Posts Tagged ‘Middle East’

Fed lawyers deciding next step in Donald Trump travel ban fight

Friday, February 10th, 2017

Government lawyers fighting to defend President Donald Trump‘s executive order on immigration said Friday that “all options” are being considered after a federal appeals court ruled against the president’s ban on travelers from seven predominantly Muslim nations.
A Justice Department lawyer who spoke at a hearing in Virginia said the administration was weighing whether to challenge a 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that upheld a temporary block on Trump’s ban, saying it was unlikely to survive a legal challenge.
“We may appeal. We may not,” attorney Erez Reuveni said. “All options are being considered.”
It could appeal the restraining order on Trump’s travel ban to the U.S. Supreme Court or it could attempt to remake the case in the district court.
Reuveni was appearing at a hearing before Judge Leonie Brinkema at which the state of Virginia was challenging the ban. The judge did not rule. She noted that “the status quo remains” because of the 9th circuit’s decision and suggested that a well-reasoned ruling would take time and could not be written “overnight.”
Michael Kelly, a spokesman for Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring, said Friday’s hearing in a federal court in a Washington, D.C., suburb posed the most significant state challenge yet to Trump’s order. In a statement, he said it “will be the most in-depth examination of the merits of the arguments against the ban.”
Lawyers for Herring, a Democrat, are asking the judge for a preliminary injunction barring the Trump administration from enforcing that portion of the Jan. 27 executive order that bars anyone from those countries — Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen — from entering the U.S. for 90 days. The state is not challenging that portion of Trump’s order suspending entry of refugees for four months.
“If the Commonwealth is successful in securing a preliminary injunction, it

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Donald Trump nominee decried criticism of judges, senators agree

Thursday, February 9th, 2017

President Donald Trump insisted Thursday that comments by his Supreme Court nominee criticizing his own attacks on the judiciary were “misrepresented,” even as Republican and Democratic lawmakers vouched for the veracity of the remarks.
Trump responded after private rebukes from Judge Neil Gorsuch, who said in meetings with lawmakers on Wednesday that the president’s comments about federal judges were “disheartening.”
Gorsuch, who was nominated by Trump last week to the nation’s highest court, made the comments in meetings with senators after Trump accused an appeals court panel considering his immigration and refugee executive order of being “so political.” Over the weekend, he labeled a judge who ruled on his executive order a “so-called judge” and referred to the ruling as “ridiculous.”
Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut first relayed Gorsuch’s remarks on Wednesday following a meeting with him. Trump’s own confirmation team for Gorsuch later confirmed he had made the remarks.
But Trump said during a Thursday luncheon with senators that Blumenthal had misrepresented Gorsuch. “His comments were misrepresented. And what you should do is ask Senator Blumenthal about his Vietnam record that didn’t exist after years of saying it did,” he said.
Blumenthal, who served in the Marine Corps Reserves during Vietnam, apologized in 2010 for saying he had served in Vietnam.
The president made the comments while making the case for Gorsuch during a luncheon with 10 senators, including six of Blumenthal’s fellow Democrats.
Blumenthal, a former state attorney general, argued Thursday that Gorsuch would need to go further to publicly denounce Trump’s verbal assault on judicial independence.
“He needs to condemn Donald Trump’s attacks publicly and it needs to be much stronger, more explicit and direct than has been done so far,” Blumenthal said. “Unless it is done publicly in a clear condemnation, it will not establish his independence.”
Lawmakers from both parties quickly vouched for

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Amid Donald Trump’s shake-up, many wondering ‘what’s coming next’

