In their effort to break the mold, the planners of the Obama Presidential Center in Chicago are taking heat for some less-than-lofty features in the sprawling complex. Namely, a “test kitchen.” Reports first surfaced last fall that the monument to the first black president’s legacy was taking on an activity-center vibe. There would be a museum – but also a basketball court, possibly a room for yoga classes, and a test kitchen to teach visitors “about the full production cycle of nutritious food.” It’s a reference to former first lady Michelle Obama’s campaign for healthy eating and lifestyles. But Chicago Tribune columnist Ron Grossman trashed the “test kitchen” idea as not worthy of the ideals and history for which the presidential center is supposed to stand. “Mr. President, I’ve got to tell you: The renderings for your museum are ‘little plans,’ more likely to congeal than stir blood,” he wrote. The problem, Grossman wrote, isn’t the design but the add-ons. “What brought me up short was a space in the adjoining Forum building labeled ‘test kitchen.’ Presumably that reflects Michelle Obama’s war on junk food. The museum’s champions similarly suggest it could host yoga classes,” he wrote. “President Obama, is that how you want to be remembered? As the healthy-eating and meditation-advocating president?” He added, “That’s not how I want the story to come down to my grandchildren’s children.” Grossman encouraged the planners to reflect the “revolution” his election stood for, breaking through decades of racism and exclusion for black Americans. This is hardly the first time the presidential center’s plans have raised eyebrows. Planners are taking an unconventional approach, including by opting to host a digital archive of former President Barack Obama’s records, but not keep his hard-copy manuscripts and letters and other documents onsite. Back in May, Obama described it as “more like a campus,” with plans to position it as a “premier institution for training young people in leadership.” The project is scheduled to be completed in 2021.
One by one, the artifacts of President Barack Obama’s rule by administrative fiat are tumbling. The latest is his signature Clean Power Plan, which Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt says he will begin the arduous process of unwinding. The first year of Donald Trump’s presidency has been characterized — despite his bumptiousness — not by executive overreach, but executive retrenchment. Trump the populist has operated within constitutional lines better than his technocratic predecessor, who used tendentious readings of the law and sweeping bureaucratic actions to impose his policies on immigration, health care, college campuses, and the environment. The Clean Power Plan, which sought to reduce U.S. carbon emissions by 32 percent below 2005 levels by 2030, was government by the administrative state on a scale that has never been attempted before. The EPA took a dubious reading of a portion of the Clean Air Act (Section 111, which arguably prevented the EPA from taking this action rather than empowered it to do so) and used it to mandate that the states adopt far-reaching plans to reduce carbon emissions, under threat of the loss of federal highway funds. The legal foundation of the Clean Power Plan was so rickety that the Supreme Court took the extraordinary step of blocking its implementation pending all the lawsuits against it. The presumption of the plan was jaw-dropping. The EPA usually targets pollutants; carbon dioxide isn’t one (although the Supreme Court erroneously said that it meets the definition in the case of Massachusetts v. EPA). The EPA has always regulated specific power plants; in this scheme, it went “outside the fence” to mandate broader actions by the states, e.g., the adoption of quotas for renewable energy. The EPA once considered its mandate to be protecting clear air and water for Americans; with the Clean Power Plan, it sought to adjust the global thermostat for the good of all of humanity. The last gets to the absurdity of the Clean Power Plan on its own terms — it did virtually nothing to affect global warming. As Benjamin Zycher of the American Enterprise Institute points out, the Obama administration’s Climate Action Plan (which includes the Clean Power Plan) would reduce the global temperature by 15 one-thousandths of a degree by 2100. The point wasn’t to fight climate change per se, but to signal our climate virtue in the hopes of catalyzing action by other nations and, not incidentally, hobble the U.S. coal industry in favor of more politically palatable sources of energy, namely wind and solar. Whatever the merits of this agenda, as a first-order matter, it must be enacted lawfully and not instituted by strained legal interpretations alone. In congressional testimony arguing that the Clean Power Plan is unconstitutional, liberal law professor Laurence Tribe noted that the Supreme Court has said that Congress doesn’t “hide elephants in mouse holes.” If Congress had authorized the EPA to remake the nation’s energy economy, we would presumably be aware of it and recall an impassioned congressional debate over this radical and costly change. In fact, the opposite is true. Congress has declined to enact laws limiting carbon emissions, including when Democrats held both houses of Congress under President Obama. If the future of the planet is at stake and it requires a generational effort to save it, surely it is not too much to ask that a statute or two be enacted by Congress explicitly committing the country to the task. Yes, this requires winning elections and gaining democratic assent, but such are the challenges of living in a republic and a nation of laws. In his impatience with Congress and his administrative imperiousness, President Obama dispensed with all that. What he imposed unilaterally is subject to unilateral reversal. The rollback will encounter its own regulatory and legal obstacles, but can be achieved more readily than if Obama had been able or bothered to write a swath of his legacy into law.
