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Posts tagged ‘Mike Pence’

Pence: Reports of conditions in detention centers prove ‘Congress has to act’


Reported

Vice President Pence briefly sparred with CNN’s Jake Tapper on Sunday over reports of unsanitary, dangerous conditions in migrant detention centers.

“No American should approve of this mass influx of people coming across our border,” Pence said on “State of the Union.” “I was at the detention center in Nogales, [Ariz.]. … It is a heartbreaking scene. These are people who are being exploited by human traffickers. … Congress has to act.”

Tapper played a clip of Justice Department lawyer Sarah Fabian suggesting detained migrant children did not need toothbrushes or soap, prompting Pence to respond, “I can’t speak to what that lawyer was saying.” He then insisted congressional Democrats had resisted expanding bed space in detention centers.

Pence, asked about additional reports of conditions inside the facilities, said that “we’ve got to get to the root causes” by improving border security.

Tapper continued to press Pence on conditions in the facilities, telling him he had “the power right now to go back to the White House” and raise the issue. Pence defended U.S. Customs and Border Protection personnel, calling them “dedicated men and women” who are “doing their level best every day.”

Immigration attorneys have said that four toddlers were sent to the hospital last week after they were held at a Border Patrol facility.

Pence’s comments came in the wake of reports that President Trump had canceled sweeping Immigration and Customs Enforcement raids in several major cities Sunday, saying he would give congressional Democrats two weeks to reach an immigration deal.

Mike Pence Just Revealed Why He Ignored Kim Jong Un’s Sister at the Winter Olympics


Authored By Ryan Pickrell | February 14, 2018 at 3:29pm

URL of the original posting site: https://www.westernjournal.com/mike-pence-just-revealed-why-he-ignored-kim-jong-uns-sister-at-the-winter-olympics/

Vice President Mike Pence sat only a few feet away from North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un’s sister at the opening ceremony for the Winter Olympics, but he ignored her and purposefully so, he revealed Wednesday. Kim Yo Jong, sister and confidant of the North Korean dictator, is a prominent figure in a brutal regime and is blacklisted by the U.S. Department of the Treasury for gross human rights violations.

The media, fascinated by Kim’s little sister, embarrassingly heaped praise on the woman.

Pence, though, ignored her to send a message.

His answer probably has several media outlets — which enthusiastically wrote about Kim’s smile, warmth, and beauty while comparing Kim to Ivanka Trump — feeling a little ashamed of their coverage.

“I didn’t avoid the dictator’s sister, but I did ignore her,” the vice president told Axios.

“I did not believe it was proper for the United States of America to give any attention in that forum to someone who is not merely the sister of the dictator but is the leader of the propaganda effort,” he added. 

Kim Yo Jong has served as the chief of North Korea’s propaganda department, helping to shape her brother’s cult of personality at a time when he was purging officials and their families by the hundreds.

“You have to remember this is a family who very recently ordered their brother be murdered using chemical weapons,” Pence said, referring to the horrific murder of Kim Jong Nam at an international airport in Malaysia last year.

The assassination, which was carried out with VX, a deadly nerve agent, is believed to have been orchestrated by the North Korean regime.

“This is a regime and a family that also ordered that their uncle be executed with artillery fire in the presence of ten thousand people,” he remarked, calling attention to the execution of Jang Song Thaek shortly after Kim Jong Un seized power. 

“This is evil the likes of which we have witnessed rarely in our time around the world,” the vice president told reporters,

“I wanted to send — by my silence — a very clear message, that the people of the United States know who we are dealing with and that we are going to continue to stand firmly and stand strong and with resolve with our allies until the regime in North Korea ceases to threaten our country and our allies with nuclear and ballistic missiles, and we will continued to hold them to account on their appalling record of abuse of human rights of their own people.”

Pence has said that the U.S. is open to talks with North Korea, but the maximum pressure campaign will continue until North Korea decides to pursue denuclearization.