Wednesday, February 1st, 2017

Days into an administration that promised to govern by upheaval, Donald Trump‘s White House has been the target of massive protests, defied reporters who questioned fact-challenged statements and issued a blur of lightning-rod executive actions. The speed and depth of it all have left many Americans apprehensive: Even some who longed for a shake-up are unsettled by a sense of chaos it has unleashed.
“We’re in a very fragile state right now,” said Margaret Johnson of Germantown, Maryland, who runs a small translation business. “We don’t know what’s coming next. The country’s divided. There’s a lot of fear. And I think we’re kind of at that point where things can go any kind of way, and it’s really hard to say which way they’re going to go.”
That uncertainty finds an echo in Pastor Mike Bergman‘s church in Adrian, Missouri, 40 miles south of Kansas City, where many congregants count themselves as conservatives and embrace the new administration’s order cutting off funding to international groups that provide abortions. But as church members consider another order — restricting refugees and pausing entry to the U.S. from several Muslim-majority countries — worries about security are tempered by concern about the needs of refugees and whether Trump’s rhetoric is widening the gulf between Americans, Bergman said.
“There is worry about how deep the divide is going to run. There is worry about some of the political rhetoric … about how all that is going to cause the divide in the community to deepen and more bitterness to spring up between the people of our country. I wouldn’t say we’re really optimistic right now,” he said.
Trump is hardly the first president to take office promising wholesale change in the face of substantial skepticism. But Kevin Boyle, a professor of American history at Northwestern University, said the new

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Promises, pomp and protests as Donald Trump sworn in

Friday, January 20th, 2017

Pledging to empower America’s “forgotten men and women,” Donald Trump was sworn in as the 45th president of the United States Friday, taking command of a deeply divided nation and ushering in an unpredictable era in Washington. His victory gives Republicans control of the White House for the first time in eight years.
Looking out over the crowd sprawled across the National Mall, Trump painted a bleak picture of the nation he now leads, lamenting “American carnage,” shuttered factories and depleted U.S. leadership. President Barack Obama, the man he replaced, sat behind him stoically.
Trump’s address lasted just 16 minutes. While his inauguration did draw crowds to the nation’s capital, the numbers appeared smaller than for past celebrations.
Demonstrations unfolded at various security checkpoints near the Capitol as police helped ticket-holders get through. After the swearing-in, more protesters registered their rage in the streets of Washington. Police in riot gear deployed pepper spray and made numerous arrests after protesters smashed the windows of downtown businesses, denouncing capitalism and Trump.
The new president’s first words as commander in chief were an unapologetic reprisal of the economic populism and nationalism that fueled his improbable campaign. He vowed to stir “new national pride,” bring jobs back to the United States, and “eradicate completely” Islamic terrorism.
“From this day forward, a new vision will govern our land. From this day forward, it’s going to be only, ‘America First,’” Trump said.
His address lasted just 16 minutes. While Trump’s inauguration did draw crowds to the nation’s capital, the numbers appeared smaller than for past celebrations.
In a remarkable scene, Trump ripped into Washington’s longtime leaders as he stood among them at the U.S. Capitol. For too long, he said, “a small group in our nation’s capital has reaped the rewards of government while the people have borne the cost.”
For Republicans eager to

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Revelers bid adieu to a year of conflicts, celebrity deaths

Saturday, December 31st, 2016

As 2016 draws to a close, revelers around the world are bidding a weary adieu to a year filled with political surprises, prolonged conflicts and deaths of legendary celebrities.
How people are ushering in the new year:
Sydney sent up a dazzling tribute to 2016’s fallen icons with a New Year’s Eve fireworks display honoring the late singer David Bowie and late actor Gene Wilder, becoming the first major city to bid a bittersweet adieu to a turbulent year.
The glittering display over Sydney’s famed harbor and bridge featured Saturn and star-shaped fireworks set to “Space Oddity,” the classic song by Bowie — one of the seemingly endless parade of beloved entertainers who died in 2016.
Wilder was also honored as the bridge lit up in a rainbow of colors while a song from Wilder’s famed film “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” played.
“This year, sadly, we saw the loss of many music and entertainment legends around the world,” fireworks show co-producer Catherine Flanagan said. “So celebrating their music as part of Sydney New Year’s Eve fireworks displays is an opportunity to reflect on the year that has been and what the future may hold.”
More than 300,000 visitors are expected to descend on Las Vegas for an extravagant New Year’s Eve celebration.
Nightclubs are pulling out all the stops with performances from DJ Calvin Harris, rappers T-Pain and Kendrick Lamar and artists Drake and Bruno Mars. The city’s celebrity chefs have crafted elaborate prix fixe menus complete with caviar and champagne toasts.
An eight-minute fireworks show will kick off at the stroke of midnight, with rockets launching from the tops of half a dozen casinos.
Federal officials have ranked the celebration just below the Super Bowl and on par with the festivities in Times Square. FBI and Secret Service agents will work alongside local police departments

