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  • ‘For the Record’ update: Could China take out the U.S. power grid?
    Posted November 21, 2014 at 4:54 pm by Tom Orr

    Comments (4)

    The United States power grid and other utility systems are vulnerable to threats from China and “probably one or two other” nations that could take them offline, according to testimony during a House Intelligence Committee hearing on cybersecurity threats Thursday.

    Adm. Michael Rogers, director of the National Security Agency and head of U.S. Cyber Command, told the committee there are nation-states and groups that have the ability to “enter our systems, to enter our industrial control systems and to shut down [and] forestall our ability to operate, our basic infrastructure.”

    “That has the potential to lead to some truly significant, almost catastrophic failures if we don’t take action,” he said.

    The threats to the U.S. power grid were the subject of For the Record‘s episode “Unguarded” in April.

    In his testimony, Rogers pointed to cases where foreign nations and other groups have successfully hacked into the control systems for critical infrastructure like the electrical grid, water and fuel pipelines.

    “What we think we’re seeing is reconnaissance by many of those actors in an attempt to make sure they understand our systems so that they can then, if they choose to, exploit the vulnerabilities within those control systems,” Rogers said.

    Many complex networks such as utilities require Supervisory Control And Data Acquisition — or SCADA — systems to run, but those systems are vulnerable to hacking. Rogers said they are one of his biggest concerns.

    “People will often ask me, ‘What are the coming trends that you see?’ I think the industrial control system and the SCADA piece are big growth areas of vulnerability and action that we’re going to see in the coming 12 months,” Rogers said.

    He testified that the impact of a successful cyberattack on utilities could be devastating.

    “Once you’re into the system and you’re able to do that, it enables you to do things like if I want to tell power turbines to go offline and stop generating power, you can do that,” he said. “If I wanted to segment the transmission system so that you couldn’t distribute the power that was coming out of the power stations, this would enable you to do that.”

    Rogers added, “This will be truly destructive if someone decides that’s what they want to do.”

    Learn more about the threats to the electrical grid and other utilities by watching “Unguarded” on demand. Here’s a clip:

  • Lawmakers propose $5 million reward for info on Americans kidnapped, beheaded by Islamic State
    Posted November 21, 2014 at 4:16 pm by Pete Kasperowicz

    Comments (1)

    More than a dozen House lawmakers have introduced a bill creating a $5 million reward for information about the members of Islamic State who kidnapped and publicly murdered three Americans — James Foley, Peter Kassig and Steven Sotloff.

    The State Department has a Rewards for Justice program that it can use to offer cash payments for information about Americans who are taken or killed overseas. The bill from Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) and others would require State to offer a reward for the Islamic State murders under that program.

    Screen Shot 2014-11-21 at 3.29.06 PM

    Peter Kassig is one of three Americans who have been killed in public executions by the Islamic State. Members of Congress are proposing a reward for anyone with information about who kidnapped and killed them.
    Image: AP Photo/Courtesy Kassig Family

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  • Debunking Obama immigration ‘facts’
    Posted November 21, 2014 at 3:01 pm by Stu Burguiere

    Comments (1)

    Today on Pat & Stu we went through President Obama’s immigration speech to analyze what was accurate and what was not.

    So prepare yourself for the inevitable Thanksgiving table discussions about immigration reform by listening to our debunking of President Obama’s Immigration “facts” at the 25:00-mark:

  • GOP lawmakers propose ‘Separation of Powers Act’ to thwart Obama
    Posted November 21, 2014 at 2:18 pm by Pete Kasperowicz

    Comments (5)

    Two House Republicans have introduced new legislation to block the federal government from implementing President Barack Obama’s executive action on immigration.

    The “Separation of Powers Act,” from Reps. Ted Poe (R-Texas) and Diane Black (R-Tenn.), would stop funding for any deferred deportation action under Obama’s plan, and also stop funding for any new green cards that would be created by the White House. It’s one version of a bill that could be considered by House Republicans when they get back from the Thanksgiving break.

    WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 20: U.S. House of Representatives Victims' Rights Caucus Chairman Rep. Ted Poe (R-TX) talks about the anti-human trafficking legislation his is sponsoring outside the U.S. Capitol May 20, 2014 in Washington, DC. Poe is leading a group of bipartisan lawmakers urging their colleagues to vote for The Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act and The Human Trafficking Fraud Enforcement Act of 2014. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

    Rep. Ted Poe (R-Texas) is one of two cosponsors of legislation aimed at stopping President Obama’s executive action on immigraiton. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

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  • Steve King: The midterm election shows GOP shouldn’t fear a government shutdown
    Posted November 21, 2014 at 1:20 pm by Pete Kasperowicz

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    Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) is calling for Republicans to shut down the government over President Barack Obama’s immigration action, and scoffs at the notion that a shutdown would do irreparable harm to Republicans.

    In a Thursday interview with TheBlaze, King noted that while Democrats warned voters would punish Republicans for the 2013 government shutdown, voters instead rewarded the GOP with more House seats and a new majority in the Senate.

    Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) speaks during the Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition's Friends of the Family Banquet in Des Moines Iowa Saturday Nov. 9, 2013 (AP Photo by Justin Hayworth) AP Photo by Justin Hayworth

    Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) says Republicans weren’t hurt by the 2013 government shutdown, and therefore shouldn’t fear a future shutdown. (AP Photo by Justin Hayworth)

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  • The founders warned of Obama’s executive order on immigration in this 1787 letter
    Posted November 21, 2014 at 10:49 am by Benjamin Weingarten

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    Previously we have written about the stern warnings against the executive branch as empowered under the Constitution from Anti-Federalist “Cato” — presumed to be George Clinton — he not of George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic, but rather the fourth vice president of the United States under presidents Jefferson and Madison.

    While Cato’s Anti-Federalist Letter IV may have anticipated unconstitutional usurpation of power by presidents, it is perhaps the language of his Letter V, dated almost 227 years ago to the day, November 22, 1787, that is most striking when juxtaposed with President Obama’s executive order on immigration.

    President Obama has been pushing executive actions as a means of working around Congress in 2014. (Image Source: heartland.org)

    President Obama has famously advocated a “pen and phone” strategy to work around Congress via executive orders. (Image Source: heartland.org)

    Below we excerpt the most pertinent language [link and emphasis ours]:

    In my last number I endeavored to prove that the language of the article relative to the establishment of the executive of this new government was vague and inexplicit, that the great powers of the President, connected with his duration in office would lead to oppression and ruin. That he would be governed by favorites and flatterers, or that a dangerous council would be collected from the great officers of state, — that the ten miles square, if the remarks of one of the wisest men, drawn from the experience of mankind, may be credited, would be the asylum of the base, idle, avaricious and ambitious, and that the court would possess a language and manners different from yours; that a vice president is as unnecessary, as he is dangerous in his influence — that the president cannot represent you because he is not of your own immediate choice, that if you adopt this government, you will incline to an arbitrary and odious aristocracy or monarchy that the president possessed of the power, given him by this frame of government differs but very immaterially from the establishment of monarchy in Great Britain, and I warned you to beware of the fallacious resemblance that is held out to you by the advocates of this new system between it and your own state governments. (more…)

  • John Boehner: ‘The House will, in fact, act’
    Posted November 21, 2014 at 9:42 am by Pete Kasperowicz

    Comments (5)

    House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) promised Friday morning that the House would take some action to fight back against President Barack Obama’s executive order on immigration, although he said Republicans were still working through the details on what exact steps they would take.

    “We’re working with our members, looking at the options that are available to us,” he told reporters. “But I will say to you, the House will, in fact, act.”

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  • A legal immigrant calls in. Is DC listening?
    Posted November 20, 2014 at 4:00 pm by Stu Burguiere

    Comments (4)

    A legal immigrant called in today to Pat & Stu to share her story of the nearly impossible journey to obtaining citizenship in America. She’s trying to go about it the legal way.

