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The complete history of Barack Obama's second term -- click Views/Repies for top stories
 
 
 


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Beckwith

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Trump taps former Sen. Dan Coats as Director of National Intelligence

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Natalie Johnson (WashingtonFreeBeacon) is reporting that President-elect Donald Trump has selected former Indiana Sen. Dan Coats to serve as his director of national intelligence, the Associated Press reported Thursday.

Coats served in the Senate for two stints -- the first from 1989-1999 and the second starting in 2011 -- before retiring from his post earlier this week as the 115th Congress was sworn in. He also served as the U.S. ambassador to Germany under former President George W. Bush.

Coats will need confirmation from the Senate to succeed outgoing DNI James Clapper as the leading U.S. intelligence official.



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Beckwith

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Congress certifies Trump's victory Friday as protests fail

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"It is over"

USA Today is reporting that Congress has certified Donald Trump and Mike Pence's victory in the 2016 election for president and vice president during a joint session Friday afternoon.

Several Democratic House members raised formal objections to the Electoral College results, but they did not have the backing of any senators -- a requirement for being considered.

Vice President Joe Biden, who presided over the session, repeatedly slammed the gavel on debate, saying the objections could not be entertained.

"It is over," said Biden as Republicans applauded.

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Trump, tweeting Friday morning, wrote that Hillary Clinton and the Democrats were "never going to beat the PASSION of my voters."

"THEY SAW A MOVEMENT LIKE NEVER BEFORE," he wrote in all capital letters.

Even if a bicameral objection to Trump's election is raised, it stands no chance of passing a Republican Congress. It would only delay the certification of his 304 electoral votes, as the joint session breaks to allow each chamber to debate the objection and vote on whether to count the votes in question.

Still, several groups are urging lawmakers to challenge the results, either on the basis of Russian interference, allegations of voter suppression or what they consider to be illegal votes cast by Republican members of the Electoral College. A group of independent attorneys that researched the results claims at least 50 electoral votes are invalid because they were cast by dual office holders or electors who don't live in the congressional district they were representing.

"We've been fighting him at the Electoral College, we're going to fight him at the certification, we're going to be there at inauguration, and we're going to be there every day after," said Ryan Clayton, of Americans Take Action, one of the groups pushing the legal research.

The last time bicameral objections were considered was in 2005, when the late Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones of Ohio and former Sen. Barbara Boxer of California, both Democrats, objected in writing to the Ohio electoral votes because of reported voting irregularities in the re-election of President George W. Bush.

Members of the Congressional Black Caucus attempted to raise objections in 2001 to the counting of Florida's electoral votes but no senator endorsed the challenge. That forced Vice President Al Gore, as president of the Senate, to preside over the certification of electoral votes for his opponent, George W. Bush.



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Trump fires all of Obama's politically appointed ambassadors effective Inauguration Day

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Kristinn Taylor (GatewayPundit) is reporting that President-elect Donald Trump has fired, effective Inauguration Day January 20, every U.S. ambassador politically appointed by Barack Obama, according to a report published Thursday night by the New York Times.

The Times reports the State Department sent out a notice on December 23 informing the ambassadors of Trump's order. The move sent shock waves through the diplomatic corps as some ambassadors in previous transitions had been given time to leave their post for personal convenience.

President-elect Donald J. Trump's transition staff has issued a blanket edict requiring politically appointed ambassadors to leave their overseas posts by Inauguration Day, according to several American diplomats familiar with the plan, breaking with decades of precedent by declining to provide even the briefest of grace periods.

The mandate -- issued "without exceptions," according to a terse State Department cable sent on Dec. 23, diplomats who saw it said -- threatens to leave the United States without Senate-confirmed envoys for months in critical nations like Germany, Canada and Britain. In the past, administrations of both parties have often granted extensions on a case-by-case basis to allow a handful of ambassadors, particularly those with school-age children, to remain in place for weeks or months.

Mr. Trump, by contrast, has taken a hard line against leaving any of Obama's political appointees in place as he prepares to take office on Jan. 20 with a mission of dismantling many of his predecessor's signature foreign and domestic policy achievements. "Political" ambassadors, many of them major donors who are nominated by virtue of close ties with the president, almost always leave at the end of his term; ambassadors who are career diplomats often remain in their posts.

A senior Trump transition official said there was no ill will in the move, describing it as a simple matter of ensuring that Obama's overseas appointees leave the government on schedule, just as thousands of political aides at the White House and in federal agencies must do. The official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity about internal deliberations, said the ambassadors should not be surprised about being held to a hard end date."

Read the entire NY Times article at this link.



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Beckwith

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Two things Trump will do on day one

Randy DeSoto (WesternJouranlism) is reporting that ABC News This Week anchor Jonathan Karl asked Sean Spicer on Sunday, "What is the one big thing we're going to see after [Trump] takes the oath of office?"

"It's not one big thing, it's going to be many big things," the future White House spokesman replied.

"On day one he's going to sign a series of executive orders to do two things. One is repeal a lot of the regulations and actions that have been taken by this administration over the last eight years that have hampered economic growth and job creation," Spicer continued.

The second set of executive orders will be "forward thinking," he said, including a five-year lobbying ban for those who serve in the administration after they leave government service and a lifetime ban on lobbying for a foreign government.

"If you want to serve in a Trump administration, you're going to serve this country, not yourself," Spicer said.

The president-elect in his 100-day plan says he will "cancel every unconstitutional executive action, memorandum, and order issued by President Obama."

Those would likely include both Obama's immigration executive orders: the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals and Deferred Action for Parents of Americans programs.

DAPA has already been ruled unconstitutional by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court split 4-4 on the issue last summer, leaving the ruling in place.

The Obama administration's Clean Power Plan also faces a constitutional challenge at the Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit after the Supreme Court suspended its enforcement last February.

Trump specially listed some executive actions he would take within the first 100 days.

"First, I will announce my intention to renegotiate NAFTA or withdraw from the deal under Article 2205," Trump said. "Second, I will announce our withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Third, I will direct the secretary of the Treasury to label China a currency manipulator."

"Trump has called for a hiring freeze on all federal employees as a way to reduce the workforce through attrition. The freeze would exempt members of the military as well as public safety and public health employees," the Daily Signal recounted.

"To scale back federal regulations, Trump has said he would require that for every new regulation it adopts, the government would have to eliminate two existing regulations," according to the news outlet. 

As reported by Western Journalism, the Heritage Foundation has been playing an important role in providing counsel to the incoming administration, including preparing a memo entitled "Blueprint for a New Administration."

The document recommends the Trump administration revoke global warming and green energy mandates for executive agencies and cancel payments to the United Nation's climate programs. Regarding the latter, the conservative think tank suggests the funds be directed toward fixing America's water and environmental infrastructure.

It also calls on the president-elect to lift restrictions on energy production and allow the building of the Keystone XL Pipeline to go forward.