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Donald Trump decries ‘reckless interventions;’ vows to crush ISIS

Friday, December 16th, 2016

Decrying the horrors of atrocities in the Middle East, president-elect Donald Trump both denounced reckless interventions and pledged to destroy ISIS and radical Islam during his “Thank you” tour stop in Orlando Friday night
Speaking before a huge outdoor crowd that he said numbered 22,000, Trump argued that the United States can’t get involved in foreign conflicts with unclear American interests anymore. The declaration harkens to Trump’s position that he was long an opponent of the Iraq War, which he blames for the rise of ISIS and catastrophic civil war in Syria.
He also pledged to “stand with the people of Cuba,” though he didn’t elaborate as to whether that means attempts to roll back the opening of relations with that dictatorial, communist government begun under President Barack Obama.
Yet while promising to strengthen America’s military, the primary theme of  his “peace through strength” address appeared to be avoiding more international conflicts He declared, “Our foreign policy needs a new direction.”
“For too long we’ve been moving from one reckless intervention to another in countries that most of you have never even heard of before. It’s crazy and it’s going to stop.”
Trump expressed outrage apparently at the humanitarian meltdown occurring this week in Aleppo, Syria, though he didn’t name the location explicitly.
“We spent $6 trillion in the Middle East. And now it’s in worse shape than it’s ever been before. Years of horror. And now look what’s happening over there right now,” Trump said. “Six trillion dollars, and look what’s happening. It’s a horrible thing. We’re going to do everything we can. We’re going to get it straightened out.
“Just think of all of that money, all of those lives, and I mean lives on both sides… and you have nothing. So we’re going to start using our head. And we’re going to try to

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Dennis Freytes: Use seismic surveys and all energy resources to improve lives

Wednesday, November 16th, 2016

As an American veteran who has served my country for many years and in many roles, I know there is an undisputable connection between energy security and national security. And, I feel strongly that we should be doing everything in our power to reduce our reliance on energy sources from foreign countries – many of which are unfriendly to the United States.
For more than 25 years, we have been sending our servicemen and servicewomen to the Middle East to engage in combat operations and security missions (costing us dearly in American lives) partly due to the free world’s dependence on the energy resources located there. It troubles me that we are putting lives at stake to secure this area because of our reliance on foreign oil and natural gas when we have untapped energy resources in our noble USA.
Earlier this week in Fort Walton Beach, the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) held a hearing on its draft Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement for Gulf of Mexico Geological and Geophysical Surveys. This was the only hearing they held in Florida and I felt compelled to take part in it because of the impacts it could ultimately have on our nation’s energy policy.
Included in this draft environmental impact statement are restrictions that would reduce the number of seismic surveys performed in the Gulf of Mexico. Seismic surveys are almost like an ultrasound or MRI of the Earth’s crust. They use sound waves to help scientists map the ocean floor and geology beneath it. Compressed air released into the water creates sound waves that bounce off rock layers beneath the surface to help create 3D maps of what energy resources lie below the ocean floor.
Seismic surveys are a proven, environmentally sound technology. They are needed in the Gulf of Mexico to gather

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Updates from the 1st presidential debate

