- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 12, 2014

The Bergdahl matter, unrest in Iraq, assorted alarming uprisings, Hillary Clinton’s book tour — oh, it’s a complicated weekend, indeed. But political life goes on, and the siren call of Democratic fundraisers is now going off at the White House. Yes, it’s time to fire up the magnificent, but expensive Air Force One again for a three-day excursion to the always friendly West Coast.

Though the trip will include a stopover at a North Dakota Indian reservation along the way, President Obama and first lady Michelle depart Friday, ultimately bound for Palm Springs, California. Then it’s on to the Los Angeles area in 24 hours for a Democratic National Committee fundraiser and a commencement address for the University of California at Irvine.

About that fundraiser, sited near Laguna Beach, the resort beachtown in the “heart of the California Riviera,” according to local tour guides. Yeah, well. The event is an invitation-only breakfast and “round table discussion,” commands $32,000 per person, and will be staged at the home of a political strategist who once raised $1.5 million for Mr. Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign. Then it’s on to Angel Stadium of Anaheim for the graduation exercises.

This is Mr. Obama’s 18th trip to the California since taking office; he was last in the Sunshine State in early May, when he attended six fundraisers in two days. But wait. Is golf somehow involved this time around? No one can really confirm or deny the presence of, say, a 5-iron yet, but the schedule also reveals that the first couple will not be heading home until Monday. So we will just leave it at that.

AND IN SUMMATION

“I say to the President of the United States, get a new national security team in place. You have been ill-served by the national security team you have in place now, and the decisions you have made. Have that new national security team come up with a strategy to do whatever we can to prevent this direct threat to the national security of this nation Because the President of the United States declares a conflict over does mean that in the eyes of the enemy it is over. Conflicts end when the enemy is defeated.”

— Sen. John McCain in a floor speech in the U.S. Senate on Thursday, responding to news that Islamic militants continue their march across Iraq.

The Arizona Republican now suggests that David Petraeus, former commander of U.S. Central Command and the CIA, be put in charge of a new team that includes Marine Corps Gen. Jim Mattis, retired Army Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Jack Keane, and Robert Kagan, once Mr. McCain’s foreign policy adviser.

AND THE LIBERTARIANS CARRY ON

While gleeful journalists stoke stories about polarization between the Democratic and Republican parties, the Libertarians are continuing to carry on. And in more ways than one. Indeed, the Libertarians seem oblivious to partisan angst, touting their write-in candidates on primary ballots around the nation, and quietly noting that their voter registration has increased by 11 percent in the past year.

They’re also readying to, well, carry on. The three-day Libertarian Convention begins June 26 in Columbus, Ohio. It is a cavalcade of all-Libertarian stars that includes 25 speakers, splashy receptions, caucus meetings, strategy sessions, cocktail hours, entertainment and the “Grand Banquet” featuring former presidential hopeful Gary Johnson, his vice presidential running mate Judge Jim Gray and Kmele Foster, co-host of the Fox Business network’s “The Independents”.

So the Libertarians will carry on. See their big doings here: Lpcon2014.org

“The theme of this convention is character matters. I was inspired by a little book by Lawrence W. Reed titled ‘Are We Good Enough for Liberty?” says Nancy Neale, convention chairman, who offers shorthand insight on political rivals.

“As Larry writes, ‘Without character, a free society is not just unlikely, it’s impossible. While the D’s and R’s lie and steal, we L’s must take the high ground, even though it may not be the politically expedient way,” she observes.

41 STORIES ON ‘41’

Most of us did not personally witness former President George H.W. Bush’s incredible parachute jump on his 90th birthday, or attend the gathering of the Bush clan at the family homestead in Maine to celebrate. But here’s a very promising substitute: In honor of Mr. Bush and Father’s Day, CNN will premiere “41ON41”, a unique profile of H.W. as told by 41 “extraordinary storytellers who know the president best,” the network says.

They include wife Barbara Bush, many famous Bush children and relatives, along with allies like Dan Quayle and Roger Ailes, journalists, sports figures, political strategists and famous admirers — including President Obama and former President Bill Clinton.

“The goal of this film is for the world to see President Bush through the stories of his life — one of the most significant in our modern history,” says Fred McClure, CEO of the George Bush Presidential Library Foundation, which funded the film. “It is more than a recounting of history. It is an engaging and uplifting profile of one of our greatest citizens.”

The two-hour film airs Sunday, at 9 p.m. and again at 11 p.m. ET. The film will also be simulcast online via CNN.com

HOLA AMERICA

“Federal authorities will likely continue rotating migrant children through the Nogales Border Patrol Station all summer long,” said Mayor Arturo Garino who visited the compound. Though saddened by the plight of the migrant children, Mr. Garino said he was happy to see that Border Patrol officials are doing their best to take care of them. What’s more, his tour was a chance to deliver some of the clothing, toys and footwear that area residents have contributed to a donation drive, despite not knowing if the Border Patrol would be able to accept them. The mayor said he was allowed to drop off two loads of donations Monday after he and his wife, Cathy, packaged them up at City Hall. ‘There are about six ladies helping my wife, sorting more stuff,’ the mayor said.”

“The young detainees are well hydrated, have access to showers, medical care and are separated by sex and age,” Mr. Garino said. “He was pleasantly surprised to see that they had access to a phone bank where they could call their consulates or relatives, if any live in the United States.”

— from an account by Joseph Trevino, a reporter with Nogales International, an Arizona news organization.

WEEKEND REAL ESTATE

For sale: Conyers Farm, Greenwich, Connecticut. Lakefront family compound on 32 acres currently belonging to actor/director Ron Howard; Victorian shingle-style main house, 18,000 square feet of living space; six bedroom, nine baths, seven fireplaces. Craftsman style two-bedroom guest house, wine cellar, “grotto”, indoor sports complex, observatory silo with Meade telescope, equestrian barns and paddocks, hiking trails, auxiliary stone house, greenhouse, formal rose, boxwood and organic gardens; outdoor and indoor pools, sauna, tennis courts, electronic gates. Priced at $27.5 million through Sothebyshomes.com

POLL DU JOUR

66 percent of U.S. adults are overweight or obese according to the U.S. Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation.

55 percent of Americans say they are not overweight, and not trying to lose weight; 60 percent of men and 50 percent of women agree.

18 percent say they are overweight, and are not trying to lose weight; 18 percent of men and 19 percent of women agree,

18 percent say they are overweight and trying to lose weight; 15 percent of men and 21 percent of women agree.

8 percent are not overweight but still trying to lose weight; 6 percent of men and 10 percent of women agree.

Source: A Gallup aggregate poll of healthcare surveys of 3,066 U.S. adults, conducted between 2011-2013, and released Tuesday.

Guffaws and annoyances to jharper@washingtontimes.com.

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