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Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Reince Priebus: Secretary of State Pick Still Up In The Air, Not a Done Deal

Katie Pavlich

According to RNC Chairman and Trump Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, President-elect Donald Trump's decision about who he will nominate for Secretary of State is far from imminent. 

"I don't think anyone should expect anything imminent on this...I wouldn't expect anything today or tomorrow," Priebus said during an interview Wednesday on Fox News. "I think he [Trump] sees a lot of talent in Governor Romney. Nothing is certain and its still up in the air."

"He wants to make sure when he's talking to Mayor Guiliani, he's talking to David Petreaus, Senator Corker, Governor Romney that when he makes the decision, it's the decision that's best for America regardless of background," Priebus continued, adding there is a comfort level that has to be met for the position. "They had a great dinner last night, very encouraging but again, not a done deal, but certainly positive."

Last night President-elect Donald Trump and former Massachusetts Governor and GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney met for a second time over dinner to discuss the position. Earlier this week, General David Petreaus met with Trump in New York City. 

After dinner Romney said the dinner was productive and that he's been very impressed with the transition process.

Reclaiming Society and Community

Fear the Voting Dead

How James Mattis As Defense Secretary Could Bust Our Deathly Political Correctness About Islam

Is political Islam in America’s best interests? This question should be central to our strategy of fighting ISIS and Islamist terrorism in general. Yet it’s one that many political leaders would rather not answer, because of our politically correct climate. But since Trump’s transition team announced last week that it’s considering retired Gen. James Mattis for secretary of defense, this reluctance might fade.

In a speech given at the Heritage Foundation last year, Mattis spoke about America’s position vis à vis political Islam. Rather than equivocating on the matter in order to avoid saying something uncomfortable or politically incorrect, Mattis simply pointed out that America needs to make a decision about its stance toward this ideology.

Recall that political Islam, or Islamism, is a movement within Islam: it works toward the increasing implementation of Islamic law and values in all areas of life—usually via state control—in order to make Islam a dominant force in the world.

Why We Don’t Talk About Islamism

Mattis’ suggestion—which sounds like a basic element of defense strategy—has been surprisingly neglected in the years since 9/11. The U.S. tends to deal with Islamism on a case-by-case basis. And so long as any particular group or political entity doesn’t have a direct and obvious link to terrorism, we tend to give them a pass. Even then, this is sometimes too high of a bar, as is the case with the Muslim Brotherhood and associated groups.

No one wants to delve into the question of Islamism because it has become a politically charged issue, one that often leads to accusations of bigotry and Islamaphobia. As Islam is increasingly treated as a protected class by America’s progressive Left, any scrutiny of any faction within Islam is considered off limits. This is done in the name of tolerance, but is in fact a highly intolerant position. But it’s successfully scared off politicians and military personnel, who tend to make vague and noncommittal statements on the topic.

This makes Mattis’ statements all the more notable. He’s simply urging the U.S. to make a decision. And what’s more, he’s arguing that this decision ought to be based on what we believe is in our best interest:

“Is political Islam in the best interest of the United States?…If we won’t even ask the question then how do we even get to the point of recognizing which is our side in the fight? And if we don’t take our own side in this fight we’re leaving others adrift.”

What Is In The Country’s Best Interests?

This is a surprisingly unpopular question to ask in general, and specifically when it comes to Islam. The concept itself—asking what is in America’s best interest—has largely been ignored as of late. Under Obama, America has pursued a policy of “leading from behind,” and more or less disregarding America’s interests abroad. The Obama administration has done this based on the notion, central to the progressive narrative of history, that America is a de facto colonialist power, whose influence in the world is malign and ought to recede of our own volition.

But if the U.S. can’t identify what is in its best interests, or refuses to pursue those interests out of an oversized sense of political correctness, there’s no way to forge a comprehensive global defense strategy. As Mattis points out, if we won’t even talk about political Islam with a critical eye, how can we figure out which side we’re on, and make decisions from that point? Neglecting the question not only hurts our interests—it leaves our allies unsure of where we stand and how we will proceed when Islamist movements gain traction in their countries.

