- The Washington Times - Sunday, December 13, 2015

Maybe the rest of the nation can’t believe that the Christmas season is well underway, but not so the White House. President Obama has four days until he says “aloha” and departs for sunny skies and balmy breezes for a while. Gleaned from his official schedule for the week:

“On Monday, the President will travel to the Pentagon to chair a National Security Council Meeting and receive an update from the President’s national security team on the campaign to degrade and destroy ISIL. On Tuesday, the President will deliver remarks at a Naturalization Ceremony at the National Archives. On Wednesday, the President will attend meetings at the White House. On Thursday, in advance of the holidays, the President will travel to the National Counterterrorism Center for a threat briefing. On Friday, the President will attend meetings at the White House. In the evening, the First Family will depart the White House en route Honolulu, Hawaii.”

They return on January 4, marking the eighth official holiday visit to the islands.


Things could get noisy up at the Washington Hilton, a big, bustling hotel some 10 blocks north of the White House. That’s where the High Times Business Summit for marijuana entrepreneurs gets underway Monday, “uniting the fields of politics, entrepreneurship and medicine,” according to the mission statement. Thirty speakers will be on hand for the two-day event, which is replete with exhibits, seminars, workshops and much talk about branding, strategic partnerships, health and why cannabis is different from alcohol.

The ancient hippies of yore would simply not believe it. This is not your granddad’s old pot-happy culture.

One lawmaker will be on hand as well. That would be Rep. Earl Blumenauer. When he steps out on the podium, the Oregon Democrat will discuss: “The path forward: Rethinking federal marijuana policy.”


Dozens of high-profile Latino conservative leaders meet in Las Vegas Monday to parse out the 2016 election and the Latino vote, just 24 hours before the Republican hopefuls gather at the Venetian Hotel and Casino, site of the next officially sanctioned GOP presidential debate on Tuesday night, to be hosted by CNN.

“The content of this meeting is critically important for the Republican Party — a party that desperately needs to improve its brand with Latino voters,” says Latino Partnership director Alfonso Aguilar, who adds that the candidates have been invited “to discuss the issues that the Latino community cares most about” — jobs and the economy, education, health care, life and family and immigration.

“It’s time for the Republican Party to wake up and do what it needs to do to finally capture the support of the Latino community, which we believe it can do,” Mr. Aguilar said.

Among the many who will be on hand: former U.S. Treasurer Rosario Marin, Massey Villarreal, former chair of the National Republican Hispanic Assembly and the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and Rev. Tony Suarez, executive vice president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference.

Come Tuesday, the narrative changes completely, however. A coalition of Latino organizations says it will “push back against hateful rhetoric and policies that hurt our community” with a Latinos Decide Rally outside the Venetian Hotel. Among the groups represented: Latino Victory Project — which counts actress Eva Longoria as a co-founder — Voto Latino, SEIU, People for the American Way and the Center for Latino Prosperity.


Democratic presidential hopeful Bernard Sanders is not happy with a new report that broadcasters are giving very short shrift to his campaign from January through the end of November. From longtime media analyst Andrew Tyndall comes revelations that ABC “World News Tonight” devoted 81 minutes of coverage to Donald Trump during the time period and less than a minute to Mr. Sanders. The report cited other evening newscasts; the takeaway is that, overall, Mr. Trump got a total of 234 minutes on the networks, the Vermont independent about 10.

Mr. Sanders will be Mr. Sanders. He’s hitting back. Yes, there’s a public petition.

“Tell corporate news networks to start covering Bernie,” it reads. “The corporately-owned media may not like Bernie’s anti-establishment views but for the sake of American democracy they must allow for a fair debate in this presidential campaign. Bernie must receive the same level of coverage on the nightly news as other leading candidates.”


Not everyone is happy over the COP21 agreement among many of the planet’s nations to put a damper on climate change.

“The final draft of the proposed ‘Paris Agreement’ gives disastrous primacy to politics, political correctness, and international wealth transfers at the expense of sound science. This proposed Agreement should be dead on arrival if submitted to the United States Senate,” wrote James Taylor, a senior fellow for environmental and energy policy at the Chicago-based nonprofit Heartland Institute.

He points out that ambiguous language about what constitutes acceptable global temperatures, the $100 billion per-year “wealth transfer” from developed to developing nations and ever-escalating carbon dioxide restrictions are worrisome.

“If the Obama administration requests approval of this Agreement by the United States Senate, the Senate should reject this treaty unanimously,” Mr. Taylor advises.


25 percent of likely Republican voters in Iowa say “a strong leader” is the most important quality in a presidential candidate.

22 percent say it is someone who is “honest and trustworthy”; 18 percent say “true conservative values” are the most important.

14 percent want someone who can “shake things up in Washington.”

11 percent say they want a candidate who can “defeat the Democratic nominee.”

9 percent cite all these qualities.

Source: A Fox News poll of 450 likely Republican caucusgoers in Iowa conducted Dec. 7-10.

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