Agreed… Rich Lowry is responsible for that analysis. Excellent!
Wednesday on Fox News Channel’s “Fox & Friends,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the administration of President Barack Obama did not always put America first. When asked about Trump calling Kim Jong-un “rocket man,” Sanders said, “That’s a Trump original. He is a master at branding. One of the reasons I think you hit the nail on the head. This is a problem we have been dealing with for 20 years. Americans wanted somebody, a strong leader, somebody who wasn’t going to put up with it anymore. That’s one of the reasons I think Donald Trump won. They saw strength. They saw somebody who was not going to apologize for America. Was not going to apologize for America’s sovereignty and our success. They wanted somebody to stand up and be a fighter. They got that in Donald Trump. I think that was on full display yesterday in one of his stronger moments. It was a great reminder why people supported him and certainly why he is going to be very successful president.” She added, “Certainly I don’t think the previous administration was always putting America first. I think there was a lot of, as I said apologizing for our success. That’s not something that America wants. That’s not what our country was founded on. And certainly, I think you see that day in, day out by the support for this president.”
President Donald Trump reacted to Saturday’s violence in Charlottesville by condemning violence “on many sides.” His critics pounced, saying that he should have specifically condemned violence by white supremacists, and that by not doing so, he in fact condoned such violence. The critics are guilty of a double standard, and of exploiting the violence for political gain, widening America’s divisions at a time when national unity is the only proper course. First of all, as a factual matter, it is self-evident that there was violence on both sides on Saturday, though the attack in which a car plowed into a crowd of left-wing protesters stands apart as a despicable act. Two groups who have been fighting all over the country — white supremacists and so-called “anti-fascists” — went to Charlottesville to do the same, just as they did last summer in Sacramento, and just as they have elsewhere. Condemning one side alone would essentially have given the other side a pass for its tactics — and a political victory that neither deserved. Second, Trump’s critics never applied the same standard to Barack Obama. When five Dallas police officers were murdered in cold blood at a Black Lives Matter protest, Obama did not disavow the movement, nor did the media demand he do so. On the contrary, when he spoke at a memorial service for the police, he actually endorsed the movement and its goals: “I understand these protests — I see them. They can be messy. Sometimes they can be hijacked by an irresponsible few. Police can get hurt. Protesters can get hurt. They can be frustrated. But even those who dislike the phrase “black lives matter,” surely, we should be able to hear the pain of Alton Sterling’s family. … With an open heart, we can worry less about which side has been wronged, and worry more about joining sides to do right.”(Alton Sterling was shot by officers in Baton Rouge; he was armed and had allegedly threatened someone with a gun.) When presented with an opportunity to disavow his racist pastor, Jeremiah Wright, then-candidate Obama gave an entire speech about how he could not do so: “I can no more disown him than I can disown the black community. I can no more disown him than I can my white grandmother.” The media swooned and compared him to Abraham Lincoln. (He eventually disavowed Wright — but only after a substitute preacher, Michael Pfleger, attacked Hillary Clinton from the pulpit, at a time when Obama needed to consolidate Clinton supporters for the general election.) Third, many of those attacking Trump today did not make the same demand of Democrats just two months ago, when five Republicans were shot and wounded by a left-wing gunman in Alexandria. