Category: Opinion

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Jim Jordan turns an ambush into a town hall on President Harding's front porch


While Jim Jordan toured the inside of a small Queen Anne Style house that President Warren G. Harding once called home, a crowd gathered outside and demanded an unscheduled audience. Not one to disappoint, the Ohio Republican acquiesced.

For about an hour, Jordan stood on the 29th president’s front porch, answering questions on everything from climate change to the Affordable Care Act. It was an impromptu town hall, a GOP primer on crowd control, and according to Jordan, “Democracy in action.”

No doubt, that’s not what the activists had in mind when they planned the ambush. Across the country, a group called “Indivisible” has organized hundreds of demonstrations, crashed apolitical constituent service days, and hijacked town halls. The groundswell has left Republicans shell-shocked and rattled.

But not Jordan. The former House Freedom Caucus chairman told the Washington Examiner the whole movement “is great” and that he “loves things like this.”

Today, politicians use cheery sounding buzzwords like dialogue to describe their scripted exchanges with constituents during the occasional jaunt back to the district. At the same time, everyone else decries the lack of civility in politics. Jordan actually achieved both. Video by the Washington Post’s Dave Weigel shows a scene more fitting to Harding’s 20th century than Trump’s 2017.

While a few conservative supporters showed up to cheer Jordan, the congressman stuck mostly with questions from the opposition. “Even people I disagree with still have this wonderful thing called the First Amendment,” Jordan says over the phone. “I tried to take as many questions and stick to people who were against me.”

A few times, things got heated. There were a couple of protesters who just yelled, the stereotypical activists who disguise speeches as questions. And at one point, Jordan’s 2018 challenger, Democrat Janet Garrett, shouted down the congressman over a bullhorn. For the most part though, Midwest nice carried the day.

Others haven’t been so lucky recently. In Utah, shrieking protesters wouldn’t let Rep. Jason Chaffetz get a word in during his regularly scheduled town hall. In California, police had to escort Rep. Tom McClintock after a rowdy constituent meet-and-greet.

That’s led at least two GOP congressmen to say no thanks. Both Rep. John Duncan of Tennessee and Sen. Thom Tillis of North Carolina have skipped the events. It’s made an already disorganized GOP Congress appear even more in retreat.

Publisher cancels Milo Yiannopoulos book after he appeared to defend pedophilia

Also from the Washington Examiner

Yiannopoulos’ book deal was worth a reported $250,000 and was expected to be released in June.

02/20/17 5:45 PM

But Jordan didn’t show any signs of fatigue Monday. The Ohio Republican seemed invigorated after his experience with old-timey front porch politics. “It was a good session,” he says. “I think it was 45 minutes or so. I’d do it again.”

Philip Wegmann is a commentary writer for the Washington Examiner.

Trump names Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster to be new national security adviser

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H.R. McMaster replaces Mike Flynn as Trump’s national security adviser.

By Caitlin Yilek, Kelly Cohen

02/20/17 3:03 PM



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Mike Pence tells European press corps not to worry about American journalism


Barack Obama and Mike Pence had very different EuroTrips. The first time he visited, the Democratic president enjoyed a celebrity’s welcome. The Republican vice president, however, was greeted with suspicion and misgivings by the European press.

A few days after President Trump called the media “the enemy of the American people,” Pence was asked to affirm the administration’s support for a “free and independent press.” And he did without hesitation. But Pence reserved the right to go straight to the people “when the media gets it wrong.”

Of course, that brief back-and-forth includes some hypocrisy on the administration’s part. More importantly, though, it shows that Pence understands that the American institution is more resilient than the continental press corps believes.

Maybe America didn’t invent the free press, but we certainly made it great. Recognizing it was critical to the health of the republic, the founders enshrined media freedom in the Constitution. Since then, new and traditional journalism has humbled and deposed American presidents. But not once in those 230 years was the free press free from criticism.

In fact, Trump isn’t original, as ABC’s Jonathan Karl points out. While President Jefferson didn’t brand news fake, the wordsmith of the Declaration wasn’t above calling out the press. Writing to journalist John Norvell in 1807, the third president didn’t pull any punches and declared that “nothing can now be believed which is seen in a newspaper.”