On the social policy front, Heritage urges Trump to re-implement the Mexico City Policy banning taxpayer dollars from being used to fund overseas abortions. The organization also calls for the Department of Health and Human Services to end Obamacare insurance mandates for abortion-inducing drugs, contraception and gender transition therapy or surgery.


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Beckwith

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Seven ways Obama is trying to sabotage the Trump administration

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John Hayward (Breitbart) is reporting that Barack Obama's final weeks in office seem dedicated to setting foreign and domestic policy on fire to make life as difficult as possible on his successor, Donald Trump. Here are some of the biggest mousetraps Obama scattered across the White House floor on his way out:

Betraying Israel at the United Nations: Obama's refusal to block a United Nations vote against Israel, his administration's shadowy machinations to bring that ugly motion to the floor, and Secretary of State John Kerry's long-winded broadside against Israel will leave President Trump with a massive political crisis in the Middle East, and quite possibly a security crisis, if terror groups and their "political wings" are emboldened by the rebuke of Israel.

Obama's Israel maneuver also damages American credibility, teaching would-be allies that the United States is not the best friend to have. America's erstwhile battlefield allies in Syria can teach the same lesson, assuming any of them are left alive to take the podium. This comes at the very moment aspiring hegemons in China and Russia are showing their allies how Beijing and Moscow will go to the mat for them.

Obama's team thinks it was clever to saddle Trump with an international edict the U.S. president cannot easily reverse. They might not have thought this all the way through, because some of the options that are available to Trump could leave internationalists, and Palestinian leaders, cursing Barack Obama's memory.

Note that even some commentators friendly to Obama, and sources within the Obama Administration itself, have described the Israel vote as a deliberate act of sabotage aimed at Trump, because Obama is "alarmed" by some of Trump's appointees.

A new Cold War with Russia: After eight years of relentlessly mocking anyone who said Russia was a major geopolitical threat to the United States (most famously including his 2012 presidential opponent, Mitt Romney) Barack Obama suddenly realized: "You know what? Russia is a major threat!"

He also awoke to the dangers of cyber-warfare, after an entire presidency of treating electronic espionage as a purely political problem to be minimized and spun away, because taking it seriously made him look bad. Who can forget how Obama left victims of the OPM hack twisting in the wind for weeks, because the administration didn't want to admit how serious the attack was?

But then a top Democrat political operative fell for a crude phishing scam, and the Democratic National Committee got hacked, so Obama… well, he still didn't take cyber-espionage seriously. He slapped the snooze bar again, because as one anonymous official put it, they thought Hillary Clinton was a cinch to win the 2016 election, "so they were willing to kick the can down the road."

No, it was Hillary Clinton's loss in the election, and the desperate push to damage President-elect Trump's legitimacy, that made the president who politely ignored China hacking 25 million American citizens' private data get tough on information security. Until now, states involved in cyber-espionage never got anything worse than a few carefully-chosen words of sour disapproval from the expiring administration, but the Russkies received a sprinkling of sanctions, and 35 diplomats were expelled.

Russia responded by unleashing an army of ducks and trolls from the depths of the Kremlin. The New Cold War is only a few days old, and it's already weirder than the old one was.

Presumably Obama thinks he's maneuvered Trump into a position that will make whatever rapprochement he might have entertained with Moscow more difficult, or at least more politically costly for the new President. The end result might be easier relations between Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin, and a lingering memory of how little Barack Obama cared about cybersecurity until it was politically expedient for him to freak out.

Ban on oil drilling: An overt act of sabotage directed at the American economy itself, leaving an especially heavy bootprint on Alaska. Smug administration flacks spent the past couple of weeks assuring media talking heads that Obama's unprecedented abuse of an obscure law was impossible for his successor to reverse. It's like they stayed up all night, looking for executive actions that can't be undone by the new President four weeks later. (Amusingly, Obama dropped this bomb on our energy sector just a few weeks after publicly advising Trump not to abuse executive orders.)

It's likely that legions of lawyers will battle throughout 2017, and perhaps beyond, to determine if Obama's "latest poke at Trump" (as Politico put it) really is irreversible. What a lovely parting gift from the departing President to the country that elected him twice: a pile of gigantic wealth-destroying lawsuits!

National-monument land grab: The other theoretically irreversible presidential edict discovered by Obama's munchkins is the ability to designate national monuments. Another 1.65 million acres in Utah and Nevada was yanked off the market in the last week of December, bring Obama's Antiquities Act acreage up to an unprecedented 553 million acres.

"This arrogant act by a lame duck president will not stand. I will work tirelessly with Congress and the incoming Trump administration to honor the will of the people of Utah and undo this designation," thundered Senator Mike Lee of Utah. Sixty-five percent of his state is now under the wise and compassionate environmental protection of the same government that turned the Colorado River into a toxic-waste dump.

Eliminating the national immigration registry: Just in case Trump got any ideas about using it as the basis for the "enhanced vetting" he has promised for immigrants from terrorist-infested regions, the Obama administration killed a long-dormant program called NSEERS that once committed the unforgivable politically-incorrect sin of tracking military-age males from violently unstable Muslim-majority countries.

It's highly debatable whether the NSEERS program was of any practical use. When it pulled the plug, the Department of Homeland Security noted that the post-9/11 program called for collecting data that is now routinely collected for most foreign visitors, along with more sophisticated biometric information. Almost everyone saw the elimination of these roles as a purely symbolic act -- i.e. political sabotage directed at the incoming President.

The great Guantanamo jailbreak: After paying little more than lip service to his promise to close the Guantanamo Bay prison for much of his presidency, Obama went into overdrive in his last years, transferring over 150 detainees. A shocking number of them ended up back on the battlefield.

Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA) of the House Foreign Affairs Committee wrote a Wall Street Journal op-ed this week to sound the alarm about Obama's "midnight push to empty out Guantanamo." 

"The White House has repeatedly released detainees to countries it knew lacked the intent and capability to keep the detainees from returning to terrorism. The results have been deadly," Royce wrote, challenging the wisdom of such Obama administration brainstorms as dropping al-Qaeda's top bomb maker into Bosnia, a country with "limited security services" but plenty of radical mosques and unemployed military-age males. Royce's committee has been investigating allegations the administration tried to pay the bomb-maker $100,000 to refrain from passing his deadly skills along to eager apprentices. Hunting down the rest of the transferred prisoners who transferred themselves right back into the global jihad will be a job for the Trump administration.

Depicting Trump's election as a disaster: Let's not forget Obama's acts of rhetorical sabotage, such as describing Trump's presidential campaign as a crime against American class and racial harmony, or his wife wailing that all hope was lost for America's children. Trump himself has taken note of the "many inflammatory Obama statements and roadblocks."

