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via IFTTT HILARIOUS! Here Are 12 of the Best New Year’s Eve Cartoons and Memes

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The West Block, Episode 17, Season 7

THE WEST BLOCK Episode 17, Season 7 Sunday, December 31, 2017 Host: Vassy Kapelos Guest Interviews: Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer, National Chief Perry Bellegarde Food for Thought: Minister Nathan Cullen at Wilf and Ada's Location: Ottawa On this Sunday, Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer says the prime minister is getting it all wrong when it comes to trade and ethics. We’ll ask him why. Then, Prime Minister Trudeau promised two years ago to reset relations between Canada’s Indigenous people. Has he? We’ll ask Perry Bellegarde national chief of the Assembly of First Nations. Plus, we’ll head to Wilf and Ada’s, a diner a few blocks south of Parliament Hill for our occasional Food for Thought series. Today, we’ll break bread with NDP stalwart, Nathan Cullen. It’s Sunday, December 31st. I’m Vassy Kapelos, and this is The West Block. Late last month, Conservative Party Leader Andrew Scheer called on Finance Minister Bill Morneau to resign over ethics-related controversies surrounding Morneau’s personal finances. The finance minister says he has followed the rules and done what the ethics commissioner advised. So why is that not enough for the Opposition? And joining me now is Conservative Party Leader Andrew Scheer, happy holidays. Thanks for being here, Mr. Scheer, nice to see you. Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer: Merry Christmas. Happy New Year’s to you as well. Vassy Kapelos: Thank you. So it is New Year’s Eve and I thought I’d start off by asking you what is your family doing for the big night? Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer: We have a great neighbourhood and a lot of young families are nearby. And normally on New Year’s Eve we do an apps and desserts party where some of the neighbours come over to one of our houses, we haven’t picked which one yet. The kids all watch holiday movies, Christmas movies, that type of thing and the adults’ kind of hang out in the kitchen. And we do a New Year’s countdown, usually in an eastern time, and we have a time shifting package on our cable package. Vassy Kapelos: Easier for the kids to stay up for it, yeah. Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer: So we’ll do a kids countdown at 10 o’clock and then an adult one—well the midnight one for Saskatchewan time. Vassy Kapelos: I bet. Well, enjoy the party. Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer: Looking forward to it. Vassy Kapelos: I wanted to start off by asking you about something the prime minister said to us last week. We asked him, of course, about the ethics controversy involving his finance minister. And he was very critical of the Opposition for talking about it. In fact, he said that the finance minister did do more and that the Opposition is spending all of their time on personal attacks and on supposed ethical issues and they are not talking about the economy. Kind of insinuating that everything’s going okay so that’s why the Opposition is focusing on Bill Morneau. What’s your response to that? Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer: It’s a very condescending attitude to have and very flippant. To lump in serious questions about ethical behaviour and whether or not the finance minister, the person who has the ability, the power, to regulate our economy. Whether or not that person is following ethics rules, those are not personal attacks. Those are legitimate questions. And I’ve noticed a disturbing trend with this prime minister that when he gets questioned on many different issues he goes right to that default, well, you’re attacking me personally or you’re attacking the government personally. I think it’s a defence mechanism that shows that he’s not taking these issues seriously. Bill Morneau tabled legislation that affects companies like Morneau Shepell and their ability to sell pension plans to private companies. He also held ownership of shares in Morneau Shepell far beyond when he led Canadians to believe that he divested himself. Those are serious questions. We want to know, did he meet with the ethics commissioner before he tabled that bill? He still hasn’t been able to say yes or no. That’s why we called for the resignation, not just because of incompetence and not just because of the attack on small business and bigger deficits, but because he cannot come clean, he cannot be transparent, honest and accountable about his behaviour. That’s when people lose trust. Those are not personal attacks. Those are legitimate questions about the integrity of our public institution. Vassy Kapelos: Does he have a point, though, when he says that you guys don’t really have much to oppose when it comes to, for example, the economy, something traditionally your party has been outspoken on. I think there were 80,000 jobs added last month. The economy is growing at a rate much faster or bigger than it has in the past. Does he have a point? Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer: We’ve been very vocal, very critical, we have a lot to oppose when it comes to a government that tried to demonize small business owners and threaten all the jobs that go along with that. The millions of Canadians who work at a small business, we were their voice. We stood up against this government’s plan to hike their taxes and threaten those jobs. We’ve been very vocal on the massive deficits and what that will mean for future generations of Canadians having to pay back more and more debt racked up under this Liberal government. We’ve been very critical of the overspending; everything from a hockey rink that cost $7 million that’ll be torn down in a few weeks, to mismanaging the Phoenix pay system and public servants not getting their pay cheques. Vassy Kapelos: Do you give them any credit, though, for how the economy is doing? Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer: Well look— Vassy Kapelos: Because the economy was doing, you know, when it weathered the storm under your party when they were government, you guys took credit for that. Can you give them a bit of credit? Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer: Well I believe the actions we took help do that. The action this Liberal government is taking isn’t having a positive impact on the economy. They said that they would go into deficits to spend more on infrastructure. The parliamentary budget officer says that there’s a lot of infrastructure dollars that aren’t being spent. They just announced $500 million for infrastructure projects in Asia. Raising taxes on the top 1 per cent of Canadians under this Liberal government has actually resulted in them paying less tax. So they can’t even implement their agenda. Vassy Kapelos: So you think the economy the economy is growing it has nothing to do with the government’s doing. Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer: I think it’s growing despite what the government’s doing. They’ve done everything they can to make it harder. Vassy Kapelos: You mentioned a trade a little bit ago and I wanted to ask you about that. You recently tweeted that you met with Japan’s ambassador to Canada. And in the tweet you said, and I quote: “I express disappointment in the way Justin Trudeau recently treated one of our closest trading partners. Conservatives are committed to the TPP and the Canadian jobs it will create.” Why would you tweet that? Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer: I wanted to let the Japanese ambassador know that the Conservative Party of Canada is still committed to the Trans-Pacific trade Partnership (TPP). It’s so important for our economy to open up new markets and it’s a very large economic trading block that Justin Trudeau has walked away from in a very erratic display, you know, not showing up to the final meetings, catching our trading partners by surprise. That’s not a way you treat an ally and a valued trading partner. And I wanted to ensure that the signal was sent that not everybody agrees with what Justin Trudeau’s done that we’re disappointed not only in the policy decision but also in the manner in which it was done. Vassy Kapelos: Do you think, though, by criticizing what’s happening inside our borders that weaken our hand in negotiating with actors outside our borders? Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer: I actually think it helps strengthen our hand for our allies to know that there are people in Canada that— Vassy Kapelos: How would that strengthen Canada’s hand? Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer: Because it lets people know that there are people in Canada—it lets Japan, it lets our trading partners know that there are groups and political parties in Canada that are open and committed to free trade. So not to give up on us, not to walk away and leave Canada out in the cold that there is a possibility for trade deals to be pursued, especially as an Opposition party encourages and pressures the government to do just that. I don’t think Justin Trudeau should get a free pass when he does things like that. And I think it’s good— Vassy Kapelos: Is there no conceivable reason in your mind, though, that he would have done that? No justifiable reason? Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer: Has he explained it? I mean I’d love to hear—we’ve asked questions in the House of Commons. We’ve asked him to clarify his actions. I still don’t know that even his own minister understands that. We saw what happened in China. You know, Justin Trudeau couldn’t even negotiate a photo op with the Chinese government and now we’re trusting him to— Vassy Kapelos: But you’re opposed to free trade with China. Weren’t you happy that he walked away with some of the concerns you had? Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer: Look, if Justin Trudeau can’t successfully negotiate a photo op with the Chinese government, I think we should all breathe a sigh of relief that he hasn’t embarked further down that road right now. Yes, philosophically I think there are major concerns about having a free trade deal with China at this time. But my point is basically is that he has been unable to articulate what his free trade agenda is. I’ve come to the conclusion that he’s not actually in favour of free trade, that he’s come home empty handed from the TPP, he walked out on that. He has been unsuccessful in engaging with China and I’m starting to wonder. Okay, well, you know where is the evidence of that? Vassy Kapelos: Well on that note, I know you’re supposed oppose, but before we go it is Christmas and in the giving spirit. If you had to name the most positive quality about Justin Trudeau and your other counterpart, Jagmeet Singh, what would they be? Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer: Look, on a personal level I do appreciate both Justin Trudeau’s and Jagmeet Singh’s dedication to public service. We disagree vociferously on things like policy questions and whether or not they’re actually capable of delivering what they promised, but it’s a big sacrifice and both of those individuals are getting up every morning and leaving their family behind to fight for what they believe in and I respect that on a fundamental level. And when I was Speaker of the House of Commons I got to appreciate that no matter what the part you belonged to, no matter what the ideas you’re fighting for, even if I disagree with them, it is a sacrifice and it is a challenge and it’s not easy. And I know that Justin Trudeau truly does believe that he’s doing what’s best, as he believes, for Canada. So I respect that on that level, disagree with him and I would surely point out when I think that it hasn’t gone well. That’s my job. But I do wish him all the best for the holiday season and for 2018. Vassy Kapelos: Well we’ll leave it on that very positive note, then. Thanks so much for your time Mr. Scheer and Happy New Year to you and your family. Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer: Thank you very much, appreciate that. Vassy Kapelos: Appreciate it. Up next, has the government over promised and under delivered on its pledge to reset the relationship with Indigenous Canadians? National Chief Perry Bellegarde’s surprising answer, after the break. [Break] Vassy Kapelos: Welcome back. On the campaign trail two years ago, then candidate Trudeau, promised if elected he would reset the relationship between the government and Canada’s Indigenous people. But given recent problems with the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls Inquiry and the ongoing crisis on some reserves across the country, has that really happened? Earlier, I sat down with Perry Bellegarde, national chief for the Assembly of First Nations to find out. Have a listen. Thank you so much for joining us National Chief Bellegarde, it’s a pleasure to have you on the program. National Chief Bellegarde: It’s good to be here. Vassy Kapelos: I wanted to start off by asking you, we’re about two years into this government’s mandate, at the beginning, at the outset of the mandate and during the campaign, the prime minister made very specific promises when it came to the government’s relationship with Indigenous people in this country, specifically saying and promising that he would reset that relationship. Do you think that’s happened? National Chief Bellegarde: I think it has happened and I think it’s moving in the right direction. I think back to the last two years, he’s come to our chief’s assemblies twice to talk to the chiefs of Canada. And on the first time that he came, he committed to five things: 1) That there would be an inquiry into missing, murdered, Indigenous women and girls. 2) That all 94 calls to action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission would be implemented. 3) The 2 per cent funding cap would be lifted and we’d find a process to work towards long-term sustainable predictable funding. 4) He mentioned there would be investments in education from K-12 and post-secondary. 