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) even managed to blame Republicans for the shooting by allegedly inflaming political rhetoric during the Bill Clinton era. Fourth, the media and the Democrats blame Trump for violence even when he, and his supporters are the target of that violence. Last June in San Jose, California, Trump supporters were viciously attacked by left-wing thugs as they left a rally. Some media reported the riot as if Trump supporters had started the violence (“Trump supporters clash with protesters“), while Democrat Mayor Sam Liccardo blamed Trump and his campaign for what happened. Finally, the claim that Trump has failed to disavow white supremacists is a lie repeated from the 2016 campaign, when the media ignored Trump’s prior rejections of the Ku Klux Klan and claimed he had failed to denounce them. Trump even denounced racism earlier this year, in his address to Congress: ” Tonight, as we mark the conclusion of our celebration of Black History Month, we are reminded of our Nation’s path toward civil rights and the work that still remains. Recent threats targeting Jewish Community Centers and vandalism of Jewish cemeteries, as well as last week’s shooting in Kansas City, remind us that while we may be a Nation divided on policies, we are a country that stands united in condemning hate and evil in all its forms.” The purpose of the lie is to connect Trump to white supremacists by implying that he has something to disavow. Many of Trump’s critics compounded that lie Saturday by recycling false claims about members of his staff. Trump’s critics are guilty of something worse than hypocrisy. They are trying to divide the country when the right thing to do is to stress common bonds, as Republicans did in June, though they were the targets. Trump’s critics tried the same tactics in 2016, and all they achieved was more hatred. It is well past time for the slander to stop.
When I first turned on the news and first learned of this event, the very first photo I saw was some white guy with a flag rolled up on its pole confronting a black guy who had turned some aerosol can into a torch and blasting a firey flame toward the white guy. On it’s face, it wasn’t clear who was the instigator and who as the one fighting back. But, what WAS clear, was that there were two sides; NOT just one side. And, to suggest otherwise is disingenuous, hypocritical, and self-serving. But, that’s par for the course for these self-righteous, sanctimonious, agenda-driven liberals in the media and elsewhere. What started as a perfectly reasonable rally to counter the historical fascism of the left who continue to want to erase our history, turned into an ugly scene culminating in some lunatic driving his car through a crown killing an innocent woman. That Hitler-loving loser should be put down like the dog he is. BUT, Trump is exactly right. There were elements on BOTH sides who escalated the situation and took advantage of the opportunity to further THEIR respective agendas. Yeah, the Nazis and so on were there. But, the Black Lives Matter (BLM) thugs were there with their baseball bats as well, lookin for a fight. BOTH were at fault. So, kudos to Trump for NOT playing the race card to further some self-serving agenda like Obama was notorious for doing. Thanks to Joel B. Pollak for that outstanding op/ed.
