Saturday, December 31, 2016

Obama’s petty attempts to sabotage Trump are bound to fail

The New York Post ^ | December 30, 2016 | F.H. Buckley 

It’s easy to come up with several different reasons for the Obama administration’s moves against Russia and Israel.
The repudiation of his policies in last month’s election would have wounded a normal person’s ego, to say nothing of someone as vain as Obama. To rub it in, the press has left the setting to follow the rising sun, reporting so much about Trump that Obama had seemed quite forgotten.
The extraordinary burst of diplomatic activity over the last week, so unusual for a departing president, might therefore seem a piece of Obama’s petulant claim that he could have defeated Trump had he been able to run for a third term. It reminds one of the party Bill Clinton threw for himself after leaving office on George W. Bush’s Inauguration Day, in order to upstage the new president. When they leave office, recent Democratic presidents find it difficult to withdraw into a customary, dignified obscurity.
But there’s more to it than that. What is behind Obama’s attack on Russia and Israel is a pathetic attempt to tie the hands of the new administration, and to extend his rule beyond the two terms allotted a president.
It’s no secret that Trump seeks an accommodation with Russia and desires an end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and that he’d pursue this in a very different manner from Obama and former Secretary Hillary Clinton.
By demonizing Russia, and withdrawing our historic support for Israel, Obama sought to place an insurmountable barrier to Trump’s two major foreign-policy initiatives, even as the flurry of enormously costly new regulations is meant to tie the hands of Trump’s domestic-policy advisers....
(Excerpt) Read more at ...

Mike Rowe Speaks Out, Explains Why Jobs Are Suffering With 1 BLUNT Word

Mad World News ^ | 12/28/16 | Alisha Rich 

Mike Rowe has been known to speak his mind on several issues here in America. However, his most recent outburst is a result of the suffering job market, and he explained exactly why it’s been happening with one blunt word that will undoubtedly infuriate liberals.
The American job market has been suffering for years. There are many people out of work, unable to make ends meet. However, former host of Dirty Jobs, Mike Rowe, recently exposed why our country’s job market is suffering, and he did it with one brutal word that has gotten whiny libs infuriated – all because the truth hurts.
Rowe admitted that the U.S. job market is suffering not for lack of opportunity, but because American workers are just “spoiled.” If we’ve learned anything from the events following this year’s presidential election, it’s that there are many whiny, entitled, brats roaming our nation.
According to Young Cons, Rowe recalled that he “kept hearing reports of joblessness across the country.” However, when he would go perform “dirty,” blue-collar work for his television program, he would often see “help wanted” signs along the way, indicating that there are blue collar positions available everywhere — they’re just not the jobs people think they deserve.
According to The Blaze, there are nearly 100 million people not in the labor force today. Sadly, many of these entitled brats could land themselves a well-paying blue collar job anywhere across America, but because they feel they are “more qualified” or deserve a white collar job, they would rather collect unemployment or merely be unpaid than to accept a blue collar position. They want to get paid good money, but they want to do it without getting their hands dirty.
Clearly, America has a growing problem: entitlement. When your family is suffering, you do whatever it takes to get food on the table and pay your bills – even if it means accepting a “dirty” job when you’ve previously been in positions higher up on the corporate ladder. Personally, the people who work these blue collar jobs are the people who keep America thriving, and if a few more people got their hands dirty, our country could quite possibly be in a completely different situation.

Latest on the pardon-request pile: Snowden, Manning

Hot Air ^ | December 30, 2016 | Ed Morrissey 

Talk about bad timing. After the election, Barack Obama and the Democratic Party have stoked hysteria over Russian hacking of the DNC and John Podesta’s e-mails. Obama just kicked 35 Russian diplomatic officials out of the country over the allegations, turning it into a major diplomatic rift. Just as this contretemps appears to have reached its zenith, two notorious figures who stole massive amounts of diplomatic and national-security data and exposed it to the world have asked Obama to pardon them, as Politico’s Josh Gerstein reports — one of whom now lives under Vladimir Putin’s grant of asylum:
Four of the most well-known targets of President Barack Obama’s war on leaks — including Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning — are among those who have requested pardons or commutations in the waning days of his presidency.
Lawyers who track Obama’s approach to clemency applications say all four — which also include retired Marine Corps Gen. James “Hoss” Cartwright and former CIA officer John Kiriakou — face long odds in part because of intense attention to the dangers of hacking and the national security leaks that follow.
The fact that the requests don’t meet the usual Justice Department criteria and aren’t covered by the special initiative Obama set up to reduce the sentences of non-violent drug offenders sentenced to long terms in federal prison also make them more unlikely.
Well, that’s not the only issue that makes these grants unlikely. The Manning case has many facets to it, but the connection to Wikileaks makes it all but impossible. The DNC and Podesta e-mails went through Wikileaks too, and the Obama administration has accused them of being Russian dupes or agents for publishing those private communications from private organizations. How can Obama justify a pardon for Manning, who transmitted far more information from military and diplomatic communications to the same organization?
Snowden’s application is even more obviously problematic. Manning was tried, convicted, and sentenced for his crimes. Snowden ran out of the country, eventually setting up shop in Russia under Putin’s protection. Fugitives typically do not get consideration for presidential pardons, at least not unless they’re really Rich and give lots of money to the Clintons and other Democrats. After the Russia panic stoked by Obama himself and fellow Democrats, there’s no possible way that Obama would ignore Snowden’s status as a fugitive and a Russian asylum recipient to pardon him for putting actual sensitive data into the open.
For the same reason, the prospects for a Hillary Clinton pardon seem more remote than they did before the election, too. The Hill asked that question earlier this week:
From Obama’s perspective, the decision to grant or withhold a pardon is a political and a personal one. Legal considerations do not directly arise.
Like all presidents at the end of their terms, he is concerned about the legacy he leaves for history. Does he want his legacy to include a pardon of the secretary of State who served under him during the entirety of his first term in office?
Because acceptance of a pardon amounts to a confession of guilt, the acceptance by Clinton would, to a degree, besmirch both Clinton and also Obama. After all, Clinton was Obama’s secretary of State. If she was committing illegal acts as secretary, it happened literally on his watch.
On the other hand, if the new administration were to prosecute and convict Clinton of crimes committed while she was secretary, that might be an even greater embarrassment for Obama post-presidency.
A Hillary Clinton pardon focused only on the e-mail scandal would force the Obama administration to argue that hacking the DNC and John Podesta had more consequence than a Secretary of State putting classified info into non-secured systems. That’s a laughable premise that should already be getting skewered in the media, and a pardon might just force that issue. A pardon that more broadly includes the pay-to-play corruption between State and the Clinton Foundation gets even more problematic, especially in regard to the Uranium One deal that gave Russia control over 20% of US uranium while putting $500,000 in Bill Clinton’s pocket. Which benefited Russia more — Hillary’s transmission of classified info in the clear and her arrangement to put more uranium under Moscow’s control, or e-mails at the DNC and Center for American Progress?
In a rational exit, we’d see more low-level pardons rather than splashy and controversial clemency actions:
“I think he’s going to announce a lot of names in the next few weeks. I don’t think any of them will be these big-name figures,” said Mark Osler, a law professor at the University of St. Thomas in Minneapolis. “This administration does have an aversion to high-profile cases generally.”
The big question is whether Obama’s lame-duck period qualifies as a “rational exit.” Issuing these pardons will completely undercut Obama’s attempts to paint Russia as the reason for his party’s collapse, as well as just being plainly bad ideas. I’d bet that Manning, Snowden, and Hillary should all prepare themselves for disappointment in the pardon process … but I wouldn’t bet too much money on it.

