September 20, 2017

Independence Day: “The Star-Spangled Banner”

To celebrate Independence Day, the editors have decided to share the original words of the national anthem, in the original words and spelling of Francis Scott Key. Do you know the words?

The Star-Spangled Banner

O say can you see, by the dawn’s early light,
What so proudly we hail’d at the twilight’s last gleaming,
Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight
O’er the ramparts we watch’d were so gallantly streaming?
And the rocket’s red glare, the bomb bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there,
O say does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?
On the shore dimly seen through the mists of the deep
Where the foe’s haughty host in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze, o’er the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?
Now it catches the gleam of the morning’s first beam,
In full glory reflected now shines in the stream,
‘Tis the star-spangled banner – O long may it wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!
And where is that band who so vauntingly swore,
That the havoc of war and the battle’s confusion
A home and a Country should leave us no more?
Their blood has wash’d out their foul footstep’s pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave,
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.
O thus be it ever when freemen shall stand
Between their lov’d home and the war’s desolation!
Blest with vict’ry and peace may the heav’n rescued land
Praise the power that hath made and preserv’d us a nation!
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto – “In God is our trust,”
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.
Francis Scott Key

New York Times Condemns Trump’s CNN-WWE Re-tweet — But Sponsors Play Depicting His ‘Assassination’

The New York Times is reporting on “criticism, disbelief and dumbfoundedness” in the wake of President Donald Trump’s tweet on Sunday in which the president is depicted wrestling and punching a figure whose head has been replaced with the logo for CNN.

Times’ personalities condemned the tweet as, among other things, a “call for violence against the media,” and “unseemly that the president would attack journalists for doing their jobs, and encourage such anger at the media.”

Unmentioned by the newspaper is that The Times stood by its decision to back the controversial production of “Julius Caesar” in Central Park in which Caesar was glaringly depicted as a Trump-like figure being brutally assassinated by Roman senators.

For those who doubted the play’s intent, the production also featured Calpurnia, Caesar’s wife, speaking with a Slavic accent resembling that of First Lady Melania Trump.

The Times continued to back the play even after companies like Delta Air Lines, American Express and Bank of America pulled their sponsorship following public outcry.

“As an institution that believes in free speech for the arts as well as the media,” The Times said in a statement, “we support the right of the Public Theater to stage the production as they choose.”

Members of that same institution slammed Trump’s CNN wrestling tweet as inciting violence against reporters.

Trump’s tweet was accompanied by the hashtag #FraudNewsCNN #FNN.  The video seems to have been an edited version of a 2011 appearance that Trump made at the WrestleMania competition.

Alan Rappeport, The Times’ economic policy reporter, labeled the tweet a “call for violence against the media.”

Dean Baquet, executive editor of The Times, was quoted by the newspaper stating, “I think it is unseemly that the president would attack journalists for doing their jobs, and encourage such anger at the media.”

The Times’ article reporting on Trump’s tweet told readers the missive “stirred criticism, disbelief and dumbfoundedness. Some journalists denounced its portrayal of violence as dangerous, saying it could incite attacks or threats against news media employees.”

Trump’s CNN tweet comes as members of the news media have repeatedly falsely depicted the U.S. president as a usurper who may have colluded with Russia to steal the 2016 presidential election.

One establishment talking point, as Breitbart News previously documented, had numerous Democratic Party operatives and media pundits repeatedly using the word “treason” in a seeming attempt to smear Trump over unproven claims of collusion with Russia during the 2016 presidential campaign.

The Russia narrative seems to have angered James T. Hodgkinson, the man who shot up lawmakers and aides at a practice in Alexandria, Va., for an annual congressional baseball game. Hodgkinson reportedly expressed anti-Trump sentiment on his Facebook page tied to the unproven Russia collusion claims. House Majority Whip Steve Scalise was critically wounded in the shooting attack and four others were injured.

The Boston Globe reported on Hodgkinson’s political views:

One posting indicates that Hodgkinson signed a change.org petition for “the legal impeachment and or legal removal of The President & Vice President, et al., for Treason and Misprision of Treason.”

Another indicates that Hodgkinson signed a change.org petition asking past presidents to urge Congress to launch a “powerful and independent inquiry” into the Trump campaign’s contacts with Russia.

Another indicates that he signed a change.org petition supporting legislation sponsored by Massachusetts US Representative Katherine Clark that would require Trump to place his assets in a blind trust or disclose when he makes a decision that affects his personal finances.

CNN in recent days has been facing a public relations crisis concerning its Russia coverage.

The network has been under fire for the last week, after CNN retracted a story that relied on one anonymous source to allege ties between a Trump ally and a Russian investment bank.  Three CNN staffers reportedly resigned in the wake of the scandal.  The network abruptly deleted and then retracted the story after the narrative was questioned by Breitbart’s Matt Boyle.

CNN faced more controversy after Project Veritas founder James O’Keefe released a video in which the network’s supervising producer, John Bonifield, who works for the medical and health section, referred to the Russia interference story as “mostly bullshit” while indicating the story was being pumped for ratings.

“I just feel like they don’t really have it, but they want to keep digging. And so I think the president is probably right to say, like, look you are witch hunting me,” Bonifield was filmed stating. “You have no smoking gun, you have no real proof.”

O’Keefe followed that up with a second video in which CNN commentator Van Jones called the Russia collusion story a “big nothing burger.”

A third O’Keefe video caught a producer for CNN’s New Day Show with Chris Cuomo criticizing Trump and mocking American voters.

by Aaron Klein

Aaron Klein is Breitbart’s Jerusalem bureau chief and senior investigative reporter. He is a New York Times bestselling author and hosts the popular weekend talk radio program, “Aaron Klein Investigative Radio.” Follow him on Twitter @AaronKleinShow. Follow him on Facebook.

Independence Day: “The Battle Hymn Of The Republic”

In honor of the celebration of our independence from Britain, let us remember the God whose glory shines on a nation that serves Him:

 

The Battle Hymn Of The Republic

Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord;
He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored;
He hath loosed the fateful lightning of His terrible swift sword;
His truth is marching on.

I have seen Him in the watch-fires of a hundred circling camps;
They have builded Him an altar in the evening dews and damps;
I can read His righteous sentence by the dim and flaring lamps,
His day is marching on.

I have read His fiery gospel writ in rows of burnished steel!
“As ye deal with my condemners, so with you My grace shall deal!
Let the Hero, born of woman, crush the serpent with his heel, ”
Since God is marching on.

He has sounded forth the trumpet that shall never call retreat;
He is sifting out the hearts of men before His judgment seat;
Oh, be swift, my soul, to answer Him; be jubilant, my feet!
Our God is marching on.

In the beauty of the lilies Christ was born across the sea,
With a glory in His bosom that transfigures you and me;
As He died to make men holy, let us die to make men free!
While God is marching on.

Glory! Glory! Hallelujah!
Glory! Glory! Hallelujah!
Glory! Glory! Hallelujah!
His truth is marching on.

By Julia Ward Howe

LDS Church Weighs in on “Medical” Marijuana Ballot Initiative in Utah

SALT LAKE CITY — The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints could have a significant impact on the upcoming ballot initiative for medical marijuana in Utah.

The LDS Church, which weighs in on moral and social issues, has spoken out against recreational cannabis ballot initiatives in the past. Asked by FOX 13 about the medical marijuana ballot initiative filed in Utah, a church spokesman responded with a statement:

“Lawmakers across the country have wrestled with whether to legalize the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes. This discussion raises legitimate questions regarding the benefits and risks of legalizing a drug that has not gone through the well-established and rigorous process to prove its effectiveness and safety.

During the 2017 legislative session, a bill was passed that appropriately authorized further research of the potential benefits and risks of using marijuana. The difficulties of attempting to legalize a drug at the state level that is illegal under Federal law cannot be overstated.

Accordingly, we believe that society is best served by requiring marijuana to go through further research and the FDA approval process that all other drugs must go through before they are prescribed to patients.”

The Utah Patients Coalition, which is running the campaign for the medical marijuana ballot initiative, told FOX 13 it would not comment on the LDS Church’s statement. Instead, it would focus on persuading voters to approve the ballot initiative in 2018.

Internal polling released by the group claims 73% of Utah voters have said they would vote in favor of the ballot initiative. Presumably, that would include Mormon voters.

Supporters told FOX 13 they hoped the LDS Church would not be vocally opposed to the ballot initiative.

“I’m hoping they stay neutral on this issue because this is a harm-reduction tool,” said Christine Stenquist, the head of Together for Responsible Use and Cannabis Education (TRUCE), which supports the ballot question.

“We’re talking about saving lives. Utah truly does have an opioid crisis.”

Supporters of the medical marijuana ballot question include a number of people with medical issues and patient advocates. They said they have pushed for it after years of inaction by the Utah State Legislature.

The Utah Patients Coalition filed the paperwork on Monday to begin the process to get it before voters on the 2018 ballot. They will next hold public meetings across the state and, if paperwork checks out with the Lt. Governor’s Office, they can begin gathering nearly 115,000 signatures to put it on the ballot.

Former Sen. Mark Madsen, L-Saratoga Springs, said Monday patients who are LDS are put in a tough spot when it comes to medical cannabis. In some states it’s legal, but in Utah it is not.

“If I stay here, I not only run the risk of being a criminal but my status with my church is dubious,” he said. “Can I or can I not go to the temple? Those decisions, I think, are unfair to put a member of the church in.”

Madsen said he remains hopeful that as the ballot initiative moves forward, the LDS Church stays out of it.

