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Tuesday, September 19, 2017

ObamaCare Fix Dead

GOP chairman declares bipartisan ObamaCare fix dead
The Senate health committee chairman on Tuesday released a statement ending a bipartisan effort to find an ObamaCare fix amid a new GOP push to repeal the law. 

"During the last month, we have worked hard and in good faith, but have not found the necessary consensus among Republicans and Democrats to put a bill in the Senate leaders’ hands that could be enacted," Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), the chairman of the Senate health committee, said in a statement

Defense Secretary Mattis Says US Will Act On North Korea Missiles That Pose A Threat


As President Donald Trump prepares to make his first speech to the United Nations, Secretary of Defense James Mattis was pushing the administration’s line on North Korea, saying that the US has “many military options” available for toppling North Korea’s unstable regime that wouldn’t risk millions of deaths in Seoul.

“There are many military options, in concert with our allies, that we will take to defend our allies and our own interests,” Mattis said, declining to elaborate or provide any further details.

The Trump administration has repeatedly insisted that “all options” remain on the table when dealing with North Korea, and that the US wouldn’t hesitate to consider a military solution if diplomatic efforts and sanctions fail to halt the Kim regime's rapidly progressing nuclear program. Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un have been exchanging threats of nuclear annihilation for months, with Trump famously promising to deliver “fire and fury the likes of which the world has never seen” if the North doesn’t cease its threats to the US.

Of course, many believe that, despite the administration's rhetoric, it still lacks a cohesive US military strategy for toppling the Kim regime – at least one that doesn’t involve risking millions of lives in Seoul, which is less than 50 miles from the North Korean border. Former Trump Chief Strategist Steve Bannon once said in a now famous interview that there is no military alternative for dealing with the North that wouldn’t involve potentially millions of deaths in Seoul from conventional weapons fire.

Mattis also said that he discussed deploying tactical nuclear weapons with his South Korean counterpart, but declined to elaborate on the details.

After the North has twice fired intermediate range missiles over the Northern Japanese island of Hokkaido, the former general added that the US is prepared to shoot down any North Korean missiles that pose a threat to its territory or that of its allies – comments that are particularly relevant following the North’s decision

“Those missiles are not directly threatening any of us,” Mattis said Monday when asked why the military didn’t shoot them down.

 

“The bottom line is that, when the missiles - were they to be a threat, whether it be to U.S. territory, Guam, obviously Japan - Japan’s territory, that would elicit a different response from us,” he said.

Mattis - confirming what investors have known for some time - said North Korea is “intentionally doing provocations that seem to press against the envelope for just how far can they push without going over some kind of a line in their minds that would make them vulnerable,” but that the country doesn't pose a threat to the US.

When the North fires its missiles, Mattis said, "they aim for the middle of the Pacific Ocean, as you know, where at least we hope no ships are around, right?”

South Korean President Moon Jae-in suggested to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Sept. 15 that they should both refrain from overreacting to North Korean provocations to avoid any accidental conflict.

Mattis praised decisions by countries to expel North Korean ambassadors. Spain declared Pyongyang’s envoy to Madrid “persona non grata” on Monday, and told him to leave by the end of the month. Mexico, Peru and Kuwait have either expelled or given notice to ambassadors since the Sept. 3. nuclear test.

Kuwait will not renew permits to North Korean workers to re-enter the country after projects they are working on are completed "within one or two years," according to Bloomberg. There are between 2,000 and 2,500 North Korean workers in Kuwait, with thousands more believed to be in other Gulf states.

Rallying international pressure against North Korea and Iran is expected to be the top priority of the Trump's trip to the United Nations General Assembly this week. Reports that surfaced late Monday claimed that Trump is planning to label Iran and North Korea as "global threats" during his first address to the General Assembly, set to begin at 10 a.m.



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Who Truly Imperils Our Free Society?

Pat Buchanan 

"The Barbarian cannot make ... he can befog and destroy but ... he cannot sustain; and of every Barbarian in the decline or peril of every civilization exactly that has been true."