This sentiment didn’t make Jefferson a power-hungry demagogue. It solidified his reputation as a critic. Unlike the European press corps, Jefferson recognized that it’s possible to criticize the journalism industry while respecting the underlying 1st Amendment principle. Clearly, Trump has surpassed Jefferson’s condemnation of the press by leaps and bounds. That doesn’t make him a threat, though.

So far the Trump war against journalism has fizzled. The assaults on the press have consisted of name calling and the spread of false claims that easily explode after the quickest of Google searches. After Obama threw journalists in jail and tapped the AP’s phones, Trump shouldn’t be much of a challenge.

European muckrakers aren’t much concerned with the wellbeing of their American counterparts, though. It’s difficult to remember when they lectured a head of state on the importance of a free press. A more likely explanation is that like everyone else, they just don’t like Trump.

But they can rest assured that the American free press will do just fine. Despite some of the recent mainstream tears, thanks to the First Amendment, journalists will continue to file and fact check no matter what during the next four years.

Trump names Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster to be national security adviser

Also from the Washington Examiner

McMaster replaces Mike Flynn, who was fired.

By Caitlin Yilek, Kelly Cohen

02/20/17 3:03 PM

Philip Wegmann is a commentary writer for the Washington Examiner.

Trump names Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster to be new national security adviser

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H.R. McMaster replaces Mike Flynn as Trump’s national security adviser.

By Caitlin Yilek, Kelly Cohen

02/20/17 3:03 PM



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'Not My President' rallies dishonor Presidents Day


Whether it is a day to celebrate the birth of George Washington, Abraham Lincoln or all presidents past and present, Presidents Day is a holiday created to inspire patriotic passions that express a love of country. During the Great Depression, it was the portrait of Washington that graced many a newspaper covers to reassure the nation that while it may be down, it was not out.

Fast forward to 2017 and protesters still sore about their embarrassing presidential loss in November have hijacked the holiday to protest President Trump. Chanting the mantra, “Not My President,” these protesters are staging mock funerals and anti-Trump demonstrations to remind the nation that they don’t like Trump.

It is one thing to protest the policies of a president holding an opposing ideology, but it is another to actively undermine his presidency after a lawful, constitutional election. This is why such protests cross the line.

But can we really blame those wallowing in the streets? Are they not part of a culture that has long confused lawful protest with petulance?

If we look at the protests during the inauguration, then in Berkeley, and now on Presidents Day, we do not see Selma — we see selfishness. Looting, destruction of private property, and disregard for our legal system is now viewed as a proper Trump protest. Rather than engage the debate, protesters behave like a two-year-old that wants the game played his way or nobody plays.

Hillary Clinton and her progressive policies were defeated. She lost and, by extension, progressives lost. Many simply cannot accept defeat.

Rather than regroup and figure out a way to make their policies more acceptable to the nation, progressives have opted to teach a lesson to the Silent Majority that bested them. The lesson? If we don’t get our way, we will try to make your life a living hell, even if we act a fool doing it.

Why should progressives go quietly into the night? Why self-reflect when you have a political climate that encourages such behavior?

Some in the media have made it their mission to trounce Trump at every turn. They parse his words with a fine-tooth comb, pounce when they think he’s made a misstep, and, when we find out the media did not look before it made a leap, it fails to issue a proper apology. The incident with Sweden over the weekend is just another example added to a growing list.

Lewandowski faults Trump's staff

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No one in Trump’s senior staff “ever worked inside the government.”

02/20/17 1:55 PM

Then there are our elected lawmakers. There is the childish behavior of Democrats who ditched the inauguration or have called for Trump’s impeachment without any evidence of “high crimes.” And there are the Republicans who are feeding an anti-American frenzy.

Speaking of the Mike Flynn incident, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., said, “I think that the Flynn issue obviously is something that shows that in many respects this administration is in disarray and they’ve got a lot of work to do.” McCain added, “The president, I think, makes statements [and] on other occasions contradicts himself. So we’ve learned to watch what the president does as opposed to what he says.”

McCain’s comments were not made on the Senate floor, nor were they made on “Meet the Press.” Instead, McCain made such comments to the Munich Security Conference in Europe. In other words, McCain told foreign dignitaries that the White House was a mess, comments that potentially embolden enemies.

So when the anti-Trump crowd shouts “Not My President!” we have to say that statement is accurate. No American, whether a rioter in the street or a senator on Capitol Hill, should act like they are acting.