Obama and Israel, from 2008 to 2016: A Story of Betrayal and Reversal ^ | December 30, 2016 | Michael Brown 

In June 2008, presidential candidate Barack Obama gave a stirring speech to AIPAC, making strong commitments to the Jewish people and Israel. In December 2016, President Obama’s Secretary of State John Kerry delivered an important policy speech that directly contradicted some of candidate Obama’s words. The contrast is striking, unnerving, and downright hypocritical.
To be fair, there is some consistency between the speeches, as both advocate a two-state solution, among other parallels. And on a certain level, President Obama has kept some of the commitments he made to Israel, including massive defense contracts and military aid. And it is true that, until last week, Obama had not allowed the UN Security Council to pass any anti-Israel resolutions.
Still, reading Obama’s 2008 speech in light of the last eight years is a real shocker. Consider the following.
In 2008, candidate Obama pledged, “As president, I will work to help Israel achieve the goal of two states, a Jewish state of Israel and a Palestinian state, living side by side in peace and security. And I won't wait until the waning days of my presidency. I will take an active role, and make a personal commitment to do all I can to advance the cause of peace from the start of my administration.”
Ironically, he has done the opposite, not only failing to move the peace process forward but rather, in “the waning days of [his] presidency,” taking aggressive steps to undermine the peace process and to betray Israel. (It’s even possible that before the transfer of power, he will lash out at Israel once more.)
In 2008, Obama declared that, “Jerusalem will remain the capital of Israel, and it must remain undivided.”
This week, John Kerry declared that a peace agreement would “provide an agreed resolution for Jerusalem as the internationally recognized capital of the two states, and protect and assure freedom of access to the holy sites consistent with the established status quo.”
He added, “Most acknowledge that Jerusalem should not be divided again like it was in 1967, and we believe that.” But, he continued, “At the same time, there is broad recognition that there will be no peace agreement without reconciling the basic aspirations of both sides to have capitals there.”
Well, here’s a note from Jerusalem to our Secretary of State and President: You cannot have it both ways. Either Jerusalem is the undivided capital of Israel or it is the divided capital of Israel and Palestine. And if Jerusalem is to be the undivided capital of Israel, then Mr. Kerry has no reason to protest strongly the relocation of our embassy to Jerusalem, which he did this week as well.
Joel Pollack also points out that “through the Obama administration’s acceptance of UN Security Council Resolution 2334 last Friday,” America now “regards the Israel presence in East Jerusalem as ‘settlements’ that are in ‘flagrant violation of international law.’” This means that, “Effectively, the Obama administration has allowed the Palestinians to claim East Jerusalem as their own, with the option of negotiating that claim away. The starting point of negotiations is now a division of Jerusalem ‘like it was in 1967.’”
Getting back to 2008, while pledging to work diplomatically with Iran rather than militarily against Iran, candidate Obama was very clear about the danger Iran presented, stating, “There is no greater threat to Israel — or to the peace and stability of the region — than Iran.”
He continued, “The Iranian regime supports violent extremists and challenges us across the region. It pursues a nuclear capability that could spark a dangerous arms race and raise the prospect of a transfer of nuclear know-how to terrorists. Its president denies the Holocaust and threatens to wipe Israel off the map. The danger from Iran is grave, it is real, and my goal will be to eliminate this threat.”
I doubt that anyone listening to his speech in 2008 would have imagined that he would end up striking such a disastrous deal with Iran, one that not only rewarded the Iranians with billions of dollars, some of which would be used to fund terrorism – Kerry himself admitted to this explicitly – but one which also gave them a clear path to nuclear development in the coming years. Is this not the height of betrayal?
But there’s more. In 2008, then Senator Obama said, “I have long understood Israel's quest for peace and need for security. But never more so than during my travels there two years ago. Flying in an [Israeli Defense Forces] helicopter, I saw a narrow and beautiful strip of land nestled against the Mediterranean. On the ground, I met a family who saw their house destroyed by a Katyusha rocket. I spoke to Israeli troops who faced daily threats as they maintained security near the blue line. I talked to people who wanted nothing more simple, or elusive, than a secure future for their children.”
Yet in 2011, President Obama briefly suggested that Israel return to its totally indefensible pre-1967 borders, which would reduce this “narrow and beautiful strip of land” to as few as nine miles wide, thereby committing national suicide. And in 2015, it was reported that, “President Barack Obama is considering agreeing to a United Nations Security Council resolution ‘embodying the principles of a two-state solution that would be based on the pre-1967 lines between Israel and the West Bank and Gaza Strip and mutually agreed swaps,’ a senior administration official has told the New York Times.”
Will something like this be the last element in the president’s parting shots against Israel?
Making things even worse is the very strong evidence that the Obama administration worked directly with Palestinian leadership to craft and advance the recent UN Security Council resolution, despite the administration’s denials. Evidence includes: 1) discussion months in advance by political pundits that this was one of the options being discussed by the administration (how did they know this?); 2) Prime Minister Netanyahu stating unequivocally that America was behind the resolution, which he would hardly do without “rather ironclad information”; and 3) an Egyptian paper releasing transcripts of a purported meeting between Kerry and Palestinian officials from early December, planning out the strategy.
This is just part of what makes President Obama’s final actions so shameful and why Rabbi Shmuley Boteach was right to say that has Obama “demonized Israel little by little.”
So much for the man who said in 2008 that he spoke “as a true friend of Israel,” explaining, “And I know that when I visit with AIPAC, I am among friends. Good friends. Friends who share my strong commitment to make sure that the bond between the United States and Israel is unbreakable today, tomorrow and forever.”
As the old saying goes, with friends like these, who needs enemies.

‘Top of the First Inning’

Seven Ways Obama Is Trying To Sabotage The Trump Administration
Breitbart ^ | 12-31-2016 | John Hayward 

President Barack Obama’s final weeks in office seem dedicated to setting foreign and domestic policy on fire to make life as difficult as possible on his successor, Donald Trump. Here are some of the biggest mousetraps Obama scattered across the White House floor on his way out: Betraying Israel at the United Nations: Obama’s refusal to block a United Nations vote against Israel, his administration’s shadowy machinations to bring that ugly motion to the floor, and Secretary of State John Kerry’s long-winded broadside against Israel will leave President Trump with a massive political crisis in the Middle East, and quite possibly a security crisis, if terror groups and their “political wings” are emboldened by the rebuke of Israel.
Obama’s Israel maneuver also damages American credibility, teaching would-be allies that the United States is not the best friend to have. America’s erstwhile battlefield allies in Syria can teach the same lesson, assuming any of them are left alive to take the podium. This comes at the very moment aspiring hegemons in China and Russia are showing their allies how Beijing and Moscow will go to the mat for them.
Obama’s team thinks it was clever to saddle Trump with an international edict the U.S. president cannot easily reverse. They might not have thought this all the way through, because some of the options that are available to Trump could leave internationalists, and Palestinian leaders, cursing Barack Obama’s memory.
Note that even some commentators friendly to Obama, and sources within the Obama Administration itself, have described the Israel vote as a deliberate act of sabotage aimed at Trump, because Obama is “alarmed” by some of Trump’s appointees.

(Excerpt) Read more at ...

The Death of Clintonism

Politico ^ | 12/30/2016 | TODD S. PURDUM 

In September 1963, two months before his death, John F. Kennedy mused aloud to his old friend the journalist Charles Bartlett about the prospects for the 1968 presidential election, in which, he presciently worried, his brother Robert might run against Lyndon Johnson.

“He gave me the feeling he wasn’t pleased,” Bartlett would recall years later. “He wanted a record of his own. I sensed that he wanted the Kennedy administration to be Jack, and Bobby was going to turn it into a succession thing. Jack didn’t want a dynasty, although I am sure his father would have wanted that.”

By all accounts, Bill and Hillary Clinton never had any such qualms, and now their quarter-century project to build a mutual buy-one, get-one-free Clinton dynasty has ended in her defeat, and their joint departure from the center of the national political stage they had hoped to occupy for another eight years. Their exit amounts to a finale not just for themselves, but for Clintonism as a working political ideology and electoral strategy.
(Excerpt) Read more at ...