5) He said there would be a comprehensive federal law and policy review. That was his first time. The second time he came, a year ago, he mentioned three things: 1) He’ll work in partnership with us to develop a National Indigenous Language Revitalisation Act. 2) He’ll work with us to develop and give a legal framework to the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP). And 3) another law and policy review. So it’s moving in the right direction. Vassy Kapelos: Are there areas that—I mean I’ve read that you said there are some people and there are some areas saying that it could be moving a bit faster or it should be. National Chief Bellegarde: Oh, of course, no question. Vassy Kapelos: Could I ask you specifically, what are you hoping to see speedier action on? National Chief Bellegarde: You see you’ve got the legislative and the executive and the judicial branch of government. So we’re hearing good things from the judicial branch in terms of recognition of rights entitled from the Supreme Court. You have the legislative branch saying good things, which is the prime minister and cabinet saying good things. But it’s the executive branch of government that has to keep up with all those good vision statements about nation to nation and reconciliation. Vassy Kapelos: You’ve also asked for a First Ministers meeting specifically on Indigenous issues. Why do you think that’s important and have you received any assurances that that will happen? National Chief Bellegarde: I haven’t received any assurances that it’s going to happen. I think having a First Ministers conference on Indigenous issues is really fundamental to bring about change when you start to talk about nation to nation or reconciliation. But mapping out a very clear path forward takes both federal government, First Nations governments and provincial governments. The provinces have a big role to play going forward. Vassy Kapelos: We’re kind of running out of time, but I do want to specifically ask you about—I know you mentioned the five promises that the prime minister made off the bat there and one of them was the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women’s Inquiry which he has followed through, which has begun. A grouping of chiefs not too long ago voted to ask the Commissioner Marion Buller to resign. Do you think that she should? National Chief Bellegarde: Well we follow our chiefs in assembly the direction. Vassy Kapelos: Does that mean that you think she should? National Chief Bellegarde: It’s more in the sense of they have a difficult job. The motion that was passed was to ask, one, for an extension, because two years is not enough time. I think that everybody should start focusing in the families first. And if that can happen, I think there would be a greater comfort level around keeping and/or maintaining Marion Buller because it’s a difficult job, and the other three commissioners. As First Nations we’re taught more to be respectful and to support each other going forward and you have to be careful of later violence, especially against each other. And so if we can find good common ground and put families first, and better communication, more First Nations centred in terms of the healing process, I think we can find the path going forward. But I’ve always said is this as well, we don’t have to wait two years or four years for the recommendations to end violence for missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls. Governments can make investments in housing, in education, and training, and transportation, and detox centres, and wellness centres, and like it can happen now. So you don’t need to wait. But there’s a big piece too, fixing the justice systems and the policing system. That’s a major piece that has to be looked at and overhauled. Vassy Kapelos: Are you worried because the mandate of the inquiry doesn’t really include reopening, for example, cases that are thought to be not properly investigated? It doesn’t sort of have that under its jurisdiction that it could in the end come up short because you’re talking about policing and the justice system. It doesn’t really encompass a lot of that. Is that a problem? National Chief Bellegarde: It’s a challenge and I think when we first started talking about the mandate and authority of the commissioners, it was explained that you can push the envelope as much as you can to include authorities and third party entities, such as police systems. So you can interpret that as being part of that terms of reference. And I think it should be done in a constructive way, because I met with the police chiefs two years ago and I told them, put them on notice, chiefs of police, be ready and get ready because you will be called to question, taken to task, in terms of what kind of services and programs and supports and communications have you had with First Nations families when these cases have come up in your department, whether it’d be the RCMP, whether it’d be urban city police forces. So that whole review should be looked at within the sense of improving things and making things better. Vassy Kapelos: So you think the mandate is a bit more open to interpretation than it’s perhaps being communicated? National Chief Bellegarde: I think it’s got to be more focused on and I think people should come to the table with that in mind about improving things and making things better, because all the families we’ve heard in all of our assemblies, 75 per cent of them talked about the lack of good service from the police forces when it comes to missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls, when it comes to the investigation, when it comes to communication and how it was reported back to the families. So there is work to do there in that area and I think in order to fix something you have to identify the problem first and then identify the strategy and plan to fix it going forward. Vassy Kapelos: Okay, we’ll leave it there. Thanks very much National Chief Bellegarde, I appreciate your time. National Chief Bellegarde: Thanks for the opportunity. Vassy Kapelos: Up next, we’ll head to Wilf and Ada’s for some Food for Thought with NDP MP Nathan Cullen. [Break] Vassy Kapelos: Just a few blocks south of Parliament Hill is Wilf and Ada’s. Run by its namesakes for two decades it transferred hands in 2013 and has morphed from a beloved diner into an equally beloved hipster haven. And that’s where we find NDP MP Nathan Cullen, today. Well thank you so much for doing Food for Thought, I appreciate it. Minister Nathan Cullen: My pleasure. Vassy Kapelos: It’s great to see you. Minister Nathan Cullen: This is a lot of food for— Vassy Kapelos: It is. That’s what I want to start off by asking, not just about the food, but why did you choose Wilf and Ada’s? Minister Nathan Cullen: I found this place before it became hipster heaven. It was a true greasy spoon, Wilf and Ada ran it for years and I loved it. It was just a local community place. And when you’re travelling a lot, finding that is nice. It’s not a chain. It’s just it feels a bit like home even though you’re not home. Vassy Kapelos: And what did you—this to me looks like a massive amount of food, but what is it specifically? Minister Nathan Cullen: I had intention of doing this. I think this is— Vassy Kapelos: It looks amazing! Minister Nathan Cullen: It looks like an entire Christmas dinner— Vassy Kapelos: Yeah, basically. Minister Nathan Cullen: Hyped up and then put on a piece of bread. Vassy Kapelos: I’m sure you’ll have time to eat it later. Minister Nathan Cullen: I’ll be happy. What did you get? Black snow? Vassy Kapelos: Yeah, I got basically eggs Benedict. Minister Nathan Cullen: Yeah, and salad. Vassy Kapelos: Yeah, with olives. And so when I was reading up on you, although you’re very well-known and you’re on a program a lot and on Global a lot, I sort of wanted to look into some of the stuff about you that maybe we didn’t know a lot about. I guess you got into politics at a very young age. I mean federal politics. Minister Nathan Cullen: Well, coming into federal politics was my first entry into any kind of politics, like capital ‘P’. I’d always been political and enjoyed it. But no, I was 30 when I first ran and it was a bit in hindsight quite audacious in terms of it wasn’t a safe seat, I was a relatively unknown candidate, all of those things. I maybe ought not to have won if you looked at it just empirically. But it felt right and it was good. And I’ve never regretted a moment. Vassy Kapelos: What motivated you at that age because I think, you know, my sister’s about to be 31 in a month and I just know if she would sit down and be like—you know, she wants to make a difference, but politics wouldn’t necessarily be the thing she decides to do? Minister Nathan Cullen: During university and then afterwards, I had done a bunch of work overseas in South America and Africa and growing up, I hadn’t really considered politics, again, party politics, that important. It just felt like a bunch of old white guys yelling at each other, which in large part it is. Vassy Kapelos: Yeah, wait a second. Minister Nathan Cullen: It remains. But it didn’t feel relevant enough in my life, like the things that I cared about, whether it was environmental issues or some of the poverty issues. I grew up with not a lot of money, it didn’t seem like the best way to affect any change was to join a political party. That was almost the furthest thing from my mind and it was only after working some pretty intense front line jobs overseas and realizing how powerful politics was, how important it was, to affecting sweeping change that I thought this was a really good time for me to try jumping in. Vassy Kapelos: You’re one of the more vocal people in your party, especially on a lot of the big issues. Minister Nathan Cullen: Well I talk a lot. I talk a lot. Well, I just try to reduce them out of their position to the position and say alright, is this a good person? And I want to ask this good person an important question. And so I try to remove the fanfare and the— Vassy Kapelos: Do you think Justin Trudeau’s a good person? Minister Nathan Cullen: Yeah. Yeah, I do. I do. I think he’s made bad decisions from time to time, or he can’t fully see an issue, just from—I don’t know—his upbringing or whatever, he misses things. But I don’t think he’s a bad person at all. I didn’t think Stephen Harper was a bad person either, nor Paul Martin. I have huge respect for people who take on the leadership role. I see the sacrifices my family has to make, I can only imagine what it is on their side and what their families and they personally have to go through in order to fulfill that role. I have nothing but respect, even when I’m disagreeing with them, even when I think they’re doing something wrong. Vassy Kapelos: So you decided to keep challenging him in the government in your current role instead of running for leadership. Minister Nathan Cullen: Yes. Vassy Kapelos: Is that a decision that you ever regret at this point or you’re still cool with it? Minister Nathan Cullen: No, no. I sat with the decision for quite a while—well a month and a half. It felt like a long time to me after the party chose to remove Tom and I really gave it my full heart and mind and I was not able to get myself there to believing this was the right thing for me to do. Vassy Kapelos: Why not, do you think? Minister Nathan Cullen: It’s a good question. I’m a bit private. I’m a bit shy. Vassy Kapelos: So do you think that rules it out for you in the future or--? Minister Nathan Cullen: I think people change. I could see myself one day being in a more mature way or embracing a role like that because there are aspects that I really enjoy, but not now. I’m good. I’m good now. I don’t look back. I haven’t looked back at any moment and said I regret this. Vassy Kapelos: The other thing that I read about that I had not known about you at all, and I don’t know how comfortable you are talking about it, but I read that you were kidnapped once. Minister Nathan Cullen: Yeah. Vassy Kapelos: I’ve also been to Latin America, I studied South American politics. I lived in Argentina for a while. Minister Nathan Cullen: Argentina is beautiful. Vassy Kapelos: The thing I loved there was that people are so engaged in politics because it affects their lives so much and that’s what drew me there in the first place. But why were you in Latin America and what happened? Minister Nathan Cullen: At that time I had been off and on doing development work on amazing grassroots community work and we were, I guess, disturbing the balance of power in that region, forestry interests in that case, where we were getting a community that had been [00:21:44 hooks] and basically indentured labourers and giving them other options and other ways to make money. And that threatened somebody high up. It turned out it was the vice president of the country and he hired a gang as best as we could tell from Columbia to kidnap us and wreck the operation. But my experience with it was short—yeah, I don’t think it was more than probably 14 or 15 hours. It started early evening and went through to the next day, lunch basically. We were off in the way remote jungle. I mean we were on our own and these guys took over and it was—they had us—I never felt that totally powerless before. I mean they did mock rapes. They did all sorts of Russian roulette. I mean these guys were—yeah, they were not nice people. Vassy Kapelos: Has that affected anything that you’ve done since or did you kind of compartmentalize it? Minister Nathan Cullen: I feel more empowered when I could see myself into Parliament and see how representing people could have an effect on their lives and on the course of some policy, some decisions. We have some big challenges in our country that we have to grapple with and we’re not fully there yet. We say words like reconciliation and these things, but I’m not really sure the government has any idea of what they mean and those things matter to me. Vassy Kapelos: Is that the biggest challenge facing the government from your perspective? Minister Nathan Cullen: It’s one of them. Vassy Kapelos: Well on that happy note, I’ve got to wrap this up. But thank you so much for joining us, I appreciate it. Minister Nathan Cullen: We didn’t take a single bite, but— Vassy Kapelos: Well now we’ll dig in. And that is our show for today. I’m Vassy Kapelos. Have a very happy and safe New Year. And see you back here, next week.

