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Westlake Legal Group > washington D.C.

Meet 2 makers coming to DC’s Downtown Holiday Market

The tents were pitched, the lights were hung and the days turned cold. The Downtown Holiday Market in the shadow of the National Portrait Gallery popped up as soon as the spirit of the holidays was whispered through the nation’s capital. 

Vendors at the market, located on Eighth and F Streets with pop-up white tents, are offering gift-worthy items ranging from hand-blown glass necklaces and charms, to sweatshirts emblazoned with Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s portrait. 

We spoke with two makers about their Downtown Holiday Market experience and what they’re hoping to gain from the holiday season this year. 

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Westlake Legal Group janae-purse-feature Meet 2 makers coming to DC’s Downtown Holiday Market Washington DC events washington D.C. Washington Things to Do style shopping Events downtown holiday market
A hand-sewn purse by Jenae Michelle for Range of Emotion. (Photo by coleimage.com)

Jenae Michelle: Artist, Maker and Owner of Range of Emotion

How did your business get started?
My business started 25 years ago. I was on a more mainstream path, doing my master’s degree at UC Berkeley and became critically ill. I eventually received treatment at the National Institutes of Health and was able to start building a new life. I set up a little table at Eastern Market and for a year or two, I made wool coats for people. My Great Depression-era grandma had taught me not to throw away scraps, especially wool ones, and with them I started piecing together very simple bags. Today, I make one-of-a-kind handbags from recycled textiles that people can use for years and years. The core of my business has always been that we should have fewer things, but better things.

What are you excited about when it comes to having a stand at the Downtown Holiday Market in Washington, DC?
I have had a stand at the Downtown Holiday Market for many years. Michael Berman has created a place where artists, like myself, can show their work to tens of thousands of people during the most important time of the year. My favorite moments are seeing special customers who have supported my work over many years, and the wonderful experience of meeting a new customer (or even someone who isn’t able to purchase) that is really able to recognize the colors, textures, crafts-womanship, reusability and beauty of each piece I create.  

Westlake Legal Group jenae-gloves-downtown-holiday-market-vendor Meet 2 makers coming to DC’s Downtown Holiday Market Washington DC events washington D.C. Washington Things to Do style shopping Events downtown holiday market
Hand-sewn fingerless gloves by Jenae Michelle for Range of Emotion. (Photo by coleimage.com)

What types of products do you offer that would be great as holiday gifts this year?
The most accessible and wonderful gifts are the one-of-a-kind fingerless gloves that I make from recycled cashmere sweaters. They are thoughtfully made to be both beautiful and durable. For the very special gift, one of my bags is perfect. As a gift, they are shocking treasures that often become a source of daily joy and many compliments. There is a certain magic when people see something that is created with real care.

Why do you think shopping from small businesses is important during the holidays?
The answer is very literal: When a customer chooses a gift, made by an artist, they are making it possible for an artist to continue to do what they love. Do we really want a world where there is no respite from mass-produced, thoughtlessly made stuff? There is another way, a more hopeful way to live in our culture. A return to valuing quality over quantity and people over things.

Find Range of Emotion at the Downtown Holiday Market through Dec. 23. 

Keith and Donna Ellingsworth: Co-Founders of Blue Ridge Cutting Board Company

How did your business get started?
DE: We started the business in 2000 as a way to be together. Keith was living in a cabin in the woods, in Sperryville, Virginia, writing and working part-time jobs, as well as furniture-making. I was living in Florida. While working as a financial analyst, the real estate development company I worked for dissolved and I was laid off. Keith had fallen in love with the wood that was available locally here in Virginia. We were young and unencumbered and started very small. Working out of an 1820s log cabin, we made the cutting boards mostly outdoors and sold them at the Charlottesville City Market and Eastern Market, as well as small arts and craft fairs.

KE: After nearly two decades and more than 45,000 cutting boards later, Donna and I are married with an amazing 10-year-old son.

What are you excited about when it comes to having a stand at the Downtown Holiday Market?
KE: We’ve been selling our boards at the Downtown Holiday Market since its inaugural year. The spectacular location at the foot of the National Portrait Gallery in the heart of the Penn Quarter not only ensures a lively crowd of potential customers but is a beautiful place to be among the historic buildings of downtown Washington, DC. Add to that the festive live music, the family of vendors who return each year, as well as new ones from all over the country, and it is really the most satisfying and fun place that we offer our boards for sale each year. Mike Berman, the director of Downtown Holiday Market, has done a really great job building the event—evolving many aspects over the years while at the same time maintaining a continuity with his staff which contributes to the family atmosphere for vendors and shoppers alike.

DE: We have customers who stop by every year to let us know how much they enjoy using their board, or how the person they gave one to as a gift appreciates it. Some prior customers will even give an impromptu testimonial to the shoppers browsing our stand. There aren’t many opportunities to buy something from the person who made it. I love helping someone pick out a board that I made and discuss with them what may be unique about the wood I chose to use and/or the way I put the pattern together. Buying a gift from its maker connects people directly. It is extremely satisfying when I’ve connected with a buyer and know that the board that I made is going to a good home.

