Month: December 2016

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Jill Stein serves Trump 'humble pie' for his New Year's Eve tweet


Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein served up some “humble pie” to Donald Trump after the president-elect sent out a New Year’s Eve tweet which included a dig at his political rivals.

“Happy New Year to all, including to my many enemies and those who have fought me and lost so badly they just don’t know what to do. Love!”, Trump wrote Saturday morning.

Hours later, Stein replied to Trump’s message with a Twitter tirade.

“It takes a special kind of person to lose the popular vote and boast about it,” Stein said. “Might want to check your sources on those ‘wins’ and ‘enemies,’ she added, with a hashtag for fake news.

Stein went on to knock the president-elect for efforts by his supporters to block her recount efforts in Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin, and condemned Trump’s “phony” promise to bring jobs back to the United States.

Stein also offered a plug to the “Occupy Inauguration,” a movement which she has thrown her support behind. The multi-day rally in Washington, D.C., will begin on Jan. 20, Inauguration Day, and according to the group’s website participants will be “calling for unity to stand against the oligarch and demand representation for the people.”

Stein ended her string of Trump-related tweets by giving a nod to a message from “Kid President,” who said to Trump, “You could’ve just said ‘Happy New Year’. Or nothing. Sometimes nothing is good too.”

On Democrats and media finally recognizing Russia as a threat: Welcome to the party, pal

Also from the Washington Examiner

Politicos and pundits ridiculed former Mitt Romney for saying Russia is “our number-one geopolitical foe.”

12/31/16 6:13 PM

“This is how you do it, @realDonaldTrump. BTW, happy new year!”, Stein said.

Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story had an inaccurate headline. The Washington Examiner apologizes for the error.

Judge blocks Obama's transgender mandate

Also from the Washington Examiner

The rule, blocked by a preliminary injunction, was slated to into effect Jan. 1.

12/31/16 5:45 PM

Judge blocks transgender mandate

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The rule, blocked by a preliminary injunction, was slated to go into effect Jan. 1.

12/31/16 5:45 PM



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On Democrats and media finally recognizing Russia as a threat: Welcome to the party, pal


It’s great that the White House and major media have seemingly come around to the idea that Russia poses a serious threat to the United States. But did it really take the Democrats losing a presidential election for them to say it out loud?

Don’t get me wrong: I’m pleased as punch to hear members of the Obama administration and leading pundits recognize Russian President Vladimir Putin as an enemy to the U.S. and the free West.

However, this was obvious four years ago, back when these same politicos and pundits were ridiculing former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney for saying, “Russia [is] without question, our number-one geopolitical foe.”

As you probably well remember, the former governor was mocked mercilessly for that claim.

“The 1980s are now calling to ask for their foreign policy back because,” Obama said in a much-praised debate moment, adding, “the Cold War’s been over for 20 years.”

Then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Romney’s fear was “somewhat dated.”

The New York Times added that the former governor’s comments, “display either a shocking lack of knowledge about international affairs or just craven politics. Either way, they are reckless and unworthy of a major presidential contender.”

The list goes on and on.

Never mind that Romney went on to explain later what he meant when he said Russia is, “the nation that lines up with the world’s worst actors.”

Judge blocks Obama's transgender mandate

Also from the Washington Examiner

The rule, blocked by a preliminary injunction, was slated to into effect Jan. 1.

12/31/16 5:45 PM

This was as accurate then as it is today.

Never mind that the 2008 Russia-Georgia conflict sounded a major warning to the West. Never mind all the cyberattacks that Russia had already launched against the United States prior to the 2012 election. Never mind all the warnings from human rights activists and Russian dissidents.

All of this was cast aside and ignored in 2012 for a debate “zinger” about the Cold War.

Fast-forward four years, and the relationship between Russia and the U.S. has deteriorated to the point that some in media are now talking about a “Cold War 2.0.”

Not so funny now, is it?

Jill Stein serves Trump 'humble pie' for his New Year's Eve tweet

Also from the Washington Examiner

“It takes a special kind of person to lose the popular vote and boast about it,” she said.

12/31/16 4:56 PM

The Russians reportedly hacked into the private emails accounts of Democratic National Committee staffers and Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman, John Podesta. Those emails were then published online in installments during the 2016 election by WikiLeaks.

