about? Nearly two years from the election, they’ve already got their launch vehicle in place, former everything Hillary Clinton . Fire and forget.

The one-time First Lady, U.S. senator and Secretary of State pumped up a political crowd in Silicon Valley this week by vowing, presumably as president, to “crack every last glass ceiling.” As a political issue, the “glass ceiling” dates back to . . . 1984. It may be older than “income inequality.”

“The U.S. just tried electing a rookie president and had six years of amateur hour. It doesn’t work.”

But anywhere else two people gather who aren’t Democrats, you will fall into the same intense political conversation with a one-word question: Whoduyalike? Who do you like among the names floating in GOP circles for the 2016 nomination? Walker, Bush, Paul, Rubio, Jindal, Perry, Cruz, Christie, Fiorina, Carson, Santorum, Pence. I kind of like…

“And it won’t work again if the next president, whether rookie or former governor, shows up in the Oval Office in January 2017 with not much more than his victory cape and some political pals.”

Two significant meetings of conservative groups take place today through Saturday, and some of these people will pitch themselves at both the CPAC conference just outside Washington, and to the Club for Growth in Palm Beach. Mike Huckabee will preach on his own behalf Thursday evening to the National Religious Broadcasters convention in Nashville.

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It’s all great fun. But there’s something a little off about the Republican presidential conversation right now. It doesn’t come close to reflecting the seriousness of the task facing voters in 2016: Elect a successor to the most catastrophic American presidency in over 80 years. And it ain’t over yet.

“Their Captain America could be named Rand, Scott, Jeb or Marco, but the mere landing of this political superhero in the Oval Office will turn the country around. Really? That’s all it is going to take?”

Instead of offering an anxious electorate a recognizable alternative to this status quo, the Republicans look like they’re obsessed with discovering Captain America.

Their Captain America could be named Rand, Scott, Jeb or Marco, but the mere landing of this political superhero in the Oval Office will turn the country around. Really? That’s all it is going to take?

It is hard to overstate what one-man-shows these presidential candidates have become—one guy, some political pros they’ve hired, their donors and whatever thoughts are running through their or their pollsters’ heads.

In normal times, it might not matter much that a CPAC conference with its gauntlet of speeches and straw polls looks a lot like the NFL Scouting Combine. Chris Christie has no vertical leap, but man can he lift.

The task that Barack Obama is dumping on the next U.S. president, of either party, is overwhelming. Read the rest of this entry »


Photo of the Day: Obama Sniffs a Cuban Cigar

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Barack Obama’s historic peace-deal with Cuba after 50 years of cold war hostility was a breakthrough not to be sniffed at.

But that didn’t stop the US president having a try, when he got close and personal to a Cuban on Wednesday … not a citizen, but a cigar.

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Significantly, it was the first time in 52 years that a US president has officially savoured the Cuban delicacy since John F. Kennedy stockpiled a secret stash of his favourite Havanas in the hours before he imposed a trade embargo on the Communist state in 1962.

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Obama was attending one of two White House receptions to welcome the start of Hanukkah when a guest handed him a large stogie.

He took it in his hand and waved it in the air before running it under his nose for a whiff.

The room fell near-silent as he paused to take in its aroma, before declaring it ‘pretty good’ to everyone’s relief. Read the rest of this entry »


Ann Compton on Obama: He Launches Profanity-Laced Tirades Against Press

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Scott Whitlock reports: According to retired ABC News journalist Ann Compton, Barack Obama launches into “profanity-laced” tirades against the press in off-the-record meetings with reporters. In a C-SPAN interview, Compton also derided the President for leading “the most opaque” administration of “any I have covered.”

“We cover what we are allowed to cover. And when policy decisions and presidents are inaccessible and don’t take questions from the press on a regular basis, I think they reap what they sow.”

The journalist, who retired in August after a 40-year career, revealed to C-SPAN’s Brian Lamb: “I have seen in the last year Barack Obama really angry twice. Both were off-the-record times. One, profanity-laced where he thought the press was making too much of scandals that he did not think were scandals.” [MP3 audio here.]

She explained, “And I don’t find him apologetic. But I find him willing to stand up to the press and look them in the eye, even though it was off the record and just give us hell.”

“Before I walked out the door on September 10, I was a strong voice for complaining that this particular administration has been more opaque than any I have covered about what the President does in the Oval Office everyday…”

After Lamb wondered if the President had a point, she chided, “We cover what we are allowed to cover. And when policy decisions and presidents are inaccessible and don’t take questions from the press on a regular basis, I think they reap what they sow.”

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Despite Obama’s apparent rage against the press, he hasn’t had much to complain about. The Media Research Center documented how journalists covered-up his failures and scandals.

Earlier in the hour-long C-SPAN interview, which aired on Sunday night, but was recorded in October, Compton slammed the “opaque” administration:

ANN COMPTON: Before I walked out the door on September 10, I was a strong voice for complaining that this particular administration has been more opaque than any I have covered about what the President does in the Oval Office everyday. He is far less accessible on photo-ops with meetings. Even some meetings on the record, meeting in the Roosevelt room with financial leaders from, from Wall Street or on issues with environmental groups, or with issues with environmental groups, with public opinion leaders, I think most presidents have been far more forthcoming than the second Obama term, in terms of what the President is doing every day and we almost never get photo-ops.

She added that it’s fine for the White House to take its own photographs, but “those same elements should not be blocked from the White House press corps.”

Interestingly, on Compton’s last day in August, the President called on her for a final question. She chose to ask about the police shooting in Ferguson, not the concerns she expressed to C-SPAN. Read the rest of this entry »


Joe Biden’s Special Purpose

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‘Have you met Joe Biden?’ South Carolina Rep. Trey Gowdy asked during a Fox News Channel interview.