“I think I have about as much business running the church as they do running the state,” he said.

by

Editor’s Note: In passing through states that have passed similar “Medical” Marijuana bills recently, it is abundantly clear that the “Medical” aspect is a mere ruse to pry open the door. Once opened, it is full-on marijuana for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Keyword: RUSE

Supreme Court Will Decide Trump Travel Ban Block

The U.S. Supreme Court has announced that it will hear the Trump administration’s appeal of a lower court’s ruling that blocked the president’s executive order temporarily restricting travel from several terror-risk, Muslim-majority countries.

In a win for the administration, the court also allowed parts of the travel ban to be enforced in the interim.

This case is important to the administration because the law clearly gives the president broad powers to designate which foreigners can and cannot enter the country, while liberal federal courts have ruled that the President may not restrict Muslims, based on a religious discrimination test, citing campaign promises of “Candidate” Trump before he was elected President.

PUBLIUS

FEELIN’ THE BERN? Sanders, Wife Lawyer Up as FBI Probes $10M Loan

Sen. Bernie Sanders and his wife have hired defense attorneys amid an FBI probe into a loan the senator’s wife procured for Burlington College while she was school president, according to news reports.

Sanders, a Vermont Independent, and wife Jane hired a legal team in connection to a 2010 loan application Jane Sanders purportedly filed so the school could borrow $10 million to purchase 33 acres of land, as reported first by Politico.

The hiring of the attorneys was confirmed to CBS News by Jeff Weaver, the campaign manager for Sanders in his bid to win the Democratic Party nomination in the 2016 presidential race.

Jane Sanders purportedly distorted school donor levels in the loan application she filed to People’s United Bank, according to the January 2016 complaint. The liberal arts college closed that same year.

Politico also reports that federal prosecutors could be looking into allegations that Sen. Sanders’ office tried inappropriately to get the bank to approve the loan.

Sanders supporter Rich Cassidy has reportedly been hired to represent the senator, and Washington defense attorney Larry Robbins has reportedly been retained for his wife.

The claims regarding the loan were filed to the U.S. attorney in Vermont by Brady Toensing, who led President Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign in the state.

Toensing told CBS that the investigation was started during the Obama administration.

Sanders has called the allegations “nonsense,” but last month said commenting on the matter would be “improper.”

FoxNews.com

Supreme Court Vacancy: Will Justice Kennedy Retire this Month?

The Supreme Court’s term ends next week with growing speculation that Justice Anthony Kennedy–the panel’s most pivotal member–may retire at age 80 after 29 years on the court.

Action is expected on President Trump’s travel ban before the court’s long summer break but the biggest news of all would be if Kennedy were to use the court’s last public session on Monday to announce his retirement, the Associated Press reported Saturday.

Kennedy has played an important role as the court’s swing vote on many important rulings. His departure would allow conservatives to wrest near total control of the bench for the foreseeable future.

Several of his former law clerks have said they think he is contemplating stepping down in the next year or so.

Kennedy and his clerks were gathering over the weekend for a reunion that was pushed up a year and helped spark talk he might be leaving the court.

“Soon we’ll know if rumors of Kennedy’s retirement are accurate,” one former Kennedy clerk, George Washington University law professor Orin Kerr, said on Twitter Friday.

Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, told reporters in April, “I would expect a resignation this summer.”

Kennedy’s departure would allow Trump to fill a second Supreme Court vacancy in just a short period of time.

Justice Neil Gorsuch, Trump’s first nominee, joined the court in April, overriding efforts by the Democratic minority to block the nomination.

The vote came after Senate Republicans voted to change parliamentary rules to require only 51 votes to confirm Supreme Court nominees.

The other two older justices, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, 84, and Stephen Breyer, 78, are Democratic appointees.

Neither appear to be ready to step down with Trump in the White House—if they can help it.

“I love my job,” Ginsburg told a Georgetown University audience last month.

FoxNews.com / The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Dem Official Says He’s ‘Glad’ Scalise Was Shot

A Nebraska Democratic Party official was removed from his post on Thursday after an audio recording surfaced of him saying he’s “glad” House Majority Whip Steve Scalise got shot last week.

Phil Montag, now-former co-chair of the state party’s technology committee, was recorded saying he wishes Scalise, R-La., were “dead.”

“His whole job is to get people, convince Republicans to [expletive] kick people off [expletive] health care. I’m glad he got shot,” Montag said in the audio recording. “I wish he was [expletive] dead.”

The audio was posted on YouTube. Nebraska Democratic Chairwoman Jane Kleeb confirmed to FOX 42 that the voice on the audio recording was, in fact, Montag’s.

“We obviously condemn any kind of violence whether it’s comments on Facebook or comments in a meeting,” Kleeb said. “Our country is better than the political rhetoric that is out there from both the far right and the far left.”

Montag, in an interview with the Omaha World-Herald, said his words were taken out of context and he was “horrified” by the shooting.

“I did not call for the congressman’s death,” Montag reportedly said.

Kleeb removed Montag from his post just one week after Nebraska Democratic Black Caucus Chairwoman Chelsey Gentry-Tipton was asked to resign over a Facebook post about Scalise and the attack on Republicans. She did not.

“Gentry-Tipton had posted in a thread about the shooting: ‘Watching the congressman crying on live tv abt the trauma they experienced. Y is this so funny tho?,’” the Omaha World-Herald reported.

Later, in the same thread, she reportedly stated, “The very people that push pro NRA legislation in efforts to pad their pockets with complete disregard for human life. Yeah, having a hard time feeling bad for them.”

FoxNews.com

Pres. Trump Signs VA Reform Bill

President Trump on Friday signed a bill that would protect whistleblowers while making it easier to fire employees at the Department of Veterans Affairs.

The Department of Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act passed by Congress earlier this month streamlines the process to remove, demote, or suspend VA employees for poor performance or misconduct. In addition, it authorizes the VA secretary to recoup any bonuses awarded to employees who have acted improperly.

Under the new law, protections for whistleblowers will be expanded and the VA will be prevented from dismissing an employee who has an open complaint against the department.

The bill helped Trump follow through on a 2016 campaign promise.

The law marks the second time Congress has tried to change the disciplinary process at the VA. In 2014, the Choice Act was passed and tried to cut senior executives’ rights to appeal discipline to the Merit Systems Protection Board. However, a court ruled that it was unconstitutional and violated the Constitution’s appointments clause.

Ahead of the signing, Concerned Veterans for America, a conservative advocacy group, hailed the legislation as a positive step forward in a “new era of accountability, customer focus, and integrity at the department.”

By Barnini Chakraborty 

New Light: Pres. Washington’s Farewell Address

September 19, 1796

Friends and Fellow Citizens:

The period for a new election of a citizen to administer the Executive Government of the United States being not far distant, and the time actually arrived when your thoughts must be employed in designating the person who is to be clothed with that important trust, it appears to me proper, especially as it may conduce to a more distinct expression of the public voice, that I should now apprise you of the resolution I have formed to decline being considered among the number of those out of whom a choice is to be made.

I beg you at the same time to do me the justice to be assured that this resolution has not been taken without a strict regard to all the considerations appertaining to the relation which binds a dutiful citizen to his country; and that in withdrawing the tender of service, which silence in my Situation might imply, I am influenced by no diminution of zeal for your future interest, no deficiency of grateful respect for your past kindness, but am supported by a full conviction that the step is compatible with both.

The acceptance of and continuance hitherto in the office to which your suffrages have twice called me have been a uniform sacrifice of inclination to the opinion of duty and to a deference for what appeared to be your desire. I constantly hoped that it would have been much earlier in my power, consistently with motives which I was not at liberty to disregard, to return to that retirement from which I had been reluctantly drawn. The strength of my inclination to do this previous to the last election had even led to the preparation of an address to declare it to you; but mature reflection on the then perplexed and critical posture of our affairs with foreign nations and the unanimous advice of persons entitled to my confidence impelled me to abandon the idea. I rejoice that the state of your concerns, external as well as internal, no longer renders the pursuit of inclination incompatible with the sentiment of duty or propriety, and am persuaded, whatever partiality may be retained for my services, that in the present circumstances of our country you will not disapprove my determination to retire.

The impressions with which I first undertook the arduous trust were explained on the proper occasion. In the discharge of this trust I will only say that I have, with good intentions, contributed toward the organization and administration of the Government the best exertions of which a very fallible judgment was capable, Not unconscious in the outset of the inferiority of my qualifications, experience in my own eyes, perhaps still more in the eyes of others, has strengthened the motives to diffidence of myself; and every day the increasing weight of years admonishes me more and more that the shade of retirement is as necessary to me as it will be welcome. Satisfied that if any circumstances have given peculiar value to my services they were temporary, I have the consolation to believe that, while choice and prudence invite me to quit the political scene, patriotism does not forbid it.

In looking forward to the moment which is intended to terminate the career of my political life my feelings do not permit me to suspend the deep acknowledgment of that debt of gratitude which I owe to my beloved country for the many honors it has conferred upon me; still more for the steadfast confidence with which it has supported me, and for the opportunities I have thence enjoyed of manifesting my inviolable attachment by services faithful and persevering, though in usefulness unequal to my zeal. If benefits have resulted to our country from these services, let it always be remembered to your praise and as an instructive example in our annals that under circumstances in which the passions, agitated in every direction, were liable to mislead; amidst appearances sometimes dubious; vicissitudes of fortune often discouraging; in situations in which not unfrequently want of success has countenanced the spirit of criticism, the constancy of your support was the essential prop of the efforts and a guaranty of the plans by which they were effected. Profoundly penetrated with this idea, I shall carry it with me to my grave as a strong incitement to unceasing vows that Heaven may continue to you the choicest tokens of its beneficence; that your union and brotherly affection may be perpetual; that the free Constitution which is the work of your hands may be sacredly maintained; that its administration in every department may be stamped with wisdom and virtue; that, in fine, the happiness of the people of these States, under the auspices of liberty, may be made complete by so careful a preservation and so prudent a use of this blessing as will acquire to them the glory of recommending it to the applause, the affection, and adoption of every nation which is yet a stranger to it.

