“Obama Debunked By Kevin Hassett Chairman CEA For Taking Credit For Trump’s Booming Economy. Kevin Hassett, the Chairman of the Council Of Economic Advisers held a press briefing at the White House specifically to debunk Obama’s assertion that the current economy is simply a continuation of trends from his term as President. Kevin Hasset described Obama’ notion “laughable” and presented a series of intuitive trend charts showing Obama’s economic economic record was on a down trend. The election of President Trump resulted in a “statistically significant” upward inflection” in the graphic trends charts. Hassett cogently goes through ISM Purchasing Managers’ index, durable goods, employment and other statistics before and after Trump’s election date to bolster Trump’s claims about the economy.”
September 10, 2018
At long last, here come the declassified FISA warrants (and more)
We’ve known for almost a month that, according to Joe DiGenova, the process of declassification has been underway for the FISA warrants that enabled spying on the Trump campaign, along with other documents related to the Russiagate fraud. Now Jonathan Swann of Axios reports that the process is so close to complete that:
President Trump is expected to declassify, as early as this week, documents covering the U.S. government’s surveillance of Trump campaign adviser Carter Page and the investigative activities of senior Justice Department lawyer Bruce Ohr, according to allies of the president.
No matter what the documents reveal, the media will pooh-pooh them as insignificant and will want to move along to fresh stories intended to make the POTUS look crazy, or dangerous, or corrupt, or boorish, or whatever new fantasy they can concoct to throw shade on his tremendous accomplishments in triggering an outright economic boom, a restructuring of trade arrangements to our advantage, and a foreign policy that leads from the front.
I always expected the declassification process to be completed before the midterms. Those who know what is in the documents have timed the process. Soon, we will know what they knew.
September 10, 2018
Fading star power of Obama draws only 750 people for kickoff rally of his election campaigning
Gone are the heady days when Barack Obama could fill a stadium with his followers. Like a former sitcom star now doing dinner theater performances, he is self-relegated to lesser venues and smaller crowds. On Saturday, at what Think Progress (house organ of the left-wing Center for American Progress) called “his first campaign stop of the midterm elections,” only 750 people (T.P.’s estimate) turned out at the Anaheim Convention Center to partake of the Barack experience.
About 750 people attended the event at Anaheim Convention Center, where Obama delivered a short speech centered on unity and the “politics of hope.” And, after a story about getting kicked out of Disneyland when he was caught smoking in the Magic Kingdom after a concert as a teenager, Obama issued an impassioned critique of Trump and the state of American democracy and encouraged the crowd to back the candidates he came to support.
No styrofoam columns anymore.
The Anaheim Convention Center can host events seating 7,500 people, so it was not lack of tickets keeping Obama fans away. Maybe it was the halting, uncertain style of Obama’s speeches these days that kept the crowds away. Sample this excerpt for as long as you can stand it:
Incredible honor to have @BarackObama here today! #TakeItBack https://t.co/MlgoxRaSIw
— Mike Levin (@MikeLevinCA) September 8, 2018
The contrast in crowd size, not to mention enthusiasm, with Trump’s rally last week in Billings, Montana could not be greater. Trump drew a capacity crowd of 12,000 to Rimrock Auto Arena, with another 10,000 gathered outside. This in a city with a metropolitan population of 169,728, according to a 2016 Census Bureau estimate.
By contrast, Anaheim sits in the midst of the Los Angeles-Long Beach Combined Statistical Area, with a population of 18.7 million, more than a hundred times as large as Billings.
Mark Levin Reiterates Left’s Plan for Trump: ‘This Is a Mutiny,’ ‘Sabotage,’ ‘a Silent Coup’
On his nationally syndicated radio talk show Thursday, host Mark Levin reiterated the left’s plan for President Donald Trump, saying, The New York Times anonymous op-ed and other efforts to attack the president and thwart his agenda “is a mutiny,” “sabotage,” “a silent coup” that Levin has been talking about since day one.
“So, this individual or these individuals, they are— You know what they are? They are mutineers,” stated Mark Levin. “This is a mutiny. This is sabotage. This is a silent coup. And I’ve been talking about it since day one.”
Mark Levin’s remarks stem from an anonymous letter allegedly written by a White House official and published by The New York Times. The piece is titled “I Am Part of the Resistance Inside the Trump Administration” and its author alleges, “I work for the president but like-minded colleagues and I have vowed to thwart parts of his agenda and his worst inclinations.”
Below is a transcript of Mark Levin’s comments from his show Thursday:
“Alright, let’s get into this – and not for a long time – this anonymous piece in The New York Times. People want to focus on who wrote it. Well, obviously, somebody who lacks any integrity, any loyalty and any patriotism writes something like this.
