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Fox News Terminates ‘The Five’ Co-Host Bob Beckel 

NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 17:  Bob Beckel Rejoins

 reports: Fox News Channel is parting ways — again — with Bob Beckel, the co-host of its primetime program, “The Five.”

“Bob Beckel was terminated today for making an insensitive remark to an African-American employee,” the network said in a statement.

The dismissal opens — or perhaps closes — another chapter in an off-and-on relationship Beckel has had with the 21st Century Fox-owned cable-news outlet over the years. Beckel, a longtime political consultant as well as a former campaign manager for Democratic presidential candidate Walter Mondale, joined Fox News in 2000, and had a years-long tenure on “The Five” when it aired in the late afternoon. Indeed, he was one of the program’s original co-hosts.

He departed in 2015 while recuperating from back surgery in a split that was seen as less an amicable. “We tried to work with Bob for months, but we couldn’t hold ‘The Five’ hostage to one man’s personal issues,” said Bill Shine, who was then the network’s executive vice president of programming, in a statement at the time. “He took tremendous advantage of our generosity, empathy and goodwill and we simply came to the end of the road with him.”

But Beckel returned to Fox News in 2017 after doing a stint at CNN, and was greeted with open arms. “Bob was missed by many fans of ‘The Five’ and we’re happy to welcome him back to the show,” said Rupert Murdoch, executive chairman of Fox News Channel and its corporate parent, 21st Century Fox, in a prepared statement, in January.

Fox News’ human resources department was made aware of a complaint about what one person familiar with the situation characterized as a “racially insensitive remark” on Tuesday evening. Executives conducted an internal investigation, this person said, and decided to part ways with Beckel Friday morning. Read the rest of this entry »

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SHOCKING! Political Media Earns Poor Marks From Americans 

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Cameron Easley  reports: As political journalists prepare to gather at the annual White House Correspondents’ Association dinner on Saturday to celebrate their work, a new Morning Consult poll is likely to make many of them cringe.

In the new poll, roughly half (51 percent) of Americans said the national political media “is out of touch with everyday Americans,” compared with 28 percent who said it “understand the issues everyday Americans are facing.”

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President Donald Trump, a frequent public antagonist of the press and the first president in 36 years to skip the confab, is also slightly more trusted than the national political media. Thirty-seven percent of Americans said they trusted Trump’s White House to tell the truth, while 29 percent opted for the media.

Only 38 percent said they have “a lot” or “some” trust in the media covering Trump’s White House fairly, compared with about half (52 percent) who said they didn’t have much or none at all. Almost half (48 percent) also said they thought the media has been harder on Trump than other past presidential administrations.

Partisanship was the main determining factor on how Americans felt about the state of national political reporting and analysis, with Republicans expressing much stronger misgivings about the media than Democrats.

Republicans (67 percent) were almost twice as likely as Democrats (36 percent) to say the media was out of touch with everyday Americans. Almost three-quarters (72 percent) of Republicans also said they trust the White House more to tell the truth, compared with 54 percent of Democrats who backed the media. Read the rest of this entry »


Ronald Bailey: Do Researchers Risk Becoming Just Another Leftwing Interest Group?

“We face a possible future where people not only ignore scientific evidence, but seek to eliminate it entirely,” warns the march’s mission statement. “Staying silent is a luxury that we can no longer afford. We must stand together and support science.”

From whom do the marchers hope to defend science? Certainly not the American public: Most Americans are fairly strong supporters of the scientific enterprise. An October 2016 Pew Research Center poll reported, “Three-quarters of Americans (76%) have either a great deal (21%) or a fair amount of confidence (55%) in scientists, generally, to act in the public interest.” The General Social Survey notes that public confidence in scientists stands out among the most stable of about 13 institutions rated in the GSS survey since the mid-1970s. (For what it’s worth, the GSS reports only 8 percent of the public say that they have a great deal of confidence in the press, but at least that’s higher than the 6 percent who say the same about Congress.)

The mission statement also declares, “The application of science to policy is not a partisan issue. Anti-science agendas and policies have been advanced by politicians on both sides of the aisle, and they harm everyone—without exception.”

I thoroughly endorse that sentiment. But why didn’t the scientific community march when the Obama administration blocked over-the-counter access to emergency contraception to women under age 17? Or dawdled for years over the approval of genetically enhanced salmon? Or tried to kill off the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste storage facility? Or halted the development of direct-to-consumer genetic testing? Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Single-Payer Health Care: America Already Has It 

Could a single-payer, government-run health care system work in the United States? We already know the answer, because America already has single-payer, government-run health care. Author and commentator Pete Hegseth explains.