    This is a segment that every Republican in Washington, D.C. needs to hear, as one caller explains from her own dreadful experience why we need sensible changes to the immigration system. The federal government should use one of its rarely used tools and go for common sense this time — not amnesty from a president who will break the law to get what he wants.

    Listen to Caroline in St. Louis at the 34:40-mark:

  • Day of Hope: First VA official fired under new procedures
    Posted November 20, 2014 at 3:44 pm by Pete Kasperowicz

    Comments (1)

    Months after Congress passed legislation making it easier to fire officials at the Department of Veterans Affairs, the first official has finally been fired under the new process.

    VA Secretary Robert McDonald had come under fire from members of Congress over the last few months for not using the process against the many officials who played a role in the VA health care scandal, or those involved in other scandals.

    Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald, testifies during a House Committee on Veterans' Affairs hearing on "Scheduling Manipulation and Veteran Deaths in Phoenix: Examination of the OIG's Final Report" on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Sept. 17, 2014. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta) AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta

    Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald has finally fired a VA official for misconduct under a new law that was supposed to allow for the speedy removal of officials involved in misconduct. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

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  • Why is Ted Cruz reading a 2,077-year-old speech from a Roman politician on the senate floor?
    Posted November 20, 2014 at 2:38 pm by Benjamin Weingarten

    Comments (100)

    In an epic throwback Thursday address against President Obama’s impending executive order on immigration, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) took to the senate floor to deliver a slightly revised version of Cicero’s “First Oration Against Catiline.”

    The speech, originally delivered in 63 B.C. to the Roman Senate by the great jurist, orator, philosopher and politician, Cicero, concerns the plot by Catiline and his co-conspirators to overthrow the Roman Republic.

    You can watch Sen. Cruz’s delivery of the updated version of Cicero’s address, and find its new transcript, below.

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  • Self-described gay conservative whose husband is an immigrant has harsh words for Obama
    Posted November 20, 2014 at 2:36 pm by Erica Ritz

    Comments (4)

    Eric in Massachusetts, a self-described gay conservative, occasionally calls into TheBlaze Radio Network to voice his opinion on a certain subject. On Thursday, Eric got through to the Glenn Beck Radio Program and couldn’t contain his frustration with President Obama.

    Eric said his spouse is from El Salvador, and it has taken them 17 months and $6,000 to be able to legally bring him to the United States. President Obama’s expected executive action on immigration “spits in the face” of everyone who has obeyed the law, he said.

    Glenn Beck speaks with Eric in Massachusetts on his radio program November 20, 2014. (Photo: TheBlaze TV)

    Glenn Beck speaks with Eric in Massachusetts on his radio program November 20, 2014. (Photo: TheBlaze TV)

    “But having lived in Central America for a year, I know what this move is going to do to the country,” Eric added. “It’s one thing if you want to come to the country to be American. My spouse is a biologist, a chemist and a pharmacist. He currently tests the water content in El Salvador.”

    But Eric said you cannot bring millions of people “with a third world mentality” to the United States and expect it to remain a “first world country.”

    Before hanging up, Eric added that Obama is “not a friend” of the LGBT community, and he wishes that his “gay brothers and sisters would wake up and see that.”

    “Wait a minute,” Beck said. “How is he not a friend to the gay community?”

    “So long as this man kowtows to Saudi Arabia, makes deals with Iran and is pro-Islam, he is not a friend to the gay community. Period,” Eric said. “The end. There’s no solidarity there. There is no common ground.”

    Complimentary Clip from TheBlaze TV

    The full episode of The Glenn Beck Program, along with many other live-streaming shows and thousands of hours of on-demand content, is available on just about any digital device. Click here to watch every Glenn Beck episode from the past 30 days for just $1!

  • Can Congress defund Obama’s immigration action?
    Posted November 20, 2014 at 2:27 pm by Pete Kasperowicz

    Comments (2)

    Questions emerged Thursday among House Republicans on whether Congress has the authority to defund parts of the federal government that will be tasked with implementing President Barack Obama’s executive action on immigration.

