- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 7, 2016

EVERY 29 SECONDS

America has grown by 2.5 million people in the last year. The U.S. Census Bureau says the United States population hit 322,762,018 on New Years Day, an increase of 2,472,745 people — or 0.77 percent, from one year ago. “In 2016, the United States is expected to experience one birth every eight seconds and one death every 10 seconds. Meanwhile, net international migration is expected to add one person to the U.S. population every 29 seconds,” the federal agency notes.

GARY JOHNSON NEXT TO VIE FOR VOTERS

The role of outsider candidate is a very popular one. Presidential hopefuls from both sides of the aisle now eagerly flaunt their status as can-do alternative for voters weary of status quo politics. Now they have competition from Libertarian Gary Johnson, who’s been honing his outsider craft since he ran for president in 2012, when he created a unique campaign culture and nabbed 1 percent of the vote. Denied a spot on the official debate podium that year, he staged his own version at the National Press Club with other third party hopefuls, broadcast live on RT — a Russian TV network.

Four years later, Mr. Johnson has announced he’s running a second time, and ready to rumble. Again denied a spot in sanctioned debates, he has sued the Commission on Presidential Debates, claiming the organization violated anti-trust laws and the First Amendment by barring candidates unable to reach a national polling threshold. Mr. Johnson cites traditional party shortcomings.

“On the Republican side, Americans are seeing, with one glaring exception, a battalion of candidates who look, sound and feel like the same Republican presidential candidates voters have rejected in the past two elections. None are instilling any confidence that government would be smaller, smarter or less costly if they were to be elected than it is today,” Mr. Johnson wrote at his Tumblr website.

“In the other ‘major’ party, the choices are equally alarming. Ms. Clinton, their version of ‘been there, done that’, is having her own problems claiming the throne she presumes to be rightfully hers. Never mind the unbelievable lack of judgment involved in storing official, sensitive emails in a private server in a bathroom. We’re looking at a ‘front runner’ who, as Secretary of State, presided over a descent into foreign policy chaos that is virtually unmatched in American history,” Mr. Johnson said.

“Game on! America deserves another choice in 2016,” the new candidate tweeted in the aftermath.

HILLARY AND THE ALIENS

It was an unusual question. During a campaign stop late last week in New Hampshire, Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton was asked her opinion about UFOs, aliens and whether the U.S. government would ever acknowledge such unearthly craft. “Yes, I’m going to get to the bottom of it,” the candidate reassured The Conway Daily Sun, a local paper, adding, “I think we may already have been visited. We don’t know for sure.” She also suggested that a future task force could investigate Area 51, the secretive military installation in Nevada.

The global media immediately seized upon the story, emphasizing additional input from former President Bill Clinton and former White House adviser John Podesta.

During a previous appearance on ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live!,” Mr. Clinton also chatted about alien encounters, telling his host, “It may be the only way to unite us in this incredibly divided world of ours. If they’re out there, we better think of how all the differences among people on Earth would seem small if we felt threatened by a space invader.”

In the meantime, Mr. Podesta publicly revealed his top 10 regrets about leaving the White House, emphasizing that his “biggest failure was once again not securing the disclosure of the UFO files.”

Activists continue to urge the federal government to be transparent with official information, particularly registered lobbyist and researcher Stephen Bassett, founder of X-PPAC — the Extraterrestrial Phenomena Political Action Committee.

Mr. Bassett calls Mrs. Clinton’s comments a “breakthrough moment in political history,” predicting, “John Podesta is the key adviser and strategist behind the inside political disclosure process, Secretary Clinton will be the messenger, and Barack Obama will be the disclosure president.”

CRUZ AND THE SHOTGUN

Some presidential campaigns raffle off lunch with the candidate, or maybe an autographed book. Others have a more gutsy outreach. Republican hopeful Sen. Ted Cruz is offering a custom shotgun as a premium for one lucky fan. Mr. Cruz’s prize is an American-made Remington 11-87 12-gauge shotgun engraved with his own flamelike logo — no contributions to the campaign are involved. It all makes sense, though.

“Cruz has been a strong advocate for Second Amendment rights as a U.S. Senator, and he will continue to defend our gun rights from the Oval Office,” says Tim Macy, chairman of Gun Owners of America, which has endorsed the White House hopeful, an avid hunter who includes a dozen camouflage items in his campaign shop.

HERE COME 3,408 NEW REGS

The nation continues to be a playground for government overreach. Behold the telling numbers, courtesy of Clyde Wayne Crews, vice president for policy for the ever-vigilant Competitive Enterprise Institute. While lawmakers struggle with cranky gridlock, federal agencies are only too happy to issue regulations at alarming rates.