Mattis also points out that ISIS is counting on Americans not having a debate on whether political Islam is good for America. If we don’t examine this question, we can’t create a cohesive strategy, and our fight against ISIS’s self-proclaimed Caliphate (or other groups like them) will ultimately fail.

This is the opposite of what some Islamist apologists and those on the left insist, which is that ISIS wants us to talk about the connections between Islam and violence, in order to make Muslims feel like the West is at war with their entire religion. Then, so the thinking goes, Muslims will turn on the West.

Mattis Would Change Our Reputation

As it is, ISIS has largely won this battle. Any serious strategic discussion about the relationship between political Islam and American national interests has been deemed illegitimate and offensive by the political Left. See, for example, the scrubbing of terms related to Islam from Department of Homeland Security training materials.

Mattis’ appointment as Defense Secretary would be a marked change not only from the Obama administration, but also from the Bush years. Both administrations were reluctant to substantively engage in a debate on the merits or threats of political Islam.

Since giving this speech at Heritage, ISIS has experienced significant territorial losses. But the question Mattis raises has not lost its relevance. It will be central to many of the Trump administration’s foreign policy challenges. Political Islam remains, and will remain, a problem for the West both in terms of domestic security and global strategy. Whether it’s the Muslim Brotherhood’s activities in the U.S., or political Islam in a post-Arab Spring Middle East, the U.S. needs to know where it stands on this issue.

Mattis concludes that political Islam is not, in the end, good for America. But he acknowledges that what’s most important is that we have a discussion about it—so that we can develop a broader strategy for how to deal with Islamism in the world. Without a cohesive strategy, there is little hope of checking the destructive influences of political Islam both at home and abroad.

Read More Here

7 Whoppers Inside Politico’s Hit Piece On HHS Nominee Tom Price

On Tuesday evening, Politico released an “article” discussing Department of Health and Human Services nominee “Tom Price’s Radically Conservative Vision for American Health Care.” The piece’s first sentence claimed that “gutting Obamacare might be the least controversial part of Tom Price’s health care agenda”—a loaded introduction if ever there were one.

The article goes on to quote seven separate liberal analysts, including the President of Planned Parenthood, while not including a single substantive Republican quote until the very last paragraph of a 27-paragraph piece. Given this opinion piece masqueraded as “journalism,” it’s worth pointing out several important facts, falsehoods, and omissions in the Politico story.

CLAIM 1: Republicans “may look beyond repealing and replacing Obamacare to try to scale back Medicare and Medicaid, popular entitlements that cover roughly 130 million people, many of whom are sick, poor, and vulnerable.”

FACT: It’s ironic that the Politico reporters suddenly care about the “sick, poor, and vulnerable.” I’ve been writing about how Obamacare encourages discrimination against the vulnerable literally for years, including a few short weeks ago. If any Politico reporters have written on how Obamacare encourages states to expand Medicaid to able-bodied adults rather than to cover individuals with disabilities, I have yet to read those articles.

This week came a report that no fewer than 752 individuals with disabilities have died—yes, died—while on waiting lists to receive Medicaid services since that state expanded coverage under Obamacare to able-bodied adults. If the Politico reporters—much less the liberal advocates the reporters interviewed for the article—care so much about the “sick, poor, and vulnerable,” when will they cover this Obamacare-induced tragedy?

CLAIM 2: “Price…has proposed policies that are more conservative than those of many House Republican colleagues.”

FACT: Price’s fiscal year 2016 budget, which included provisions related to Obamacare repeal, premium support for Medicare, and block grants for Medicaid, passed the House with 228 votes. How can Politico claim Price’s policies “are more conservative than those of many House Republican colleagues,” when more than 93 percent of them publicly endorsed his vision?