Friday, December 30, 2016

Don’t underestimate Trump or his voters

The Lexington Herald-Leader ^ | December 30, 2016 | Eliza Jane Schaeffer, freshman at Darmouth College 

Since Nov. 9, I have heard people label President-elect Donald Trump’s voters as stupid, uninformed and cruel. I have heard people claim that they no longer recognize their country, that this America is not their America.
And that is exactly why he won.
Trump supporters can be split into four groups: the Never Hillary camp, the party loyalists, the “I just care about the Supreme Court” folks, and true supporters. To those who wonder how on earth Trump won, the answer is simple. Some people really didn’t like Hillary Clinton, some felt obliged to support the party, some wanted a Republican to nominate the late Justice Antonin Scalia’s replacement, and some felt utterly alienated from popular political discourse.
It is the last group that pushed Trump over the edge, making his election a reality.
They watched a steady stream of jobs exit America and a steady stream of illegal immigrants pour in. When they listened to the radio or turned on the television or opened a newspaper, they didn’t hear or see or read anything that sounded like them. They came to see politicians as corrupt, not to be trusted.
They wanted their grandparents’ America. It doesn’t matter if they were right or wrong. What matters is that that’s what they felt, and that’s what they said, but no one listened.
Those unhappy with the results of the election — I’ll call them the #NotMyPresident camp — claim to have lost trust in their fellow Americans, as if the action of checking the box next to Trump on their ballots instantaneously transformed garden-variety Republicans and Independents into unpredictable beasts.
But in reality, the claimants’ own limited interaction with people who hold different views is to blame. They view this “other” as uninformed and objectively wrong, an evaluation sustained by ideological segregation and, more broadly, a lack of empathy.
For an example, look to the popular mass media, which was so unable to understand why someone would vote for Trump that it ignored signs pointing to his victory. Trump supporters didn’t spring from the post-election soil like mushrooms overnight. They have been growing slowly, quietly, for years.
The #NotMyPresident camp makes a mistake in writing off Trump and his voters as stupid. First, not all Trump voters are true supporters. The Never Hillary, party loyalist, and the Supreme-Court crowds differed from Trump on a number of issues. A vote for Trump was not an endorsement of his entire political agenda or, for that matter, his offensive personal comments on women and minorities.
Second, we can no longer pretend that Trump is stupid. He’s not. He’s a businessman, and he just sold himself to the American people. He saw what people wanted to hear, what would dominate the news cycle. And he said it, regardless of whether he believed it was true or whether he had any intention of fulfilling his promises.
Furthermore, he ran what has been described as the most sophisticated social media advertising campaign in history. He accumulated data on known supporters and used that data to identify potential supporters. He later did the same to identify potential Clinton voters. Both groups he targeted with Facebook “dark posts,” which are nonpublic paid posts revealed only to selected users.
Potential Trump voters saw pro-Trump ads; potential Clinton voters saw a cartoon Clinton repeating her 1996 comment likening youth gangs, presumably African-Americans, to “super predators.” This “depress the vote” campaign was largely successful; in key states like Michigan and Ohio, Democratic voter turnout was down from the 2012 and 2008 elections.
It is time we stop underestimating Trump, and it is time we stop ignoring the anti-Washington sentiments which led to his election. Instead of tweeting #NotMyPresident, please go have a conversation with a Trump voter.
I promise the next four years will be easier if you respect Trump as you would any commander in chief and if you offer up policy proposals rather than insults.





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Monday, December 26, 2016

Bitter Clingers

Prom Season!

After UN vote, Israel places hopes in Trump

Boston Globe ^ | Dec. 25, 2016 | By Josef Federman 

The Israeli government’s furious reaction to the U.N. Security Council’s adoption of a resolution opposing Jewish settlements in occupied territory underscores its fundamental and bitter dispute with the international community about the future of the West Bank and east Jerusalem.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu insists that there is nothing wrong with his controversial policy of building Jewish towns in occupied areas that the Palestinians, with overwhelming world support, claim for their state. But Friday’s U.N. rebuke was a stark reminder that the rest of the world considers it a crime. The embattled leader is now placing his hopes in the incoming administration of Donald Trump, which is shaping up as the first major player to embrace Israel’s nationalist right and its West Bank settlements.
(Excerpt) Read more at ...

Harvard University Launches Fellowships in Islamic Law to Influence U.S. Policy

Breitbart ^ | December 25, 2016 | Thomas D. Williams 

Harvard Law School has announced the launch of a series of paid fellowships for research on issues of Islamic law during the 2017-2018 academic year, aimed at influencing public discourse and U.S. policy on Sharia.

According to a recent email sent by the director of Harvard’s Islamic Legal Studies Program, Intisar Rabb, the launch of the new program comes “just in time” for the beginning of the Trump administration and has the goal of “building a community of Islamic law scholars in the academy” as well as informing “policy and media discourse about Islamic law.”
(Excerpt) Read more at ...

BREAKING: U.S. Steel CEO Says 10,000 Jobs To Be Brought Back!

USAPoliticsNow ^ | Dec 8 2016 | USAPolitics Admin 

U.S. Steel CEO Mario Longhi admitted that manufacturing challenges exist exclusively in the United States thanks to oppressive regulation set forth by President Obama.

Longhi is willing to bring as many as 10,000 jobs back to the United States because of the prosperity predicted with the advent of the incoming Trump administration. Jobs were lost to lay offs and downsizing during the Obama administration, and many employees found work overseas.
(Excerpt) Read more at ...

Trump to inherit more than 100 court vacancies, plans to reshape judiciary!

Washington Post ^ | Dec. 25, 2016 | By Philip Rucker and Robert Barnes 

Donald Trump is set to inherit an uncommon number of vacancies in the federal courts in addition to the open Supreme Court seat, giving the president-elect a monumental opportunity to reshape the judiciary after taking office.
The estimated 103 judicial vacancies that President Obama is expected to hand over to Trump in the Jan. 20 transition of power is nearly double the 54 openings Obama found eight years ago following George W. Bush’s presidency.
Confirmation of Obama’s judicial nominees slowed to a crawl after Republicans took control of the Senate in 2015. Obama White House officials blame Senate Republicans for what they characterize as an unprecedented level of obstruction in blocking the Democratic president’s court picks.
The result is a multitude of openings throughout the federal circuit and district courts that will allow the new Republican president to quickly make a wide array of lifetime appointments.
(Excerpt) Read more at ...

US Should Not Only Defund UN But Withdraw From It

FrontPage Magazine ^ | December 26, 2016 | Daniel Greenfield 

Let’s take our $3 billion and go.
The United States pays 22% of the total UN budget. What we get for our $3 billion a year is a corrupt organization whose dysfunctional and hostile agencies are united in opposing us around the world.
The United Nations does only two things consistently and effectively: waste money and bash Israel. Sometimes it manages to do both at the same time.
The Jewish State is the UN’s scapegoat for anything and everything. The Palestinian Authority blamed Israel at the UN for Global Warming.
Here’s what we get for our $3 billion.
UNRWA schools are turning out students who want to fight for ISIS. The UN’s email system has been used to distribute child pornography. UN staff members have smuggled drugs, attacked each other with knives and pool cues, not to mention a tractor. This month the UN marked Anti-Corruption Day despite refusing to fight its own corruption. The former President of the UN General Assembly was arrested on bribery charges last year. He had also headed UNICEF’s executive board. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is battling accusations of bribery.
Some of this might be defensible if the UN did anything useful. It doesn’t. It’s just a slush fund for redistributing our money to a vast UN bureaucracy and anyone willing to bribe it for benefits.
These days, the United Nations is a forum for Islamist powers and the rotting remains of the Communist front to continue its war against the free world while seducing weak-minded nations into going along.
We are not making the world a better place by being members of this anti-American organization which vacillates between being evil and useless.
(Excerpt) Read more at ...