 


Our Right to Trial by Jury Is Under Attack. Will SCOTUS Save Us?

The Constitution guarantees our right to a jury trial in “all criminal prosecutions.” Our commitment to this constitutional safeguard is tested when the government haughtily claims a trial isn’t necessary…

Earlier this week,  the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Lee v. United States.

The case, which concerns the right to counsel and the right to trial by jury, is a very interesting one.

In 1982, Jae Lee came to the United States from South Korea as a child. Now 48 years old, Lee has lived in the U.S. as a lawful permanent resident for decades.  In 2009, he pled guilty to a drug crime after his lawyer assured him that he could not be deported as a result.

As it turned out, Lee received bad legal advice. His conviction made Lee subject to mandatory removal, meaning that after serving several years in prison, he would eventually be deported to South Korea and essentially banished from the U.S.

When Lee learned of this mistake, he asked the court to vacate his plea, arguing that his counsel’s assistance was ineffective and he only pled guilty because of the recommendation from his lawyer. 

He wants to take his case before a jury. The district court denied this motion because of the overwhelming evidence against Lee, ruling that his conviction at trial was so certain that his counsel’s bad advice didn’t actually harm him, particularly given the much longer prison sentence he would receive if convicted after trial.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit agreed that a jury wasn’t needed to determine Lee’s guilt and that denying the “chance to throw a Hail Mary at trial is not prejudicial” and therefore doesn’t violate Lee’s Sixth Amendment right to a jury trial.

Federal prosecutors say there’s no need for a trial because the evidence against Lee is strong, but our constitutional right to trial by jury doesn’t depend on the government’s assessment of its own case.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit reasoned that that the only chance Lee had was acquittal by “jury nullification,” which is the doctrine that says a jury can return a “not guilty” verdict even after it has concluded that the person on trial violated the law. Why order a new trial based upon an idea so irrational and antiquated, the Court reasoned.

Well, for one thing, there’s nothing wrong with jury nullification. The Framers of our Constitution believed that jury nullification was part and parcel of what a jury trial was all about.

The Supreme Court itself has noted that the jury is supposed to be the “conscience of the community” and should check the government when necessary to protect individuals from injustice or oppression. The jury cannot perform that function if it is told that it must always apply the law mechanically, without regard to justice.

Lee is now pressing the matter at the Supreme Court, which heard his argument earlier this week. Read the rest of this entry »


Census: Immigration to Bust 100-Year Record, Continue Surging

Already 13.5 percent of the U.S. population, immigrants will surge to 15 percent in 2023, according to Steven Camarota, the director of research for the Center for Immigration Studies.

At a conference to discuss the impact of immigration on public schools, he said “the share will hit 15 percent in just six years and that will surpass the all time high in the United States reached in 1890.”

And if unchecked, he added, “the share is projected to increase throughout much of this century.”

The surge comes as President Trump is planning to cut the number of illegal immigrants in the country and crossing the border, but so far hasn’t indicated if he will brake the larger number of legal immigrants entering the U.S.

It also takes place with a nation divided over what it expects of immigrants, with liberals eager for them to embrace their own heritage and others hopeful for immigrants assimilate into America. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Gorsuch Finds Himself in the Middle of a Senate Showdown 

A growing number of Democrats say they will not support the Supreme Court nominee, while GOP leaders are coy on plans to use the nuclear option; Shannon Bream provides insight on ‘Special Report’


Peggy Noonan: High Anxiety Over Health-Care Reform 

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People need simplicity and clarity. They deserve it. They’ll pay for it as best they can, a lot if they have to. But they need not to be jerked around anymore. And that is what Congress doesn’t know.

Peggy Noonan writes: What politicians, those hardy folk, don’t understand about health care is how anxious it makes their constituents. Not suspicious, not obstinate, but anxious. Because unlike such policy questions as tax reform, health care can be an immediate life-or-death issue for you. It has to do with whether, when, and where you can get the chemo if you’re sick, and how long they’ll let you stay in the hospital when you have nobody, or nobody reliable and nearby, to care for you. To make it worse, the issue is all hopelessly complicated and complex and pits you as an individual against huge institutions—the insurance company that doesn’t answer the phone, the hospital that says “I’m afraid that’s not covered”—and you have to make the right decisions.