    Many Republicans are proposed so-called “defunding” language as a way to prevent Obama from imposing his changes to U.S. immigration policy, in a way that would give legal status to millions of illegal immigrants.

    Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) speaks during the Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition's Friends of the Family Banquet in Des Moines Iowa Saturday Nov. 9, 2013 (AP Photo by Justin Hayworth) AP Photo by Justin Hayworth

    Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) argued Thursday that Congress can defund Obama’s immigration effort, even as the House Appropriations Committee said that’s impossible. (AP Photo by Justin Hayworth)

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  • Harry Reid admits Obama’s immigration move likely means permanent relief for millions
    Posted November 20, 2014 at 1:09 pm by Pete Kasperowicz

    Comments (1)

    Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) admitted on Thursday that President Barack Obama’s executive action on immigration will essentially amount to permanent relief for millions of illegal immigrants, given how difficult it would be even for a Republican president to reverse Obama’s action.

    In a briefing with reporters, Reid was asked how comfortable illegal immigrants should feel under Obama’s plan, given that it will technically be temporary in nature because it’s being done by executive order. But Reid indicated the decision will have the effect of being permanent because it will likely be impossible to reverse it once it takes effect, in light of how popular it will be for millions of immigrants and their families.

    FILE - In this July 29, 2014 file photo, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nev., speaks to reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington. Reid and the state’s Republican governor, Brian Sandoval, are deeply involved in the campaign in Nevada for lieutenant governor, since the winner would replace Sandoval should the highly popular governor decide to run against Reid. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File) AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File

    Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) acknowledged on Thursday that whatever relief President Barack Obama grants to illegal immigrants will most likely be permanent. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

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  • GOP senator: ‘Why would anyone trust this administration’ after release of illegal immigrants with criminal records
    Posted November 20, 2014 at 11:33 am by Pete Kasperowicz

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    Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) warned Wednesday that there’s little reason to trust that President Barack Obama’s executive action on immigration will protect American citizens, as the administration has already violated its own policy regarding the release of illegal immigrants with criminal records.

    Grassley wrote a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson reminding him that the Obama administration released 36,007 criminal aliens back into the United States in 2013, including 169 who were convicted of homicide. That released occurred despite a formal policy that said criminal aliens must be deported.

    Screen Shot 2014-11-20 at 11.30.13 AM

    Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) says there’s no reason to trust the Obama administration after its release of 36,000 criminal illegal immigrants, going against its own policy.
    Image: AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File

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  • George W. Bush appears to smear Tea Party in biography of George H.W. Bush
    Posted November 20, 2014 at 11:27 am by Benjamin Weingarten

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    In an otherwise enjoyable, largely apolitical and at times insightful read, told in the characteristically folksy style that originally endeared President George W. Bush to the nation, the former president in a heretofore ignored passage of his new book, “41: A Portrait of My Father,” seems to put down and seek to discredit the Tea Party.

    Writing about the 1992 election in which President George H.W. Bush would ultimately lose to then Arkansas governor Bill Clinton, and in particular the intra-party challenge posed by commentator and former Nixon aide Pat Buchanan, Bush compares today’s Tea Party to a set of ideas that its constituents would likely not condone, and groups with whom it would likely not want to be nor believe it should be associated.

    Former President George W. Bush turns to speak with his father and former President George H.W. Bush during the Inaugural Parade 20 January 2005 in Washington, DC. (Photo: AFP/Getty Images)

    Former President George W. Bush turns to speak with his father and former President George H.W. Bush during the Inaugural Parade 20 January 2005 in Washington, DC. (Image Source: AFP/Getty Images) 

    Bush writes [emphasis ours]:

    Buchanan’s basic message was that George Bush had betrayed the conservative legacy of Ronald Reagan–a legacy that Republican politicians continue to invoke today, even though some of them overlook the details of Ronald Reagan’s record. He attacked the President not only for breaking his “no new taxes” pledge but also for signing the civil rights bill.