What types of products do you offer that would be great as holiday gifts this year?
KE: From wood local to the Shenandoah Valley, the cutting boards we make come in a wide variety of styles and sizes. Several of our boards are of completely original design, including the popular cypress and walnut end-grain boards, as well as a moon cycle cutting board which was inspired by the eclipse in 2017, and consists of a walnut sky, maple moons and walnut shadows. Our live edge tables are made of reclaimed cherry, walnut, maple and oak.

DE: Cutting boards. For those who love to cook, having a beautiful and functional cutting board in your kitchen can add joy to the mundane. The cutting board is the center of preparation for many of our meals. Choosing a cutting board for a loved one is a way to remind them every day that you care. Even if you or your friends don’t cook—everyone eats! A handmade cutting board can elevate your take-out and up your presentation game. We offer several types of boards made from walnut, cherry, cypress, oak and maple, such as end-grain cutting boards, edge-grain cutting boards, paddle boards, DC Flag boards, moon boards and more.

Why is shopping from small businesses important during the holidays?
KE: When you shop from a small business, the hands you buy it from are the hands that made it. You tend to find the most unique, one-of-a-kind gifts from artisans who love making the products they sell.

DE: Just like many retailers, the boost that holiday shopping gives us makes it possible for us to make and produce cutting boards year-round. It is increasingly difficult to compete in an online shopping/two-day free shipping and click-it-and-forget-it world. We buy only local, native sustainable wood species.

Find Blue Ridge Cutting Board Company at the Downtown Holiday Market through Dec. 23.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

The 5 best things to do in DC in December

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Hazel Hay and Josiah Smothers (Photo by Aaron Spicer)

Newsies
When the curtain goes up on Newsies at Arena Stage this holiday season, look for Les. The little-brother character is played by two kids from NoVA.

For most kids with dreams of performing on the Great White Way, being in New York City is necessary. But, it turns out, there’s a dance studio in Ashburn that’s training the next generation of successful Broadway stars. Studio Bleu is home to a number of professional, young actors, including Josiah Smothers, 10, and Hazel Hay, 9. The kids, in fifth and fourth grade respectively, are making their Arena Stage debut this holiday season in the DC theater’s production of Newsies, a Disney-movie-turned-Tony-Award-winning Broadway-play. The pair will split the role of Les, the younger brother of David “Davey” Jacobs, a “newsie” who takes on Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst in the play, which is inspired by the NYC Newsboys Strike of 1899. But this isn’t the first time on stage for Smothers or Hay. Smothers made his national tour debut last year as Michael and Jack in the musical Finding Neverland, while Hay performed last year in Ford’s Theatre’s A Christmas Carol—and already has a number of film and television credits to her name.

But, despite their early successes, they’re still kids just having fun. “We became best friends when we met,” says Smothers of rehearsals with Hay. “It’s really fun. There are other teenagers [in the cast], but we’re the only kids under 12.”

Echoes Hay, “It’s super great, I love getting to hang out with Jojo [Smothers] and learning so many new things.”

And, as the youngest kids in the cast, what’s it like being on stage? “You get to spend so many great hours making new friends and rehearsing,” says Hay. “When you finally hit the stage in your costume it’s just like, ‘Oh my word, this is actually happening.’” // through Dec. 22; Arena Stage: 1101 Sixth St. SW, Washington, DC; $51-$105

Cher: Here We Go Again Tour
After over five years without a U.S. tour, the iconic Cher is back again to play her biggest hits, plus songs from her most recent album, Dancing Queen, a tribute to ABBA music. Nile Rodgers and CHIC special guest. // Dec. 10; 7:30 p.m.; Capital One Arena: 601 F St. NW, Washington DC; $47.95- $1,700

DC Downtown Holiday Market
Travel to the heart of DC for this bountiful holiday market’s 15th anniversary. With a diverse array of goods, including jewelry, paintings, pottery, textiles, artisan foods and more, you’ll find something for everyone on your holiday list. // through Dec. 23; noon-8 p.m.; Downtown DC: Eighth and F Streets NW, Washington DC; free

Step Afrika Holiday Show
Clap and stomp along as Step Afrika! blends contemporary dance styles of historically African-American fraternities and sororities with traditional African dance, all while intertwining stories, songs and the audience’s participation throughout the show. If you’re bringing kids, come early—Step Afrika! performers invite children to join them in crafting special holiday drums and shakers 45 minutes before each performance. // Dec. 12-22; times vary; The Atlas Performing Arts Center: 1333 H St. NE, Washington DC; $25-$45

Recent Acquisitions at National Portrait Gallery
This annual exhibition shows 25 of the newest additions to the National Portrait Gallery’s collection. Portraits of Frances Arnold, Jeff Bezos, Earth, Wind & Fire, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Indra Nooyi and Anna Wintour will join other United States history-shapers and culture-makers at the gallery. // through August 2020; National Portrait Gallery: Eighth and F Streets NW, Washington DC; free

This post originally appeared in our December 2019 issue. For more things to do in DC and NoVA, subscribe to our newsletters.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Everything you need to know about this year’s White House Turkey Pardoning Ceremony

On the afternoon of Tuesday, Nov. 26, President Donald Trump participated in the time-honored tradition of pardoning two turkeys, and choosing one to be the National Thanksgiving Turkey, in the White House Rose Garden. 