As long as North Korea continues to threaten the U.S. and its allies, the U.S. and its international partners will continue to pile sanctions on the rogue regime, the implication appearing to be that Kim will either be brought to his senses or brought to his knees.

A version of this story appeared on The Daily Caller News Foundation website.

DeVos charges ahead on school choice


Reported

DeVos charges ahead on school choice | © Greg Nash

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has become an ardent foot soldier for President Trump’s deregulatory agenda while aggressively pushing her own school choice initiatives. The billionaire businesswoman was one of Trump’s most controversial Cabinet selections, with Democrats and liberal groups assailing her lack of experience in public schools and her years at the helm of an organization that promoted school privatization.

The criticism hasn’t faded, but DeVos is charging ahead. She’s spent her first six months in office following Trump’s orders to cut regulatory red tape while making the case that charter schools and private school vouchers are the answer to the nation’s educational woes.

“Our nation’s commitment is to provide a quality education to every child to serve the public, common good. Accordingly, we must shift the paradigm to think of education funding as investments made in individual children, not in institutions or buildings,” DeVos said in March, according to prepared remarks for a speech at the Brookings Institution. 

But her message isn’t swaying opponents, who criticize her agenda as siphoning federal funding away from public schools and giving it to private schools that cater to the elite.

Lily Eskelsen García, the president of the National Education Association, a teachers union that opposed DeVos’s confirmation, said the school choice message is falling flat because people can do the math. 

“Ninety percent of kids go to public schools. 10 percent go to private schools,” she said. “If you take resources away than it hurts public school kids. They have less.” 

The National Education Association, a teachers union, was among the groups that opposed DeVos’s confirmation. The opposition to DeVos was so intense that two Republicans voted against her, forcing Vice President Mike Pence to cast a tie-breaking vote — something that had never before happened for a Cabinet secretary.

Before DeVos took office, Eskelsen García said educators were having a great debate about ways to improve public education following the passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act. The law rolled back high stakes testing and allowed states to come up with their own academic standards.

“Taking money away from public schools and giving it to private schools is not on that list, but for DeVos it’s the only thing on her list, ” Eskelsen García said.

DeVos has been pushing school choice every chance she gets.

In March she called historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) “real pioneers when it comes to school choice” in a statement after meeting with dozens of HBCU leaders.

“They are living proof that when more options are provided to students, they are afforded greater access and great quality,” she said. “Their success has shown that more options help students flourish.”

Her remarks generated a backlash, as critics noted that HBCUs were created not out of choice but necessity because of racial segregation.

DeVos has since walked back those remarks, telling the AP last week she “should have decried much more forcefully the ravages of racism in this country.” 

Despite the gaffe and constant criticism she receives, supporters of DeVos say she is making headway on her agenda.

“There’s no question she got off to a less than smooth start, but I think in the last few weeks and months she’s beginning to find her sea legs and as a result she’s had a fair amount of success given the tremendous opposition she’s been facing from the education establishments,” said Ed Patru, a vice president at the D.C. public affairs firm, DCI Group, and the former spokesman for the now dissolved Friends of Betsy DeVos coalition.

“She’s laying the groundwork for federal school choice, she’s reorienting the Office of Civil Rights towards due process and civil engagement and when it comes to spending priorities, she put forth a budget proposal that brings the department back to a much more focused mission.”

DeVos’s budget plan called for cutting $9 billion from the department in 2018, including $2.3 billion in teacher training grants and $1.2 billion for an after school programs that serves children in some of the nation’s poorest communities, while investing $1.4 billion on new public and private school choice opportunities.

“Look, this is what the American people elected,” Patru said.

“They wanted change and an outsider’s perspective and she certainly brings that to the department.” 

Aside from school choice, DeVos has announced plans to redo the gainful employment and the borrower defense to repayment rules — two Obama-era regulations aimed at ensuring students at for-profit colleges get the education they pay for.

DeVos had said the Education Department’s regulatory reform task force, which Trump ordered each agency to create, has found another 150 regulations for the department offices to review.

