Monday, December 5, 2016

Dems to give Trump’s cabinet picks the “Merrick Garland treatment”?

Hotair ^ | 12/05/2016 | AllahPundit 

That’ll be … difficult to do since they can’t control which nominations reach the floor and foolishly farted away their power to filibuster nominees three years ago.
The left is anxious, though, and wants to see some fight in their team so Schumer and his caucus are stuck with slowdown tactics.
“They’ve been rewarded for stealing a Supreme Court justice. We’re going to help them confirm their nominees, many of whom are disqualified?” fumed Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio). “It’s not obstruction, it’s not partisan, it’s just a duty to find out what they’d do in these jobs.”…
Democrats could conceivably force up to 30 hours of debate for each Cabinet nominee, which would be highly disruptive for a GOP Senate that usually works limited hours but has big ambitions for next year. The minority could also stymie lower-level nominees and potentially keep the Senate focused on executive confirmations for weeks as Trump assumes the presidency and congressional Republicans try to capitalize on their political momentum…
Democrats are likely to require roll call votes and possibly delay the nominations of Betsy DeVos to be secretary of education and Tom Price to to be Health and Human Services secretary, in addition to Mattis, Mnuchin and Sessions.
The attorney general nominee looks like he’s in for an especially rough ride. Brown said Sessions “was dissed by the Senate once for his racism,” a reference to his rejection by the chamber 30 years ago to become a federal judge.
We’ll have to blog in shifts in February so that someone’s around for all of the inevitable 3 a.m. tweets by President Trump grumbling about Democratic obstructionism. The main target appears to be Jeff Sessions, partly because Dems think they can make hay of the racial accusations that helped block him from a seat on the federal bench 30 years ago and partly because the position he’s up for carries heavier symbolic significance than other cabinet positions do. The Justice Department is supposed to stand apart from politics; the Attorney General sets the tone for how committed the new administration is to the rule of law. Senate Democrats want to delegitimize their friend and colleague Sessions in hopes of casting an early pall over Trump. Sessions’s confirmation is a fait accompli, though. If even one Senate Republican has said he’d opposed to the pick, I’ve missed it. If there’s any suspense on the actual floor vote, it’ll be how many purple-state Dems run away from their base and vote with the GOP. Schumer’s going to lose his first big fight, although if he can give Trump a black eye by damaging Sessions, he’ll probably take that.
What Democrats would really like to do is block at least one of Trump’s nominees but their options for doing that are few. If Trump rolls the dice on David Petraeus for Secretary of State, Schumer might be able to peel off enough Republicans to deny Petraeus 51 votes. The Democratic base will demand party unanimity on that vote, I assume, as payback for Trump’s attacks on Hillary for mishandling classified information during the campaign. If Dems hang together, Schumer would only need three GOPers to defeat the nomination. If Trump doesn’t nominate Petraeus but chooses someone less controversial, like Mitt Romney or Jon Huntsman, then the best and maybe only option to defeat one of Trump’s nominees is … James Mattis, who needs a waiver from the law requiring seven years of retirement before a veteran can serve as Defense secretary. That waiver can be filibustered; all Schumer would need is 41 members from his 48-seat caucus to go along. The political problem is that Mattis may well be the most popular cabinet pick Trump has made. He’s widely respected as intelligent and disciplined and adored by the Marines who served under him. Defeating him would be spun by Trump as a slight to the military writ large and to a man who’s served his country well for decades. And whoever Trump nominates after Mattis’s defeat could be considerably worse. But the left may demand a scalp from Schumer, and if he can’t find one elsewhere, Mattis’s may be the only option. What does Schumer do then?
The fallback plan, I assume, if all of Trump’s cabinet nominees end up being confirmed is for Dems to pay back the GOP for Garland by Borking virtually anyone Trump nominates for the Scalia vacancy on the Supreme Court. (The filibuster still exists for SCOTUS nominees, remember.) You can foresee how Trump will react to that: “If they block my first nominee, my second will be twice as conservative.” It’ll be the judicial equivalent of “the wall just got 10 feet higher.” Democrats might be OK with Borking the second nominee too, though, again on the theory that they’re only showing the same resolve in protecting the vacancy that Republicans showed in refusing to give Garland a hearing and a floor vote. Schumer’s going to need to huddle with red-state Democrats like Tester and McCaskill sometime soon and gauge how much political pain they’re prepared to endure in the name of blocking Trump’s Court nominees. Will they vote for a filibuster on the first nominee? On the second? He can lose seven of them but no more. Given the reports of angry Hillary staffers out for revenge against Trump, I assume some sort of new pressure group will be in place next month for Democrats to lean on the Testers and McCaskills to stand firm against Trump’s picks. But then, I also assumed Hillary would take Wisconsin and Michigan more seriously as swing states than Arizona.
Exit question: If Reid hadn’t nuked the filibuster for presidential nominations three years ago, would McConnell be preparing to nuke it now? I assume the answer is yes, knowing that Trump would throw an epic public tantrum once he discovered that the rule that’s allowing Democrats to block his cabinet picks could be canceled by the GOP at a moment’s notice. But that’s a hesitant yes. There are some old-school Senate traditionalists in the GOP caucus who look dimly on the idea of further restraints on the filibuster, and with a 52/48 Senate, McConnell could only afford to lose two votes. I’m not so sure it happens without Reid’s precedent. Congratulations on your legacy, Harry.