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt visited the site of the devastating Gold King Mine spill in Colorado that spilled 3 million gallons of contaminated mine water into the Cement Creek and Animas River, saying the Obama EPA “failed” at its mission to protect the environment. “EPA should be held to the same standard as those we regulate,” Pruitt said about the visit that took place on the eve of the two-year anniversary of the spill. “The previous administration failed those who counted on them to protect the environment,” Pruitt said. The press announcement of the visit noted that in January 2017, the previous EPA administration denied 79 administrative claims filed by farmers, ranchers, homeowners, businesses, employees, state and local governments, as well as other individuals seeking damages in connection with the Gold King Mine incident. “Despite the release of 3 million gallons of contaminated water tainted with arsenic, lead and other heavy metals, which turned the Animas River mustard-yellow, and moved along the San Juan River through Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and American Indian land to Lake Powell in Utah, the EPA Administrator at the time, Gina McCarthy, nor President Obama nor Vice President Biden, ever visited the site of the spill itself,” the press release announcing the visit said. The visit fulfilled the promise Pruitt made during his confirmation hearing to visit the site. Sens. Cory Gardner (R-CO), Michael Bennet (D-CO), and Democratic Governor John Hickenlooper joined Pruitt for a tour of the site. Following the tour, EPA political appointees participated in a town hall in Durango, Colo. with local residents about how they were affected by the spill. “We want to listen and learn directly from the community,” Ken Wagner, senior advisor to the administrator for regional and state affairs, said. “The local community is ground zero in environmental disasters, and we want to hear their concerns and do our best to coordinate and provide assistance,” Wagner said. The Denver Post reported that Pruitt pointed out the hypocrisy on this disaster compared to the Obama administration’s anti-fossil fuel agenda. “I think it’s safe to say if this had been any other company, a BP-type of a situation, there would have been an investigation that would ensue by the agency and there would have been accountability,” Pruitt said. “That didn’t take place here. “The federal government should not be able to hide behind sovereign immunity when the facts don’t meet the protections,” Pruitt said. “In my estimation, the EPA walked away from those folks and left them in a position of incurring damages without taking accountability,” Pruitt said.
The Obama administration “misled” Americans into thinking signing up for Obamacare would be cheaper than it really was, according to an inspector general’s report Thursday that said the IRS dramatically understated the actual cost of enrolling. IRS officials sent the letters to try to prod Americans to comply with the 2010 health law’s “individual mandate” that penalizes them for not holding coverage. But as part of the letters, the IRS said most people could find plans for $75 a month or less once government subsidies were figured in. That was untrue — in fact, the average cost was more than twice that figure, at $168 a month, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration said. “Many of the nearly 7.5 million taxpayers who receive letters and seek insurance may feel misled if the actual cost of their insurance is much higher than the $75 per month detailed in their notification letter,” the inspector general concluded. The IRS said it was only using numbers provided by Department of Health and Human Services and verified by the Treasury Department. They said the $75 figure was true for some taxpayers. The inspector general said it asked for that documentation but never received it. Auditors said their own analysis found the HHS studies were based on a smaller sample and was limited to those who chose lower-coverage plans with fewer benefits. According to the new audit, federal regulations require agencies to present accurate information.
The Democratic base is growing increasingly frustrated with former President Barack Obama’s actions after leaving office, including a seemingly endless tour of millionaire and billionaire luxury retreats, according to Democrats and activists contacted by Fox News. Ex-presidents, understandably and un-controversially, go on vacations immediately after leaving office. But the level of luxury the Obamas enjoy on their vacations is unprecedented for a modern-day president, say travel experts. Since leaving office in late January, Obama has visited late actor Marlon Brando’s private island; the Four Seasons in Bali — where rooms cost upward of $2,000 per night; a Palm Springs estate; Sir Richard Branson’s Necker Island; the exclusive Mid Pacific Country Club in Oahu; the 13th-century Borgo Finocchieto in Tuscany; and the Rising Sun, Hollywood studio mogul David Geffen’s private yacht. “These are some of the most luxurious travel destinations in the world. Many of our clients spend tens of thousands of dollars or more to stay at these resorts, which cater to the