It's hard to remember a previous instance of the outgoing president attacking the legitimacy of his successor this way, especially during the transition, before the new chief executive has actually done anything. And it's probably not over yet. The time for big executive orders is growing short, but Obama is always just one day away from calling a press conference and saying something else that will make the transition more difficult.

Of course he can still talk all he wants after January 20th, and he's given every indication he won't follow the dignified path of his predecessors and allow the new president time to chart his own course, but there's no substitute for the bully pulpit of the presidency. The timber of Barack Obama's political voice will be very different on January 21st than it was on January 19th. More likely than not, he'll use it before he loses it.

Related:  Obama's petty attempts to sabotage Trump are bound to fail



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"Business as usual" is over -- media aghast at replacing press conferences with social media

Samantha Chang (BizPacReview) is reporting that a Trump presidency means "business as usual" is over for the mainstream media.

That's what incoming White House press secretary Sean Spicer said in an interview with conservative radio talk show host Hugh Hewitt.

When asked if Donald Trump will continue the tradition of regular presidential press conferences, Spicer said Trump may likely use social media to communicate directly with the American people.

"Do you expect him to keep up a regular and as energetic a series of press conferences as previous presidents?" Hewitt asked Thursday. Spicer replied:

"Yeah, that's a good question, because I think the thing that you've seen with Donald Trump is that he doesn't, he doesn't look to the past and say, 'I've got to conform to these precedents.' He figures out what's the best way. And so maybe we do a series of press conferences, but maybe we do some town hall, Facebook town halls. Maybe we go out and solicit input from Twitter …

But there's no question that you see through the platforms that exist right now, whether it's Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, he's closing in like 45 million people that he can have a conversation with … there are also some new opportunities that we can be utilizing to bring more people into the process and have a conservation with the American people and not just limit it through the filter of the mainstream media."

Of course, liberal mainstream media is clutching its collective pearls at the thought that they (the middle man) may get cut out of the loop should Trump decide to communicate directly to the American people.

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While the panicked media have been urging Trump to stop tweeting when he takes office, his supporters hope he continues, saying Twitter is the best way for him to get his message out to the world, unfiltered by media spin.

Trump loyalists say the "lying liberal press" is just upset because they've lost control of the narrative, and as president he can bypass them and communicate directly to millions of people.

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Beckwith

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The two rules that will guide Trump’s administration

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So far the U.S. economy has reacted very positively to President Elect Donald Trump.

US consumer confidence climbed to 15-year high in December

AP reports:

The Conference Board said Tuesday that its consumer confidence index climbed to 113.7 in December, up from 109.4 in November and the highest since it reached 114 in August 2001. It’s another sign consumers are confident in the aftermath of a divisive election campaign.

Trump stock market rally

From The Hill:

The U.S. stock market rallied to new highs in the weeks following Donald Trump’s election as president of the United States. The “Trump rally” was strongest in segments of the market projected to benefit the most from policy changes under his administration. Small company, financial services and energy stocks were among the winners…

Ford stays

From CNBC:

U.S. President-elect Donald Trump said Ford Motor Executive Chairman Bill Ford Jr told him the automaker would not move a Kentucky plant to Mexico, but the firm said it informed him the decision was to keep one vehicle in U.S. production.

On Thursday, Trump posted on Twitter: “I worked hard with Bill Ford to keep the Lincoln plant in Kentucky. I owed it to the great State of Kentucky for their confidence in me!”

“He will be keeping the Lincoln plant in Kentucky – no Mexico,” the President-elect tweeted.

Carrier stays

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IBM announces 25,000 jobs in US before Trump meeting

Bloomberg reports:

IBM Chief Executive Officer Ginni Rometty said she plans to hire about 25,000 people in the U.S. and invest $1 billion over the next four years, laying out her vision for filling technology jobs in America on the eve of a meeting of industry leaders with President-elect Donald Trump.



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Newt Gingrich says Trump to begin presidency by repealing 70% of Obama's legacy

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US President-elect Donald Trump may reverse up to 70 percent of Barack Obama's executive orders, practically erasing the legacy of the first African-American head of state, Former House speaker Newt Gingrich told Fox in an interview with "Sunday Morning Futures":

"I think in the opening couple days, he's going to repeal 60 to 70 percent of Obama's legacy by simply vetoing out all of the various executive orders that Obama used because he couldn't get anything through Congress."

Obama, who signed over 260 executive orders in his two terms in office, urged Trump, who will be inaugurated on January 20, not to circumvent Congress when trying to enact his agenda. Obama used his executive powers to push through labor, climate and immigration reforms after Congress refused to go along with his proposed programs. Obama told NPR last week:

"My suggestion to the president elect is, you know, going through the legislative process is always better, in part because it's harder to undo. In my first two years, I wasn't relying on executive powers because I had big majorities in Congress and we [were] able to get bills passed. Even after we lost the majorities in Congress, I bent over backward consistently to try to find compromise and a legislative solution to some of the big problems that we've got."

Obama noted that Trump is:

"...entirely within his lawful power [to sign new executive orders] and f he wants to reverse some of those rules, that's part of the Democratic process."

Gingrich believes that by exercising such power Trump will just sign Obama's legacy away, saying:

"I think President Obama is beginning to figure out that his legacy is like one of those dolls that as the air comes out of it, it shrinks and shrinks and shrinks."

During the election campaign Trump did promise to repeal Obama's initiatives, telling his voters in North Carolina in September that his administration would"

"eliminate every unconstitutional executive order and restore the rule of law to our land."

That promise now seems a reality especially after Obama failed to honor his promise of a "smooth" transition to Trump after his victory. The rift between the future administration and Obama's office became apparent on Friday when the US abstained from voting at the UN Security Council, allowing an anti-Israeli settlement resolution to pass, despite a strong calls for Trump to "veto" the document. Gingrich noted:

"He [President Obama] is in this desperate frenzy. What he's actually doing is he's setting up a series of things to distract Trump, which will make his liberal allies feel good about Democrats and hate Republicans when Trump rolls them back"

ThinkProgress reviewed and broke down Obama's signed orders, which ranged from allowing military reserves to help with crises abroad to letting federal workers leave early on Christmas Eve.

However international sanctions orders dominated Obama's agenda and covered 34 cases that targeted people from at least a dozen countries ranging from Libya, North Korea, and Venezuela, to Yemen, Somalia, and Russia.


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Ex-campaign aides building pro-Trump "superstructure" outside White House

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Jennifer G. Hickey (FoxNews) is reporting that President-elect Donald Trump is rewriting the rules of the presidency, but he is stealing a page from his predecessor's playbook -- with allies creating an outside political operation to communicate and generate support for his agenda. 

"It is almost exactly the model used by Obama," former House Speaker Newt Gingrich told FoxNews.com. "There is a lot to be said for having people out there fighting for your agenda." 

