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If we insist that public life be reserved for those whose personal history is pristine, we are not going to get paragons of virtue running our affairs. We will get the very rich, who contract out the messy things in life the very dull, who have nothing to hide and nothing to show and the very devious, expert at covering their tracks and ambitious enough to risk their discovery.
Post-Watergate morality, by which anything left private is taken as presumptive evidence of wrongdoing.
Take all your dukes and marquesses and earls and viscounts, pack them into one chamber, call it the House of Lords to satisfy their pride and then strip it of all political power. It's a solution so perfectly elegant and preposterous that only the British could have managed it.
Quotes from the news wire:
When democrats complain about not taking stands you go back to Ruth Bader Ginsberg who made it a principle of her nominating process that she would not in any way telegraph where she would stand on anything, ever since the Bork nomination and the fiasco of the attacks on him it’s understood your job up there is to dance, to express a fealty to the constitution. You will say you will be independent and that's it and he did that beautifully.
What he's saying to the world and our own foreign policy establishment is we are not going to adhere to all the beliefs and myths of the last 50 years which is more nukes are bad, less nukes are good, that is not always true, and we are not going to be perusing nuclear reduction agreements with the Russians in the hungry way that Obama did and then end up with little and perhaps making us worse off.
Of course it can be moved, the idea that because we're not going to drill, the oil or natural gas is not going to be produced is ridiculous, and it's going to end up being produced in Nigeria or places all over the world where the environmental standards are infinitely less than they are in the U.S.
The Chinese are extremely sensitive about these nuances in diplomacy, they've been at it for four thousand years, and the rules were laid down by Kissinger and Nixon when they made the opening, and it was that we'd be allies of Taiwan, but we would have to observe certain rules… that Taiwan is part of China.
I do think he feels a debt to the Bushes. He didn't have a lot of use for them, and he abused them, even in his inaugural address. But now he realizes what a gift it was, the way they treated him and the transition coming in, and I think he feels it's part of his job, or he - something to aspire to, to replicate that.
Who ordered the duck is the big question which you would expect to hear at a dinner party, but not at the center of a national campaign, i was far more offended by the Veritas tape that showed the planning for the violence and then blamed it on Trump, he added. I think that's at a high order of magnitude.
There is Hillary Clinton message, this is completely smothering Hillary Clinton campaign. What's going to hurt Hillary Clinton, it reinforces the idea of Hillary Clinton being untrustworthy, living by a different set of rules. But that's known, I think it's baked-in, Krauthammer said. Krauthammer said the summary released by the FBI of its investigation into Clinton's use of email server.
It really is a very strong statement from the court about the unbelievable overreach of this president and his administration, it's not a decision that's standing out on its own. This is the culmination of a string of decisions from the courts rebuking the president and his administration for time after time exceeding its authority and stepping over the authority of the other branches.
On Monday, a federal district court judge appointed by Obama made a ruling opposing, and essentially saying, calling illegal EPA regulations on fracking. The rebuke was a rather strong one. It was almost as if the judge was instructing a middle school class on the constitution, [The president is] a recidivist on this issue, and he needed to be slapped down again.
Afterwards, we decided to go after them. They were then driven out of their sanctuary, physically. We have not had a major attack on that scale from Al Qaeda since. you can harden all of the soft targets you want in America. You can keep all the Muslim immigrants you want away from our shores. It will make no difference.
The real third rail of American politics is race and racism and if you're accused of it by people in your own party, then it becomes something you can't really shake off, he's skirted around it for a long time… what it's done is it's opened him up to attacks from the inside in a way that hadn't existed before and that I think could have a corrosive effect.
That flocking and uniting and lighting up for the ‘[Trump] train’ I think is at least on hiatus and it makes some of those who got on the ‘train’ thinking twice, that, I think, is the lurking danger because unless he can unite the rest of the party and can get at least a kind of neutrality out of other leading Republicans, it's going to be hard.
It is not just that those who have now decided to throw in support of party unity or whatever reasons have made a tactical mistake in getting behind him, they have to ask themselves, morally, is this the man you want to be the leader of your party? That's what's at stake here. That's why it's a bigger issue.
The Republicans have experienced the biggest ideological earthquake of a major party in our lifetime. Fifty, 60 years of conservatism has now yielded to a leader who is not a conservative, but who is a populist. That’s a big deal. And I think what the Ryan statement is… if the party is now going to be split between the leader, the populist, and the old-line conservatives… he wants to establish a center of power and a kind of home for the conservative wing.
Obama gave the terror bombing 51 seconds of his speech today in Havana. I thought the whole story of his presidency and its foreign policy was seen in the split screen, on one side, you had the video footage of the attack in Belgium. This is the real world. And on the other side was Obama, in the fantasy world he inhabits, where Cuba is of some geopolitical significance in his mind.
The idea that the president said today ‘this isn't about ideology it's about competence’ is nonsense. All of that was destroyed with the [Robert] Bork nomination. The most highly competent, qualified nominee probably ever, [was] struck down entirely on ideology and when Obama was in the Senate, he filibustered [Justice Samuel] Alito, who he admitted had all the qualifications.