Hilaire Belloc's depiction of the barbarian is recalled to mind as the statues honoring the history and heroes of the Republic and of the West continue to be vandalized and smashed.

A week ago, the statue of missionary and Catholic Saint Fr. Junipero Serra was beheaded at the Santa Barbara Mission he founded. A century-old Columbus statue in Central Park was defaced and spray-painted with: "Hate will not be tolerated."

Baltimore's monument to Francis Scott Key, who observed the bombardment of Fort McHenry on a British warship late in the War of 1812 and was inspired to write "The Star-Spangled Banner," was covered in red paint. "Racist anthem" was written across it.

In Berkeley, home of the Free Speech Movement, the university last week had to spend $600,000 to protect an invited speaker of the college Republicans from being assaulted.

But St. Louis was where the real action was. Friday, a mob hurled rocks and bottles injuring 11 cops, leaving one with a broken jaw. They smashed windows at the mayor's residence and marched miles to the Central West End to berate diners on patios of restaurants with the menacing chant: "Off the sidewalk. Into the street."

Saturday, the mob invaded and shut down a suburban mall, and then smashed windows across a nightlife district.

The protesters rationale: rage at a not-guilty verdict in the murder trial of ex-cop Jason Stockley in the death of Anthony Lamar Smith -- in 2011.

Stockley's police van had been struck by Smith's car, who had been nabbed in an alleged drug deal and led police on an 80-mile-an-hour chase, at the end of which Stockley emptied his gun in Smith.

Yet even Attorney General Eric Holder declined to investigate.

On Sunday, Black Lives Matter showed up at the St. Louis' police headquarters chanting, "Stop killing us!" But if the killing of black folks is a legitimate grievance, we need to ask: Who is killing them?

Last year, there were 4,300 victims of shootings in Chicago and 762 deaths. How many of those shootings were by cops?

How many of those shootings, mostly of blacks, were acts of "terrorism by White supremacists, White nationalists, neo-Nazis, the Ku Klux Klan," all of whom our ever-heroic Congress demanded that President Trump, in a joint resolution after Charlottesville, denounce.

Nowhere in the resolution was there any mention of Antifa, the "anti-fascist" fighters on the other side of the Charlottesville brawl, where a protester was run down and killed by a Nazi sympathizer.

What is it in their DNA that causes Republicans reflexively to sign on to a one-sided Democratic denunciation of President Trump for the sin of suggesting there were two parties to the Charlottesville brawl?

And are neo-Nazis really a threat to the republic?

In 1963, this writer was at Dr. King's March on Washington, which began on the Monument grounds where George Lincoln Rockwell's Nazis were yelling slurs. On the site where Rockwell's Nazis stood, there stands today the African-American Museum.

When my father was a 21-year-old Al Smith Democrat in D.C. in the Calvin Coolidge era, scores of thousands of anti-Catholic Klansmen strode up Pennsylvania Avenue, and the national Klan numbered in the millions.

But is the KKK of today a serious threat to civil rights?

Lately, St. Louis and East St. Louis have boasted the highest murder rates in America. Is that the doing of white supremacists?

This morning we read there have been so many smashed and stolen bicycles that Baltimore is canceling its Bike Share program.

Did David Duke and his Klan friends steal all those bikes?

Who are the ones shouting down speakers? Who violently disrupts political rallies, on campuses and off? Who engages in mob violence after almost every police shooting of a black suspect? As for interracial assaults, rapes and murders, according to FBI crime statistics, these are primarily the work of black criminals against white victims.

The Justice Department should report on hate crimes by white racists. But from the stats, anti-white racism is far more common and far more manifest in crimes of violence. Who reports that truth?

Are Christian supremacists murdering Muslims in Europe, or are Muslim supremacists committing acts of terrorism in Europe and conducting genocide against Christians in the Middle East?