via IFTTT The West Block, Episode 17, Season 7

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HILARIOUS Cartoon Shows What You Can Expect From Global Warming Loons This Winter

MAJOR Weather Changes Underway, But It’s Not Because Of Global Warming…
By Brittany Soares

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration now predicts a 65 to 75 percent chance of weak La Nina conditions to continue at least through the winter.

The NOAA announced Thursday that La Niña has arrived for the second winter in a row.

The southern regions of the U.S. will have a drier winter. From the mid-Atlantic and through the southeast into Texas, winter will be drier and warmer, according to NOAA. The northwest and northeast will be wetter, and across the country in the northern regions, people should expect colder temperatures than usual.

Typically, cooling sea-surface temperatures in the equatorial Pacific Ocean lead to cold, snowy winters for most of the northern half of the United States, with the opposite conditions seen in the south.

This year is slightly different, and the recent warming trend is expected to dominate. While it’s likely precipitation will stay above normal this winter, since areas such as Ohio will trend on the warmer side, it’s possible some of that precipitation will be shifted toward rain, rather than the normally very heavy snow during La Nina years.

La Niña is expected to be weak this year, as was last year’s La Niña. Last winter, the west and upper Midwest had one of the wettest winters on record, reported the Weather Channel. The east, south, and Midwest, however, had one of the warmest winters recorded.

NOAA said oceanic and atmospheric signals in October and early November are consistent with a weak La Niña. You can see the strip of cooler-than-average sea-surface temperatures near the equator as of early November in the graphic below.

The black box highlights the cooler-than-average sea-surface temperatures near the equator indicating La Niña conditions on Nov. 9, 2017.

El Nino and La Nina are the warm and cool phases of a recurring climate pattern across the tropical Pacific, called the El Nino-Southern Oscillation, or ENSO. ENSO conditions are usually felt heaviest in the fall and winter, which is why snow and chilly temperatures are most talked about with a La Nina event.

With La Nina, strengthening winds across the Pacific push the warm surface water away, bringing up cooler water below. This cooler water initiates sinking motion in the atmosphere over the Pacific, which dries things out in that region. The cool water can also shift the position of the jet stream, shifting the threat for severe weather and wet conditions in the United States north.

El Nino is essentially the opposite of La Nina. In this phenomenon, weakened surface winds lead to an unusually warm surface temperature in the Pacific Ocean. The increasing heat in the ocean triggers rising motion in the atmosphere above, which intensifies storms and rain over the Pacific.

Warm Pacific Ocean temperatures also shift the jet stream south, making the atmosphere more unstable there. The instability then makes the southern portion of the United States more susceptible to severe storms and tornadoes. So, during El Nino, the southern portion of the United States sees wetter than normal conditions, while the northern half of the states see a drier winter.

This is the fifth “double dip” La Niña in historical record—which is an unofficial term indicating when neutral conditions briefly prevail in between the La Niña winters, according to a climate update from NOAA’s ENSO blog posted on Wednesday. In October, there were signs of a La Niña winter coming as a result of cooler sea surface temperatures in the east-central tropical Pacific and more precipitation over Indonesia. But it wasn’t quite enough to make the call until this month, when all the signs for La Niña were clear and indications of less rain over the central Pacific and more over Indonesia had strengthened.

