Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Trump Prepares Executive Orders To Begin Obamacare Repeal On "Day One"

ZeroHedge ^ | January 4, 2017 

With the Senate already having launched the process of repealing Obamacare when, as reported yesterday, Senate Budget Committee Chairman Mike Enzi released a 2017 budget resolution setting up the process to partially repeal Obamacare early in Donald Trump’s administration, on Wednesday vice president-elect Mike Pence met with Republican congressional leaders to plot the strategy of how to repeal Obama's signature healthcare law.
Speaking to House republicans, Pence said Trump plans to take executive actions to start unwinding ObamaCare on day one: "Our first order of business will be to repeal and replace ObamaCare," Pence told reporters, adding the process would begin "day one."
"The speaker of the house used the word ‘stable,’ and we will do that," Pence said at a news conference after a private meeting Wednesday with House Republicans. There’s a "broad range of idea on how to do this," he said, without giving details of what a replacement might look like.
The VP-elect added that “it will be an orderly transition to something better...using executive authority to ensure it’s an orderly transition. We’re working now on a series of executive orders that will enable that orderly transition to take place even as Congress appropriately debates alternatives to and replacements for ObamaCare.”
[Snip]
Incoming White House press secretary Sean Spicer told reporters Tuesday that Trump considers Inauguration Day as "Day One" of his presidency: "He is prepared and ready to go. As he's said before, he wants to enact real change on day one. That will mean within hours of being sworn in," Spicer said. "He put his team on notice that he expects nothing less than everyone getting right to work for the American people."
(Excerpt) Read more at zerohedge.com ...

Obama Going Out in a Blaze of Self-interest

Townhall.com ^ | January 4, 2017 | Jonah Goldberg 


Of all Barack Obama's costumes, the most ill-fitting is that of the hawk. The guise doesn't work for all sorts of ideological and historical reasons. Plus there's the fact that he's rushing to put on the outfit as he's heading out the door.
The new sanctions against Russia are fine with me on the merits, even if they are remarkably tardy and being sold in no small part for domestic, political reasons.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has been undermining American interests for a long time now. From the annexation of Crimea and a shadow war in Ukraine to his unabashed support for the butcher Bashar Assad in Syria, Putin has given the Obama administration every excuse to punch back. But until last week, Obama's response had been to offer various and sundry diplomatic "off-ramps" and a little bit of tongue-lashing. General dovishness combined with the single-minded pursuit of a deal with Iran led Obama to insist that we should avoid "provoking" Russia.
The satirist who goes by the moniker "Iowahawk" cut to the chase on Twitter:
Russia invades Crimea: oh well
Russia shoots down airliner: mistakes happen
John Podesta falls for phishing scam: RESTART THE COLD WAR
Obama's volte-face should be seen in the larger context of his last-minute legacy-padding and his widely alleged desire to "box in" his successor. The president is preparing to spend the next few decades as a celebrity in liberal circles.
Creating national monuments in Utah and Nevada, banning offshore oil drilling in the Arctic and the Northeast, deleting the database of Muslim men at the Department of Homeland Security: All of these things will earn him toasts at all the right parties.
Despite a remarkable lack of evidence that the Russians "hacked" the election (as opposed to their more obvious complicity in the WikiLeaks shenanigans), the conviction that Hillary Clinton lost because of Putin's skulduggery is rapidly gelling into liberal conventional wisdom. These sanctions give Obama yet another useful talking point in retirement.
They're also having the desired effect on the Trump team, which for obvious reasons hates any suggestion that the Donald's election was less than legitimate.
But will they actually "box in" a President Trump? It seems unlikely.
Putin is cleverly not taking the bait, preferring to run out the clock on the Obama presidency. When Trump is sworn in three weeks from now, he will have more leverage over Putin thanks to Obama's bad-cop act. While it would be politically tricky to lift the sanctions immediately upon taking office, Trump has long vowed to improve relations with Russia. Having more bargaining chips for some grand "deal" -- whatever that might look like -- only improves his position. (Why he is so enamored with a U.S.-Russian romance is a deeper mystery to me.)
A similar dynamic is at play with Obama's execrable maneuver at the U.N. Security Council. The decision to clear the path for a resolution holding that the Western Wall is actually a Palestinian possession is a serious blow to our ally (and our honor) and proof that Obama's rhetorical support of Israel was always more about political necessity than personal conviction. Even as the move will please some -- though by no means all -- leftists on the party circuit, it is nevertheless a political gift to the two politicians Obama (probably) detests most: Bibi Netanyahu and Donald Trump.
For almost eight years, Netanyahu has argued domestically that Israel's deteriorating relationship with the United States isn't his fault, but Obama's. The president just settled that argument for him.
Meanwhile, the resolution helps Trump enormously. Simply by taking office while holding what once were conventionally pro-Israel positions, Trump can play the role of Israel's defender, both domestically and abroad. It is lamentable that support for Israel is now a partisan issue in America, but Obama ceded the winning side of the question to his Republican successor.
Much has been written about how Obama has left the Democratic Party and ideological allies in shambles by putting his perceived interests and ego ahead of everything else. As he leaves office, he has turned that domestic story into an international one too.