The left has been marinated in an ideology where the enemy is always to the right. People blinded by ideology, unable to see the true enemies of their civilization, end up losing it, and their lives as well.

"We sit by and watch the Barbarian," wrote Belloc, "We tolerate him ... We are tickled by his irreverence; his comic inversion of our old certitudes and our fixed creed refreshes us; we laugh. But as we laugh we are watched by large and awful faces from beyond; and on those faces there are no smiles."

You Have To Stand For Something, Mr. President



Republican U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump listens as Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton answers a question from the audience during their presidential town hall debate at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, U.S., October 9, 2016. REUTERS/Rick Wilking

By Scott Greer
18 Sep 2017, 10:45 PM

President Trump spent his Sunday retweeting memes from his biggest supporters, causing an uproar when one of them showed him hitting a golf ball into Hillary Clinton.

That retweetcaused HuffPostand others to willfully believe that Trump was somehow endorsing violence against women.

While not exactly presidential behavior, the retweet was just an example of harmless humor at the expense of his vanquished foe, similar to the famous gif he tweeted of him bodyslamming the CNN logo.

Trump was promoting a certain message with his choice of retweets, but it wasn’t support for violence against women. A week after he appeared to have betrayed his supporters by tentatively agreeing to an amnesty for illegal immigrants and no wall, the president further reinforced his agenda as simply “not Hillary or the liberals.” (RELATED: Trump Is A Terrible Negotiator)

One of the accounts that the president retweeted goes by the name “Trumpism 9.0.” The account’s tweet featuring an all-red electoral map and a warning “keep it up libs, this will be 2020” earned a retweet from the president.

It was an acknowledgement from the president that his appeal is built on the ridiculousness of his opposition. His fixation on attacking Hillary — a broken woman whom he defeated nearly a year ago — confirms the suspicion that he knows his main pitch is who opposes him.

The “Trumpism 9.0” seems to think that’s enough of a reason to support the president, as that account’s definition of Trumpism isn’t what the man in the White House campaigned on. The Twitter userclaims Trumpism“epitomizes Conservatism, Capitalism, patriotism, & respect for the Constitution.” While certainly patriotic, Trump ran against the old conservative establishment bromides about capitalism and the Constitution in his campaign.

Trump’s trade protectionism and his declarations that the Constitution isnot a suicide pactbelie the Trumpism 9.0’s claims as to what the ideology represents.

But since Trump seems to be giving up on Trumpism, the ideology behind the man no longer matters if it’s just a personality cult anyway.

Fortunately for the president, plenty of people may be fine with Trump existing solely as liberals’ worst nightmare.

On the same day that Trump was retweeting his supporters’ memes, the Emmys took place. Surprising no one, the TV awards show turned into aResistance rallywith more than enough criticism of the president.

Another example of condescending Hollywood liberals forcing their politics on Americaprompted many commentatorsto state that this is why Trump won and why he will win again.

Middle Americans see Trump’s haters and enemies as having total contempt for people like themselves. As an act of defiance, they vote for the man that makes those liberals lose their minds.

By acting as a totem of opposition against people like Hillary Clinton and Hollywood celebrities, he maintains support among millions of Americans — or so the theory goes.

That’s why Trump and his surrogates still spend an inordinate amount of time attacking the Clintons several months after the election. The president needs these enemies in order to bolster his status as the guy standing against them.

What he is exactly standing for can remain a mystery, however.

On the political Right, there is a serious crisis as to what unites the disparate elements that make up the Republican Party and the conservative movement. It’s no longer anti-communism like it was in the Cold War and tax cuts aren’t enough to keep everyone happy, especially when Trumpists have expressed support for raising taxes.

National Review editor Rich Lowryhas said, with a sense of regret, that the media now serves as the common enemy that defines the Right of the Trump era.

There is certainly truth to that, but the media is only one facet of this common enemy, which happens to be the political Left.