What do you think is causing this? Sound off in the comments section!

H/T / Newsweek

from The Federalist Papers
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Obama’s DOJ Busted With Both Hands in The Harassment Cookie Jar
By Brian Thomas

The Justice Department’s inspector general’s office says that under the Obama Administration, the department suffered “systemic” problems regarding dismissal of sexual harassment complaints.

As the #MeToo movement picks up steam, and sexual misconduct becomes increasingly highlighted in high-profile cases, it seems one arena of sexual misconduct has been largely overlooked.

Obama’s Justice Department and then-Attorneys General Eric Holder and Loretta Lynch overlooked and dismissed several cases of sexual harassment and misconduct under their watch.

CNN reports:

The inspector general’s office said it published summaries of 19 “substantiated allegations of sexual harassment and misconduct” that occurred from fiscal year 2012 through fiscal year 2016. In the memorandum, the watchdog warned that “without strong action from the department to ensure that DOJ employees meet the highest standards of conduct and accountability, the systemic issues we identified in our work may continue.”

The office released other reports which largely detail concerns about handling of allegations but don’t report large numbers of instances of sexual misconduct across Justice Department components.

For example, a May 2017 report posted to the inspector general’s website finds “few reported allegations of sexual harassment and misconduct in the Civil Division from FY 2011 through the first two quarters of FY 2016,” though the office “identified significant weaknesses in the Civil Division’s tracking, reporting and investigating of the 11 sexual harassment and misconduct allegations that we reviewed.”

Further, a Washington Post article published Tuesday highlighted many problems with the lack of punishment for this harassment. But of course, while WaPo condemned the Justice Department for mishandling reports of sexual harassment, it entirely ignored just who failed the victims by letting the perpetrators off easy.

The Washington Post reports:

The cases examined by the IG’s office include a U.S. attorney who had a sexual relationship with a subordinate and sent harassing texts and emails when it ended; a Civil Division lawyer who groped the breasts and buttocks of two female trial attorneys; and a chief deputy U.S. marshal who had sex with “approximately” nine women on multiple occasions in his U.S. Marshals Service office, according to investigative reports obtained by The Washington Post under a Freedom of Information Act request.

“We’re talking about presidential appointees, political appointees, FBI special agents in charge, U.S. attorneys, wardens, a chief deputy U.S. marshal, a U.S. marshal assistant director, a deputy assistant attorney general,” Justice Department Inspector General Michael E. Horowitz said in an interview.

The Justice Department apparently avoided strong action against perpetrators of sexual harassment. One DOJ attorney was given a simple reprimand, with no further punishment, for stalking before receiving a “special commendation” award.

According to a DOJ press release, Loretta Lynch claimed in 2015 that the Justice Department was “doing everything it can” to “strengthen the Justice System’s Response to Sexual Assault.”

“The Department of Justice is committed to doing everything it can to help prevent, investigate and prosecute these horrendous crimes,” Lynch said, “including working to ensure that our greatest partners in this effort, the state and local law enforcement officers on whom we all rely, have the tools, training and resources they need to fairly and effectively address allegations of sexual assault and domestic violence.”

Perhaps Lynch should have started by actually preventing, investigating, and prosecuting incidents at the DOJ.

The Daily Caller reports:

One woman, who was allegedly the victim of repeated groping and “sexually charged comments” became so distressed by her harasser that she “was terrified I was going to get in the elevator and he would be in there.”

On top of complete negligence in the handling of the complaint, the DOJ allowed “potential criminal assault violations,” according to the IG report. Despite these serious allegations, the IG’s office “found no evidence in the case file that a referral was made to the [Inspector General] or any other law enforcement entity.”

Theodore Atkinson, who worked in the DOJ  as an attorney in the Office of Immigration Litigation under Holder according to his LinkedIn, admitted to stalking a female coworker, hacking into her personal email account and constructing a “fictitious online profile to entice her,” the IG wrote. For his behavior, Atkinson simply received a “written reprimand and reduction in title,” with no suspension or pay cut.

Atkinson was, however, recently given a “Special Commendation Award from the Civil Division.”

Several other incidents like Atkinson’s dismissal were highlighted by the IG.

It’s appropriate that the IG said “people’s attitudes have to change,” but will anyone who served in Obama’s Justice Department, who let these creeps off the hook, actually face repercussions for their neglect?

If a Justice Department can’t stand for justice in its own ranks, then what good is it?

Tell us what you think, and sound off in the comments below.

from The Federalist Papers
via IFTTT Is This The Greatest Tweet Of 2017?

BREAKING: Multiple Officers Shot In Colorado…

Police in Colorado have declared a “Code Red” in Douglas County after reports of a shooting and “multiple deputies down.”

The shooting occurred at a Highlands Ranch Apartment complex Sunday morning. Residents are being asked to “shelter in place.”

A local reporter rushed to the area and reported hearing gunshots in the distance and that multiple roads were closed in the area.

Several law enforcement agencies have been put on alert including Douglas County, the Parker Police Department, the Lone Tree Police Department, Castle Rock Police Department and the Colorado State Patrol.

The local sheriff tweeted that all agencies are on high alert.

“UPDATE, we have multiple deputies down, no update on their status.  The scene remains active and please avoid the area,” they tweeted.

“We are looking into an active incident in which multiple officers are down,” deputy Jason Blanchard of the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office said.

“We have multiple officers down,” said Deputy Jason Blanchard of the incident in Highlands Ranch. “We are not giving numbers or status at this point, we are still working on getting the suspect in custody.”

Denver 7 reported hearing shots fired as a reporter arrived at the scene.

Deputies were responding to a disturbance call when shots were fired from the home near Colorado Boulevard shortly before 6 a.m., Lekander said.

“We have SWAT out there setting up and preparing to go in right now,” Lekander said at about 7:15 a.m.

The shooting stemmed from a domestic incident at an apartment on the 3400 block of County Line Road, Blanchard said.

Blanchard said they do not yet known whether the suspect is male or female or what kind of weapon was used.

No suspects are in custody yet, Patch is reporting.

Residents in the area received a “Code Red” alert warning them to “shelter in place, avoid windows and stay away from exterior walls.”

Highlands Ranch is an area 12 miles south of Denver. It is an unincorporated area in Douglas County.

One spokesman for the Sheriff’s office said the situation “is not looking good for us.”

from The Federalist Papers
via IFTTT BREAKING: Multiple Officers Shot In Colorado…

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Frederick Douglass Rejected Racial Politics – Here’s Why…

Frederick Douglass, a former slave and a leading abolitionist writer and orator, was the most photographed American of the 19th century. And as you at Hillsdale College know, one of the most famous photographs of Douglass was taken in this town, just a few weeks after President Lincoln issued his Emancipation Proclamation. At the invitation of a ladies literary society, Douglass came to Hillsdale and spoke in the College Chapel on January 21, 1863. The title of his lecture was “Popular Error and Unpopular Truth.” As reported in the newspaper, Douglass said: “There was no such thing as new truth. Error might be old or new; but truth was as old as the universe.”

A “popular error” of our own day is the idea that because Thomas Jefferson owned slaves, nothing good could come from him. Douglass surely knew that Jefferson owned slaves, but he knew as well that Jefferson was the author of the Declaration of Independence, which supplied for Douglass and for all Americans the key to political progress: the principles that “all men are created equal”; that they are “endowed by their Creator [not by government] with certain unalienable Rights,” among which are “Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness”; and that “to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men.”

Douglass called these “saving principles,” and he devoted himself to convincing white Americans “to trust [these principles’] operation.” In this he foreshadowed Justice John Marshall Harlan’s lone dissent against the Supreme Court’s infamous Plessy v. Ferguson decision, which produced the nefarious doctrine of “separate but equal.” Harlan wrote: “Our Constitution is color-blind, and neither knows nor tolerates classes among citizens. In respect of civil rights, all citizens are equal before the law.”

Thirty years before Plessy, Douglass observed that the Constitution “knows no distinction between citizens on account of color.” The “burden of our demand upon the American people shall simply be justice and fair play,” he said. “We utterly repudiate all invidious distinctions, whether in our favor or against us, and only ask for a fair field, and no favor.”

Douglass was no fan of “race pride,” counting it “a positive evil” and a “false foundation.” For the better part of American history, black Americans wanted nothing to do with a color line that set them apart from other Americans. “It has long been the desire of our enemies,” Douglass wrote, “to deepen and widen the line of separation between the white and colored people of this country.” For Douglass, the only relevant minority in America was the minority of one—the individual. The government of all should be partial to none.

