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Frustrated Russian Officials Struggling To Get Any Policies Through Dysfunctional Trump Administration 

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MOSCOW—Lamenting that internal disorganization was making it extremely difficult to get anything done, Russian officials voiced their frustration Thursday about continuing struggles to get policies through the dysfunctional Trump administration. “You’d think that after being in the White House for a month, they’d have at least some rudimentary process for rolling out our new proposals, but it’s just been a mess so far,” said Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, adding that the recent dismissal of Michael Flynn as national security advisor was “just the tip of the iceberg” in a chaotic White House where internal conflicts and numerous leaks made it hard for the Russians to implement any workable ideas at all. Read the rest of this entry »

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What Explains CPAC’s Dance with Milo Yiannopoulos?

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‘The enemy of my enemy is my ally’

editor-commen-deskHuman monkey behavior is often an under-explored element in articles about group dynamics in politics. That’s why we’re pleased to find National Review‘s Jonah Goldberg liberally including quotations from evolutionary psychologist John Tooby. This is from Jonah’s weekly column in the LATimes:


Jonah Goldberg
lanews-jonah-goldberg-20130507 writes:

…From the outset, many on the right who do not consider themselves part of the Cult of Milo opposed his invitation. The disturbing thing is that, absent these videos, we would have lost the fight.

“John Tooby, the evolutionary psychologist, recently wrote that if he could explain one scientific concept to the public it would be the ‘coalitional instinct.’ In our natural habitat, to be alone was to be vulnerable. If ‘you had no coalition, you were nakedly at the mercy of everyone else, so the instinct to belong to a coalition has urgency, pre-existing and superseding any policy-driven basis for membership … This is why group beliefs are free to be so weird’.”

Even now, Schlapp defends the initial decision to invite Yiannopoulis. On Monday’s ”Morning Joe,” he insisted: “The fact is, he’s got a voice that a lot of young people listen to.” A lot of young conservative people, he should have added, precisely because he enrages so many young liberals.

“If ‘you had no coalition, you were nakedly at the mercy of everyone else, so the instinct to belong to a coalition has urgency, pre-existing and superseding any policy-driven basis for membership,’ Tooby wrote on Edge.org. ‘This is why group beliefs are free to be so weird.’”

And that’s part of the problem. We are in a particularly tribal moment in American politics in which “the 41diaueofdl-_sl250_enemy of my enemy is my ally” is the most powerful argument around.

[Check out John Tooby’s book “The Adapted Mind: Evolutionary Psychology and the Generation of Culture at Amazon.com]

John Tooby, the evolutionary psychologist, recently wrote that if he could explain one scientific concept to the public it would be the “coalitional instinct.” In our natural habitat, to be alone was to be vulnerable. If “you had no coalition, you were nakedly at the mercy of everyone else, so the instinct to belong to a coalition has urgency, pre-existing and superseding any policy-driven basis for membership,” Tooby wrote on Edge.org. “This is why group beliefs are free to be so weird.”

[read the full story here, at LA Times]

We overlook the hypocrisies and shortcomings within our coalition out of a desire to protect ourselves from our enemies.

Today, the right sees the left as enemies — and, I should say, vice versa. Read the rest of this entry »


Obama-linked Activists Have a ‘Training Manual’ for Protesting Trump 

As Donald Trump Wins Presidency, Country Reacts

Organizing for Action, a group founded by Obama and featured prominently on his new post-presidency website, is distributing a training manual to anti-Trump activists that advises them to bully GOP lawmakers into backing off support for repealing ObamaCare, curbing immigration from high-risk Islamic nations, and building a border wall.

Paul Sperry reports: An Obama-tied activist group training tens of thousands of agitators to protest President Trump’s policies plans to hit Republican lawmakers supporting those policies even harder this week, when they return home for the congressional recess and hold town hall meetings and other functions.

“A script advises callers to complain: ‘I’m honestly scared that a known racist and anti-Semite will be working just feet from the Oval Office … It is everyone’s business if a man who promoted white supremacy is serving as an adviser to the president.’”

Organizing for Action, a group founded by Obama and featured prominently on his new post-presidency website, is distributing a training manual to anti-Trump activists that advises them to bully GOP lawmakers into backing off support for repealing ObamaCare, curbing immigration from high-risk Islamic nations, and building a border wall.

“The goal is to make Republicans, even from safe districts, second-guess their support for the Trump agenda.”

In a new Facebook post, OFA calls on activists to mobilize against Republicans from now until Feb. 26, when “representatives are going to be in their home districts.”

The protesters disrupted town halls earlier this month, including one held in Utah by House Oversight Chairman Jasonobama_in_limo_pd_12913 Chaffetz, who was confronted by hundreds of angry demonstrators claiming to be his constituents.

The manual, published with OFA partner “Indivisible,” advises protesters to go into halls quietly so as not to raise alarms, and “grab seats at the front of the room but do not all sit together.” Rather, spread out in pairs to make it seem like the whole room opposes the Republican host’s positions. “This will help reinforce the impression of broad consensus.” It also urges them to ask “hostile” questions — while keeping “a firm hold on the mic” — and loudly boo the the GOP politician if he isn’t “giving you real answers.”

[Read the full story here, at New York Post]

“Express your concern [to the event’s hosts] they are giving a platform to pro-Trump authoritarianism, racism, and corruption,” it says.

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“The manual, published with OFA partner ‘Indivisible,’ advises protesters to go into halls quietly so as not to raise alarms, and “grab seats at the front of the room but do not all sit together.’ Rather, spread out in pairs to make it seem like the whole room opposes the Republican host’s positions. ‘This will help reinforce the impression of broad consensus.’”

The goal is to make Republicans, even from safe districts, second-guess their support for the Trump agenda, and to prime “the ground for the 2018 midterms when Democrats retake power.”

“It also urges them to ask ‘hostile’ questions — while keeping ‘a firm hold on the mic’ — and loudly boo the the GOP politician if he isn’t ‘giving you real answers.’”

“Even the safest [Republican] will be deeply alarmed by signs of organized opposition,” the document states, “because these actions create the impression that they’re not connected to their district and not listening to their constituents.”

After the event, protesters are advised to feed video footage to local and national media. Read the rest of this entry »


Badiucao: One Love, One China

From China Digital Times: In recent cartoons for CDT,  puts a Valentine twist on President Trump’s emerging relationship with President Xi Jinping, which took a step forward in a recent phone call:

Valentines, by Badiucao:

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A second drawing focuses on Trump’s effort to patch up relations with Beijing by acknowledging the “one China” policy, which declares that Taiwan is part of China. Trump had earlier stated that he was “not committed” to the longstanding policy.

One China, by Badiucao

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Since his inauguration in January, President Trump’s policy toward China has been elusive and unpredictable. He ignited a firestorm of controversy soon after taking office by accepting a phone call from President Tsai Ing-wen of Taiwan and later saying that he may choose not to adhere to the “one China” policy, which has defined the U.S.-China-Taiwan trilateral relationship for decades. These actions seemed to indicate that he would live up to campaign rhetoric to take a tougher line on China than his predecessors. Yet after two weeks of silence between the two leaders, Trump switched tacks by promising to uphold the one China status quo in a phone call with President Xi Jinping. From Simon Denyer and Philip Rucker of the Washington Post:

In a statement issued late Thursday, the White House said the two men had held a lengthy and “extremely cordial” conversation.

“The two leaders discussed numerous topics and President Trump agreed, at the request of President Xi, to honor our one-China policy,” the White House statement said.

