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After Trump Administration Intervenes, China Frees American Held Since 2015


URL of the original posting site: http://www.westernjournalism.com/trump-administration-intervenes-china-frees-american-held-since-2015/

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A Houston woman detained by China in 2015 arrived back in the United States on Friday after the Trump administration negotiated for her release.

Phan Phan-Gillis, also knows as Sandy Phan-Gillis, had been charged as a spy, a claim she and her family denied. Although the Obama administration protested that charge in 2015, she was held until this week.

On Tuesday, the 57-year-old woman was tried and pronounced guilty, then deported to the United States on Friday without having to serve the three-year term to which she was sentenced.

The Dui Hua Foundation, a human rights organization, said Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had added his influence to the effort to free her.

“Negotiations to secure the release of Ms. Phan-Gillis intensified during Secretary Tillerson’s visit to Beijing in March,” the group said in a statement, adding that the Trump White House helped the State Department “in bringing the negotiations to a successful conclusion.”

Jeff Kamm, who founded Dui Hua, said the overtures President Donald Trump has made to Chinese leaders to improve relations between the two nations were a contributing factor in the release of Phan-Gillis.

“If U.S.-China relations were not going as well as they are right now, I think this outcome would have been different,” she said.

Her release was welcomed in her native Texas.

“I’m relieved that Sandy Phan-Gillis has been released and will soon be reunited with her loved ones in Houston,” said Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas. “The unlawful detention of an American citizen for more than two years with little to no explanation by Chinese authorities is shameful and unacceptable.”

“I applaud the State Department and thank President Trump for his leadership in securing Sandy’s release,” said Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, who also criticized China for detaining her in the first place.

“It should be noted that Sandy’s purpose in visiting China two years ago was to strengthen commercial and cultural exchanges on behalf of the city of Houston. The Chinese government — cynically and to the astonishment of many — perceived this cultural bridge-builder as a threat. Sandy was unjustly deprived of her liberty for two years, time during which she was denied basic legal protections and her loved ones lacked accurate information about her condition,” Cruz said.

Jeff Gillis said his wife arrived in Los Angeles on Friday.

“Many of Sandy’s friends and family members have been crying tears of joy throughout the day,” he said in an email.

“Sandy was not allowed to speak with her lawyers for well over a year,” Gillis said, adding, “China State Security used torture to force Sandy to make a false confession.”

McConnell: If GOP unites, we will win


waving flagAuthored

McConnell: If GOP unites, we will win / © Greg Nash

Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has a clear and simple message for his party: Success depends on unity.

In an interview with The Hill, the Senate majority leader said he has told his GOP colleagues not to expect any help from Democrats on an array of legislative priorities.

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In contrast to past years, when McConnell had to face down rebellions from conservative colleagues — most notably Texas Sen. Ted Cruz (R) — the entire Senate GOP conference appears to be on the same page. How long that lasts remains uncertain, however.

“The only way you can achieve success in an environment like now, where there’s not much bipartisanship, is for us to have our act together and to work out our differences among ourselves,” McConnell said Friday.amen

During former President Obama’s administration, McConnell said he had to contend with “individuals” in the Senate and House who “just really enjoy the publicity associated with doing something the vast majority of Republicans didn’t agree with, and it was a great headline producer.”no-more-rinos-2

After a highly unusual and charged election year, McConnell is looking forward to making new laws in 2017. Against the odds, McConnell preserved his GOP majority in November and now has a willing partner in the White House. The relationship between President Trump and McConnell was tenuous at best throughout 2016. But times have changed. McConnell, who refused to answer questions about Trump in the fall, last week compared him to President Andrew Jackson, the nation’s first populist commander in chief.

Ten Senate Democrats are running for reelection in 2018 in states that Trump won last year. McConnell is expecting that Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer(D-N.Y.) will pull out all the stops to keep them from defecting on big votes.

“We’re not anticipating much Democratic cooperation here,” he said with a laugh.

He says most Democrats are “not interested” in working with the GOP on legislation to repeal and replace parts of ObamaCare and to overhaul the tax code. As a result, Republicans are looking to pass those bills on party-line votes under a special budgetary process that protects them from filibusters. 

“When you’re taking that path, you better have your people all lined up, because if you can’t get your own guys together, particularly in the Senate, you can’t get where you want to go,” he said.

Republicans have control of the White House and both chambers of Congress for the first time in a decade, and they know they have a limited amount of time to enact major legislative initiatives such as comprehensive tax reform, which was last accomplished in 1986. At that time, Democrats and Republicans worked together to revamp the tax code. McConnell, who was a backbencher back then, said such a bipartisan endeavor is just not possible now — it’s “a different era.”