The act of giving a live turkey to the President of the United States has been a Thanksgiving tradition since 1947, yet that lucky turkey hasn’t always had the same fate it does now. 

Prior to 1963, when President John F. Kennedy decided to reprieve the animal with a sign that read, “Good Eating, Mr. President!”, turkeys were eaten by the president and his family for the holiday feast. The official Pardoning Ceremony wasn’t enacted until President George H.W. Bush’s presidency in 1989.

Westlake Legal Group family-of-farmers-with-turkeys Everything you need to know about this year’s White House Turkey Pardoning Ceremony white house washington D.C. Turkey Tradition the willard intercontinental hotel The Willard Thanksgiving President News & Updates News national turkey pardoning ceremony DC Culture
Bread and Butter stare out upon a sea of cameras as Kerry Doughty and his family address the press on Monday, Nov. 25. (Photo by Jess Feldman)

Now, two turkeys are born and raised to be be pardoned by the president and live out their days on Virginia Tech University’s Gobblers Rest following the ceremony, which they have done for the past four years. 

Prior to the 2019 ceremony, the two turkeys, known as Bread and Butter, spent the night at the Willard InterContinental Hotel, paid for by the National Turkey Federation, getting their beauty rest before a day of press conferences, meetings and an introduction with Donald and Melania Trump. 

Both of the birds were raised under the supervision of this year’s National Turkey Federation Chairman, Kerry Doughty, former president and CEO of Butterball, LLC, in North Carolina on his family farm. This year, the turkeys raised on Doughty’s farm are American Humane Certified for the first time, meaning they were verified as receiving the most humane treatment possible. 

Westlake Legal Group hokie-with-real-turkeys Everything you need to know about this year’s White House Turkey Pardoning Ceremony white house washington D.C. Turkey Tradition the willard intercontinental hotel The Willard Thanksgiving President News & Updates News national turkey pardoning ceremony DC Culture
Bread and Butter meet the Virginia Tech Hokie at a press conference on Monday, Nov. 25. (Photo by Jess Feldman)

Bread and Butter, both just 19 weeks old, have grown up listening to soft rock music and preparing for the bright lights, flashes and loud noises that come with this tradition, according to Doughty. 

“I’m just a family farmer trying to put a face on what we do,” Doughty said at a press conference held at the hotel on Monday, Nov. 25. 

Following a live social media vote that opened on Monday, Nov. 25 and closed on Tuesday, Nov. 26 at 11 a.m., Butter was chosen by the American people as the National Thanksgiving Turkey. 

After the live ceremony, Bread and Butter will make their way to Gobbler’s Rest in Blacksburg, where they will be cared for by Rami Dalloul, a professor in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and world-renowned poultry immunologist. Last year’s two turkeys, Peas and Carrots, live on the grounds as well.

For more Northern Virginia features, subscribe to our newsletters.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

The 5 best things to do in DC in November

These five events are worth the trip into the District this month.

This post originally appeared in our November 2019 issue. For more fun things to do across the region, subscribe to our newsletters.

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Photo courtesy of DC Beer Fest

DC Beer Fest
Nationals Park will host DC’s largest beer festival featuring over 80 breweries, live music, food trucks and more. Whether a general attendee or VIP,  this tasty brew fest will make all your beer dreams come true. // Nov. 2; noon-3 p.m. and 5-8 p.m.; Nationals Park: 1500 S. Capital St. SE, Washington, DC; $45-$75

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Photo courtesy of The Emporium

The Emporiyum
Grab your foodie friends for a weekend of endless variety of top-quality food and crafts. The Emporiyum is back in DC for a three-day festival that will showcase delicious food and drink from artisans near and far. // Nov. 8-10; times vary; Dock 5 at Union Market:  1309 Fifth St. NE, Washington, DC; $15-$80

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Katie Couric (Photo by Kevin Lynch Inc)

A Conversation with Katie Couric
Accomplished journalist—and Northern Virginia native—Katie Couric has been delivering the news for four decades. From the Today show to the CBS Evening News and now as a documentary filmmaker and founder of her own media company, Couric is a fixture in American media. She’s also a fierce advocate for cancer awareness. In a very special Smithsonian Associates event, the newswoman will receive the John P. McGovern Award and participate in an intimate discussion about her life’s work. // Nov. 12; 6:45 p.m.; National Museum of Natural History, Baird Auditorium: 10th Street & Constitution Avenue NW, Washington, DC; $25-$35

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Photo courtesy of National Theatre

RENT, The Musical
Celebrating its 20th anniversary, the groundbreaking Broadway show brings its hit songs and moving material to DC. Telling the story of seven struggling artists, RENT, The Musical walks you through an unforgettable year of each artist’s experiences—which remain as relevant today as they did two decades ago—leaving the audience with a sense of hope and joy in moments of fear and doubt. // Nov. 12-17; times vary; National Theatre: 1321 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Washington, DC; $54-$204