In return, Xi said he “appreciated his U.S. counterpart, , for stressing that the U.S. government adheres to the one-China policy,” which he called the “political basis” of relations between the two nations, state news agency Xinhua reported. [Source]

The call has been taken by many as a sign of acquiescence by Trump to Xi, as he acknowledged that his mention of the “one China” policy was at Xi’s request. From Jane Perlez of The New York Times:

But in doing so, he handed China a victory and sullied his reputation with its leader, Xi Jinping, as a tough negotiator who ought to be feared, analysts said. Read the rest of this entry »


Former Obama Officials, Loyalists Waged Secret Campaign to Oust Flynn

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

Sources: Former Obama officials, loyalists planted series of stories to discredit Flynn, bolster Iran deal.

 reports: The abrupt resignation Monday evening of White House national security adviser Michael Flynn is the culmination of a secret, months-long campaign by former Obama administration confidantes to handicap President Donald Trump’s national security apparatus and preserve the nuclear deal with Iran, obama_in_limo_pd_12913according to multiple sources in and out of the White House who described to the Washington Free Beacon a behind-the-scenes effort by these officials to plant a series of damaging stories about Flynn in the national media.

The effort, said to include former Obama administration adviser Ben Rhodes—the architect of a separate White House effort to create what he described as a pro-Iran echo chamber—included a small task force of Obama loyalists who deluged media outlets with stories aimed at eroding Flynn’s credibility, multiple sources revealed.

The operation primarily focused on discrediting Flynn, an opponent of the Iran nuclear deal, in order to handicap the Trump administration’s efforts to disclose secret details of the nuclear deal with Iran that had been long hidden by the Obama administration.

“The Obama administration knew that Flynn was going to release the secret documents around the Iran deal, which would blow up their myth that it was a good deal that rolled back Iran. So in December the Obama NSC started going to work with their favorite reporters, selectively leaking damaging and incomplete information about Flynn.”

Insiders familiar with the anti-Flynn campaign told the Free Beacon that these Obama loyalists plotted in the months before Trump’s inauguration to establish a set of roadblocks before Trump’s national security team, which includes several prominent opponents of diplomacy with Iran. The Free Beacon first reported on this effort in January.

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“After Trump was inaugurated some of those people stayed in and some began working from the outside, and they cooperated to keep undermining Trump. Last night’s resignation was their first major win, but unless the Trump people get serious about cleaning house, it won’t be the last.”

Sources who spoke to the Free Beacon requested anonymity in order to speak freely about the situation and avoid interfering with the White House’s official narrative about Flynn, which centers on his failure to adequately inform the president about a series of phone calls with Russian officials.

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Flynn took credit for his missteps regarding these phone calls in a brief statement released late Monday evening. Trump administration officials subsequently stated that Flynn’s efforts to mislead the president and vice president about his contacts with Russia could not be tolerated.

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

However, multiple sources closely involved in the situation pointed to a larger, more secretive campaign aimed at discrediting Flynn and undermining the Trump White House.

“It’s undeniable that the campaign to discredit Flynn was well underway before Inauguration Day, with a very troublesome and politicized series of leaks designed to undermine him,” said one veteran national security adviser with close ties to the White House team. “This pattern reminds me of the lead up to the Iran deal, and probably features the same cast of characters.”

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The Free Beacon first reported in January that, until its final days in office, the Obama administration hosted several pro-Iran voices who were critical in helping to mislead the American public about the terms of the nuclear agreement. This included a former Iranian government official and the head of the National Iranian American Council, or NIAC, which has been accused of serving as Iran’s mouthpiece in Washington, D.C. Read the rest of this entry »


Make America Bootyful Again: Joy Villa in MAGA Gown on Grammys 2017 Red Carpet 

Villa

Singer Joyce Villa wore a ‘Make America Great Again’ gown.

Scandalous dresses on the Grammys red carpet aren’t what they used to be. It wasn’t deep cleavage or a thigh-high leg slit that had tongues wagging about singer Joyce Villa on Sunday night. It was her red, white and blue gown emblazoned with “Make
joyce-villaAmerica Great Again” in front, and “Trump” across the train.

It’s a controversial statement coming from an artist in an industry that’s largely in opposition to the new president’s social policies, not to mention from a woman who identifies as bi-racial.

[In other words, The Hollywood Reporter finds it shocking, and controversial for the President of the United States to receive public support from a non-white entertainer]

The singer-songwriter, who goes by the name Princess Joy Villa, teased the ensemble on Instagram with a photo of a heart-shaped clutch and a caption stating, “My whole artistic platform is about LOVE. I couldn’t be where I am today without the love and tenderness of those beautiful supporters and friends around me.”

Villa went on to say, ”I hope you enjoy tonight’s #grammyawards2017 and remember to forget your problems and focus on the future! You are infinite and beautiful and no one can stop you but you. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Trump Looks to Strengthen U.S. Trade Ties with Japan

Boston Herald Columnist, Adriana Cohen, former Bush senior campaign advisor, Mark Serrano, and Club for Growth president, David McIntosh on President Trump’s trade policies and his desire to put America first.

trump-abe-snow-jp

Note: the above image is from Japanese social media. Original source unknown. But very typical of popular ‘kawaii’ image editing apps. See more of our Japan coverage here.

 

 


Japan, U.S. Affirm Senkakus Defense Under Article 5 

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WASHINGTON — Yujiro Okabe reports: Prime Minister Shinzo Abe met with U.S. President Donald Trump at the White House on Friday afternoon (early Saturday JST) before they held a press conference together.

Regarding the Senkaku Islands in Okinawa Prefecture, Abe said during the press conference, “We have affirmed that they are within the scope of Article 5 of the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty,” which obliges U.S. forces to defend Japan.

Trump stressed, “We are committed to the security of Japan.”

Abe also revealed that they have agreed to start holding a dialogue headed by Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Taro Aso and Vice President Mike Pence, aiming to expand trade and investment between the two countries. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Krauthammer: Slow-Walk the Executive Order Appeal, Fast-Walk Gorsuch Nomination

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Gorsuch Nomination More Important Than Travel Ban & Judges’ Opposition

“The point I wanted to make in the column was, there is the moratorium, and there is the vetting. The vetting will get 90 percent support in the country, but they actually should do it. It doesn’t depend on a moratorium. The fact is, they have lost the case in the most liberal circuit in the country, they’ve lost it at the district level, and for now, the Supreme Court is deadlocked, so it’s likely to return. In other words the case is stacked against them. I happen to think it’s legal, but these courts have decided not, so why play a losing hand? What he needs to do — I think it’s exactly right — either rewrite the order or have a new one, so you are dealing on a different playing field. You’ve gotten essentially the feedback of the ninth circuit, so you know what will pass muster and what won’t. For example, from the beginning, you exclude the holders of green cards, and then what you do is, you slow-walk the appeals case and you fast-walk the nomination of Gorsuch. There is no hurry on appealing this ruling. They are not going to win it in the end. … “

Read more

Source: National Review


[BOOKS] On Howard Stern, Actress Lena Dunham Credits President Trump for Her Weight Loss Success, Debuts New Diet Book

dunham-book

Rachel DeSantis reports: Most people turn to diets and exercise to lose extra pounds, but Girls star Lena Dunham is sharing a new weight-loss trick you may not want to try at home.

“Donald Trump became president and I stopped being able to eat food.”

— Actress and diet book author Lena Dunham

Dunham stopped by Howard Stern’s SiriusXM radio show Monday morning and revealed that she has none other than Donald Trump to thank for her slim figure.