Megyn Kelly Made a Really, Really Bad Choice

 The American Thinker ^ | Jan 4 2007 | By Jay Valentine 

News this week is that Megyn Kelly is off to NBC. Waiting to hear about the bidding war that clearly did not happen. Now starts Megyn’s decline into obscurity, remembered as someone who was a hot commodity for a very short while.
Until it all became about Megyn.
What Megyn, Greta, and other passing Fox celebs do not grasp is the importance of the Fox time slot.
When Greta departed, Brit Hume did a perfectly good job with news and commentary. Now Tucker Carlson is delivering an outstanding show with positive reviews from about everyone. Before that slot, Tucker was almost unknown nationally. Now Greta will be. The slot made her, and without it, she is going to learn that her audience has little personal affection for her. The slot, however, will do fine.
I hope Fox will put someone there like Sharyl Attkisson, who is a true reporter. Maybe she is FNC material. Fox will decide.
Over the next months, we can watch NBC make a large investment in launching the new Megyn shows, only to watch initial audiences peter away. Perhaps Megyn will end up with an Ashleigh Banfield-type show nobody watches, now that the novelty of Ashleigh eyeware has long worn off.
(Excerpt) Read more at americanthinker.com ...

Was Obama Really Scandal Free?

Resistance Feed ^ | 1-04-2017 | Rhett October 

While speaking in Peru for an international summit, President Obama bragged that his administration has been, allegedly, scandal-free during his presidency.

"I'm extremely proud of the fact that over 8 years we have not had the kinds of scandals that have plagued other administrations."
He's actually serious about this. And it appears that it's a goal of the Obama administration to push this claim in an attempt to frame the outgoing president's legacy.
During an interview with CNN which aired on Sunday, President Obama's top aide, Valerie Jarrett, claimed that Obama is proud of himself because his administration has been "scandal-free."
See video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rte5HSkk2rI
"Scandal free." I must admit that the first thing I thought of after hearing those words to describe the Obama administration was a comic image that went around a couple of years ago. See below:

Only a politician would make such an outrageous claim as the Obama administration being "scandal free." I obviously won't be the first to point this out, but the Obama administration was very far from being "scandal free."
I'll summarize just one scandal from this "scandal-free" administration since there are so many scandals within this particular one. I would list more, but who has the time?

Multiple Obama Lies On Obamacare

The 'You can keep it' Lies
“If you like your healthcare plan, you can keep your healthcare plan.”
“If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor.”
“You can keep your hospital.”
“We will work to lower your premiums by up to $2,500 per family.”
None of those statements were true. During an interview with Charlie Rose, Obama speechwriters burst into laughter recalling Obama's “you can keep your insurance” claim. See below:
Video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kvL-xQoV_FA
MSNBC contributor and Chicago Tribune columnist Clarence Page defended President Obama's lies about Obamacare, calling them a "political lie" in an interview.
Because when a politician lies to people in order to get elected or get a policy passed, it's okay, right? If that is how democrats see it, everything they promise going forward should be considered highly suspect by the American people.

Those Non-Existent, Existing Death Panels

Remember how Sarah Palin was ridiculed for saying that Obamacare would have "death panels"? Maybe you remember that the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) of Obamacare, which indeed functions as a death panel in deciding who receives life saving care and who does not based on cost effectiveness, was slowly expanded to its originally planned power after Obamacare was passed.

“Though I was called a liar for calling it like it is, many of these accusers finally saw that ObamaCare did in fact create a panel of faceless bureaucrats who have the power to make life and death decisions about healthcare funding,” Palin wrote on Facebook.
She was right. Former Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean drew attention to the IPAB when he called for its repeal in an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal in which he argued that the board would ration care for Medicare patients.
The former Vermont governor was not the only Democrat to join Republicans in opposing the death panel. Democratic senators Mark Pryor, Ron Barber, Ann Kirkpatrick, Kyrsten Sinema, and Elizabeth Esty were among the first Democrats who were stunned to find out that the IPAB functioned as a death panel despite Obama and the media's ridiculing of Sarah Palin for suggesting as much.