Joseph Murray (@realJoeMurray) is a contributor to the Washington Examiner’s Beltway Confidential blog. Previously, he was a campaign official for Pat Buchanan. He is the author of “Odd Man Out” and is administrator of the LGBTrump Facebook page.

CPAC disinvites Milo Yiannopoulos after he appeared to defend pedophilia

Also from the Washington Examiner

The Breitbart editor appeared to defend pedophilia in video clips that emerged on social media Sunday.

02/20/17 1:21 PM

If you would like to write an op-ed for the Washington Examiner, please read our guidelines on submissions here.

ICE: 950,000 illegals with 'removal orders' free, raids get just a sliver

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Just a tiny percentage of the nearly 1 million on the government’s deportation list have been arrested.

02/20/17 9:27 AM



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No, Milo Yiannopoulos' 1st Amendment rights aren't at risk


The rights of Milo Yiannopoulos were violated. Angry about his politics and uncomfortable with his trolling, violent protestors kept him from delivering scheduled remarks in a public venue. His right to free speech was categorically infringed.

But that was more than three weeks ago at UC Berkley and it bears zero resemblance to the current controversy surrounding Milo’s CPAC speech. In reality, there’s little threat to his First Amendment rights.

For those unfamiliar with the obnoxious populist provocateur, Milo has made a career of exposing liberal double standards. The operating procedure of the Breitbart writer is pretty simple. He mocks the pieties held by many on the Left, trashing in particular the special treatment afforded to individual groups.

And Milo puts on a good show. Normally his antics are more entertaining than his arguments are incisive. But he’s always aggravating on purpose. That’s gotten him kicked off of Twitter and college campuses, all the while catapulting his career.

But his comments about pedophilia are beyond reprehensible. In a recently surfaced January 2016 video, Milo speaks fondly and even defends “relationships between younger boys and older men.” Later he makes light of the sexual abuse that rocked the Catholic Church, quipping that he’s “grateful for Father Michael” and adds that he “wouldn’t give nearly such good head if it wasn’t for him.”

Is all of this terribly offensive? Absolutely. Is it protected speech under the First Amendment? Yes. Does that mean that CPAC will violate Milo’s rights if they cancel his speech? Not at all.

As a private organization, CPAC can give a venue to whomever they please. Whether they cut or keep Milo in the speaking line-up for this week’s conference in Washington, D.C., is completely up to them. Whether he speaks or is silenced, his rights won’t be violated.

There’s only one way the Berkley episode can be replayed this Friday. If a violent mob rips him from the stage or the government bars him from speaking. Clearly, there’s little chance of that happening.

Philip Wegmann is a commentary writer for the Washington Examiner.

'Not My President's Day' protests planned nationwide

Also from the Washington Examiner

Rallies in Los Angeles, Chicago, New York, Washington, D.C., and as many as two dozen other localities.

02/20/17 10:40 AM

Can Trump bring millennials into the Republican Party?

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Will young people be scared away from the party by Trump’s controversial style?

By By Ron Meyer

02/20/17 12:01 AM



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Trump vs. the media: A credibility contest


President Trump’s now-infamous news conference last week at least put to bed the idea that he would go through his presidency avoiding tough questions by calling only on friendly reporters. That was the good news.

The bad news? When Trump wasn’t making bizarre arguments with no basis in reality (for example, that the media is to blame for Vladimir Putin’s renewed military aggression), he was disparaging the journalists in attendance with gusto and obvious personal enjoyment.

The most lighthearted moment of the wild session came when Trump promised to stop using the term “fake news” to describe their work product. The new term? “Very fake news.”

This rankled a lot of prominent journalists’ sensibilities. Perhaps it should, given the important role that a free press plays in American democracy.

“This not a laughing matter,” NBC’s Chuck Todd tweeted. “I’m sorry, delegitimizing the press is un-American.”

Todd showed admirable restraint in comparison to Carl Berstein, who on Sunday called Trump’s criticism “demagogic and frightening and treacherous words that have meaning in terms of threats to democracy,” and compared it to something Hitler or Stalin might have said.

Yet if Trump went too far, so do these arguments. It’s as American to disparage and delegitimize the press as it is to criticize the president. In fact, that’s part of having a free press, as opposed to a state-controlled press that is bolstered by the supposed credibility of officialdom. In America, journalists earn trust in a free market of evidence and ideas. Americans get to criticize and disparage both Donald Trump and Chuck Todd, based on their own conclusions.