The politics of identity make the present a prisoner of the past, with individuals viewed chiefly through the lens of race or other arbitrary characteristics. Douglass argued for identifying with America—with the nation founded on “human brotherhood and the self-evident truths of liberty and equality.” He saw that the protection of specific groups or classes would lead government away from protecting individual rights and towards assigning benefits and burdens. “I know of no rights of race,” he said, “superior to the rights of humanity.”

A few months after Lincoln’s assassination, Douglass remarked that the American people saw in Lincoln “a full length portrait of themselves. In him they saw their better qualities represented, incarnated, and glorified—and as such, they loved him.” In future days, may those who look on this statue see in Frederick Douglass a full-length portrait of themselves, and be reminded what it is to be an American.

from The Federalist Papers
via IFTTT Frederick Douglass Rejected Racial Politics – Here’s Why…

The Punishments For Illegal Immigration That No One Will Tell You

Study Shows The Cost of Illegal Immigration Per Year, by State
By Seth Connell

Illegal immigration has consequences for our society, and given the fact that many states are apparently willing to cater to them and treat them better than legal migrants and citizens, there are especially financial consequences.

A new study conducted by the Federation for Immigration Reform (FAIR) reveals the staggering amount of money that states and the federal government shell out to deal with the issue of illegal aliens. The amount of money that the states and feds spend is truly breathtaking.

FAIR’s study reveals that in order to address the issue of nearly 12.5 million illegal aliens present in the United States, the federal government lays out over $45 billion.

The Federal government spends a net amount of $45.8 billion on illegal aliens and their U.S.-born children. This amount includes expenditures for public education, medical care, justice enforcement initiatives, welfare programs and other miscellaneous costs. It also factors in the meager amount illegal aliens pay to the federal government in income, social security, Medicare and excise taxes.

To compound that issue, many of those who live here illegally actually file tax returns; they do so because the focus of ICE and other immigration agencies has been to remove illegal aliens with criminal records, so those who are simply here with a civil violation and not a criminal one are much less likely to be deported.

Hence, many will often file tax returns. The issue that arises is the fact that since many of them work lower-paying jobs, they will often get all of their taxes returned to them, along with net payments due to various tax credits. So the idea that since they pay taxes there is no loss is mathematically incorrect.

The majority of illegal aliens seeking employment in the United States have lived in an environment where they have little fear of deportation, even if discovered. This has created an environment where most illegal aliens are both able and willing to file tax returns. Because the vast majority of illegal aliens hold low-paying jobs, those who are subject to wage deductions actually wind up receiving a complete refund of all taxes paid, plus net payments made on the basis of tax credits.

While the burden on the federal government is rather large, the burden on the states is even greater though, with nearly $89 billion being spent due to issues arising from the presence of illegal aliens.

Here’s a state-by-state breakdown of how much illegal aliens cost each state:

The costs include expenditures on things like educational, medical, administration of justice, and welfare expenses. Some of these expenses are mandated on the states, like educational. The Supreme Court of Plyler vs Doe established the rule that all children, regardless of immigration status, have the “right” to an education in public schools.

A total of sixteen states even offer in-state tuition to illegal aliens: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Kansas, Maryland, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Texas, Utah, and Washington.

In total, illegal aliens contributed $18 billion in taxes to state and federal governments. However, the total cost at both levels is $134 billion, leaving a deficit of $115 billion.

That’s a lot of money to be shelling out for the more than 12 million people who are living in the U.S. illicitly. Mass deportations are likely not a viable solution to the issue, but there has to be some way that we can deal with it to save money.

What do you think? Do you have any practicable solutions that the states and federal government can enact to save money and discourage future illegal migration? Let me know below!

H/T Turning Point USA News

from The Federalist Papers
via IFTTT The Punishments For Illegal Immigration That No One Will Tell You

George Carlin Explains The Real Reason You Can’t Post The 10 Commandments

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Prof Who Called For “White Genocide” Learns a Hard Lesson About Racism
By Donn Marten

A controversial professor at Philadelphia’s Drexel University is calling it quits just over a year after he caused a major uproar with a racist tweet that all that he wanted for Christmas was “white genocide.”

George Ciccariello-Maher who teaches history and politics, has announced his resignation and is citing “harassment” including death threats for his decision.

Despite the controversy and disgrace that he brought to Drexel, school officials didn’t have the guts to fire him and instead issued a wishy-washy reprimand.

Undeterred by Drexel’s “reprimand”, Ciccariello-Maher continued to make inflammatory and vile political statements including blaming the October Las Vegas massacre at a country music festival that killed nearly 60 and injured hundreds more on the “white supremacist patriarchy” and what he referred to as “Trumpism” – whatever that is.

While the motives of the Vegas shooter remain mysteriously unknown to this day, what is known is that Ciccariello-Maher is a deranged leftist who has no business in a classroom where he indoctrinates young minds into his twisted cultural Marxist worldview.

Now he’s out on December 31st.

Via CNN “Drexel professor resigns amid threats over controversial tweets”:

A Drexel University professor who received death threats after posting several controversial tweets said Thursday he is resigning because the year-long harassment has made his situation “unsustainable.”

George Ciccariello-Maher, a professor of politics and global studies, had been teaching his class remotely via video conference after being put on administrative leave, a move that Drexel said was for his own safety.

The professor said his resignation is effective December 31.

“This is not a decision I take lightly; however, after nearly a year of harassment by right-wing, white supremacist media outlets and Internet mobs, after death threats and threats of violence directed against me and my family, my situation has become unsustainable,” Ciccariello-Maher wrote on his Facebook account. “Staying at Drexel in the eye of this storm has become detrimental to my own writing, speaking, and organizing.”

Additional details and comments from the nutty professor are provided by Inside Higher Ed:

Ciccariello-Maher went on to say that his situation illustrated the limits of tenure protections (he has tenure). “[T]enure is a crucial buffer against those who would use money to dictate the content of higher education. But in a neoliberal academy, such protections are far from absolute,” he wrote. “We are all a single outrage campaign away from having no rights at all, as my case and many others make clear. The difference between tenure-track and the untenured adjunct majority — which has far more to do with luck than merit — is a difference in degree not in kind.”

He added: “In the past year, the forces of resurgent white supremacy have tasted blood and are howling for more. Given the pressure they will continue to apply, university communities must form a common front against the most reprehensible forces in society and refuse to bow to their pressure, intimidation, and threats. Only then will universities stand any chance of survival.”

Considering his ideology, it’s hard to see Ciccariello-Maher being out of work for an extended period. He may even be able to parlay his notoriety into a spot as a regular guest on MSNBC since they seem to be made for each other.

from The Federalist Papers

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The Founders’ Model of Welfare Was Better at Fighting Poverty than Modern Liberalism

If both the left and the right want to take seriously the problem of poverty in America, they should read this highly useful and informative piece out today from The Heritage Foundation.

Professor Tom West argues that the Founders’ approach to welfare was far more effective at fighting poverty than the burgeoning welfare state under post-1960s liberalism. The Founders, he says, still have a great deal to teach us. But are we still listening?

From Professor Tom West at The Daily Signal:

Which approach to welfare policy is better for the poor: that of the Founders or that of today’s welfare state?

The more we spend on the poor, the harder it seems for them to attain decent, productive lives in loving families. The federal government has spent $22 trillion on anti-poverty programs since the beginning of the War on Poverty in 1965, but the poverty rate is nearly the same today as in 1969, fluctuating between roughly 11 and 15 percent over that time period.

As I argue in a new essay on “Poverty and Welfare in the American Founding,” these results are bound to continue unless we rethink welfare policy from the perspective of our Founders. Neither the contemporary left nor right in America properly understands their approach.

The left often claims the Founders were indifferent to the poor—suggesting that New Deal America ended callousness and indifference. Indeed, high school and college textbooks frequently espouse this narrative. Many on the right think the Founders advocated only for charitable donations as the means of poverty relief.

Neither is correct. America always has had laws providing for the poor. The real difference between the Founders’ welfare policies and today’s is over how, not whether, government should help those in need.

The Founders

Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin believed government has an obligation to help the poor. Both thought welfare policies should support children, the disabled, widows and others who could not work. But any aid policy, they insisted, would include work-requirements for the able-bodied.

Rather than making welfare a generational inheritance, Franklin thought it should assist the poor in overcoming poverty as expediently as possible: “I am for doing good to the poor.…I think the best way of doing good to the poor, is not making them easy in poverty, but leading or driving them out of it.”