Following Clinton’s defeat, media have sounded the alarm on Russian aggression, warning loudly and repeatedly of the threat posed by the Putin regime. The Obama administration even announced this week that it will take retaliatory measures against Russia for its “malicious cyber activity and harassment.”

The U.S. may be poised for a cyberwar (or worse) with Russia, and all of this comes as the country is set to inaugurate Donald Trump, who appears to be awfully fond of Putin.

What’s amazing is the White House’s and media’s most heated warnings on Russia come after Clinton’s loss.

In the time between the 2012 and 2016 U.S. elections, Russia annexed Crimea. Putin regime has also been linked to downing an airliner, killing approximately 300 passengers, and has helped turn much of Syria into dust.

But, nah, it’s only after Clinton loses the 2016 election that we’re going to talk about the dangers of the Putin regime? You can invade Ukraine, but boy, you better not snare John Podesta with a phishing scam.

To quote the outgoing president: Come on, man.

In the interest of avoiding being misunderstood, let me reiterate my oft-repeated point: Putin is a villain.

He oppresses his people. He has political opponents and journalists murdered. He jails dissidents. This is not a man of whom lovers of liberty should speak fondly. The fact that he’s basically a real-life James Bond villain would be funny were it not so deadly serious.

Don’t take the above criticism of the White House and media to be some sort of defense of Putin. It certainly shouldn’t be taken as a defense of Trump’s nauseous sucking up to the Russian president.

On the contrary, it’s all vile.

My point is this: It’ll take me some time to forgive those who laughed at the warnings four years ago. It’ll take me even longer to take them seriously again on this topic.

Judge blocks transgender mandate

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The rule, blocked by a preliminary injunction, was slated to go into effect Jan. 1.

12/31/16 5:45 PM



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Judge blocks Obama's transgender mandate


A Texas judge has temporarily blocked the Obama administration’s new requirements for transgender care, granting a preliminary injunction Saturday to several states and religious health organizations suing over the rules.

The rule, which was slated to go into effect Jan. 1, says that doctors can’t refuse to provide medically necessary health services within their scope of practice because of a patient’s gender identity. It doesn’t explicitly require doctors to perform gender transition services, but it says providers can’t refuse services they already provide based on discrimination.

The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas temporarily blocked the requirements at the request of Texas, Wisconsin, Nebraska, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Arizona and Mississippi along with the Franciscan Alliance and several other religiously affiliated organizations.

Judge Reed O’Connor wrote that the rule contradicts existing law and “likely violates” the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

The Becket Fund, which is representing the states and organizations, said the decision ensures doctors won’t be required to act against their best medical judgement or violate their religious beliefs.

“The government has no business forcing private doctors to perform procedures on children that the government itself recognizes can be harmful and exempts its own doctors from performing,” said Becket Fund senior counsel Lori Windham. “Today’s ruling ensures that doctors’ best medical judgement will not be replaced with political agendas and bureaucratic interference.”

The Catholic Benefits Association, which represents more than 700 Catholic employers, including many hospitals, also filed a lawsuit in federal court Dec. 28 in an effort to get its members exempted from the rule.

The rule stems from the nondiscrimination section of the Affordable Care Act, which the Obama administration has defined to include a prohibition on discriminating on the basis of gender identity. Insurers and providers who don’t comply risk paying a hefty fine and losing their Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements.

Supporters of the requirement say it’s necessary to ensure transgender Americans can get the healthcare they need.

Jill Stein serves Trump 'hump pie' for his New Year's Eve tweet

Also from the Washington Examiner

“It takes a special kind of person to lose the popular vote and boast about it,” she said.

12/31/16 4:56 PM

The administration wrote in its final rule that the requirement is consistent with the way other federal agencies are treating transgender people, referring to guidance from the Department of Education this year that schools should allow students to use the bathroom that corresponds to their gender identity, not biological sex. The Supreme Court plans to hear challenges to that policy next year.

Taiwan president to visit US in 2017

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It is unclear whether she will visit with President-elect Trump.