“You don’t work in an administration you despise and take a government paycheck, a check from the taxpayers. And you don’t work from within to destroy an administration. It’s hard enough to be president of the United States. It’s hard enough to make the right decisions. It’s hard enough to deal with your political opponents, but when they’re under your nose and behind your back, it’s impossible, impossible to run a presidency.
“I hear some of these people on talk radio who think this is very funny. It’s not funny at all. Some of these people have never worked in an administration. I have. And when a president is undermined from within, it is very difficult for that branch of government to function as it should, even with all the successes.
“In the case of President Trump, he can’t rely on his lawyer because they’re talking to prosecutors; he can’t rely on even confidential phone calls with foreign heads of state because that gets leaked to the media. I’ve never seen anything like this. He’s had people around him who seek to promote themselves at every turn in the media.
“And let me tell you a little trick here for analyzing this. If there are people around the president who never have a negative story written about them or never have any story written about them, and they’re relatively senior, chances are – it’s not 100 percent proof, but it’s a pretty good equation – chances are, they’re leakers, chances are, they’re leakers. And the president of the United States—
“I’ll tell you, I looked at this piece and I determined two things: If you’re The New York Times, and you want to protect this ‘anonymous,’ you call the writer a ‘he’ when the writer is a ‘she.’ They call the writer a ‘he.’ I suspect the writer is a ‘she.’ Much of the focus of this op-ed is on foreign policy, so that suggests to me that it’s likely a ‘she’ who’s in the foreign policy realm. That could be intelligence. It could be national security. It could be state department.
“That’s my surmise because they’re particularly upset with the president’s activities when it comes to Russia and so forth.
“And of course, any successes that the president has had is not due to him, it’s in spite of him. So, in other words, the president can’t win. Even when he makes decisions, they’re not really his decisions, you know? They’re the staff’s decisions.
“So, this individual or these individuals, they are— You know what they are? They are mutineers. This is a mutiny. This is sabotage. This is a silent coup. And I’ve been talking about it since day one.”
The Banality of Barack
Capping off a week where Senate Democrats embarrassed themselves at what should have been the semi-serious vetting of a Supreme Court justice, along comes our foot-stomping former president to remind Americans of who, ultimately, is responsible for infantilizing national politics.
While lecturing college students assembled in an auditorium in central Illinois—the adopted home state he rarely visits—Barack Obama engaged in the type of vacuous, preening, pretentious, and meaningless soliloquy that once upon a time was accepted as thoughtful political discourse. But it was a temper tantrum disguised as a sermon. He might as well as gone on stage in Champaign and said, “Trump is a big fat meanie!”
Listening to Obama speak is the auditory equivalent of eating cotton candy. It looks sweet and pretty at first, and momentarily it tickles your tongue with the first taste. But it quickly dissolves in your mouth, leaving behind an odd aftertaste. Your hunger isn’t satisfied; you kick yourself for wasting the calories, and you move on to the carnival hot dog. (Yes, these metaphors are intentional.)
Friday’s speech was yet another reminder of why Donald Trump won in 2016: Voters rejected Barack Obama as much as they rejected Hillary Clinton. After a decade of binging on this skilled politician’s oratory cocktail of empty platitudes, self-puffery, and finger-wagging scoldings, we were burned out. Americans started to notice that the soaring rhetoric did not match the accomplishments. There was a creeping sense the same man who once promised his vision was “not red states or blue states, just the United States” had done more damage to the body politic than any other president in recent memory.
And he wasn’t even a good tactician for his own side. In fact, while this political mastermind was in the Oval Office, his party lost more than 1,000 seats to Republicans across the country.
Not an Ounce of Self-Awareness
One might imagine that suffering one political humiliation after another would humble this former community organizer. That handing over the keys to the most powerful office in the world to someone with zero political experience—who questioned your birth certificate and publicly mocked your presumed successor—then systematically disassembled every key achievement of your administration while the economy responded in delight would make you reconsider your approach. Maybe a true statesman would spend two years in exile reexamining what went wrong on his watch and offer a few mea culpas to the political party—and to the country—he helped diminish.
But there is no indication Barack Obama has learned any lessons from 2016. His speech (while he was accepting an ethics award, no less) was a weary remix of Obama’s Greatest Hits. It’s not just that Obama is petulant and demeaning. It’s not that he gets away with the very name-calling and ridicule that Trump gets blasted for.
