Category Archives: News

White House staff awaiting Trump is just plain stunning…

While President Obama talks a good talk (for a change) about doing everything he can to work with President-Elect Trump to ensure a smooth transition of power, there are still signs of bitterness that peek through the veneer. Such as the fact that the Obamas canceled the traditional First Families photo, intended to feature outgoing First Family Barack and Michelle along with incoming First Family Donald and Melania. You know what they say about actions speaking louder than words, of course. And if you had any doubt about the true feelings of those in the Obama camp about the prospect – now a foregone conclusion – of Donald Trump administration succeeding them, here are your pictures worth a couple thousand words. Here’s the Obama White House staff awaiting the visit of President-Elect Trump today – see Josh Not-So-Earnest looking particularly not-so today:

And yesterday, as they watched Obama deliver his remarks about ensuring a smooth transition of power. (Yep, Valerie ‘Rasputin’ Jarrett doesn’t look too happy, does she?)

Their “curbed” enthusiasm is understandable, of course, when you consider they must realize everything they’ve worked for during the past eight years is not only at risk but likely under attack with the new administration, along with the Republican majority in Congress.

Perhaps we can recommend they retreat to a safe space… like somewhere far, far away from Washington, DC.

[This article was written by Michelle Jesse, Associate Editor]

Politics is about to destroy the internet

The internet as we know it in America is about to fundamentally change, and it’s because our politics are too broken to stop it.

On Wednesday, April 23rd, the Wall Street Journal reported that the Federal Communications Commission is about to issue new rules for internet service providers that will allow them to create “fast lanes” of service that will allow companies like Netflix and Amazon to deliver their content faster than competitors. That’s a first for American internet policy, and it’s strictly against the rules in other countries, particularly in Europe.

President Obama Makes Personnel Announcement

President Obama Makes Personnel Announcement

Allowing big companies to pay for prioritized access to consumers flies in the face of the internet’s egalitarian ideals, which allow anyone or any company free access to a vibrant market free of tolls or restrictions — allow service providers like Comcast and AT&T to start creating artificial barriers to entry, and you make it harder for the next generation of college kids to start the next Facebook or Google. As a whole, the various rules that protect these ideals are generally called net neutrality — they’re the rules that say your service provider has to treat all internet traffic equally, and shouldn’t be allowed to block, degrade, or enhance access to certain websites or services.

It was actually illegal for service providers to create fast lanes in the US until January, when an appeals court struck down the FCC’s 2010 Open Internet rules after a lengthy court battle with Verizon. The 2010 rules were a big deal — President Obama even made the open internet a part of his 2008 campaign platform, saying “I’ll take a backseat to no one in my commitment to net neutrality.”

OBAMA HAS BEEN FIRMLY IN THE BACKSEAT TO THE POWERFUL ISP LOBBY FROM THE BEGINNING

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George W. Bush: Too Soon to Forget His Mistakes

The George W. Bush Presidential Library opened today at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. Simultaneously, Republicans have launched an effort to rehabilitate the former president, who has climbed a bit in the polls since leaving office in 2009. But according to Gallup, Bush still ranks well below his five predecessors in terms of post-presidential popularity.

Before saying more, I should confess up front that I am not objective about Bush 43. I published a book in 2006 called Impostor: How George W. Bush Bankrupted America and Betrayed the Reagan Legacy that was highly critical of his economic policy. I have no reason to take back anything I said in that book, but there were some things that were left out due to deadline pressures and things that happened subsequently that I think deserve mention.

Iraq and Afghanistan. I didn’t mention this in my book because I wanted to focus on economic policy, which is my specialty. But of course there is an economic component to war. A recent study from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard put the cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan thus far at $2 trillion, with an ultimate cost two or three times higher for veterans’ benefits and other expenses that will go on for many years after the final U.S. pullout.

According to the ABC News/Washington Post poll, fewer than 4 out of 10 Americans believe that these wars were worth fighting. As the figure shows, Bush’s popularity closely tracks support for the wars. A 2011 Pew poll, found that more people blame the Iraq/Afghanistan wars for the national debt than blame domestic spending, tax cuts or the state of the economy.

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Katrina. Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast in late August, 2005 and devastated the city of New Orleans, which suffered heavy flooding, massive property damage and close to 2,000 dead. Subsequent reports were highly critical of the Bush administration’s handling of flood control projects in New Orleans, its loading up of the Federal Emergency Management Agency with unqualified political hacks, its lack of preparation for Katrina, and its poor management of the federal response to the hurricane.

What I think was worst, in terms of Bush’s personal responsibility, was his failure to follow through on the promises he made to the people of New Orleans in a nationally televised speech from the ravaged city on September 15, 2005. In particular, Bush pledged his support to eradicate poverty in New Orleans. But there was never any follow through; it was all just talk. A year later, there was no evidence that Bush had done anything whatsoever to implement his promises.