She also joined Attorney General Jeff Sessions in rescinded guidance directing schools to let transgender students use the bathroom that corresponds with their gender identity. That’s the policy change that gets to Eskelsen García the most.

“These are incredibly vulnerable children that face incredible discrimination in their little lives,” she said. “She could have, without it costing a dime, left that protection in place and she took it away.”  

Jennifer Steele, an associate professor of education at American University, was an initial supporter of DeVos. In an op-ed for Education Week in March, she argued that the left should give the new secretary of Education a chance.

Now, following the deadly white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va. last weekend, Steele said DeVos should demonstrate a stronger respect for traditional public schools in addition to the private education alternatives she’s pushing.

“The purpose of schooling is to expose people to diverse ideas and experiences. By allowing people to opt out of public schooling we risk having a more fragmented society and in the wake of the events in Charlottesville, that’s really an increasing concern,” she said.

“I’d like to see this administration grapple with that question a bit more, how to ensure a threshold of education for all children and exposure to diverse people and ideas in their schools.”

Trump Team Attends Weekly White House Bible Study


Reported 

URL of the original posting site: http://www.westernjournalism.com/trump-team-attends-weekly-white-house-bible-study/

Several members of President Donald Trump’s cabinet, as well as Vice President Mike Pence are meeting together for a weekly Bible study at the White House. CBN News reported that Trump’s cabinet has been called “the most evangelical” in the history of the country.

Regular attendees to the study include Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, Agricultural Secretary Sonny Perdue, Attorney General Jeff Sessions and CIA Director Mike Pompeo.

Pence — who described himself at the 2016 Republican National Convention as “a Christian, a conservative, and a Republican, in that order” — attends the study as often as his busy travel schedule permits.

The study is led by former NBA player Ralph Drollinger, who played for the UCLA Bruins under legendary coach John Wooden and became the first player in NCAA history to make it to the Final Four of the NCAA Tournament four times. The Bruins won the national championship in two of those years.

Wooden was also an evangelical Christian, who sought to coach his team integrating Christian principles.

After his retirement from the NBA, Drollinger founded Capitol Ministries, which has launched Bible studies in 40 state capitols, as well as several foreign nations. Its mission is to evangelize and disciple public servants.The organization also leads weekly studies at the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives.

Drollinger told CBN News that about a dozen members attend his weekly White House study.

“These are godly individuals that God has risen to a position of prominence in our culture,” he said. “It’s the best Bible study that I’ve ever taught in my life. They are so teachable; they’re so noble; they’re so learned.”

Drollinger said he believes the regular study is the first formal one in the White House in at least 100 years.

The Christian leader spoke highly of Pence, likening him to key Biblical leaders whom God raised up to the second-highest spot in government, including Joseph, Daniel and Mordecai.

“And I praise God for Mike Pence, who I think with Donald Trump chose great people to lead our nation,” Drollinger said.

Trump is invited to the study, and receives notes following each week’s meeting.

As reported by Western Journalism, Trump’s top spiritual adviser, Pastor Paula White, said that the president has “heart for God, a hunger for God.”

She added that Trump “has a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. We’ve had in-depth conversations about God.”

A reverence for God and the Bible in Washington has strong precedent. The largest Protestant church congregation in the country used to meet at the U.S. Capitol in the 1800s. At its height, over 2,000 attended weekly, including members of Congress and the executive branch.

Thomas Jefferson was a regular attendee, both as vice president and president.

Pence To Limbaugh: ‘Disaster Of Obamacare’ Cannot Continue


Reported

Vice President Mike Pence appeared on Rush Limbaugh’s radio program Monday to address the status of the Republican health care bill in Congress, declaring that, “We simply cannot allow the disaster of Obamacare to continue.”

Limbaugh asked Pence about the challenge of passing legislation to repeal and replace Obamacare.

“How in the world can it be this hard when it seemed easy when Obama was in the White House?” Limbaugh asked.