Tuesday, September 27th, 2016

The Latest on the first of three presidential debates between Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump (all times EDT):
10:45 p.m.
Both candidates concluded the first presidential debate by saying they will accept the outcome if the other wins.
Hillary Clinton spoke directly to viewers and said, “It’s not about us, it’s about you.”
Donald Trump initially dodged the same question, saying he would make a “seriously troubled” America “great again.” He added: “I’m going to be able to do it. I don’t believe Hillary Clinton will.”
But Trump finished his answer by saying that if Clinton wins, “I will absolutely support her.”
10:43 p.m.
Hillary Clinton is punching back at Donald Trump’s assertions that she doesn’t have the “stamina” to be president.
Trump has questioned whether Clinton has the physical fitness to be president and he repeated the criticism to her directly during the debate. Clinton’s response? Trump shouldn’t talk about stamina until he’s tried out the busy schedule she kept up as secretary of state.
Trump didn’t answer moderator Lester Holt’s original question about his past comments that Clinton doesn’t have the “presidential look.”
Clinton suggested the remarks were about gender, and she reminded the crowd of Trump’s past comments calling women “pigs” and other derogatory names.
10:42 p.m.
Donald Trump says NATO needs to “go into the Middle East with us” to combat the Islamic State group. And he is taking credit for NATO focusing resources on combating terrorism.
In fact, the alliance agreed in July to contribute aircraft and conduct training in Iraq and has increased intelligence coordination there. And NATO set up an anti-terrorism program in 2004 — years before Trump criticized them as a presidential candidate.
Earlier this year, Trump criticized NATO for not focusing on terrorism. He said that afterward, he saw an article reporting that NATO was opening a new, major anti-terrorism division.
He said Tuesday

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Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump battle fiercely over taxes, race, terror

Monday, September 26th, 2016

In a combative opening debate, Hillary Clinton emphatically denounced Donald Trump Monday night for keeping his personal tax returns and business dealings secret from voters and peddling a “racist lie” about President Barack Obama. Businessman Trump repeatedly cast Clinton as a “typical politician” as he sought to capitalize on Americans’ frustration with Washington.
Locked in an exceedingly close White House race, the presidential rivals tangled for 90-minutes over their vastly different visions for the nation’s future. Clinton called for lowering taxes for the middle class, while Trump focused more on renegotiating trade deals that he said have caused companies to move jobs out of the U.S. The Republican backed the controversial “stop-and-frisk policing” tactic as a way to bring down crime, while the Democrat said the policy was unconstitutional and ineffective.
The debate was heated from the start, with Trump frequently trying to interrupt Clinton and speaking over her answers. Clinton was more measured and restrained, but also needled the sometimes-thin-skinned Trump over his business record and wealth.
“There’s something he’s hiding,” she declared, scoffing at his repeated contention that he won’t release his tax returns because he is being audited.
Trump aggressively tried to turn the transparency questions around on Clinton, who has struggled to overcome voters’ concerns about her honestly and trustworthiness. He said he would release his tax information when she produces more than 30,000 emails that were deleted from the personal internet server she used as secretary of state.
Tax experts have said there is no reason the businessman cannot make his records public during an audit.
Clinton was contrite in addressing her controversial email use, saying simply that it was a “mistake”. She notably did not fall back on many of the excuses she has often used for failing to use a government email during her four years as secretary of

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Martin Dyckman: Debate reveals Jeb Bush’s deficit of reality