Only 4 states can stop vote fraud ^ | 12/1/2016 | Leo Hohmann 

Only 4 states can stop vote fraud!'No systematic oversight of the system' exists!

The raging debate about voter fraud has been hijacked by the left, says a leading expert on the issue, and the left is driving the narrative in a false direction using slick deception.

The question is: What will President-elect Donald Trump do about it?
When people think about “voter fraud,” they tend to think about the dead voting, people voting in multiple precincts or party machines paying homeless people to cast ballots.
While those are all legitimate concerns, the mass fraud happens long before the vote is cast – at the point of registration – says Hans von Spakovsky, a senior legal fellow at the Heritage Foundation and co-author of the book, “Who’s Counting? How Fraudsters and Bureaucrats Put Your Vote at Risk.”
By centering the debate on “voter ID” laws, the left has been able to divert attention away from the real source of the problem – lax voter-registration laws.
Only seven states have strict photo ID voter laws. But even these are not enough to stop non-citizen green-card holders from illegally registering to vote and providing their driver’s licenses when they show up to cast a fraudulent vote.
Only 4 states require proof of citizenship to register
The heart of the matter comes down voter registration, which is based on an “honor system,” Spakovsky said. “Nobody is checking to make sure those registering to vote are citizens.”
Right now, there are only four states that require residents to provide proof of citizenship, such as a birth certificate or passport, when they register to vote. Those states are Alabama, Arizona, Georgia and Kansas – all of which backed Trump in November.
Related story: Trump may be right about winning popular legal vote
(Excerpt) Read more at ...

Donald Trump could erase Obama's legacy almost as soon as he takes office!

Business Insider ^ | 2016-12-04 | Pamela Engel 

President-elect Donald Trump's victory on Election Day has put some of President Barack Obama's hallmark achievements in jeopardy.
Trump has come out strongly against almost all of the top initiatives Obama spent eight years working on — the Asia pivot, the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact, Obamacare, and the Iran nuclear deal — and they're fragile enough that Trump could reverse course fairly easily.
"You have an outsider president being replaced by the most outsider candidate ever elected," Ian Bremmer, a geopolitical analyst and president of the Eurasia Group, told Business Insider via email.
"There's nothing like one upsmanship, big league, to destroy your legacy."
Iran nuclear deal Trump has called the Iran deal one of "the worst deals ever made by any country in history" and threatened to rescind or renegotiate the agreement that gives Iran sanctions relief in exchange for curbing its nuclear program.
"Trump has repeatedly slammed the deal as being a bad deal — the assumption is that he’s going to do something," Jonathan Schanzer, a Middle East expert who is a vice president of research at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, told Business Insider after the election.
(Excerpt) Read more at ...


Mother of OSU jihad attacker says her son was killed “for no reason”!

Jihad Watch ^ | 12/4/16 | Robert Spencer 

Abdul Razak Ali Artan last week set off a fire alarm on campus, the drove his car into the crowd of students evacuating the building. Then he jumped out of his car and began stabbing people with a butcher knife.

But he was a "nice young man" and "a good student" who "had a dream to be someone to help his community and serve his community. So obviously he was killed "for no reason" because, you know, Muslims are always and in every case victims, no matter what they do. As the mother spoke, doubtless Van Jones was nodding in agreement.