Westlake Legal Group harry-potter The 5 best things to do in DC in November washington D.C. Things to Do Features Things to Do november calendar November Events DC events Calendar
Photo courtesy of the Kennedy Center

NSO Pops: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix in Concert
Potterheads, get ready for a spectacular live concert featuring the National Symphony Orchestra. Enjoy the cinematic film Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix on a giant HD screen while the NSO plays alongside the film, giving the viewer an immersive one-of-a-kind Harry Potter experience—and a new holiday tradition at The Kennedy Center. // Nov. 29-Dec. 1; times vary; The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts: 2700 F St. NW, Washington, DC; $29-$99

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Figuring Out President Trump

Since he dipped his toe into the treacherous political waters in 2015, much has been written about President Trump’s modus operandi. As a neophyte politician, is he a charlatan, a fool, or one cagey SOB? Most points of view are generally dependent on the politics of the given prognosticator. Leftist Democrats believe that he has normalized bigotry and xenophobia in this country and has likely paved the way for race relations to deteriorate rather than progressing forward. Some of them believe that he is either a clueless incompetent beyond his depth or an evil genius.

Yet Trump’s opponents – in particular those in the legacy media – continue to hang on every his every word and are constantly being trolled by his public statements and especially his daily tweets on Twitter. It is really quite amazing to watch, is it not? Given that the likes of CNN, MSNBC, the NY Times, and Washington Post have destroyed their credibility with the American people due to fake news reporting, the only thing keeping them afloat in terms of viewership/readership is their 24×7 reporting on everything Trump!

All of Trump’s naysayers are from the political establishment along with their hangers-on in media, academia and Hollywood. They largely live in Blue states and never come into contact with Trump supporters in Red states; they inhabit the equivalent of a Leftist Cocoon into which reality and facts never seem to penetrate. Emotions motivate them, and they inherently value style over substance. How many times have we seen Democrats or media figures complain about the president’s supposed “unpresidential behavior” over the past couple of years? They are all so absolutely CERTAIN that there is only one correct way in which a sitting president must comport himself, and President Trump does not meet their expectations. That’s why they love their tin god Obama who was and is nothing but style and a light-weight with nothing of substance behind him. Fortunately, his legacy is blowing away like dust in the wind.

How best to explain President Trump, especially to those afflicted with seemingly incurable mass psychosis that is called Trump Derangement Syndrome (TDS)? Opinions vary, even among those of us on the Right. What follows are my personal opinions. First of all, unlike the views of those afflicted with TDS, my opinion is that our president is far smarter than his political adversaries! What do I mean? Allow me to explain with a personal anecdote.

I once had a French-speaking boss who was born in Quebec, Canada. A Vietnam vet, he sustained a gunshot wound behind an ear that affected his hearing. A PhD, he cultivated a belief based on his personal circumstances about which everyone in his immediate circle knew. He feigned difficulty in understanding English and coupled that pretension with impaired hearing, which he worked to his advantage in meetings. His “condition” was so well-known and cleverly developed that his reputation for these maladies preceded him. But here’s the deal: he could hear perfectly and could communicate verbally and in writing in English with the best of English speakers. His act resulted in people letting their guard down around him and disclosing things they otherwise wouldn’t.

Trump has his own shtick in this regard – not hard of hearing or feigning language difficulty – but rather a brusque and direct nature that greatly differs from the demeanor of a US president expected by the political class. In short, he is frequently viewed to be “not very presidential” by the Left and downright “dumb,” and the Democrats, legacy media, and NeverTrump Republicans can’t deal with that except to continually disparage him. It is impossible for them to ignore his direct public statements and tweets, and they react reflexively (and predictably) each and every time. They just can’t help themselves because they despise him so much – and this makes them completely susceptible to Trump’s misdirection.

President Trump has long been a disciple of Sun Tzu, the great Chinese general and philosopher who authored the seminal reference, “The Art of War.” President Trump wrote his own book, “The Art of Business,” patterned after Sun Tzu’s military strategies. I believe that he is also applying those same strategies to the modern political realm as he deals with his political opponents on a daily basis.

Let’s look at how Trump applies 10 of Sun Tzu’s principles in light of what we’ve learned about our president through close observation since 2015.

Principle #1 – Planning: Trump views his struggle as a war with the entrenched Deep State and their allies. He spent years studying the enemy camp and learning their weaknesses before developing his plan for the presidency. What are the elements of his plan? To use other Sun Tzu principles to let his enemies defeat themselves, including use of advantages, alliances, deception, use of spies, exploitation of strengths and weaknesses, energy, communication, and winning whole.

Principle #2 – Character: Sun is big on the virtues of wisdom, sincerity, benevolence, courage, and strictness in commanders. There is plenty of evidence of those in Trump! I like his benevolent side in particular, as well as his courage in his willingness to take it to the the Democrats and the media. A commander uses those virtues to properly command those around him. Trump is excellent in delegating authority to his sub-commanders (cabinet officers and various functionaries and spokesmen).