Monday, September 21st, 2015

The Republican debates say a lot about who shouldn’t be president but almost nothing about which of the 16 might deserve to be. For all but a few moments, the tedious brawl last week was to good government as a demolition derby is to auto safety.
It’s hard to disagree with Marco Rubio’s take on the event.
“We had a three-hour debate, no discussion about the national debt, very little about the economy, It was a constant he-said-she-said, what do you say because so-and-so called you this name or that name,” Rubio said on ABC’s “This Week.”
The economy actually was mentioned a few times, but only in passing. Otherwise, the common purposes among most of those on stage were simply to take down each other and voice contempt for President Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.
Jeb Bush’s ambitious tax overhaul was one of the conspicuously neglected issues. It manifests what his father famously called voodoo economics, but it’s a serious proposal that should have been debated.
If I had to cast my vote based only on the second debate, it would be for Rand Paul. He was the only one unwilling to waste more American lives in the Middle East, and he spoke a truth that others feared to say: Donald Trump’s “sophomoric” behavior is better suited to a junior high school than the Oval Office.
So now Carly Fiorina is filling the “anybody but Trump” slot in the traveling circus. She doesn’t deserve it. Although she smacked him down deftly for his misogyny, she turned out to be more like him than not with a nasty disposition and disregard for the truth. Her lurid account of an abortion video that doesn’t exist was promptly debunked on every fact-checking website and her excuses for being sacked at Hewlett-Packard are implausible.
Bush got the better of Trump

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Elizabeth Santiago: We must be that “shining city on the hill” for Syrian refugees

Wednesday, September 16th, 2015

In our Declaration of Independence it’s written that all people have certain unalienable rights, including “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” As Americans, we strive for equality and opportunity. We are taught to treat everyone justly and with respect, for everyone is equal. We are taught to “ask not what your country can do for you …” and to extend open arms when help is needed.
I was taught these wonderful tenets about how we should act as Americans. However, when I turn on the TV or read the news all I see is “breaking news” about the latest celebrity updates, computer-product announcements, and hateful comments made by politicians.
As a student exposing myself to the diversity within the University of Central Florida, I have been submersed in the cultures of others and the issues that people of different backgrounds face. I find myself talking to people and getting perspectives on issues I didn’t even know were issues.
It wasn’t until I recently saw the heart-wrenching images of the tiny, lifeless body of a 3-year-old boy washed up on a Turkish beach that I found myself wondering how it’s possible for America to be silent on a crisis that counters its most basic foundations? Why did it take the life of an innocent little child, whose family was trying to escape turmoil in Syria, to get us talking about this “current” issue, including whether the Western world is living up to its democratic and humanitarian principles in light of the worst refugee crisis since the Rwandan genocide of the 1990s?
Though this may be breaking news for some, the problem began in the spring of 2011. That’s when millions of Syrians and others across the Arab world staged massive protests against the repressive, authoritative government. They were met with fire and lead.
The government’s

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Vern Buchanan: Why I will vote against Iran deal

Thursday, September 10th, 2015

The U.S. House is expected to vote this week on one of the most important nuclear weapons accords in history. I will vote against this deal because it jeopardizes the security of America and the world.
Iran is the leading state sponsor of terrorism and has a clear history of cheating on international arms inspections. This agreement includes secret side deals, makes no allowance for on-the-spot inspections and contains a massive economic boost to Iran that will be used to further spread terrorism and destabilize the Middle East.
The American people understand that the president’s agreement with Iran is bad for our nation.  They oppose this deal by a 2-1 margin because they do not trust Iran – nor should they.
It is deeply troubling that, by lifting economic sanctions, we will be pumping tens of billions of dollars into a government that has shown nothing but vehement hostility towards the United States and publicly called for the annihilation of Israel.
Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei openly chanted “Death to America” in a hate-filled diatribe earlier this year in Tehran. Shortly after the nuclear deal was announced in July, Khamenei vowed that his country would “trample upon America” and that their “policy toward the arrogant U.S. government won’t change at all.”
Allies in the region – who would be on the front lines of a nuclear-armed Iran — have deep concerns.
Earlier this year I met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Saudi Defense Minister Prince Mohammed bin Salman.  While these two men may not always agree on Middle Eastern affairs, they both warned me that Iran cannot be trusted.
In fact, Prime Minister Netanyahu has vocally denounced this deal, saying “Iran is going to receive a sure path to nuclear weapons.”
I also have strong doubts about Iran’s compliance.  The country’s long history of cheating