Here, perhaps, I ought to stop. But a solicitude for your welfare which can not end but with my life, and the apprehension of danger natural to that solicitude, urge me on an occasion like the present to offer to your solemn contemplation and to recommend to your frequent review some sentiments which are the result of much reflection, of no inconsiderable observation, and which appear to me all important to the permanency of your felicity as a people. These will be offered to you with the more freedom as you can only see in them the disinterested warnings of a parting friend, who can possibly have no personal motive to bias his counsel. Nor can I forget as an encouragement to it your indulgent reception of my sentiments on a former and not dissimilar occasion.

Interwoven as is the love of liberty with every ligament of your hearts, no recommendation of mine is necessary to fortify or confirm the attachment.

The unity of government which constitutes you one people is also now dear to you. It is justly so, for it is a main pillar in the edifice of your real independence, the support of your tranquillity at home, your peace abroad, of your safety, of your prosperity, of that very liberty which you so highly prize. But as it is easy to foresee that from different causes and from different quarters much pains will be taken, many artifices employed, to weaken in your minds the conviction of this truth, as this is the point in your political fortress against which the batteries of internal and external enemies will be most constantly and actively (though often covertly and insidiously) directed, it is of infinite moment that you should properly estimate the immense value of your national union to your collective and individual happiness; that you should cherish a cordial, habitual, and immovable attachment to it; accustoming yourselves to think and speak of it as of the palladium of your political safety and prosperity; watching for its preservation with jealous anxiety; discountenancing whatever may suggest even a suspicion that it can in any event be abandoned, and indignantly frowning upon the first dawning of every attempt to alienate any portion of our country from the rest or to enfeeble the sacred ties which now link together the various parts.

For this you have every inducement of sympathy and interest. Citizens by birth or choice of a common country, that country has a right to concentrate your affections. The name of American, which belongs to you in your national capacity, must always exalt the just pride of patriotism more than any appellation derived from local discriminations. With slight shades of difference, you have the same religion, manners, habits, and political principles. You have in a common cause fought and triumphed together. The independence and liberty you possess are the work of joint councils and joint efforts, of common dangers, sufferings, and successes.

But these considerations, however powerfully they address themselves to your sensibility, are greatly outweighed by those which apply more immediately to your interest. Here every portion of our country finds the most commanding motives for carefully guarding and preserving the union of the whole.

The North, in an unrestrained intercourse with the South, protected by the equal laws of a common government, finds in the productions of the latter great additional resources of maritime and commercial enterprise and precious materials of manufacturing industry. The South, in the same intercourse, benefiting by the same agency of the North, sees its agriculture grow and its commerce expand. Turning partly into its own channels the seamen of the North, it finds its particular navigation invigorated; and while it contributes in different ways to nourish and increase the general mass of the national navigation, it looks forward to the protection of a maritime strength to which itself is unequally adapted. The East, in a like intercourse with the West, already finds, and in the progressive improvement of interior communications by land and water will more and more find, a valuable vent for the commodities which it brings from abroad or manufactures at home. The West derives from the East supplies requisite to its growth and comfort, and what is perhaps of still greater consequence, it must of necessity owe the secure enjoyment of indispensable outlets for its own productions to the weight, influence, and the future maritime strength of the Atlantic side of the Union, directed by an indissoluble community of interest as one nation. Any other tenure by which the West can hold this essential advantage, whether derived from its own separate strength or from an apostate and unnatural connection with any foreign power, must be intrinsically precarious.

While, then, every part of our country thus feels an immediate and particular interest in union, all the parts combined can not fail to find in the united mass of means and efforts greater strength, greater resource, proportionably greater security from external danger, a less frequent interruption of their peace by foreign nations, and what is of inestimable value, they must derive from union an exemption from those broils and wars between themselves which so frequently afflict neighboring countries not tied together by the same governments, which their own rivalships alone would be sufficient to produce, but which opposite foreign alliances, attachments, and intrigues would stimulate and imbitter. Hence, likewise, they will avoid the necessity of those overgrown military establishments which, under any form of government, are inauspicious to liberty, and which are to be regarded as particularly hostile to republican liberty. In this sense it is that your union ought to be considered as a main prop of your liberty, and that the love of the one ought to endear to you the preservation of the other.

These considerations speak a persuasive language to every reflecting and virtuous mind, and exhibit the continuance of the union as a primary object of patriotic desire. Is there a doubt whether a common government can embrace so large a sphere? Let experience solve it. To listen to mere speculation in such a case were criminal. We are authorized to hope that a proper organization of the whole, with the auxiliary agency of governments for the respective subdivisions, will afford a happy issue to the experiment. It is well worth a fair and full experiment. With such powerful and obvious motives to union affecting all parts of our country, while experience shall not have demonstrated its impracticability, there will always be reason to distrust the patriotism of those who in any quarter may endeavor to weaken its bands.

In contemplating the causes which may disturb our union it occurs as matter of serious concern that any ground should have been furnished for characterizing parties by geographical discriminations–Northern and Southern, Atlantic and Western– whence designing men may endeavor to excite a belief that there is a real difference of local interests and views. One of the expedients of party to acquire influence within particular districts is to misrepresent the opinions and aims of other districts. You can not shield yourselves too much against the jealousies and heartburnings which spring from these misrepresentations; they tend to render alien to each other those who ought to be bound together by fraternal affection. The inhabitants of our Western country have lately had a useful lesson on this head. They have seen in the negotiation by the Executive and in the unanimous ratification by the Senate of the treaty with Spain, and in the universal satisfaction at that event throughout the United States, a decisive proof how unfounded were the suspicions propagated among them of a policy in the General Government and in the Atlantic States unfriendly to their interests in regard to the Mississippi. They have been witnesses to the formation of two treaties that with Great Britain and that with Spain–which secure to them everything they could desire in respect to our foreign relations toward confirming their prosperity. Will it not be their wisdom to rely for the preservation of these advantages on the union by which they were procured? Will they not henceforth be deaf to those advisers, if such there are, who would sever them from their brethren and connect them with aliens?

To the efficacy and permanency of your union a government for the whole is indispensable. No alliances, however strict, between the parts can be an adequate substitute. They must inevitably experience the infractions and interruptions which all alliances in all times have experienced. Sensible of this momentous truth, you have improved upon your first essay by the adoption of a Constitution of Government better calculated than your former for an intimate union and for the efficacious management of your common concerns. This Government, the offspring of our own choice, uninfluenced and unawed, adopted upon full investigation and mature deliberation, completely free in its principles, in the distribution of its powers, uniting security with energy, and containing within itself a provision for its own amendment, has a just claim to your confidence and your support. Respect for its authority, compliance with its laws, acquiescence in its measures, are duties enjoined by the fundamental maxims of true liberty. The basis of our political systems is the right of the people to make and to alter their constitutions of government. But the constitution which at any time exists till changed by an explicit and authentic act of the whole people is sacredly obligatory upon all. The very idea of the power and the right of the people to establish government presupposes the duty of every individual to obey the established government.

All obstructions to the execution of the laws, all combinations and associations, under whatever plausible character, with the real design to direct, control, counteract, or awe the regular deliberation and action of the constituted authorities, are destructive of this fundamental principle and of fatal tendency. They serve to organize faction; to give it an artificial and extraordinary force; to put in the place of the delegated will of the nation the will of a party, often a small but artful and enterprising minority of the community, and, according to the alternate triumphs of different parties, to snake the public administration the mirror of the ill-concerted and incongruous projects of faction rather than the organ of consistent and wholesome plans, digested by common counsels and modified by mutual interests.

However combinations or associations of the above description may now and then answer popular ends, they are likely in the course of time and things to become potent engines by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people, and to usurp for themselves the reins of government, destroying. afterwards the very engines which have lifted them to unjust dominion.

Toward the preservation of your Government and the permanency of your present happy state, it is requisite not only that you steadily discountenance irregular oppositions to its acknowledged authority, but also that you resist with care the spirit of innovation upon its principles, however specious the pretexts. One method of assault may be to effect in the forms of the Constitution alterations which will impair the energy of the system, and thus to undermine what can not be directly overthrown. In all the changes to which you may be invited remember that time and habit are at least as necessary to fix the true character of governments as of other human institutions; that experience is the surest standard by which to test the real tendency of the existing constitution of a country; that facility in changes upon the credit of mere hypothesis and opinion exposes to perpetual change, from the endless variety of hypothesis and opinion; and remember especially that for the efficient management of your common interests in a country so extensive as ours a government of as much vigor as is consistent with the perfect security of liberty is indispensable. Liberty itself will find in such a government, with powers properly distributed and adjusted, its surest guardian. It is, indeed, little else than a name where the government is too feeble to withstand the enterprises of faction, to confine each member of the society within the limits prescribed by the laws, and to maintain all in the secure and tranquil enjoyment of the rights of person and property.

I have already intimated to you the danger of parties in the State, with particular reference to the founding of them on geographical discriminations. Let me now take a more comprehensive view, and warn you in the most solemn manner against the baneful effects of the spirit of party generally.

This spirit, unfortunately, is inseparable from our nature, having its root in the strongest passions of the human mind. It exists under different shapes in all governments, more or less stifled, controlled, or repressed; but in those of the popular form it is seen in its greatest rankness and is truly their worst enemy.

The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge natural to party dissension, which in different ages and countries has perpetrated the most horrid enormities, is itself a frightful despotism. But this leads at length to a more formal and permanent despotism. The disorders and miseries which result gradually incline the minds of men to seek security and repose in the absolute power of an individual, and sooner or later the chief of some prevailing faction, more able or more fortunate than his competitors, turns this disposition to the purposes of his own elevation on the ruins of public liberty.