Moreover, local, rather than federal, officials administered this welfare, since they were more likely to know the particular needs of recipients and could distinguish between the deserving poor (the disabled and involuntarily unemployed) and the undeserving poor (those capable of work but preferring not to).

The Founders sought to provide aid in a way that would help the deserving poor but minimize incentives for recipients to act irresponsibly. They wanted to protect the rights of taxpayers by preventing corruption and abuses in welfare aid.

Above all, the Founders saw the family and life-long marriage as the primary means of support for everyone, rich and poor alike.

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 10: A homeless man sleeps under an American Flag blanket on a park bench on September 10, 2013 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. As of June 2013, there were an all-time record of 50,900 homeless people, including 12,100 homeless families with 21,300 homeless children homeless in New York City. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images) *** BESTPIX ***

NEW YORK, NY – SEPTEMBER 10: A homeless man sleeps under an American Flag blanket on a park bench on September 10, 2013 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. As of June 2013, there were an all-time record of 50,900 homeless people, including 12,100 homeless families with 21,300 homeless children homeless in New York City. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images) *** BESTPIX ***

I wrote here and here about the American Founders’ approach to government-funded welfare.

The Founders’ welfare system had three basic principles:

1. It should only be for those who truly need it.

The Founders believed government had an obligation to the governed to provide a safety net, but only for those individuals incapable of providing for themselves, like widows, orphans, the elderly, and the mentally and physically handicapped. If you were capable of working, and refused, government owed you nothing.

2. It should be the bare minimum.

The Founders believed that government should provide the basic necessities of life for those who were incapable of providing for themselves, but it would only be the bare minimum. This meant that you would have food to eat and a place to sleep free of charge, but nothing much beyond that. In other words, welfare was not meant to be comfortable.

3. It should be done at the state and local level, NEVER the national.

The Founders believed that the form of government closest to the individual could best take care of the individual if necessary. This meant all welfare would come from the local and state authorities. The national government was too remote and too general to ever be suited to providing welfare. As a result, poor houses, orphanages, and insane asylums were built by local authorities, at public expense. Churches and neighborhoods also gave some relief.

Today, we have completely abandoned the Founders’ system.

Professor West continues:

Modern Welfare

By the mid-20th century, intellectual opinion began to peel away the stigma attached to the behavioral aspects of poverty, and progressive politicians increased the benefits and number of welfare recipients. …

Until the mid-1960s, free markets, secure property rights, strong family policy and minimal taxation and regulation supported a culture of work and entrepreneurship. But through the rise of modern liberalism’s redefinition of rights and justice, welfare was officially reconceived as a right that could be demanded by anyone in need, regardless of conduct or circumstances.

Among the most destructive features of the post-1965 welfare regime has been its unintentional dismantling of the family. By making welfare wages higher than working wages, the government essentially replaced fathers with a government check. The state became many families’ primary provider.

Even more perverse, for many single mothers, marrying a working man may actually be a financial burden rather than a support because the marriage can diminish government benefits.

Though modern welfare programs grant more benefits to a greater number of individuals than the Founders ever fathomed, the Founders’ approach to welfare policy was effective in providing for the minimal needs of the poor and dramatically reducing poverty over time. Based on today’s living standards, the poverty rate fell from something like 90 percent in the Founding era to 12 percent by 1969. …

What do you think of this?

from The Federalist Papers
via IFTTT HILARIOUS Meme About Social Security That’s Guaranteed To Infuriate Liberals

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Jeff Sessions Orders New Investigation of Bill And Hillary Clinton
By Robert Gehl

President Donald Trump’s attorney general has ordered an additional investigation into the shady uranium deal involving Russia and the Clintons.

Jeff Sessions has ordered prosecutors at the Justice Department to begin interviewing agents at the FBI about evidence they uncovered during a criminal investigation of the Uranium One deal.

At the heart of the 2010 deal was the fact that Hillary Clinton signed off on the Uranium One project while she was Secretary of State

The 2010 deal allowed Rosatom, the Russian nuclear energy agency, to acquire a controlling stake in Uranium One, a Canadian-based company with mining operations in the Western United States.

During the campaign, Donald Trump and others accused Hillary Clinton of giving away U.S. uranium rights to the Russians in exchange for donations to the Clinton Foundation.

Now, NBC News is reporting there were  allegations of corruption surrounding the process under which the U.S. government approved the sale. But no charges were filed.

The FBI started gathering evidence in 2009 of the Russians engaged in bribery, kickbacks, extortion and money laundering in the deal that gave 20 percent of America’s uranium reserves to a Kremlin-controlled outfit.

During the initial investigation, current special counsel Robert Mueller was acting FBI Director.

The investigation was ultimately supervised by then-U.S. Attorney Rod Rosenstein, an Obama appointee who now serves as President Trump’s deputy attorney general, and then-Assistant FBI Director Andrew McCabe, now the deputy FBI director under Trump, Justice Department documents show.

Both men now play a key role in the current investigation into possible collusion between Russia and Trump’s campaign during the 2016 election cycle. McCabe is under congressional and Justice Department inspector general investigation about money his wife’s Virginia state Senate campaign accepted in 2015 from now-Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe at a time when McAuliffe was reportedly under investigation by the FBI.

The connections to the current Russia case are many. The Mikerin probe began in 2009 when Robert Mueller, now the special counsel in charge of the Trump case, was still FBI director. And it ended in late 2015 under the direction of then-FBI Director James Comey, whom Trump fired earlier this year.

The investigation comes after Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Virginia, received a letter from Assistant Attorney General for Legislative Affairs Stephen Boyd saying Justice Department lawyers would make recommendations to Sessions about whether an investigation should be opened or expanded, or whether a special counsel should be appointed to probe a number of issues of concern to Republicans.

Last month, Hillary made the startling statement that she didn’t think Trump should investigate her because it would constitute an “abuse of power.”

“If they send a signal that we’re going to be like some dictatorship, like some authoritarian regime, where political opponents are going to be unfairly, fraudulently investigated, that rips at the fabric of the contract we have, that we can trust our justice system,” Clinton said.

Hillary Clinton denied playing any role in the decision by the State Department to approve the sale, and the official who approved it has said Clinton did not intervene in the matter.

H/T: Daily Wire

from The Federalist Papers
via IFTTT MEME: Who Has Killed The Most People?

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CBS News Succumbs to Trump Derangement Syndrome; Publishes Dumbest Story of 2017
By Brian Thomas

CBS News called President Donald Trump a “homebody” on Thursday, saying it’s a “peculiarity” of Trump’s presidency that he doesn’t go out much to tour the sights and eat at restaurants in Washington DC.

As President Trump is wrapping up his first year in office, CBS News claims it’s odd that he hasn’t taken time “enjoy a single non-working meal at a restaurant that doesn’t pay him rent” or go to sporting events.

He hasn’t yet gone to the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. He hasn’t toured most of the sights. In fact, according to CBS, “he rarely goes out” to any local restaurants.

“I would say that Trump has been the least present of any of the most recent presidents,” said Phil Mendelson, chairman of the Washington, D.C., City Council and a Democratic member of the council since 1999.

It’s not just restaurants, says Mendelson. Trump has been less engaged on the local charity circuit than other recent presidents, with no stops at local food banks or to help elementary school reading drives. First lady Melania Trump has been venturing out more often, appearing with Jordan’s Queen Rania at a girls’ charter school, attending a holiday toy drive sponsored by the military and visiting with patients and staff at Children’s National hospital […]

Those weekends that he does spend in Washington, Trump has dined at just one restaurant: BLT Prime in the Trump International Hotel, which opened last year just a few blocks from the White House. Trump’s visits have thrilled the tourists who flock to the hotel, building buzz and earning revenue. But most often, Trump, who is known to prefer well-done steaks with ketchup to snootier fare, chooses to eat in.

“I love the food in the White House. The White House is the greatest restaurant, it’s the most beautiful,” he told the Larry O’Connor radio show last month. “They do such a beautiful job” […]

“The reason my hair looks so neat all the time is because I don’t have to deal with the elements. I live in the building where I work. I take an elevator from my bedroom to my office. The rest of the time, I’m either in my stretch limousine, my private jet, my helicopter, or my private club in Palm Beach Florida,” he once wrote.

Not much has changed — though the house, plane and helicopter are now taxpayer-paid.

Here’s where we discover why CBS considers this news. CBS thinks it can spin the story about how Trump rarely goes out into “Trump wastes tax dollars.”

That doesn’t quite add up. What would waste tax dollars is if Trump were more obsessed with getting photo ops. Trump isn’t delaying traffic and spending on additional security while getting his picture taken at a local restaurant.