It’s all on you.

Politicians don’t understand all this, in part because they and their families are well-covered on a government insurance policy, and they have staff to put in the claim and argue with the insurance company, which, when it’s a congressman calling, answers the phone in one quick hurry. They don’t know it’s not easy for everyone else. Or rather they know on some abstract level but forget in the day-to-day, as one does with abstractions.

But I want to speak of how it’s all on you: You don’t want to be seen—by others, by yourself—as someone who couldn’t make the right decisions for yourself and your family. “She didn’t know she needed Part B.” “She got the supplement that says she can’t be treated in Jersey.” You don’t want to be humiliated. “What a dope.” “What fatal lack of sophistication.”

“Seven years ago it’s Democrats: “Wow, we’re so supercompetent, we’ll make it better!” And suddenly you lose your doctor or your coverage, or your premiums spike, and it’s a mess. They can’t even make the website work. And you’re anxious, and you have to renavigate an entire opaque empire of rules and passive-aggressive clerks. It’s a shadow on your life.”

And then these jokers in Congress come along. Seven years ago it’s Democrats: “Wow, we’re so supercompetent, we’ll make it better!” And suddenly you lose your doctor or your coverage, or your premiums spike, and it’s a mess. They can’t even make the website work. And you’re anxious, and you have to renavigate an entire opaque empire of rules and passive-aggressive clerks. It’s a shadow on your life.

[Read the full story here, at WSJ]

And then it settles down, as things do after seven years. You hate the system, but it is what it is and you’re used to it. And now these new jokers come along and say, “We’ll make it nice, trust us!” And it’s all big and complicated—so complicated the president negotiating it appears to have no idea what he’s saying yes or no to. But the effects and implications of his decisions will all be left on you. And you watch from the corner of your eye as you pass the TV, and suddenly your blood pressure’s spiking again. For you it’s all more anxiety and dishevelment and confusion, but in a new package, this time delivered by Republicans.

When all you want is the card in the wallet so when you’re strapped to the gurney in the emergency room, they’ll see it and they’ll say the word you want to hear: “Covered.” Then you can happily pass out.

People need simplicity and clarity. They deserve it. They’ll pay for it as best they can, a lot if they have to. But they need not to be jerked around anymore.

And that is what Congress doesn’t know.

We go now to the failure of the ObamaCare repeal-and-replace bill.

Politically it’s all obvious. For the new administration it is a loss and a significant one. It has damaged the new president’s prestige. Every president until he fails has the aura of unused power. Boy, when I use it, you’re gonna see muscle. He used it. No muscle. Fatal? No. Damaging and diminishing? Yes. It is an embarrassment too for Speaker Paul Ryan. Together they could not get a win on the board after they threw everything they have into it. This does not speak well for everything they have. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Krauthammer: ‘There’s Going to Be a Sea Change in Opinion’ on Illegal-Immigrant Sanctuaries

Discussing the alleged rape of a 14-year-old student by two illegal immigrants, Charles Krauthammer argued that publicity around cases like this has the potential to change public opinion about how best to protect communities in the face of illegal immigration.


[VIDEO] The Morality of Profit

The free market needs and deserves a moral defense.

Source: Libertarianism.org


Trump’s First Two Months Prove He’s Anything but a Fascist

If so, the joke’s on you. If there’s any ancient tale that presaged the start of the Trump Era, it’s the Voyage to Lilliput in “Gulliver’s Travels.”

Gulliver-like, Trump finds himself tied down by a thousand tiny strings, paralyzed by micro-people he can barely detect. Because of their combined power, he can’t do much of anything. If it’s the system vs. Trump, the system is winning, bigly. But it isn’t Berserkeley radicals or marching feminists in pussy hats who are leading the charge to #resist. Resistance to change is as natural in Washington as cherry blossoms in spring.

Since being promoted from private citizen to president, the only thing Trump has exercised undisputed authoritarian control over has been his Twitter account. And even that mysteriously seems to go silent at the exact times his aides are being badgered with questions about his latest tweet.

Thanks to two judges (Derrick K. Watson of Hawaii and Judge Theodore D. Chuang of Maryland) who didn’t star in a hit reality TV show, aren’t the most famous dudes on Earth and don’t have 27 million Twitter followers, Trump’s latest executive order restricting immigration from six countries with major terrorism problems is on hold.