Without looking forward to an extremity of this kind (which nevertheless ought not to be entirely out of sight), the common and continual mischiefs of the spirit of party are sufficient to make it the interest and duty of a wise people to discourage and restrain it.

It serves always to distract the public councils and enfeeble the public administration. It agitates the community with ill-rounded jealousies and false alarms; kindles the animosity of one part against another; foments occasionally riot and insurrection. It opens the door to foreign influence and corruption, which find a facilitated access to the government itself through the channels of party passion. Thus the policy and the will of one country are subjected to the policy and will of another.

There is an opinion that parties in free countries are useful checks upon the administration of the government, and serve to keep alive the spirit of liberty. This within certain limits is probably true; and in governments of a monarchical cast patriotism may look with indulgence, if not with favor, upon the spirit of party. But in those of the popular character, in governments purely elective, it is a spirit not to be encouraged. From their natural tendency it is certain there will always be enough of that spirit for every salutary purpose; and there being constant danger of excess, the effort ought to be by force of public opinion to mitigate and assuage it. A fire not to be quenched, it demands a uniform vigilance to prevent its bursting into a flame, lest, instead of warming, it should consume.

It is important, likewise, that the habits of thinking in a free country should inspire caution in those intrusted with its administration to confine themselves within their respective constitutional spheres, avoiding in the exercise of the powers of one department to encroach upon another. The spirit of encroachment tends to consolidate the powers of all the departments in one, and thus to create, whatever the form of government, a real despotism. A just estimate of that love of power and proneness to abuse it which predominates in the human heart is sufficient to satisfy us of the truth of this position. The necessity of reciprocal checks in the exercise of political power, by dividing and distributing it into different depositories, and constituting each the guardian of the public weal against invasions by the others, has been evinced by experiments ancient and modern, some of them in our country and under our own eyes. To preserve them must be as necessary as to institute them. If in the opinion of the people the distribution or modification of the constitutional powers be in any particular wrong, let it be corrected by an amendment in the way which the Constitution designates. But let there be no change by usurpation; for though this in one instance may be the instrument of good, it is the customary weapon by which free governments are destroyed. The precedent must always greatly overbalance in permanent evil any partial or transient benefit which the use can at any time yield.

Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness–these firmest props of the duties of men and citizens. The mere politician, equally with the pious man, ought to respect and to cherish them. A volume could not trace all their connections with private and public felicity. Let it simply be asked, Where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths which are the instruments of investigation in courts of justice? And let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.

It is substantially true that virtue or morality is a necessary spring of popular government. The rule indeed extends with more or less force to every species of free government. Who that is a sincere friend to it can look with indifference upon attempts to shake the foundation of the fabric? Promote, then, as an object of primary importance, institutions ‘for the general diffusion of knowledge. In proportion as the structure of a government gives force to public opinion, it is essential that public opinion should be enlightened.

As a very important source of strength and security, cherish public credit. One method of preserving it is to use it as sparingly as possible, avoiding occasions of expense by cultivating peace, but remembering also that timely disbursements to prepare for danger frequently prevent much greater disbursements to repel it; avoiding likewise the accumulation of debt, not only by shunning occasions of expense, but by vigorous exertions in time of peace to discharge the debts which unavoidable wars have occasioned, not ungenerously throwing upon posterity the burthen which we ourselves ought to bear. The execution of these maxims belongs to your representatives; but it is necessary that public opinion should cooperate. To facilitate to them the performance of their duty it is essential that you should practically bear in mind that toward the payment of debts there must be revenue; that to have revenue there must be taxes; that no taxes can be devised which are not more or less inconvenient and unpleasant; that thee intrinsic embarrassment inseparable from the selection of the proper objects (which is always a choice of difficulties), ought to be a decisive motive for a candid construction of the conduct of the Government in making it, and for a spirit of acquiescence in the measures for obtaining revenue which the public exigencies may at any time dictate.

Observe good faith and justice toward all nations. Cultivate peace and harmony with all. Religion and morality enjoin this conduct. And can it be that good policy does not equally enjoin it? It will be worthy of a free, enlightened, and at no distant period a great nation to give to mankind the magnanimous and too novel example of a people always guided by an exalted justice and benevolence. Who can doubt that in the course of time and things the fruits of such a plan would richly repay any temporary advantages which might be lost by a steady adherence to it? Can it be that Providence has not connected the permanent felicity of a nation with its virtue? The experiment, at least, is recommended by every sentiment which ennobles human nature. Alas! is it rendered impossible by its vices?

In the execution of such a plan nothing is more essential than that permanent, inveterate antipathies against particular nations and passionate attachments for others should be excluded, and that in place of them just and amicable feelings toward all should be cultivated. The nation which indulges toward another an habitual hatred or an habitual fondness is in some degree a slave. It is a slave to its animosity or to its affection, either of which is sufficient to lead it astray from its duty and its interest. Antipathy in one nation against another disposes each more readily to offer insult and injury, to lay hold of slight causes of umbrage, and to be haughty and intractable when accidental or trifling occasions of dispute occur.

Hence frequent collisions, obstinate, envenomed, and bloody contests. The nation prompted by ill will and resentment sometimes impels to war the government contrary to the best calculations of policy. The government sometimes participates in the national propensity, and adopts through passion what reason would reject. At other times it makes the animosity of the nation subservient to projects of hostility, instigated by pride, ambition, and other sinister and pernicious motives. The peace often, sometimes perhaps the liberty, of nations has been the victim.

So, likewise, a passionate attachment of one nation for another produces a variety of evils. Sympathy for the favorite nation, facilitating the illusion of an imaginary common interest in cases where no real common interest exists, and infusing into one the enmities of the other, betrays the former into a participation in the quarrels and wars of the latter without adequate inducement or justification. It leads also to concessions to the favorite nation of privileges denied to others, which is apt doubly to injure the nation making the concessions by unnecessarily parting with what ought to have been retained, and by exciting jealousy, ill will, and a disposition to retaliate in the parties from whom equal privileges are withheld; and it gives to ambitions, corrupted, or deluded citizens (who devote themselves to the favorite nation) facility to betray or sacrifice the interests of their own country without odium, sometimes even with popularity, gilding with the appearances of a virtuous sense of obligation, a commendable deference for public opinion, or a laudable zeal for public good the base or foolish compliances of ambition, corruption, or infatuation.

As avenues to foreign influence in innumerable ways, such attachments are particularly alarming to the truly enlightened and independent patriot. How many opportunities do they afford to tamper with domestic factions, to practice the arts of seduction, to mislead public opinion, to influence or awe the public councils! Such an attachment of a small or weak toward a great and powerful nation dooms the former to be the satellite of the latter. Against the insidious wiles of foreign influence ( I conjure you to believe me, fellow-citizens) the jealousy of a free people ought to be constantly awake, since history and experience prove that foreign influence is one of the most baneful foes of republican government. But that jealousy, to be useful, must be impartial, else it becomes the instrument of the very influence to be avoided, instead of a defense against it. Excessive partiality for one foreign nation and excessive dislike of another cause those whom they actuate to see danger only on one side, and serve to veil and even second the arts of influence on the other. Real patriots who may resist the intrigues of the favorite are liable to become suspected and odious, while its tools and dupes usurp the applause and confidence of the people to surrender their interests.

The great rule of conduct for us in regard to foreign nations is, in extending our commercial relations to have with them as little political connection as possible. So far as we have already formed engagements let them be fulfilled with perfect good faith. Here let us stop.

Europe has a set of primary interests which to us have none or a very remote relation. Hence she must be engaged in frequent controversies, the causes of which are essentially foreign to our concerns. Hence, therefore, it must be unwise in us to implicate ourselves by artificial ties in the ordinary vicissitudes of her politics or the ordinary combinations and collisions of her friendships or enmities.

Our detached and distant situation invites and enables us to pursue a different course. If we remain one people, under an efficient government, the period is not far off when we may defy material injury from external annoyance; when we may take such an attitude as will cause the neutrality we may at any time resolve upon to be scrupulously respected; when belligerent nations, under the impossibility of making acquisitions upon us, will not lightly hazard the giving us provocation; when we may choose peace or war, as our interest, guided by justice, shall counsel.

Why forego the advantages of so peculiar a situation? Why quit our own to stand upon foreign ground? Why, by interweaving our destiny with that of any part of Europe, entangle our peace and prosperity in the toils of European ambition, rivalship, interest, humor, or caprice?

It is our true policy to steer clear of permanent alliances with any portion of the foreign world, so far, I mean, as we are now at liberty to do it; for let me not be understood as capable of patronizing infidelity to existing engagements. I hold the maxim no less applicable to public than to private affairs that honesty is always. the best policy. I repeat, therefore, let those engagements be unwise to extend them.

Taking care always to keep ourselves by suitable establishments on a respectable defensive posture, we may safely trust to temporary alliances for extraordinary emergencies.

Harmony, liberal intercourse with all nations are recommended by policy, humanity, and interest. But even our commercial policy should hold an equal and impartial hand, neither seeking nor granting exclusive favors or preferences; consulting the natural course of things; diffusing and diversifying by gentle means the streams of commerce, but forcing nothing; establishing with powers so disposed, in order to give trade a stable course, to define the rights of our merchants, and to enable the Government to support them, conventional rules of intercourse, the best that present circumstances and mutual opinion will permit, but temporary and liable to be from time to time abandoned or varied as experience and circumstances shall dictate; constantly keeping in view that it is folly in one nation to look for disinterested favors from another; that it must pay with a portion of its independence for whatever it may accept under that character; that by such acceptance it may place itself in the condition of having given equivalents for nominal favors, and yet of being reproached with ingratitude for not giving more. There can be no greater error than to expect or calculate upon real favors from nation to nation. It is an illusion which experience must cure, which a just pride ought to discard.