Serious talk of forming a group modeled after Organizing for America, the network founded in 2009 by Barack Obama's campaign manager David Plouffe, was sparked earlier this month after Kellyanne Conway raised the issue on Twitter.

"West Wing welcome mat is out, but we need a superstructure like the one Plouffe built," she tweeted

Until she joined the administration as counselor to the president -- a move announced Thursday -- Conway looked like a front-runner to head up the so-called "Trump superstructure." But speaking Thursday with Fox Business Network's Maria Bartiromo, Conway again advocated for the idea, calling the outside network "incredibly important to help the president in pushing through his legislative agenda and his Cabinet nominees, ultimately his Supreme Court nominees." 

The "structure" appears to be forming, even if the planning remains in its infancy and Conway is not at the top. 

While Gingrich told FoxNews.com he will not be involved with the emerging outside network -- focusing instead on his new mission to develop a strategic plan to shrink and modernize government -- former Trump campaign digital director Brad Parscale confirmed to The Associated Press he was forming a nonprofit focused on "supporting the conservative agenda and what the Trump movement stands for."

Parscale is not the only former Trump insider to set up shop on the periphery of Trump World.

Former campaign manager and onetime CNN contributor Corey Lewandowski announced this week that he and former Trump campaign strategist Barry Bennett were launching Avenue Strategies, a political consulting firm down the street from the White House. 

The firm will cater to clients, but Lewandowski also told "Fox & Friends" he wants to be helpful in advancing Trump's economic agenda.

Meanwhile, Parscale, who has a firm in San Antonio, Texas, lacks Washington experience but like Lewandowski possesses something more important -- Trump's trust and an understanding of how the president-elect thinks.

"[Parscale] is a capable political operative who also is someone trusted by the Trump inner circle and understands the uniqueness of the Trump organization and Trump himself," said Ryan Williams, a Republican strategist and former aide to Mitt Romney.

While there is agreement that an external organization is needed, Politico reports there is dissension within the Trump orbit about who should control it.

Williams told FoxNews.com an outside political operation is an important component of a successful administration because it can raise the funds needed to support GOP candidates and also defend the Trump agenda from well-funded liberal groups.

"The president will want to ensure there is an outside organization to support his agenda that won't cannibalize resources from the established party structure," he said.

Largely self-financed, Trump did receive support from large donors through the Great America super PAC, the political action committee led by veteran GOP strategist and one-time Reagan aide Ed Rollins. While it's unclear what Rollins plans to do next, the PAC spent nearly $30 million on ads during the campaign, and post-election has concentrated its efforts on raising money to support Trump's agenda, according to The Washington Post.

Any concerns that big-dollar Republican donors will balk at backing such an effort are misplaced, Gingrich said.

"These people are so delirious that Hillary Clinton was not elected that they will do anything to get on board, particularly with Republicans in control in the House and in the Senate," he said.

Expectations for such organizations can be high. The Obama-allied OFA came under intense criticism from Democratic insiders after the 2010 midterm elections when Republicans gained 63 seats and the majority in the House. Some Democrats complained the wave was a result of OFA's decision not to play an active role in the midterms.

Well before the ages of Obama and now Trump, Ronald Reagan also recognized the benefit of having an arm outside the West Wing to rally the grassroots.

Shortly after Reagan's first successful campaign for the White House, wealthy Republican businessman Lewis E. Lehrman created Campaign for America, which was described at the time as a "nonpartisan civic group banded together in the common interest of building a stronger America."



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Trump picks Sean Spicer for press secretary

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Fox News is reporting that Republican Party communications chief Sean Spicer will be the voice of the Trump administration.

President-elect Donald Trump announced Thursday that Spicer will get the coveted job of White House press secretary, as he announced the senior members of his communications team.

This also includes: Hope Hicks as director of strategic communications; Jason Miller as director of communications; and Dan Scavino as director of social media.

"Sean, Hope, Jason and Dan have been key members of my team during the campaign and transition. I am excited they will be leading the team that will communicate my agenda that will Make America Great Again," Trump said in a statement.

Spicer was thought to have the inside track for the job, in part because of his ties to incoming White House chief of staff Reince Priebus, who currently runs the Republican National Committee.

Spicer worked alongside Priebus throughout the 2016 campaign as chief strategist and communications director at the RNC.

After the news was announced, Spicer thanked the incoming president for the "amazing honor."

Spicer has been a regular media presence throughout the rowdy presidential primary campaign and general election.

A commissioned officer in the Navy Reserves, Spicer previously served as Assistant United States Trade Representative (USTR) for Media and Public Affairs under the George W. Bush administration, and worked for the House Republican Conference before that.



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Re :  Topic # 46.

I do believe " the krautmeister ", is at last getting it.

He has a very long way to go, to gain my forgiveness for his past behavior. But then again what do you expect from a RINO ?
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Excellent Choice.........
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Trump names Kellyanne Conway as Counselor to the President

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NewsMax is reporting that President-elect Donald Trump on Thursday named Kellyanne Conway to the post of Counselor to the President.

Conway had been serving as a senior transition adviser after successfully navigating Trump's presidential run as campaign manager.

"Kellyanne Conway has been a trusted adviser and strategist who played a crucial role in my victory. She is a tireless and tenacious advocate of my agenda and has amazing insights on how to effectively communicate our message. I am pleased that she will be part of my senior team in the West Wing," Trump said in a statement.

Conway's name had been bandied about as Trump's possible press secretary, a post she more than once said was offered but turned down by her.

"I want to thank the president-elect for this amazing opportunity. A Trump presidency will bring real change to Washington and to Americans across this great nation. I am humbled and honored to play a role in helping transform the movement he has led into a real agenda of action and results,' said Conway.



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The horror! -- Krauthammer says Trump's cabinet will reassert "basic constitutionalism"

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Alicia Powe (WesternJournalism) is reporting that conservative commentator Charles Krauthammer commended the choices Donald Trump has so far made in selecting his Cabinet, arguing that the president-elect is demonstrating a more constitutional approach to governing.

Democrats and liberals are criticizing Trump's cabinet nominees because they erroneously believe the Constitution dictates what each department of the federal government is supposed to do, Krauthammer argued in an op-ed published Thursday night.

"The Left has been in equally high dudgeon that other Cabinet picks appear not to share the mission of the agency which they have been nominated to head," he wrote. "The horror! As if these agency missions are somehow divinely ordained. Why, they aren't even constitutionally ordained."

Krauthammer lauded Trump for selecting Betsy Devos, a longtime proponent of school choice, to be his education secretary. Under Devos, he argued, the department will no longer be used as means for the federal government to micromanage "social justice."

Devos is less likely "to allow the department's Office for Civil Rights to continue appropriating to itself the role of arbiter of social justice, micromanaging everything from campus sexual mores to the proper bathroom assignment for transgender students," he said. "If the mission of this department has been to dictate policy best left to the states and localities, it's about time the mission was changed."