That is a change from his predecessor, who never missed a chance to shirk work to be praised by the media at places like Danny Meyer’s Shake Shack, Oyamel Cocina Mexicana, Taylor Gourmet sandwich shop, and Ray’s Hell Burger.

CBS reports that Obama “treated Russian President Dmitry Medvedev to a burgers and fries” at Ray’s Hell Burger. Even before his inauguration, Obama was treated at Ben’s Chili Bowl.

Trump drinks Diet Coke, and the media calls him unhealthy. Obama eats burgers and fries, obviously adoring his never-ending kiss-some-babies-for-the-camera campaign, and he’s praised.

CBS’s “taxpayer-paid” blow to Trump’s limousine and helicopter is just ridiculous, as if previous presidents didn’t use helicopters and limousines for travel. The difference is, Trump doesn’t spend those tax dollars for photo-ops, while Obama did.

CBS also complains that Trump made “no stops at local food banks or to help elementary school reading drives.”

That’s a low blow, considering Trump refused to accept his presidential salary, instead donating his first quarter to the National Park Service, according to PolitiFact.

Trump gifted his second quarterly installment to the Department of Education to host an education camp for kids. Trump understands that actions speak louder than both words and publicity stunts.

PolitiFact reports:

At a White House press briefing, press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders presented a check for $100,000 to Education Secretary Betsy DeVos.

DeVos said the funding would go toward hosting a camp for science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) students at the Department of Education.

“We want to encourage as many children as possible to explore STEM fields in the hope that many develop a passion for these fields,” DeVos said.

The CBS News article admits that Trump visited the Smithsonian’s new black history museum during Black History Month last February, but downplays the visit and brings up no others, so as not to disturb the “homebody” image the network hopes to brand the president with.

CBS wants to complain about something Trump is doing. Since they can’t complain about him wasting tax dollars on travel and security to eat junk food for publicity, they complain that he isn’t doing that in the liberal city of Washington D.C.

CBS has fallen victim to Trump Derangement Syndrome. One obvious symptom is publishing ridiculous stories that can’t seem to find an angle besides attacking Trump over trivial things that don’t matter.

Unfortunately, the only cure is honesty, so CBS News is doomed.

from The Federalist Papers
via IFTTT How Liberals React To Different News Stories Summed Up In 4 Photos

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You’ve Heard of ‘Mansplaining’ – Now Get Ready for ‘Richsplaining’

Whom do you dislike the most when they talk down to you?

Is it men? When, from the perch of their patriarchy, they pontificate on issues all and sundry?

Those are not good folks.

But are they the worst?

What about money itself? Lots and lots and lots of money. All the PowerBalls run together.

Combined. In the hands of a handful.

When that handful of zillionaire hoarders decides to let you know what’s what, do you like it?

Used to be, they retreated to the Hamptons, Martha’s Vineyard, or St. Barts, discreet. They didn’t deign to speak to you except through layers upon layers of lackeys and domestics.

Much safer to launch a lackey into leadership, you see. Fund ‘em, train ‘em, trot ‘em out on the stage to run the old film-flam routine, I speak for you, we stand united, why the “CleanMakeAmericaFamilyChildSafePuppyCommunityTogetherHappyWorkResponiblity” Act is comin’!

And it will amaze you, folks! Pass it and we’ll really turn a corner! [Applause, tears, donations].

Four years later, when things look just as grim, just trot out a new lackey. Rewind. Hit play.

For a long time, the show went on. To rave reviews. But lately, it came to feel a bit stale.

“Why pretend any more?” the zillionaires thought. “Why continue this stupid charade of having our lackeys pretend not to be our lackeys? The country is ready for the truth. Our truth.”

And so, a zillionaire strode forth, eyed the lackeys of the past assembled backstage, and chortled. He donned his clown make-up, hoisted his obese frame onto a unicycle, and tottered out into the spotlight, machine-gunning lazy, vulgar one-liners left and right. And the crowd roared.

On the other side, next door, meanwhile, it was the same ol’ same ol’. The hired gun of the zillionaires strode forth once more with the familiar act. Responsibility, security, strength, experience. It sure felt comfortable. The audience nodded, smiled, slipped gently toward slumber.

But then something strange happened. In the back of the theater, an unkempt, wild-haired old white guy stood up.

“Why do we keep watching this same old stuff?” he asked. “Why do we keep letting them do this to us, on and on, over and over, endlessly? Why don’t we stand together and make our own show?”

How rude! How shocking! The people stirred, looked at each other, querulous, uncertain. A few bolted out the window and down the fire escape into the adjoining theater to watch the zillionaire.

The rest shuffled their feet. Several got up to stand with the old bald white guy with the weird eyes. Then a few more. Pretty soon a little less than half of them were gathered around, smiling, chatting, enjoying the new sensation of themselves being the spectacle.

But most of them shrugged and turned back to the show on the stage. It was, after all, what they knew. It was safe. The same words, the same act, the same stilted gestures, the same promises so artfully hedged everyone knew nothing would ever come of them.

They paid little attention to the rumbling in the back of the theater, and soon slipped back into a sleep so deep the disturbance evaporated from their memories, and even their dreams…

And after a time, the lights dimmed, the canned music softened, and inch by inch the curtain softly descended, drifting down like snow.

Soon, the ushers gently woke the dozing public and prodded them efficiently out the exits. Once they were all gone, the theater was quickly boarded up, closed for another four years. Which was good, for the people could not afford tickets for another show anyway. They would remain in their homes watching various explosions and various very pretty people on various screens in various rooms.

Thus concluded yet another successful run of The Rich-Splaining Reality Show.

Unless this year it has a different ending. We still have time to write a different ending.

from The Federalist Papers
via IFTTT You’ve Heard of ‘Mansplaining’ – Now Get Ready for ‘Richsplaining’

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Take The ‘Older Than Dirt’ Quiz – Millennials Don’t Remember Any Of These!

  • Oversharing is perfect for a late night dish session with your new roommate. It’s not appropriate for an interview. Don’t misinterpret the “Tell me about yourself” part of the interview as a chance for you to rattle on and on about your life and dreams. Keep it professional and relevant to the task at hand.

    1. Underselling

    Conversely, millennials are often hesitant to talk about their strengths and skills, lest they come off as arrogant. A bit of selling yourself is not only permissible, it’s going to be necessary. Strike a good balance between confidence and arrogance.

    1. Underdressing

    What you wear to the interview will make a lasting impression—one you may not have time to change in the course of a short interview. Do yourself a favor and look your absolute best. Err on the side of professional. You can always go more casual later once you have the lay of the land, and the job.

    1. Not doing your homework

    Before you go into an interview, you must learn everything you can about the company and the position. Read up. Take notes. Have answers ready to show you’ve done your homework and you can get done what they need done.

    1. Maintaining a social media shit show

    Go through your social media profiles and walls and feeds and scrub them clean of anything that might give a potential hirer pause. That includes party stuff, political stuff, and anything otherwise questionable.

    1. Not using your age to your advantage

    Yes, older, more seasoned candidates have more experience. But if you can find a way to sell your age as an asset, that can give you a huge boost. Figure out what that means to you—passion, vigor? Then sell it.

    1. Not asking questions

    You will be asked if you have any questions. Have a few prepared and ask them.

    1. Not speaking like a grown-up

    Um…. like… you know. It’s hard sometimes, bro. It’s like…. (you’re not going to get the job). Do a few mock interviews with a pal and put a quarter in a jar every time you use lame fillers like these in your speech. When you can get through a few sentences without them, you’re good to go.

    1. Fear of commitment

    The hiring manager wants someone who can be in it for the long run. Even if you don’t want that—even if you are a “typical millennial” and want to keep your options open at all costs, the interview is not the place to assert yourself. Research is your friend here. The more invested and informed you seem about the company, the more likely you are to assuage their fears that you’ll get hired and bail.

    1. Poor communication skills

    It’s not enough to talk like a grown-up. You also have to write like one. Proofread every piece of correspondence you send for errors, large and small. And learn to write clearly and well. It’s almost as important as the way you speak.

from The Federalist Papers
via IFTTT Take The ‘Older Than Dirt’ Quiz – Millennials Don’t Remember Any Of These!

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Donald Trump fires remaining HIV/AIDS council members

U.S. President Donald Trump fired the rest of the remaining members of the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS earlier this week.

The council, called PACHA for short, was set up by Bill Clinton and is supposed to provide advice and direction on policy and other aspects of AIDS prevention.

