Monday, October 24, 2016

White House

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white house

Iconic buildings around the world were lit up this weekend in the colors of the French tricolor: blue, white, and red, in honor of the terrorist attacks on Paris.

One building that was curiously not lit up for the occasion? The White House.

Among those buildings lit up, worldwide, were the Sydney Opera House in Australia, the Brandenburg Gate in Germany, the Burj al-Arab in Dubai, the Old City Wall in Jerusalem, and even the Empire State Building in New York.

But even though Lafayette Park, the public square directly in front of the White House, hosted a large candlelight vigil on Saturday night for the victims of the Paris attacks, the executive mansion continued to stay lit up in its normal, white lighting.

Adding to the controversy is the fact that the White House has lit up for other causes—most notably in June, when the Supreme Court legalized nationwide gay marriage when they announced their decision in the Obergefell v. Hodges case.

Gay marriage was important enough for the Obamas to light up their house in solidarity, but the deaths of 121 people in the capital of America’s oldest ally did not appear to be.

Obama and the Left have continued to attract controversy for what many have seen as a lackluster response to the attacks that have shaken the entire world.

Obama had, in a moment of truly unfortunate timing less than 24 hours before the attacks, claimed that ISIS was “contained.” He later admitted that the Paris attacks were a “setback.”

Meanwhile, during Saturday night’s Democratic debate—which was hastily reorganized to include questions about terrorism and foreign affairs—attracted outrage when none of the candidates could bring themselves to admit the United States was at war with radical Islamic terrorists, or even utter the words “radical Islam.”

Despite the Democrats’ flippant response to the attacks, it’s clear that the very nature of the 2016 race has changed in an instant—and it could doom their chances moving forward.

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secret service

One of the agents in Obama’s Secret Service detail was just arrested—for a truly perverted crime.

The agent, Lee Robert Moore, 37, who works directly for the President inside the White House, was caught sending naked photos of himself from his smartphone—to a 14-year-old girl. He also requested to meet in person, so they could have sex—requesting that she wear a short skirt.

“May seem like a small thing in the grand scheme, but I would take immense pleasure in pulling those shorts off your hips and down your cute little legs,” he apparently wrote, before going into much more lurid detail about the things he was planning to do. Again, to what he thought was a 14-year-old girl.

Unfortunately for Moore, the “14-year-old girl” was actually an undercover police officer in Delaware. Moore was quickly arrested, and turned himself in at the Maryland State Police Barracks on Monday, where he agreed to talk to law enforcement about his crimes.

Most shockingly, Moore admitted that many of his messages were sent while he was on the job. Meaning that, while Moore was in the White House, tasked with keeping President Obama safe, he was actually sending out nude photos to young teens.

The Secret Service, obviously, was quick to distance themselves from Moore.

“The Secret Service takes allegations of potential criminal activity extremely seriously,” said a Secret Service spokesperson.

“This incident was reported to our Office of Professional Responsibility on Friday, November 6th. On that same date, the employee’s security clearance was suspended and the employee was placed on administrative leave. All Secret Service issued equipment was retrieved and the employee’s access to all Secret Service facilities was terminated.”

Moore has been charged with attempted transfer of obscene material to a minor. If convicted, it carries a sentence of up to 10 years.

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Barack Obama’s assistant is facing jail–after apparently shooting at her boyfriend, a U.S. Capitol Police officer, with his own gun.

Barvetta Singletary currently serves as Obama’s assistant: her official title at the White House is Special Assistant to the President and House Legislative Affairs Liaison. She has not yet been fired.

According to her arrest warrant, Singleterry sent her boyfriend a text on Friday, inviting him to her home in suburban Upper Marlboro, Maryland, for sex.

After having sex, Singletary confronted him about cheating on her with another woman. The conversation grew heated and Singletary demanded to see her boyfriend’s cell phones.

When he refused, she reached into his bag and retrieved two cell phones, along with his service weapon.