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Obama’s Betrayal of Israel Is a Black Day for American Diplomacy

National Review ^ | December 24, 2016 | ANDREW C. MCCARTHY 

It is Islamist-leftist dogma that Israel’s millennia of attachment to its homeland count for nothing.
Adding a final shameful chapter to a foreign-policy record that already runneth over with them, Barack Obama on Friday abandoned America’s commitment to Israel’s security, and to the vindication of democracy over sharia-supremacist aggression. In an act of cowardly venom, the president had the United States abstain from — and thereby effectively enact — a United Nations Security Council resolution that condemns Israeli settlement activity.
At least, that’s what the resolution ostensibly does. The reality is much more than that. The resolution undertakes to render our ally indefensible.
To his great credit, Donald Trump was not. The president-elect asserted himself on Israel’s behalf, backing up his campaign promise that “America First” meant restoration of America’s reputation as a dependable friend and an enemy not to be trifled with. Under the pressure he generated, Egypt backed down, withdrawing its sponsorship of the resolution.
But such is the disdain in which Israel is openly held after eight Obama years of empowering Islamists that four other countries — Malaysia, Venezuela, Senegal, and, of all places, New Zealand — revived the resolution, knowing they had the State Department’s backing. With the U.S. abstention, it was easily approved.
It is a disgraceful legacy of Barack Obama that his obsession over settlements and antipathy toward Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu — traits he shares with his old radical comrade, Rashid Khalidi — have made the already dim prospects for peace far more remote. At the root of the settlements controversy is the fiction that the territory at issue is “occupied Palestinian” land. In point of stubborn fact, no matter how tirelessly the vaunted “international community” evokes the scurrilous image of occupation, the territory is righteously disputed.
It is Islamist-leftist dogma that Israel’s millennia of attachment to its homeland count for nothing, and that the Jewish state owes its existence to a fit of remorse over Nazi barbarism — one of the reasons Holocaust denial is an Islamist pastime. Still, even under this skewed version of history, the occupation crowd has no case.
Israel’s foes claim that the settlements are illegitimate because Israel’s only lawful boundaries are the 1948 armistice lines. This is the so-called Green Line that was in effect right before Arab nations (including their Palestinian component, mainly in Jordan) commenced the invasion that began the 1967 Six-Day War.
I italicize “armistice lines” to highlight that the demarcations, even back in 1967, were not national boundaries. They were disputed even before the Arab war of aggression. The armistice lines merely reflect the position of Israeli and Arab forces when the cease-fire went into effect. They were not accepted as final boundaries by the affected countries. As we shall see, they could not be accepted as final boundaries by Israel.
Nevertheless, Israel did not set out to conquer the disputed territory. The Jewish state took it fair and square when they won the defensive war against enemies that sought Israel’s destruction. Thus the unending pattern that the United States and Western European powers cravenly refuse to address: Islamic factions and nations are free to reserve the right to eradicate Israel, but Israel must pretend the aggression never happened and the continuing threat does not exist.
Regardless of how many resolutions the rabidly anti-Semitic U.N. rolls out, territorial sovereignty, like other disputed issues, will not be settled unless the parties directly affected by it, Israel and the Palestinians, arrive at an understanding. Obama, however, has schemed to impose an outcome unilaterally by rendering as illegitimate Israel’s side of the argument — which, to the contrary, is as justifiable legally as it is essential for Israel’s security.
That, alas, is Obama’s real legacy: There are no good-faith disputes with him; you either agree with him or you are an outlaw.
The resolution adopted on Friday does so much more than merely condemn “settlement activities.” It says such activities must cease in “occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem.” For good measure, it adds that the construction of settlements on territory that Palestinians covet — and that Israel righteously controls — has “no legal validity and constitutes a flagrant violation under international law.”
See? The true purpose of the resolution is not to stop settlement construction. It is to dictate a final disposition. It puts the imprimatur of the Security Council — which, for transnational progressives, is our ultimate global ruler — on a decree that says: The disputed territory is actually Palestinian territory, and that this Palestinian territory includes East Jerusalem (i.e., the most sacred portion of the city Israel regards as its eternal capital — again, for millennia of valid historic reasons). For good measure, this patently political decree masquerades as objective legal analysis, pronouncing that its thumb on the scale is somehow dictated by international law.
Outrageous as this legal razzle-dazzle is, it is secondary to the resolution’s assault on Israeli security.
First, by giving the Palestinians everything and then some, the resolution removes any Palestinian incentive to negotiate for lasting peace. Indeed, by requiring no Palestinian concessions, it tells the Islamists and leftists who run Palestinian affairs that their jihadist campaign will continue to be rewarded and that the Security Council accepts — and effectively abets — their objective of eradicating the Jewish state (whether by terrorism, “democracy” activism, or both).
Second, it would make that eradication more probable. The 1948 armistice lines cannot be viable national borders for Israel because, as Obama, the Security Council, and Israel’s hostile neighbors well know, they are not defensible. Put aside that Israel is no larger than New Jersey and surrounded by existential threats. In the area just north of Tel Aviv, the center of the country is just nine miles wide (running east to west from the Green Line to the Mediterranean coastal town of Netanya).
As IDF Major General Yaakov Amidror explained in a 2005 study on the security requirements for lasting peace, the 1967 boundaries do not provide “defensive depth,” a longstanding principle of military doctrine holding that there must be an area sufficient for a defensive force to redeploy after being attacked, and for reserves to enter or counterattack — the territorial space between the battlefront and the strategic interior that any army must have in order to function. The boundaries the Security Council seeks to impose would be inadequate even if Palestinian leadership — including the Muslim Brotherhood’s terrorist branch, Hamas — were not committed to Israel’s destruction.
Obama knows all of this. He also knows that the campaign to destroy Israel is politically waged with U.N. resolutions every bit as much as Hamas wages it with rockets. It is therefore essential that our nation, as a reliable ally, uses our veto power to protect Israel’s security. That is why Obama would not have dared abstain from the vote on such a resolution before Election Day.
The only glimmer of hope on this dark day is President-elect Trump’s willingness to use what limited leverage he had in Israel’s defense. Perhaps more important was his vow, after the resolution was adopted, that things will be different come January 20 “as to the U.N.”
It seems the incoming president has identified the real problem.

Battle Brewing for Soul of American Economy: Team Trump Girding for Fight

breitbart ^ | MATTHEW BOYLE 

President-elect Donald J. Trump’s incoming administration is girding for battle with corporatists, globalists, and special business interests over his core policy objective of bringing U.S. manufacturing jobs that have been shipped overseas back to the United States, several senior advisers to Trump tell Breitbart News.
“There is a big fight brewing over control of the American economy’s direction,” one of three senior advisers to the president-elect with intimate knowledge of the looming fight told Breitbart News. “Globalists, Wall Street fat cats and corporatists are fighting against President-elect Trump’s core message of returning the United States back to a major manufacturing power on the world stage. Nationalists, on the other hand, want to return power and wealth back to the people in the middle and working class in America.”
The senior incoming administration sources expect this fight to play out on three major policy fronts: trade, infrastructure, and taxes and the budget. Globalist elitists want Trump policies on these fronts to benefit the upper corporate echelon, whereas the nationalist populists would rather the focus be on benefits to the middle and working classes. Those same upper corporate echelon elites have shipped jobs overseas thanks to weak U.S. trade deals, then reaped the benefits of government connections for major contracts for U.S. projects—all while being sheltered by tax code proposals from career politicians that reward the wealthiest in society without much regard for the average American worker or family. Nationalist populists want to restore the balance in that equation by making sure that average American workers—not corporatist elites—have a job so they can feed their families and reap the majority of benefits from the tax code and from infrastructure projects.
(Excerpt) Read more at ...

Saturday, December 24, 2016

The Pros and Cons of the Electoral College

American Thinker ^ | December 24, 2016 | Michael Curtis 

Politics is a game, in some ways akin to football. A win depends on how many points are on the official scoreboard, not on how many yards have been covered.
For a stable society to exist or a game to be successful, certain rules must be followed. They may be simple or complex, few or many, handed down orally or through a complex code, but they underlie a structured order.
Adherence to that structure is essential even in politics, which is an ongoing process with no eternal answers. It is natural in politics that conclusions and procedures once generally accepted are inevitably subject to change. As Thomas Jefferson wrote in his letter of September 6, 1789 to James Madison, "[n]o society can make a perpetual constitution or even a perpetual law."
The presidential election just held raises the issue of the usefulness of the Electoral College (E.C.) in the U.S. today. Many Democrats, including the largely Democratic media, comprising ardent Clinton supporters disappointed in her defeat, have called for a change in the U.S. Constitution and specifically the E.C., since Donald Trump's election to the presidency of the U.S.
The 2016 election took on highly unusually emotional overtones in support of the different candidates. Questioning the authority of the E.C. seems to be a continuation of that emotion rather than a rational proposal. As such, it borders on breaking the official rules of the existing system.
The issue of the case for and the validity of political or social disobedience has always been present in life and in literature. Questions arise about whether it is morally or politically right to disobey and refuse to accept the existing rules
(Excerpt) Read more at ...