Despite the high stakes and the pressure, McConnell seemed comfortable and at ease throughout The Hill’s interview. He stayed on message and calmly dodged questions about policies Republicans have not yet decided on.

McConnell in 2015 became majority leader, his dream job ever since he worked as a junior aide to late Sen. Marlow Cook (R-Ky.).

The Senate electoral map looks quite good for Republicans, who have only eight seats up for reelection in 2018, while Democrats will have to defend 25.

But McConnell, 74, says anything can happen, chuckling over the brimming confidence of Democratic colleagues last year who thought they were a lock to win back the upper chamber. Before the election, media outlets were publishing profiles of Schumer, assuming he would be the next Senate majority leader.

“I sat here and observed on a daily basis my soon-to-be counterpart, Sen. Schumer, giving interviews on his agenda, measuring the curtains,” he recalled with a wry smile.

McConnell, who has a reputation as one of the shrewdest tacticians on Capitol Hill but sometimes draws criticism even from GOP colleagues for being too focused on politics, says he’s now entirely focused on governing.

“Rather than becoming consumed about what might happen in 2018, we need to try to succeed,” he said.

McConnell, an institutionalist who reveres the Senate, said Republicans don’t work for Trump. He pointedly noted that the Senate decides its own rules when asked about pressure from the White House to strip senators of the power to filibuster Supreme Court nominees.

Over the years, conservative groups have taken shots at McConnell on a variety of issues. But they have no complaints about his decision to not vote on Merrick Garland, Obama’s 2016 Supreme Court nominee. Now, late Justice Antonin Scalia’s seat will be filled with a conservative. Trump is scheduled to announce his pick on Tuesday (UPDATE: Tonight).

Trump and McConnell are both dealmakers, but they don’t see eye-to-eye on trade, Russian sanctions and other matters. What’s more important than their differences, McConnell said, is their shared desire to cut tax rates, simplify the tax code and reverse what he calls the “rampage” of overregulation under Obama. He says regulatory excess is the chief culprit responsible for the nation’s tepid economic recovery and scoffs at the Democratic narrative that frames Obama as a savior who turned around a national economy severely damaged by former President George W. Bush’s mismanagement.

“Obama didn’t have a single year of 3 percent growth, and the statute of limitations on blaming Bush ran out a long time ago,” he said.

Unlike Trump, McConnell rarely talks publicly about the stock market. But it has gone up because of Trump’s victory, McConnell said.

“Everybody I know who watches the market thinks the reason it has been booming is the expectation of regulatory relief and tax reform,” he said.

As partisan as the atmosphere is in Washington, McConnell knows that he’ll still need centrist Democrats to join him for the 115th Congress to be a success. He says that Republicans cannot entirely replace ObamaCare under reconciliation — the special budget process that empowers the majority party to enact legislation with only 51 votes. Some healthcare reforms, such as allowing companies to sell insurance across state lines or other policy changes that have a negligible budgetary impact must be adopted with 60 votes. That means winning over centrists such as Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.), who are up for reelection next year.

“[Red-state Democrats] will be necessary,” he concedes.

After spending the past two years playing defense, when Republicans had to defend 24 Senate seats in the 2016 election cycle, McConnell — an avid sports fan — is eager to play offense.

“I’m assuming that each of them will be calculating whether it’s to their advantage to be cooperative or not,” he said of the 10 Democrats up for reelection in pro-Trump states.

“I’m hoping that frequently they will conclude that it’s actually good for them to be helpful to us,” he said.

Cruz, DeSantis push for congressional term limits


waving flagAuthored

Cruz, DeSantis push for congressional term limits / © Getty Images

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.) are pushing for an amendment to the Constitution to place term limits on lawmakers, arguing the move will help overhaul Washington.

“The American people resoundingly agreed on Election Day, and President-elect Donald Trump has committed to putting government back to work for the American people,” Cruz said in a statement on Tuesday. “It is well past time to put an end to the cronyism and deceit that has transformed Washington into a graveyard of good intentions.” 
 partyof-deceit-spin-and-lies
Under an amendment the two GOP lawmakers filed on Tuesday, House members would be allowed to serve three two-year terms and senators would be able to serve two six-year terms.
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DeSantis added that the measure would be a “first step toward reforming Capitol Hill.” 