    Buchanan described the contrast with Dad in his announcement speech. “He is a globalist and we are nationalists. He believes in some pax universalis; we believe in the old republic. He would put America’s wealth and power at the service of some vague new world order. We will put America first.” Buchanan opposed the Gulf War, which he saw as a sellout to “the Israeli defense ministry and its amen corner in the United States.The message echoed the isolationist position of the America First Committee, which opposed American involvement in World War II. It also reminded me of the Texas far-right movement that I had encountered in the 1960s and 1970s, and it was a forerunner of today’s Tea Party. And yet, one out of every three Republicans in New Hampshire was supporting Buchanan.

    Under the most charitable interpretation of this passage, and reading the paragraphs separately so as to exclude President Bush’s comment about civil rights, Bush seems to be arguing that today’s Tea Party is isolationist and extreme in its conservative beliefs.

    Reading between the lines however, the implications of Bush’s comments about the Tea Party are far worse. (more…)

  • Watch: McConnell blasts immigration move as an Obama legacy project
    Posted November 20, 2014 at 10:26 am by Pete Kasperowicz

    Comments (3)

    Incoming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Thursday accused President Barack Obama of pursuing his controversial executive action on immigration not to help the country, but to secure some kind of legacy for his presidency.

    “Just as with Obamacare, the action the president is proposing isn’t about solutions, it isn’t about compassion,” McConnell said on the Senate floor. “It seems to be about what a political party thinks would make for good politics.”

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  • Sessions says Obama now ‘Emperor of the United States’
    Posted November 19, 2014 at 5:25 pm by Pete Kasperowicz

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    Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) said Wednesday that President Barack Obama is now emperor of the United States, as he is about to impose changes to immigration law unilaterally.

    “President Obama previously said he could not issue an executive amnesty because ‘I’m the president of the United States, I’m not the emperor of the United States. My job is to execute laws that are passed,’ ” Sessions said.

    sessions

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  • Harry Reid implies illegal immigrants aren’t ‘real criminals’
    Posted November 19, 2014 at 3:10 pm by Pete Kasperowicz

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    Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said Wednesday that illegal immigrants should not be forced by the government to comply with U.S. immigration laws, and that law enforcement officials should instead focus on “real criminals.”

    “I hope he does it as soon as possible,” Reid said on the Senate floor on President Barack Obama’s pending executive action on immigration. “His executive action will help keep families together and focus law enforcement resources on real criminals.”

    Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nev. speaks to reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, June 3, 2014, following a Democratic caucus lunch. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite) AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

    Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said Wednesday that the government should focus on ‘real criminals,’ not millions of illegal immigrants. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

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  • ‘Slap in the face’: GOP chairmen blast Obama’s immigration move
    Posted November 19, 2014 at 2:16 pm by Pete Kasperowicz

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    The chairmen of the House committees on Judiciary and Homeland Security warned President Barack Obama on Wednesday that his plan to act alone on immigration is a sharp rebuke to Congress that will force members to pass legislation to stop him.

    “We join our fellow members of Congress in expressing our disappointment in your continued efforts to bypass congressional authority,” chairmen Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) and Michael McCaul (R-Texas) wrote.

    Screen Shot 2014-11-19 at 2.11.55 PM

    House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul (R-Texas) and Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) warned the White House Wednesday that moving without Congress on immigration would be a ‘slap in the face.’
    Image: Bloomberg/Bloomberg via Getty Images and AP Photo/Charles Dharapak

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  • Secret Service (finally) admits: No one was disciplined after agency misled public on White House fence jumper
    Posted November 19, 2014 at 1:02 pm by Pete Kasperowicz

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    The acting director of the Secret Service admitted Wednesday that the agency never disciplined any of its public affairs officials, even though those officials appear to have violated the Secret Service’s own internal code about being honest.

    Joseph Clancy was bombarded with questions about the September incident in which an armed man jumped over the White House fence and was finally stopped inside the White House by an off-duty official. Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), the incoming chair of the House Oversight Committee, started by noting that the Secret Service said the man was “physically apprehended after engineer the White House north portico doors.”

    Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, speaks during the Utah Republican Party nominating convention Saturday, April 26, 2014, in Sandy, Utah. About 4,000 Republican delegates are gathering in Sandy for their state nominating convention Saturday to pick the party's candidates for four congressional seats and nine legislative races. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer) AP Photo/Rick Bowmer

    Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) pressed the Secret Service Wednesday on why no one was disciplined for providing false information about the White House fence jumper. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

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  • A short message of hope and love from Ronald Reagan in 1978 that you’ve probably never heard
    Posted November 19, 2014 at 11:39 am by Benjamin Weingarten

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    Given that today we choose hope, at TheBlaze Books we decided to go digging through the archives to see what former President Ronald Reagan, an eternal optimist, might have for us.

    While we could have chosen one of the typical Reagan speeches echoing the themes of his “Morning in America,” with soaring rhetoric and boundless idealism, it was one of his more human, personal, even melancholy, and likely overlooked radio addresses from January 27, 1978 called “Looking Out a Window” that caught our eye.

    President Reagan gazing out the window of the White House on July 24, 1984. (Credit: Courtesy Ronald Reagan Library)

    President Reagan gazing out the window of the Oval Office on July 24, 1984. (Credit: Courtesy Ronald Reagan Library)

    Below is a transcription of his radio address from the essential Reagan speech collection, “Reagan in His Own Hand.”

    Looking Out a Window

    January 27, 1978

    It’s nightfall in a strange town a long way from home. I’m watching the lights come on from my hotel room window on the 35th floor.

    I’ll be right back.

    I’m afraid you are in for a little bit of philosophizing if you don’t mind. Some of these broadcasts have to be put together while I’m out on the road traveling what I call the mashed potato circuit. In a little while I’ll be speaking to a group of very nice people in a banquet hall.

    Right now however I’m looking down on a busy city at rush hour. The streets below are twin ribbons of sparkling red & white. Tail lights on the cars moving away from my vantage point provide the red and the headlights of those coming toward me the white. It’s logical to assume all or most are homeward bound at the end of a day’s work.

    I wonder why some social engineer hasn’t tried to get them to trade homes. The traffic is equally heavy in both directions so if they all lived in the end of town where they worked it would save a lot of travel time. Forget I said that & don’t even think it or some bureaucrat will try to do it.

    But I wonder about the people in those cars, who they are, what they do, what they are thinking about as they head for the warmth of home & family. (more…)

  • Secret Service director says White House fence jumper incident was ‘simply inexcusable’
    Posted November 19, 2014 at 11:05 am by Pete Kasperowicz

    Comments (8)

    Joseph Clancy, acting director of the United States Secret Service, admitted Wednesday that his agency has no excuse for allowing a man to jump the White House fence and make it all the way into the White House.

    “The fence jumping incident on September 19, 2014, was simply inexcusable,” Clancy said in prepared testimony for a House Judiciary Committee hearing schedule for 10 a.m.

    Screen Shot 2014-11-19 at 10.47.14 AM

    Acting Secret Service Director Joseph Clancy acknowledged Wednesday that there are no excuses for how a fence-jumper was able to invade the White House earlier this year.
    Image: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

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  • Harry Reid, who stiffed Republicans for years on amendments, calls on GOP to allow amendments next year
    Posted November 19, 2014 at 10:13 am by Pete Kasperowicz

    Comments (248)

    After years of blocking Republicans from offering amendments to key legislation, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said he hopes Republicans will allow amendments when they run the Senate next year.

    Reid said on the Senate floor Wednesday that wants an open amendment process right away, starting with a bill to approve the Keystone pipeline. Incoming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said that bill would come up early next year, after Senate Democrats narrowly defeated it Tuesday.

    Screen Shot 2014-11-19 at 10.09.21 AM

    Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has suddenly seen the light and has called for an open amendment process in the Senate next year.
    Image: AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster

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  • Dems want CBO to examine ‘carbon footprint’ of all bills presented in Congress
    Posted November 19, 2014 at 8:55 am by Pete Kasperowicz

    Comments (1)

    Three House Democrats have proposed legislation that would require the Congressional Budget Office to produce a “carbon score” for legislation, in the same way CBO creates a budget score for bills.