Pence contended that “it has to get done,” adding that Obamacare is “putting a tremendous burden on working families, on small businesses, on the American economy.”

“Every single promise that President Obama made to get Obamacare passed has been broken,” Pence said, later adding, “We’ve seen the cost of health insurance rise in every state across the country, in some cases 200 percent and more.”

Limbaugh challenged Pence to detail the obstacles preventing the passage of healthcare reform, noting that, “We’ve got 52 votes plus yours if necessary, if it comes down to that.”

Pence said that the challenges have to do with “the complexity of this disastrous policy launch,” referring to Obamacare. He claimed that the Republicans’ current heath care legislation “doesn’t do everything that we ultimately want to do. … The president’s committed to ultimately allowing Americans to buy health insurance across state lines, the way they buy life insurance, the way they buy car insurance.”

“Nobody’s talking about that. That’s a great point because nobody is talking about it,” Limbaugh said in response.

Still, the budget rules that the Republicans need follow to pass their legislation with just 51 votes do not allow them to make such a “substantive change in the law,” Pence said.

Despite that shortcoming, Pence said that “in this legislation … we accomplished enormous things,” citing the removal of the individual mandate to purchase health insurance or pay a tax penalty to the government.

“The mandate goes away,” Pence said. “The tax increases go away. Medicaid goes back to the states for the purposes of reform. Health savings accounts are greatly expanded so that people can become consumers in their own health care choices.”

According to Pence, another obstacle impeding the passage of the legislation is the varied opinions of lawmakers.

“Every member of Congress has their own opinion, and this administration — as we did with the House of Representatives — is determined to work with each member to address their needs. But we are very close. If I had one message for your tens of millions of listeners around America, it is: ‘This is the moment; now is the time.’”

Limbaugh and Pence also discussed the possibility of a single-payer health care system.

“Obamacare was designed to implode, in part, so as to further the public’s acclimation for single payer.”

The vice president then referred to former congressman Barney Frank’s answer to a reporter’s question about single-payer health care in 2009.

“They said, ‘How come you’re not supporting single payer?’ He said, Obamacare is the quickest way to get to single payer.’”

Pence also referenced to the “heartbreaking story of 11-month-old Charlie Guard in England — whose single-payer system will not allow his parents to choose potentially life-saving treatment for him — as an example of what could occur in the United States.

When asked by Limbaugh if he would support a clean repeal of Obamacare with nothing to replace it, Pence replied, “We can’t … We simply cannot allow the disaster of Obamacare to continue. It is hurting families.”

“I believe that — with the strong support of the American people — with this president in the Oval Office, we’re going to get it done. We’re going repeal and replace Obamacare. But the time is now,” Pence said.

EXCLUSIVE: Gravy Train Flows Wide And Deep At Elizabeth Warren’s Consumer Agency


waving flagAuthored by Photo of Richard Pollock Richard Pollock | Reporter | 8:51 PM 02/07/2017

Pay is flowing so generously at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) that hundreds of bureaucrats there receive more than most members of Congress.

  • The Senate majority and minority leaders are paid $193,000 annually. Two hundred and one CFPB employees outdo Sens. Mitch McConnell and Charles Schumer in pay.
  • Speaker of the House Paul Ryan of Wisconsin receives $223,000 per year, but that’s less than what 54 CFPB employees are paid.
  • Another 170 CFPB employees earn more than the secretaries of defense and state, the attorney general and the director of national intelligence. All cabinet salaries are capped at $199,700, but not at the bureau. Thirty-nine CFPB employees earn more than the $230,000 paid to Vice President Mike Pence.
  • A total of 198 CFPB employees also earn more than their ultimate boss, Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellin, who is paid $201,700.
  • Overall, 449 CFPB employees get at least $100,000 per year and 228 CFPB are paid more than $200,000, according to publicly available 2016 data.

These findings are part of a Daily Caller News Foundation Investigative Group salary analysis for the consumer agency that was founded by Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and then-President Barack Obama in 2011.  The agency was created under the Dodd-Frank Act to serve as a consumer agency protecting the poor against financial fraud.