In offering to you, my countrymen, these counsels of an old and affectionate friend I dare not hope they will make the strong and lasting impression I could wish–that they will control the usual current of the passions or prevent our nation from running the course which has hitherto marked the destiny of nations. But if I may even flatter myself that they may be productive of some partial benefit, some occasional good–that they may now and then recur to moderate the fury of party spirit, to warn against the mischiefs of foreign intrigue, to guard against the impostures of pretended patriotism– this hope will be a full recompense for the solicitude for your welfare by which they have been dictated.

How far in the discharge of my official duties I have been guided by the principles which have been delineated the public records and other evidences of my conduct must witness to you and to the world. To myself, the assurance of my own conscience is that I have at least believed myself to be guided by them.

In relation to the still subsisting war in Europe my proclamation of the 22d of April, 1793, is the index to my plan. Sanctioned by your approving voice and by that of your representatives in both Houses of Congress, the spirit of that measure has continually governed me, uninfluenced by any attempts to deter or divert me from it.

After deliberate examination, with the aid of the best lights I could obtain, I was well satisfied that our country, under all the circumstances of the case, had a right to take, and was bound in duty and interest to take, a neutral position. Having taken it, I determined as far as should depend upon me to maintain it with moderation, perseverance, and firmness.

The considerations which respect the right to hold this conduct it is not necessary on this occasion to detail. I will only observe that, according to my understanding of the matter, that right, so far from being denied by any of the belligerent powers, has been virtually admitted by all.

The duty of holding a neutral conduct may be inferred, without anything more, from the obligation which justice and humanity impose on every nation, in cases in which it is free to act, to maintain inviolate the relations of peace and amity toward other nations.

The inducements of interest for observing that conduct will best be referred to your own reflections and experience. With me a predominant motive has been to endeavor to gain time to our country to settle and mature its yet recent institutions, and to progress without interruption to that degree of strength and consistency which is necessary to give it, humanly speaking, the command of its own fortunes.

Though in reviewing the incidents of my Administration I am unconscious of intentional error, I am nevertheless too sensible of my defects not to think it probable that I may have committed many errors. Whatever they may be, I fervently beseech the Almighty to avert or mitigate the evils to which they may tend. I shall also carry with me the hope that my country will never cease to view them with indulgence, and that, after forty-five years of my life dedicated to its service with an upright zeal, the faults of incompetent abilities will be consigned to oblivion, as myself must soon be to the mansions of rest.

Relying on its kindness in this as in other things, and actuated by that fervent love toward it which is so natural to a man who views in it the native soil of himself and his progenitors for several generations, I anticipate with pleasing expectation that retreat in which I promise myself to realize without alloy the sweet enjoyment of partaking in the midst of my fellow-citizens the benign influence of good laws under a free government–the ever-favorite object of my heart, and the happy reward, as I trust, of our mutual cares, labors, and dangers.

GO. WASHINGTON.

 

#Resist Assassin Shoots Hundreds of Rounds at GOP House Members in Attempted Massacre

‘WE WERE SITTING DUCKS’

House Majority Whip Steve Scalise and a congressional aide were shot by a rifle-wielding gunman who sprayed a hail of bullets at a GOP baseball practice in Virginia Wednesday morning, before U.S. Capitol Police took the gunman down.

The shooter was identified as 66-year-old James T. Hodgkinson, of Illinois, the AP reported, citing a government official.

Shooter James T. Hodgkinson is Pronounced Dead at hospital

Scalise was “badly injured,” according to a tweet from President Trump, but is expected to recover. A news release from Scalise’s office said he was “stable” and undergoing surgery after being shot in the hip. Five people were “transported medically” from the scene, Alexandria Police Chief Michael Brown said. It appeared that included Scalise, Zack Barth, a congressional aide to Roger Williams, Hodgkinson and two law enforcement officers — one of whom was hit by fragments.

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., told Fox News: “We were like sitting ducks.”

“Without the Capitol Hill police it would have been a massacre,” Paul said, describing the scene as “sort of a killing field.”

The gunman was shot by Capitol Police and Alexandria Police, apprehended and taken to the hospital, officials said. The incident occurred at Simpson Field in Alexandria, about 10 miles from Washington D.C. The FBI was taking over the investigation because a federal official — Scalise — was assaulted in the attack.

FBI Special Agent in Charge of the Washington Field Office Timothy Slater said it was too early to tell if the attack was terror-related.

“The vice president and I are aware of the shooting incident in Virginia and are monitoring developments closely,” President Trump said in a statement. “We are deeply saddened by this tragedy. Our thoughts and prayers are with the members of Congress, their staffs, Capitol Police, first responders and all others affected.”

Trump later tweeted: “Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana, a true friend and patriot, was badly injured but will fully recover. Our thoughts and prayers are with him.”

Trump was set to make a statement at 11:30 a.m. from the White House and House Speaker Paul Ryan is going to address the House at noon. Trump had spoken to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Ryan, Scalise’s wife and chief of staff and the chief of the Capitol Hill Police.

The Department of Homeland Security was monitoring the episode.

Rep. Roger Williams, R-Tex., was seen being taken from the field on a stretcher, but he was reportedly injured while jumping into the dugout as the shots rang out. Williams’ office released a statement saying a staffer had been shot, however.

“Finally, the shooter was shot behind home plate as he was circling around to the first base dugout where there were a number of US congressmen and other folks,” Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Ala., told FMTALK1065. “Our security detail was able to incapacitate him at that point. I don’t know if he [the shooter] was dead. He was wounded. I don’t know how many times he was wounded.”

Brooks reportedly used a belt as a tourniquet to stop the bleeding of an aide who was shot in the leg.

Rep. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla., told Fox News he left just before the shooting. As he walked to his car, a man asked DeSantis if it was Republicans or Democrats practicing. About 3 minutes later, at around 7:15 a.m., the shooting began, DeSantis said. It reportedly lasted about 10 minutes.

Rep. Brad Wenstrup, R-Ohio, told Fox News he “felt like I was in Iraq, but without my weapon.”

“Behind third base, I see a rifle…I hear Steve Scalise over near 2nd base scream,” Brooks said. “…While all of this is going on, Steve Scalise our whip was lying on the ground near the second base position crawling into right field, leaving a trail of blood.”

Brooks said the gunman was using the dugout as cover and estimated the assailant got off 50-100 shots during the attack on the 15-25 people gathered at the field.

“We were there within 3 minutes,” Brown said. “Two of our officers engaged in gunfire and returned fire.”

A man walking his dog at a park near the field told Fox News he heard police yelling at the gunman to put the gun down followed by someone in or around the dugout screaming back “Just shoot him.”

Aside from Scalise, Williams, Paul, Brooks, Wenstrup and DeSantis, Sen. Jeff Flake and Reps. Mike Bishop, Jack Bergman, Chuck Fleischmann and Joe Barton were also at the field. A photographer and Bishop’s aides were present, too.

Alexandria schools were placed on lockdown as the incident unfolded. There was an uptick in the police presence around the Capitol, however, the building was still open. There was not expected to be any votes held on Wednesday in light of the shooting.

Witnesses and residents described a shattered calm Wednesday morning in a normally peaceful neighborhood now plastered with police tape.

Reba Winstead, who lives in the area, described hearing a “boom boom boom boom.” She said she was getting her daughter ready for school and then “all of a sudden there was gunfire in our neighborhood.”

Scalise, 51, is the House majority whip. He has represented Louisiana’s 1st Congressional District since 2008 and chairs the House Republican Study Committee. He is married with two children. Scalise’s district includes New Orleans.

Since he’s in leadership, Scalise has a security detail.

Scalise, who studied computer science at Louisiana State University, worked as a systems engineer before launching his political career. Scalise endorsed President Trump during last year’s presidential campaign, and has been a vocal backer of Trump’s travel ban. As leader of the powerful study group, he has also spearheaded the effort to repeal and replace ObamaCare.

The Congressional Baseball Game is scheduled for June 15 at Nationals Park. The game, which has been a tradition since 1909, pits Senate and House members of each party who sport the uniform of their home state.

Fox News’ Chad Pergram, Garrett Tenney and Barnini Chakraborty contributed to this report.

A.G. Jeff Sessions Denies Russia Collusion, Defends Comey firing

Attorney General Jeff Sessions, in dramatic Senate testimony, on Tuesday decried suggestions he colluded with Russian officials during the 2016 campaign as an “appalling and detestable lie” — while staunchly defending his role in the firing of former FBI Director James Comey.

“I have never met with or had any conversations with any Russians or any foreign officials concerning any type of interference with any campaign or election,” Sessions told the Senate Intelligence Committee. “I have no knowledge of any such conversations by anyone connected to the Trump campaign.”

The attorney general addressed the same Senate panel that heard last week from Comey, becoming the highest-ranking official to testify in the Russia investigation.

Democrats used the forum to pepper Sessions with tough questions, at times accusing him of “stonewalling” and impeding the congressional probe.

The normally reserved Sessions showed his feisty side in response, pushing back on what he called the “secret innuendo” being leaked about his contact with Russians and challenging portions of Comey’s testimony.

In a fiery opening statement, Sessions specifically contradicted Comey’s claims that he remained silent when the former FBI director expressed his concerns over a meeting with President Trump.

“I responded to his comment by agreeing that the FBI and Department of Justice needed to be careful to follow Department policies regarding appropriate contacts with the White House,” Sessions said, adding he was confident that Comey understood the rules on communicating with the White House about ongoing investigations.

Sessions had earlier recused himself from all matters relating to the Russia investigation after it was reported he had failed to disclose two meetings with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.

Oregon Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden asked Sessions about conflicting accounts rising from Comey’s testimony and claims that there was something “problematic” about Sessions’ role before his recusal.