GOP Sens. Deb Fischer (Neb.), Ron Johnson (Wis.), Thom Tillis (N.C.), Marco Rubio (Fla.), Mike Lee (Utah) and David Perdue (Ga.) are backing the proposal. Cruz and DeSantis previously pledged in a Washington Post op-ed to introduce the measure this year. stupid

According to the resolution, any congressional term before the amendment becomes law wouldn’t be taken into account when determining if a lawmaker can run for reelection or not. Trump backed term limits during his White House run, but the measure could face an uphill battle in Congress.

Neither House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), who has said he supports term limits, nor Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has signaled it could come up for a vote. McConnell appeared to shut down Trump’s push after the election, telling reporters, “We have term limits — they’re called elections.”

In addition to clearing Congress, the Cruz-DeSantis proposal would also need to be ratified by three-fourths of state legislatures before going into effect.

Republican voters coming home to Trump


waving flagAuthored By Niall Stanage and Jonathan Swan November 3, 2016

URL of the original posting site: http://thehill.com/blogs/ballot-box/governor-races/304090-republican-voters-coming-home-to-trump

Getty

Republican voters are finally coming home to Donald Trump after months of flagging support threatened to put the White House out of reach.

Trump’s candidacy has been deeply divisive within Republican ranks, drawing fire from senior officeholders such as Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), past presidential nominees including Mitt Romney and Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), and numerous conservative pundits.

Now, as Republicans face up to the specter of a Hillary Clinton presidency, Trump’s numbers are on the rise. But polling experts caution that he is still a few points shy of where he needs to be.David Winston, a GOP pollster, noted that Romney in 2012 received 93 percent support from voters who identified as Republican, according to exit polls. In most current polls, Trump is a notch lower.

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Image added by WhatDidYouSay.org

“He was pretty consistently — up to a couple of weeks ago — clearly underperforming,” Winston said of Trump. “One of the things you’ve seen is that he has slowly got back to somewhere between 85 and 90 percent [of Republican voters]. But he’s still a bit short.” 

Winston said there had been several factors working in Trump’s favor of late. He said some party loyalists had finally completed the process of “working through the fact that they were unhappy he was the nominee.” Trump has also been relatively disciplined on the campaign trail recently, while Clinton has been pushed onto the defensive by a surprise FBI statement about newly discovered emails.

Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute, acknowledged that the GOP nominee had not persuaded all Republican voters but said he has made progress.

“Reverting to type would assume some normal behavior, and we are not seeing that,” Murray said. “But you have seen Trump picking up some support from certain segments of the electorate that tend to vote for Republicans — such as white, working-class women, where Hillary Clinton remains stronger than average [for a Democrat] but Trump has been able to gain.”get-out-the-vote

Polling data underlines the point.

Two of the main tracking polls, from ABC News/Washington Post and IBD/TIPP, saw Trump moving up within the past couple of weeks.  The first IBD tracking poll appeared on Oct. 19 and showed Trump receiving the support of 82 percent of Republicans. That figure had climbed to 88 percent by Wednesday. The ABC News/Washington Post tracker first appeared on Oct. 23, giving Trump 83 percent GOP support. He is now up to 88 percent in the same poll. vote

Similar dynamics are also seen at the state level. Marist College polls of Florida, conducted for NBC News and The Wall Street Journal, show Trump’s Republican support rising from 76 percent in August to 86 percent one month ago to 88 percent in the most recent survey, conducted just before Clinton was hit with the FBI announcement. In Marist’s polling of North Carolina, he rose through those same dates from 80 percent to 86 percent to 89 percent.

There are other factors to Trump’s rise among Republicans, insiders say. Key among them is the contribution made by his running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence

Pence, with his unimpeachable conservative credentials, has one job above all others: To bring wayward Republicans into the fold.

Marc Short, a senior adviser to the VP nominee, told The Hill that a speech Pence delivered about ObamaCare in Philadelphia Tuesday was as much about ObamaCare as it was about “using ObamaCare as a vehicle to make the appeal for Republicans to come home.”

“Donald Trump has obviously struck a chord with a lot of Americans and has won an enormous amount of independent support — particularly among blue-collar workers and people who are fed up with Washington,” Short said.

