US to UNESCO: We’re outta here until you end anti-Israel bias; Update: Israel exits too

The lack of staffing and funding plans for UNESCO by the U.S. have been accompanied by repeated denunciations of UNESCO by senior U.S. officials, including U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley. … Astute readers will recall that Barack Obama blamed then-French president Nicolas Sarkozy for sandbagging him on the vote, before the two of them gossiped about Benjamin Netanyahu with an open mic picking up the whole conversation. … The State Department announced that the US would remove itself as a full member of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) for its "continuing anti-Israel bias," as well as mismanagement of funds…

Putin on US diplomatic row: What do you expect from people who mix up Austria and Australia?

A federal court might force the Trump administration to compensate Russia for lost property value, but may not want to be in position to order the White House to allow them to operate facilities, especially while Russia has forced the closure of American facilities in their country. … The problem here is that American foreign-policy interests probably outweigh the Russian property rights in terms of the use of these facilities. … "That the Americans reduced the number of our diplomatic facilities - this is their right," Putin told a news conference in the Chinese city of Xiamen, where he was attending a summit of major emerging economies…

Putin flack: Remember the good old days of the Cold War?

The demoralizing effect of the reset reverberated all over the region, and I would argue it was largely responsible for the demise of the pro-Western governments all around the Russian periphery, bringing to power Viktor Yanukovich in Kiev and my successor Bidzina Ivanishvili, the largest Gazprom shareholder, in Georgia... … Romney was right; a Putin-led Russia was the most significant potential threat to the US on the horizon, but Obama was too busy attempting to appease and co-opt Putin to see it, hence his pledge for "more flexibility" to Dmitri Medvedev in the spring of 2012. … In the Cold War, at least from the perspective of the Kremlin, the USSR's frontier with NATO and the EU was as far west as Germany, and its economic and political power extended all through Asia, and into Africa and South America…

Conway to Cuomo: Why do you care if Trump tweets?

It didn't work for that reason; the rest of the media refused to play along with the freeze-out, likely out of concern for the precedent it would have set, and Fox's ratings went higher than ever. … Conway, a senior adviser to Trump, criticized media coverage of the social media controversy, saying that Trump is "just trying to cut through the nonsense of people telling Americans what is important to them, which we saw through the elections wasn't true. … CNN host Chris Cuomo tangled with Conway over Trump's tweeted ripostes to the cast of Hamilton this weekend, arguing that a president-elect should aim to heal divisions rather than provoke them -- and shouldn't he be busy with the transition rather than trolling on Twitter anyway?…

Russia conducts nuke-missile run-throughs near Estonian border

"Intervention with cyber means in a presidential election, the funding of extremist parties in Europe and their indoctrination in Crimea, the undermining of an independent air crash investigation, propaganda and the spreading of lies all fit under that description," he said. … Lest anyone miss the point, the Estonian prime minister made it clear -- his country is on the front lines of a new version of the Cold War. … "Scrapping the U.S. missile defense system in Poland and the Czech Republic does little more than empower Russia and Iran at the expense of our allies in Europe," said Representative John A. Boehner of Ohio, the House Republican leader…

Hillary: “We’re going to raise taxes on the middle class!”

In other words, Hillary Clinton proposes the very same policies that did not produce a dynamic economic expansion expected after the Great Recession, that created opportunities for billions of dollars in fraud and exploitation of workers, and that operated as a crony-capitalist ATM at the expense of frustrated taxpayers. … Her website promises to make America "the clean energy superpower of the world," and the installation of a half-billion solar panels by 2021. … " By the time the failures and frauds were uncovered, though, it was far too late to salvage any of the borrowed cash that fueled the stimulus program…

Obama on Trump: We don’t need someone who feeds on our fears

So if somebody is a straw purchaser -- and what that means is they don't intend the guns for themselves, they intend to resell them to somebody else -- they go to a gun show in Indiana, where right now they don't have to do a background check, load up a van, and open up that van and sell them to kids in gangs in Chicago -- if now that person has to go through a background check, they've got to register, ATF has the capacity then to find out if and when a gun is used in a crime in Chicago where that gun had come from. … In fact, just last week Obama claimed that gun crime in Chicago -- where both the city and the state have some of the toughest gun laws in the nation -- is primarily caused by "vans" of guns coming from gun shows in Indiana … "But I'm pretty confident that the overwhelming majority of Americans are looking for the kind of politics that does feed our hopes and not our fears, that does work together and doesn't try to divide, that isn't looking for simplistic solutions and scapegoating but looks for us buckling down and figuring out, 'How do we make things work for the next generation.'"…

Transparency, White House-style

In another example that skews to the petty side, a local CBS affiliate reporter, Catherine Anaya, explained how their interview with Barack Obama had to be conducted standing up, with a countdown clock behind the President constantly reminding the reporter of her time limit … When I told the spokesperson that I did not see why the quote needed to be anonymous and attributed to "a White House official," the spokesperson said if I needed something on the record I could refer to the First Lady's travel guidance and a transcript of a press call regarding the trip. … On the other hand, this White House seems to be more comically inept at even delivering a pretense of transparency -- from the malevolent effort to rewrite FOIA rules to exclude themselves to the amusing irony of insisting on accepting a transparency award outside of the presence of the media…

Obama to sound Nixonian theme in SOTU?