“Everyone’s been asking like, ‘What have you been doing?’ And I’m like, ‘Try soul-crushing pain and devastation and hopelessness and you, too, will lose weight.’”

“Donald Trump became president and I stopped being able to eat food,” she told Stern after he complimented her look. “Everyone’s been asking like, ‘What have you been doing?’ And I’m like, ‘Try soul-crushing pain and devastation and hopelessness and you, too, will lose weight.’”

The actress, who was on hand to promote the upcoming sixth and final season of Girls, has not been shy about her dislike for the President, and apparently, the feeling is mutual. Read the rest of this entry »


Jonah Goldberg: Why Does Trump Insist on Such Absurd Moral Equivalency?

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Once again, President Trump has come to Russian President Vladimir Putin ’s defense by throwing America under the bus.

Jonah Goldberg writes: In a pre-taped interview with Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly, aired on Super Bowl Sunday, Trump was asked to explain his respect for Putin.

From Our Partners: Asked About Russia Sanctions, Donald Trump Says ‘We Ough…

“He is the leader of his country,” Trump said, adding the usual boilerplate about wanting to have good relations and help fighting Islamic State.

O’Reilly interjected, “Putin’s a killer.” And a vexed Trump replied, “There are a lot of killers. We’ve got a lot of killers. What, do you think our country is so innocent?”

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Wax statue of Vladimir Putin, Madame Tussauds

This was no gaffe. A similar conversation played out between MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough and Trump in December 2015. Scarborough asked about Trump’s bromance with Putin and Trump responded, “When people call you brilliant, it’s always good. Especially when the person heads up Russia.”

Putin “kills journalists, political opponents, and invades countries,” objected Scarborough. “Obviously that would be a concern, would it not?”

[Read more here, at the LA Times]

“He’s running his country, and at least he’s a leader, you know, unlike what we have in this country,” Trump said, referring to then-President Obama.

“But, again, he kills journalists that don’t agree with him,” protested Scarborough.

“Well, I think our country does plenty of killing also, Joe,” Trump said.

chez-madame-tussauds-trump-deja-remplace-obama

Wax statue of Donald Trump, Madame Tussauds

In July, Trump said something similar in response to questions from the New York Times about the bloody repressions and mass arrests by Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan. “When the world looks at how bad the United States is, and then we go and talk about civil liberties, I don’t think we’re a very good messenger.”

One might expect to hear that kind of logic from a dorm room full of Marxists. And if Obama had ever suggested the same, conservatives would have pounced. Of course America isn’t without sin. But ethically speaking, America has towered above Russia – including Russia under Putin. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Americans Gather Near U.S. Embassy in Tokyo to Protest Trump’s Travel Ban 日本のアメリカ大使館前で入国制限令に対するデモ

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TOKYO –  reports: A group of demonstrators gathered Tuesday morning near the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo to protest President Donald Trump’s executive order suspending the entry of refugees and restricting immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries.

Roughly 50 people, mainly Americans living in Japan, gathered near the embassy in Minato Ward at around 8 a.m. They held signs with slogans like “Build bridges, not walls,” “No Muslim ban” and “Immigrants make America great.”

“We will protest in solidarity with these individuals, including refugees from war-torn nations, as we stand against this unlawful, immoral and unjust action,” the organizers said in a Monday news release.

“We urge the Trump administration to cancel this executive order and to obey federal court orders against its implementation, and we ask all elected officials and world leaders to speak out against this despicable act,” it said.

Organizer Jesse Glickstein, an American lawyer living in Japan, said the demonstration was part of the global backlash against the immigration clampdown. Protests flared up around the world soon after the policy was implemented last Friday, which is also International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

Glickstein, who is Jewish, said his grandparents immigrated to the U.S. after surviving the Holocaust.

“This, to me, is possibly the most offensive thing a president can do,” Glickstein said before the protest began.

“I think this is important so that the Japanese people understand that the majority of Americans are not in agreement with this,” he said. “We welcome refugees, we welcome diversity, and this administration honestly is basically … waging war on this concept.”

Protester Alexander Gonzalez said he rejects the policy because it targets specific citizens. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Ben Sasse: No Moral Equivalency Between the U.S. and Putin’s Regime 

Senator Ben Sasse (R., Neb.) is having none of President Trump’s false moral equivalence. On ABC’s This Week Sunday, Sasse expressed his distaste at the comparison of the United States and Vladimir Putin’s regime.

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“Let’s be clear: Has the U.S. ever made any mistakes? Of course. Is the U.S. at all like Putin’s regime? Not at all. The U.S. affirms freedom of speech; Putin is no friend of freedom of speech. Putin is an enemy of freedom of religion, the U.S. celebrates freedom of religion. Putin is an enemy of free press; the U.S. celebrates free press. Putin is an enemy of political dissent; the U.S. celebrates political dissent and the right for people to argue free from violence about places where ideas are in conflict. There is no moral equivalency between the United States of America, the greatest freedom-loving nation in the history of the world, and the murderous thugs that are in Putin’s defense of his cronyism. There’s no moral equivalency there.”

David French writes:

…Trump said, “There are a lot of killers. We have a lot of killers. Well, you think our country is so innocent?” I’d like to focus on the follow-up, when O’Reilly gave him an opportunity to amend his statement:

O’REILLY: I don’t know of any government leaders that are killers.

TRUMP: Well — take a look at what we’ve done, too. We made a lot of mistakes. I’ve been against the war in Iraq from the beginning.

O’REILLY: Yes, mistakes are different than –

TRUMP: We made a lot of mistakes, OK, but a lot of people were killed. So, a lot of killers around, believe me.

WashMonument-BuckleyJr

In response, I’m reminded of a quote from our founder, William F. Buckley, Jr.:

[T]o say that the CIA and the KGB engage in similar practices is the equivalent of saying that the man who pushes an old lady into the path of a hurtling bus is not to be distinguished from the man who pushes an old lady out of the path of a hurtling bus: on the grounds that, after all, in both cases someone is pushing old ladies around. Read the rest of this entry »


Ronald Reagan’s Amazing, Mysterious Life

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From 2004: A behind-the-scenes look back at the man himself—detached yet accessible, astute and prophetic, colorful and complex.

June 28, 2004 Issue: There they lie in their guttered drawers, projecting from the rosewood desk I had specially made for them: four yards of cards, each eight inches wide, five inches tall, most of them with his initials handwritten, headline style, in the top left-hand corner, from “rr’s birth zodiac—feb. 6, 1911” to “rr dies of pneumonia—june 5, 2004.” In between these two extremes, some eighteen thousand cards document whatever I was able to find out about thirty-four thousand of Ronald Reagan’s days. Which leaves sixteen thousand days unaccounted for. Lost leaves. “The leavings of a life,” as D. H. Lawrence might say.

“All the rhetorical arts—gesture, timing, comedy, pathos—were at his command.” 