Principle #3 – Using advantages: Sun says that to become “thoroughly acquainted” with anything, and thus able to use the advantage of that knowledge, takes time, especially to get thoroughly acquainted with oneself. Without question, our president is comfortable in his own skin, as is readily seen in all of his public appearances, especially his campaign rallies around the country. He is a man of the people, and the people love him for it. And he’s spent decades studying “the enemy” and their weaknesses (e.g., hubris, false omniscience, narcissism, greed, envy, and personal foibles and sins). It’s a key advantage he has over the Democrats and media who underestimate him at every turn.

Principle #4 – Alliances: Sun says that no one has ever achieved anything of note without having alliances, and that knowing how to win is the first step while building alliances to get it done is the second step. With whom does Trump have strong alliances? I would argue that Trump has allied himself with a number of flag and general officers in the active duty and retired military who are intent on purging the corruption that is rampant in the Deep State, as well as his cabinet members, the Freedom Caucus in the House of Representatives, and others. All are working to Make America Great Again!

Principle #5 – Deception: Sun says that “all warfare is based on deception.” A corollary is the use of misdirection to deceive and confuse the enemy. And we all know that Trump is a master at using misdirection to keep Democrats and the legacy media off-balance! His opposition hasn’t stopped him from setting a record for appointments to the federal judiciary, or the passage of tax cuts, or the freeing up of the oil and gas industry, or the ending of the Obamacare individual mandate, or getting NATO allies to pay more, or working to reset trade practices with China, etc. That’s because the opposition is fixated on Trump’s misdirecting public statements and tweets – on his style versus his substance (policies and directives). I would argue that the real key to understanding Trump’s ongoing political strategy and modus operandi is his use of this most important Sun principle – Deception!

Principle #6 – Use of spies: Sun says that “to fight and win all battles is not supreme excellence; supreme excellent consists in breaking the enemy’s resistance without fighting.” Employing spycraft to understand the enemy’s plans and motivations is key to winning. A couple of names come to mind: ADM Rogers (the former head of NSA, the world’s elite communications monitoring org who made that important trip to Trump Tower in mid-November 2016). Two others: Mike Pompeo and Gina Haspel (reorganizing and repurposing the CIA, with Pompeo now leading Trump’s foreign policy team as Secretary of State). It would appear that leakers are also being outed as time goes by in the Senate, House, National Security Council, and State Department. That’s spycraft!

Principle #7 – Strengths and weaknesses: Sun said that good fighters “first put themselves beyond the possibility of defeat” and then wait for an opportunity to defeat the enemy – by waiting for that opportunity as provided by the enemy himself. President Trump plays rope-a-dope with the best of them. He gives off an air of weakness by not actively using the strength of his office to, for example, overtly direct Deep State firings, prosecutions, etc., of the cabal. He is patient in letting his enemies hang themselves. Which is exactly what the likes of Clapper, Comey, Brennan, McCabe, Strozk, Yates, and others are doing almost daily with their public railings about Trump’s supposed “treason,” abuse of power, Ukrainia quid pro quo, etc. Meanwhile, the indisputable evidence of their own perfidy continues to be exposed. He is letting them defeat themselves in the court of public opinion in preparation for the prosecutions to come – while building majority support among normal Americans for the indictments to come.

Principle #8 – Energy: Sun says that if you don’t know what to defend or what to attack, you will squander your energy. Our president has boundless energy and is constantly working on his MAGA agenda on but 4-5 hours of sleep per night. Amazing! He is putting his energy into advancing his agenda and using surrogates to hold his political opposition and the media at bay. Watch for more campaign rallies like Minneapolis and Dallas to energize his base (including Democrats!) going into 2020, too.

Principle #9 – Communications: Sun says that appropriate communication is the golden key to winning. Who could possibly argue that Trump is the greatest communicator in the Oval Office since Reagan (and I would argue even better!)? His twitter campaign is brilliant, as he is able to communicate instantaneously with his base whenever he chooses to do so. The Democrats and legacy media still haven’t figured it out yet; they always respond to everything he says. I pray they never will!

Principle #10 – Winning whole: Sun says that “the general who wins a battle makes many calculations in his temple ere the battle is fought. The general who loses a battle makes but few calculations beforehand. Thus, do many calculations lead to victory, and few calculations to defeat.” Now we can’t possibly know all of the calculations that Trump has made along the way, or the plans that are presently being executed on multiple fronts, but we can judge the results by his many successes since 20 January 2017. How many substantive losses has he truly sustained? The Obamacare repeal failed, but that was on the Senate (McCain in particular), not Trump. And I don’t believe he’s given up on that, so call that one a rain-check for now. Same with the Wall – which has been obstructed by the Uniparty, too. He used a declaration of national emergency on the border to fund the Wall out of national security spending in order to defeat the Democrats’ obstruction. It is being built, slowly but surely. And the economy is going gang-busters. Looks to me like President Trump owns that last Sun Tzu principle in spades: winning whole!