Stop Freaking Out, Donald Trump’s Taiwan Phone Call Was a Good Thing

The Daily Beast ^ | 12.04.16 | GORDON G. CHANG 

For too long, the West has cowered when Beijing huffed and puffed about Taiwan. Trump is finally calling its bluff.
Chris Murphy, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, thinks Donald Trump has just put America on the road to war.
In reality, the opposite may be true. The president-elect may have taken the first steps to stabilize East Asia.
On Thursday and Friday, Mr. Trump spoke over the phone with his counterparts in Pakistan, Kazakhstan, Afghanistan, the Philippines, and Singapore. Yet by far the most controversial, and consequential, conversation occurred on Friday, when he exchanged pleasantries for 10 minutes with Tsai Ing-wen, the Taiwan leader.
Trump spoke with Tsai without consulting the White House or the State Department. He also bypassed the American Institute in Taiwan, America’s liaison office in Taipei.
Critics jumped at the lack of coordination. Senator Murphy, in a tweet, called the phone conversations “major pivots in foreign policy w/out any plan.” And then the Connecticut Democrat dropped this line on the public: “That’s how wars start.”
Murphy, by raising the prospect of titanic armed struggle, could not have been thinking of Trump’s conversations with Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines or Nawaz Sharif of Pakistan. The president-elect may have made a few misguided comments while discussing affairs with them, but these mistakes were innocuous.
(Excerpt) Read more at ...

Ford CEO turns to Trump to help blunt EPA’s regulatory surge

American Thinker ^ | December 4, 2016 | John Smith 

Ford Motor company CEO, Mark Fields, a staunch Trump opponent during the presidential campaign, now wants the President Elect to help with EPA’s surprise decision to keep long term fuel economy targets in place.
A mid-term review of corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) targets set in 2012 kicked off earlier this year, but the timing of the agency’s recent decision to maintain the 54.5 mile-per-gallon goal reeks of politics, Fields claims.

For automakers, reaching 54.5 mpg means extra costs. To avoid this, Ford is prepared to turn to its election campaign sparring partner — President-elect Donald Trump — for help.
(Excerpt) Read more at ...

1 in 5 D.C. Killers Were Set Free by "Sentencing Reform"

Frontpage ^ | December 4, 2016 | Daniel Greenfield 

Sentencing reform, a euphemism that the pro-crime lobby uses to mean going soft on criminals, is championed by the left and by some elements on the right. This Washington Post story shows the terrible effects of sentencing reform on the victims of criminals freed to rape and kill.

Hundreds of criminals sentenced by D.C. judges under an obscure local law crafted to give second chances to young adult offenders have gone on to rob, rape or kill residents of the nation’s capital.

The original intent of the law was to rehabilitate inexperienced criminals under the age of 22. The District’s Youth Rehabilitation Act allows for shorter sentences for some crimes and an opportunity for offenders to emerge with no criminal record. But a Washington Post investigation has found a pattern of violent offenders returning rapidly to the streets and committing more crimes. Hundreds have been sentenced under the act multiple times.
In dozens of cases, D.C. judges were able to hand down Youth Act sentences shorter than those called for under mandatory minimum laws designed to deter armed robberies and other violent crimes. The criminals have often repaid that leniency by escalating their crimes of violence upon release.
Because that's how criminals work.
(Excerpt) Read more at ...

Keith Ellison: Perfect for the DNC

Frontpage ^ | December 5, 2016 | Robert Spencer 

Throughout the Obama administration, the American Left has grown increasingly hostile to Israel and unwilling to acknowledge the reality of the jihad threat; now these tendencies could become the central focus of the Democratic Party, if Rep. Keith Ellison’s (D-MN) becomes Chair of the Democratic National Committee (DNC). That became even clearer than it already was last week with new revelations of just how anti-Israel and tied to the Muslim Brotherhood Ellison really is.

The Investigative Project has released audio of Ellison speaking at a fundraiser for his 2010 Congressional reelection campaign, saying that a vote for him was a vote against Israel’s supposed control of U.S. foreign policy.

“The message I want to send to you by donating to this campaign,” he declared, “is positioning me and positioning Muslims in general to help steer the ship of state in America….The United States foreign policy in the Middle East is governed by what is good or bad through a country of seven million people. A region of 350 million all turns on a country of seven million. Does that make sense? Is that logic? Right?”
(Excerpt) Read more at ...

Trump could be the most significant president of our time!

The Hill ^ | December 4, 2016 | Trent Duffy and Terry Holt 

President-elect Trump may not have a popular vote mandate, but he possesses raw political assets that are even more powerful: superior communications skills, a highly energized, devoted and organized grassroots following, and true fearlessness.

A master entertainer; he has captured America’s attention, with friends, foes and those in-between on the edge of their seats wondering what he’ll do next. Trump deployed these assets for maximum impact to win the nomination and the Presidency.

Yet the political chattering class continues to underestimate the Donald. Here’s a news flash for Official Washington: President Trump could be one of the most consequential chief executives to occupy the Oval Office....
(Excerpt) Read more at ...