Numerous liberals have mockingly pointed this development out as a sign that the Right is devoid of ideas and animated by a vindictive spirit. It’s not so much that the Right is out of ideas as that the conservatism of the past was discredited in the Republican primary by Trump himself.

Populist-nationalism represented a direct challenge to the conservatism of Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, and it triumphed with Trump’s ascension to White House.

But the man responsible for that triumph appears to be disinterested in carrying that nationalist platform any further, leaving a major void on the Right that is filled only by opposition to the Left.

Being defined by what you oppose instead of what you stand for isn’t exactly a positive message, but it seems to be the only thing driving the Trump administration at the moment.

It is true that Trump as president has to maintain a broad coalition in order to advance his agenda, so it makes sense to highlight the one thing that keeps that coalition intact.

But if that agenda is little more than anti-CNN gifs and the 2016 electoral map, what does that matter? How is a funny meme of Hillary falling down making up for you not building the wall and granting amnesty to illegal aliens?

The country artist Aaron Tippinonce sang, “you have to stand for something or you’ll fall for anything.” Trump should keep those words in mind as he falls for the out-of-touch agenda of the Republicans he defeated in 2016.

Follow Scott on Twitterand buy his new book, “No Campus for White Men.”

Citizen Newt Is Needed Today

New GOP ObamaCare repeal bill gains momentum

New GOP ObamaCare repeal bill gains momentum
By Peter Sullivan - 09-18-17 14:28 PM EDT

A last-ditch effort by Senate Republicans to repeal and replace ObamaCare is gaining steam, suggesting lawmakers could face another vote on ending the former president's signature law later this month.

Supporters do not have the 50 votes necessary to pass the bill yet, but pressure is growing on Republicans to back the measure, which could replace much of ObamaCare with block grants for states.

In a crucial boost for its chances on Monday, Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R) offered his support.

"Congress has 12 days to say 'yes' to Graham-Cassidy. It's time for them to get the job done," he said, referring to the bill's two main co-sponsors, Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Bill Cassidy (R-La.).

Ducey's support is important because Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) has said the Arizona governor's position would be an important factor in how he votes.

McCain helped kill the repeal effort in July, calling for committee hearings and a bipartisan process, but he has left the door open to voting for Graham and Cassidy's bill.

Still, McCain on Monday criticized the rushed process leading up to a possible vote next week, while not ruling out voting for the bill.

"The governor of Arizona is favorably inclined, but I am going to have to have a lot more information," McCain said.

He reiterated his call for committee hearings and amendments, known as "regular order."

"We should be going through regular order," he said. "I've said that about 12 times."

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), another crucial vote, also said Monday she is still studying the impacts on her state.

Senate GOP leadership is becoming more engaged. A source who has spoken to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's (R-Ky.) office described him as "taking it very seriously."

"The Leader asked CBO to prioritize the score on the legislation," said McConnell spokesman David Popp. "We expect regular staff briefings and Member discussions to continue."

Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn(R-Texas) last week said he is conducting a whip count to gauge the level of support for the bill, though he did not say he would be pushing for it.

A significant factor giving the measure new momentum is a fast-approaching Sept. 30 deadline.

At the end of the month, Republicans will not be able to use rules known as "budget reconciliation" to bypass a Democratic filibuster in the Senate.

If the measure can be filibustered, it has no chances of passing the Senate. As a result, Republicans are feeling pressure to move quickly to enact change they have long promised but have been unable to deliver, even with their party in control of Congress and the White House.

The last-ditch effort is expected to have the backing of most Republican senators, but there are some high-profile holdouts.

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) has been tweeting his opposition to the bill, saying it keeps too much of ObamaCare.

Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), who voted against previous repeal efforts, has also said she has concerns and is expected to be a no vote.

McCain has not endorsed the bill, though the fact that his close friend Graham is a co-sponsor has many observers thinking that he could be brought on board.

If McCain backs the bill and Paul maintains his opposition that could leave Murkowski as the deciding vote. Murkowski voted against every version of a repeal bill in July.