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According to a statement from the council’s executive director, the group members each received a letter earlier this week with the news. B. Kaye Hayes said previous presidents have made similar moves.

“Changing the makeup of federal advisory committee members is a common occurrence during administration changes,” Hayes said in a statement, according to CNN.

She also noted that changing advisory committee members is a common thing for a president to do.

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Former committee member Scott A. Schoettes confirmed the news on Twitter.

“Remaining HIV/AIDS council members booted by @realDonaldTrump. No respect for their service. Dangerous that Trump and Co. (Pence esp.) are eliminating few remaining people willing to push back against harmful policies, like abstinence-only sex ed,” Schoettes wrote, adding the hashtags “#WeObject” and “#Resist.”

Council member Gabriel Maldonado told the Guardian the firing felt like “retribution.”

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“I’ve criticized the Trump government’s HIV policy … I think we all know broadly that there is a hostility that this administration has to people in the LGBTQ community, particularly [among] those on the evangelical right wing.”

He also said he was worried about reports like the one saying there were banned words in the CDC like transgender and diversity — saying there might be policy changes coming.

“It’s unclear exactly what is happening but it seems to be a foreshadowing of what they are thinking on policy,” he told the Guardian.

READ MORE: Trump bans public health agency from using words ‘science-based,’ ‘fetus,’ ‘transgender’

The firing came six months after six council members resigned. At the time, Schoettes penned an op-ed in Newsweek saying Trump didn’t take the fight against HIV/AIDS seriously.

“The Trump Administration has no strategy to address the on-going HIV/AIDS epidemic, seeks zero input from experts to formulate HIV policy, and — most concerning — pushes legislation that will harm people living with HIV and halt or reverse important gains made in the fight against this disease,” he wrote.

Trump is expected to appoint another PACHA in the future.

via IFTTT Donald Trump fires remaining HIV/AIDS council members

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Thousands of Iranians are taking to the streets in Mashhad, the capital city of Tehran, and other cities throughout the country.

The protesters denounced the Islamic Republic’s clerical establishment and Grand Ayatollah Ali Khmenei.

The Associated Press reports:

Thousands already have taken to the streets of cities across Iran, beginning at first on Thursday in Mashhad, the country’s second-largest city and a holy site for Shiite pilgrims.

The protests in the Iranian capital, as well as U.S. President Donald Trump tweeting about them, raised the stakes. It also apparently forced state television to break its silence, acknowledging it hadn’t reported on them on orders from security officials.

“Counterrevolution groups and foreign media are continuing their organized efforts to misuse the people’s economic and livelihood problems and their legitimate demands to provide an opportunity for unlawful gatherings and possibly chaos,” state TV said.

The protests appear sparked by social media posts and a surge in prices of basic food supplies, like eggs and poultry. Officials and state media made a point Saturday of saying Iranians have the right to protest and have their voices heard on social issues.

However, protesters in Tehran on Saturday chanted against high-ranking government officials and made other political statements, according to the semi-official Fars news agency. Hundreds of students and others joined a new economic protest at Tehran University, with riot police massing at the school’s gates as they shut down surrounding roads.

Fars also said protests on Friday also struck Qom, a city that is the world’s foremost center for Shiite Islamic scholarship and home to a major Shiite shrine.

The Associated Press reports that at least 50 protesters have been arrested since Thursday.

President Trump rushed to defend the protesters, saying the Iranian people are “fed up with regime’s corruption & its squandering of the nation’s wealth to fund terrorism abroad. Iranian govt should respect their people’s rights, including the right to express themselves. The world is watching!”

The US State Department also defended the protesters.

The Daily Caller reports:

Earlier Friday, the U.S. Department of State called on the international community to support the Iranian people’s “demands for basic rights and an end to corruption.”

“Iran’s leaders have turned a wealthy country with a rich history and culture into an economically depleted rogue state whose chief exports are violence, bloodshed, and chaos,” State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a statement, “As President Trump has said, the longest-suffering victims of Iran’s leaders are Iran’s own people.”

The protests are the largest Iran has seen since 2009.

The Trump administration offers a stark contrast to Obama’s silence over Iranian protests in 2009.

“I think it would be wrong for me to be silent about what we’ve seen on the television over the last few days,” Obama said.

Notice that after ignoring days of protests, Obama finally broke his silence by denying his silence.

“I would say to those people,” he continued. “who put so much hope and energy and optimism into the political process, I would say to them that the world is watching and inspired by their participation, regardless of what the ultimate outcome of the election was. And they should know that the world is watching.”

He did not condemn the Islamic Republic, however, and he was careful to let them know that he wasn’t going to take sides. Ultimately, he put his trust in the Iranian government the people were protesting.

“We respect Iranian sovereignty,” Obama concluded. “and want to avoid the United States being the issue inside of Iran. […] My understanding is, is that the Iranian government says that they are going to look into irregularities that have taken place.”

The Daily Caller notes that Obama finally did condemn Iran’s regime for oppression a week later. Even then, he took a weaker stance than Trump takes now. Surely, Obama was advised to take a harder stance, since the public saw his wishy-washy statement as supportive of Iranian corruption.

Trump is doing now what Obama failed to do. Or rather, Trump stands with the Iranian people, as Obama didn’t.

from The Federalist Papers

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One of the Last Survivors of WWII Bataan Death March Dies at 100

Ramon Regalado, one of the Bay Area’s last survivors of the infamous Bataan Death March in the Philippines during World War II and a face for the area’s World War II Filipino soldiers over the past several years, has died.

The 100-year-old Regalado, who had lived in Berkeley from 1962 until he moved to El Cerrito a few years ago, died Dec. 16, in El Cerrito.

A native of the island of Iloilo in Central Luzon, he and other Philippines natives were given the Congressional Gold Medal for fighting tenaciously alongside American troops fighting the Japanese in that island nation.

Born April 13, 1917, Regalado was, when World War II fighting came to the Philippines, a machine gun operator with the 57th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Battalion, Company L of the Philippine Scouts under the U.S. Army Forces in the Far East. He was returning fire when the first Japanese fighter planes strafed the islands, his son Raldy Regalado said Wednesday.

When those Army troops surrendered on April 9, 1942, after fighting for 99 days on the peninsula of Bataan with no reinforcements or air support, approximately 63,000 Filipino and 12,000 American troops — already weakened by starvation and disease — were forced to march some 65 miles to a prison camp at Camp O’Donnell. Prisoners who faltered were beaten, bayoneted, shot and even beheaded by their Japanese captors. Regalado escaped the march.

Following the liberation of the Philippines, he rejoined the U.S. Army. In 1950, he came to the United States and worked as a civilian for the U.S. Navy, both at the Veterans Affairs hospital in Palo Alto and on transport ships during the Korean and Vietnam wars.

The elder Regalado — an eclectic man, a voracious reader who followed politics closely — took part in the first Bataan Legacy Historical Society event held at Cal State East Bay in Hayward in April 2012, and became a prominent spokesman for Filipino WWII veterans.

Cecilia Gaerlan, executive director of the Berkeley-based Bataan Legacy Historical Society, said Regalado was a humble man, and an eloquent one. “He embodied the values of the greatest generation — duty to country, honor and love for freedom,” she said.

He lived long enough to be personally honored with a Congressional Gold Medal, a result of the signing by President Barack Obama of the Filipino Veterans of World War II Congressional Gold Medal Act of 2015.

This gave about 260,000 Filipino and Filipino-American veterans who served during World War II — most having died by that date — a collective Congressional Gold Medal, the United States’ highest civilian honor.

The medals provided a degree of recognition for veterans who after the war were victimized by two congressional “Rescission Acts” that canceled the benefits and citizenship previously offered many of the soldiers from the Philippines. Lawmakers apparently balked at paying benefits of between $1 billion and $3 billion.

He had first started speaking up in the 1990s about recompense for Filipino soldiers. “He never talked about that stuff when we were young,” Raldy Regalado said. “He didn’t want us to harbor resentment.”

Regalado received his personal medal just four weeks ago, while in an ICU bed at Kaiser Permanente Hospital in Richmond.

“It’s a very, very important thing,” Ramon Regalado told a Bay Area TV station in September. “We sacrificed together for four months without food, no supplies.

“I’m very proud to defend democracy,” he added.

Gaerlan said there are now perhaps a half-dozen surviving Bataan/Corregidor soldiers in the Bay Area.

Regalado is survived by Marcelina, his wife of many years, as well as five children and numerous grandchildren.

from The Federalist Papers
via IFTTT One of the Last Survivors of WWII Bataan Death March Dies at 100