I once planned to show Reagan this card file, just to see him react as drawer after drawer rolled out yard by yard, green tabs demarcating his years, yellow tabs his careers, blue tabs his triumphs and disappointments. He could have looked down, as it were, on the topography of his biography, and seen the shoe salesman’s son moving from town to town across northern Illinois, in the teens of the last century; the adolescent achieving some sort of stability at Dixon High School in 1924; the Eureka College student and summer lifeguard through 1933; then, successively—each divider spaced farther from the next, as he grew in worldly importance—the Des Moines sportscaster and ardent New Dealer; the Hollywood film star; the cavalry officer and Air Corps adjutant; the postwar union leader and anti-Communist; the television host and corporate spokesman for General Electric; the governor of California, 1967-75; the twice-defeated, ultimately successful candidate for his party’s Presidential nomination; and, last, the septuagenarian statesman, so prodigiously carded that the nine tabs “1981” through “1989” stand isolated like stumps in snow.

reagan-library-photo

He never visited my study, however, and on reflection I am glad he did not, because he might have been disturbed to see how far he had come in nearly eighty years, and how few more cards he was likely to generate after leaving the White House. Besides, I would have had to keep my forearm over a file more than a foot long, practically bristling with tabs descriptive of “rr the man.” Now that the man is no more, and subject to the soft focus of sentimental recall, a riffle through some of these tabs might help restore his image in all its color and complexity.

The first subsection deals with Ronald Reagan’s body. In 1988, at seventy-seven years of age, the President stood six feet one and weighed a hundred and ninety pounds, none of it flab. He boasted that any punch aimed at his abdomen would be jarringly repulsed. After a lifetime of working out with wheels and bars, he had broadened his chest to a formidably walled cavern forty-four inches in circumference. He was a natural athlete, with a peculiarly graceful Algonquin gait that brought him into rooms almost soundlessly. No matter how fast he moved (that big body could turn on a dime), he was always balanced.

One recalls how elegantly he choreographed Mikhail Gorbachev up the steps at the 1985 Geneva summit: an arabesque of dark blue flowing around awkward gray. Reagan loved to swim, ride, and foxtrot. (Doris Day remembers him as “the only man I ever knew who really liked to dance.”) Eleven weeks after nearly dying in the assassination attempt of 1981, he climbed onto the springboard at the Camp David swimming pool and threw a perfect half pike before anybody could protest.

[Read more here, at The New Yorker]

Gorbachev once remarked on Reagan’s “balance” to me in an interview. But he used the Russian word ravnovesie in its wider sense, of psychological equilibrium. The President’s poised body and smooth yet inexorable motion telegraphed a larger force that came of a lifetime of no self-doubt (except for two years of despair in 1948-49, after Jane Wyman, his first wife, left him for boring her). Reagan redux did not care whom he bored, as long as nobody tried to stop him. His famous anecdotes, recounted with a speed and economy that were the verbal equivalent of balance, were persuasive on the first, and even the fourth, telling. But when you heard them for the fourteenth, or the fortieth, time, always with exactly the same inflections and chuckles and glances, you realized that he was a bore in the sense that a combine harvester is boring: its only purpose is to bear down upon and thresh whatever grain lies in its path. Reagan used homilies to harvest people.

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He was always meticulously dressed in tailored suits and handmade shoes and boots. But he was neither a dandy nor a spendthrift. In 1976, he still stepped out in a pair of high-cut, big-tongued alligator pumps that predated the Cold War: “Do you realize what I paid for these thirty years ago?” His personal taste never advanced beyond the first affectations of the nouveau riche. Hence the Corum twenty-dollar-face wristwatch, the Countess Mara ties, the Glen checks too large or too pale, and a weekend tartan blazer that was, in Bertie Wooster’s phrase, “rather sudden, till you got used to it.” Yet Reagan avoided vulgarity, because he sported such things without self-consciousness. And he wore the plainer suits that rotated through his wardrobe just as unpretentiously. No man ever looked better in navy blue, or black tie.

On a card inscribed “alcohol”—his father’s cross—appears the comment of an old Hollywood friend: “Ronnie never had a booze problem, but once every coupla years, he wasn’t averse to a lot of drink. Its only effect was to make him more genial.” His face would flush after a mere half glass of Pinot Noir, giving rise to repeated rumors that he used rouge.

Actually, Reagan never required makeup, even when he was a movie actor. He didn’t sweat under hot lights: he basked in them. A young photographer who did a cover portrait of him in 1984 for Fortune told me, “When I walked into the Oval Office, I thought my career was made. He was just back from areagan-irish-hat-st.patricks long campaign swing, and looked terrible, all drained and lined. I hit him with every harsh spot I had, and etched out those wrinkles, figuring I’d do what Richard Avedon did to Dottie Parker. Know what? When my contacts came back from the darkroom, the old bastard looked like a million bucks. Taught me a real lesson. Ronald Reagan wasn’t just born for the camera. There’s something about him that film likes.”

Several of my cards itemize the President’s deafness. People who sat to his right imagined that they were privileged. In fact, he heard nothing on that side, having blown an eardrum during a shoot-out scene in one of his old movies. His left ear was not much better, so he relied increasingly on hearing aids, although their distortion pained him. One learned not to sneeze in his presence. When the room was crowded and voice levels rose, he would furtively switch off his sound box. I could tell from a slight frown in his gaze that he was lip-reading.

The quietness that insulated him was accentuated by severe myopia. As a boy, “Dutch” Reagan assumed that nature was a blur. Not until he put on his mother’s spectacles, around the age of thirteen, did he perceive the world in all its sharp-edged intricacy. He did not find it disorienting, as somebody who had been blind from birth might. Perhaps his later, Rothko-like preference for large, luminous policy blocks (as opposed to, say, Bill Clinton’s fly’s-eye view of government as a multifacetted montage, endlessly adjustable) derived from his unfocussed childhood.

[Read the full story here, at The New Yorker]

Or perhaps the novelist Ray Bradbury, who also grew up four-eyed in small-town Illinois, has a more informed theory. “I often wonder whether or not you become myopic for a physical reason of not wanting to face the world,” Bradbury says in an oral history. Like Dutch, he competed with a popular, extrovert elder brother by “making happy things for myself and creating new images of the world for myself.” Reagan was not introverted, yet from infancy he had the same kind of “happy” self-centeredness that Bradbury speaks of, the same need to inhabit an imaginative construct in which outside reality was refracted, or reordered, to his liking. “I was completely surrounded by a wall of light,” Reagan wrote of his first venture onto a movie set. It was clear that the sensation was agreeable. Read the rest of this entry »


10 Fascinating Facts on President Ronald Reagan’s Birthday

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It’s the 106th birthday of Ronald Reagan, and since he was one of the most widely recognized world leaders, it’s not hard to find some interesting facts about the 40th president.

Ronald Wilson Reagan was born on February 6, 1911 in Tampico, Illinois. Reagan had a long career as an actor and union leader before he became the governor of California in the 1960s and won presidential elections in 1980 and 1984.

Here are 10 facts about President Reagan you may not know.

1. Reagan really did enjoy jelly beans. According to the Ronald Reagan Presidential Libraryhis favorite flavor was licorice. Reagan started eating jelly beans in 1967 as he was trying to quit a pipe-smoking habit. He switched to Jelly Bellies a decade later.

2. One food that Reagan didn’t like was brussels sprouts. This is according to the Reagan Library website. In her autobiography, Nancy Reagan said her husband wasn’t a fussy eater since he traveled on the public speaking circuit for decades, but he also didn’t like tomatoes.

3. Reagan’s nickname of “Dutch” was given to him at an early age by his family. Reagan’s ancestry is Irish on his father’s side and Scots-English on his mother’s side. The name came from his childhood haircut, among other things.

4. The future President’s last movie role was in the 1964 release, The Killers. Based on an Ernest Hemingway story, it was Reagan’s only role as a villain in a film, and it was the first made-for-TV movie. However, The Killers was considered too violent for TV, and released to movie theaters instead.

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5. The future President lost partial hearing in one ear when he was hurt on a movie set in the late 1930s, after a gun was fired next to his ear. Decades later, President Reagan wrote to Michael Jackson offering his support after Jackson was burned filming a TV commercial.