Murkowski told reporters Monday she is still studying the bill and its impact on Alaska.

"I need to figure out how all the numbers work with regards to Alaska," she said, noting she wanted to make sure there is enough money in the block grants for her state.

She also indicated she would prefer a separate, bipartisan approach that is currently being discussed in the Senate health committee, aimed at stabilizing ObamaCare.

"I always think that when you can get support for whatever the initiative from across the spectrum, it's just better legislation," she said.

Democrats are saying they are optimistic about those talks and a deal could be announced this week, and they are urging the GOP to go the bipartisan route, rather than back Cassidy-Graham.

"Conversations over the weekend were productive: the common ground has been staked out, the remaining differences are being negotiated, and the distance between the two sides on those issues is narrowing," Helen Hare, a spokeswoman for Democrats on the health committee, said in a statement.

The Congressional Budget Office said Monday that it would only have time to release a preliminary analysis of the Graham-Cassidy bill next week. That means lawmakers would be voting without a full analysis of the legislation's impact on premiums or how many people would lose coverage.

The Graham-Cassidy bill seeks to give more power to states by converting dollars currently spent on ObamaCare's subsidies and Medicaid expansion into a block grant to states.

Democrats argue the block grants would be too small and would lead to cuts to Medicaid and other health spending. The liberal Center on Budget and Policy Priorities found the bill would on average lead to a 17 percent cut in spending compared to ObamaCare in 2026.

The bill would also allow states to waive regulations protecting people with pre-existing conditions from being charged higher premiums, a provision that moderate Republicans have opposed in the past.

Jason Pye, vice president of legislative affairs at the conservative group FreedomWorks, said the bill is far from ideal, but better than doing nothing.

"It's better than the status quo so I think it's the last shot at doing something with 50 votes," he said.

Fifty votes would allow Vice President Mike Pence to cast a tie-breaking vote on the measure.

This story was last updated at 5:18 p.m.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Open The Floodgates: California Becomes A Sanctuary State

Matt Vespa

Well, Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown is about to make the entire state of California one giant safe space for illegal aliens. Over the weekend, the Democratic-controlled state legislature passed the California Value Act, which would bar state and local law enforcement from working with federal authorities on enforcing immigration laws. There was a minor tweak concerning when the state would work with federal law enforcement. The exception would be if an illegal were convicted of a violent crime. State Republicans and the state’s sheriffs were opposed to this measure. It passed along party lines (via NPR):

In a move apparently meant to counter the Trump administration's tough approach to immigration enforcement, the California legislature approved a so-called "sanctuary state" bill Saturday that would establish new protections for people living in the country illegally.

The California Values Act would forbid state and local law enforcement agencies from providing information to or acting as the deputies for federal immigration authorities. The bill also prohibits police and sheriff officers from inquiring about a person's immigration status.

The bill was introduced just before President Trump's inauguration and met opposition from some in California law enforcement, including many local sheriffs who lobbied California Gov. Jerry Brown to intervene, as KQED's Scott Shafer reported.

[…]

The changes allowed state and local law enforcement to communicate with federal immigration authorities if a person has been convicted of certain crimes. Corrections officers would also be permitted to work with federal agencies.

The bill now heads to the governor's desk where he is expected to sign it.

Democrats used supermajorities in the state Capitol to pass the bill they saw as an expression of their support for California's estimated 2.3 million undocumented immigrants.

The fight over sanctuary status concerning immigration law is yet another legal battle facing the Trump administration. Last Friday, a federal judge ruled that the Attorney General Jeff Sessions couldn’t withhold grant money from cities that had adopted this policy. The rationale behind the policy was so that it could afford illegal aliens protections from deportation if they came forward with information about a crime. There’s literally zero anecdotal evidence to prove this, as stated by the National Sheriffs’ Association. 

California is degrading citizenship, degrading our borders, and our laws. Then again, it’s what would you expect from a liberal cesspool. The state is opening the floodgates.