12/31/16 4:43 PM



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Jill Stein serves Trump 'hump pie' for his New Year's Eve tweet


Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein served up some “humble pie” to Donald Trump after the president-elect sent out a New Year’s Eve tweet which included a dig at his political rivals.

“Happy New Year to all, including to my many enemies and those who have fought me and lost so badly they just don’t know what to do. Love!”, Trump wrote Saturday morning.

Hours later, Stein replied to Trump’s message with a Twitter tirade.

“It takes a special kind of person to lose the popular vote and boast about it,” Stein said. “Might want to check your sources on those ‘wins’ and ‘enemies,’ she added, with a hashtag for fake news.

Stein went on to knock the president-elect for efforts by his supporters to block her recount efforts in Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin, and condemned Trump’s “phony” promise to bring jobs back to the United States.

Stein also offered a plug to the “Occupy Inauguration,” a movement which she has thrown her support behind. The multi-day rally in Washington, D.C., will begin on Jan. 20, Inauguration Day, and according to the group’s website participants will be “calling for unity to stand against the oligarch and demand representation for the people.”

Stein ended her string of Trump-related tweets by giving a nod to a message from “Kid President,” who said to Trump, “You could’ve just said ‘Happy New Year’. Or nothing. Sometimes nothing is good too.”

Taiwan president to visit US

Also from the Washington Examiner

It is unclear whether she will visit with President-elect Trump.

12/31/16 4:43 PM

“This is how you do it, @realDonaldTrump. BTW, happy new year!”, Stein said.

Dems attack, demand Sessions recusal

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DNC cites report accusing the senator of neglecting to provide details of years as U.S. attorney.

12/31/16 12:08 PM



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McCain to spend New Year's Day in Ukraine


Sen. John McCain, center left, poses with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko center, Sen. Lindsey Graham, center right, and Sen. Amy Klobuchar pose for a photo with the Ukrainian marines. (Mikhail Palinchak/Presidential Press Service, Pool Photo via AP)

Sen. John McCain plans to welcome in the New Year with Marines in the Ukraine, where he’s been issuing a string of harsh criticism against Russia for trying to interfere with the U.S. election.

“Spending #NewYearsEve w/brave Ukrainian Marines at a forward combat outpost – we stand w/ them in their fight against #Putin’s aggression,” the Arizona Republican tweeted on Saturday. McCain is in Ukraine with a handful a couple of other senators, including Sen. Lindsey Graham.

McCain, who chairs the Senate’s Armed Services Committee, called the Kremlin’s interference in the U.S. elections process an “act of war” on Friday. After the Obama administration announced sanctions against Russia for its cyber warfare, McCain panned the move as being long overdue and urged the administration to beef up the sanctions even more.

“When you attack a country, it’s an act of war,” McCain said on a Ukrainian TV channel, according to Reuters. “And so we have to make sure that there is a price to pay, so that we can perhaps persuade the Russians to stop these kind of attacks on our very fundamentals of democracy.”

Both the FBI and the CIA have agreed that Russia intervened in the 2016 election in part to help President-election Trump win the White House. McCain’s committee will hold a hearing on Thursday about foreign cyberthreats to the U.S.

Dems attack, demand Sessions recusal

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DNC cites report accusing the senator of neglecting to provide details of years as U.S. attorney.

12/31/16 12:08 PM

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An ominous announcement for Chinese Catholics


The Catholic Herald this week carried an interesting story about the state-sanctioned Chinese Catholic Church — a very controversial and confusing entity whose precise status has long been officially ambiguous. The story itself contains the hints as to why this is the case, and why ongoing negotiations over this church’s status will be quite important:

One of China’s top leaders has told Chinese Catholics that they need to promote socialism and patriotism through religion and operate “independently” of non-Chinese authorities.
Yu Zhengsheng’s speech came at the end of a meeting of China’s official Catholic church that was being closely watched by the Holy See. Yu is one of seven members of the Politburo Standing Committee, China’s top decision-making body. His speech could be a measure of how much Beijing is willing to yield in potential dialogue with the Holy See.
Yu called on Catholics to take decisions independently from Rome, saying: “The Church should adhere to the principles of self-administration, run religious affairs independently and guide believers to adhere to the Sinicisation path of the religion.”