The judiciary is a check on the president. Trump’s predecessor found that out, too, when the Fifth Circuit court upheld a lower court order that blocked Obama’s immigration plan (which would have shielded 5 million illegal aliens from deportation). There’s no such thing as doing an end-around the system (or, if you like, the Swamp).

Even with his party in control of both houses in Congress, Trump is finding major limits to what he can do legislatively. The American Health Care Act is not going to pass (without major changes) because, as Trump himself so memorably put it, health care is “an unbelievably complex subject.” The Jenga game that is ObamaCare is so wobbly that removing a single block could cause the health-care system to come crashing down. Which is why Republicans can’t agree on whether AHCA leans too far in the direction of the free market, or not far enough.

Passing a budget? Hey, guess what? The president can’t spend a dime without Congress. As Marco Rubio so cruelly, but accurately, put it: “We do the budget here. The administration makes recommendations, but Congress does budgets.” Marco may still be little. But Congress is still big.

Liberals should have had more respect for our national institutions than to think that one man could simply have trashed them all. Yet The New York Review of Books called Trump an autocrat in a Nov. 10 story that warned, “Institutions will not save you” and said Trump was the new Vladimir Putin. Read the rest of this entry »


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

Charles Krauthammer dismissed Trump’s budget as “dead on arrival” and pointed out that entitlements are what matter, even if proposed cuts focus on domestic discretionary spending such as public broadcasting:

“This is a budget, like every other one I’ve seen in decades that I’ve been here, it is dead on arrival at Capitol Hill. Capitol Hill is a huge morgue of presidential budgets. There is not one that actually croaked into life. They all come in dead. They are wish lists. They are expressions of one’s interests, and a way to respond to promises. The beginning of this, the premise of this is defense. In the eight years under Obama, we had a real destruction of the defense budget. Obama came in, it was about 4.6 percent of GDP. When he left, it was 3.2 percent. To put it in context, under the sainted John Kennedy it was around 10 percent. We are at the lowest ebb since about Pearl Harbor, and you can see it in the readiness, so that had to be done.”

“All the real stuff, where the money is — the Willie Sutton bank money — is in entitlements, which isn’t even in here. The problem is it’s not in here because we’ve got a president who promised in the campaign, unlike just about every other Republican opponent, he wasn’t going to touch a hair on the head of entitlements. So if you don’t, it all has to come out of the domestic discretionary spending, and when you do that, you end up with these cuts which are never going to happen, and you get the old perennials. Big Bird is going to get roasted again, or at least proposed to be. I guarantee you, he will or she will — I’m not sure which it is these days — it is going to escape unscathed.”

Source: National Review


[VIDEO] Dana Perino Joins Mercy Ships’ Humanitarian Mission in Africa

Floating hospital docked in the Republic of Benin; for more information visit mercyships.org

Dana first visited our ship in 2013 during Mercy Ships’ field service in the Republic of the Congo. She will return on March 8 for four days while we’re docked in Cotonou to witness firsthand the hope and healing our crew is bringing to the people of Benin. On board theAfrica Mercy, Dana plans to shadow volunteer surgeon Dr. Mark Shrime, visit a local community, meet with patients to learn their stories, and much more.

Photo Credit: Michelle Murrey; Dana PERINO (USA), guest of Don STEPHENS, waits with a child in the Communications Room on Selection Day in Pointe Noire, Congo
Photo Credit: Michelle Murrey; Dana PERINO (USA), guest of Don STEPHENS, waits with a child in the Communications Room on Selection Day in Pointe Noire, Congo africa mercy ship dock africa mercy ship port

Many people in developing nations have little or no access to healthcare, causing children, teens and adults to suffer every day from treatable medical conditions. That’s why we use a hospital ship to bring care to those directly in need. Since our founding in 1978, Mercy Ships has delivered free services impacting more than 2.5 million children and families. Dana will experience a small taste of this during her visit.

Mercy Ships is tirelessly motivated to bringing hope and healing to the world’s forgotten poor, but we cannot do so without help from people like you. Mercy Ships operates via funding from private donors, foundations and socially responsible corporations. Our entire crew — from surgeons and nurses to chefs and electricians — is made up of volunteers who pay to serve on the ship. Read the rest of this entry »


ObamaCare Satisfaction Craters To 22% As Law Continues To Collapse

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Health Reform: The need for an overhaul of ObamaCare just got more acute, as a new survey shows that satisfaction rates among those enrolled in ObamaCare plans has taken a steep nose-dive this year amid premium hikes and reduced choices.