That Budget Neutral, Budget Busting Bill

Remember when President Obama insisted that Obamacare was "budget neutral"? Other democrats, anxious to pass the bill, jumped on board referring to it as such despite republicans and independents saying that it could not be. The Obama administration claimed that taxpayers would pay for the difference, but republicans were quick to point out that there wasn't enough tax money coming in to pay for it unless taxes were significantly increased. It turns out, there wasn't nearly enough taxpayer money to pay for the so-called Affordable Care Act.
Once passed, Obamacare was far more expensive than Obama had promised. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that the government gave out $27 billion in premium subsidies this year alone. Over the next ten years, the CBO expects that amount to rise to $568 billion.
According to Forbes:
...those projections were made before recent premium spikes were taken into account. With premiums now escalating by an average of 25 percent – with some states seeing premium increases over 60 percent on average – the subsidies will have to be markedly more expensive for taxpaying Americans. Tom Miller of the American Enterprise Institute estimates that premium increases might add $8 billion in subsidy costs next year alone.If premiums continue their upward trajectory, and if more people enroll in ObamaCare, CBO’s $568 billion estimate might be quickly overshadowed by the real costs of the law.
The reason that Obamacare is costing more than expected is simple economics. The ACA promised to reduce healthcare costs by offering subsidies. But it’s already been observed that subsidies for specific products—like higher education, for instance—lead to cost inflation for that product. Now, Obamacare costs are rising faster than family incomes and the federal government is footing the bill.
You and I both know that there are more, but all it takes is one scandal to disprove Obama's claim that there are none.
Fox listed nine in a segment entitled, "Aren't You Proud of Us?" Here is that video:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tz2qz5W42tA&t=2m32s
They are:
  1. Operation Fast & Furious
  2. Benghazi
  3. IRS Targeting Conservative ORGS
  4. DOJ Seizing Journalists' Records
  5. NSA Mass Surveillance
  6. Ransom Payments For Iranian Hostages
  7.  Bowe Bergdahl Swap
  8. Secret Service Scanda
  9. Clinton E-Mail Scandal (Involvement)
But just one scandal is enough, right?

It’s Still a Mad, Mad California

National Review ^ | January 3, 2017 | Victor Hanson 

What makes the law-abiding leave California is not just the sanctimoniousness, the high taxes, or the criminality. It is always the insult added to injury. We suffer not only from the highest basket of income, sales, and gas taxes in the nation, but also from nearly the worst schools and infrastructure. We have the costliest entitlements and the most entitled. We have the largest number of billionaires and the largest number of impoverished, both in real numbers and as a percentage of the state population.
In feral California, we suffer not just from too many and too few applications of the law, but from the unequal enforcement of it. When the state has one-fourth of its population born in another country, dozens of sanctuary cities exempt from federal law, and millions residing here illegally, it makes politicized cost-benefit choices.
From her nest in Rancho Mirage, a desert oasis created by costly water transfers, outgoing senator Barbara Boxer rails about water transfers. When Jerry Brown leaves his governorship, he will not live in Bakersfield but probably in hip Grass Valley. High crime, the flight of small businesses, and water shortages cannot bound the fences of Nancy Pelosi’s Palladian villa or the security barriers and walls of Mark Zuckerberg and other Silicon Valley billionaires — who press for more regulation, and for more compassion for the oppressed, but always from a distance and always from the medieval assumption that their money and privilege exempt them from the consequences of their idealism. There is no such thing as an open border for a neighbor of Mr. Zuckerberg or of Ms. Pelosi.
A final window into the California pathology: Most of the most strident Californians who decry Trump’s various proposed walls insist on them for their own residences.
(Excerpt) Read more at nationalreview.com ...

Trump Poised to Build Wall and Undo Obama's Executive Actions on Immigration

PJ Media ^ | January 3, 2017 | Debra Heine 


President-elect Donald Trump is poised to hit the ground running when he takes office in two and a half weeks, and it looks like "the wall" and reversing Obama's immigration policies are high on the agenda.
Reuters reported Tuesday that Donald Trump's transition team has requested "documents and analysis" from the Department of Homeland Security to "assess all assets available for border wall and barrier construction" on both the northern and southern borders. Even better, they have "asked for copies of every executive order and directive sent to immigration agents since Obama took office in 2009," according to the exclusive report.