As Obama accomplished policy goals, his party floundered

Associated Press ^ | Dec 24, 2016 9:52 AM EST | Lisa Lerer 

In boasting about his tenure in the White House, President Barack Obama often cites numbers like these: 15 million new jobs, a 4.9 percent unemployment rate and 74 months of consecutive job growth.

There’s one number you will almost never hear: More than 1,030 seats.
That’s the number of spots in state legislatures, governor’s mansions and Congress lost by Democrats during Obama's presidency.

It’s a statistic that reveals an unexpected twist of the Obama years: The leadership of the one-time community organizer and champion of ground-up politics was rough on the grassroots of his own party. When Obama exits the White House, he’ll leave behind a Democratic Party that languished in his shadow for years and is searching for itself. …
(Excerpt) Read more at ...

Everyone should be treated with respect — unless you’re a Republican!

The New York Post ^ | December 22, 2016 | Karol Markowicz 

’Tis the season to spread joy and cheer — unless you’re a liberal still bitter about the election.

Thursday, Ivanka Trump and her family were accosted by Dan Goldstein, a lawyer from Brooklyn, who yelled at her that her father, who has yet to take office, was “ruining the country.” It wasn’t a spontaneous outburst. Goldstein’s husband had tweeted from the JetBlue terminal at JFK Airport that Goldstein was “chasing” Ivanka and her family to “harass” them.
“Why is she on our flight? She should be flying private,” Goldstein reportedly shouted when he saw them on the plane and allegedly engaged with her children as well. Goldstein and his husband were removed from the plane, with Goldstein complaining that he was merely “expressing his opinion.”
The last few years, we’ve seen the creation of safe spaces, though they’re usually for protecting fragile leftists from disagreeable thoughts and arguments. Lunatic men badgering women on planes in front of their kids apparently is fair play — if that mother is related to a Republican you don’t like.
The irony, of course, is that Ivanka Trump is someone liberals should be thankful to have in the incoming president’s inner circle. She’s certainly no partisan right-winger, and in fact has thus far during the transition been taking point on issues like climate change (she even met with Al Gore) and paid family leave. Why the rage at her?
The Trump hate has gone around the bend when the family of the president-elect is gleefully harassed....
(Excerpt) Read more at ...

Top Ex-White House Economist Admits 94% Of All New Jobs Under Obama Were Part-Time!

Zero Hedge ^ | 12-23-2016 | Tyler Durden 

Just over six years ago, in December of 2010, we wrote "Charting America's Transformation To A Part-Time Worker Society", in which we predicted - and showed - that in light of the underlying changes resulting from the second great depression, whose full impacts remain masked by trillions in monetary stimulus and soon, perhaps fiscal, America is shifting from a traditional work force, one where the majority of new employment is retained on a full-time basis, to a "gig" economy, where workers are severely disenfranchised, and enjoy far less employment leverage, job stability and perks than their pre-crash peers. It also explains why despite the 4.5% unemployment rate, which the Fed has erroneously assumed is indicative of job market at "capacity", wage growth not only refuses to materialize, but as we showed yesterday, the growth in real disposable personal income was the lowest since 2014.

When we first penned our article, it was dubbed "fringe" tinfoil hattery, or in the latest vernacular, "fake news."
Fast forward 6 years, when a report by Harvard and Princeton economists Lawrence Katz and Alan Krueger, confirms exactly what we warned. In their study, the duo show that from 2005 to 2015, the proportion of Americans workers engaged in what they refer to as “alternative work” soared during the Obama era, from 10.7% in 2005 to 15.8% in 2015. Alternative, or "gig" work is defined as "temporary help agency workers, on-call workers, contract company workers, independent contractors or freelancers", and is generally unsteady, without a fixed paycheck and with virtually no benefits.

The two economists also found that each of the common types of alternative work increased from 2005 to 2015—with the largest changes in the number of independent contractors and workers

(Excerpt) Read more at ...

Obama, Kerry behind 'shameful' U.N. settlement vote: Israeli official

Reuters ^ | December 23, 2016 | By Maayan Lubell 

JERUSALEM--U.S. President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry are behind a "shameful" draft anti-settlement resolution at the U.N. Security Council, a senior Israeli government official said on Friday.
It was one of the harshest personal attacks by the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Obama, coming in the final days of his presidency. The two leaders have had an acrimonious relationship.
"President Obama and Secretary Kerry are behind this shameful move against Israel at the UN," said the official, who asked not to be identified.
"The U.S. administration secretly cooked up with the Palestinians an extreme anti-Israeli resolution behind Israel's back which would be a tailwind for terror and boycotts. . ."
(Excerpt) Read more at ...

Mormon Choir On Trump Inauguration: We Will Perform Despite Opposition

The Daily Caller ^ | 3:42 PM 12/23/2016 | KATIE JERKOVICH 

Pressure is mounting on the famed Mormon Tabernacle Choir to not perform at president-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration ceremony in January, but the choir is not backing down.

In a Friday statement to The Daily Caller, the choir responded to an online petition that wants to the choir not to sing at Trump’s inauguration. The statement said while the group has received “mixed reactions,” it will still perform for the 58th Inauguration in Washington, D.C. just as it has done in the past. (RELATED: Mormon Tabernacle Choir Agrees To Perform At Trump Inauguration)
The Mormon Tabernacle Choir and church leaders sing together in the Conference Center during the 186th Annual General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints on April 2, 2016 in Salt Lake City, Utah. (Photo by George Frey/Getty Images (Photo by George Frey/Getty Images
“Response to the announcement has been mixed, with people expressing both opposition and support,” the statement read. “The Choir’s participation continues its long tradition of performing for U.S. Presidents of both parties at Inaugurations and in other settings, and is not an implied support of party affiliations or politics. It is a demonstration of our support for freedom, civility and the peaceful transition of power.”
By Friday afternoon, the petition had garnered more than 7,400 signatures demanding that the group back out because if they perform, it “sends the wrong message to [Mormon] children” about a president-elect’s “words and actions” that they claim do not align with their values.
Sponsored Content 20 Horrifying Photos From The Vietnam War 20 Horrifying Photos From The Vietnam War LifeDaily 93% Of Americans Can't Pass This U.S. History Quiz. Can You? 93% Of Americans Can't Pass This U.S. History Quiz. Can You? Offbeat Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Models Hannah Davis, Chrissy Teigen, And Nina Agdal Get Extreme DirecTV Makeovers Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Models Hannah Davis, Chrissy Teigen, And Nina Agdal Get Extreme DirecTV Makeovers Fast Company Sponsored Links by “We, as signers of this petition, believe that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ decision to allow the Mormon Tabernacle Choir to perform at the upcoming presidential inauguration of Donald Trump DOES NOT reflect the values of Mormonism and does not represent its diverse 15+ million members worldwide,” a statement on the petition read. “We also believe that an official LDS organization performing at a presidential inauguration gives the perception that the LDS Church and its diverse 15+ million members worldwide support an incoming president’s agenda, values and behaviors. ”
“The Church’s participation will harm this spectacularly talented and beloved choir’s image, misrepresent the diversity of Mormons worldwide, and sends the wrong message to LDS children as they will perceive the Church’s participation as endorsement of a president whose words and actions do not align with our values.”
On Thursday, a statement on the choir’s website confirmed it would be performing, just as it had for numerous other presidential inaugurations.
“At the request of the U.S. Presidential Inauguration Committee, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir has accepted an invitation to sing at the swearing-in ceremony during the presidential inauguration at the U.S. Capitol next month in Washington, D.C,” the choir announced in a statement. “This performance will mark the sixth time the Mormon Tabernacle Choir has sung at an inauguration.”