Trump's pick to head the Environmental Protection Agency, Scott Pruitt, is the most important nomination of all, Krauthammer argues, because the former Oklahoma attorney general will likely curtail the EPA from egregiously exceeding its authority and doesn't believe climate change is an imminent threat.

"Pruitt has been deemed unfit to serve because he fails liberalism's modern-day religious test -- belief in anthropogenic climate change. They would love to turn his confirmation hearing into a Scopes monkey trial. Republicans should decline the invitation," Krauthammer said. "It doesn't matter whether the man believes the moon is made of green cheese. The challenges to EPA actions are based not on meteorology or theology, but on the Constitution."

"Pruitt's nomination is a dramatic test of the proposition that agencies administer the law, they don't create it," he added. "That the legislative power resides exclusively with Congress and not with a metastasizing administrative bureaucracy."

Krauthammer pointed out the hypocrisy of Democrats to suddenly be concerned about the threat Russia poses, and Trump's secretary of state nominee Rex Tillerson's ties to the nation, after spending two decades of the post-Cold War era downplaying Russia as an adversary.

Tilerson's friendship with Russia isn't disqualifying, he argues, because it was his job as the head of ExxonMobil to have a profitable relationship with Russia.

"These interests do not necessarily overlap with those of the United States. The relevant question is whether and how Tillerson distinguishes between the two and whether as agent of the United States he would adopt a tougher Russia policy than he did as agent of ExxonMobil," Krauthammer explained. "We don't know. We shall soon find out. That's what confirmation hearings are for."

Krauthammer, a frequent critic of Trump, assured the president-elect's cabinet selections demonstrate that the federal government's overreached is about to be stopped in its tracks and returned to its constitutional limits.

"For some, this reassertion of basic constitutionalism seems extreme. If so, the Obama administration has only itself to blame. Such are the wages of eight years of liberal overreach. Some legislation, like Obamacare, will be repealed. Some executive orders will be canceled. But most important will be the bonfire of the agencies."



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Why such a conservative cabinet?

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Paul Mirengoff (Powerline) says it seems clear that Donald Trump will end up with the most conservative Cabinet of any president in his lifetime. And yes, that includes Ronald Reagan (Steve will correct me if I'm wrong).

How did this happen? Maybe Trump, who never seemed all that conservative, has come to embrace conservatism nearly across the board.

But Steven Pearlstein, a liberal columnist for the Washington Post, offers a different explanation:

Trump is not a Tea Party Republican. . .To the degree he does have policy instincts, they are more consistent with those of the pro-business New York Democrat he was than the right-wing avatar he pretended to be during the campaign. Most importantly, he has an insatiable need to be liked and respected. . . .

Don't be fooled by Trump's cabinet appointments. To the key positions -- Treasury, State, Defense, chief of staff -- he has appointed practical military leaders and business people like himself. The more radical and ideologically driven nominees for Health and Human Services, Education, Labor, Justice and the EPA were made to reassure the Republican right that he really is one of them.

We shouldn't underestimate the damage that these appointees will do over the next four years in dismantling the Obama legacy. But on the issues that rise to presidential attention -- immigration, trade, taxes, infrastructure spending -- Trump will opt for political expediency over ideological zealotry.

There's precedent for a president operating in something like the manner Pearlstein describes. It is said that Richard Nixon adopted liberal policies on domestic issues -- wage and price controls and racial quotas, for example -- for the purposes of creating enough political capital to enable him to do what he wanted in foreign policy, his area of preoccupation.

Trump might similarly be prepared to adopt conservative policies on domestic issues for the purpose of keeping his base and his party happy enough to let him do what he wants on the matters he truly cares about.

What does Trump truly care about? Pearlstein says what Trump wants is "to demonstrate that he can make good on his promise to cut through the gridlock and get things done." I would put it this way: Trump is determined to do a few big things to "make America great again."

What things? A massive restoration of our infrastructure, probably. And definitely some big things on the world stage. Possibilities include crushing ISIS, reordering relations with Russia, and brokering a "peace" treaty between Israel and the Palestinians (though this doesn't look like a priority in light of Trump's choice for ambassador to Israel). There are other possibilities I haven't thought of, and perhaps some that haven't yet occurred to Trump.

This account of why Trump has picked such a conservative Cabinet -- to create political capital with which to pursue his real agenda -- is consistent with the report, never confirmed as far as I know, of Trump's attempt to persuade John Kasich to be his running mate. Supposedly, one of Trump's sons told Kasich's representative that his father's vice president would be in charge of domestic and foreign policy. Asked what Trump would be in charge of, the son replied "making America great again."

But the theory that Trump is largely indifferent about a wide range of policy issues and wants only to accomplish a few big things may sell the president-elect short. To write off the selection of Rep. Tom Price as throwing a bone to conservatives probably underestimates the extent to which Trump dislikes Obamacare. To write off the selection of Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education may underestimate Trump's disgust with the state of public education and his affinity for school choice.

Right now, conservatives need not worry much about why Trump has appointed such a conservative Cabinet. The point is that he's appointed one, and that it likely will help the GOP reverse the statist, hyper-liberal course President Obama has charted and imposed.



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He knows how to play the game and that is what is needed to undo what Obama, Clinton, and to an extent what Bush, Jimmie Carter have done to us.
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Trump considering Sylvester Stallone to chair the National Endowment for the Arts

Start at item #42 today . . .

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Paul Bois (TruthRevolt) is reporting that President-elect Trump has considered Sylvester Stallone for Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), according to a report.

According to The Daily MailTrump has not formally offered the job to Stallone, who is "positively disposed to the idea."

"Mr. Trump feels this sort of A-list appointment is precisely the shot in the arm that the industry needs," reports the outlet.

Stallone has been a supporter of Trump from the outset, telling Variety back in January, "I love Donald Trump."

"There are certain people like Arnold, Babe Ruth, that are bigger than life," he said of the real-estate mogul. 

The National Endowment for the Arts has "huge grant-making ability and has sway over everything from funding museums and opera shows to promoting policies and programs," reports Breitbart.

"The NEA is currently governed by artist Jane Chu, who heads the 14-member, president-appointed board. As of 2015, the agency commanded a $150 million budget."

Trump also used Stallone's inspirational speech to his son in Rocky Balboa as part of presidential campaign ad in the waning days of the election.

Sometimes I think Trump does what he does just to drive liberals nuts.



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Trump makes more appointments

Keith Koffler is reporting that President-elect Trump has chosen retired Army Lt. Gen. Keith Kellogg as chief of staff and executive secretary of the National Security Council and Monica Crowley as senior director of strategic communications for the National Security Council, a transition source tells Washington Examiner. Trump's transition officially announced the appointments Thursday afternoon.