“But we’re still working to consolidate the Republican Party,” he added. “Mike is uniquely positioned. … He has a lot of friendships and associations and is able to uniquely make the appeal as to why this election cycle is so important and why it’s important for Republicans to come home.” freedom-is-not-free-vote

Some of Pence’s private efforts appear to be bearing fruit. Republican members of Congress expressed greater comfort for the ticket after Pence visited them on Capitol Hill in early September. Even when Pence didn’t immediately succeed in securing Republican endorsements, he surely did no harm. Pence privately asked Texas Sen. Ted Cruz to endorse Trump, according to a source familiar with their Capitol Hill meeting in September. And while Cruz declined to endorse Trump following the meeting, Pence took some comfort when the Texan eventually came out for Trump. Cruz will appear on the campaign trail with Pence on Thursday in Michigan and Iowa, making his first appearances on behalf of the Republican ticket.american-voters

Liam Donovan, a former aide to the National Republican Senatorial Committee, said that recent polls notwithstanding, Trump’s “greatest challenge” has been his inability to consolidate self-identified Republicans.

“At some level the base naturally wants to come home, but Trump’s mouth keeps getting in the way,” Donovan said. “When the polling looks good it’s because he is performing like previous nominees — no more, no less.” 

Donovan said Trump gains with hesitant Republicans only when he campaigns with discipline.

Offering Trump some unsolicited advice, Donovan said, “Put away the Android Twitter app. Let the news cycle consume your opponent instead of trying to seize back the spotlight.”keep-voting-the-same-way

Months After Nasty Primary Fight, Ted Cruz Endorses Donald Trump


waving flagAuthored by Alex Pappas, Political Reporter, 09/23/2016

Months after their nasty GOP primary fight, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz on Friday officially announced that he will vote Donald Trump for president.

“After many months of careful consideration, of prayer and searching my own conscience, I have decided that on election day, I will vote for the Republican nominee, Donald Trump,” Cruz wrote on Facebook on Friday afternoon.

Trump reacted to the news in a statement, saying: “I am greatly honored by the endorsement of Senator Cruz. We have fought the battle and he was a tough and brilliant opponent. I look forward to working with him for many years to come in order to make America great again.”

Cruz, who it is believed would like to run for president again, was booed in July during the Republican National Convention when he declined to endorse Trump. Instead, he told delegates to “vote your conscience, vote for candidates up and down the ticket whom you trust to defend our freedom and to be faithful to the Constitution.”

The contest between Cruz and Trump got particularly nasty towards the end: Trump routinely referred to his rival as “Lyin’ Ted.” Cruz famously referred to Trump as a “sniveling coward.”

In a lengthy post explaining his decision, Cruz said that “like many other voters, I have struggled to determine the right course of action in this general election.”

“I’ve made this decision for two reasons,” Cruz wrote. “First, last year, I promised to support the Republican nominee. And I intend to keep my word. Second, even though I have had areas of significant disagreement with our nominee, by any measure Hillary Clinton is wholly unacceptable — that’s why I have always been #NeverHillary.”

He added: “A year ago, I pledged to endorse the Republican nominee, and I am honoring that commitment. And if you don’t want to see a Hillary Clinton presidency, I encourage you to vote for him.” 

The Tea Party Patriots Citizens Fund, an organization that backed Cruz over Trump in the primary but endorsed Trump this week, said it “commends” Cruz for “listening to the grassroots activists and Republican voters who nominated Donald Trump in order to shake up the Washington Establishment and its stranglehold over our politics.”

“It is clear Ted Cruz has examined his principles, considered the choice at hand and has decided to lead by example in endorsing Donald Trump as the man who will repeal Obamacare, balance our budget, and ensure the Supreme Court protects our most cherished rights over Hillary Clinton, who will represent another four years of the failed Obama Administration,” said the group’s chairwoman, Jenny Beth Martin.

Today’s Politically INCORRECT Cartoon


waving flagSpeak Of The Devils

Boehner called Ted Cruz Lucifer in the flesh , but speaks fondly of Obama and Hillary?

Lucifer in the Flesh / Political Cartoon by A.F. Branco ©2016.

More A.F. Branco cartoons at Patriot Update here.

A.F. Branco Coffee Table Book <—- Order Here!

Picture1 true battle Picture1 In God We Trust freedom combo 2

Today’s Politically INCORRECT Cartoon


waving flagIt’s Not Over, Yet

Is Cruz choosing Fiorina in a last ditch effort to stay in the race and trump up Trump?

Cruz Fiorina 2016 / Political Cartoon by A.F. Branco ©2016.

More A.F. Branco Cartoons at Net Right Daily.

A.F. Branco Coffee Table Book <—- Order Here!

no more rinos Picture1 true battle Picture1 In God We Trust freedom combo 2

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