The bottom line is Obama is a bore. His banality is reflective of the wider Democratic Party malaise. There is no inspiring message or even policy prescription. It’s wholly reliant on tropes about race and class and fear. It’s filled with potshots at the other side while pretending to be above-it-all and morally superior. The chin held high in the air as he speaks is not accidental: Obama is pretending to be just like you, but believes deep down he is far better.
Far from the speech being the “greatest, most timely, and most important in the history of this country” as one Democratic activist described it, Obama’s speech sounded like an updated version of every speech he’s given in the past few years. It was filled with whiny platitudes about moments in time and stark choices and inequality and demagogues. He veered between warnings about fake patriotism while insisting it’s our civic duty to vote the way he wants. He pouted about not getting credit for the country’s booming economy. Both sides are culpable for the current political divide, Obama admitted, but Republicans are much more to blame. (Perhaps he missed this week’s spectacle at the Kavanaugh hearings.)
He trotted out the same well-worn complaints about voting rights and climate change. Solutions always come with a price, such as a carbon tax and higher minimum wage. After eight years of trying, he still can’t come up with a convincing sell on how to fix the nation’s failing immigration system: “Democrats talk about reforming our immigration system so, yes, it is orderly and it is fair and it is legal but it continues to welcome strivers and dreamers from all around the world.” Huh?
There were more nuggets of nothingness: A vacuum in democracy. The politics of fear. Stand up to bullies not follow them. We need more women in charge. The best way to protest is to vote. Walls don’t keep out threats like terrorism or disease.
Pretty boring stuff from a guy who is widely considered by the media as one of the greatest presidential orators of all time. It’s doubtful that Chris Matthews felt a thrill up his leg as he listened to this snoozer.
He Goes Low
It wouldn’t be Obama if he didn’t land some low punches at his political foes. This is one of the most overlooked characteristics of the former president: He is as petty and petulant as the current one.
Capitalizing on one of the big news stories of the week, Obama brought up the anonymous op-ed in the New York Times allegedly authored by a senior official in the Trump administration: “The claim that everything will turn out OK because there are people inside the White House who secretly aren’t following the president’s orders, that is not a check. That’s not how our democracy is supposed to work,” Obama said. “They’re not doing us a service by actively promoting ninety percent of the crazy stuff that’s coming out of this White House, and then saying, ‘Don’t worry, we’re preventing the other 10 percent.’”
So much for civil norms about a previous president not criticizing a sitting president.
Obama now is threatening to campaign for Democratic candidates nationwide, an effort that has been snubbed by some incumbents fighting for reelection in states won by Donald Trump. Perhaps those Democrats know something Obama does not. His powers of political persuasion are gone, torched by a Manhattan business man and reality TV star he once publicly taunted never would be president. It looks like Obama, now as always, is the last to know.
Former President Barack Obama tried to claim credit on Friday for President Donald Trump’s economic success.
This would be the same former president who mocked Trump’s promises on jobs in 2016. “What magic wand do you have?” he taunted.
The reality is that Democrats, including Obama, have opposed every policy that is responsible for the current economic boom:
– Tax cuts: Democrats unanimously opposed the Republican tax cuts that Trump signed into law last year, which lowered the corporate tax rate to an internationally-competitive 21% and lowered tax rates for the middle class as well as high earners. Under Obama, Democrats tried to reverse all of the Bush tax cuts in 2012, and Republicans fought them until the very edge of the “fiscal cliff” — until the president and his party agreed to allow Bush’s tax cuts for the middle class to become permanent.
– Deregulation: As soon as Trump took office, Republicans used the Congressional Review Act to toss out many regulations that Obama had neglected to notify Congress about before leaving office. The president also used executive orders to reverse or simplify many rules the Obama administration had implemented that were obstacles to investment and economic growth.
– Obamacare fixes: Obamacare was a major drag on the economy in two ways. First, it imposed an individual mandate that forced everyone to buy health insurance — often at expensive prices. Second, it created new uncertainty in the economy, since investors anticipated that the Obama administration would follow through on promises to regulate other industries. The GOP repealed the individual mandate — over unanimous Democratic opposition — and the Trump administration relaxed the rules on Obamacare to allow individuals to buy simpler and cheaper short-term plans rather than expensive Obamacare plans. Partly as a result, premiums are growing slowly. The Associated Press reported Friday that some people will pay less next year.
– Energy: Obama literally tried to shut down the coal industry, tried to stop the Keystone XL pipeline, and discouraged oil and gas drilling. Yet the strongest economic growth during his tenure came from the booming oil shale industry, which created many new jobs while keeping fuel prices low for the economy as a whole. Republicans immediately reversed his policies, allowing the energy sector to grow even more — though Obama continued to target “corporate polluters” in his speech Friday.