The new coverage of ObamaCare these days has been all about protests against repeal and the alleged increase in public support for the law.

But a survey of actual ObamaCare customers released this week paints an entirely different picture.

It found that just 22% of the 44,200 ObamaCare enrollees polled rate their health plan as good to excellent. That’s down from 77% who gave their ObamaCare plans high marks last year.

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The reason for the sharp decline was higher premiums, worse service and lack of choice. The survey, conducted by Black Book Market Research, found that 96% reported a decline in customer service support, 90% noted premium increases, 80% said their plans had narrower provider networks, and 77% said their plans’ benefits had been trimmed. Nearly two-thirds (61%) complained about lack of competitors in their market.

In other words, the collapse of competition in the ObamaCare exchanges — which left five states and a third of U.S. counties with only one ObamaCare insurer — has led to the rapid deterioration in quality.

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Black Book managing partner Douglas Brown says that the remaining plans “failed to congruently ramp up member services support to process claims, respond to enrollment issues, answer provider questions, denials, authorizations, and payment.” Read the rest of this entry »


There’s Almost No Chance Jeff Sessions Committed Perjury 

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Kevin Daley reports: Journalists and Democrats in Congress were far too quick to speculate that Attorney General Jeff Sessions perjured himself during his testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, after The Washington Post revealed he had failed to disclose two meetings with the Russian ambassador to the U.S.

“There are three elements here: a statement must be false, the false statement must be material (relevant) to the question/s asked, and the false statement must be made with an intent to deceive.”

Perjury is the crime of willfully telling an untruth while under oath before a court or tribunal. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Democrat FEC Member Quitting Sets Up Political Fight

Strategy Room: Sarah Badawi and Brian Morgenstern on how President Trump will handle open spot on commission.

Real FEC reform would be the opposite of what Ann Ravel and her Democratic colleagues want.

Jeremy Carl writes: When Ann Ravel, a Democratic member of the Federal Election Commission (FEC), announced her intention to resign Sunday, she received, as she has throughout her tenure at the FEC, a surprising amount of news coverage. While her departure may not immediately change the partisan balance of the commission, because traditionally her seat “belongs” to the Democrats, President Trump could upset that calculation if he broke with that tradition and appointed someone more aligned with the GOP (though he is not allowed to pick a registered Republican for the seat).

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Ravel had become a minor political celebrity (even earning a Daily Show appearance) on the left by castigating the “deadlock” on the FEC allegedly caused by the GOP members, who wouldn’t go along with Democratic demands for campaign-finance fines.

Ravel’s resignation letter is filled with the same sort of tired Democratic rhetoric on campaign finance, demanding the overturning of Citizens United, pushing for expanded public (i.e., taxpayer) financing of political campaigns, and decrying the evils of “dark money.”

[Read the full story here, at National Review]

Yet President Trump showed the complete intellectual bankruptcy of the campaign-finance “reform” movement in his stunning presidential-election victory. According to the FEC’s own data, among large donors ($2,000+), Hillary Clinton out-raised Trump $175 million to $27 million, a ratio of 6.5 to 1. Despite this, and the almost unanimous support she enjoyed from our media and cultural elites, Clinton couldn’t defeat Trump. Furthermore, Bernie Sanders, an eccentric and aging socialist with no establishment backing, came close to beating Hillary in the Democratic primary despite being outspent among those same $2,000+ donors by a ratio of more than 50 to 1.

Meanwhile, in one of the most remarkable yet least reported facts about the 2016 campaign, Jeb Bush, who entered the race to a wave of publicity before going out with a whimper early in the GOP primary, raised essentially as much ($26 million) in his brief campaign from those $2,000+ donors as Trump did from this group during the entire primary and general-election cycle. 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 »


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 »


[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. … “

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Source: National Review


Powerful: Protester Writes ‘Tolerance’ On Face Of Man He Just Beat Unconscious

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BERKELEY, CA—A protest at UC Berkeley turned violent Wednesday night into Thursday morning as hundreds of rioters set fires, assaulted people, damaged vehicles, and smashed storefronts. But in the midst of all the chaos: an inspirational moment. After beating a man unconscious for disagreeing with him, a masked protester pulled out a black marker and […] Read the rest of this entry »


Charles Krauthammer’s Religious Epiphany

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He guaranteed Neil Gorsuch elevation to the Supreme Court.