Warren deliberately placed the agency inside the Federal Reserve Board. As a result, the salaries there do not have to conform to the pay scale set for federal workers at all other department and agencies.not-okay

CFPB spokesman Samuel Gilford justified the high salaries by citing Dodd-Frank’s section 1013, saying “compensation at the CFPB is set pursuant to the federal law that established the agency.”

“It’s ironic that the agency that is supposed to be looking out for the ‘little guy’ is actually padding the pockets of their own employees with exorbitant salaries,” David Williams, president of the Taxpayer Protection Alliance, told TheDCNF. The top salary at CFPB is reserved for Gail Hillebrand, the associate director for consumer education. She received $259,500 in 2016.i-am-definitly-not-okay-with-that

Not only do CFPB employees earn more than most of America’s top leaders, but 240 CFPB employees earn more than all 50 governors. The highest current salary for a sitting Democratic governor is Pennsylvania’s Tom Wolf, who is paid $187,818, according to Ballotpedia.

CFPB now is an embattled agency with congressional calls for its elimination. Others favor sharply reorganizing it and removing CFPB from the Federal Reserve Board so it can operate like a regular agency with congressional oversight. Unlike all other federal departments and agencies, Congress cannot set its budget or enact reforms at the agency due to the Dodd-Frank restrictions.picture4

Rep. Sean Duffy of Wisconsin, chairman of the House Financial Services oversight and investigations subcommittee, told TheDCNF that it’s “outrageous” CFPB continues to “use taxpayer dollars to pay themselves lavishly. This is just another reminder that the CFPB must be reined in and held accountable to the American people. The CFPB is one of the most unaccountable agencies in the federal government.”

Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform, called CFPB, “one more secret part of Dodd Frank, hidden away from the American people’s eyes.” Norquist said the Dodd-Frank Act is “Obamacare for the financial world. The fact that 170 earn more than sitting cabinet members and many more than the Vice President just shows how out of line the CFPB is.”

Paul H. Kupiec, resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, compared the salaries of federal employees at financial regulatory agencies and found that most federal bureaucrats earn more than those in the private banking sector.

Kupiec worked for a decade at the Federal Reserve, and later at FDIC, Freddie Mac and at the International Monetary Fund. He found in a 2014 study that federal workers “earned average total compensation that exceeded the average total employee compensation paid by 99.9 percent of all banks that filed regulatory reports in 2012.“As a group, those lucky enough to find employment at any of these bank regulatory agencies earned average total compensation that exceeded the average total employee compensation paid by 99.9 percent of all banks that filed regulatory reports in 2012,” he concluded.

“There’s kind of been a nuclear war in terms of salary and benefit between these agencies trying to one-up each other,” Kupiec told TheDCNF in an interview. “Nobody looks at it. And nobody stops them.”i-am-definitly-not-okay-with-that

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Trump’s frustration with press, intelligence community explodes


waving flagAuthored

NEW YORK — Long-simmering tensions between Donald Trump, the press and the intelligence community exploded into the open on Wednesday at the president-elect’s first press conference in six months. About 300 reporters jammed into the narrow, gilded atrium at Trump Tower to hear him reject media reports about intelligence officials investigating whether the Russian government has compromising personal and financial information that it could use against him.

Trump also denied reports alleging that the nation’s top national security officials and some members of Congress are looking into whether key figures in the president-elect’s orbit were in touch with Moscow during the presidential campaign about how to defeat Hillary Clinton and get Trump into the White House.