Read more:

MSG Says Rockettes Make Choice to Perform at Trump Inaugural (Union rules boycott 'invalid')

Hollywood Reporter ^ | 1:46 PST 12/23/2016 | by Abid Rahman 

The union representing the famed Radio City troupe ruled any boycott of the Jan. 20 event as "invalid" and that all full-time dancers were "obligated" to work. Team Trump's preparations for the presidential inauguration descended into further drama on Thursday when a dancer from the Radio City Rockettes took to social media to express her disappointment in having to perform at the Jan. 20 event and further aired her fear of losing her job if she refused to do so.

Already struggling to attract top talent, the president-elect's inauguration team added two more acts to the roster on Thursday, announcing the Rockettes and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, who will join America's Got Talent star Jackie Evancho on the D.C. stage.
Not long after MSG Entertainment, owners of the Rockettes, confirmed their participation, dancer Phoebe Pearl posted a now-deleted message on her personal Instagram account to express her embarrassment and disappointment.
Donald Trump READ MORE Trump Doesn't Want "A List" Celebs at His Inauguration Pearl said: "I usually don’t use social media to make a political stand but I feel overwhelmed with emotion. Finding out that it has been decided for us that Rockettes will be performing at the Presidential inauguration makes me feel embarrassed and disappointed. The women I work with are intelligent and are full of love and the decision of performing for a man that stands for everything we’re against is appalling. I am speaking for just myself but please know that after we found out this news, we have been performing with tears in our eyes and heavy hearts. We will not be forced! #notmypresident”
The union representing the Rockettes, the American Guild of Variety Artists, also ruled any planned boycott of the inauguration by the dancers was "invalid" according to an email seen by BroadwayWorld. The AGVA email, reportedly written by a high ranking union administrator, went on to say that dancers that "are not full time, [do not] not have to sign up to do this work. If you are full time, you are obligated."
James Dolan, executive chairman of The Madison Square Garden Company of which the Rockettes are part, said in announcing the performance: "The Radio City Rockettes, an original American brand, have performed at Radio City Music Hall since 1932 and, as treasured American icons, have taken part in some of the nation’s most illustrious events such as Super Bowl halftime shows, Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parades and presidential inaugurations, including in 2001 and 2005. We are honored that the Rockettes have again been asked to perform in the upcoming inauguration festivities.”
THR reached out to Madison Square Garden Company for further comment and on Friday, the company released a follow-up statement, saying "it is always their choice" to perform.
"The Radio City Rockettes are proud to participate in the 58th Presidential Inaugural," read the statement. "For a Rockette to be considered for an event, they must voluntarily sign up and are never told they have to perform at a particular event, including the inaugural. It is always their choice. In fact, for the coming inauguration, we had more Rockettes request to participate than we have slots available. We eagerly await the inaugural celebrations."
Irving Azoff READ MORE Music Manager Irving Azoff: I Have No "Official" Role in Trump's Inauguration According to a Dec. 8 report in the New York Times, the inauguration festivities are being overseen by Apprentice producer Mark Burnett. Colony Capital CEO Thomas Barrack, Laurie Perlmutter (wife of Marvel chairman Ike Perlmutter) and casino mogul Steve Wynn are all serving on Trump's presidential inaugural committee.
The latest drama over the inauguration line-up came hours after Trump took to Twitter to claim that A-list celebrities were falling over themselves to get tickets to the event. “The so-called 'A' list celebrities are all wanting tixs to the inauguration, but look what they did for Hillary, NOTHING,” Trump tweeted.
He added: “I want the PEOPLE!”
Several celebrities threw their support behind the Rockettes by Friday morning. Judd Apatow shared posts from Patton Oswalt and Ghostbusters director Paul Feig, who both shared contact information to reach out to the AGVA and urged others to do the same.

Donald Trump: I don't Need Celebrities at Inauguration, Just 'The PEOPLE' !

The Hill ^ | 12/23/16 GMT | BY PAULINA FIROZI 

President-elect Donald Trump called out “the so-called ‘A’ list” celebrities he says are looking to attend his inauguration in a tweet on Thursday, suggesting he wouldn't want them there.
"The so-called 'A' list celebrities are all wanting tickets to the inauguration,” Trump tweeted. “but look what they did for Hillary Clinton, NOTHING. I want the PEOPLE!”
Few celebrities have confirmed publicly that they would not perform at Trump’s inauguration next month.
uring the tail end of the presidential campaign, Trump ripped Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton for having celebrities perform at rallies on her behalf. During a rally in Hershey, Pa., just days before Election Day, Trump commented that he didn’t need any big names to draw a crowd.
He mocked Clinton’s star-studded get-out-the-vote concert that included BeyoncĂ©, Jay Z, Big Sean, J. Cole and Chance the Rapper.
"I hear we set a new record for this building. And by the way, I didn't have to bring J-Lo or Jay-Z — the only way she gets anybody, I am here all by myself. I am here all by myself,” Trump said.
"Just me, no guitar, no piano, no nothing. But you know what we do have? It's all of us, it's all the same — we all have great ideas and great vision for our country."
(Excerpt) Read more at ...

Media Guilty of Double Standard on Terror Attacks ^ | December 23, 2016 | Jonah Goldberg 

Here's a paradox for you. Whenever there's a terrorist attack, the immediate response from government officials and the media is: "Let's not jump to conclusions." Yet when there are breaking reports that Muslim or Arab Americans were allegedly victimized by bigots in some hate crime, the response is instant credulity, outrage and hand-wringing.
This doesn't really even scratch the surface of the double standard. When there's a terrorist incident, there's deep skepticism at every stage of the unfolding story. At first we're told there's no evidence that the attack is terror-related. Then, when reports come in that a shooter shouted "Allahu akbar!" or has an Arabic name, we're assured there's no evidence that the shooter is tied to any international terror groups. Days go by with talking heads fretting about "self-radicalization," "homegrown terror," and "lone wolves." This narrative lingers even as the killer's Facebook posts declaring allegiance to ISIS emerge.
Now, truth be told, I think some of this skepticism is understandable. Often, the media and the pundit class on the left and right are too eager to win the race to be wrong first. It's perfectly proper to not want to get ahead of the facts.
More annoying is the Obama administration's studied practice of slow-walking any admission that the war on terror isn't over, but at least it's understandable. President Obama came into office wanting to end wars and convince Americans that terrorism isn't such a big deal. It seems to be a sincere belief. The Atlantic reported that Obama frequently reminds his staff that slippery bathtubs kill more Americans than terrorism. It took Obama six years to admit that the shooting at Fort Hood was terrorism and not "workplace violence."
Regardless, my point here is that I can understand why politicians and the media want to be skeptical about breaking news events and even why they try to frame those events in ways that fit a political agenda.
The best defense of that agenda isn't the sorry effort to pad the legacy of our Nobel Peace Prize-winning president. It's the desire to err on the side of caution when it comes to stigmatizing law-abiding and patriotic Muslims with the stain of acts of terror in the name of their religion. The media doesn't want to give credence to the idea that all Muslims are terrorists, not least because that attitude will only serve to radicalize more Muslims. As we are often told, ISIS wants peaceful Muslims in the West to feel victimized and unwelcome.
And that brings me back to the media's instant credulity for stories of anti-Muslim bias. This eagerness to hype "anti-Muslim backlash" stories has been around for nearly 20 years, and it has always been thin gruel. According to the FBI, in every year since the 9/11 attacks, there have been more -- a lot more -- anti-Jewish hate crimes than anti-Muslim ones. Which have you heard about more: the anti-Jewish backlash or the anti-Muslim backlash?
Amazingly, the "experts fear an anti-Muslim backlash" stories keep popping up after every Islamic terror attack, despite the fact that the backlash never arrives. To be sure, there have been hateful and deplorable acts against Muslims. But evidence of a true national climate of intimidation and bigotry has always been lacking.
What has not been lacking is evidence that many activists want to convince Americans that such a climate exists. This effort has been old hat for the media-savvy spokesmen of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) for years. But since Donald Trump's election, there has been an explosion of freelance anti-Muslim hate crime hoaxes. A Muslim girl fabricated an attack by three Trump supporters on a New York subway. A young man pulled a similar stunt on a Delta flight this week. False fraud claims by Asian and Hispanic students at various universities have popped up as well. The media, still in the throes of anti-Trump panic, has been quick to credit these hoaxes and grudging in clearing the air when they've been debunked. It's time the media applied at least the same level of skepticism that they reserve for real terror attacks to fake hate crimes. Why? First, because their job is to report the facts. Second, because if they're really concerned about not alienating or radicalizing American Muslims, they shouldn't hype the propaganda efforts of the idiots who are doing exactly that.