Trump is expected to pick Republican National Committee chief strategist Sean Spicer to serve as White House press secretary in his administration, sources with direct knowledge told the Washington Examiner on Thursday.

Spicer first became involved with Trump in August when he agreed to work in New York three to four days a week as an on-site adviser to the campaign while still maintaining his position as RNC communications director. He has since become a senior spokesman for the president-elect's transition operation, and has been responsible for briefing reporters each morning on the transition team's day-to-day activities.


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Trump picks Exxon-Mobil's Tillerson as Secretary of State

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Bloomberg is reporting that Exxon Mobil Corp. Chief Executive Officer Rex Tillerson will be nominated as President-elect Donald Trump's secretary of state, setting up a potential confirmation battle with U.S. lawmakers who have questioned the oilman's relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

"Rex knows how to manage a global enterprise, which is crucial to running a successful State Department, and his relationships with leaders all over the world are second to none," Trump said in a statement Tuesday.

Tillerson said that he will focus on restoring America's credibility on the international stage.

"We must focus on strengthening our alliances, pursuing shared national interests and enhancing the strength, security and sovereignty of the United States," Tillerson said in the statement.

The oil executive beat out several high-profile candidates for the job, including Trump loyalist and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who took his name out of the running, and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, who had been a Trump critic during the campaign. Romney announced Monday that he was no longer in the running to be America's chief diplomat.

Senate scrutiny

Tillerson, an Exxon lifer and University of Texas-trained engineer who hits Exxon's mandatory retirement age of 65 in March, has accepted Trump's offer. He would be the first oil executive and only the second Texan to lead the State Department.
 
Tillerson would add to a cabinet increasingly full of millionaires and billionaires, including Commerce Secretary nominee Wilbur Ross, whose fortune is estimated at about $2.9 billion. Tillerson was paid $27.3 million in salary, bonus, stock awards and other compensation in 2015; his 2.6 million shares of Exxon common stock had a value of about $228 million as of early December.

Word of Tillerson's possible nomination was circulated even before his Dec. 5 visit to meet the president-elect at Trump Tower partly to see how the markets would react, according to a person familiar with the transition who requested anonymity because the information hasn't been made public.

Ties to Putin

The prospect of a Tillerson nomination has already drawn some objections from lawmakers in both parties, who expressed concern about his two decades of dealings with Putin at a time when possible Russian interference in the U.S. election is under scrutiny. That suggests that the Exxon executive could face a messy Senate confirmation fight. Republican Senators John McCain of Arizona and Marco Rubio of Florida were among those who said they had questions about Tillerson's dealings with Putin.

Confirmation hearings may also become a proxy fight over Trump's position that Putin is an effective leader with whom he can reach agreements, a stance widely unpopular among lawmakers in both parties.

Senator Bob Corker, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said Tuesday in a statement that he congratulated Tillerson and looked "forward to meeting with him and chairing his confirmation hearing." Corker said in the statement that the committee will hold a hearing on Tillerson's nomination in early January.

"Mr. Tillerson is a very impressive individual and has an extraordinary working knowledge of the world," said the Tennessee Republican, who had also been in the running for the post.

Economic statecraft

"It ironically continues something that really started in the Clinton State Department which is economic statecraft and the fact that U.S. CEOs, U.S. companies have been some of our best diplomats overseas and the U.S. brand is an important part of U.S. diplomacy and U.S. representation," Mortlock said.

Kellyanne Conway, a top Trump adviser, said Friday on Fox News that those who were considered by Trump also included Alan Mulally, the former CEO of Ford Motor Co., former CIA Director David Petraeus, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker, former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton, and Representative Dana Rohrabacher, a California Republican.

"It was an honor to have been considered for Secretary of State of our great country," Romney said in a Facebook post Monday acknowledging he would not be named to the job. "My discussions with President-elect Trump have been both enjoyable and enlightening. I have very high hopes that the new administration will lead the nation to greater strength, prosperity and peace."

Chemistry and vision

Reince Priebus, who has been named Trump's chief of staff, said on Fox News Tuesday that Trump chose Tillerson because of his interpersonal skills, his track record in business and a shared vision on international issues.

"At the end of the day, it's putting America first, and Donald Trump and Rex Tillerson had a connection on that issue," said Priebus, who is currently chairman of the Republican National Committee. "We're excited about today and what Rex Tillerson is going to bring to the table."

Priebus also said Tillerson's history with Putin demonstrated toughness.

"The truth is having relationships with people is not a bad thing," he said. "We have a lot of problems in this world and we're not going to solve those problems by pretending that people don't exist."


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Democrats fear another Trump trouncing -- they're not ready for Trump's first 100 days

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Gabriel Debenedetti (Politico) says as Donald Trump's inauguration draws near, Democrats fear they remain woefully unprepared to fight the new president's agenda.

The party loses its standard-bearer once President Barack Obama leaves office, and the Democratic National Committee won't get a permanent chairman and staff until March, two months into the presidency. That Democratic power vacuum has raised concerns about the party's ability to provide a united message -- or even to stand up a centralized rapid response operation -- for the president's first 100 days in office.

Their worst nightmare is that Trump, ever the showman, will define his opening act with little unified resistance.

"It's a very serious concern. I just went on TV twice today on Fox and MSNBC on the Cabinet appointments and I winged it," said Bill Richardson, the former New Mexico governor and 2008 presidential candidate. "You need something right now. Trump every day is doing something outrageous. What do we do? Criticize everything he does? Hold back a bit? I know we need to develop an economic message but that's long term. We need something now. Most of the Democrats I talk to are down, and they're asking who's in charge."

Individual elected officials, led by Senators Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, and Sherrod Brown, have already signaled their intention to put loud and sustained pressure on the president-elect through a series of speeches, statements, TV appearances, op-eds, and on social media. But they are doing so without the benefit of any party-wide communication about a coordinated message behind their Trump barbs -- the kind of guidance and direction so recently provided by Obama or Hillary Clinton and her campaign surrogate operation. In some corners of Capitol Hill, senior senators have even taken to blindly calling advocacy groups in town, asking where they can find relevant opposition research against Trump's cabinet picks.

DNC Vice-Chairman R.T. Rybak stressed the urgency of the moment.

"The importance of these first few weeks is illustrated by my memory of the first few months of the Reagan administration, where radical change came so fast that it was difficult for opponents to know where to fight, which battles to pick," said Rybak. "There's a need to affect these issues immediately, and there's also the related issue of how to re-position, how to be the party we need to be."

In other words, said the former Minneapolis mayor, "It's going to be tougher for there to be a unified voice while we're going through a change."

Democrats are hardly without any response. The DNC's opposition research department has been working overtime since Trump was elected while the communications staff cranks out a nonstop stream of pro-Obama and anti-Trump press releases. Party officials have also been in touch with Senate and House leadership communications and research teams to work out the plan moving forward, particularly as Trump seeks to confirm his cabinet picks.