6. Ronald Reagan started out in life as a Democrat and supported the New Deal efforts of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Reagan officially became a Republican  in 1962, but he had grown more conservative during the 1950s as he toured as a General Electric spokesman.

7. Reagan was not the original choice to star in “Casablanca,” instead of Humphrey Bogart. The urban legend over the issue is documented on snopes.com, and it started with a paragraph in a Warner Brothers’ press release issued before the movie was made. Bogart was always expected to play the lead role. Read the rest of this entry »


John Fund: Trump Derangement Syndrome May Help Trump

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Permanent outrage and hysterical doom-mongering do not attract moderate voters.

John FundJohn_Fund_via_National_Review writes: The good news for Democrats is that the apathy of many of their voters — which contributed to Hillary Clinton’s losing in November — is gone now that Donald Trump is president.

“We have never in living memory seen an electorate as fired up and angry and engaged as they are right now, Ben Wikler, Washington director of the left-wing group Moveon.org, told RealClearPolitics.

The bad news for Democrats is that the fires of protest could burn so brightly that they alienate moderate voters and threaten any Democrats who decline to throw gasoline on the fires.

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The anger of the liberal base is such that “a firestorm of criticism . . . awaits [Democratic lawmakers] when they don’t stand up to Trump,” Wikler says. As for primary challenges for Democrats who won’t confront Trump at every turn: “Everything is on the table.”

[Read the full story here, at National Review]

It certainly has been when it comes to the ceaseless efforts to delegitimize Trump. As soon as the election was over, state recounts were mounted, with the approval of Hillary Clinton’s campaign, angry demands were made that members of the Electoral College go against the results of their state votes and dump Trump, and wild charges were hurled that Russian hacking swung the election. FBI chief James Comey, an Obama appointee, was accused of tilting the election against Clinton, and blue-collar voters in the Midwest were smeared as “racists” who were easily manipulated by Trump.

Read the rest of this entry »


John Ziegler: Some on the Left Have Lost Their Minds Over the Milo/Berkeley Riot

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Nice job liberals.

 writes:

…It is very clear that academia is tremendously biased against conservatives and is extremely hypocritical on the issue of “free speech.” In the vast majority of our places of higher learning (even at the high school level), “academic diversity” means that the school makes sure that they have a liberal of every color, gender, sexual persuasion, and religion. Generally, a “conservative” is defined as someone who thinks that George W. Bush was legitimately elected and didn’t purposely lie to get us into Iraq (I’m not kidding).

Understanding this, Yiannopolus has decided to take personal advantage of the left’s all-too-predictable freak-out over an openly gay conservative who calls himself a “faggot” being allowed a microphone and an auditorium on a major college campus. He obviously schedules his events to create the greatest possible chance to be banned, cancelled, or to create chaos, all of which gives him what he wants most: publicity and martyrdom.

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At Berkeley, he got probably more than he could have ever dreamed of, with hundreds of apparent students gathering to protest and creating all sorts of destruction on live television. This caused his “performance,” as the school aptly described it in a tweet, to be cancelled (which is basically the dictionary definition of the “heckler’s veto,” which used to be a concept for which academia had complete disdain). This, of course, in the era of modern media and the perverse incentives it creates, was the best outcome for which he could have possibly hoped.

[Read the full article here, at Mediaite]

Thanks to this, Milo’s national profile increased greatly. He got to expose the liberal academics as the hypocrites that they are while being allowed to take the moral high ground. The President of the United States effectively tweeted his support while threatening to pull federal funding from the school. He got invited to be an in-studio guest on Tucker Carlson’s new hit Fox News show. And his already controversial book dramatically surged in sales. All of this without having to even say a word to the miniscule crowd which would have heard him speak that night.

Nice job liberals.

This whole episode went so poorly for the liberal “resistance” that several prominent voices are deluding themselves (or just desperately lying) into thinking that this really was NOT all the fault of young liberal “special snowflakes” who grew up getting participation trophies and can’t even deal with an opposing opinion. That’s right. You see, at least according to some on the left, this was all part of a grand right-wing conspiracy to make it LOOK like a riot by liberals.

Yeah, and I heard that the very same people were also behind the “Bowling Green Massacre.”

For many reasons, this “theory’ is absurd on its face. First, it should be pointed out that just because someone benefits from a circumstance, as Milo clearly did here, that  not means that they were responsible for creating those events (though, I’m sure he anticipated/welcomed them). Milo may have set a trap for liberals, but, like a husband who makes a pass at his wife’s hot friend, that doesn’t get them off the hook for stupidly taking the bait. Read the rest of this entry »


Shinzo Abe, James Mattis Reaffirm U.S. Commitment on Senkakus

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Visiting U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis clearly said during talks with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Friday afternoon that the Senkaku Islands in Okinawa Prefecture are within the scope of Article 5 of the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty, which obliges the United States to defend Japan, according to a senior government official who attended the meeting.

At the opening of the meeting, Abe said he hopes and is certain the two countries “can demonstrate in our country and abroad that the Japan-U.S. alliance is unshakable.” In response, Mattis said that he intended to make clear during the meeting that Article 5 of the security treaty will be important five years or 10 years from now, just as it was a year ago or five years ago.

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Mattis arrived in Tokyo on the day to hold talks with the prime minister, Defense Minister Tomomi Inada and other members of Abe’s Cabinet to exchange views on the security environment in East Asia and to address mutual security concerns. The new U.S. defense chief’s visit to Japan marks the first by a U.S. Cabinet member under the administration of President Donald Trump. The ministerial meeting with Inada is scheduled for Saturday, after which they will hold a joint press conference.

During these talks, the two sides are also expected to confirm that the United States will firmly uphold the “nuclear umbrella” (see below) over Japan in its defense.

During his presidential election campaign last year, Trump was ambiguous about defending the Senkakus and also suggested that if Japan doesn’t contribute its due share to shouldering the burden of stationing U.S. forces in Japan, it would be acceptable for Japan to possess its own nuclear weapons to confront North Korea’s nuclear threat. These remarks caused apprehension on the Japanese side.

Read the rest of this entry »


Seth Barron: ‘For Progressives, the Universe of Victims is Infinite’

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Trump v. the Border-less Left

Seth Barron writes: From illegal aliens who have committed crimes, to all immigrants, to “people of color” generally: the circle of Trump’s victims widens by orders of magnitude in de Blasio’s fantasy of total persecution. Even to ask a question about whether illegal aliens should be regarded in the same way as legal immigrants betrays an “ideological bent”; on the other hand, it is perfectly straightforward to read a legal challenge to sanctuary cities as all-out race war.

“The Left’s favorite cliché: ‘I am a Muslim. I am a Jew. I am Black. I am gay. I am a woman seeking to control her body.'”

The mayor’s expansive definition of victimhood was echoed this weekend by Governor Cuomo, who repeated the Left’s favorite cliché: “I am a Muslim. I am a Jew. I am Black. I am gay. I am a woman seeking to control her body.” This quasi-heroic affirmation of identity with the oppressed fringes of society, powered by anaphora, collapses into intersectional absurdity, and ultimately becomes the lowest form of political pandering, underscored by the repetition of the word “I.”

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“This quasi-heroic affirmation of identity with the oppressed fringes of society, powered by anaphora, collapses into intersectional absurdity, and ultimately becomes the lowest form of political pandering, underscored by the repetition of the word ‘I’.”