Here's Why Trump's Carrier Deal Is So Important

Investors Business Daily ^ | 12/02/2016 | Editorial 

Economy: President-elect Trump's deal with Carrier isn't important because it saved 1,000 jobs. It's important because of the message it sends to businesses everywhere: Help is on the way.
The reaction to Carrier's decision to retain some of its employees after meeting with Trump has been amusing. On the one hand, Trump's critics say the deal was a mere trifle, since there are still so many people out there hurting. On the other hand, they claim that Trump is acting like a third-world despot.
A few headlines paint the picture:
"Trump's Carrier Victory Is the Economy's Loss"
"Trump's Carrier deal is right out of Putin's playbook"
"Is Trump's Deal With Carrier A Form Of Crony Capitalism?"
"Trump Cheered for Carrier Deal Even as Other Jobs Are Trimmed"
"Bernie Sanders: Donald Trump 'Has Endangered' U.S. Jobs With Carrier Deal"
The White House, meanwhile, sniffed that saving 1,000 jobs was a mere fraction of all the manufacturing jobs supposedly created on Obama's watch. (Earth to White House: Trump isn't even president yet. Plus, there are 300,000 fewer manufacturing jobs today than when Obama took office in January 2009...
...the message Trump is delivering to business leaders, we should all be cheering
It means an end to eight years in which President Obama, instead of supporting U.S. companies, arrogantly scolded business... ...and a surging population of labor-force dropouts.
What's more, if Trump succeeds in cutting business taxes, allowing companies to repatriate money parked overseas, and easing the regulatory burden on job creators — as he's promised — he won't have to browbeat companies into keeping jobs here, because they will already be doing that, and creating millions more.
We can hardly wait to see how Trump's critics try to put a negative spin on that.
(Excerpt) Read more at ...

Why is the media on the left? Why the contempt for workers?

Asia Times ^ | December 4, 2016 11:14 PM (UTC+8) | Reuven Brenner 

I spent the first fourteen years of my life under communism. When my parents got out in 1962, I realized to my utter astonishment that much of academia was on the left, praising communism, rationalizing increased centralization of powers under a variety of jargons. Even the US was not immune to these ideas, and that the left and academia despised workers who wanted routine lives, rather than revolutions.
All this came to my mind during the last few weeks, both with Fidel Castro’s deat...
...cry their hearts out again about the increased inequality – which, with minimal introspection, would have been predictable...
...How did much of the mainstream media turn so blind? And where does their contempt for workers come from, that using the term “deplorable” did not even instantly raise eyebrows?...
...It is nice to be subsidized revolutionaries. But even “leftover” Bernie Sanders must have noticed that his initial calls for “Revolution!” frightened a bit his crowds and he toned down his rhetoric. Later, he and Hillary just promised to get rid of students’ debts...
...many optimists who thought that digital media and the lowered barriers to entry would be a remedy for both media and the universities and restore some common sense. I was not among the optimists, having long observed – from experience both in business and living in various countries under different regimes, that only “Default, risks of falling behind are Mothers of Inventions.” As long as government continue to subsidize academia rather indiscriminately and unaccountably, and they continue to subsidize media too (in Canada the bleeding cash print media is now begging the Federal government for subsidies, the latter already heavily subsidizing the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) – the grasshoppers will continue to sing and dance, and the workers will be taxed.
(Excerpt) Read more at ...

In Case You Missed It Deptartment

TV Guide reported SyFy Channel will run all one-hundred sixty episodes of the Twilight Zone during the New Year's weekend. It's famous for its bizarre plots based on science, superstition and identity loss. My favorite Twilight Zone episode is the one where Donald Trump gets elected president. 

Donald Trump issued a holiday video to try to calm the Democratic Party hysteria about his pending presidency. He's getting no help. Last week, President Obama gave out twenty-one Presidential Medals of Freedom to Hollywood celebrities and then offered to help them escape on the Underground Railroad. 

Donald Trump named Amway heiress Betsy DeVos to be Secretary of Education Wednesday who is in favor of charter schools. Her family's yacht is nine hundred feet long. It will give Betsy a safe place to stay in Los Angeles when she orders the schools to reinstate the Pledge of Allegiance. 

Fidel Castro died Friday fifty-seven years after he led a communist revolution in Cuba which seized private property and nationalized U.S. businesses. It had to be a bitter end for the longtime dictator. Fidel Castro spent his entire life trying to overthrow capitalism, and he died on Black Friday. 

Fidel Castro's death Friday set off jubilation in Miami's Little Havana district lasting into the morning. The eulogies were predictable. President Obama offered the Cuban people our prayers after Castro's death, Trump called Castro a brutal dictator, and Bill Clinton said this calls for a cigar. 