CLAIM 3: “The vast majority of the 20 million people now covered under Obamacare would have far less robust coverage—if they got anything at all.”

FACT: This claim presupposes 1) that all individuals covered under Obamacare want to buy health coverage, and 2) that they want to buy the type of health coverage Obamacare forces them to purchase. It ignores the fact that premiums increased by thousands of dollars in 2014 because individuals were forced to buy richer coverage.

It also ignores the fact that nearly 8 million individuals have paid the tax penalty associated with not buying Obamacare-compliant health coverage—because they cannot afford it, do not want it, or both—and another 12.4 million have requested exemptions from the Obamacare mandate. Depending on the degree of overlap between individuals who paid the mandate tax penalty and individuals who claimed exemptions, the number of Obamacare refuseniks could actually exceed the number of individuals newly covered under the law.

Instead, this claim comes at the question of insurance coverage from President Obama’s liberal, paternalistic perspective. When millions of people started receiving Obamacare-related cancellation notices in the mail, the president gave a speech stating how all those plans were “substandard:” “A lot of people thought they were buying coverage, and it turned out not to be so good.” In other words, “If you liked your plan, you’re an idiot.”

CLAIM 4: “Price also supports privatizing Medicare…”

FACT: The premium support plan included in the House Republican budget includes 1) a federal contribution that increases every year to fund 2) a federally regulated plan with 3) federally mandated benefits and 4) the option to continue in government-run Medicare if beneficiaries so choose. Which of these four points would the Politico reporters deem “privatizing?”

CLAIM 5: “…an approach that Democrats lambaste as a voucher system…”

FACT: That claim is both ironic and hypocritical coming from Democrats, as a version of premium support endorsed by House Speaker Ryan and Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Ron Wyden in 2011 would have utilized the exact same bidding mechanism as Obamacare itself. Do Democrats “lambaste” Obamacare’s exchanges as a “voucher system?” Interestingly enough, the Politico reporters neither note this irony, nor apparently bothered to ask the question.

CLAIM 6: “…that would gut a 50-year-old social contract and shift a growing share of health care costs onto seniors.”

FACT: The form of premium support Price endorsed in this year’s House Republican budget would, according to a September 2013 analysis from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), save both the federal government and seniors money. Don’t take my word for it—here’s a quote from the CBO paper (emphasis added):

CBO’s analysis implies that beneficiaries’ total payments would be about 6 percent lower, on average, under the average-bid option than under current law. That reduction results from the combination of the lower average premiums paid above and a reduction in average out-of-pocket costs, which would result primarily from higher enrollment in lower-bidding private plans.

Where exactly among the highlighted phrases did the Politico reporters get the idea that premium support will “shift a growing share of health care costs onto seniors?”

CLAIM 7: “Price also wants to limit federal Medicaid spending to give states a lump sum, or block grant, and more control over how they could use it—a dream of conservative Republicans for years, and a nightmare for advocates for the poor who fear that many would lose coverage.”

FACT: A block grant would increase federal spending on Medicaid annually, just by slightly less than prior estimates. Only in Washington could granting a program a 3 percent increase rather than a 5 percent increase classify as a “cut.”

Having provided actual facts to rebut the piece’s nonsensical claims, I’ll offer some free advice: If the folks on Politico’s payroll want to publish liberal talking points unchallenged, they should quit their jobs, go out on their own, and do what I do for a living. I’m all for a free press, and freedom of speech, but passing opinion—and one-sided opinion at that—as “journalism” does a disservice to the name.

Read More Here

Official Recount Petition Filed In Nevada By Rocky De La Fuente; Vows Florida Recount Up Next

Just when you thought the post-election recount circus couldn't get any more ridiculous, it has.  Per NBC, Roque "Rocky" De La Fuente, an independent 2016 U.S. presidential candidate, has officially filed a recount petition with the Secretary of State of Nevada requesting recounts in 93 precincts.  Rocky won 2,552 votes in the state of Nevada or roughly 0.23% of the total.  