Last Friday, Trump announced that he would extend and expand the visa restrictions that Obama established in the 2015 Terrorist Travel Prevention Act, impose a 90-day moratorium on travel from seven countries with links to organized terror, and put a halt to the Syrian-refugee resettlement program.

USA ELECTION AFTERMATH

[Read the full story here, at City Journal]

These policies fulfill campaign promises and have been clearly stated as temporary measures in order to make sure that migrants are being accurately screened. Read the rest of this entry »


Self-Parody: The New Yorker Succumbs to Romantic Melodrama

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“Under more ordinary circumstances, the cover of our Anniversary Issue—marking 92 years—would feature some version of the monocled dandy Eustace Tilley.

This year, as a response to the opening weeks of the Trump Administration, particularly the executive order on immigration, we feature John W. Tomac’s dark, unwelcoming image, ‘Liberty’s Flameout.’”

Source: The New Yorker

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New Yorker editorial staff meeting

President Obama Laughs with Aides on Air Force OnelaughingSupremeIran's President Hassan Rouhani laughs as he speaks during an event hosted by the Council on Foreign Relations and the Asia Society in New York, September 26, 2013. REUTERS/Keith Bedford ( Who's laughing now?Obama-pointing-laughing


Having it Both Ways: Google Cozies to Trump but Calls for His Impeachment 

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After investing millions ingraining itself within the Obama White House, Google is suddenly on the outside looking in with the Trump administration — and it clearly has Google rattled — protesting Mr. Trump in private, and then publicly trying to cozy up with him the next.

Google, or rather its parent company Alphabet, got used to dominating Washington under President Barack Obama’s rule. Perhaps, that’s why they’d like to see President Donald Trump 2_2_2017_b1-riddell8201_s878x1257impeached.

“Some of us may need to adopt Pence 2017 bumper stickers,” Google’s cofounder Sergey Brin joked at a company sponsored anti-Trump protest — the biggest demonstration from a Silicon Valley corporation this week — in response to Mr. Trump’s controversial immigration executive order.

More than 2,000 Google employees attended the protest on Monday, with it becoming a trending topic on Twitter with the hashtag #GooglersUnite. The rally came 24 hours after Google donated $2 million to the ACLU and Immigrant Legal Resource Center, to help fight Mr. Trump’s executive order, which was matched by $2 million in donations from Google employees.

The week prior, Google lawyers flooded the California office of Sen. Dianne Feinstein, demanding she oppose Sen. Jeff Sessions’ confirmation as attorney general.

After investing millions ingraining itself within the Obama White House, Google is suddenly on the outside looking in with the Trump administration — and it clearly has Google rattled — protesting Mr. Trump in private, and then publicly trying to cozy up with him the next. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] OOPS: CNN Commentator Believes Hoax Story That Mother Died After Travel Ban

CNN political commentator Errol Louis repeated a false story that has been proven to be a hoax on air Wednesday, alluding to an Iraqi mother who purportedly died because she was unable to enter the United States after President Trump’s travel ban was implemented.

NewsBusters flagged the video on Thursday.

Louis appeared on “CNN Newsroom” with host Carol Costello to discuss Trump’s executive order suspending the U.S. refugee program for 120 days and halting immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries for 90 days over terrorism concerns.

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A man from Detroit, Mike Hager, had told a local news station on Tuesday that his mother died in Iraq because she was unable to return to the U.S. for medical treatment once Trump’s travel ban was put into force. However, the leader of a nearby mosque, Imam Husham Al-Hussainy, confirmed the next day that Hager had fabricated his story.

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

Louis referenced Hager’s story as truth while criticizing Trump’s executive order on CNN. Read the rest of this entry »


Judicial Watch Statement Regarding Judge Neil Gorsuch Nomination for the SCOTUS

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(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton issued the following statement in response to today’s announcement of the nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court of the United States:

President Trump’s nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court is a victory for Americans who are fed up with corrupt judicial activism.  The judicial branch needs as much draining as the rest of the federal government swamp. President Trump avoided the temptation to nominate yet another politician to the Supreme Court.  It is good we have a nominee who has a demonstrated record of applying the rule of law rather than legislating from the bench.  The U.S. Senate should swiftly confirm him.

In Michele Gorman’s January 27 profile piece on Neil Gorsuch for Newsweekmagazine, Fitton provided the following:

Tom Fitton, president of Judicial Watch, tells Newsweek that Gorsuch fits the Scalia mold, which Trump has promised to adhere to in his replacement nominee. “I think conservatives would consider him to be an exciting pick. I think it’s fair to say he’s a leader in terms of conservative jurisprudence and I think he quickly would become a strong voice on the court for his constitutional approach to decision making,” he says. Read the rest of this entry »


Japan Readies Facts for Defense Talks

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The government is rushing to compile details of its financial burden to host U.S. forces in Japan in preparation for a meeting of the defense chiefs of the two countries on Saturday, as well as for a separate meeting of the leaders scheduled for Feb. 10.

The U.S. side has intimated that it has no intention of demanding an increase in Japan’s share of the costs of stationing U.S. forces during the defense chiefs’ talks. However, the unpredictability of the U.S. administration under President Donald Trump is spurring the Japanese government to maintain a vigilant stance.

Defense Minister Tomomi Inada spoke at a press conference on Tuesday about her upcoming meeting with new U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis. Although she declined to reveal whether the costs of hosting U.S. forces are on the agenda, Inada did say, “I intend to convey Japan’s position firmly and I hope the meeting will allow us to exchange opinions candidly.”

Pentagon spokesperson Jeff Davis had said the aim of Mattis’ visit to Japan was to strengthen ties and not to submit a list of demands. This has led some to believe that the state of Japan’s financial burden with regard to U.S. bases will not come up at the ministerial meeting.

Trump, however, did refer to increasing Japan’s burden during the U.S. presidential campaign. “We’re preparing to be ready to explain that Japan already has a heavy load, in case there is a demand,” a source inside the Defense Ministry said.

Costs of stationing U.S. forces in Japan include land prices and other costs relevant to providing facilities and sites. These are paid for by the Japanese side in keeping with the Japan-U.S. Status of Forces Agreement, while all other costs, in principle, are covered by the United States.

However, since fiscal 1978, the Japanese side has been expanding the range of its expenses based on demands from the United States. Currently, personnel costs for base employees as well as lighting, heating and water costs are also funded by the Japanese side. Read the rest of this entry »


Democrats are Becoming the Party of Secession

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Michael Goodwin writes: Let’s agree that President Trump’s travel ban on visitors from seven nations was a sensible idea hobbled by flaws, especially regarding green card holders and dual citizens. Let’s also agree we haven’t seen a rollout this clumsy since the debut of ObamaCare, which was far more serious because it penalized millions of Americans while Trump’s order inconvenienced hundreds of foreign nationals.

Still, we can assume, based on past performance, that Trump will learn from the mistakes. His fierce determination to be a successful president cannot co-exist with rookie blunders.

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But what about the other players in the drama? Can we say the media will now correct its excess of bile and cover Trump as a legitimate president and not as an invasive species?

No, no, no. On the contrary, we must say that Trump aide Steve Bannon was on target when he called the Washington media “the opposition party.”

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Don’t take his word for it. Stick a toe into the toxic sludge that passes for straight-news coverage in the Washington Post, the New York Times and others.

[Read the full story here, at New York Post]

Look for the use of tell words like “Muslim ban” to describe an executive order that is no such thing. Look for hero worship of protesters, immigrants, refugees, lawyers rushing to the barricades and congressional critics.

Look, too, at the Twitter feeds of editors and reporters from those papers and the major networks. You’ll see their embrace of everything anti-Trump, further evidence they are part of a movement to obstruct the president, not cover him.