What is surprising is that Obama announced publiclyafter the Merkel scandal that we will cease doing that to close allies, so apparently we did for close NATO allies, but we apparently made just a few exceptions and one of them is the leader of Turkey, Erdogan - not exactly a savory character. The other one was a close ally of democracy an elected leader, Netanyahu.
This is a way to win a battle with Congress, and they knew that this was not something you’re supposed to do. That’s why there was no paper trail or request, that is, I think, a violation of the power of the executive, fearing with legitimate activities and interactions of the Congress and also of pro-advocates who would and should expect with the private communications on behalf of political advocacy is something that the government ought not listen to, listen in on and abuse and that was done.
His problem is not staff, I'm not sure it's organization, yes, he's collected a lot of money and gone through a ton of it with little result. The problem is the candidate, the problem is once we had the Paris attack and the attack here in the United States, it became an election dominated by terrorism… That’s not his strong suit to say the least.
If you define amnesty as he does, as citizenship, yes he fought that, if you define it as allowing people who came here illegally not to suffer the consequences of illegal entry, which by law should be deportation, he did not oppose that. It is very clear that he supported it and as you showed last night and has been shown in many, many pieces of evidence.
[Obama last night] said if you talk about the Muslims in a bad way, that's a recruiter for ISIS. Guantanamo was a recruiter for ISIS. When the fact is the cruelty and the savagery.... is the recruiter for ISIS, [The president] locates the origin of all that recruiting in what we do, and he thinks therefore, the cue is for us to do as little as possible. It’s an insane strategic view of the world, but he actually holds it.
The Russians left Afghanistan 25 years ago. [Obama has] been in office seven years. Seventy-six percent of the combat deaths in Afghanistan have occurred under Obama, and there's little doubt that our position in Afghanistan today is weaker than seven years ago when he came into office, so when he's trying to instruct Putin on national interests and on quagmires, he's on rather thin ground.
Wars end when either one side is defeated or the other side stops. The other side is not stopping, under Obama's tenure, Al Qaeda, which is sort of international terrorism, jihadist terrorism, has expanded to a point where a branch, ISIS is essentially a branch, is the largest training camp of terrorism in the history of the world.
Number one, they depend hugely on tourism to get their foreign exchange. Sharm el-Sheikh is one of their number one tourist destinations. The only way to get there is by airplane. You shut down the airport, it dies, the second [reason they’re afraid] is that the Egyptian regime is in a death struggle with radical Islam in the country… And now if they're able to bring down airplanes, the prestige of the regime in sort of winning the battle against the jihadists is really diminished.
[Russia has] a reputation of being utterly ruthless. You don't want to mess with Boris, if this turns out to be an attack on a Russian airliner, they're going to have either their deterrent is going to be diminished, or they're going to have a furious response, which could incidentally help us, cause it would be against ISIS.
When you say to the audience openly, ‘This election isn't about you, it's about me,’ when you're supposed to say, ‘It's all about you’…then you've gone over a line. what kind of person, even trying to make an amusing point, is going to say something like that, ‘Get my numbers up,’ basically, ‘I'm melting, I'm melting, help me out here,’.
Sure you can win the vote for the speakership but that’s not a problem, problem is do you have any guarantees from the Freedom Caucus that they are going to back you on the debt ceiling, on the budget, on reconciliation, on all of that that’s coming up. Charles Krauthammer added the conservative group that helped force the resignation of SpeakerJohn Boehner will most likely back Ryan if hegoes for speakership.
People are looking at it because he's the frontrunner and that was a very nasty question, now, you can explain it away -- if he didn't hear it, then he didn't hear it. Although a lot of journalists did. Second, you can say this is a guy who hasn't done town halls… I believe this is the second one he ever did, and a more practiced politician would have understood, or immediately sort of undermined and denied the premise.
The problem is that Trump, he himself had trumpeted, if you like, the birther theories, the idea [President Obama] wasn't an American, he wasn't a Christian… and he hasn't, as far as I know, directly repented that, i think now he needs to answer that question, and he can simply say, 'I looked at the evidence, and I was wrong.' But he doesn't say that very easily.
If she had come clean-- which, of course, has never happened in the history of the Clintons-- they might have been able to do a document dump at the beginning, get it out of the way, a month or two ago, but now, they've been ordered by a judge, and there’ll be a release every other week, I think, for weeks and weeks, which keeps the story going forever, even if there isn't any smoking gun in any of these individual releases.
We have no idea if the inspections are going to work, they won't. They're ridiculous with the almost one month of notice. We have no idea what's going to happen with the embargos but we know one thing. The sanctions are done. Iran is now free. They will not be re-imposed and that is a huge success for Iran.
That entire regime is now dead as a result of this agreement. Obama will now go to the Security Council making almost totally irrelevant what Congress does, they are going to go within days to the UN. They are going to pass a resolution. It will probably be unanimous which is approving of the deal and part of that resolution will be to cancel all previous resolutions on sanctions and declaring the illegality of the Iranian program.