Harriet Miers. On October 3, 2005, Bush nominated his White House counsel Harriet E. Miers to a seat on the Supreme Court. Conservatives, who had held their noses for years as Bush violated conservative principles on education, spending, protectionism and other issues that I condemned him for in my book, suddenly found something they were willing to publicly criticize him about. Almost uniformly, they viewed Miers as grossly unqualified and attacked Bush for wasting a precious opportunity to tilt the Supreme Court in a rightward direction.

As the conservative columnist Robert D. Novak put it, “The conservative Republican base had tolerated George W. Bush’s leftward lunges on education spending and prescription drug subsidies to reelect him so he could fill the Supreme Court with conservatives and send it rightward.”

When he dropped the ball with Miers, the right was furious. After failing to ram Miers through the opposition of conservatives who had always looked the other way when he violated their principles, Bush withdrew Miers and nominated instead Samuel Alito, whom conservatives universally embraced.

I think the Miers incident is important because it shows that the Bush presidency could have been much better from a conservative point of view if conservatives had been willing to stand up to him when he got off the reservation. Instead, by and large, conservatives circled the wagons around Bush and defended him even when they knew he was wrong. Power was more important to them than principle.

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There are of course any number of other reasons why I think Bush was a poor president, a view generally shared by the American people. About the only good thing I can say about him is that he has been a reasonably good ex-president, staying out of the public eye and mostly keeping his mouth shut. Perhaps if he continues this policy for another 20 years or so, memories will fade, worse presidents may come along and people might eventually concede that he wasn’t so bad after all. It could happen.

Boston bomb suspect charged

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was formally charged as he lay in a hospital bed on Monday for his role in last week’s Boston marathon bombing. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, the younger of the two brothers accused of planting the bombs, will be prosecuted as a terrorist through the civilian justice system, the White House said, despite pressure from some Republicans for him to be treated as an enemy combatant.

Boston bombing: For immigrants in America, it’s kind of 9/11 all over again

Two immigrants from Morocco, Yassine Zaimi and Salaheddin Barhoum, were earlier identified as the two suspects wanted in the bombings.

Two immigrants from Morocco, Yassine Zaimi and Salaheddin Barhoum, were earlier identified as the two suspects wanted in the bombings.

More than 11 years after 9/11, it’s deja vu for America. Acity in lockdown, cowered down people, businesses closed, barricades and yellow police tape strung on sidewalks on swathes of streets, spread across miles where acts of terrorism and violence have left at least five people dead till now, and scores injured, with an armed assailant still on the loose, since this past Monday beginning with the Boston Marathon bombings.

Rumours have swirled, pointed comments made about the supposed identity of the two assailants, who now in the past two hours we know grew up in Kyrgyzstan in the former Soviet Union, according to an uncle of the two suspects.

Two immigrants from Morocco, Yassine Zaimi and Salaheddin Barhoum, were earlier identified as the two suspects wanted in the bombings. They had to plead their innocence on Facebook to be exonerated. An Indian American student, Sunil Tripathi, missing from Brown

University since last month, was also placed as a potential suspect. He’s still missing. Several broadcasts and publications have been speculating that the suspects were “dark-skinned”. Not black. Not white.

Dark-skinned, as in from the subcontinent or of Middle Eastern origin. More than 11 years ago, it was the same in New York City after the 9/11 attacks, as a city of bewildered, shocked people grieved, huddled in homes and bars, and cried openly. Hate and resentment swirled outside for anybody who looked remotely close to being an Arab.

America is at crossroads again. Maybe the resentment against Muslims, which had abated, will continue; detentions and security levels at airports will increase, intense surveillance against potential suspects will trickle down to innocent families and communities around the country. After two exorbitantly expensive wars, that in part brought America down to its knees financially, there will again be a call for increased expenditure on security, to bolster arms and weapons.

But unlike 11 years ago, America today has much more to lose in the wake of the terror enacted by the two men who came to Boston as immigrants about eight years ago, attended high school in Massachusetts. The America of today had healed from the wounds of those few days of havoc in September of 2001. The stock market is robust, the economy is shaping up, the country was trying to put the memory of two wars behind, bringing the troops back home.

The focus of late has been on new thoughts and ideas. The focus had also turned to gun control after the Newtown, Connecticut, school shootings. The measure failed in the Senate this week,including legislation that would have barred illegal gun trafficking, and made it harder for people to register guns.

That measure now will come back to haunt those who opposed it; there will be a renewed fight on Capitol Hill, the bitterness and divide between the Democrats and the Republicans, who scuttled the measure, will increase. The biggest news that had consumed the nation in the last couple of weeks was immigration reforms.

It seems like a bad joke now, given the timing, with fingers already pointing to the two terrorists from Kyrgyzstan — who had come to America as immigrants. What are the chances of more family reunification visas being doled out, millions of new immigrants coming in soon? There’s already a sinking feeling inside their hearts for many of the immigrants who were hoping for a quick solution to the immigration quagmire that had people stuck in limbo for decades.

But these two alleged terrorists may have scuttled it before it even begins. The focus, like 11 years ago, is now going to be on why immigrants should be admitted to this country to live legally, without knowing who they are. It’s a mess, all over again.

The writer is editor-in-chief, The American Bazaar