Singletary soon realized she didn’t have the passwords to his phones–so she turned the gun on her boyfriend as he sat on her living room sofa.

“You taught me how to use this,” Singletary allegedly threatened. “Don’t think I won’t use this.”

Singletary fired a round into the sofa where her boyfriend sat–at which point he ran out of the house and called 911, fearing for his life.

Singletary was arrested shortly after and charged with first and second degree assault, as well as reckless endangerment.

Currently, the Obama Administration has put Singletary on unpaid leave and temporarily revoked her access to White House grounds. She has not been fired, pending an investigation.

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Day in and day out, in media interviews. . .  one after the other, leaders in politics, academia, media and entertainment often do not answer the question being asked of them by the person conducting the interview. They first avoid, deflect or brush off the question, then proceed to say whatever they want to say, with little or no reference to the question being asked.

This happens across the full political and philosophical spectrum, on both the left and right, conservative and liberal, Democrat and Republican. In some form or another, it happens on all shows, interviews and networks.

One vivid example was the exchange between Fox News Sunday host, Chris Wallace, and White House Chief of Staff, Denis McDonough. Here is an excerpt of what they said:

WALLACE: Let’s turn to domestic issues. Does President Obama realize that he lost the midterm election?

MCDONOUGH: What the president realizes and he laid this out in the speech last night is that over the course of now decades, middle class families in this country have faced unrelenting pressure as costs go up with while wages stagnate. What the president laid out in the speech on Tuesday night, is a plan to say, ‘Hey, let’s put the middle class first in the country first, close loopholes, invest in them, things like child care, job training, community college,’ and make sure that they can get the kind of opportunities that we all had when we were growing up in the middle class family, Chris. Transcript from article by Alex Griswald at the Daily Caller.

Mr. McDonough does not answer the question. Mr. McDonough gives a speech. He only pretends to answer the question. Indeed, before he pretends to answer the question, he first gives the viewer a verbal head fake. He picks up on the word “realize” used by Mr. Wallace in the actual question, and uses the word “realizes” in the first sentence of his pretend answer. Perhaps he does this hoping the viewer will make a mental pivot from the reality of a direct question, to believing the illusion of a direct answer.

It is as if using the word “realizes” becomes some form of a mental bridge to make the viewer feel more comfortable, to give some false sense of logical continuity to the interview, rather than the stark reality of a blatant disregard of the question.

This is spin, and Mr. McDonough is spinning. Mr. McDonough has an agenda, and he is using his answer to advance his agenda and sell his point of view. No news here.

But what about Mr. Wallace? Is the question a “fair” question or is the question itself, a form of spin? Is he using his question to advance his agenda?

We all have a perspective, worldview, agenda and bias.

Mr. Wallace is no exception. One way he advances his worldview agenda is by asking one question when he could just as easily ask another that would set the stage to move the discussion in a different direction. Selecting what topic to discuss and the line of inquiry about the topic is, in itself, a powerful form of setting and advancing a worldview agenda. Mr. Wallace is selling his point of view by the content of the questions he asks and the manner in which he asks them.

Fox News Sunday is a show owned by a media enterprise, Fox News. The show also has a point of view and an agenda to sell. They know their audience and the executives and producers are going ensure that the questions asked are ones that will help maintain and grow their viewership. Fox News, is a for profit corporation. It is organized around a mandate to give it’s shareholders a targeted return on their capital investment. The questions, guest selection, and perspective of the show need to be structured to captivate and hold the interest of a large and growing audience. How large? Large enough to generate the advertising revenue needed to meet their shareholders’ expected return on investment.

And what about the viewer? They have a worldview, a bias and an agenda as well. Their motivations for watching a news show may range from wanting to be informed, to wanting to having the satisfaction of seeing their point of view confirmed and reconfirmed, by watching programming in sync with their own beliefs.

Lost in all this is, dare we say, the truth.

Truth is a big word and means different things to different people. But in the context of an interview, from a common sense understanding of the word, is the truth not best served, if the person being interviewed, would please, answer the question?



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