Under Nevada law, officials are only required to recount the votes of the petitioner and the winner of the election.  Then, only if a discrepancy of 1% or more is found in vote totals does a full statewide recount occur.

"...My only interest is to create a nationwide awareness of the vulnerability of our election system and to do everything possible to assure that your vote counts for the candidate for whom it is cast," he said.


Under Nevada law, any candidate can request a recount of the votes, but officials would only determine the number of votes received for the requesting candidate and the person who won the election. The requester would also have to cover the estimated cost of a recount in advance.


In De La Fuente's petition to the secretary of state's office, obtained by reporter Jon Ralston, he asks for recounts in 93 precincts, or about 5 percent of the statewide precincts. All but eight are in Clark County.


The recount would have to find a discrepancy of at least 1 percent for either Clinton or De La Fuente from the votes tallied in the original canvass to move forward. The secretary of state would then determine if a full statewide recount should be ordered, according to state law.


A recount is required to begin five days after a request is made, and it must be finished five days after it begins.

As a reminder, Hillary was the projected winner in Nevada by about 26,000 votes or 2.4%.

Nevada Results


Rocky has also vowed to launch a recount in Florida.

But unlike Jill Stein who launched a massive fundraising scam to fund her recount efforts, Rocky has asked Nevada to just throw the charges on his "AMEX."


Here is the full Nevada petition as filed by Rocky:

Read More Here

GOP wants to move fast on Sessions

GOP wants to move fast on Sessions
By Jordain Carney - 11-29-16 19:27 PM EST

Senate Republicans are signaling they want to move quickly on Sen. Jeff Sessions's attorney general nomination.

The Alabama Republican kicked off his Capitol Hill lobbying effort on Tuesday, meeting with Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), who told reporters that he wants a confirmation hearing before Inauguration Day.

Grassley noted that the first attorney generals for former President George W. Bush and President Obama came before their bosses were sworn into office.

"Historically, at least in the case of [John] Ashcroft and in the case of [Eric] Holder, we've had the hearings prior to the inauguration," Grassley said. "And it would be my intention to move ahead in that procedure that we did with Ashcroft and with Holder."

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) signaled that Grassley's call for an early hearing is part of a broader strategy.

"I've encouraged all our committee chairmen to go ahead and have hearings and markups on the Cabinet appointments," he told reporters. "In the past we've been able to confirm a number of the incoming president's Cabinet appointments on day one."

Sessions needs a simple majority in the Senate to win confirmation given the move by Democrats to gut filibuster rules that previously would have required a supermajority of 60 votes.

Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) indicated Tuesday that he didn't regret the decision to change the filibuster.

Republicans are expected to have 52 seats in 2017, and one Democrat, Sen. Joe Manchin (W.Va.), has already announced support for Sessions.

Every Republican member of the Judiciary Committee has pledged to support his nomination, and Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) said Tuesday that it's a "virtual certainty" that he will be confirmed.

"Beyond the merits of the nominees, which are very solid, you have the fact that the Democrats changed the rules to require 51 votes," said Cornyn, the second-ranking Republican in the Senate.

Democrats are signaling they intend to battle over Sessions.

Democratic members of the Judiciary Committee in a letter to Grassley said they expect the committee hearings to last at least four days.

"Senator Sessions has developed an extensive record on important issues within this committee's jurisdiction. ... The committee must devote adequate time to examining those issues," they wrote. "We urge you to ensure that the nomination process is thorough, transparent, and fair-not just a rubber stamp."

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (Calif.), the panel's ranking member in the next Congress, joined Sens. Patrick Leahy (Vt.), Dick Durbin (Ill.), Sheldon Whitehouse (R.I.), Amy Klobuchar (Minn.), Al Franken (Minn.), Chris Coons (Del.) and Richard Blumenthal (Conn.) on the letter.

Sessions is generally well-respected by colleagues, and the Democrats noted they each have "personal and cordial relationships with him."