Todd actually had a stronger argument that should be fairly represented here. As he put it, the issue is that of someone “in power” attacking the press in this way. Here too, he misses the mark.

When they wrote our Constitution, our Founding Fathers anticipated not just Trump, but someone much worse. They expected the republic to have presidents who not only couldn’t control their anger over the coverage they received, but who would actually follow their worst instincts and try to use the mechanism of government to suppress it.

Trump claims 'fake news media' not reporting Swedish immigration problems

Also from the Washington Examiner

The tweet comes after Trump referred to a terror attack in Sweden that didn’t happen.

02/20/17 10:49 AM

This is why they put, right at the top of the Bill of Rights, an absolute guarantee of press freedom that surpasses anything in Europe or the world’s other advanced democracies to this day. It’s also why they created an independent judiciary to safeguard the Bill of Rights — a judiciary whose members cannot easily be removed from office for political reasons, and whose pay cannot even be cut by lawmakers.

This is why, when I see Trump rail against judges and journalists, I don’t panic. I shrug.

Is Trump being stupid? Unhinged? Unpresidential? Absolutely. Should we criticize him? Definitely. Should the voters punish him? Perhaps.

Is he a threat to the republic? No. Not even a little bit. For the moment, at least, the FEC remains a greater threat to press freedom than our over-the-top commentator-in-chief, because three of its commissioners have actually tried to punish journalists for the content of their presidential debate coverage.

Others have pointed out, correctly, that tyrants rail against independent journalists just as Trump does. But tyrants don’t earn the title by doing anything so trivial. Tyrants expel journalists from their countries in retaliation for negative coverage. They blackmail and extort journalists. They assassinate journalists. They wiretap journalists. They have them arrested on trumped up charges that are seemingly unrelated to their journalism.

'Not My President's Day' protests planned nationwide

Also from the Washington Examiner

Rallies in Los Angeles, Chicago, New York, Washington, D.C., and as many as two dozen other localities.

02/20/17 10:40 AM

A tiresome president who habitually over-shares his opinions? He’s a boor, perhaps. An Internet troll. Whatever you want to call him — and our Constitution says you’re free to call him much worse things than that. But his intemperate comments don’t rise to anything like that level.

The more interesting question is whether Trump is undermining popular faith in America’s free press. But think about it: that would imply that the American news media is losing a credibility contest against someone who routinely makes statements that are so obviously false you don’t even need a Google search to check. Against an administration that has now manufactured at least three terrorist attacks that never happened.

If that is so, it can only be because there were a lot of big, unaddressed problems in the media before Trump. And Trump’s puerile whining over the tone of his press coverage should be the least of our worries.

Can Trump bring millennials into the Republican Party?

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Will young people be scared away from the party by Trump’s controversial style?

By By Ron Meyer

02/20/17 12:01 AM



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Poll: Americans find Russia slightly more popular than 'Axis of Evil'


Though the Cold War is over, apparently the Red Scare persists. A quarter century after the fall of communism, Americans still don’t like Russia. Just 28 percent of the public has a “mostly favorable” opinion on Russia, according to new polling by Gallup.

Put in context, that means Americans barely prefers Russia to members of President Bush’s Axis of Evil. Iraq, Iran and North Korea round out the bottom of the list with 19, 12, and 11 percent favorability ratings.

Of course, that’s not much of a surprise. In the last month alone, Russia has violated a nuclear arms treaty and parked a spy boat off the coast of Connecticut. Before that, Russia infamously meddled in the electoral process, throwing their weight against Hillary Clinton.

But all that saber rattling and bad polling hasn’t been enough to persuade President Trump to get tough with Russian President Vladimir Putin. A sheepish White House has been reluctant to investigate, or at least decry, the Kremlin’s interference in the presidential election.

In contrast, the administration has maintained a tough line on China. First on the campaign trail and now in office, Trump regularly rails against that Asian nation. Apparently though, it’s been to little effect. China still enjoys a 50 percent favorability rating.

That poll suggests that Trump’s rhetoric on China is significantly outweighed by deep-seated fear concerning Russia.

Philip Wegmann is a commentary writer for the Washington Examiner.

Can Trump bring millennials into the Republican Party?