But the party was caught flat-footed by Trump's victory, and there was no detailed contingency plan in the event Hillary Clinton was defeated. The widespread expectation was that President Clinton's handpicked choice for DNC chairman would take over on January 21, a day after the inauguration. That Democrat -- likely a prominent figure practiced in both fundraising and television pontificating -- would be armed with a building brimming with operatives shipped down from Clinton's Brooklyn campaign headquarters.

Working in tandem with a refurbished political wing of the White House, the staff would be tasked with readying the party for a furious attempt to limit Senate losses and gain back governor's mansions in 2018, ahead of a long-brewing plans to reverse Republican redistricting gains two years later. Parts of the party's short-term rapid response operation would be outsourced to Correct The Record, a super PAC established to back Clinton during her campaign.

But Correct the Record -- which had clashed with the DNC under former Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz -- has now been shut down. The redistricting push has been largely handed over to a new group helmed by former Attorney General Eric Holder. And the rest of the plan was summarily dismantled by Trump's win, sending the central committee into a period of uncertainty as it now searches for its next chair, a process that won't be finalized until the end of February.

"Who's the messenger? It's bigger than his first 100 days. If Trump controls the message, which he has continued to do and will only do more as the sitting president of the United States, this could snowball into a very big issue for Democrats and independent voters out there," said Boyd Brown, a South Carolina Democrat who until recently was a DNC member. "We are totally letting him control the message and control the story. He's setting traps and we're taking the bait. Carrier? Prime example. We've got him on this Russia deal, but we'll find a way to mess it up."

"Maybe an emergency meeting of the party needs to happen in December to appoint a message chairman, and then go through the regular process of nuts and bolts for the February [DNC chair election]," said Richardson. "Something needs to be done."

At the moment, the DNC is working to occupy some version of the central role it had in the waning days of George W. Bush's presidency.

"It's been eight years, and I've been through this moment before with the party: when you don't control the White House, the DNC plays a very important messaging role," said a senior Democratic Party official. "When a campaign season ends, the DNC picks up the role left by the candidate. We know we have to take on this larger role, and we're raising money [for that]."

"We're in the midst of a transition, but that's not going to take away from our very important role in helping directly, whether it's helping the White House, on Capitol Hill, or putting out our own strategic messaging," added the official, noting the nearly 200 releases that have come out of the DNC building since Election Day.

But with Washington crowded with Democrats who weren't around for the last time the party was so thoroughly booted from power, the reflex is not to look straight to the national committee -- which has led to a chorus of confused whispers between senators and House members looking for guidance.

"This is not a new scenario," said David Axelrod, Obama's former top adviser. "Without the White House, parties always feel their way. The congressional leaders and party chair have some claim to messaging, but other voices will emerge and full clarity won't be achieved until a new nominee is chosen and a Democratic president is elected."

One group trying to step into the perceived void is American Bridge, the main Democratic opposition research organization, which last week revealed preliminary plans to launch an anti-Trump rapid response and research operation. The group, founded by Clinton ally David Brock, has been in close contact with many of Clinton's top donors as he searches for funding.

Bridge will continue providing the DNC with its opposition research, said Jessica Mackler, the group's president. And absent a nominee or White House, explained longtime party strategist James Carville, the new entity will be built to provide Democrats with messaging directions -- a role traditionally filled by the DNC in previous periods when Republicans held the White House.

"There is no campaign in place, so our ability to drive a narrative won't be restrained in that sense," he said on a conference call last week.

Nonetheless, in the meantime Democrats are publicly keeping a bold face, and many continue to insist that the opening of a Trump administration in fact provides the party with a chance to unify in opposition, as Republicans have in the past.

"Any time the White House is held by one party, you see the other party in Congress assert itself and lead the opposition. Many of us who are younger Democrats in the House are especially energized about playing a leading role in opposing Trump," said Pennsylvania Rep. Brendan Boyle. "You will see Democrats on Capitol Hill lead the rapid response to Trump. The Republicans in Congress during 2009-2010 did a masterful job of this."

"We'll have a competition among the next, young Democratic leaders about who has the sharpest message moving forward," predicted former South Carolina Governor Jim Hodges. "The Republicans, for the last eight years, had plenty of people competing to be the voice of the party, and it's not like they were waiting for [RNC chairman] Reince Priebus' memo before they started talking."

Still, the question of message coordination is an immediate one for those who are faced with spouting the party line with the Trump train barreling down the tracks.

In the words of one Democrat who remains a frequent television commentator, but who has noticed the ranks of prominent party surrogates shrinking as the number of talking points and centralized messaging memos wane, "People are afraid to go out there."



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Rush Limbaugh -- pearls of wisdom

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"Alan Shepard, Gus Grissom, Wally Schirra, Scott Carpenter, John Glenn. These were incredible, brave, innovative, courageous people. There was nothing they were afraid of. They didn't seek solace when they heard things that they didn't agree with. They weren't innocent snowflakes that needed to be protected. They didn't get participation trophies or any of that."

"We are so blessed, Kathryn and I and everybody on the Rush Revere Time-Travel Adventures with Exceptional Americans team. We get pictures and we get emails from families and children reading these books and we get stories from people who tell us their kids never liked history, never liked reading, and now they can't get enough. They want their parents to read the books to 'em constantly, they can't wait for the next one to come out. I can't tell you what a feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction it is."

"Fake news played a role in this election and continues to..." For Brian Williams to announce it? He was fake news! In fact, he may be the poster child for it. You know, I'm not comfortable saying this 'cause I know the guy. I've met him in the old days when I went over to MSNBC when they were in Fort Lee and I would make the mistake of appearing over there, and I'd run into him in his office. He was as funny as he could be, could do stand-up if he wanted to. But I'm sorry to say, he's the poster child for fake news.

"Have you ever heard of a better name for a CEO of an oil company, Rex Tillerson? And he looks like a Rex Tillerson. He's a good guy."

"The Republican establishment and many of the Never Trumpers and some in the so-called conservative movement are still -- still -- very upset that Trump was elected, very doubtful Trump knows what he's doing, would do anything they could to get people they know and trust inside Trump's cabinet. So far, they've failed."

"This whole climate change, global warming thing has become a religion, and the point about that is since it's a religion, you can't criticize it, just like you're not allowed to criticize the basics of Islam or Christianity."

"Look at where Trump's cabinet picks are coming from. They're not coming from the Northeast. They're not coming from Harvard. They're not coming from Brown University, the Ivy League. They're coming from Oklahoma, from Indiana, from Iowa. They are great warrior generals. They are all just profoundly, greatly successful, self-starting businesspeople who know how it's done."

"If there was a news entity that had credibility and was trustworthy, then fake news would be spotted immediately, and it would not succeed. But there is no authority anymore. The Drive-By Media announced that they were getting rid of objectivity. They announced that they were going partisan. They did it on the front page of the New York Times in a piece by Jim Rutenberg!"