Democrats Care About Their Power, Not About Russian Hacking ^ | December 23, 2016 | David Limbaugh 

Isn't it interesting that it took an electoral barnyard beat-down to get the Democrats interested in Russian hacking? A drubbing by Donald Trump has done wonders to focus their minds.

How ironic that Democrats became apoplectic about Trump's alleged coziness with Russia during the campaign when they've been Russia's apologists for years. They are the ones (through Sen. Ted Kennedy) who clandestinely asked the Russians for help to beat Ronald Reagan in 1984. They are the ones who lambasted GOP 2012 presidential candidate Mitt Romney for being too tough on Russia. They are the ones (through President Obama) who secretly conspired to "have more flexibility" to negotiate with Russia on missile defense once Obama was re-elected. They are the ones who promised to "reset" U.S. relations with Russia.
But when it was expedient to discredit Trump during the campaign over his favorable comments about Russian President Vladimir Putin, they pretended to fear that Trump would collude with the evil Putin should Trump be elected. A resetting of U.S.-Russian relations looked ominous all of a sudden. It became even more alarming after Trump won the election and announced he would appoint Rex Tillerson as secretary of state. In case you haven't heard, Tillerson has a personal relationship with Putin, and Democrats feigned concern that this could lead to the Trump administration's selling the U.S. down the river -- kind of like what Obama was planning on doing with missile flexibility.
But Hillary Clinton's defeat is what has them most exercised. They've obviously come to expect their party's permanent investiture in the Oval Office, and they were shellshocked at the trouncing they took -- not just at the presidential level but all the way up and down federal and state ballots. In this case, pride certainly preceded the fall.
Surely, you're not too old to remember their hand-wringing when Trump complained the election was rigged -- their outrage that a presidential candidate would undermine the integrity of our "democratic institutions" and the orderly and peaceful transition of power?
Lo and behold, as they are wont to do, the Democrats quickly engaged in the very activity for which they maligned Trump, but the difference was that unlike Trump, they didn't just talk about it; they did it. They launched recount efforts and even tried to pressure presidential electors to abandon Trump in their last-ditch efforts to reclaim the executive branch -- which they will need to do if they want to impose their will on the American people through lawless executive action again.
Though they've failed to upset the integrity of our democratic institutions -- having fallen flat in their recount efforts -- they've now turned to delegitimizing Trump and his presidency before it has even begun. Call it a reverse honeymoon.
How convenient for them that Trump made a few positive comments about Putin during the campaign that they can leverage to prove there is really something between Putin and Trump, which allegedly prompted Putin to interfere in our election to help elect Trump.
They have no proof, mind you, but proof is hardly necessary when you have the liberal media at the ready to manipulate facts to advance a false narrative that will benefit the Democratic Party's cause.
Indeed, another striking irony has unfolded before our eyes. Democrats are outraged that Russians, by allegedly hacking only the Democratic National Committee and exposing Democrats' corruption and deceit, manipulated our electoral process through the selective publication of facts. But isn't that exactly what the liberal media have been doing for the Democratic Party for years?
Republicans don't doubt that Russia tried to hack the DNC and other Democratic-related organizations. They know that the Russians and other foreign governments are incessantly trying to hack into American business and political institutions and that they've been successful more often than we'd like to admit.
But before they lost this election, you couldn't get the Democrats' attention on Russian hacking. "Russia's cyber-attacks are no surprise to the House Intelligence Committee, which has been closely monitoring Russia's belligerence for years," said the committee's chairman, Devin Nunes, in a statement. "As I've said many times, the Intelligence Community has repeatedly failed to anticipate Putin's hostile actions. Unfortunately the Obama administration, dedicated to delusions of 'resetting' relations with Russia, ignored pleas by numerous Intelligence Committee members to take more forceful action against the Kremlin's aggression. It appears, however, that after eight years the administration has suddenly awoken to the threat."
The Washington Examiner's Byron York reports that Republicans don't doubt that the Russians tried to hack the U.S. political process, because they try to hack everything. But Republicans don't believe that the Russians' motive necessarily was to sway the election in Trump's favor. The Russians didn't take Trump's candidacy seriously and assumed Clinton would be the next president. Their goal was to expose her as deceitful and corrupt and, in so doing, reveal the United States as something other than the pristine power it holds itself out to be. "The number-one thing Russians seek to do is to sow doubt about the United States," writes York.
It wasn't that the Russians didn't try to hack the Republican Party and its institutions, as well. They just didn't succeed.
The Democrats don't care about Russian cyberwarfare except when it threatens their power. The Democrats know the country's mood has shifted from Democratic malaise to Republican optimism. Like everyone else, they feel this buoyancy, and they're horrified that Trump may make decisive policy changes in his first 100 days in office, including a repeal and replacement of Obamacare and an introduction of tax and regulatory reform, and an implementation of border security measures.
They simply cannot tolerate this, so they will do everything they can to discredit Trump -- hoping that what they can't stop at the ballot box, they can prevent through distorting the narrative by selective dissemination of the facts. Don't ever forget that projection is their stock in trade.

If you have left-handers in your family, your brain is different!

Arizona Daily Star ^ | Dec 23, 2016 | Thomas Bever 

About half the world's population is right-handed but has left-handed family members. Such right-handers have special neurological organization of language and thought.
This has implications for therapies and our understanding of the genetic bases for language.
Our brain imaging studies show that grammatical knowledge is represented differently if you have left-handers in your family. For example, when it comes to language, everyone’s brain responds to certain language tasks quickly.
But that response is much stronger in the brain's right hemisphere if you have left-handers in your family and stronger in the left hemisphere if you have no left-handers in your family
(Excerpt) Read more at ...

Friday, December 23, 2016

12 Days of Christmas


The Trump Nail In The Media's Coffin

 Investors Business Daily ^ | Dec. 22, 2016 4:33 PM ET | VICTOR DAVIS HANSON 

President-elect Donald Trump probably will not often communicate with the nation via traditional press conferences. Nor will Trump likely field many questions from New York/Washington journalists.
What we know as "the media" never imagined a Trump victory. It has become unhinged...
...the fading establishment media is now distrusted by a majority of the public, according to Gallup — and becoming irrelevant even among progressives.
Once upon a time in the 1960s, all the iconic news anchors, from Walter Cronkite to David Brinkley, were liberal. But they at least hid their inherent biases behind a professional veneer that allowed them to filter stories through left-wing lenses without much pushback.
When Cronkite returned from Vietnam after the 1968 Tet Offensive and declared the war stalemated and unwinnable, no one dared to offer the dissenting viewpoint that Tet was actually a decisive American victory.
The mainstream-media narrative in 1963 that Lee Harvey Oswald, the Castroite, communist assassin of President John F. Kennedy, was a product of right-wing Texas hatred was completely crazy — but largely unquestioned...
...The New York Times and Christiane Amanpour of CNN said that they could not — and should not — be neutral reporters, given their low opinion of Trump...
...Brian Williams sermonized about the so-called "fake news" epidemic... ..."CNN Newsroom" collectively put up their hands in "hands up, don't shoot" solidarity — echoing a narrative of police murder later proved to be completely false...
...Decades-long journalistic one-sidedness was apparently tolerable when there were no other news alternatives...
...those assumptions are no longer true. News outlets such as The New York Times and NBC have no more credibility than most websites or the National Enquirer.
Is it any surprise that we are witnessing the funeral for traditional journalism as we once knew it?
(Excerpt) Read more at ...

Was it?












They LIED!




Whose Fault?




Directly to jail!






Thursday, December 22, 2016

Final Tally Shows Trump BEAT Clinton By 3 Million Votes Outside Of California And New York ^ | Dec. 21, 2016 

Clinton won California by 4.2 million and took New York by more than 1.6 million. The combined 5.8 million-vote advantage in just those two states was more than twice the size of her overall edge nationwide.

