Friday, April 28, 2017

White House

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She stands out in a crowd, but is she good for America?

Setting off an avalanche of outrage, the news that Ivanka Trump will be getting her own office in the West Wing of the White House, wasn’t received too well by a lot of people. However, many still believe that just because something is out of the ordinary doesn’t mean it will be all negative.

Many opine that one of the greatest assets of President Trump is the knack to identify great talent and apply it to the right place. His daughter is indeed considered great talent and her voice in the administration could prove to be quite fruitful in the years to come.

Let’s not forget that the 2016 presidential elections were also something out of the ordinary. Donald Trump was elected as the 45th president of the United States because he did not fit the description of a typical Washington politician. He’s obviously not going to do things the old Washington way; it is pretty clear to all of us now that the Washington way hasn’t been working.

After stirring a political firestorm and a barrage of comments from politicians, the press, and the American people, Ivanka announced that she will be a federal employee, take the title ‘assistant to the president,’ not be paid for her work at the White House and be formally bound by the federal ethics laws she was already voluntarily following. But even that has done very little to calm the storm.

No explanation, no matter how elaborate, has dispelled concerns among watchdogs and even feminists who believe that Ivanka – with absolutely no Foreign Service or government experience – only got this job because her father could give it to her.

Cynics continue making snap judgments, questioning the President and his close aides’ motives, and prophesizing terrible outcomes. Their farsightedness would have been indeed worthy of applause if their vision wasn’t so clouded by a lethal combination of sexism, envy and political miscalculation.

Ivanka Trump is successful, beautiful, talented, and her greatest asset is that she has the trust and ear of the most powerful man in the world, her father, the President of the United States of America.

Ivanka’s success and her connection to women and millenials is perceived as a threat by those who want to see Donald Trump falter in his mission to make America great. On the flip side, conservatives take issue with Ivanka’s liberal views and agenda that is driven by identity politics.

Is Ivanka an asset or will she move the President further away from an anti-Establishment agenda?

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Though constitutional literacy remains appalling low among U.S. citizens (and, sadly, even among many members of Congress), most Americans have a general understanding and respect for the 230-year-old document. Nevertheless, and despite all the internal and external challenges our nation has faced from the very outset of its existence, American citizens are still (largely) free to pursue life, liberty, and prosperity.

This is no fluke, but in fact is due to the Constitution’s clearly defined, written parameters in which a government must operate, along with designed checks and balances among and even within its branches. Both factors work to ensure no individual, agency, or branch can act arbitrarily, or declare itself the supreme authority on the law; all are beholden to the Constitution’s sovereignty.

That is, at least, how our Founding Fathers intended it to work, which is why the recent actions of rogue government employees involved with America’s secret surveillance panopticon, are truly frightening.

Here is what we know. Retired Gen. Michael Flynn, President Trump’s national security advisor, resigned last week after media reports of phone calls between him and a Russian diplomat occurring in the month before he formally took his position – calls he denied to the F.B.I. However, the media’s discovery of the calls was not the result of hard work by the Fifth Estate to uncover leads and evidence. Rather, the retired general’s demise reportedly was the direct result of illegal leaking of classified government surveillance information by up to 10 “current and former officials, who were in senior positions at multiple agencies at the time of the calls.” Given both Trump and Flynn’s rocky reputation within the Intelligence Community, revenge, rather than public service “whistleblowing,” appears to have been the motive for the leak.

Take a minute to let that sink in. Unelected bureaucrats feloniously took highly sensitive information, collected in secret surveillance programs for national security purposes, to launch a political assassination of a presidential aide, simply because they could. And, should this insubordination go without punishment, the ramifications threaten the very foundations of constitutional rule-of-law.

Given the extent of today’s surveillance state, it is perhaps not surprising Flynn’s phone conversations were recorded in a government database; after all, our government has long monitored calls into and out from the Russian Embassy (as we did the Soviets during the Cold War). And, thanks to Presidents George Bush and Barack Obama, both of whom vastly expanded the government’s surveillance powers, the recording of Flynn’s calls – regardless of what intelligence program or tool ultimately captured the recording – was likely “legal.”

This serves as a chilling reminder that we apparently have reached the point in the “Deep State” in which no electronic communication – even internal government communications — is safe from government snooping; nor is there any confidence that once monitored, the substance of a communication will be safe from someone in the bureaucracy sharing it for purposes other than reasons of genuine national security. The Obama Administration’s decision in its final days to further loosen the rules on what intercepted data the National Security Agency can share with other agencies, only makes this treacherous environment even more prone to exploitation.

In the past, intelligence personnel at the NSA have been accused of sharing nude photos of innocent civilians it intercepted through its surveillance programs. Of course, such childish misconduct pales in comparison to that when in 2014, CIA personnel were caught hacking Senate computers, for no other reason than they felt the Senate had wronged them regarding a sensitive document.

Flynn is just the latest victim in a disturbing pattern of reckless and defiant behavior from individuals embedded in the Intelligence Community who are unwilling to heed the rule of law, and who act to further their own interests above those of even the President of the United States or Congress.

Herein lies the most concerning issue. When unelected, nameless bureaucrats send a warning shot across the bow of the White House, it presents a serious problem that cannot simply be ignored or dismissed as an isolated incident. In addition to vigorously pursuing the individuals behind the felonious leaking of Flynn’s phone calls, Congress and the Trump White House should see this incident as proof that America’s secret surveillance programs are in desperate need of an overhaul; and that Washington should be reining in these programs, not expanding them as many are advocating.

Intelligence officials may fancy themselves as above Congress or the White House, but they are not above the law. It is high time they are given a hard constitutional rap on the knuckles.

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Leaks

Donald Trump’s administration suffered a big loss when Michael Flynn had to resign his position from the National Security Administration due to leaks from the intelligence community.

The leaks are distracting the administration from executing their daily business and fulfilling campaign promises. On the other hand, the leaks are providing insight and information into the Trump White House that the public seems obsessed with right now.

So how big of a problem are the White House leaks?

Comment Below

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On Monday Ivanka Trump, daughter of president Trump, posted a picture on social media with her sitting behind the Resolute Desk in the oval office with her father and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

A great discussion with two world leaders about the importance of women having a seat at the table! ????

A post shared by Ivanka Trump (@ivankatrump) on

The image started a firestorm on Twitter with many people criticizing the photo and some saying that she needs to be the next president.

Ivanka has seen her share of attacks from the Nordstrom controversy to her almost limitless access to president Trump, but we want to know what you think about her role in the White House.

Do you think Ivanka Trump is too involved in her father’s presidency?

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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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Obama-assistant-shoots

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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Denis-McDonough

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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