Over the past seven months, millions of dollars have poured into online crowdfunding accounts associated…
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What Happened to the Millions of Dollars Raised by Standing Rock Protesters?

Over the past seven months, millions of dollars have poured into online crowdfunding accounts associated with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s unjustified crusade against the Dakota Access Pipeline.  To date, the violence-plagued protest has cost North Dakota taxpayers more than $33 million dollars, and diverted countless resources to assist local law enforcement.

Through February 14, over $13.5 million has reportedly been raised for the protesters through at least 350 different online accounts setup on sites like GoFundMe and FundRazr.  While the list represents some of the more serious fundraising efforts, it's estimated that upwards of 20,000 individual campaigns exist, likely equating to millions in additional income.

So where is all of that money going?  Nobody really knows.…[more]

February 16, 2017 • 06:05 pm

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Dem Dilemma: Stand With Lewis? Print
By Byron York
Wednesday, January 18 2017
For some Democrats, the illegitimacy charge would move them a bit too close to a kind of birtherism that they spent years denouncing.

Once Donald Trump responded to John Lewis's "illegitimate president" attack, the question wasn't whether Trump's pushback would cause a Twitter furor. It would. The question was how many Democrats, beyond those who occupy the left-most wing of the House Democratic caucus with Lewis, would go along with the Trump-is-not-legitimate charge.

So far, Democrats have come up with a variety of responses. Some openly disagree with Lewis. Others disagree but don't want to say so explicitly. Still others agree but don't want to say so explicitly. And some wholeheartedly support Lewis.

West Virginia Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin is in the first category. Asked on CNN Friday if Trump is a legitimate president, Manchin replied, "Absolutely." On CBS Sunday morning, Manchin described Lewis' rhetoric as "uncalled for."

"I've got the utmost respect for Congressman Lewis," Manchin said. "He's an icon, if you will. And we all have the most respect for him. I just think that was uncalled for ... So for this type of rhetoric, it's non-productive. And I would like it if that would tone down a little bit, we'd be much better off and move on."

Longtime Obama adviser David Axelrod was just as clear. "I disagree with what @repjohnlewis said," Axelrod tweeted Saturday. "But I honor the man he is. Honesty; integrity; couragethese are qualities you just can't buy."

Sen. Bernie Sanders, who mounted a long and bitter challenge to Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primaries, refused Sunday to call Trump illegitimate, suggesting instead that the argument is "just words."

"Do you think Donald Trump will be a legitimate president?" Sanders was asked on ABC.

"Well, I think he's going to be inaugurated this week," Sanders said, going on to call for an investigation into Russian hacking.

"Does that make him illegitimate?"

"Those are just words," Sanders responded. Sanders described his job in the Senate now as holding Trump to his campaign promise not to cut social safety net programs. But illegitimate? Sanders wouldn't go there.

Denis McDonough, the outgoing Obama White House chief of staff, refused to commit the president to Lewis's position. "On Tuesday night in his speech, (Obama) called (Trump) the freely elected president of the United States," McDonough said on CNN Sunday.

McDonough added that Democratic concerns about Russia and hacking are "by no means trivial." And, like everyone else, he paid tribute to Lewis's history in the civil rights movement. But he wouldn't buy into the legitimacy argument.

Still, CNN's Jake Tapper persisted: "Just to be clear though, President Obama thinks that president-elect Trump is legitimate?"

"The president has made very clear that he believes that he is the freely elected president," McDonough answered. "He will be inaugurated on Friday. And he will come into office hopefully strengthened by the kind of transition that we have tried to run in this White House."

Tapper tried one more angle: Does Obama "think that Democrats should put this away, this whole idea of legitimate, illegitimate?"

"The president is not going to get in the middle of this right now," McDonough said.

Several Democratsa number nearing 20 by the most recent counthave announced they will not attend Trump's inauguration. That doesn't necessarily mean they would explicitly say Trump is illegitimate. But some certainly would. Democratic Rep. Barbara Lee, for example, said early on that she is with Lewis. Another liberal, New York Rep. Jerry Nadler, tweeted, "I stand with @repjohnlewis."

Others, like California Rep. Ted Lieu, said they stood with Lewis but were not entirely clear on the question of Trump's legitimacy. In an extensive statement Saturday, Lieu said Trump has insulted too many people, is too close to Vladimir Putin, and has unconstitutional business conflicts of interest. Nevertheless, Lieu said, "I do not dispute that Trump won the Electoral College."

So does that make Trump illegitimate, or not? Lieu did not say.

Judging by the Democrats' reaction, it's one thing to denounce Trump's statements, to link him to Russia, and to suggest he will be a disastrous leader. It's another to claim that Trump is not a legitimate president. For some Democrats, the illegitimacy charge would move them a bit too close to a kind of birtherism that they spent years denouncing. (Remember that Republican leaders stayed away from birtherism, although some GOP members of Congress embraced, or at least flirted, with it.)

So it's possible, perhaps likely, that the Trump illegitimacy charge will remain confined to the leftmost reaches of the Democratic party, just as birtherism was confined to the rightmost reaches of the GOP.

If anyone other than John Lewis were leading the legitimacy fight, even more Democrats might distance themselves from it. But Lewis is so widely revered for his actions 50 years agoeven those denouncing him have to pay tribute to his pastthat he has given a sort of moral cover to a small number of Democrats who want to suggest that the 2016 election results are not legitimate. Right now, though, in the absence of some explosive new revelation or wholesale change in the political atmosphere, it appears that small number won't get much bigger.

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Byron York is chief political correspondent for The Washington Examiner.
COPYRIGHT 2017 BYRON YORK

Question of the Week   
Which one of the following former U.S. Presidents and his First Lady embarked on a lengthy road trip months following the inauguration of his successor?
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Quote of the Day   
 
"An organization originally created to boost former President Barack Obama's 2012 presidential campaign, has partnered with the Indivisible Project to organize national disruptions aimed at derailing President Donald Trump's agenda. Organizing for Action (OFA), originally named Organizing for America, is training tens of thousands of organizers to engage in protests designed to amplify the size of…[more]
 
 
—Martin Walsh, Lifezette.com
— Martin Walsh, Lifezette.com
 
Liberty Poll   

U.S. stock indexes have jumped to record highs since President Trump was inaugurated, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average above 20,000. Where would the Dow be if Hillary Clinton had been elected president?