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Will young people be scared away from the party by Trump’s controversial style?

By By Ron Meyer

02/20/17 12:01 AM

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Remembering the gentle side of Michael Novak, an intellectual giant


The world lost an intellectual giant Friday morning when Michael Novak passed away. Well-deserved tributes have rolled in about all that Michael accomplished in the fields of religion, theology, philosophy, economics and politics. He was a guide and counselor to many, including popes, prime ministers, and presidents. The one story still missing, however, is how gentle this giant truly was.

I first met Michael several years ago, while visiting my younger sister, a student at the time, at Ave Maria University. She knew Michael well and convinced him to have dinner with my dad (a long-time fan of his writings) and I. That night, Michael spent nearly three hours answering our questions and showering us with stories of his time with St. John Paul II, Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher. Our evening ended with Michael inviting me to keep in touch — for most, merely a gesture, but not for this man.

In the years to come, my friendship with Michael opened windows into history, economics, theology, and, most importantly, the true meaning of three virtues: humility, prudence, and patience.

Living in Washington, I’ve met my fair share of “very important” people. Michael Novak was not one of them. Despite his experiences, international fame, and expertise, he made little of his status. He was accessible and accommodating, often opening up his home to host visitors. My husband and I spent a long weekend with him at his home in Delaware, dining with him, conversing until all hours of the night, and joining him for a Manhattan on more than one occasion.

Confident in his faith, Michael gave thanks for the many blessings he enjoyed through his work, but he always kept a healthy sense of humor about him. In fact, he once joked that his Purgatory would be to reread his own writing, over and over again.

In his final role as a professor at Catholic University, Michael led a faculty seminar on Wednesday afternoons. He invited me to audit these discussions. On full display in each class, Michael deployed a unique discipline: When considering questions, arguments or challenges from the other professors, he would visibly exercise careful deliberation when considering his response. Despite his great expertise, he never approached an issue without due diligence and care. Michael’s moral and intellectual honesty and good judgment stood out amid the general lack of prudence on display in Washington.

Finally, and perhaps most notably, Michael’s demonstration of patience was unlike any I had ever seen. Over breakfast one morning, as I busily peppered him with what likely felt like rapid-fire questions, he turned to my husband with a smile and twinkle in his eye and said, “Do you ever get to eat in your home?” The two of them had a good laugh, but then he graciously went back to answering my questions. That was Michael: a man who never stopped teaching and always displayed a great deal of patience with students.

Michael was a public, Catholic intellectual. In many ways, he was the polar opposite of most public, Catholic intellectuals. Rather than putting his politics ahead of his faith, Michael rightly allowed his faith to inform his politics, seeking the good before seeking advantage. He was gentle in his approach: often witty, but never harsh. Active and influential in the great moral debates over competing forms of government and human rights, Michael never lost the sense that he was a mere man trying to do the best he could to do what was right. For all of these reasons and many more, I was truly blessed to count him as a mentor and friend.

Maggie Seidel is a communications strategist for a non-profit based in Arlington, Va. She holds a master’s degree in economics from George Mason University and a aster’s degree in election and campaign management from Fordham University.

Can Trump bring millennials into the GOP?

Also from the Washington Examiner

Will young people be scared away from the party by Trump’s controversial style?

By By Ron Meyer

02/20/17 12:01 AM

If you would like to write an op-ed for the Washington Examiner, please read our guidelines on submissions here.

Defeat of Islamic State could inaugurate era of new dangers

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Russo-Iranian domination of Syria could have cascading negative consequences for the U.S. and its allies.

02/19/17 5:31 PM



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The example Trump should follow if he truly wants to pass tax reform


For years, Washington has been trying unsuccessfully to pass tax reform legislation. Although the tax code is clearly broken, lawmakers have been unable to reach a consensus on reforming the system. Despite years of determined efforts by tax writing committees, blue-ribbon commissions, and the tax community, reform has gone nowhere.

As President Trump and the new Congress begin yet another effort to pass tax reform, they should take a close look at how President Ronald Reagan persuaded a reluctant Congress to pass his historic tax cut in 1981 and the Tax Reform Act of 1986. Simply put, Reagan forced Congress to pass his tax reforms by going over their heads and making the case for tax reform straight to the American people. The real reason we haven’t seen tax reform in more than 30 years is that no president has pushed for it like Reagan did.