    Under the bill from Rep. Jared Huffman (D-Calif.), CBO would “estimate and report the projected carbon footprint of bills considered before Congress.” He introduced his bill just as Congress was considering the Keystone XL pipeline, a project he said would be rejected if the scope of its ‘carbon footprint’ were known.

    Screen Shot 2014-11-19 at 8.52.56 AM

    Democrats want Congress to have a ‘carbon score’ of all legislation it considers, an idea that would likely lead to even more fighting over CBO scores.
    Image: AP Photo/Matthew Brown

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  • WSJ foreign affairs expert: America is taking the wrong lessons from the Iraq War
    Posted November 19, 2014 at 8:42 am by Benjamin Weingarten

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    In an interview with Bret Stephens, Wall Street Journal deputy editorial page editor responsible for international opinion, Pulitzer Prize-winning commentator and author of the new book, ”America in Retreat: The New Isolationism and the Coming Global Disorder,” Stephens took a potentially unpopular but interesting position.

    Echoing the themes of his “America in Retreat,” and reflecting his nuanced views on foreign policy, Stephens defended the Iraq War with respect to deposing Saddam Hussein as a “classic police function,” but lambasted the notion of nation-building in the Middle East.

    Stephens, one of the more hawkish members of the Wall Street Journal, told us in a portion of our interview beginning at 17:41:

    We need to be much more thoughtful about the nature of our interventions.

    I to this day believe that getting rid of Saddam Hussein was absolutely the right thing to do. The guy was a menace to global order.

    But we went into Iraq with the purpose of making an example of Saddam Hussein. And we ended up staying in Iraq for the purpose of making Iraq exemplary. We wanted to turn this country into a model Arab democracy.

    The first purpose was to enforce global order, to punish and to get rid of a rogue dictator, and that’s a classic police function: “Here’s a bad guy and he has flouted…international norms long enough, he’s crossed too many of our red lines, we’re gonna get rid of him, we’re gonna take him out.”

    But then to go from there to this quixotic attempt to create gender balances in the Iraqi parliament, and tell the Iraqis how to bring themselves into kind of a 21st century socially sensitive democracy, I think was insane.

    “[T]o…tell the Iraqis how to bring themselves into …a 21st century…democracy, I think was insane”
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    Stephens added that America has taken away the wrong lesson from the Iraq War, in a sort of new “Vietnam syndrome,” something he laments throughout “America in Retreat” as preventing the nation from dealing with the threats to the U.S. and its interests:

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    [W]e’ve drawn the wrong lesson from the Iraq War. We’ve said “Well it just shows that you can never fix these countries.”

    The point isn’t to fix them. The point is to make examples of certain types of rogue behavior, and send a signal to other rogues that at some point, they will pay a price for certain kinds of behavior.

    …It should go without saying that the military should not be used for social work…should not be put in the service of attempts to redeem culturally crippled societies.

    It can’t be done, and any attempt to do it…we’ll just spend a lot of money rolling Sisyphus’s boulder up a hill.

    That doesn’t mean that we can’t ensure that, or we can’t use American power to enforce certain rules of the road, and to make sure that when a Saddam Hussein threatens his neighbors, or when Iran tries to build nuclear weapons, that we are prepared to exact a very high price on them, both in order to punish them, but also to deter their would-be imitators.

    Later in the interview in connection with a question about Syria, Stephens elaborated on his point about his belief in the folly of nation-building with respect to former Secretary of State Colin Powell’s so-called “Pottery Barn Rule.”

    “America does not have some kind of moral responsibility for fixing other societies.”
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    [B]ecause we’ve been conditioned by what happened in Iraq, we imagine, “Well if we had gone in then we would have had to have cured the ills of Syria.”

    I’m not sure that’s our responsibility.

    One of the points I make in the book (more…)