He has been there in Wisconsin… He took on the unions, was challenged again and again, overwhelming opposition from Democrats around the country pouring in money against him. And he succeeded, it was much more a governor than a president speaking, but I think that’s why he’s appealing. It’s a straightforward campaign with conservative principles.
This is a woman, this is a candidate who is going to be the nominee. We all know it, for all of the Bernie momentum stuff. That’s a sideshow. But you have to go through 15, 16 months of a ritual of actually campaigning, there is no campaign. There is not going to be a debate. There isn’t a challenge. So she is stuck for these 15 or so months pretending to be a candidate and what you get are pretend events.
[ T ] Charles Krauthammer idea that the court should decree that it’s a Constitutional right, something that had been hidden in the Constitution for over a hundred years and that nobody had ever discerned, is simply a way of saying that it has been removed from the democratic arena. It can no longer be debated, all the laws are cancelled, and we are now in a new place, ironically, Ruth Bader Ginsburg who is on the court today once said, before she ascended to the court, that the abortion decision had prevented a stable social settlement of the abortion issue that was headed in the reform direction because it took it out of the political arena.
Had the flag not existed or not been on the grounds of the capitol, this massacre would have happened in any case, but it's the standard liberal impulse: something happened really bad. So there's got to be a problem, there has to be a solution, we must do something, even if that something is entirely irrelevant.
We will know looking back if this is warranted, but I must say the way that she spoke at the very end in which she essentially said to the mob, ‘I will speak on your behalf, I will bring you justice and now you will bring peace.’ She doesn’t speak for the mob and her job is not to bring peace, her job is to adjudicate these issues without consideration for what’s going to happen outside. It looks like appeasement of the mob. We will only know when the evidence eventually comes out.
The administration is quickly developing a huge problem of credibility, when the vice president says that [progress against ISIS is significant and growing], and then within seven days, ISIS is at the gates of Ramadi, it has it surrounded-- You’ve got to ask yourself, what exactly is the vice president talking about?
I think this argument between him and the Wall Street Journal over what is essentially two percent of the rate, I think it's slightly overexaggerated. It's not going to make any difference in the real world if there's a one or two percent lower rate, and I think what's he's doing is trying to win votes with the sweetener of the child tax credit, there's nothing wrong with that. And it's true that a pudding has to have a theme, but a tax plan doesn't have to have a theme. The theme here is that you're lowering the rate, particularly on the corporate side. You're lowering the tax on investment and return, capital gains, which is what everybody on the right has always said is the engine to drive growth. So, you've got very serious pro-growth elements in here, and you've got a sweetener for the child tax credit, that that's a rejection of Reaganism I find slightly over the top.
The Obama foreign policy has collapsed, and whatever name you want to put on Paul's position, isolationist or non-interventionist, he's without a doubt the one Republican who’d be running who is closest to Obama in his view of foreign policy, arguably, he's to the left of Obama on NSA, on surveillance, on the use of drones, essentially, on the war on terror.
Iran is promised a total lifting of sanctions. That's UN, EU, United States, everywhere. We're not sure about the timing but it could be as early as June. And, that will supercharge the Iranian economy, will strengthen the regime, will give it tens of billions of dollars with which not only to build its nuclear facilities, but to use for the proxy wars around the Middle East, it is possible when they sign the agreement in June there will be a huge relief of sanctions, and when Obama speaks about snapping them back, if the Iranians are cheating, there is not a chance in the world that the Chinese or the Russians or even the Europeans are going to snap on sanctions again, we would be acting alone, we'd be completely isolated.
I think this is a direct reaction to what they did in Iraq. The fact that they went on a timetable, they withdrew all Americans, and now they are back in a much worse situation where Iraq is sort of being divided between ISIS and Iran, sort of the worst of both worlds, [The administration understands] that the timeline is really not something you can stick to.
His facts are wrong. Staples has said that the policy in place was instituted a decade ago, so it was not instituted as a way to get around Obamacare, but he makes it sound as if getting around a law, meaning responding to the incentives that are written into the law, is somehow unsavory. And he talks about that, it's the same way he talks about everything that's private enterprise.
Obama promised when he began these negotiations 18 months ago, he had a time limit… This was the last ditch negotiation, the last chance for Iran to come clean, [Obama] said we’re going to do this for six months, then we will reimpose sanctions if Iran hasn’t [made an agreement]… What does he do? He doesn’t impose sanctions. He extends talks.
It’s win win. If the president vetoes it, it proves what in fact the president actually said himself in the same interview, one of the reasons he did not have to veto, as he said himself, Harry Reid blocked so much in the senate that he did not like. So in fact, this is the way for republicans to retroactively reshape their image.
We don't rely entirely on documents because you need to know the context, you need to know what was in the mind of the person referred to, they had over two years to interview and talk to anybody involved including the highest officials who were never excluded from interrogation in principle, but who were never spoken to, and then they end up releasing every single report without any of that.
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