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Trump’s fury over the reports reached a boiling point about 50 minutes into the hour long press conference, when he compared the leaks to something you would expect to see in “Nazi Germany” — an attack he’d previously made on Twitter. “It’s all fake news, it’s phony stuff, it didn’t happen and it was gotten by opponents of ours and many of the other people, a group of opponents that got together, sick people,” Trump said. “It should never have been released and it’s a disgrace. I think it’s an absolute disgrace.”Ten of the 17 questions at the press conference — Trump’s first since winning the election — were about the disputed reports, his relationship with Russia, the news media or the nation’s intelligence agencies. Trump fielded the questions from behind a lectern next to a table stacked with documents in manila folders that he said were evidence of the legal work he’s undertaking to separate himself from conflicts of interest stemming from his businesses. He was flanked by more than a dozen top aides and allies, including Vice President-elect Mike Pence, incoming press secretary Sean Spicer, senior advisers Stephen Bannon and Kellyanne Conway, longtime confidante Rudy Giuliani and his two adult sons, Donald Jr. and Eric, who clapped and cheered him on as he vented frustration about the leaks he claimed were coming from top intelligence officials.

“It would be a tremendous blot on their record,” Trump said of the intelligence agencies. “A tremendous blot, because it never should have been written, had or released.”

Trump and his top aides are also furious with Buzzfeed and CNN for publishing the reports. At one point, Trump called Buzzfeed a “failing pile of garbage,” and he later shut down a question from a CNN reporter, accusing him of dealing in “fake news.” The two reports in CNN and Buzzfeed were markedly different.

CNN reported on Tuesday that U.S. officials briefed Trump and President Obama on allegations that the Russian government has compromising personal and financial information about him.  It declined to include any details on the specific allegations, which were uncorroborated and came from a former British intelligence agent hired by Trump’s political opponents, who put together a 35-page dossier detailing the allegations.partyof-deceit-spin-and-lies

Buzzfeed published a story that included the specifics from the 35-page dossier, coming under criticism from many in the media in the process. That led Spicer to begin the press conference with a fierce diatribe against both Buzzfeed and CNN. “The fact Buzzfeed and CNN made the decision to run with this unsubstantiated claim is a sad, pathetic attempt to get clicks,” Spicer said. “For all of the talk about fake news, this political witch hunt by some in the media is based on flimsy reporting and is frankly shameful and disgraceful.”typical

After being shut down by Trump at the press conference, CNN reporter Jim Acosta said that Spicer threatened to throw him out of the press conference if he continued to try asking questions.

Pence followed Spicer at the press conference with another direct attack on the news media. “The irresponsible decision of a few news organizations to run with a false and unsubstantiated report when most news organizations resisted the temptation to propagate this fake news can only be attributed to media bias and an attempt to demean the president-elect and his incoming administration, and the American people are sick and tired of it,” Pence said.trump-derangement-mental-disorder

Trump addressed some of the allegations directly.

Trump said he has no business deals in Russia, no deals in the works, and no debt with the nation. He said he reviewed the passport of his lawyer, Michael Cohen, who was said in the report to have travelled to Prague last year. Cohen never made the trip, Trump said.

And Trump addressed some of the report’s more salacious aspects, saying that they couldn’t be true because he always behaves as if he’s secretly being filmed when he’s travelling abroad and that he has a phobia of germs.

Trump also went out of his way to thank the news organizations that he said showed restraint by refusing to run the story or publish the disputed report.

“I want to thank a lot of the news organizations, some of which have not treated me fairly over the years, that came out strongly against that fake news and the fact it was written by primarily one group and one television station,” Trump said. “I have great respect for the news and freedom of the press, but some news organizations were so professional and have just gone up a notch as to what I think.”

Trump has long clashed with the news media, but his issues with the intelligence community have been picking up steam in recent weeks and appear to be coming to a head. Before his classified briefing last Friday, Trump refused to embrace the intelligence community’s assessment that Russia had interfered in the U.S. election by hacking the Democratic National Committee. Trump says that he doesn’t accept the intelligence reports as they’re relayed to him, but rather draws his own conclusions based on raw data he gets at the briefings.

On Wednesday, Trump erupted over what he described as an intelligence community that is leaking damaging information about him in an attempt to undermine his administration. “These meetings are confidential and classified, and it’s a disgrace that information would be let out,” he said.

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