Asked what issues might be problematic, Sessions raised his voice: “Why don’t you tell me? There are none, Senator Wyden, there are none … This is a secret innuendo being leaked out there about me, and I don’t appreciate it.”

Democrats appeared to be looking for evidence that Sessions’ contact with Russian officials was more significant than previously thought. Sessions has said neither of the two disclosed encounters had anything to with the Trump campaign in 2016 and that the meetings took place in his role as a lawmaker.

Sessions flatly denied a third meeting with the Russian liaison at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington during a campaign event in April.

“I did not have any private meetings nor do I recall any conversations with any Russian officials at the Mayflower Hotel,” he said. “I did not attend any meetings at that event. Prior to the speech, I attended a reception with my staff that included at least two dozen people and President Trump. Though I do recall several conversations I had during that pre-speech reception, I do not have any recollection of meeting or talking to the Russian ambassador or any other Russian officials.”

Tuesday was Sessions’ first time in the witness seat since his confirmation hearing in February.

Sessions’ testimony came on the heels of Comey’s explosive testimony last week on Russia’s medding in U.S. elections and allegations that Trump tried to kill a related investigation.

During Comey’s hearing, he hinted at Sessions’ role in the controversy.

“We were also aware of facts that I cannot discuss in an open setting that would make his continued engagement in a Russia investigation problematic,” Comey said.

The Justice Department and Sessions himself have pushed back on such suggestions. Sessions also has faced questions from Democrats about why he was involved in recommending Comey’s firing even after he recused himself from the Russia investigation. However, Sessions said Tuesday he had a duty to oversee the Justice Department and FBI, and a “fresh start” was needed at the FBI.

He also said he has the right to defend himself.

“I recused myself from any investigation into the campaign for president. I did not recuse myself from defending my honor against scurrilous and false allegations,” he said.

Unlike Comey, who bluntly said he tried to avoid one-on-one encounters with Trump and began documenting their interactions, Sessions is a staunch supporter of the president.

Sessions was one of the first members of Congress to endorse Trump and was then-candidate Trump’s adviser on almost every major decision and policy proposal pushed on the campaign trail.

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio asked Sessions whether Trump had recorded conversations he had in the White House with Comey – something Trump hinted he had done then walked back.

Comey said last week that he hopes there are tapes and encouraged the White House to release them.

“I do not [know],” Sessions said when asked whether he knows whether the president records his conversations.

Comey had also said that Sessions had lingered in the Oval Office following a group meeting, just before the private encounter during which Comey has said Trump asked him to pull back on his investigation of former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. As Trump tried to shoo everyone out to talk alone with Comey, Sessions lingered, in Comey’s account. Comey suggested this indicated the attorney general’s awareness that it was improper for Trump and Comey to meet alone together, given the specter of the Department of Justice’s investigation into Russia’s election meddling and possible ties with the Trump campaign.

But Sessions disputed that was why he lingered, suggesting there was really nothing to it.

“I do recall being one of the last ones to leave, I don’t know how that occurred,” Sessions said. “I eventually left.”

By Barnini Chakraborty The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

Climate Experts are Baffled by Latest “Global Warming” Findings

Global Warming protestors concerned about deforestation and loss of habitat are ignorant of the fact that slight temperature increases have actually increased forested regions by 9%. They also assume the rises are due to industrial pollution, and not natural warming and cooling trends produced by solar activity cycles.

Patrick Michaels, a climate expert and director of the Center for the Study of Science at the Cato Institute, says combining the findings of two important studies could reveal “a remarkable hypothesis” about the benefits of increased carbon-dioxide levels and global warming.

In a recent article published on the Cato Institute’s blog, Michaels describes the results of a recent study published in Science, a highly influential journal, that examined global drylands and found global forest cover had been undercounted by “at least 9%” in previous studies.

Michaels then recounts the findings produced by researcher Zaichan Zhu and 31 coauthors in 2016, which revealed—based on “a remarkable analysis of global vegetation change since satellite sensors became operational in the late 1970s”—that the “vast majority of the globe’s vegetated area shows greening, with 25-50% of that area showing a statistically significant change, while only 4% of the vegetated area is significantly browning,” according to Michaels.

A winter fair used to be held on the frozen Thames River in London every year, and even elephants could walk across the thick ice. These annual affairs came to an end even before the rise of the industrial age due to a natural warming trend of the earth, which could reverse in the near future, depending on solar activity.

As Michaels quotes in his post, the researchers found, “Factorial simulations with multiple global ecosystem models show that CO2 fertilization effects explain 70% of the observed greening trend …”

“And the other greening driver that stood out from the statistical noise was—you guessed it—climate change,” Michaels added to the researchers’ quote.

At the same time the Thames River would freeze in London, the Delaware was likewise known to freeze and be choked with ice during the American Revolution. These annual deep freezes ceased before the rise of the industrial age.

By combining the two studies’ findings together, Michaels says a “remarkable hypothesis” emerges: “This may lead to a remarkable hypothesis—that one of the reasons the forested regions were undercounted in previous surveys (among other reasons) is that there wasn’t enough vegetation present to meet Bastin’s criterion for ‘forest,’ which is greater than 10% tree cover, and carbon dioxide and global warming changed that.”

Put simply, Michaels is suggesting it’s possible one of the primary reasons forest cover had previously been undercounted is because significant greening linked to carbon-dioxide emissions and higher temperatures has occurred in recent decades. If a direct link could be proven, this would be a very important revelation, because it would add to the mounting evidence that shows the benefits of a warmer global climate outweigh any drawbacks.

Contrary to the arguments often made by climate alarmists, higher temperatures are much less dangerous than global cooling would be, and climate scientists cannot guarantee that global cooling won’t occur at some point in the relatively near future. In fact, some scientists believe global cooling could be just around the corner.

In 2016, Professor Valentina Zharkova at Northumbria University and a team of researchers found future solar cycles could produce much lower temperatures.

“We will see it from 2020 to 2053, when the three next cycles will be very reduced magnetic field of the sun,” Zharkova said, according to a report by Anthony Watts at Watts Up With That? “Whatever we do to the planet, if everything is done only by the sun, then the temperature should drop similar like it was in the Maunder Minimum. At least in the Northern hemisphere, where this temperature is well protocoled and written. We didn’t have many measurements in the Southern hemisphere, we don’t know what will happen with that, but in the Northern hemisphere, we know it’s very well protocoled. The rivers are frozen. There are winters and no summers, and so on.”

Watts points out “because things are not the same as they were in the 17th century,” it’s not clear whether the cooling will actually occur, but he said, “it will be interesting to see how the terrestrial and the solar influences play out.”

By

Terror Suspected: Explosion, Panic and Death at Ariana Grande Concert in England

MANCHESTER, England — At least one explosion, which may have been a suicide bombing, thundered through a Manchester concert arena on Monday night just as a performance by the pop star Ariana Grande ended, in what the police described as a “terrorist incident.” They said at least 19 people had been killed and 50 wounded as panicked spectators, including adolescents, screamed and fled.

There was no immediate word from the police on the precise cause of the blast, but it evoked the terrorist attacks in Paris in November 2015, which included a deadly assault inside a concert arena where the Eagles of Death Metal had been playing.

“This is currently being treated as a terrorist incident until the police know otherwise,” the Manchester police said in a Twitter post.

People at the concert at the Manchester Arena said they had heard what sounded like explosions at the end of the show, around 10:30 p.m.

There were unconfirmed reports that a suicide bomber had detonated a nail-filled explosive device.

At least one explosion happened in the foyer of the arena, not the main event hall, according to the British Transport Police, the force that protects Victoria Station, the train terminus next to the arena. The terminal was evacuated.

Early Tuesday morning, Sky News reported that a bomb disposal team had arrived on the scene as part of a police investigation and that the security cordon around the arena had been widened.

One concertgoer, Sasina Akhtar, told The Manchester Evening News that there had been an explosion at the back of the arena after the last song. “We saw young girls with blood on them,” she said. “Everyone was screaming, and people were running.”

Ms. Grande, 23, a singer with a big voice who started her career as a star on a Nickelodeon TV series, is on an international tour supporting her 2016 album, “Dangerous Woman.” Two additional acts, Victoria Monét and Bia, performed as openers on Monday. The tour was scheduled to continue on Thursday at the O2 Arena in London.

“Ariana is O.K.,” said her publicist, Joseph Carozza. “We are further investigating what happened.”

Parents separated from their children during the mayhem were told to go to a Holiday Inn, where many children had taken refuge. Local residents offered stranded concertgoers places to stay in their homes.

Gary Walker, who was at the show with his wife and two daughters, said he “heard a massive bang and saw a flash” just as the concert finished. He turned and realized that his wife had been hurt. Mr. Walker, who is from the northern city of Leeds, said she had a stomach wound and possibly a broken leg. He said he lay down with her and saw “metal nuts on the floor.”

Ms. Walker was taken to a hospital, and Mr. Walker was standing with his daughters at Deansgate, the main shopping street in Manchester.

The confusion and fear in the hours afterward was reflected on social media. One Twitter post asked: “Did anybody see my girlfriend? I lost her in the chaos.”

The BBC interviewed one witness who was waiting outside the arena to pick up his wife and daughter. He recounted that the “whole building shook,” that there was “carnage everywhere,” and that the explosion appeared to come from near the stadium’s ticket area.

Photo

Police officers at the Manchester Arena on Monday. A bomb disposal team arrived at the scene early Tuesday as part of the investigation, but there was no confirmation that a bomb or bombs had gone off. Credit Peter Byrne/Press Association, via Associated Press

Videos posted on Twitter showed concertgoers running and screaming. Hannah Dane, who attended the performance, told The Guardian that she had heard “quite a loud explosion.”

She added, “It shook, then everyone screamed and tried to get out.”