The team also asked about the department's capacity for expanding immigrant detention and about an aerial surveillance program that was scaled back by the Obama administration but remains popular with immigration hardliners. And it asked whether federal workers have altered biographic information kept by the department about immigrants out of concern for their civil liberties.The requests were made in a Dec. 5 meeting between Trump's transition team and Department of Homeland Security officials, according to an internal agency memo reviewed by Reuters. The document offers a glimpse into the president-elect's strategy for securing the U.S. borders and reversing polices put in place by the Obama administration.
According to the email summary obtained by Reuters, Trump's team asked about an aerial border surveillance program known as Operation Phalanx, which Obama slashed. The program, which once deployed 6,000 airmen under President George W. Bush, was downsized to 1,200 Army National Guard airmen under Obama.

The transition team also asked for copies of every executive order and directive sent to immigration agents since Obama took office in 2009, according to the memo summarizing the meeting.Trump has said he intends to undo Obama's executive actions on immigration, including a 2012 order to allow children brought to the U.S. illegally by their parents to remain in the country on temporary authorizations that allow them to attend college and work.
The program, known as DACA, collected information including participants' addresses that could theoretically be used to locate and deport them if the policy is reversed. Another request of the transition team was for information about whether any migrant records have been changed for any reason, including for civil rights or civil liberties concerns, according to the internal memo seen by Reuters.
A Department of Homeland Security official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the agency interpreted the request to mean the transition team wanted to make sure that federal workers were not tampering with information to protect DACA recipients and other migrants from deportation.
"This isn't against immigration," explained Arizona Sheriff Paul Babeu on Fox News Monday. "We want to continue the million legal immigrants that we have a year. This is more than any other nation. And he wants to allow people with guest worker permits to come in here, but all these people who think there's a revolving door, and all these criminals who have been protected under Barack Obama -- those days are done."
Even law officer says trump will make good on his plan to build a wall 

Take the fun 2017 political quiz

original to FR | Jan 3, 2017 | Peter O'Donnell 

2017 POLITICAL QUIZ

1. As a goodwill gesture, the Trumps plan to give the Obamas what parting gift?
(a) Signed biographies of Donald Trump (b) ankle bracelets (c) free one-way air tickets to Caracas (d) the cold shoulder
2. Hillary Clinton's next project will be
(a) Senator for California (b) escape tunnel from jail (c) a pizzeria franchise (d) a frank chat with her campaign advisors
3. Paul Ryan enjoys TV and he's often seen watching
(a) The Travel Channel (b) The History Channel (c) His Back (d) two of the above
4. Mike Pence said he knew the election was in the bag when
(a) Trump made a successful tour of the Midwest states (b) God appeared to him in a dream (c) The electoral college failed to screw up (d) He was revived by smelling salts early on November 9th.
5. Rudy Giuliani is still optimistic that
(a) He will be ambassador to Bulgaria (b) Donald Trump will recognize him in February (c) The old job is still open (d) The first three Secretaries of State will fail
6. Barack Obama is already working on a new book entitled
(a) Pivot to Nuance, the Obama Years (b) Man Could I Use a _____ (double entendre) (c) Yeah okay so I screwed up (d) My arrogance still remains
7. Ted Cruz figures that his best chance of being president now would be
(a) to defeat Mike Pence in the 2024 primaries (b) to defeat Ivanka Trump in the 2036 primaries (c) to join the Democrats (d) to defeat Donald Trump IV in the 2080 primaries after miraculous advances in medicine
8. The most successful part of the Russian hacking was
(a) when they put happy gas into the drinking water (b) when they subtly influenced coverage on CNN (c) when they got people to question Clinton's past (d) when by doing nothing they got so much free publicity
9. In Mexico, the main concern these days is
(a) what will happen when ten million maids return (b) how to pay for that wall (c) losing half a million jobs (d) can the soccer team win the next World Cup
10. China is not worried about trade because
(a) they can afford to pay the slaves more by making them work 18 hour shifts instead of 12 for the same money
11. North Korea is not worried about a stern military response because
(a) they want to die, can't you tell? (b) they are nuts (c) they have no actual missiles or bombs (d) see 9 (a)
12. This quiz had
(a) all the fun and humor I expected (b) ten questions too many (c) twelve questions too many (d) so much interest from Soros that I have gone into hiding

Senate Republicans just introduced an Obamacare repeal plan Democrats can’t stop!

Vox ^ | January 3, 2017 | Dylan Matthews 

The new Congress was sworn in on Tuesday, and the first thing it did was prepare to repeal Obamacare.

Senate Budget Committee Chair Michael Enzi (R-WY) introduced a budget resolution Tuesday that includes "reconciliation instructions" that enable Congress to repeal Obamacare with a simple Senate majority. Passing a budget resolution that includes those instructions will mean that the legislation can pass through the budget reconciliation process, in which bills cannot be filibustered.