Conclusion: President Trump’s modus operandi involves adaptation of Sun Tzu’s 10 principles to the political battlespace of 21st century America. He is probably the greatest adherent to the tenets in Sun’s “The Art of War” in the modern era, and insights into his thinking can be elucidated by carefully observing his very successful actions on our collective behalf on a daily basis. The latest example was his appearance at the Astros-Nationals World Series Game last night. When he was shown on the big screen, the Deep State bureaucrats in attendance (DC is loaded with them!) booed him. Imagine what the rest of the normal country thought when the watched that unpatriotic spectacle? The Master Troller was at work again exposing that DC isn’t American at all – quite the opposite! The Left/Democrats, legacy media, and indeed virtually the entire political class remain clueless – which is great for the rest of us!

The end.

The post Figuring Out President Trump appeared first on RedState.

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Watch: NSA Adviser Shuts Down Chuck Todd on Why Russia Was Notified in Advance of ISIS Raid

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President Donald Trump gestures towards members on the media on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Thursday, Sept. 26, 2019, after returning from United Nations General Assembly. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

You’d think everyone would have been elated at the news, but the national media and Democrats including Obama loyalists and former Obama officials were some of the saddest, angriest people in the aftermath of the news of the death of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi over the weekend.

After the news broke, the mainstream media wasted no time in latching on to a Democratic talking point about how Trump had informed Russia about the raid in advance but not Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.

NBC News’ Chuck Todd was just one of many journos who saw something sinister behind Trump’s decision to notify Russia in advance of the raid and “thank Russia first” afterwards, and he let National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien know it on Sunday’s “Meet the Press”:

CHUCK TODD: The president said that there were a number of folks that helped. He thanked Russia first. He thanked the Kurds last. Should we read into that?

ROBERT O’BRIEN: No I don’t think you should read into that. I think what the president talked about is that it was a very dangerous mission for our troops. And the president made a courageous decision to send them far into enemy territory at night, a long range helicopter raid. It was a courageous decision of the president. But it was incredible bravery and skill of our men and women in the armed forces and the intelligence community that executed the mission flawlessly. But they had to fly over areas where there was significant anti-aircraft capability, the Syrians, the Russians, the Turks, others. So I think we appreciated the fact that our helicopters and our planes weren’t molested. The Kurds played an important role in the operation. And we’re grateful for the Kurds and for the SDF and our allies there.

When Todd again pressed O’Brien on the Russia angle, the NSA adviser patiently explained again why Russia played a crucial role and deserved thanks, even though they were not an ally of the United States:

CHUCK TODD: On a policy front, Russia. Are they an ally of the United States in this fight in ISIS? And are they an adversary of the United States in this situation with Ukraine? How would you describe it?

ROBERT O’BRIEN: Well, let me just make it very clear, Russia is not an ally of the United States. The president doesn’t believe that. I don’t believe that. I think there’s anyone —

CHUCK TODD: First country he thanked today.

ROBERT O’BRIEN: Look, there are times when our interests overlaps with the interests of Russia. Last night it overlapped. We didn’t want Russian air defense missiles being shot at our men and women who were executing this raid. And, and so last night — and they don’t like ISIS, as the president pointed out. Last night, our interests overlapped with Russia. When our interests overlap with Russia, there’s no reason we shouldn’t work with them. Russia is not an ally of the United States and look Russia presents a great danger to the United States. And something we keep an eye on every single day.

Watch O’Brien calmly teach Foreign Policy 101 to Todd below:

And to be perfectly clear, per Trump Russia was not notified of the specific mission:

“We spoke to the Russians. We told them we are coming in. They said, ‘Thank you for telling us,’” he said. “We told them we thought they would be happy. They hate ISIS as much as we do. You know what ISIS has done to Russia. They did not know the mission but they knew we were going over an area where they had a lot of firepower.”

In spite of the LSM and Democratic concern trolling about what Russia knew vs. what Pelosi and Schumer knew, it was just a great weekend all around for the dedicated men and women of the U.S. military. Job well done, y’all.

——-
— Based in North Carolina, Sister Toldjah is a former liberal and a 16+ year veteran of blogging with an emphasis on media bias, social issues, and the culture wars. Read her Red State archives here. Connect with her on Twitter. –

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Trump Nukes Kamala Harris On Twitter Over Attempted Boycott.

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Just when you think you have Donald Trump figured out and can put him in a box, he zigs zags and makes you stop and wonder what in the hell is going on. This time it is with people that allegedly he hates and wants them all to die.

Except that he also wants to there shorten prison sentences or eliminate them altogether. That has made Kamal Harris very mad being she put a LOT of people away in her time as a prosecutor in California.

From Fox News

 

President Trump took a rare swipe at 2020 Democratic hopeful Kamala Harris on Saturday, criticizing the California senator for boycotting a South Carolina criminal justice forum in protest of the group giving an award to him.

“Badly failing presidential candidate @KamalaHarris will not go to a very wonderful largely African American event today because yesterday I received a major award, at the same event, for being able to produce & sign into law major Criminal Justice Reform legislation, which will greatly help the African American community (and all other communities), and which was unable to get done in past administrations despite a tremendous desire for it,” Trump tweeted Saturday morning.