…Donald Trump for winning the election. Hillary Clinton for losing it. Mitch McConnell for holding open the high court seat through 2016, resolute and immovable against furious (and hypocritical) opposition from Democrats and media. And, of course, Harry Reid.

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God bless Harry Reid. It’s because of him that Gorsuch is guaranteed elevation to the court. In 2013, as Senate majority leader, Reid blew up the joint. He abolished the filibuster for federal appointments both executive (such as Cabinet) and judicial, for all district and circuit court judgeships (excluding only the Supreme Court). Thus unencumbered, the Democratic-controlled Senate packed the lower courts with Obama nominees.

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Reid was warned that the day would come when Republicans would be in the majority and would exploit the new rules to equal and opposite effect. That day is here.

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The result is striking. Trump’s Cabinet appointments are essentially unstoppable because Republicans need HarryReidClockonly 51 votes and they have 52. They have no need to reach 60, the number required to overcome a filibuster. Democrats are powerless to stop anyone on their own.

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

And equally powerless to stop Gorsuch. But isn’t the filibuster for Supreme Court nominees still standing? Yes, but if the Democrats dare try it, everyone knows that Majority Leader McConnell will do exactly what Reid did and invoke the nuclear option — filibuster abolition — for the Supreme Court, too.

Reid never fully appreciated the magnitude of his crime against the Senate. As I wrote at the time, the offense was not abolishing the filibuster — you can argue that issue either way — but that he did it by simple majority. Read the rest of this entry »


Liberal Fascism Author Jonah Goldberg: ‘UC-Berkeley Should Be Ashamed of Itself’

“I wrote a book called ‘Liberal Fascism’ about a decade ago, and even then the best working definition of a Fascist in America is ‘a conservative who’s winning an argument’. The way the Left operates, they just try to shout down anyone who disagrees with them, these campuses are little, sort of soft-Totalitarian states where disagreements is actually a heresy.”

A protester runs back after smashing windows during a protest against right-wing troll Milo Yiannopoulos who was scheduled to speak at UC Berkeley on Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2017. (Doig Duran/Bay Area News Group)

“By all means, Milo has a right to speak, he has free speech rights, they should have let him speak, the far smarter strategy would be to ignore these things, but the clampdown on free speech that’s more troubling is when they block people like Condoleeza Rice from being able to give a speech. The whole point to protecting outrageous speech is that it keeps the zone of speech for reasonable important speech safer, the way they do this kind of stuff is so counterproductive, it feeds into the worse impulses on both the right and the left, and Berkeley, and the administration of Berkeley should be ashamed of itself.”


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[Order Jonah Goldberg’s book “Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left, From Mussolini to the Politics of Meaning”  from Amazon]

[And Jonah’s other popular bookThe Tyranny of Cliches, also available at Amazon]

[NEW – Berkeley’s Shame – NR Editors]

[Also see – [VIDEO] Jonah Goldberg with Bill Kristol: Trump’s Candidacy, Conservative Exile, and ‘Liberal Fascism’ Revisited]

[More – Charles Murray: The Trouble Isn’t Liberals. It’s Progressives]

[More – Populism Is Not Fascism]



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 »


Kochs Come Out Against Trump Travel Ban

In this February 26, 2007 file photograph, Charles Koch, head of Koch Industries, talks passionately about his new book on Market Based Management. (Bo Rader/Wichita Eagle/MCT)

PALM SPRINGS, CALIF. — Christopher Bedford reports: The sprawling libertarian Koch network came out against Trump’s executive order banning travel from certain high-risk countries, emailing reporters that it “is the wrong approach and will likely be counterproductive.”

“We believe it is possible to keep Americans safe without excluding people who wish to come here to contribute and pursue a better life for their families. The travel ban is the wrong approach and will likely be counterproductive.”

— Brian Hooks, president of the Charles Koch Institute

“We believe it is possible to keep Americans safe without excluding people who wish to come here to contribute and pursue a better life for their families,” Brian Hooks, president of the Charles Koch Institute and co-chairman of the Koch’s far-reaching Seminar Network, said. “The travel ban is the wrong approach and will likely be counterproductive.”

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“Our country has benefited tremendously from a history of welcoming people from all cultures and backgrounds. This is a hallmark of free and open societies.”

“Our country has benefited tremendously from a history of welcoming people from all cultures and backgrounds. This is a hallmark of free and open societies.”