– Spending caps: Though fiscal discipline is not exactly a priority of the current Congress, Republicans forced Democrats to accept spending caps after taking the House in 2010. That restraint arguably helped restore a sense of economic stability.
Undeterred, Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and the Democrats are running on promises to raise taxes, restore regulations, expand Obamacare into “Medicare for all,” limit fossil fuels, and spend more on government programs. A box of “magic wands.”
Navy SEAL Rob O’Neill To Obama: ‘Try Saying Radical Islam’
Amber Athey | Media and Breaking News Editor
Rob O’Neill, the Navy SEAL who claims to have killed Osama Bin Laden, challenged President Barack Obama to say “radical Islam” on Friday.
Obama delivered a long rebuke of President Donald Trump in Illinois on Friday and specifically knocked the president for his reaction to the Charlottesville neo-Nazi marches last summer. (RELATED: Obama Hits Campaign Trail, Goes Off On Trump: ‘We Can’t Just Put Walls Up Around America)
“How hard can that be, saying that Nazis are bad?” Obama asked.
SEAL Team 6 member O’Neill shot back at the former president on Twitter, questioning when he would finally acknowledge the reality of radical Islamic terror. (RELATED: Former Obama State Dept Official Explains Why They Never Said ‘Radical Islam)
“Nazis are bad,” O’Neill wrote. “Now try saying, ‘Radical Islam.’” (Obama Refuses To Say Islamic Terrorism During Military Town Hall)
Nazis are bad. Now try saying “Radical Islam…” https://t.co/2jS4b8OgwJ
— Robert J. O’Neill (@mchooyah) September 7, 2018
Giuliani to AP: Trump Will Not Answer Obstruction Questions
Rudy Giuliani says President Donald Trump will not answer any questions, written or in person, about possible obstruction of justice.
Sept. 6, 2018, at 8:14 p.m.
FILE – In this Aug. 1, 2018 file photo, Rudy Giuliani, an attorney for President Donald Trump, addresses a gathering during a campaign event for Eddie Edwards, who is running for the U.S. Congress, in Portsmouth, N.H. President Donald Trump will not answer any questions, written or in-person, about possible obstruction of justice, Giuliani told The Associated Press. Giuliani’s statement was the most definitive rejection yet of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s efforts to interview the president about any efforts to block the investigation into possible coordination between his campaign and Russians. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa, File ) The Associated Press
By JONATHAN LEMIRE, Associated Press
NEW YORK (AP) — President Donald Trump will not answer federal investigators’ questions, in writing or in person, about whether he tried to block the probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election, one of the president’s attorneys told The Associated Press on Thursday.
Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani said questions about obstruction of justice were a “no-go.”
Giuliani’s statement was the most definitive rejection yet of special counsel Robert Mueller’s efforts to interview the president about any efforts to obstruct the investigation into possible coordination between his campaign and Russians. It signals the Trump’s lawyers are committed to protecting the president from answering questions about actions the president took in office.
It’s unclear if Giuliani’s public position has been endorsed by Trump, who has said he wants to answer questions under oath. Negotiations about the scope and format of an interview are still ongoing. If the legal team holds its stance, it could force Mueller to try to subpoena the president, likely triggering a standoff that would lead to the Supreme Court.
Mueller’s office has previously sought to interview the president about the obstruction issue, including his firing last year of former FBI Director James Comey and his public attacks on Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Trump’s legal team has argued that the president has the power to hire and fire appointees and the special counsel does not have the authority to ask him to explain those decisions. Giuliani said Thursday the team was steadfast in that position.
“That’s a no-go. That is not going to happen,” Giuliani said. “There will be no questions at all on obstruction.”
In a letter last week, Mueller’s team said it would accept written responses from Trump on questions related to Russian election interference. Giuliani suggested Thursday that Trump’s lawyers had agreed to those terms but wanted to prohibit investigators from asking follow-up questions.
“It would be in written form and if you want to follow up on our answers, justify it. Show us why you didn’t get there the first time,” Giuliani said. He said he was not categorically ruling out answering a second round of questions but the entire matter of whether there would be follow-up inquiries should be settled before the president answers anything at all.
“We aren’t going to let them spring it on us,” said Giuliani, who has served as lawyer-spokesman for the president’s personal legal team, using television interviews and public comments as a tactic in the negotiations.
In the latest letter to the legal team, Mueller’s office didn’t address obstruction questions, indicating investigators would later assess what additional information it needs from the president after receiving a response about the written submissions, according to a person familiar with the document.