The president’s tweets came after he received the Bipartisan Justice Award from the 20/20 Bipartisan Justice Center for his efforts to pass the First Step Act, which grants early release to thousands of nonviolent offenders who are currently serving time in federal prisons.

Trump has by and large not mentioned Kamala and the other dwarfs running on the Democratic side. He has had a lot of fun picking on Joe and Bernie and the fake Indian and left it at that. However, Kamala who once was considered the shining star of this primary season has never fully recovered from the shot that Tulsi Gabbard landed on her in the Detroit debate about her lock up record.

I will admit that when Trump met with Kim Kardashian about commuting the sentence of a lady that had clearly served way more time than she should have, I thought it was a mere publicity stunt of two reality T.V. stars meeting. That has proven to not be the case.

When Van Jones showed up at CPAC and praised Trump and conservatives for this I knew something positive was happening. Van Jones Praises Conservatives on Criminal Justice Reform: ‘You Are Stealing My Issue’

Kamala probably was thinking that her law & order cred was going to get her major props and so far it has been a dud. Her at first instinct of boycotting this event and trying to look holier than thou does not look like it will work and might not even last a full news cycle. Stunts like this are meant to raise your profile and so far it looks like it has sent her into deeper muck. Now that she has changed her mind she looks even more indecisive.

There are only 99 days left until the Iowa caucuses. Kamala better get in front as many people as possible or her campaign is going to be dead on arrival before next February.

Check out my other posts here on Red State and my podcast Bourbon On The Rocks plus like Bourbon On The Rocks on Facebook and follow me on the twitters at IRISHDUKE2 

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Former Speaker Boehner Contradicts Fox’s Napolitano, Says GOP Did Not Change Impeachment Rules in 2015

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House Republicans gather for a news conference after Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Laura Cooper arrived for a closed door meeting to testify as part of the House impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump, Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2019, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

Newsweek gleefully reported yesterday about comments Fox News senior judicial analyst Andrew Napolitano made on Fox and Friends Thursday morning in the aftermath of the storming that took place on Wednesday by dozens of frustrated House GOP members into House Intel Chief Adam Schiff’s secret hearings.

During the segment, Napolitano told the hosts that the GOP had no one to blame themselves for how the current impeachment inquiry was being conducted. Why? According to him, the impeachment inquiry rules were written in 2015 by the GOP and signed by then-House Speaker John Boehner:

“As frustrating as it may be to have these hearings going on behind closed doors…they are consistent with the rules,” Napolitano, who previously served as a New Jersey Superior Court judge, explained during a segment of the Fox News morning show Fox & Friends.

“When were the rules written last?” the legal expert asked. “In January of 2015. And who signed them? John Boehner [the Republican speaker of the House]. And who enacted them? A Republican majority,” he asserted.

A video of the clip was tweeted out by Media Matters’ Bobby Lewis, who apparently is their designated monitor for Fox and Friends. The clip went viral, and as of this writing has over 29,000 retweets and nearly 80,000 likes:

In the next tweet, Lewis asserted – without evidence – that Napolitano “demolishe[d] Fox’s talking point that Dems need transparency.” Similarly, the Daily Beast ran a piece on the Judge’s comments, and uncritically passed them off as factual. “Napolitano … effectively dismantl[ed] the primary talking point of both Fox News and the Trump White House,” senior writer Matt Wilstein stated.

There’s just one problem: Boehner himself called BS on Judge Napolitano’s comments, as Brit Hume noted in a couple of tweets responding to the reports:

Boehner later confirmed that that’s what he said:

I assume Judge Nap is talking about a rule that was/is supposedly in the House Rules and Manual, an updated one of which is distributed every two years to the new Congress. Here’s how the process works:

Printed as a “House Document,” the Manual is usually authorized by House resolution at the end of a Congress for printing at the beginning of the following Congress. As such, the House document number reflects the Congress that authorized the printing although the cover page identifies the applicable Congress for the contents.

Let’s assume for grins and giggles that Napolitano is correct here. Even if he was, the book changes for each new Congress. 2015 was when the 114th Congress convened. We’re now in the 116th Congress. And as Rep. Dan Crenshaw (TX) pointed out Wednesday, the rulebook for this Congress clearly states on page 568 all House members should have access to the documents/transcripts, etc that Schiff is keeping under wraps:

Is Napolitano not aware of this?

As far as depositions being held in the public view goes, Byron York made this great point this morning:

Indeed. Too bad our intellectual betters in the mainstream media aren’t interested in finding out why that’s the case.

——-
— Based in North Carolina, Sister Toldjah is a former liberal and a 16+ year veteran of blogging with an emphasis on media bias, social issues, and the culture wars. Read her Red State archives here. Connect with her on Twitter. –

The post Former Speaker Boehner Contradicts Fox’s Napolitano, Says GOP Did Not Change Impeachment Rules in 2015 appeared first on RedState.