That means Republicans will only need 50 of their 52 members in the Senate, and a bare majority in the House, to pass legislation repealing the Affordable Care Act. According to the Wall Street Journal, the budget resolution could be passed by both houses as early as next week....
(Excerpt) Read more at vox.com ...

Schumer A Sore Loser, The Tweets Are Working; "Trump Wielding A Two-By-Four"

Real Clear Politics ^ | January 3, 2017 | Ian Schwartz 

Charles Krauthammer reacts to newly-minted Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) remarking "making America great again" requires more than a tweet from President-elect Trump.
BRET BAIER: On the Senate side, the top Democrat there, Chuck Schumer, took to the floor for his first speech talking about the president-elect's communication.
SENATE MINORITY LEADER CHUCK SCHUMER: These issues are too important for mere words. Our challenge is too entrenched for mere tweeting. Making America great again requires more than 140 characters per issue. With all due respect, America cannot afford a Twitter presidency.
BAIER: Charles.
CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER: Sore loser. The tweets are working. I mean if they weren't, they wouldn't be using them. As Chuck [Lane] indicated, Trump has used it on North Korea, he's used it on Ford, on General Motors, on this issue, which he won within hours. It works. It has a lot of effect. And he's not even in office. I think when he is in office, it will be a little more problematic because people will be presuming policy out of this, and it's hard to be -- it's hard to be either detailed or specific enough in a tweet to actually make coherent policies....
(Excerpt) Read more at realclearpolitics.com ...

President Obama’s Legacy Follows His Shadow

american spectator ^ | R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr. 

President Barack Obama will leave office after eight years of strutting even while sitting down, of preening even while standing up, of swanking while playing eighteen holes. Yet he remains the first president in American history to cast no shadow. Jimmy Carter cast a pale and minuscule shadow. Lyndon Johnson cast an obscene shadow. Obama leaves absolutely no shadow, even in the moonlight.

Provide me with a picture of this President, standing beneath the white columned portico of the White House, the sun on his face, a gray shadow behind him, and I will eat my hat. I might even eat your hat. The reason he casts no shadow anyplace is that there is no substance to him, not even a smudge. He is almost a totally illusory figure.
The last time I drew attention to Obama’s lamentable condition, some readers scoffed at me and pointed to Obamacare, which has practically wrecked the healthcare system of millions of Americans. Surely that disaster casts a long and dark shadow behind the 44th President, they admonished. I remained serene. And what about Obama’s dealings with Israel, our most loyal ally in the Middle East? Just the other day one of his henchpersons ambushed Israel in the U.N. Security Council. Admittedly there have been setbacks suffered by the United States while this incompetent was in office, but I believe they will be short-lived. Donald Trump is coming to town, and he is bringing with him an exceptional Cabinet. Already he is threatening to erase Obama’s foolishness, and he is doing it on Twitter. Wait until he is seated in the Oval Office with the power of the other two branches of government behind him.
(Excerpt) Read more at spectator.org ...

Trump Is Right about the Russian Hacking Case

American Thinker ^ | January 4, 2017 | Stephen D. Bryen and Shoshana Bryen 

President-elect Donald Trump expressed skepticism over reports that Russia hacked the U.S. election. It is well-known that Russia -- and China, and various of our friends and allies -- spend a lot of time and effort trying to access American military and industrial secrets, as the U.S. does theirs. But in the case of altering the election, Trump’s skepticism appears warranted.
How did we get here?
An attempted hack into Georgia's voter registration database was traced back to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), according to The Wall Street Journal last month. It was a criminal act and possibly an attempt to interfere in an election. Even worse, DHS appears to have outsourced the hacking activity. One might think the breach of a state voter registration system by the Federal government would be a big story. But it was quickly replaced by the Obama administration’s claims about Russian cyber attacks on American political institutions. The FBI and DHS (yes, that DHS) then produced the Joint Analysis Report under the seal of its National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center.
It should be noted that the report was prepared without input from the National Security Agency (NSA), Cyber Command, the Pentagon, or the CIA. Wonder why? The answer most likely is that they declined to endorse a report that fails to deliver proof and makes accusations unsupported by evidence. If a college student turned this report in as a research paper, he would flunk the course.
The report claims to provide an analysis of the "tools and infrastructure" used by the Russian intelligence services to "exploit networks and endpoints associated with the U.S. election" as well as a "range of U.S. government, political and private sector entities."
(Excerpt) Read more at americanthinker.com ...

POLLS

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No class?

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The problem

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DUMPED!

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In common?

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You're fired!

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IDIOTS

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No Refund?

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CHANGE?

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Thank God

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