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Consider, too, their rediscovered love for Republican Sen. John McCain, a man they ignored during the eight-year reign of their savior, Barack Obama. McCain is again the good maverick because he is bucking the media’s permanent enemy, Republicans.

Yet if the media is the opposition party, what is the Democratic Party? It’s supposed to be the loyal opposition, using checks and balances to restrain the president and the excess of one-party rule.

LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 12: Protesters pass through a tunnel as the march in reaction to the upset election of Republican Donald Trump over Democrat Hillary Clinton in the race for President of the United States on November 12, 2016 in Los Angeles, California, United States. Hundreds of Angelenos have been arrested in recent days and some have vandalized property but the vast majority of the thousands of protesters have remain peaceful. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)

Unfortunately, the Dems are following a dangerously different path. Starting with a wide boycott of the inauguration and including their boycott of committee votes on Trump’s cabinet and their pledge to filibuster any Supreme Court nominee, Democrats resemble a party fomenting a secession movement.

Some call it Trump Derangement Syndrome, but that’s too kind. It’s not a temporarily insane reaction, it’s a calculated plan to wreck the presidency, whatever the cost to the country.

Things never seen in the modern era are now rapidly becoming common. Impeachment talk already is rumbling in the party’s hothouses, and Trump was met with a lawsuit the minute he took the oath.

Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi, the top Dems in Congress, led a raucous demonstration Monday night, as if they are community organizers. And Obama couldn’t bear the irrelevance after eight days out of office and felt compelled to encourage disruptions.

This is Third World behavior and it’s now the M.O. of one of America’s two political parties. Read the rest of this entry »


China Tests Missile With 10 Warheads

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Multi-warhead weapon tested amid growing tensions with the United States.

The flight test of the DF-5C missile was carried out earlier this month using 10 multiple independently targetable reentry vehicles, or MIRVs. The test of the inert warheads was monitored closely by U.S. intelligence agencies, said two officials familiar with reports of the missile test.df-5launch-1

The missile was fired from the Taiyuan Space Launch Center in central China and flew to an impact range in the western Chinese desert.

[DF-5 launch]

No other details about the test could be learned. Pentagon spokesman Cmdr. Gary Ross suggested in a statement the test was monitored.

“The [Defense Department] routinely monitors Chinese military developments and accounts for PLA capabilities in our defense plans,” Ross told the Washington Free Beacon.

The test of a missile with 10 warheads is significant because it indicates the secretive Chinese military is increasing the number of warheads in its arsenal.

Estimates of China’s nuclear arsenal for decades put the number of strategic warheads at the relatively low level of around 250 warheads.

U.S. intelligence agencies in February reportedthat China had begun adding warheads to older DF-5 missiles, in a move that has raised concerns for strategic war planners.

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Uploading Chinese missiles from single or triple warhead configurations to up to 10 warheads means the number of warheads stockpiled is orders of magnitude larger than the 250 estimate.

Currently, U.S. nuclear forces—land-based and sea-based nuclear missiles and bombers—have been configured to deter Russia’s growing nuclear forces and the smaller Chinese nuclear force.

Under the 2010 U.S.-Russian arms treaty, the United States is slated to reduce its nuclear arsenal to 1,550 deployed warheads.

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

A boost in the Chinese nuclear arsenal to 800 or 1,000 warheads likely would prompt the Pentagon to increase the U.S. nuclear warhead arsenal by taking weapons out of storage.

The new commander of the U.S. Strategic Command, Air Force Gen. John Hyten, stated during a Senate confirmation hearing in September that he is concerned about China’s growing nuclear arsenal.

“I am fully aware that China continues to modernize its nuclear missile force and is striving for a secure second-strike capability,” Hyten told the Senate Armed Services Committee.

“Although it continues to profess a ‘no first use’ doctrine, China is re-engineering its long-range ballistic missiles to carry multiple nuclear warheads and continues to develop and test hyper-glide vehicle technologies,” Hyten added. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] WSJ’s Strassel: ‘I Don’t Remember Protests, Lawsuits, when Obama Paused Iraqi Immigration to U.S. in 2011’

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Trent Baker reports: On Sunday’s “Meet the Press” on NBC, Wall Street Journal columnist Kimberley Strassel reminded viewers that nobody protested or filed lawsuits in 2011 when former President Barack Obama suspended Iraqi refugees from entering the United States for six months over terrorism fears, although President Donald Trump has received much criticism for temporarily suspending visas for “immigrants and non-immigrants” from Syria, Somalia, Sudan, Libya, Yemen, Iran and Iraq.

“Look, this is also not unprecedented, by the way,” Strassel said. “I mean, Barack Obama put a pause for six months on refugees coming from Iraq back in 2011. I don’t remember protestors and I don’t remember lawsuits. So I think the bigger question if this is a temporary pause, which is designed for us to improve and look at our vetting processes, and indeed temporary, I don’t necessarily think that’s an outrageous idea. Read the rest of this entry »


YOU’RE FIRED: Obama Holdover Sally Yates, AG Who Ordered Justice Deptartment Not to Defend President’s Travel Ban, Fired

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

‘It’s sad that our politics have become so politicized that you have people refusing to enforce our laws’

Matt ZapotoskySari Horwitz and Mark Berman reports: President Trump fired Acting Attorney General Sally Yates Monday night, after Yates ordered Justice Department lawyers Monday not to defend his immigration order temporarily banning entry into the United States for citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries and refugees from around the world.In a press release, the White House said Yates had “betrayed the Department of Justice by refusing to enforce a legal order designed to protect the citizens of the United States.”

The White House has named Dana Boente, U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, as acting attorney general. Boente told The Washington Post that he will agree to enforce the immigration order.

Earlier on Monday, Yates ordered Justice Department not to defend President Trump’s immigration order temporarily banning entry into the United States for citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries and refugees from around the world, declaring in a memo that she is not convinced the order is lawful.

Yates wrote that, as the leader of the Justice Department, she must ensure that the department’s position is “legally defensible” and “consistent with this institution’s solemn obligation to always seek justice and stand for what is right.”

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“At present, I am not convinced that the defense of the Executive Order is consistent with these responsibilities nor am I convinced that the Executive Order is lawful,” Yates wrote. She wrote that “for as long as I am the Acting Attorney General, the Department of Justice will not present arguments in defense of the Executive Order, unless and until I become convinced that it is appropriate to do so.”

Yates is a holdover from the Obama administration, but the move nonetheless marks a stunning dissent to the president’s directive from someone who would be on the front lines of implementing it.

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

Also Monday, State Department diplomats circulated various drafts of a memo objecting to Trump’s order, which was issued Friday. The document is destined for what’s known as the department’s Dissent Channel, which was set up during the Vietnam War as a way for diplomats to signal to senior leadership their disagreement on foreign policy decisions. More than 100 diplomats have signed the memo, which argues that the immigration ban will not deter attacks on American soil but will generate ill will toward U.S. citizens.

What will happen next is unclear. A Justice Department official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said those who would normally defend the order under Yates’s authority can no longer do so. Yates will probably be replaced soon by Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), Trump’s attorney general nominee, who could be confirmed as early as Thursday or Friday. The Senate Judiciary Committee is scheduled to consider his nomination Tuesday, and the entire Senate must wait one day before voting. Read the rest of this entry »


OH YES HE DID: Trump Sets 5-Year and Lifetime Lobbying Ban for Officials 

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WASHINGTON – Darlene Superville reports:  President Donald Trump is imposing a lifetime ban on administration officials lobbying for foreign governments, and a five-year ban for other lobbying.