The Greater Manchester Police said in a statement, “There are a number of confirmed fatalities and others injured.”

The Manchester Arena, opened in 1995, can hold up to 21,000 spectators; it was not clear how many people were in the crowd for the concert.

Karen Ford, a witness, told the BBC that she had been leaving the concert when the blast happened. “Everyone was just getting out of their seats and walking toward the stairs when all of a sudden a huge sound, which sounded like an explosion, went off,” she said.

“Everyone tried to push people up the stairs,” she recalled, adding that in the chaos, people tried to push past a woman in a wheelchair as children screamed.

She said there was no smoke, just one very loud bang. “It was very, very loud,” she said, adding that her husband thought he had heard a second explosion. “There were shoes on the floor,” left behind by people who had fled, she recalled.

“Just chaos,” she said. “I was trying to tell people to calm down.” She added that the crush of people trying to flee created a perilous situation: “We were being crushed.”

Outside, Ms. Ford said, parents awaited children who had attended the concert, checking their smartphones in a panic. “Everyone was trying to find each other,” she said.

Watch: The Inconvenient Truth about the Democratic Party’s History of Racism

Democratic Governor George Wallace invokes National Guard to keep Blacks from attending state universities

Radio show host Dennis Prager’s conservative/libertarian educational video group Prager U teamed up with author and controversial Vanderbilt University professor Carol Swain to dispel the notion that the Republican Party is the racist entity in Washington, D.C.’s, two-party system.

Swain has caused uproar in the past by stating in a 2015 article for The Tennessean that we must “institute serious monitoring of Islamic organizations.” She is also a heavy critic of the racial activist group, Black Lives Matter, calling it a  “very destructive force” during an interview on CNN last July.

In the video titled, “The Inconvenient Truth About the Democratic Party,” Swain explained that despite modern notions that the Republican Party is causing grief for minorities, its record of fighting for the freedom and civil rights of minorities is stellar, and that it was the Democratic Party that consistently attempted to stand in the way of civil rights.

“Since its founding in 1829, the Democratic Party has fought against every major civil rights initiative, and has a long history of discrimination,” Swain said.

Swain recounted the founding of the Republican Party in 1854 as the anti-slavery party, with the intention of abolishing the practice of slavery, and stopping its expansion into the western territories. Their first attempt to abolish slavery failed when the Supreme Court ruled that slaves were not citizens, but were property in the 1857 case of Dred Scott v. Sandford. Of the nine justices on the Supreme Court at that time, the seven who voted for slavery were all Democrats, but the two dissenting justices were both Republican.

Swain then explained how the issue of slavery was resolved during the Civil War, prompting the creation of the 13th Amendment (abolishing slavery), the 14th Amendment (granting blacks citizenship), and the 15th Amendment (granting blacks the right to vote). All of these amendments, Swain said, were resisted by every Democrat in office, and only passed because of universal Republican support.

Swain continued by telling of the Democrats segregation efforts that began during the reconstruction era, and continued all the way through to the 1960s, when Democrats took measures that suppressed the rights of blacks to vote, or own property. This was stopped by the Civil Rights Act, which Democrats filibustered for 75 days. Republicans eventually claimed victory in favor for the Civil Rights Act, Swain said, but the Democrats would go on to adopt a new tactic.

“And when all of their efforts to enslave blacks, keep them enslaved, and then keep them from voting had failed, the Democrats came up with a new strategy: If black people are going to vote, they might as well vote for Democrats. As President Lyndon Johnson was purported to have said about the Civil Rights Act, ‘I’ll have them n*****s voting Democrat for two hundred years,’” Swain said.

Johnson’s “war on poverty,” enacted anti-poverty legislation such as the Food Stamp Act of 1964, and the Social Security Act of 1964. From 1965 to 1974, government provided benefits increased by a factor of 2o. As the Cato Institute noted in a study, these entitlement programs incentivized lifestyles that encouraged government dependence such as single motherhood in order to continue to receive greater government benefits. This reliance on government dependence encourages voting in favor of the party that champions welfare and entitlements.

“So now, the Democratic Party prospers on the votes of the very people it has spent much of its history oppressing.”

By  

Congressional Republicans Selfishly Refuse to Defend President Trump from a Never-ending, Orchestrated Campaign to Destroy his Agenda.

The Obama Administration struggled through one Congressional investigation after another, with the Departments of State, Justice, Treasury, Homeland Security, and Agriculture all getting their turn on the hot seat.  Interestingly, the public never really connected these scandals to Obama, instead associating Lois Lerner, Janet Napolitano, Eric Holder, Hillary Clinton, and other career bureaucrats with the various investigations.  When President Obama first took office, his administration focused on placing political appointees in various government positions of influence.  Performance may have suffered when someone unqualified individual took over a powerful agency, but concern for the average citizen was not on the list of priorities.  In some instances, persons were appointed to certain positions for specific purposes.  Leon Panetta, whose intelligence experience was limited to two years as an Intelligence Officer in the Army from 1964 to 1966, was appointed Director of the CIA in 2009.  Panetta spent two years as CIA Director, which was more than enough time to conduct an internal investigation into the interrogation practices of the agency under the Bush Administration.  Lerner, Napolitano, Holder, and Clinton closely followed the script, as none of the scandals involving these agencies were ever connected to Obama.

President Obama was particularly adept at manipulating public perception.  Without exception, during every political crisis the GOP took the hit.  The Republicans were responsible for the shutting down of government over budget disagreements, and because the Republicans were so obstructionist, the President was forced to address prolific legislation through the use of Executive Orders.  At times, it appeared as if Obama would not find a way to avoid criticism.  The U.S. role in crafting the nuclear Treaty with Iran, and the subsequent night-time delivery of  four-hundred million dollars to the Iranians, not to mention the gift of one-hundred thirty tons of Uranium, didn’t seem to sit well with the American people.  But the Democratic Party, Congressional Democrats in particular, in-step with the main stream media, put out the fire in shockingly quick fashion.  The weak-kneed Republican Congressional leadership probably was too tired of fighting the fight, and focused instead on upcoming elections, which brings us to a big part of the problem.

A friend who works on the staff of a GOP Congressman frequently complains about how much time is allotted to campaigning.  He remarked that the next campaign always begins the morning after winning an election.  For a number of reasons, members of Congress are never prepared to move on to a live outside of Capitol Hill.  No doubt the most common reason for wanting to get re-elected in perpetuity is the sense of power public office can provide.  In addition, the great majority of Congressmen and women have enriched themselves while serving, which is why I am always pleasantly surprised when I learn of a Senator or a Representative from any political background who has not become a millionaire while in office.  These politicians take the access they are afforded through their position very seriously, which explains why so many Republican Congressmen refuse to support President Trump.  The Democrats have demonstrated how successful a president can be regarding his/her agenda, with the support of a united party, but the message just hasn’t caught on with the right.  Republicans on Capitol Hill are constantly worried about Trump’s “numbers”, because they don’t want to lose votes in the next election by supporting a damaged president . . .

Read the rest of the story >>

 

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Visit Eric’s website and read a free sample of his new book at http://www.mukhabaratbaby.com/
Eric Burkhart is a retired CIA agent, who has written a book about his service, and he shares some unique insights into what really happened in the Middle East during the Gulf War.

Why Comey was Fired: DOJ Rips Handling of Clinton Case

President Trump’s seemingly abrupt decision Tuesday to fire FBI Director James Comey was made at the recommendation of top Justice Department officials who claimed that his controversial handling of the Hillary Clinton email case last year rendered him unfit for the position.

A senior White House official told Fox News it was purely “coincidental” that the firing occurred on the same day Comey faced scrutiny for giving faulty testimony about emails sent from Clinton aide Huma Abedin to Anthony Weiner.

Rather, Comey had been the subject of a review by the very top of the Trump Justice Department. Newly confirmed Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein penned an extensive memo for Attorney General Jeff Sessions outlining concerns with Comey’s conduct during and after the Clinton email probe.

The memo said “almost everyone agrees that the Director made serious mistakes.” Rosenstein wrote that he could not defend Comey’s handling of the end of the investigation, and could not understand “his refusal to accept the nearly universal judgment that he was mistaken.”

The first count against Comey, according to Rosenstein, was his July 5, 2016 announcement during which he alleged Clinton and her colleagues were “extremely careless” in handling classified material on her personal email and server but also said the FBI would not recommend charges.

The memo said Comey was “wrong to usurp” then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch’s authority.

“It is not the function of the Director to make such an announcement,” Rosenstein wrote, adding that Comey “at most” should have said the FBI had finished its investigation and presented findings to prosecutors.

The memo said Comey compounded “the error” by holding a press conference to “release derogatory information about the subject of a declined criminal investigation,” suggesting he did so “gratuitously.”

The memo said: “The Director laid out his version of the facts for the news media as if it were a closing argument, but without a trial.” Rosenstein called it a “textbook example” of what prosecutors and agents are “taught not to do.”

The second count against Comey concerned his Oct. 28, 2016 notification to Congress that the bureau was taking another look at the Clinton case in light of newly discovered emails. While Comey has said he did not want to conceal information, Rosenstein said simply refraining from publicizing “non-public information” would not have been concealment.

He countered Comey’s position by citing numerous former Justice officials who called the move inappropriate.

Comey adamantly defended his handling of the case, and that October letter, at a Senate hearing last week.

As referenced by Rosenstein, he said, “Concealment in my view would have been catastrophic.”

Clinton herself has continued to criticize Comey, suggesting his announcement helped tilt the election toward President Trump.

“It makes me mildly nauseous to think that we might have had some impact” on the election, Comey said at the hearing, standing by his actions.