This official, like so many others in the West Wing, apparently is not sufficiently self-aware to realize that he confirmed an Obama critique – that the president is too removed and disinterested from the political process to affect it, that he doesn't value congressional relations enough to give them anything more than lip service, and that, for his enormous intellectual gifts, Obama is handicapped by a lack of political curiosity. … "Something that not only gives some rhetorical lift but gives the people listening to the speech the impression that it all ties together, that all these specific ideas are in pursuit of a common goal or a common vision. … " But, he added, "Now, let us join in making 1972 a year of action on them, action by the Congress, for the nation, and for the people of America."…

Obama pivoting to … Bain?

Mr. Zients, 46, had no government experience when he joined the administration in June 2009 as the deputy director for management at the Office of Management and Budget. … The Times actually does mention the fact that Zients had no government experience in 2009 when he came aboard the OMB as Peter Orszag's deputy, but also notes that Zients ran into trouble with the Senate for attempting to bypass its oversight of the administration … The appointment of Jeff Zients is likely to annoy some union officials and some liberal groups who are focused on declining working-class wages and growing poverty, and it clashes with the populist anti-business invective used by Obama and his aides on the 2012 campaign trail to paint Romney as uncaring…

Public sector cutting hours due to ObamaCare, too

Some local officials said the cuts are happening now either because of labor contracts that must be negotiated in advance, or because the local governments worry that employees who work at least 30 hours in the months leading up to the January 2015 implementation date would need to be included in their health-care plans. … Many cash-strapped cities and counties facing the prospect of shelling out hundreds of thousands of dollars in new health-care costs under the Affordable Care Act are opting instead to reduce the number of hours their part-time employees work. … First we find out that the White House missed half of the statutory deadlines in the bill and still has almost half of them left unaccomplished…

Obama would like to inform you Ho Chi Minh was totally inspired by Thomas Jefferson

One of the great murders of the 20th century could not have been truly inspired by the most significant advancement of the rights of the individual in human history. … Whether the United States should have sought to oust him or not or whether the war was rightly fought, Ho was not any heir to Jefferson and the Founding Fathers. … He's speaking off the cuff, he's trying to be agreeable, and he reverts to a comfort zone of calmly stated professorial radicalism that was a-okay in the parlors of Hyde Park…

Obama budget caps tax-deferred retirement contributions to … half of what he’ll get

6 percent in the first quarter of this year, the lowest rate since the end of 2007. … 4 million — which applies to the combined values of your pension and retirement accounts — is subject to a sharp downward change in the future because annuity issuers charge significantly less for an annuity when interest rates are higher than they do today, with rates at rock-bottom levels. … Today, Allen Sloan asks in the Washington Post why Obama wants twice as much in retirement benefits than the rest of Americans can build in tax-deferred savings, at least under the budget Obama proposes…

The 2012 OOTY is …

Small businesses generate a large amount of that tax base, thanks to the point-of-sale transactions conducted and the labor they use, as well as property taxes and the like. … Government doesn't pull the money off the magic trees of the Progressive Sunshine Forest; they take capital from taxpayers, either current or (increasingly) future taxpayers. … Our system of constitutional self-government provides a framework that allows for enough governance to provide those necessary checks without becoming overbearing, and without government distorting those markets for the preferred outcomes of elites rather than the outcomes decided by voluntary associations in the marketplace…

Poll: 2012 OOTY Finals

The results will get tallied in secret, so be sure to check back in tomorrow to see which of these four will be the 2012 OOTY winner! … Don't let it divide you or get surprised by the difficulty of the task. … We've finally narrowed down the hundreds of potential OOTY candidates to the final four…

Poll: OOTY Prelims, 2nd-chance Flight

For the first time, though, we're including those OOTWs that finished within 100 votes of the top pick in the OOTY prelims, too. … (Other than that one in November, of course.) As is traditional with the OOTYs, we're giving some of these nearly-successful Obamateurisms of the Week a second chance to compete for the overall title. … Ever see a poll where the second-most popular option nearly carries the day, but then is forgotten?…

Slate to Obama: Enough about you, already

This comes as no surprise to readers of Hot Air; it was a recurring theme in the Obamateurism series. … It's the kind of material any eulogist could use to give a moving sense of the man and his accomplishment. … Inouye was a Japanese-American war hero (he lost an arm in World War II, destroying his dream of becoming a surgeon), and as a senator he served on the Watergate committee, helped rewrite our intelligence charter after scandals, and was chairman of the Senate committee that investigated the Iran-Contra affair…

Poll: OOTY prelims, Flight 5

Declares Lech Walesa "too political" to accept award, gives another to Dolores Huerta, chair of Democratic Socialists of America … Let's look at the next five weekly winners to see who will get added to Round One of the semifinals … We almost have the first semi-final poll filled out for the Obamateurism of the Year, thanks to the selection last week of Barack Obama's assumption that men and women in the military are there to fight on his behalf…