Friday, December 09, 2016

Mike Pence: ‘Buckle Up’ for Trump’s First 100 Days

Vice President-elect Mike Pence asserted Tuesday night that the Trump administration will have an aggressive first 100 days in office that includes rebuilding the military, repealing Obamacare, and naming a justice to the Supreme Court.

The Indiana governor and former U.S. House member said he has visited Capitol Hill about the agenda and issued a warning to GOP lawmakers. “I told my former colleagues to buckle up, vacation is over,” Pence said to laughter from the audience.

Pence spoke Tuesday night at The Heritage Foundation’s President’s Club Meeting, held at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., in front of about 700 people in the large ballroom. His speech came just 44 days before Donald Trump is inaugurated the 45th president. The Heritage Foundation is the parent organization of The Daily Signal.

Pence explained that nominating the next Supreme Court justice would be a key event in the first 100 days.

“During the campaign, I said that while you are electing a president to serve a four-year term, right before electing him to serve another four-year term, the next president will influence the next 40 years,” Pence said.

He noted the list of potential Supreme Court nominees that The Heritage Foundation helped compile was a “gold mine of conservative jurists.” He said Trump will “appoint a justice to the Supreme Court in the mold of the late, great Antonin Scalia.”

Pence went on to talk about plans to tackle the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare. “Our president-elect is going to be in the promise-keeping business and we are going to repeal Obamacare lock, stock, and barrel,” Pence said to loud applause.

“We have asked Congress to put on his desk with all deliberate speed a repeal of Obamacare and replace it with free-market reforms,” Pence added.

Pence talked about the state of the American military. He said the average military planes are older than his son, who is in the Marines. He noted that the Army is the smallest it has been since World War II, while the number of Navy ships has been cut by nearly half and the the Air Force is one-third smaller.

“Ronald Reagan taught us that peace comes through strength. … This administration has walked away from its commitment to be that arsenal of democracy to the world,” Pence said. “The Obama era of weakening our national defenses is over.”

Pence expressed his gratitude to The Heritage Foundation for its help in the presidential transition, and said that the think tank’s former president, Ed Feulner, “has shown up each and every day at the transition office of the president of the United States.”

“We will continue to draw on the extraordinary intellectual creativity of The Heritage Foundation. We truly believe the president-elect received a mandate to lead and you know something about that,” he said.

Some movement conservatives who had doubts about Trump during the presidential campaign are very hopeful that Pence will play a powerful role in the administration, having built a strong conservative record in the House and later as governor of Indiana.

Jim DeMint, president of The Heritage Foundation and a former South Carolina senator and House member, introduced the vice president-elect.

DeMint recalled that when they served in the House together, they were “called to the carpet” at the White House during a meeting with President George W. Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, and Bush adviser Karl Rove, who were trying to pressure them to vote with the president or “our careers would be over.” “Somehow, we managed to survive,” DeMint joked.

During the introduction, DeMint noted to the crowd, “It is something really sweet to be in the Trump Hotel a few blocks from the White House.”

During his remarks, Pence noted the commonalities between himself and the president-elect, noting a significant exception.

“Other than a whole lot of zeroes, Donald Trump and I have a whole lot in common. That’s a belief in the American dream,” Pence said. “For our president-elect and vice president-elect, the American dream is not a bumper sticker. It’s real. We lived it.”



Obama's Pentagon Waste and Outsourcing

$125 billion in waste, F-16 production moved to India. What else?

Now that we have a real businessman headed to the White House, “business as usual” in Washington may start getting a little un-usual. At least for Beltway insiders, anyway. For the rest of us, we’re hoping to see some common sense kick in.

This week it seems to be the defense industry that’s getting the attention. But the Pentagon may have brought that on itself by attempting to bury a report that revealed $125 billion in wasteful and fraudulent spending.

An in-depth exposé in the Washington Post explains how the Pentagon commissioned a study in 2014 to look for ways to make its “enormous back-office bureaucracy more efficient and reinvest any savings in combat power.”

The study was conducted by the Defense Business Board, a federal advisory panel made up of corporate executives and consultants from McKinsey and Company. The final report identified $125 billion in wasteful spending to be cut over five years by streamlining bureaucracy through attrition, early retirements, and curtailing high-priced contractors.

Top brass, however, were terrifically embarrassed by such a large amount of waste in the Defense Department. To give some life to their concern, consider the fact that $125 billion represents about 20% of the Pentagon’s annual budget. On top of that, the number of back-office civilian and military personnel is roughly equal to the total number of troops on active duty, a one-to-one ratio. And if that isn’t enough to shock you, 298,000 of those back-office personnel are military, not civilians or contractors.