most discriminating and demanding guests,” said Kendra Thornton, travel expert and owner of luxury travel agency Royal Travel. “For example, Necker Island has a nightly price tag of $80,000. Anyone who stays at these properties does so because they want the best of the best.” Fox News contacted the Borgo Finocchieto hotel. It’s actually not really a hotel, at least of the kind ordinary travelers come to expect. It’s a restored medieval hamlet with five villas and 22 bedrooms that can only be rented for a three-day minimum, in its entirety. Obama touched down at a nearby airport in a private jet escorted by six Eurofighter jets from the Italian Air Force. Presumably, the former president scored a deal on the stay since the Borgo Finocchieto is owned by one of his appointees, the former Italy Ambassador John Phillips. “These trips are like the lifestyles of the rich and famous,” said Democratic strategist Pat Caddell. The former adviser to ex-President Jimmy Carter believes that President Obama’s vacations are unprecedented, and a far cry from how Carter spent his first few months out of office. “I think the Bernie Sanders wing of the party, when they see President Obama, whom they instinctively want to defend being the corporatist president, I think it makes the base uneasy,” said Caddell. Left-wing activists told Fox News they are troubled by what they see as a trend by Obama to distance himself from the base of the party. It’s not just vacations. The president also has enjoyed hefty fees for speeches to prominent Wall Street firms. It’s all part of a trend, they say, of Obama trying to join the fabled 1 percent. “Obama is not as wealthy or as conservative as Trump, George W. Bush, or George H.W. Bush, but he enjoys what used to be called ‘the lifestyle of the rich and famous,’” said Dr. David Michael Smith of the Houston Socialist Movement. “I am not surprised by Obama’s several recent foreign vacations. As president, he disappointed millions of supporters who hoped he would be a strong advocate for working-class people.” The left-wing media is also worried about Obama’s luxury vacations. “I’ll tell you who should kick back a little less,” said HBO host John Oliver in an interview with Seth Meyers on Late Night Monday. “This might be controversial – I’m a little sick of seeing photos of President Obama on vacation with Richard Branson. Just tone it down with the kite-surfing pictures. I’m glad he’s having a nice time – America is on fire.” Oliver then pointed out that President Obama was accused of being out of touch with the American people during his presidency. “I’m not sure he’s ever been more out of touch than he is right now,” Oliver said. Those comments were made in February. So Oliver’s advice apparently didn’t slow down the Obama vacation schedule. He’s in Bali this week. The president’s press team didn’t want to go on the record since Obama is a private citizen and it doesn’t comment on his personal schedule or private outings with his family. But a former Obama White House official did tell Fox News that the president dedicated his entire career to working to “level the playing field and provide ladders of opportunity for those hardest hit by the economy.” One of the first actions after leaving office was to mentor young men from Chicago’s south side who are in a job training program called “CRED,” led by former Education Secretary Arne Duncan. The president also donated $2 million recently to help young people in Chicago get apprenticeships and summer jobs. The president is an avid supporter of the My Brother’s Keeper initiative that aims to improve life outcomes for young men of color. The Obama team also told Fox News that the president most recently released a Facebook post about the current debate in Washington around the future of health care. “The Senate bill, unveiled today, is not a health care bill,” Obama wrote. “It’s a massive transfer of wealth from middle-class and poor families to the richest people in America.” Caddell, the Democratic strategist for former President Carter, said that’s not enough. “I think every time Obama opens his mouth, the fair question is: Which billionaire’s paradise island did he do it from? When is he going to do anything to help people other than enrich himself?” Caddell said. “How can he possibly be doing things? How do you do things from Marlon Brando’s island? It’s in stark contrast to Carter.” And to former President George W. Bush. Asked how the 43rd president spent his first year after office, a person close to President Bush told Fox News: “He spent the first month in Crawford, Texas, where he started writing ‘Decision Points.’” Then, once their house in Dallas was ready, the Bushes settled there and started fundraising for the Bush Center and setting up policy programs of the Bush Institute. President Bush went on some speaking engagements handled by the Washington Speakers Bureau. And he and Laura vacationed with their family in Kennebunkport, Maine, and at the ranch in Crawford. “Obama has a right to do whatever he wants,” Caddell said. “But these trips really are a little bit rich.”
Indeed… They point to his brazen hypocrisy. And, since it’s so brazen an in our face, even his former supporters are nauseated by it.