But Democrats are signaling a desire to make the Sessions fight about Donald Trump. They question whether Sessions, one of the earliest supporters of the president-elect, will be able to say no to Trump when he takes the reins at the Justice Department.

"He will have to be an independent attorney general who is willing to set aside personal beliefs and political positions in service of larger obligations," they wrote. "The attorney

general must be the people's lawyer, not the president's lawyer, and must enforce the laws with a dispassionate and even hand."

Sessions was blocked 30 years ago from a federal judgeship after allegations of racism surfaced during committee hearings. He has denied the accusations that he called an African-American assistant U.S. attorney "boy" or that he called the NAACP and the American Civil Liberties Union "un-American."

He also voted for Holder, the first African-American attorney general, and in favor of extending the Civil Rights Act. At least nine law enforcement groups have backed his nomination.

Democrats said that the Senate "must ask whether Senator Sessions is the right man to lead the agency charged with securing and protecting the constitutional and civil rights of all Americans."

Grassley is warning Democrats that he won't allow them to slow walk Sessions's nomination or use the hearings to launch personal attacks against their colleague.

"The confirmation process of John Ashcroft to be Attorney General turned into a reckless campaign that snowballed into an avalanche of innuendo, rumor and spin," he said in a statement after the meeting. "That will not happen here."

Durbin, the No. 2 Senate Democrat who sits on the committee, stressed that Democrats want a "thorough" hearing but stopped short of saying they would object to Grassley's proposed schedule.

"If they can get prepared, I don't want to slow it down. We want to go into a thorough hearing, but we're not going to speed up this schedule," he said. "We want to do it in an orderly fashion."

Alex Bolton contributed.

Red-state Dems face tough votes on Trump picks

Red-state Dems face tough votes on Trump picks
By Alexander Bolton - 11-30-16 06:00 AM EST

Senate Democrats facing tough reelection races in states won overwhelmingly by Donald Trump are wrestling with how to vote on his Cabinet picks.

Democrats have directed heavy fire at several of the president-elect's proposed nominees, criticizing the choice of Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) for attorney general, Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.) for health secretary and Betsy DeVos for education secretary.

Incoming Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer (N.Y.) has pledged a "very thorough and tough vetting" of Sessions and claimed Tuesday that Price might not make it through the Senate because of his views on privatizing Medicare.

But to have any chance of blocking Trump's nominees, Democratic leaders would need to keep their caucus unified - and there are early signs that some members won't be willing to hold the line.

Red-state Democrats running in 2018 aren't closing the door on supporting Trump's picks. They're avoiding critical statements that could box them in when the nominations come to the floor for votes next year.

"I've always been inclined to try to be receptive to anybody and everybody that the executive puts up as they put their team together," said Sen. Joe Manchin (D), who's up for reelection in West Virginia, a state Trump carried with almost 69 percent of the vote.

Manchin has already announced his support for Sessions - whom other Democrats have balked at because of decades-old allegations that he made racist comments - and pledged to keep an open mind on other nominees.

"They'll be coming to my office and I'll ask the questions that are important to me, but I haven't formed an opinion on them. I've been receptive," Manchin said.

Sen. Jon Tester, who is stepping down as chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee to run for reelection in Montana, where Trump won with 57 percent of the vote, says he wants to give the Cabinet picks a chance.

"I could read a lot about stuff that would give me heartburn, but we're going to bring them in, we're going to visit with them and give them an honest shake," he said.

Schumer on Tuesday trained his fire on Price, who authored a plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act and has championed Medicare reforms that Democrats call privatization.

"There are a whole number of Republicans who are not going to be for privatizing Medicare, and there ought to be bipartisan support against a secretary [who] was going to privatize Medicare and not fund Planned Parenthood," Schumer told reporters.

Schumer says he will not vote for Sessions to be attorney general unless he is convinced that he would establish a strong civil rights division at the Justice Department.

But vulnerable Democrats aren't marching to the fight in lockstep with their leadership.