When you hear this sort of anti-Catholic diktat arising from a tyrannical government’s committee meeting, you can perhaps appreciate why practicing Catholics in the U.S. would find repulsive any discussions about funding a “Catholic Spring” that would subvert church authority to suit the prevailing whims of one time or place. It’s an attack on the very “catholicity” or universality of their religion.

At any given moment, a Catholic mass is being said somewhere in the world, whether it’s attended by Filipinos, Chinese, Irishmen, Chileans, Kenyans or Canadians. Until recently, people in all those and a hundred other countries even heard the mass in the same language. And part of that universality is the fact that the teachings are the same wherever you go. Catholics in many countries have suffered or died to maintain that universality, or at least to assert it, against brutally imposed secular authority. (The feast of Saint Thomas Becket was just observed on Thursday.) So to give up that universal character voluntarily to suit one country’s or one era’s popular opinion is … well, a very ridiculous idea.

Catholics in China live under some pretty harrowing and confusing circumstances. The Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association is the only “Catholic” church that Chinese are allowed to join legally. (There is also an illegal underground church in full communion with Rome.) The Vatican doesn’t recognize its authority, but it does accept the validity of the CPCA’s clergy and its sacraments, just as it does with some other schismatic churches.

But its status is still more complicated than that. The state forbids certain Catholic teachings that impugn its tyrannical rule (on abortion, for example) and now and then appoints bishops to the CPCA against the Vatican’s wishes. Then again, nearly all of those bishops (but not all) have turned around and declared loyalty to Rome and received its permission for their ordinations. The result is a bit of a muddle, and it can be very hard to tell what’s what.

Beginning in the 1990s, the Vatican (not without controversy) adopted a prudential policy of trying incrementally to pull the CPCA’s Catholics into the fold rather than just write off their entire church and cut off millions of Catholics. But with statements like the one above, the Chinese state keeps asserting its control, making the confusing balancing act a lot harder to maintain.

It’s a sobering reminder of what an important thing religious freedom really is, and why it needs protection, both in this country and internationally.

Planned Parenthood asks court to preserve its Medicaid funds in Texas

Also from the Washington Examiner

Texas is one of several states trying to defund Planned Parenthood in the wake of undercover videos.

12/31/16 2:40 PM

Dems attack, demand Sessions recusal

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DNC cites report accusing the senator of neglecting to provide details of years as U.S. attorney.

12/31/16 12:08 PM



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Trump ditches press for golf


President-elect Trump left his press pool behind on Saturday for a game of golf at his club in Jupiter, Fla.

Reporters seemed to be caught off guard by the last-minute trip, according to pool reports. Trump spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham told the Associated Press that not even she or other aides were aware that Trump had made the half hour trip from his Mar-a-Lago estate where he’d been spending the holidays.

“We are in the home stretch of this transition period and don’t anticipate any additional situations like this between now and inauguration,” Grisham said in a statement. “We hope this one incident doesn’t negate all the progress we have made and look forward to continuing the great relationships we have built.”

The press, which are typically allowed to follow the sitting president wherever he goes, didn’t learn of the golf trip until a club member posted a photo on Twitter of Trump playing Saturday morning and said he was accompanied by about two dozen Secret Service agents.

According to Grisham, the president-elect arrived back at Mar-a-Lago at about 3:10 p.m. local time.

Trump has left his press pool behind on other occasions, including for a dinner with his family in Manhattan shortly after his election. His staffers appear aware of the frustration he’s caused reporters, recently allowing them more access at Mar-a-Lago and providing more information about his meeting schedule.

Dems attack, demand Sessions recusal

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DNC cites report accusing the senator of neglecting to provide details of years as U.S. attorney.

12/31/16 12:08 PM



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Planned Parenthood asks court to preserve its Medicaid funds in Texas


Planned Parenthood has asked a federal judge to block Texas from cutting its Medicaid funding. Above, Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

Planned Parenthood has asked a federal judge to block Texas from cutting its Medicaid funding, a move that would strip the women’s healthcare and abortion provider of millions of dollars.

The group filed an injunction Friday asking U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks to stop the state from following through with an announcement earlier this month that it would halt its Medicaid payments as early as Jan 21. The action is part of a lawsuit Planned Parenthood filed last year against Texas.