The person familiar with the letter spoke on condition of anonymity because the person was not authorized to publicly discuss the negotiations.
Though the president has publicly said he was eager to face questions from Mueller, his lawyers have been far more reluctant to make him available for an interview and have questioned whether Mueller has the right to ask him about actions that he is authorized, under the Constitution, to take as president.
Mueller’s team raised the prospect in March that it could subpoena the president, though this would unquestionably prompt a court fight.
The Supreme Court has never definitively ruled on the question of whether a president can be forced to testify, though the justices did rule in 1974 that Richard Nixon had to produce recordings and documents that had been subpoenaed.
In addition to questions about Comey and Sessions, Mueller has expressed interest in Trump’s role in drafting a statement to The New York Times about a June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower attended by his son, Donald Trump Jr., and a Russian lawyer.
Trump Jr. took the meeting, emails show, after it was described as part of a Russian government effort to help his father’s campaign by providing derogatory information about Democrat Hillary Clinton.
Trump has said he knew nothing about the meeting before it happened.
Trump and Giuliani have led an onslaught of attacks on Mueller’s credibility, claiming that the special counsel was biased and that the entire probe was a “witch hunt.” Giuliani has also demanded that the probe suspend its activities with the midterm elections approaching, but the former mayor said Thursday he was not certain of Mueller’s intentions.
September 6, 2018
On his way out of office, Rahm Emanuel is hobbling Chicago cops wth consent decree he previously fought
Having presided over Chicago’s descent into rampant crime, “wilding” attacks by “urban youths” in the city’s prime shopping districts, and a murder rate that shocks Baghdadis, Rahm Emanuel pulled the rip cord on his mayoralty and announced he would not run for a third term. As Rick Moran wrote:
In the end, Emanuel’s tattered reputation would have suffered even more in a third term. The “police reforms” are likely to lead to more crime and more violence. There is a pension crisis with city employee unions that is likely to get worse. Taxes will have to be raised. Who can blame Emanuel for declining to serve under these circumstances?
The ugly truth is that doing something to make Chicago solvent, safe, and a sane place to do business would require taking on the vested interested that dominate the Democratic Party. Public employee unions, the racial grievance industry, and the rent seekers all would lose under real reform.
So, what does Rahm do to salvage his reputation after two terms as mayor of a city rightfully scared about becoming the new Detroit? If real reform is out of the question for a lame duck, then one way to look good is to have things really start spiraling downward after he leaves office. Call me cynical (as if one could be too cynical about Rahm Emanuel), but this suggests support for the “make voters regard my administration as the good old days” strategy. Bill Ruthhart of the Chicago Tribune:
Chicago police officers would be required to document every instance in which they point a gun at someone under an agreement reached Wednesday between Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan and Mayor Rahm Emanuel, two sources familiar with the deal confirmed.
The new requirement, which will be agreed upon formally in a federal court hearing Thursday morning, marks a win for Madigan who had pushed for the new level of documentation as part of her ongoing negotiations with Emanuel on a federal consent decree that will govern sweeping reforms to the Chicago Police Department in the coming years.
Prior to deciding to leave office, Rahm had fought Madigan, an ambitious pol whose father has been the most powerful figure in the state legislature for many years:
For more than a month, however, the mayor and attorney general had been at odds over whether Chicago police officers should have to document every instance in which they point a gun at someone. Madigan called the requirement essential to ensuring that officers properly use the threat of a gun, given the department’s history of excessive force and misconduct. Emanuel portrayed the documentation as superfluous, while Chicago police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said it could make officers hesitant to draw their weapons in dangerous situations.
After weeks of talks, both sides told U.S. District Judge Robert Dow Jr. last week that they planned to litigate the matter in court.
But on Wednesday — the day after Emanuel announced he would not seek a third term — the mayor’s team agreed to the provision, according to sources who were not authorized to discuss the agreement publicly.
Superintendent Johnson is exactly right. Cops hate paperwork, and are likely to avoid situations in which they might have to unholster a weapon. That means even less “active policing” and even more failures to intervene to stop crimes. The blog Second City Cop comments:
Make no mistake, Rahm is going to fold on a lot more points before this “consent” decree takes effect. He has nothing to gain by siding with a Department that disliked him pretty much from day one and grew to hate him the more we got to know him. (snip)
…the only thing this agreement does is keep åmore cops and their supervisors off the street for extended periods of time, during which patrol officers aren’t visible, streets are undermanned, backup isn’t available and supervision non-existent.
You know how to avoid useless paperwork? Slow roll, make a lot of noise arriving, cut a report, advise warrants, leave.
What could go wrong?