Fidel Castro spent his last ten years writing a column for Havana's newspaper. He was always an active observer of U.S. politics. Just month ago Fidel confidently assured his readers he would walk into hell if Donald Trump was elected president, so if nothing else Castro was a man of his word. 

Cubans expressed the hope that Castro's death would free up the economy and human rights on the island. Many years ago, Castro visited a fortune teller who told him he'd die on a Cuban holiday. When Castro demanded to know which one, she said any day he dies will be a Cuban holiday. 

The Clinton Foundation offered a Black Friday sale on reduced speaking fees and personal appearance fees for Bill and Hillary. The good news is, there was a line outside the door over a block long full of kings, sultans, union bosses and CEOs. The bad news is, it was the line for refunds. 

Donald Trump called Fidel Castro a brutal dictator who enslaved Cubans for six decades. He said Castro's death brings hope that freedom will soon come to the island. The difference between Fidel Castro and Donald Trump is that people really left the country when Castro became president. 

California activists circulated a petition calling for California to secede from the U.S. to protest against Trump mission to deport illegals who work in the fields, on the lawns and in the homes for low wages. You can't make it up. Californians are considering secession so they can keep their slaves. 

Florence Henderson's death just added to all the stars lost this year including Bowie, Prince, Shandling, Muhammed Ali and Gene Wilder. It's been a rough year for celebrities. Not for the ones who've died, but for all the rest who have to explain why they're not moving to Canada as promised. 

Fox News reported Monday Donald Trump disappointed a lot of Americans when he declared he will not prosecute Hillary Clinton over her e-mails and fundraising shenanigans. He said he's decided not to try to throw Hillary in prison. This breaks a campaign promise he made to Bill Clinton. 

Donald Trump was reported Tuesday still considering water-boarding terror suspects for their attack plans or intelligence despite U.S. military opposition to using it. Trump promised if we decide to employ it, it's going to be the best water-boarding in American history. We're going to use Perrier. 

NBC introduced Arnold Schwarzenegger as host of Celebrity Apprentice to affiliate TV station owners visiting the Burbank studios. It was shrewd casting. NBC executives say they realize the mistake they made last time and this time they've chosen a host who isn't eligible to run for president. 

The San Francisco 49ers will play the Chicago Bears at Soldiers Field in Chicago Sunday. All eyes will be on the sideline before the football game gets started. It's rumored that the Chicago Bears will play the Cuban National Anthem in an effort to get Colin Kaepernick to stand at attention. 

The White House will send a low-level delegation to Fidel Castro's funeral Friday. His legacy has triggered immense controversy. San Francisco 49er quarterback Colin Kaepernick praised Fidel Castro as a great humanitarian Monday, automatically triggering the NFLs concussion protocol. 

The Hillary Clinton campaign joined Jill Stein's recount effort in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania. It's pretty cheeky after Trump said he wouldn't prosecute her. Now Republicans cannot wait to see which character Hillary will play in the next season of Orange is the New Black. 

Dallas prosecutors filed charges against a man for using Twitter to harass and intimidate and stalk anyone he doesn't like and everyone who has criticized him. He's says it's just a character he plays, and that it's not really him. If convicted he could get four-to-eight years in the White House. 

-- Argus Hamilton

Trump went on Twitter yesterday to claim that he actually won the popular vote if you deduct the millions of illegal voters and that any recount will change nothing. Speaking of nothing changing, Trump won and still says the election was rigged. 

-- Jimmy Fallon

Donald Trump said he will not try and send Hillary Clinton to jail. After hearing this, Bill Clinton said, "Hey, you promised." 

Donald Trump is giving key positions in his cabinet to people who were loyal to him early on. So congratulations, Defense Secretary Scott Baio! 

This week, Sarah Palin said that God helped Donald Trump win the presidential election. When he heard this, a furious Satan said, "Don't I get credit for anything?" 

Last night, Donald Trump and Mitt Romney had dinner together at an expensive restaurant in New York City called Jean-Georges. The two billionaires dined on fancy French cuisine and then talked about how out of touch Washington is. 

Mitt Romney is being mocked by many Republicans for going to a fancy French dinner with Donald Trump. It's also not helping that afterwards, Romney let Trump get to third base. 

-- Conan

Yesterday Donald Trump sat down to dinner with Mitt Romney at Jean-Georges French restaurant in the Trump International Hotel, because nothing says "man of the people" like eating an $800 dinner in a tower you named after yourself. 

If you are wondering what was on the dinner menu, Romney started by eating his words. Then for the main course he swallowed his pride, dignity, and self-esteem. 

-- James Corden





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