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Somethings Up: Tusli Gabbard Will Not Run For Congress Next Year

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 (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

I don’t like to put on the tin foil hat often but this is a strange move to me. Presidential hopeful and non-favorite of Hillary Clinton, Tulsi Gabbard has just announced she will NOT seek reelection in her home district next year so she can focus on her Presidential campaign.

What is going on here?

According to MSN

While lagging behind in a crowded Democratic presidential field, Gabbard has gotten renewed attention lately after a heated argument with former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.

The squabble seemed to give Gabbard renewed energy on the campaign trail.

Gabbard noted in her early morning announcement that the threats of war, international tensions and the threats of a new cold war convinced her she should focus on the presidential race

“I believe I can best serve the people of Hawaii and our country as your President and Commander-in-Chief,” she said in her statement.

The whole brush up with Clinton was a gift for Gabbard being it did give her renewed attention. She capitalized on it with her smack back of Clinton about her being a Russian operative while Clinton still holds the reset button she presented with the Ruskies as Obama’s Secretary of State.

Why give up a safe seat in Congress though? She is not going to be the nominee of the party.

Gabbard could be a rising star in the Democratic party as she comes across as not crazy while holding most of the same views as those who look and act crazy. Make no mistake about that. Tulsi might be more moderate on the timetable to achieve some of the horrible ideas that Bernie and Elizabeth are hashing out, but she is lockstep with the same overall goal.

If she is calculating that her announcing over a year early she is not running again for her seat will make her look more viable for the Presidential run, I personally don’t see how.

Maybe she has started off the 4th quarter raising more money than her campaign anticipated after the Hillary dust-up. Possibly she just doesn’t like being a congress critter anymore after traveling to Iowa and New Hamshire. Could it be that MSNBC wants to hire her after she drops out as a commentator on the network that currently is offering every excuse in the book for Hillary?

This is one of the stranger moves I have ever seen for someone who does not have a viable path to the nomination of her party. I have to admit I’m stumped and wondering how it unfolds.

I’m going to have the tinfoil hat on standby though just in case I need it.

Check out my other posts here on Red State and my podcast Bourbon On The Rocks plus like Bourbon On The Rocks on Facebook and follow me on the twitters at IRISHDUKE2 

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First Katie Hill, Now Another Dem Is Under Investigation for Alleged Relationship with Staffer

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Screenshot from this video

Democrats have been shellshocked by the allegations concerned Rep. Katie Hill (D-CA) that were broken exclusively by RedState about Hill being involved in a “throuple” with a campaign aide and her husband. Hill also allegedly had an affair with a staffer, her legislative director, Graham Kelly.

Hill has now admitted to having an “inappropriate relationship” with the campaign aide, but is still denying having a sexual relationship with her congressional staffer.

House Rules forbid having sexual relationships with staffers.

The House announced on Wednesday that they had launched an investigation into Hill based on the report by RedState.

From Fox News:

“The committee is aware of public allegations that Representative Katie Hill may have engaged in a sexual relationship with an individual on her congressional staff, in violation of House Rule XXIII, Clause 18(a),” Committee Chairman Ted Deutch, D-Fla., and Ranking Member Kenny Marchant, R-Texas, wrote. They added that the panel had launched “an investigation and will gather additional information regarding the allegations.”

But now it turns out that Katie Hill is not the only person they’re investigating.

Turns out there’s another Democrat who allegedly had an inappropriate relationship with a staffer.

The House Ethics Committee announced that they were also investigating Delegate Michael F.Q. San Nicolas (D-Guam) over allegations that he had a sexual relationship with a staffer & campaign finance abuses. They are looking into allegations that he converted campaign funds to personal use and accepted improper or excessive campaign contributions.

According to the Washington Times, legal counsel for San Nicolas said, “The congressman welcomes the opportunity for due process.”

Territories of the United States, like Guam, have non-voting delegates instead of representatives. San Nicolas has represented Guam’s at large district since January. He was elected to serve as the Vice Chair of the House Committee on Financial Services by fellow committee members.

Kuam News reported that in San Nicolas’ former chief of staff John Paul Manuel had filed a complaint with the Guam Election Commission about his former boss’ actions.

Here’s what Manuel said in September before the House announcement and he didn’t hold back.

From Kuam News:

Manuel told KUAM News, “How can you truly be supporting our troops when he is engaging in sexual relations with their wives while they are away? There is never a convenient time to reveal a friend’s wrong-doings. But the truth needed to be said. How is it responsible to have your chakmak on government payroll for $85,000? Powerful men need to realize the era of using political office as their own personal sexual playground is over. Government budgets don’t have any more room for chakmaks.”

Here’s more from Kuam News:

Kuam News also reported San Nicolas has a pretty poor voting record, according to Roll Call, observing that:

[I]n the Committee of the Whole, Congressman San Nicolas “voted just 47% of the time he has been eligible through October. 23rd”. Roll Call reports “overall he’s missed 138 or 259 votes so far”.

The post First Katie Hill, Now Another Dem Is Under Investigation for Alleged Relationship with Staffer appeared first on RedState.

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