Impeachment talk has swirled around Washington since the president announced that an executive order overhauling America’s immigration system is imminent.

But some in the GOP see Biden as Obama’s hedge against removal from office, since much of his public exposure has come in conjunction with a series of embarrassing gaffes…(read more)

Daily Mail Online


POTUS #42 on #43 About #41


Obama’s Ghost Advisor: Reagan Image-Maker Changed American Politics

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As Barack’s Obama’s celebrity was exploding on the national scene during his historic first presidential campaign, a highly influential behind-the-scenes figure was quietly disappearing from it: Michael K. Deaver.

From a August 19 2007 Patricia Sullivan obituary of Deaver in The Washington Post:

Michael K. Deaver, 69, the media maestro who shaped President Ronald Reagan’s public image for 20 years, transforming American politics with his powerful gift for image-making, died of pancreatic cancer yesterday at his home in Bethesda.

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Deaver introduced the “photo op,” which positioned the former actor in visually irresistible locations where troublesome reporters’ questions could not intrude

As the White House deputy chief of staff during the first term of the Reagan presidency, Deaver orchestrated Reagan’s every public appearance, staging announcements with an eye for television and news cameras. From a West Wing office adjacent to the Oval Office, Deaver did more than anyone before him to package and control the presidential image.

After his years in the White House, Deaver endured a public fall from grace when he was convicted of perjury for lying to Congress and a federal grand jury about his lobbying business.

“Ever protective of the president, Deaver limited access to Reagan in a way unprecedented in the modern presidency.”

He later atoned for his misdeeds through unpublicized charitable works and regained his standing as a prominent Washington power broker.

A close friend of both President Reagan and his wife since their days in the California governor’s mansion, Deaver introduced the “photo op,” which positioned the former actor in visually irresistible locations where troublesome reporters’ questions could not intrude: atop the Great Wall of China, on the beach at Normandy for the 40th anniversary of D-Day or in front of a construction site as the president announced the latest government report on housing starts.

“I’ve always said the only thing I did is light him well,” he said. “My job155-obama-2008 was filling up the space around the head. I didn’t make Ronald Reagan. Ronald Reagan made me.”

“The more you expose yourself, the more you expose yourself to trivialization. And if things start not working, people are going to say, ‘Get off your rear, quit talking and do something about it.'”

— Deaver to the New York Times in 1993

Deaver once even saved the future president’s life. On a campaign plane in 1976, Reagan began choking on a peanut. Deaver wrapped his arms around the candidate from behind and drove his fists inward and upward below his diaphragm. On the second try, the nut flew out.

Ever protective of the president, Deaver limited access to Reagan in a way unprecedented in the modern presidency. “The more you expose yourself, the more you expose yourself to trivialization,” he told the New York Times in 1993. “And if things start not working, people are going to say, ‘Get off your rear, quit talking and do something about it.’ ”

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Deaver’s belief in the importance of memorable visuals was confirmed to his own detriment. Not quite a year after he left the White House to start a successful lobbying business, he appeared on the March 3, 1986, cover of Time magazine. Well-dressed, telephone pressed to his ear, a smug-looking Deaver sat in the richly appointed back seat of a limousine, with the U.S. Capitol dome over his shoulder. Read the rest of this entry »


The Supreme Court’s Biggest Loser

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For Breitbart.com, Charles Hurt writes a caustically funny, deadly accurate takedown of failing Law-sSudent-in Chief, in the wake of the Obama Administration’s epic court losses. Read the whole thing here. In the meantime, enjoy this excerpt:

Summer is hot upon us, another Supreme Court term is ending, and now it is time to evaluate America’s most tutored — and tortured — constitutional law student.

“Indeed, this is no ordinary student. This is a very special student with very special needs. Nine patient teachers. Limitless free school supplies. And a class size of one.”

It is unusual for a pupil of the Constitution to have such exhaustive continuing education courses, with such arduous nine-on-one tutoring from the foremost experts in the entire world. It is especially unusual since the pupil in question has actually had a constitutional law degree conferred upon him by an esteemed Ivy League institution and lectured on constitutional law at an equally esteemed institution of higher learning.

Indeed, this is no ordinary student. This is a very special student with very special needs. Nine patient teachers. Limitless free school supplies. And a class size of one.

Yet still, he cannot seem to grasp the most elementary concepts of constitutional law. Read the rest of this entry »


The White House Is Exhausted

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Memo to George E. Condon: if the president is ‘exhausted’, imagine how the rest of us feel?

For NationalJournal.com writes: Day 1,956 of his presidency was not too kind to President Obama. Having to announce within a four-hour span that he had lost both an embattled Cabinet secretary and his chief spokesman, Obama looked Friday like a man gamely trying to get a stalled administration back on track.

“Only three of Obama’s original 16 Cabinet officers remain—Eric Holder at Justice, Tom Vilsack at Agriculture, and Arne Duncan at Education.”

He entered the week still stuck with low approval ratings and facing fierce criticism of his policies both at home and abroad. On Wednesday, he tried to chart a new course internationally with a West Point speech setting out a new foreign policy. On Thursday, he dealt with widespread criticism of the speech.

At every turn, he is confronted by the irrationalities and inconveniences of his own health-care law

On Friday, he tried to dig himself out of a troubling Veterans Administration scandal by jettisoning VA Secretary Eric Shinseki, a man he thought was being unfairly blamed for the problems. Then he accepted the resignation of press secretary Jay Carney, the longtime public face of his White House. Read the rest of this entry »