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Tim Bryce: An argument for capitalism

Wednesday, September 2nd, 2015

Do people truly understand the power of the middle class? I think they’re starting to overseas. We may not have invented the concept of a middle class, but we perfected it and everyone wants to emulate it.
Since the fall of the Soviet Union, countries around the world have been reconfiguring their economic policies to remain competitive in the global economy. New middle classes have emerged in China, Belarus, Brazil, Russia, Vietnam, and among South African blacks. People in those countries now have spending power that’s creating demand for products and services, not to mention construction of new houses and businesses.
The rise of global middle classes is a recognition that capitalism works, as opposed to socialism or communism. A sizable middle class represents a county’s economic engine. Capitalism encourages people to work and to invest and spend their money and allows a country to collectively compete. The average person wants little more than to earn a respectable livelihood, so they can enjoy life and raise a family unencumbered by overbearing government regulations.
As President Calvin Coolidge observed, “After all, the chief business of the American people is business. They are profoundly concerned with producing, buying, selling, investing and prospering in the world. I am strongly of the opinion that the great majority of people will always find these the moving impulses of our life.”
In order for capitalism to work, you need to be allowed to have certain freedoms, such as the freedom of expression, the freedom to innovate and invent, the freedom to choose your own path, the freedom to conduct legitimate business, etc. That’s why it’s ironic how some of our former communist foes are now embracing capitalism.
In the absence of a middle class, they have just rich and the poor (the have’s and the have nots), a feudal state controlled

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Tom Garcia: Grant concessions to the deserving: End ban on U.S. crude oil exports

Sunday, August 30th, 2015

Those of us who make it a point to stay up-to-date on foreign affairs took great interest in last month’s Iran deal aimed at stopping that volatile country from developing nuclear weapons.
One of the main concessions from the United States in the deal is to lift sanctions and allow Iran to export more goods, including that country’s most important commodity: oil. Not only does allowing Iran to sell oil to a broader global audience improve Iran’s economy, it puts American companies at a distinct disadvantage in the crude oil market. Perhaps more importantly to America, it puts our national security at risk.
The United State put a ban on its own crude oil exports in the 1970s at a time when there was a shortage of oil, although refined oil products could be sold overseas. You had to stay in line for hours to get a rationed amount of gasoline at the fuel pump amid fears of price spikes and a lack of supply. Middle Eastern countries put the United States in a position of weakness through an embargo because the oil-producing countries controlled the oil market.
Fast forward to 2015 and the United States is in the middle of an energy revolution, where the country is producing more natural gas and oil than it has in decades and has established itself as an energy powerhouse. We have enough energy that we are able to continue developing new technologies and new sources of energy to supplement traditional fossil fuels. This is good for our economy and we ought to be using that strength to our full advantage. If the U.S. crude oil export ban is lifted, the country then becomes able to sell another energy source globally, providing more of an influence on oil supply and pricing, giving us less of a

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Bob Sparks: Gwen Graham will soon reveal her 2016 intentions

Thursday, August 27th, 2015

Down deep, U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham may already know whether she will run for re-election next year. With the Florida House and Senate in agreement on the new look of her District 2 and Corrine Brown’s District 5, the writing (or map) appears to be on the wall.
Graham is doing the right thing by waiting until the court makes it official. Barring something totally unforeseen, a good chunk of her Democratic support in Tallahassee, Leon County and all of Gadsden County will be erased from District 2.
In the meantime, Graham is saying the right things by talking about seeking re-election. She told the Tampa Bay Times that at the right time she would “evaluate where I can best serve.”
“Where” could also include jumping into the race for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Sen. Marco Rubio. Perhaps she is considering a run for governor in 2018. Neither would be an unknown endeavor for her family.
If Graham wishes to try to remain in the U.S. House of Representatives, she will have an important decision to make by September. In addition to evaluating her re-election plans, Graham must decide how she will vote on an issue of major concern to her constituents.
Next month the House will take up a resolution against the Iran nuclear deal that was negotiated by Secretary of State John Kerry. The resolution is likely to pass, but not all members have made their intentions known. Graham has not revealed her position.
Her vote on the highly unpopular deal is likely to signal her intentions for 2016. A vote to join her Democratic colleagues in support of the Obama Administration’s agreement should be considered a decision to forego a return to the House.
Like Obamacare in 2010, the issue is likely to determine winners and losers in swing districts. Several