I was at the Treasury Department during the Reagan administration, and I saw first-hand the reluctance of most members of Congress to act on the Reagan tax bills. In 1981, most members of Congress thought the Reagan tax cuts were too big and would deprive them of the ability to pass incremental targeted tax cuts every few years. In 1985, senior members of both political parties begged Reagan not to propose a major tax reform bill, telling him that no one wanted to be forced to pick the winners and losers necessary to pass tax reform.

But Reagan was determined to pass his tax reforms, and he was willing to put his reputation on the line and take the case for tax reform directly to the American people.

Like any other legislative initiative, the administration put together the usual public relations campaign for tax reform, including White House events, meetings, phone calls and media briefings, combined with a full-scale lobbying campaign aimed at Congress. But more importantly, Reagan took to the airwaves with dozens of prime-time, nationally-televised speeches and radio addresses to the American people, asking for their support and their help in persuading Congress to act.

In 1981, in his first few months of office, Reagan gave two nationally-televised speeches from the Oval Office and two nationally-televised speeches to joint sessions of Congress on his tax proposal. On the eve of a critical vote in the House, Reagan called on the American people from the Oval Office to contact Congress to voice their support for his tax plan. The next day, the phones were ringing off the hooks in congressional offices. Then-Speaker of the House Tip O’Neill, who opposed the Reagan bill, said that Congress was hit by a “telephone blitz like the nation had never seen before. It was devastating.” The House passed the bill the next day.

Four years later, Reagan did it again, with a series of radio and television speeches from the Oval Office and to joint sessions of Congress asking the American people for their support. In a speech from the Oval Office, Reagan asked the American people to “tell your Senators and Representatives you support tax reform. Make your voices heard in Washington, with a voice strong enough to make the politicians do what’s right.”

The American people responded, flooding Washington with calls and letters, and forcing politicians to do what was right and pass tax reform. Reagan’s tax reform campaigns connected him to the American people, fulfilling his campaign promises and establishing him as a strong and effective leader.

If Trump is serious about his tax reform plan, he should do what Reagan did and take the case to the American people.

Former Trump friend Russell Simmons leads 'I am a Muslim too' rally in New York

Also from the Washington Examiner

The rally aimed to show solidarity with the minorities targeted by Trump’s immigration order.

02/19/17 5:49 PM

Bruce Thompson is a consultant in Washington and served as assistant secretary of treasury during President Ronald Reagan’s administration.

If you would like to write an op-ed for the Washington Examiner, please read our guidelines on submissions here.

Defeat of Islamic State could inaugurate era of new dangers

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Russo-Iranian domination of Syria could have cascading negative consequences for the U.S. and its allies.

02/19/17 5:31 PM



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No, Trump didn't let Boeing's CEO eavesdrop on calls with Lockheed


It’s incredibly easy to spread misinformation today, especially in the age of social media.

Case in point: A single careless tweet from ProPublica’s Michael Grabell Thursday morning had people thinking President Trump allowed Boeing to eavesdrop on his calls in January to their main competition, Lockheed Martin.

“Trump allowed Boeing CEO to listen in as he called rival Lockheed about F-35 program,” Grabell said on social media.

His tweet directed his followers to a Bloomberg News article titled, “Trump’s F-35 Calls Came With a Surprise: Rival CEO Was Listening.”

The article did not say Trump allowed Boeing’s CEO, Dennis Muilenburg, to eavesdrop on his calls with Lockheed, despite the story’s confusing headline. Rather, the Bloomberg article reported Trump allowed Muilenburg to sit in on calls made to the Air Force general who manages the Lockheed Martin Corp. F-35 jet.

It’s unclear whether Grabell read past Bloomberg’s headline before he remarked on the story.

He eventually deleted his incorrect tweet, and he noted his mistake.

London mayor: No VIP treatment for Trump because of 'cruel' immigration ban

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Sadiq Khan said Trump should not get the VIP perks typically associated with a state visit

02/19/17 3:47 PM

“CLARIFICATION: Trump allowed Boeing CEO to listen in as he called Air Force about rival Lockheed’s F-35 contract,” Grabell said on Twitter in a note of clarification

Prior to deleting his original incorrect note, it had more than 600 shares. As of this writing, his clarification has been re-tweeted 51 times.