(RELATED: Three Republican Senators Kick Off Koch’s First Massive Donor Conference In Age Of Trump)

Hooks and Koch are currently with hundreds of conservative and libertarian donors at the network’s conference in Palm Springs. Held twice a year, the seminars are a gathering place for the Seminar Network, a large group of wealthy donors interested in libertarian causes. This weekend’s seminar, held in the temperate desert outside of Los Angeles, will be the first since Trump’s election and inauguration.

(RELATED: Mike Lee Is Certain The Senate Will Confirm Trump’s Supreme Court Nominee)

The network spent hundreds of millions on advertising and advocacy for limited-government politicians — namely, Republicans — running for the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives, but notably stayed out of the presidential primaries and race. Read the rest of this entry »


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

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Mattis retired from the Marine Corps as a full general in 2013, where he served as the eleventh commander of the United States Central Command. He also served as the commander for NATO supreme allied transformation, and as commander of the United States Joint Forces Command. Mattis is now an Annenberg Distinguished Visiting Fellow fellow at the Hoover Institution.

 


John Fund & Hans von Spakovsky: Why Trump’s Probe of Voter Fraud Long Overdue: Obama Has Hid the Data for 8 Years


Obama’s Parting Gift: Trillion-Dollar Deficits As Far As The Eye Can See

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Legacy:  Barack Obama came into the White House in 2009 promising a “new era of responsibility.” What he’s left President Trump is a government careening toward fiscal ruin.That’s what the latest report from the Congressional Budget Office shows.

The CBO report looks at what federal spending and revenues will look like over the next decade if the government is left on autopilot. The picture is grim.

(AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)

Deficits this year are expected to be $559 billion. By 2023, the government will once again be running trillion-dollar annual deficits that will quickly climb in the following years.

Left unchanged, the national debt will worsen by an additional $10 trillion in a decade, equaling almost 90% of the economy.

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And that’s despite the fact that, thanks to Obama’s multiple tax increases, revenues are on track to consume more than 18% of the nation’s economy, which is a full percentage point above the average since 1967.

Spending, however, is completely out of control. It’s set to climb from 20.5% of GDP next year to 23.4% by 2027. The post-1967 average was 20%.

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ObamaCare subsidies alone will, according to the CBO, climb 22% this year and 20% the next — thanks to the massive increase in premiums. This cost explosion is in addition to the vast increase in Medicaid spending ObamaCare already generated. And it’s all on top of fast-growing Social Security and Medicare, both of which are rapidly headed toward insolvency.

Perhaps the biggest driver of future deficits, however, is the incredibly sluggish economy the CBO expects current economic policies to produce. Read the rest of this entry »


Sen Cruz and Rep Poe Move to Protect State Governors’ Right to Refuse Refugees 

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Sen. Cruz and Rep. Poe, chairman of the House Terrorism Subcommittee, reintroduced the State Refugee Security Act of 2017.

Reintroduce State Refugee Security Act

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Rep. Ted Poe (R-Texas), chairman of the House Terrorism Subcommittee, today reintroduced the State Refugee Security Act of 2017. This joint Senate-House effort mandates that the federal government notifies a state at least 21 days prior to resettling a refugee there. During that period, if a state governor certifies that the federal government has not provided adequate assurances that the refugee does not present a security risk, the federal government is prohibited from resettling that refugee in the state. Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) is an original cosponsor of the bill.

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“The first obligation of the president is to keep this country safe as commander in chief,” said Sen. Cruz. “I am encouraged that, unlike the previous administration, one of President Trump’s top priorities is to defeat radical Islamic terrorism. To augment the efforts of the new administration, this legislation I have introduced will reinforce the authority of the states and governors to keeppoe-texastheir citizens safe. I am honored to work with Rep. Poe on this legislation and I hope that Congress will pass it and send it to the president’s desk.”

“Congress must take action to support states that refuse to participate in the refugee resettlement program because of serious security concerns,” said Rep. Poe. “The Obama Administration’s open door policy has totally disregarded the wishes of state governors who have legitimate security concerns about letting unvetted refugees in their states. Although we expect vetting to increase in the new Administration, states should still have an opt-out if the security of the program is not guaranteed. The reality is that ISIS has vowed to attack America, and we already know that several recent terror attacks in Europe were carried out by individuals who came in disguised as a Syrian refugee. It is dangerous and irresponsible to let thousands of refugees in when even FBI Director Comey admitted we cannot properly vet them. Read the rest of this entry »


Trump Names New FCC Chairman: Ajit Pai

A telecommunications lawyer who has served on the FCC since May 2012, Pai is a free-market advocate who has been critical of new regulations adopted by Democrats in recent years.