When asked about Price, Tester said, "I know who he is, but I don't know what he is, so I've got to sit down" with him.

Tester said he knows Sessions but not well enough to be familiar with his lengthy record as a senator, former state attorney general and former U.S. attorney.

When asked about DeVos, a major GOP donor and champion of school vouchers who has drawn early opposition from teachers unions, Tester expressed some reservation but said he's persuadable.

"I'm a former teacher, school board member. I think it's important to have someone who's really familiar with the classroom like a teacher, but I'll give her her due," he said. "We'll give everybody a fair shake."

Schumer on Tuesday accused Republicans of "plotting a war on seniors next year," citing Price's selection.

But Democrats running for reelection in states that Trump won say they're going to make up their own minds on the subject.

Florida Sen. Bill Nelson (D), who called himself Mr. Senior Citizen during the Senate's   ObamaCare debate, said he's not making a judgment on Price just yet.

"I don't know him," he said. "I'm going to wait until the hearings."

Nelson is up for reelection in Florida, a state Trump won narrowly.

Still, some of the Democrats up for reelection in 2018 appear eager for a fight over at least some of the Cabinet appointments.

Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.) was out of the gate quickly on Tuesday announcing his opposition to Price.

"Tom Price has led the charge to privatize Medicare, and for this reason, I cannot support his nomination," Donnelly said in a statement. "[T]he nomination of Tom Price would put us on a direct path to end Medicare as we know it."

Sen. Sherrod Brown (D), who is running next cycle in Ohio, which Trump carried by nearly 10 points, said Price is a nonstarter.

"I cannot imagine supporting a candidate for one of the most important jobs in the government who has advocated for Medicare privatization and for total repeal of the Affordable Care Act," he said.

But Brown has also signaled he wants to support some of Trump's picks, telling an Ohio radio station last week that he would vote for Mitt Romney to serve as secretary of State, if he were nominated.

Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), another Democrat up for reelection next cycle, noted that Democrats can't complain too much about Trump's likely nominees because they changed the rules in 2013 to allow executive branch picks to be confirmed with a simple majorities instead of 60 votes.

"All of us are looking at every nominee and I think looking to do a lot of thinking but at the end of the day, we're the ones that changed the rules to allow a president to get a Cabinet with 51 votes," she said. "Other than pointing out flaws, it will be very difficult to defeat any of them."

McCaskill, who survived an election scare in 2012, said she's not going to take early positions on any of Trump's personnel choices until he names all of his Cabinet selections.

She warned, however, that she would certainly vote against Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, whose name has been floated to serve as secretary of Homeland Security.

"I'm familiar with his background. Most of the immigration laws that have been struck down by courts were written by him," she said.

Trump won Missouri with 57 percent of the vote.

Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D), who is up for reelection in North Dakota, says she will withhold judgment until she has a chance to meet with the nominees and review their records.

"I like to give people a chance to actually come in and visit with me," she said.

But like Tester, she said DeVos's selection raises a red flag.

"I'm really concerned on education on whether there's a commitment to public education," she said. "I'm the product of a public school education and I think it's a cornerstone piece that has made America great."

Democrats from traditionally blue states have been much more vocal in their criticism of Trump's Cabinet picks.

"I think there are a lot of concerns, a lot of concerns," said Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.).

Freedom Quote

"Just as there is a very short distance between the U.S. and Cuba, there is a very short distance between a democracy and a dictatorship where the government gets to decide what to do, how to think, and how to live. And sometimes your freedom is not taken away at gunpoint, but instead it is done one piece of paper at a time, one seemingly meaningless rule at a time, one small silencing at a time. Never allow the government -- or anyone else -- to tell you what you can or cannot believe or what you can and cannot say or what your conscience tells you to have to do or not do."
-- Armando Valladares
(1937-) Cuban poet, diplomat, and human rights activist

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Sheila Jackson Lee beclowns herself on the Ohio State terror attack

The Obama Apologists Tour