Grabell added, “I tweeted a story with incorrect reading earlier. I was working and didn’t note the [number] of [re-tweets].”

Watch: Marines post rare video to commemorate 72nd anniversary of Iwo Jima

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The struggle for the island began Feb. 19, 1945.

02/19/17 2:51 PM

“Fine, it’s a correction my original tweet was wrong. Read the story,” Grabell said.

Better late than never.

Limbaugh: The media didn't make Trump, and they can't destroy him

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Limbaugh claims media have a “blueprint for destroying” Republicans, but they won’t take Trump down.

02/19/17 11:44 AM



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Anti-Bannon narrative masks establishment fear and loathing of Trump agenda


According to the prevailing media narrative, Steve Bannon is the evil Svengali figure behind the Trump presidency, a right-wing extremist dragging the president in the direction of demagogic and dangerous appeals to the racism and xenophobia always bubbling under surface of American conservatism.

While it is a ludicrous portrayal, completely without foundation, the crucial thing to understand is that some of the most aggressive promoters of this caricature are the inside-the-beltway establishment figures who consider themselves the gatekeepers of the reigning two-party political order and all of its policy trappings — the same crowd that Trump targeted in his inaugural address as having betrayed the people in pursuit of their own power, influence, and enrichment.

The great irony is that, for this old guard, the winning Bannon-Trump brand of populism that proved so effective in redrawing the electoral map (and making the GOP competitive where it had floundered for decades in presidential elections) is a direct threat to their long-standing control of the party’s post-Reagan agenda of free trade, minimal limits on immigration and aggressive foreign interventionism on the part of the world’s last great superpower. Bannon (and Trump by extension) must be reined in and controlled not because they are dragging the party to the extreme right, but because their populist success threatens to blow up the whole old liberal-conservative dichotomy and destroy the Republican policy orthodoxy on which their power rests. In this battle to maintain their hegemony, Bannon has become the surrogate target for the president himself.

The latest fake scare is that Trump has dared to violate hallowed tradition by including Bannon in top secret national security briefings. According to the New York Times, the decision to include his top strategist “has set off an eruption among the Washington national security establishment.” Well, the first rule in Washington is that whenever you read a report of eruptions of dissent, you should consider the sources of that story. The idea that these briefings have always been the exclusive and apolitical province of an elite group of cabinet members, intelligence officers, and national security experts is absurd on its face. Over the years, the National Security Council deliberations have ballooned to include cabinet members jockeying for influence and position, and support staff numbering in the hundreds from State, Defense, the intelligence agencies, and a host of other agencies. Subcabinet officers are working the NSC constantly to push policy, and politics (both inter-agency and national) to infuse every meeting. Politically motivated leaks are a long-standing problem that presidents have struggled with for decades, and paring down the size of the NSC has been discussed for just as long.

The presence of a politico like Bannon is hardly unprecedented; top Obama strategist David Axelrod was frequently in attendance. While Bannon’s presence was formalized with a presidential memo, there’s nothing new about it in the least, regardless of the fevered headlines.

As President’s Trump top strategic advisor, Bannon should obviously be in attendance when decisions are made that impact national security, and the argument that he should be excluded is based less on concerns about his competency or trustworthiness with the nation’s secrets than it is on political vendettas carried out through leaks to the press. The behind-the-scenes promotion of the story that led to the resignation of National Security Advisor Michael Flynn is a textbook case of a political vendetta disguised as a security concern: The idea that the same Obama-appointed acting attorney general that refused to enforce the executive order on travel restrictions would conclude that Flynn’s conversations with Russian diplomats regarding sanctions contradicted the public accounts of administration officials is less relevant than the promotion of that bit of information through leaks by his enemies behind the scenes.

The true threat to the Trump presidency is that the usual suspects of the Washington establishment, many of whom have served for decades in admin positions, will derail the core of the Trump agenda and replace it with the same old policy orthodoxy that almost destroyed the party over the past generation. Unless the president and chief strategist Bannon are able to strike while the iron is hot and reset the agenda in and unorthodox Trumpian direction, the forgotten Americans who came to the voting booths in droves to make him president may run out of patience, sooner rather than later. They’ve seen this story before.

Robert Wasinger served in senior advisory and liaison roles in President Donald Trump’s campaign and transition team, after extensive experience on Capitol Hill.

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