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Tim Bryce: Has Howard Beale’s moment finally arrived?

Thursday, August 20th, 2015

If Donald Trump contributed anything to the political process during this presidential election, he has called the American voter to arms over our dysfunctional government. People are mad as hell about such things as:

Lack of confidence in the economy and GDP;
Unemployment, part-time jobs, and sending jobs overseas;
Illegal immigration;
Declining morality;
Disrespect for law and order;
Political correctness;
Our Middle East policies;
Energy dependence;
An overbearing health care system;
Our general lack of leadership in the world;
Politicians more imbued with self-interests as opposed to their constituents;
And much more.

Week after week, the Rasmussen Polls tell us we believe the country is headed in the wrong direction. Congressional approval ratings are incredibly low, and the president’s ratings haven’t been above 50 percent since 2012.
Voters are now expected to accept subservience to a bureaucratic government, a redistribution of wealth, to feel guilty about our religious faith, race and sexual orientation, and burdened by oppressive laws and social mores. We now believe we no longer live in the same country we lived in just six short years ago and we’re changing much too fast. It seems what is right is wrong, and what is wrong is right.
Our angst has gone well beyond being just irritated or perturbed, and blossomed into full anger. The fact Trump’s campaign, someone not from the political world, rocketed to first place is indicative of the anger and mistrust of our politicians. It’s beyond exasperating; it’s transforming.
Unlike the Civil War, which contested states rights versus federal, we now are faced with a reformation of the fundamental American way of life, and people don’t like it. The voters believe politicians are bought and sold to the highest bidder, and as such, no longer represent the best interests of the people. It should come as no surprise, they feel abused and taken for granted by politicians.
Americans are now at a

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Martin Dyckman: Find the real Jeb Bush in his unguarded gaffes

Tuesday, August 18th, 2015

To appreciate one reason why Donald Trump is thumping Jeb! in the polls, substitute a question mark for the exclamation point.
Jeb? isn’t doing so well at persuading people that what they think they heard isn’t what he meant to say.
It doesn’t take a degree in psychology to know that someone’s first, unguarded remark reveals much more about him than any effort to explain it.
The latest example is his vacillating position on his brother’s war in Iraq.
Early in the campaign he was asked unmistakably that if we knew then what we know now — that Saddam Hussein had no weapons of mass destruction — should we have invaded? Bush’s answer: Yes. Days later, he said he had misunderstood and misspoken and that the proper answer was no.
But last week, bristling at the attention being paid to surrounding himself with advisers like Paul Wolfowitz and other professional hawks who had coached his brother into the war, Bush ventured that “taking out Saddam Hussein turned out to be a pretty good deal.”
Amazingly, he added that “the mission was accomplished” — doesn’t that sound familiar? — by the time his brother left office.
Far from being a good deal, it was the worst foreign policy blunder this nation has ever made.
And if Bush can’t see that, he is a threat to repeat it. His appetite for throwing more lives and treasure into the maw of the Middle East is already obvious.
Saddam was a tyrant, to be sure. But the grim reality of geopolitics is that the devils we know are often better than the devils we don’t. Saddam’s rule kept Iraq’s Sunnis and Shiites from each other’s throats and was an effective counterweight to Iran, a more dangerous potential enemy. Saddam misjudged the risk of an attack by the United States because he wanted Iran

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