It’s little wonder that the Pentagon wanted to bury this report, and Barack Obama was no doubt a big supporter — if not instigator — of that decision. Remember the days of the sequester when Obama was blaming Republicans for leaving our national defense vulnerable because of “reckless cuts”? Cuts that were his idea for political gain. Well, if the Pentagon had followed the Defense Business Board’s recommendations, it would have found the savings it needed to balance out the sequester cuts, which was what was intended at the time anyway. But Obama opted instead to close DC memorials and national parks so as to score more political points.

To Obama’s White House, it was never about cost savings or reduced spending, or about keeping jobs and dollars in the U.S. And in its twilight days, the administration has not learned the right lesson.

With Obama’s blessing, Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James and Defense Secretary Ashton Carter are working out a deal to build Lockheed Martin’s F-16 and Boeing’s F/A-18 fighter jets in India.

The F-16 is being phased out by the U.S. military, but the aircraft is still popular in other countries. There are still a lot of jobs to be had for building and servicing the aircraft, though both the administration and the two companies insist American jobs will be repurposed, not lost. It may make some business and logistical sense to move this manufacturing overseas, but it seems to us there are some things that just shouldn’t be outsourced. America’s iconic military jets are one of them.

In the wake of President-Elect Donald Trump’s recent work to stop jobs from being shipped overseas, the Indian government is wondering if the deal will still hold. It may; it may not. But Trump is definitely making his presence known now in other areas.

In fact, Boeing is now feeling the heat from The Donald for its deal to build two new planes to fly as Air Force One. The new 747s are sorely needed as the current pair of retrofitted planes flying as the airborne White House are around 30 years old. The price tag, however, seems to have climbed past the point of fiscal responsibility — at least according to Trump’s latest Twitter declaration.

The replacement program for the planes was originally budgeted at $2.87 billion for fiscal years 2015-2021, but this was apparently only for research and development, testing and evaluation, not the cost of the planes themselves. However, a Government Accountability Office report from earlier this year claimed the program would cost $3.21 billion, planes included.

That was too much for Trump, and now Boeing is finding itself on the defensive. The Donald couldn’t resist pointing out that his own 757 is posher than Air Force One, which may very well be true, but it doesn’t have defense countermeasures nor can it operate as an airborne command post during a nuclear attack. That we know of…

The point here is that Trump is acting on campaign promises he made to keep jobs in the United States and to make America more economically competitive. He’s also already signaled with his pick of James “Mad Dog” Mattis for defense secretary that the Pentagon could use some cleaning up. After eight years of Obama, that’s going to be a herculean undertaking.



Trump’s Disputed Twitter Claim About Air Force One Turns Out to Be Completely True


Leftist Reasoning


News of Chris Brand

Chris seems to have weathered the storm and looks like he will make a good recovery.  He is however still in hospital.

Some background:

A great co-incidence is that my dynamic stepson Paul moved to Edinburgh over a year ago and in fact lives only 5 minutes walk down the street from where Chris lives.  And Paul shares my views on most things so he and Chris got on famously from the get go.  So Paul has been a great proxy for me during Chris' grievous illness.  He has fought for Chris all the way.

Paul and my son Joe also get on exceptionally well so Joe is travelling to Britain soon and will be staying with Paul for Christmas and should therefore meet Chris.  There will be some VERY conservative conversations between THAT trio!  Joe and I also see eye to eye on most things.

With that background I think I can share the latest marvellous email from Paul.  (Shiou is Chris' wife and Matthew is Paul's 5 year old son):

"Last night I spent 4 hours up at the Hospital with Chris, Shiou and his son, Tom who made a surprise visit up from London.

It was a really joyous occasion, celebrating the strong recovery of Chris. He hopes to be home for Christmas.

We had so many great chats and laughs but it was great to see Chris so talkative and strong in his will and being the main contributor to the many stories being told.

He is keen to assist Matthew in the future with his speech and cultural stories and of course we are all excited to have Joe Ray here over the Christmas period.

What a very lucky outcome!!"

The mention of Matthew refers to the fact that Matthew has acquired a slight Scottish accent which Paul rather deplores.  He knows how much your accent typecasts you in Britain.  So he is hoping to familiarize Matthew with RP, which Chris speaks. Matthew is a bright little boy so being able to switch accents should come easily to him.


For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated),  a Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on A WESTERN HEART.

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