Trump used his executive authority Saturday to put in place the bans — fulfilling part of his campaign pledge to “drain the swamp” in Washington.

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Trump has said that those who want to work for him should focus on the job they’ll be doing for the American people, and not on future income earned by peddling their influence after serving in government.

Administration officials describe the bans as historic in scope. But it’s not immediately clear how they’d be enforced.

Trump also took a separate action to restructure the National Security Council ask military advisers to prepare a plan to defeat the Islamic State group. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Krauthammer on NATO: We Blow Up Alliances at Our Peril 

Trump’s Foreign-Policy Revolution

His intimations of a new American isolationism are heard in capitals around the world.

Charles Krauthammer writes: The flurry of bold executive orders and of highly provocative Cabinet nominations (such as a secretary of education who actually believes in school choice) has been encouraging to conservative skeptics of Donald Trump. But it shouldn’t erase the troubling memory of one major element of Trump’s inaugural address.

“For 70 years, we sustained an international system of open commerce and democratic alliances that has enabled America and the West to grow and thrive. Global leadership is what made America great. We abandon it at our peril.”

The foreign-policy section has received far less attention than so revolutionary a declaration deserved. It radically redefined the American national interest as understood since World War II.

“Trump outlined a world in which foreign relations are collapsed into a zero-sum game. They gain, we lose.”

Trump outlined a world in which foreign relations are collapsed into a zero-sum game. They gain, we lose. As in: “For many decades, we’ve enriched foreign industry at the expense of American industry; subsidized the armies of other countries” while depleting our own. And most provocatively, this: “The wealth of our middle class has been ripped from their homes and then redistributed all across the world.”

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“Imagine how this resonates abroad. ‘America First’ was the name of the organization led by Charles Lindbergh that bitterly fought FDR before U.S. entry into World War II — right through the Battle of Britain — to keep America neutral between Churchill’s Britain and Hitler’s Reich.”

JFK’s inaugural pledged to support any friend and oppose any foe to assure the success of liberty. Note that Trump makes no distinction between friend and foe (and no reference to liberty). They’re all out to use, exploit, and surpass us.

[Read the full story here, at National Review]

No more, declared Trump: “From this day forward, it’s going to be only America First.”

Imagine how this resonates abroad. “America First” was the name of the organization led by Charles Lindbergh that bitterly fought FDR before U.S. entry into World War II — right through the Battle of Britain — to keep America neutral between Churchill’s Britain and Hitler’s Reich.
Read the rest of this entry »


Why It’ll Be Hard for Trump to Surpass Obama’s Record of Chilling Press Freedom

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Many in the mainstream media are reacting with righteous indignation over comments from a senior Trump adviser suggesting the administration views the traditional media as an opponent. But if we’re to take these apostles of press freedom seriously, they should first explain why the Trump Administration is worse than the Obama Administration.

After all, the Obama Administration literally tried imprisoning an uncooperative journalist, monitored journalists’ every digital move, and “hammered” at least one challenging reporter with IRS audits.

Let’s rewind the tape.

The Obama Administration began with lofty promises of being “the most transparent administration in history.” Instead it ended up setting a record, by the Associated Press’s count, for denying the most Freedom of Information Act requests.

[Read the full story here, at Grabien News]

As the administration’s popularity began tumbling early into its first year, the Obama White House declared war on Fox News. The White director of communications, Anita Dunn, warned they would henceforth treat Fox News “like an opponent,” insisting, “we don’t need to pretend that this is the way that legitimate news organizations behave.”

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The Obama administration made good on that threat. Soon thereafter, the administration sought to deny Fox News’ participation in executive branch news-making events — which only failed after other networks admirably refused to participate if Fox News were excluded.

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As you’ll see in the montage above, President Obama blamed Fox News and talk radio for virtually every problem his administration encountered, warning in his waning days that these “domestic propagandists” were far more damaging to America than any interference from hostile powers like Russia.

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When Fox News’s State Department correspondent, James Rosen, reported accurate information about North Korea leaked by a member of the Obama State Department, Eric Holder ordered his movements to be tracked, his phone records seized, and went “judge shopping” until he found one willing to grant such a warrant without telling Rosen himself. Holder even told Google to not notify Rosen that the government was monitoring his email.

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“To treat a reporter as a criminal for doing his job — seeking out information the government doesn’t want made public — deprives Americans of the First Amendment freedom on which all other constitutional rights are based,” the Washington Post wrote at the time. Read the rest of this entry »


Japanese Aren’t So Sure About Donald Trump, But They Love Ivanka 

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Japan is warily welcoming Donald Trump as the US president, wondering what his administration will mean for their security alliance and already seeing what it means for their trade relationship.

But there are no such mixed feelings about Trump’s eldest daughter: Ivanka Trump is widely revered as the perfect woman here.

“This is the woman I like now. Ivanka Trump. I love it that she’s not only beautiful but also clever and has a graceful air. I think women should be kind and gentle.”

— Sachiko W. on a portrait that Trump had posted on Instagram

Among some Japanese women, Ivanka Trump is seen as an aspirational figure who has combined motherhood and career while managing to look perfectly put-together all the time (although her glamorous Instagram photos never show the retinues of nannies and assistants and hairdressers that answer the question of “how does she do it all?”).

Japan remains a highly patriarchal society, where men spend long hours at the office and women are often expected to give up their jobs after getting married or having babies.

“She is a good example that a woman can do an outstanding job and handle a misogynist father like Trump, without pushing too much of a feminist agenda or confronting men too much.”

— Shinzato, 32, a freelance writer and mother of a 6-year-old daughter.

But Trump offers an example of how to be strong but not scary, said Yuriko Shinzato, 32, a freelance writer and mother of a 6-year-old daughter.

“She is a good example that a woman can do an outstanding job and handle a misogynist father like Trump, without pushing too much of a feminist agenda or confronting men too much,” Shinzato, who blogs about Ivanka Trump’s fashion and lifestyle, told the Japan Times.

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“That is something that Japanese women want but have a hard time doing in a still male-dominated society.”

As a result, the Trump daughter has quite a following here. The Japanese internet was abuzz after the election at a tabloid report that Trump might be the next American ambassador to Japan, and she won Japanese fans when she posted a video of her daughter, Arabella Rose, performing the song “Pen-Pineapple-Apple-Pen” by the Japanese comedian known as Pikotaro.

Japanese women gush about her on social media.

“This is the woman I like now. Ivanka Trump. I love it that she’s not only beautiful but also clever and has a graceful air. I think women should be kind and gentle,” wrote Sachiko W. on a portrait that Trump had posted on Instagram.

“Trump’s eldest daughter Ivanka-san, who made it into the administration transfer team. She waved at me when I called out to her at the Trump Tower.”

— Mari Maeda, on Twitter

On Twitter, news announcer Mari Maeda posted a photo of Trump in the lobby of Trump Tower in New York.

“Trump’s eldest daughter Ivanka-san, who made it into the administration transfer team. She waved at me when I called out to her at the Trump Tower,” Maeda wrote.

“What a figure she has even after having three children. So frank and cute! Her jewelry brand is popular but some fans say they want her to become the president because of her intelligence and beauty.” Read the rest of this entry »


The National Elite Nervous Breakdown

Rates of depression are soaring among millennials in college. Photo by Jupiter Images/Thinkstock/Getty Images

America’s elites have indulged in a collective paroxysm over Donald Trump, hindering their ability to bounce back politically.