“Courts have unanimously prevented these terminations and agreed that preventing Medicaid enrollees from obtaining care from the qualified provider of their choice violates federal law,” Planned Parenthood wrote in its request for an injunction.

Texas is one of several states trying to defund Planned Parenthood in the wake of undercover videos from abortion foe David Daleiden showing how some of its clinics provided aborted fetal tissue for medical research. But courts have blocked Arkansas, Alabama, Kansas and Mississippi from excluding the group from Medicaid reimbursements, saying they can’t single out specific health providers that are qualified to serve low-income Americans.

Planned Parenthood says it would be forced to reduce health services for about 11,000 low-income women in Texas should it lose access to Medicaid funds.

The group first filed suit against Texas Gov. Gregg Abbott last year, when he sought to exclude it from the list of qualified Medicaid providers because it provides abortions.

Dems attack, demand Sessions recusal

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DNC cites report accusing the senator of neglecting to provide details of years as U.S. attorney.

12/31/16 12:08 PM

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Trump says he's 'proud' of Don Jr. in birthday baby post


President-elect Trump wished his eldest child, Don Jr., a happy birthday on social media Saturday.

On Instagram, Trump said he is “proud” of his 39-year-old son in a post that includes a picture of Trump appearing with his son as a baby. The picture was first shared by Don Jr. himself, who said, “Pretty sure this is @realdonaldtrump and me years ago today.”

The president-elect also wished his “many enemies” a happy New Year on Twitter earlier on New Year’s Eve.

Dems attack, demand Sessions drop out

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DNC cites report accusing the senator of neglecting to provide details of years as U.S. attorney.

12/31/16 12:08 PM



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Can both parties live up to new ethics rules?


When the next Congress convenes, lawmakers will vote on a rules package proposed by Speaker Paul Ryan that would impose steep fines on members breaking with decorum. Soon snapping a photo, recording audio, or recording a video on the House floor could cost a cool $2,500.

It’s a belated response to the 25-hour sit-in Democrats livestreamed last summer to protest gun violence and Democrats find it inexcusable. Unsurprisingly, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi accused Ryan of making a power grab. In a letter to colleagues, she described the reform as “an egregious attack on the sacred freedom of expression.”

But the California Democrat took a notably less generous view of minority rights while she wielded the speaker’s gavel. As Congress prepares to rewrite the rulebook, that incident is worth revisiting.

Back in 2008, before iPhones could even record video, Republicans refused to leave the chamber after Pelosi adjourned the House without considering an energy bill. Led by Minority Leader John Boehner, GOP members mounted a talkathon, bashing Democrats for taking a month-long recess while gas prices skyrocketed around the country.

Evidently, Pelosi didn’t care much for Republicans’ sacred freedom of expression at the time. She ordered the lights flipped off, microphones cut, and C-Span cameras killed. At one point, Capitol Police even tried kicking reporters out of the press gallery.

Unruffled by the darkness, a cast of now famous characters rallied the Republican minority. A certain Rep. Mike Pence of Indiana pledged not to leave “until we call this Congress back into session and vote for energy independence.” Before that, Rep. Tom Price of Georgia led the protesting congressmen in a round of “God Bless America.”

There are only two differences between Democrat’s 2016 protest and the 2008 Republican rebellion. First, Ryan never shut the lights off on Pelosi’s party. Second, and more importantly, without the benefit of streaming services like Periscope and Facebook Live, the GOP stunt never gained national attention. It petered out after about five hours.

Remembered together, the two episodes unveil the partisan nature of the current debate. Before handing out fines, Republicans should remember that eight years ago they were guilty of the same crime they now condemn. And for their part, Democrats would do well to bring their talking points in line with their past conduct.

Philip Wegmann is a commentary writer for the Washington Examiner.

Trump says he's 'proud' of Don Jr. in birthday baby post

Also from the Washington Examiner

Instagram post shows Trump appearing with his son as a baby.

12/31/16 2:06 PM

Dems attack, demand Sessions drop out

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DNC cites report accusing the senator of neglecting to provide details of years as U.S. attorney.

12/31/16 12:08 PM



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