"The Trump campaign released, and the Drive-By Media is picking it up, that Trump is expected to tap Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers, who is a member of the Republican leadership in the House. She's from the state of Washington. Trump is expected to pick her to lead the interior department... Can I tell you what I think this really is? I think this is the cabinet pick that Trump is giving Reince Priebus."

"You want some fake news? Fox News has not had a Christmas party, and it's not gonna be at Trump's hotel. MSNBC just made it up, that's what they do."

"Trump is saying: I want people who've made a fortune. I want people who know how to make money in America. Obama doesn't have anybody that knows how to make money other than have it donated to them."

"Donald Trump has the entire media apparatus arrayed against him. There's fake news daily about Trump, lying about him, lying about his cabinet picks."

"I don't care what you think of Trump, I don't care what you think of his agenda, I don't care if you're a Never Trumper, Republican establishment, Democrat, you're watching a master at work in Donald Trump. I don't care if you disagree with what he's doing, saying, you're watching a master."

"The whole point of the Rush Revere series was to start at the very outset of the idea of America, which is a free people electing leaders whose purpose is to protect and ensure the freedoms of the people of the country, not the other way around. Not a monarchy, not a dictatorship -- even a benevolent dictatorship. This was going to be a representative republic, and it was historic."

"You know what this fake news stuff is? Just a distraction. The fake news is the Drive-By Media! The fake news was all of the polling going into this election. The fake news is all of the misreporting on Trump. The reason why there is any fake news is because the mainstream media has lost its credibility."

"Nobody believes anything they hear anymore. Nobody trusts anything. The mainstream media has abandoned the very things which gave it credibility, which provided its authority -- its moral authority, everything else."

"Hillary Clinton was a purveyor of fake news! Barack Obama originated fake news when they came up with this theory that it was a video responsible for the terrorist attack in Benghazi, and the Drive-By Media picked it up and ran with it -- and everybody knew it was untrue!"

"The more the Democrats remain in denial about why they lost, the deeper in doo-doo they're gonna be and the harder it's gonna be for them to extricate themselves. It redounds to our benefit."

"I would urge everybody to visit the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum in Washington. It is one of the most fascinating places you can go in all of Washington. Of course, the National Archives and all the monuments, but you've got to see some of the early spacecraft."

"The Drive-Bys can raise holy hell, and they can point fingers of blame, but they had better be looking right at themselves, because they are the reason fake news exists. They are the reason you can't tell anymore what's fake and what isn't. But you know what? Audiences know. Audiences trust Donald Trump. You in this audience trust me, and that is something I have always known and never take for granted."  

"Low-information voters and people all over the country are finally seeing -- they're not being told -- they are seeing, they are witnessing who and what liberals and liberalism is. They are seeing the extremism. They are witnessing it firsthand."  

"I was so into the space program, my mother knitted me a sweater. It was a blue sweater and it had Mercury space capsules on the front of it. And it was a comfortable sweater. I mean, I actually could wear the thing."

"The more people that understand just how unhinged, unrealistic and divorced from reality liberalism is and how damaging, how hurtful that it is, the better everybody is, better off everybody."

"The Democrat Party's fastest way back is illegal immigration. If we don't actually do something about this, they're gonna be back sooner than anybody knows."



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Trump taps Kelly to run Homeland Security

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Keith Koffler (WashingtonExaminer) is reporting that President-elect Donald Trump has tapped retired Marine Gen. John Kelly to lead his Department of Homeland Security, putting yet another high-ranking military officer into a key national security post, according to the Washington Post.

Trump has already made Marine Gen. James Mattis his defense secretary and retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn his national security adviser, and he is considering retired Army Gen. David Petraeus for secretary of state.

Kelly, 66, is not expected to face difficulty being confirmed, according to the Post. He is viewed as a border security hawk who will please Trump backers looking for the president-elect to follow through on vows to limit immigration.

"Kelly is a very accomplished and patriotic American… who understands the security threat to the U.S. and would bring a lot of knowledge of tactical deterrence [and] the use of physical structures to deter illegal migratory flows across the border," Dan Stein, president of the conservative Federation for American Immigration Reform, told the Washington Examiner ahead of Kelly's anticipated appointment.


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Donald Trump taps Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad as China ambassador

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Natalie Johnson (WashingtonFreeBeacon) is reporting that President-elect Donald Trump has selected Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad to serve as the U.S. ambassador to China, a transition official confirmed to the Washington Post on Wednesday.

Branstad has called Chinese President Xi Jinping a "long-time friend" and has extensive ties to Beijing, potentially setting the stage for eased trade tensions between the two nations.

The Chinese government welcomed the news of Trump's latest pick, calling Branstad an "old friend."

"We welcome him to play a greater role in advancing the development of China-U.S. relations," Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang told a daily press briefing, Reuters reported.

The Republican governor met with Trump in New York on Tuesday, issuing a statement soon after saying he had a "very cordial conversation" with the president-elect.

"He is putting together a great Cabinet that will serve the American people well," Branstad said of Trump.

Trump's transition team has not yet confirmed reports of Branstad's appointment to the post.


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Meet General Mattis

General James "Mad Dog" Mattis has been nominated by President-elect Donald Trump to be Secretary of Defense.  A video of General Mattis discussing his perspectives on a variety of issues is below. 

It's, "well worth watching."

This guy will get our military back in shape, mos skosh!


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Donald Trump's transition terrifies the D.C. establishment

iPatriot (Constitution.com) is reporting that the media and their liberal friends have been breathlessly complaining about the way that Donald Trump's transition has been unfolding over the last few weeks.

The media has tried to play the process off as convoluted, and liberals have argued that it is evidence that he isn't ready to be president. However, the former Lt. Governor of Maryland, Michael Steele, has a different take on the situation. Steele argued that the reason that everyone seems so "unsettled" by the process is because they don't have the kind of access to the process that they're used to. Trump has elbowed out the traditional political elites and has instead favored outsiders in his search for help running the Executive Branch… and that scares the media and their establishment masters.

What is different is what we have not seen before and that is the very public nature of the process, in which you have open discussions about the potential nominees. You have them coming before the cameras and doing interviews after their meeting and sometimes before their meeting with the president-elect.

So, instead of something that is typically in the past and a little off to the side and waiting for good guys like Cillizza and others and Eugene Robinson to write their piece about what happened, Donald Trump is preempting that and he's putting out it out real time. And you are seeing it real time and you're discussing it in real time and you are very much part of the pick unlike what we've seen in the past. And that's what makes this very different and very unsettling for the Washington types that are used to the closed door and sort of quiet process where they have more influence and sway than clearly they have with this incoming administration.


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A man that lies about who he is will never have a problem lying about what he does
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