President Trump on Monday  designated Ajit Pai, a Republican member of the Federal Communications Commission and an outspoken opponent of new net neutrality rules, to be the agency’s new chairman.

“I look forward to working with the new administration, my colleagues at the commission, members of Congress, and the American public to bring the benefits of the digital age to all Americans.”

Pai, 44, would take over for Tom Wheeler, a Democrat who stepped down on Friday. Wheeler’s term had not expired but Trump gets to designate a new chairman as Republicans gain the FCC majority.

“We need to fire up the weed whacker and remove those rules that are holding back investment, innovation and job creation.”

“I look forward to working with the new administration, my colleagues at the commission, members of Congress, and the American public to bring the benefits of the digital age to all Americans” Pai said.

A telecommunications lawyer who has served on the FCC since May 2012, Pai is a free-market advocate who has been sharply critical of new regulations adopted by Democrats in recent years.

He takes the chairman’s office amid reports that Trump’s advisors want to scale back the FCC’s authority.

“We need to fire up the weed whacker and remove those rules that are holding back investment, innovation and job creation,” Pai said in a speech last month looking ahead to Republican control of the FCC.

Pai, whose parents immigrated to the U.S. from India, was associate general counsel of Verizon Communications Inc. from 2001-03 before working as a staffer at the U.S. Senate, the Justice Department and the FCC.

He sprinkles his speeches with pop-culture references and is adept at social media. During the net neutrality debate, he tweeted a photo of himself with the 332-page proposal and lamented that FCC rules didn’t allow him to make it public. Pai has pushed for FCC proposals to be released before commissioners vote on them.

Andrew Jay Schwartzman, a Georgetown University law professor and longtime consumer advocate, said Pai would be a “formidable opponent” for public interest groups. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] A Libertarian Builds Low-Cost Private Schools for the Masses 

Higher-education reformers shouldn't have to rely on the government to experiment with new methods. (Thinkstock)

Bob Luddy was tired of trying to convince North Carolina educrats to improve the state’s public schools, so he built his own network of low-cost private schools that the government can’t meddle with.


[VIDEO] Is America an Imperialist, White-Supremacist, Capitalist Patriarchy? 

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Gender scholars like bell hooks argue that American is an imperialist, white-supremacist, capitalist patriarchy. Is she right? The Factual Feminist responds.  Read the rest of this entry »


The Hostile Takeover Rolls On

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THE BIG IDEA: President Trump completed his hostile takeover of the Republican Party last July, and on Friday he completed his hostile, if temporary, takeover of Washington.

In some significant ways, Trump is more like a corporate raider of the 1980s, when he came of age, than a typical politician of 2017. Thirty years ago, Gordon Gekko might have been more likely to deliver the speech that the billionaire businessman did today than Ronald Reagan.

No president has ever before referred to “the establishment” in his inaugural address nor declared that every country in the world ought to pursue its own self-interest. But the guy who ended the Bush dynasty and then vanquished the Clinton machine, in a period of 17 months, put “the establishment” of both parties on notice once more.

“For too long, a small group in our nation’s capital has reaped the rewards of government while the people have borne the cost,” he said, as leaders from each side of the aisle looked on stoically. “The establishment protected itself, but not the citizens of our country. … What truly matters is not which party controls our government, but whether our government is controlled by the people.” Read the rest of this entry »


BREAKING: Senate Confirms General James Mattis as Secretary of Defense

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It’s official. ‘Mad Dog’ is defense secretary.

Joe Perticone reports: The Senate confirmed President Donald Trump’s nominee for secretary of defense on Friday evening.

Shortly after the Inaugural ceremonies concluded, the Senate convened to vote on the confirmation of retired U.S. Marine Corps General James Mattis to helm the Pentagon.

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Mattis was viewed as a non-controversial pick by Trump, prompting Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer to go along with having their confirmation votes.

Mattis initially faced a hurdle to becoming the new Pentagon chief, needing a waiver from Congress to assume the role despite having been less than seven years from active military duty. Upon being sworn in Friday, Trump signed the passed waiver into law, clearing the way for Mattis’ confirmation.

Image Credit: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Image Credit: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) was the only member of the Senatorial committee to vote against confirming Mattis as defense secretary. Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) had previously voted against the waiver, but ultimately supported Mattis’ confirmation. Read the rest of this entry »