Rosenstein referenced Comey’s statements since the election in his memo’s conclusion: “The way the Director handled the conclusion of the email investigation was wrong. As a result, the FBI is unlikely to regain public and congressional trust until it has a Director who understands the gravity of the mistakes and pledges never to repeat them. Having refused to admit his errors, the Director cannot be expected to implement the necessary corrective actions.”

The memo set off a quick chain reaction all the way up to the White House.

Sessions told Trump that a “fresh start” is needed, attaching the Rosenstein memo and recommending Comey’s removal.

Trump cited that recommendation in his letter to Comey, informing him he is “hereby terminated and removed from office, effective immediately.”

Former FBI spokesperson John Iannarelli told Fox News he thinks Comey got “bad counsel from those close to him,” and that in the end, Comey was perceived as “too political.”

Iannarelli told Fox News the firing was virtually “unprecedented,” aside from William Sessions being dismissed by then-President Bill Clinton in the early 1990s.

Fox News’ Serafin Gomez, Brooke Singman and John Roberts contributed to this report.

BREAKING-House Votes to Repeal ObamaCare

By a vote of 217 to 213 the House of Representatives has voted to repeal ObamaCare.

Republican health care bill: What’s in it?

House Republicans plan to vote Thursday on the latest version of the American Health Care Act – their answer to ObamaCare.

The bill has gone through some changes since an earlier version was pulled from the floor in March in the face of flagging support.

Here’s what’s the bill does:

-Ends tax penalties, under the original Affordable Care Act, for individuals who don’t buy insurance coverage and larger employers who don’t offer coverage. Instead, insurers would apply a 30 percent surcharge to customers who’ve let coverage lapse for more than 63 days in the past year.

-Ends tax increases on higher-earning people and a range of industry groups including insurers, drug makers and medical device manufacturers.

-Cuts the Medicaid program for low-income people and lets states impose work requirements on Medicaid recipients. Forbids states that haven’t already expanded Medicaid to do so. Changes Medicaid from an open-ended program that covers beneficiaries’ costs to one that gives states fixed amounts of money annually.

-Overhauls insurance subsidy system from one based largely on incomes and premium costs to a system of tax credits. The credits would rise with customers’ ages and, like the subsidies, could be used toward premium costs.

-Lets states get federal waivers allowing insurers to charge older customers higher premiums than younger ones by as much as they’d like. Obama’s law limits the difference to a 3-1 ratio. States also can get waivers exempting insurers from providing consumers with required coverage of specified health services, and from Obama’s prohibition against insurers charging higher premiums to people with pre-existing health problems, but only if the person has had a gap in insurance coverage.

-States could only get the latter waivers if they have mechanisms like high-risk pools that are supposed to help cover people with serious, expensive-to-treat diseases. A newly added provision would give another $8 billion over five years to help states finance their high-risk pools. Despite criticism that the waivers strip protections, House Speaker Paul Ryan’s office maintains that since states that take the waivers would have to set up the high-risk pools, “insurance companies cannot deny you coverage based on pre-existing conditions.”

-Blocks federal payments to Planned Parenthood for a year.

-Retains requirement that family policies cover grown children to age 26.

FoxNews.com / The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Sen. Mike Lee-The First Step in Revoking Obama’s Land Grabs

What is done by executive power can be undone by executive power.

Former President Barack Obama began to learn that lesson this Wednesday when President Donald Trump signed an executive order directing Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to conduct a review of all Antiquities Act designations larger than 100,000 acres over the past 30 years.

Specifically, the executive order directs Zinke to consider “the requirements and original objectives of the Act, including the Act’s requirement that reservations of land not exceed ‘the smallest area compatible with the proper care and management of the objects to be protected’” and whether “designated lands are appropriately classified under the Act as ‘historic landmarks, historic and prehistoric structures, [or] other objects of historic or scientific interest.’”

>>>See our article of November 21, 2016, by the late Utah Speaker of the House, Becky Lockhart: Western Lands Must Be Returned to States

This wording strongly suggests that Obama’s lame duck decision to designate 1.35 million acres in San Juan County as a national monument will at least be significantly reduced and possibly entirely rescinded.

Some environmental activists may claim that Trump does not have the power to shrink or revoke Obama’s Antiquities Act designations, but these claims are ignorant of both history and the law.

For starters, as University of California Berkeley Law School professor John Yoo and Pacific Legal Foundation Executive Director John Gaziano detailed in a recent legal report, five presidents have significantly reduced four previous monument designations, and no one has ever questioned the legality of those reductions.

in his discretion, to declare by public proclamation … national monuments …. the limits of which in all cases shall be confined to the smallest area compatible with proper care and management of the objects to be protected.

Specifically, President Ike Eisenhower reduced the Great Sand Dunes National Monument by 25 percent, President Harry Truman reduced the Santa Rosa Island National Monument by 49 percent, Presidents William Howard Taft, Woodrow Wilson, and Calvin Coolidge collectively reduced the Mount Olympus monument by 49 percent, and Taft reduced the Navajo National Monument by 89 percent.

A current president’s power to alter a previous president’s flows from the text of the statute, which authorizes the president “in his discretion, to declare by public proclamation … national monuments …. the limits of which in all cases shall be confined to the smallest area compatible with proper care and management of the objects to be protected.”

As Yoo and Gaziano point out, “there is no temporal limit” on the requirement that a monument must be limited to “the smallest area compatible with proper care and management of the objects to be protected” so all presidents must use their ongoing discretion as to whether every monument is the proper size.

“What is done by executive power can be undone by executive power.”

Furthermore, what if a later president determines that an earlier president’s designation was so exceedingly beyond the “smallest area compatible with proper care” that the entire designation was illegal?

Yoo and Gaziano argue that the entire monument designation could be revoked.

Whatever Zinke does end up recommending to Trump—and a preliminary report is due in 45 days on Utah’s Bears Ears National Monument—further executive action will only be the beginning of solving San Juan County’s public lands issues.

Congress will then need to pick up the Public Lands Initiative legislation that was working through the House before Obama derailed the legislative process and pass a commonsense solution that includes real input from local residents.

Only through the legislation can local residents, including the Navajo, be given real power over their land use decisions.

Portrait of Sen. Mike Lee

Mike Lee is a Republican senator from Utah.

Newt Gingrich: Trump vs. The Swamp, Round III — Democrats Turn to Bureaucrats to Stop POTUS

When Neil Gorsuch won long-overdue confirmation this month to serve on the United States Supreme Court, Republicans in turn won control of judiciary. This meant they led all three branches of the federal government – at least the three envisioned by our Founding Fathers – for the first time in a decade.

As a consequence, Democrats have pinned their hopes to stifle President Donald Trump’s pro-growth agenda on the unprecedented insurrection of an unchecked, de facto branch of government: the bureaucratic state.

Now that Alexander Acosta is confirmed as secretary of labor, President Trump has a better ability to reign in the bureaucracy.

Through executive orders, President Trump immediately began cutting needless red tape draped across the federal government by his predecessor. This led deliberately resistant entrenched civil servants to wage a campaign to subvert the administration’s clear intention of deregulation.

Consider this: In February, the president ordered the Department of Labor – previously run by Tom Perez, who is now the chairman of the Democratic National Committee –  to review and re-evaluate the implementation of the so-called fiduciary rule, a controversial Obama-era rule that would deny middle-class Americans access to sound investment advice.

Democrats have pinned their hopes to stifle President Donald Trump’s pro-growth agenda on the unprecedented insurrection of an unchecked, de facto branch of government: the bureaucratic state.

The order’s intention was clear-as-day. It aimed to indefinitely delay or outright kill this bad rule before it could hurt middle class American investors. Instead, Perez’s faithful holdovers at the Department of Labor effectively expedited the rule with minimal changes. This was exactly the opposite of President Trump’s instructions.

Now, the department will make the rule effective on June 9, before completing the president’s review, and argued that “the Fiduciary rule and Impartial Conduct Standards … are among the least controversial aspects of the rulemaking process.”

Nothing about this rule is uncontroversial. It would be the single largest government expansion over individual savings in four decades and the second-most expensive regulatory regime crafted in the last 12 years that doesn’t deal with environmental issues.

The rule changes the law to give the Department of Labor direct authority over individual retirement accounts, which are already regulated by the Securities and Exchange Committee, the federal agency responsible for protecting investors. For the first time, IRAs would be pulled into a complex Labor Department system created 43 years ago to regulate employee pension and health plans. Seizing control over IRAs by the Labor Department leads to bigger government, less competition, fewer jobs, and diminished savings for the American worker.

Disingenuously marketed as a way to raise the standards of advice provided to retirement investors, the rule would result in the “orphaning” of most ordinary American savers, left to seek advice on saving for their golden years from an online computer program using algorithms no investor would know about or understand.

The rule has received extensive criticism from those who’ve historically regulated the securities market. Acting SEC Chair Michal Piwowar called the rule a “terrible, horrible, no good, very bad rule,” adding that it was a “highly political” move that was “never about investor protection.”  President Trump and the Congress want the rule gone. Business wants the rule gone. Ordinary Americans want the rule gone.

But none of that matters to the bureaucratic state. They’ve lost the battle over the Supreme Court and the president’s cabinet. More than anything, the swamp wants to win this battle. That’s why it’s so important that President Trump and Secretary Acosta implement the president’s instructions in a timely way.

President Trump’s first order wasn’t enough to reign in Tom Perez’s faithful deputies, and only now did Senate Democrats stop obstructing Acosta’s confirmation.

So, the president and the secretary must work quickly to delay indefinitely or completely rescind the fiduciary rule under the secretary’s statutory authority.

More than that, the president needs to fully drain the swamp – especially by getting rid of the mutineers at the Department of Labor.

Newt Gingrich

Newt Gingrich is a Fox News contributor. A Republican, he was speaker of the United States House of Representatives from 1995 to 1999. Follow him on Twitter @NewtGingrich.