When the dust settled, she lost the rest of the country by 3 million votes.
BIG WIN: Donald Trump won the presidency with broad support of a majority of states in the all-important Electoral College that actually selects America's president and vice president.

SMALL COMFORT: Hillary Clinton collected more votes than Trump but did it by running up the score in California and New York, two very liberal states that were virtually guaranteed to her
(Excerpt) Read more at ...

Sniff test' may be useful in diagnosing early Alzheimer's disease!

Science Daily ^ | 12/21/2016 | University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine 

Tests that measure the sense of smell may soon become common in neurologists' offices. Scientists have been finding increasing evidence that the sense of smell declines sharply in the early stages of Alzheimer's, and now a new study from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania published in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease confirms that administering a simple "sniff test" can enhance the accuracy of diagnosing this dreaded disease.
The sniff test also appears to be useful for diagnosing a pre-dementia condition called mild cognitive impairment (MCI), which often progresses to Alzheimer's dementia within a few years.
Neurologists have been eager to find new ways to identify people who are at high risk of Alzheimer's dementia but do not yet show any symptoms. There is a widespread consensus that Alzheimer's medications now under development may not work after dementia has set in.
"There's the exciting possibility here that a decline in the sense of smell can be used to identify people at risk years before they develop dementia," said principal investigator David R. Roalf, PhD, an assistant professor in the department of Psychiatry at Penn.Roalf and his colleagues used a simple, commercially available test known as the Sniffin' Sticks Odor Identification Test, in which subjects must try to identify 16 different odors. They administered the sniff test, and a standard cognitive test (the Montreal Cognitive Assessment), to 728 elderly people.
There seems to be a significant increase in reliability combined with cognitive impairment tests alone for mild cognitive impairment (MCI).

(Excerpt) Read more at ...

‘We Should Be Extremely Skeptical’: Here’s The Best Interview Yet On Russian Hacking

The Daily Caller ^ | December 20, 2016 | By Rachel Stoltzfoos 

Liberal journalist Glenn Greenwald questioned the narrative that Russia worked to help Trump win the election in an interview Monday on Fox News, saying he’s “skeptical” of reports from The Washington Post and New York Times on the CIA’s conclusion.
“We should be extremely skeptical of it for multiple reasons,” he said on “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” referring to reports the CIA is confident Russia meddled in the election with the main goal of electing Trump. The reports are apparently based on second- and even third-hand accounts of intelligence briefings from Obama officials and sources that could even be Democrat Senate staffers.
“You have somebody whose identity is being shielded, describing what the CIA has supposedly concluded, laundering that through The Washington Post,” Greenwald told Carlson. “These are assertions that are being made completely unaccompanied by any evidence whatsoever, let alone evidence that we can touch and rationally review.”
“There’s all kinds of reasons to suspect the CIA statements, including the fact that they’re wrong all the time,” he added. “They’re programmed in a lot of cases to disseminate disinformation, and there’s lots of reasons to view them as political actors, and I think we ought to be highly skeptical. . ."
(Excerpt) Read more at ...

what voters were rebelling against

Much ink has been spilled, and much bandwidth spent, on describing Donald Trump’s 2016 victory as a populist revolt. Less attention has been paid to what voters were rebelling against.

There were economic grievances — in the Upper Midwest in particular — but the economy as a whole is slowly recovering. (As Alexis de Tocqueville observed, revolutions tend to occur in times of rising expectations.)
But at its core, the revolution of 2016 was an attempt at restoration — at fixing a broken system.
What broke it? Both parties acquiesced in bank liberalization, open-borders immigration, and Wall Street bailouts.
But the most acute challenge was Barack Obama’s direct attack on the constitutional framework itself. Obama sought to transform America, and believed that the ends would justify the means.
Republicans, hypnotized by race and cowed by the media, put up little fight. So voters took matters into their own hands.
Here are ten of the most serious ways Obama broke the system:
1. The stimulus. On the campaign trail, Obama promised a $50 billion stimulus and criticized George W. Bush for building up the national debt. In office, Obama passed a nearly $1 trillion stimulus, over Republican objections, that failed to keep unemployment from below 8% (as promised), and went largely to pet projects and state and local governments. The profligate spending shocked voters who feared that the country was now on an irreversible path to fiscal ruin. The Tea Party was born.
2. Fast and Furious. The Obama administration smuggled guns across the Mexican border, ostensibly to trace them to drug cartels. Unlike the Bush administration’s Wide Receiver, Obama’s Operation Fast and Furious happened without the Mexican government’s knowledge. The likely goal was to create a pretext for reducing gun ownership in the U.S. It led to the murders of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry and hundreds of Mexicans. Afterwards, Obama used “executive privilege” to cover it up.
3. Betraying allies. Obama picked public fights with Israel in a deliberate effort to establish “distance” between the allies. He also broke agreements with the Czechs and the Poles on missile defense, infamously informing the Polish prime minister on the 70th anniversary of the Katyn Massacre. He snubbed the British in ways small (returning a Churchill bust) and big (using the Argentinian term “Malvinas” for the Falklands). And he spied on foreign allies, including Germany’s Angela Merkel.
4. Obamacare. The sweeping plan for “universal” health insurance sought, fundamentally, to make individuals dependent on the state, the better to open the door to even more sweeping changes. But it was the process of passing the bill that caused the real damage. To pass Obamacare, Obama bent and broke procedural rules; lied, repeatedly, about the policy; disguised a tax as a fee; and bullied the Supreme Court into compliance. It was the first major entitlement passed without bipartisan support.
5. Debt ceiling. Few of the Republicans who rode the Tea Party wave in 2010 made an issue out of the debt ceiling. But the Obama administration believed that a confrontation would help it regain full control of Congress. So it picked a fight over the debt, and forced a confrontation in the summer of 2011 that brought the country to the brink of default. Obama scuttled a “grand bargain” with Republicans by demanding higher taxes. The result: a hated budget “sequester” and a credit downgrade.
6. Benghazi. Presidents had lied to the country before about national security incidents: the Iran-Contra scandal, for example, left a stain on Ronald Reagan’s legacy. But no previous American president had abandoned Americans to die abroad without putting up a fight or making a serious effort to punish the perpetrators. In fact, in the heat of battle, Obama went to sleep and flew to a political fundraiser in Las Vegas the next day. It was an unprecedented abdication of his commander-in-chief role.
7. IRS scandal. Encouraged by Obama’s attacks on “dark money” and conservative political donors, the Internal Revenue Service began singling out conservative non-profit organizations for excessive scrutiny, denying them the ability to operate during the crucial 2012 elections, and trying to pry loose private information on their donors, their meetings, and even the content of their prayers. To this day, no Obama administration official has been punished for that horrific abuse of power.
8. AP scandal. Despite the media’s ongoing love affair with Obama, the administration targeted journalists for harassment, surveillance and prosecution. In one case, the Department of Justice seized phone records from the Associated Press; in another, the DOJ searched the emails of Fox News reporter James Rosen and his family. Congress later found Attorney General Eric Holder misled it when he told them in May 2013 he had not been involved in potential prosecution of the media.
9. Iran deal. After resisting sanctions on Iran, and holding off on any real action against the Iranian regime when it faced mass protests in 2009, Obama made a deal with Iran in 2015 that removed most sanctions in exchange for a mere temporary slowdown in the Iranian nuclear program. Worse, he refused to submit it to the Senate for ratification in accordance with the Constitution’s Treaty Clause, and Democrats blocked a weaker effort to submit the deal to an overall congressional vote.
10. Executive action on immigration. Obama abused prosecutorial discretion in 2012 in announcing “Deferred Action for Children of Americans” (DACA) in 2012, even after Congress declined to pass legislation on “Dreamers.” But the real offense came after the 2014 elections, when Obama defied the electorate and announced an “executive amnesty” — “Deferred Action for Parents of Americans” (DAPA) — that he himself said dozens of times was unconstitutional (he lost in the courts).

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He was named one of the “most influential” people in news media in 2016. His new book, See No Evil: 19 Hard Truths the Left Can’t Handle, is available from Regnery through Amazon. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.

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