In 2015 Congress passed 87 public laws — beginning with the Terrorism Risk Insurance Program Reauthorization on Jan. 12, and ending with the Surface Transportation Extension Act on Nov. 20.

“Federal agencies and bureaus, however, were far more busy than Congress: Agencies issued 3,408 rules and regulations in 2015, by my preliminary count. The National Archives will prepare a final tally within a couple months. In terms of just raw flow, that’s 39 rules and regulations for every law. I like to call that multiple ‘The Unconstitutionality Index,’” Mr. Crews observes. Find his research at CEI.org.

WHAT THE LADIES SAY ABOUT MEGYN

The life and times of Fox News prime-time host Megyn Kelly is the cover story for the newest Vanity Fair magazine, which features her posed in a svelte, off-the-shoulder black dress. Of note is how her rivals perceive her.

“Prominent female journalists from rival networks can’t help but praise her uncanny charm. She doesn’t talk down to her audience,’” says Campbell Brown, who hosted her own prime-time talk show on CNN an now leads a nonprofit show on education.

“‘There is none of the sanctimonious, condescending attitude. And, frankly, none of the hate. I think people are sick of these prime-time chest thumpers characterizing the other side as evil,’” Jessica Yellin, a former chief White House correspondent for CNN, says.

“‘She defies all the pigeonholing that usually happens to women on TV. She’s smart, strong, sexy, fierce, sympathetic all at once,’” the story noted. “‘Veteran newswoman Katie Couric praises her dogged interviewing skills, crucial when interrogating dodging politicians. ‘She takes no prisoners and takes no BS,’ says Couric. ‘And I’ve noticed that she’s a really good listener.’”

MR. ERICKSON’S NEW GIG

RedState.com founder and radio host Erick Erickson has launched a new easy-to-read, easy-to-access website that he hopes will provide “a landing pad for conservative activists, giving them the tools to be happy warriors.” Find it here: TheResurgent.com.

‘ALMOST NO LINK BETWEEN VIOLENCE , GUN LAWS’

An emotional President Obama has revealed his plans for 10 executive actions meant to reduce gun violence. A Chicago-based policy analyst also has a thought or two on it all.

“Obama’s hometown of Chicago saw 467 murders in 2015 and 943 murders as recently as 1992. Nationally, the murder rate is less than half what it was in the early 1990s and similar to early 1960s levels, when there were no background checks, waiting periods, or age limits to buy guns, no licensing of gun dealers, and no Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms,” says Steve Stanek, a research fellow with the Heartland Institute, a free-market think tank.

“These facts tell us at least two things. One, this is the safest the nation has been in at least 50 years, when there were almost no gun control laws compared to today, showing there’s almost no link between violence and gun laws, and two, the nation’s major news media and politicians are making America sound much scarier than it really is. They’ve done this knowing that frightened people are more willing to hand power to government,” Mr. Stanek concludes.

THE SPEAKER IS NOW A SPEAKER

Former House Speaker John Boehner has joined the public speaking circuit. Some two months after he resigned from his post, Mr. Boehner has emerged as the keynote speaker for a business summit staged by Managed Health Care Associates, and it’s done up with style, scheduled for early March at the very swank Bellagio Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.

The host expects 1,300 “alternate site health care providers, operators, owners, decision makers and thought leaders” as their guests; the summit will focus on “federal and state legislation, the ongoing changes in health care delivery models, biosimilars and the global generic outlook.” James Carville and Mary Matalin will also be featured on the program.

Mr. Boehner served as Speaker from 2011-2015 until he resigned on Oct. 31. The former Ohio Republican lawmaker is, however, exclusively registered with the Harry Walker Agency, a high-profile speakers bureau which also represents Dick Cheney, Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton plus Fox News host Bill O’Reilly, among many, many luminaries.

POLL DU JOUR

54 percent of Americans say the U.S. was once the most powerful country in the world but isn’t anymore; 41 percent say it remains the most powerful country.

52 percent say the American dream does not “hold true” anymore; 36 percent say it does, 11 percent say it never held true.

49 percent say they get angry more often than they did a year ago; 42 percent say their anger level is the same, 8 percent say they are angry less often.

37 percent say they are angry “once a day,” 31 percent say they are angry “a few times a day,” 20 percent say once a week.

48 percent say race relations have become worse since President Obama was elected; 39 percent say they have stayed the same, 12 percent say they are better.

Source: An NBC News/Esquire poll of 3,257 U.S. adults conducted Nov. 20-24 and released Sunday.

Follow Jennifer Harper on Twitter @HarperBulletin



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