Politico: Speaker Ryan Is Losing Clout, Gaining Critics

Politico: Speaker Ryan Is Losing Clout, Gaining Critics

Retiring House Speaker Paul Ryan is losing clout and gaining new critics as his January retirement lifts the lid on intra-party conflicts, says Politico, which reported Monday that:

“The conference is in open warfare. Paul has run out of juice,” said a senior Republican lawmaker who wants a speaker vote to happen soon and requested anonymity to speak frankly. “It became clear on Friday that it’s time to let go.”

The Ryan-exit chatter spiked Friday when Ryan failed to pass the farm bill, and again on Monday after word spread about pro-exit comments from President Donald’s Trump’s director of the Office of Management and Budget, Mick Mulvaney.

Mulvaney — a former GOP representative — revealed that he had suggested to Ryan’s likely successor, Rep. Kevin McCarthy, that a quick Ryan exit would force Democrats to case a pre-election vote for Rep. Nancy Pelosi during the all-House vote to pick the next Speaker. The comments were delivered in Colorado, on Sunday, according to the Weekly Standard:

“I’ve talked with Kevin about this privately but not as much publicly,” Mulvaney replied. “Wouldn’t it be great to force a Democrat running in a tight race to have to put up or shut up about voting for Nancy Pelosi eight weeks before an election? That’s a really, really good vote for us to force if we can figure out how to do it.”

On Monday, Politico added to the pressure by highlighting the internal fights that Ryan has started losing to subordinates who previously would have complied with his demands. It reported:

some Republicans feel strongly that Ryan is losing his grip on the conference. The farm bill exposed that, they argue, because normally reliable Republicans opposed the bill despite Ryan personally lobbying for their support. Those members included Reps. Fred Upton and Rodney Frelinghuysen.

Another recent episode provided more evidence of Ryan’s waning power. During a private meeting with top Republicans last week, Ryan backed Republican Study Committee Chairman Mark Walker (R-N.C.) to fill a vacancy on the powerful Ways and Means Committee. Republicans typically heed Ryan’s preferences for such openings, but in this case the committee went against the speaker and backed Rep. Brad Wenstrup (R-Ohio) instead.

Ryan has complicated his problems by not backing the high-stakes immigration reform bill drafted by Rep. Bob Goodlatte and Rep. Mike McCaul. The bill would trim legal immigration while upping the inflow of foreign college grads and also granting renewable work permits to the 700,0000 ‘DACA’ illegals. Goodlatte’s bill is strongly opposed by business groups who prefer a large-scale inflow of chain-migration consumers.

Read the Politico article here.

DHS Official: ‘In One Week, Democrats Chose to Defend’ Hamas and MS-13

DHS Official: ‘In One Week, Democrats Chose to Defend’ Hamas and MS-13

Democrats defended the terrorist organization Hamas in an attack at the Israeli border and later defended the violent El Salvadorian MS-13 gang after President Trump called out members of the group, a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) official says.

In an interview with SiriusXM’s Breitbart News Sunday, DHS spokesperson Katie Waldman told Breitbart News Deputy Political Editor Amanda House that Democrats in Washington, D.C. have now twice sided with violent criminals.

Waldman said:

I mean isn’t it funny that twice in one week Democrats chose to defend Hamas and then chose to defend MS-13, a violent gang that leaves women dead on park benches in New York. I mean twice in one week. It was very clear that the president was referring to MS-13 gang members and yet you saw Democrats double-down and say that the president was carte blanche referring to everyone as ‘animals.’ What a joke. [Emphasis added]

MS-13 has done heinous acts. They have committed acts like stabbing a man 100 times, you know Rep. Peter King knows this very well in New York. It’s something that we need to take seriously and crack down on in fact. When a violent gang in their motto is ‘Rape, control, and kill,’ I don’t think any term can be too strong to refer to them. [Emphasis added]

Listen to the full interview here:

As Breitbart News reported, the Trump administration defended Israel’s right to control their border when Hamas-led riots broke out in the region.

Likewise, during a roundtable on immigration last week, Trump referred to MS-13 gang members as “animals,” prompting the establishment media and Democrats to defend the gang.

“Does he not believe in the spark of divinity, the dignity and worth of every person?” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said in response, as Breitbart News reported.

Breitbart News Sunday airs on SiriusXM Patriot 125 every weekend from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m Eastern.

John Binder is a reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter at @JxhnBinder.

Pelosi: Trump Administration Is ‘One of the Most Compromised, Corrupt’ in History

Pelosi: Trump Administration Is ‘One of the Most Compromised, Corrupt’ in History

Monday at a House and Senate Democratic Leaders Press Conference on the steps of the Capitol, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said President Donald Trump’s administration was “one of the most compromised, corrupt administrations in history.”

Pelosi said, “The American people are confronted, one of the most compromised, corrupt administrations in history. Instead of delivering on its promise to drain the swamp, President Trump has become the swamp. Republicans of the White House and the Congress are cravenly beholden to big money interests and the American people are paying the price. From giveaways to dirty energy polluters, our children are paying the price in the air they breathe and the water they drink. To the giveaways of tax breaks for Wall Street and wealthy corporations, shipping jobs overseas—our workers and the middle class are paying the price. To giveaways to big Pharma, raising drugs costs, where children, seniors and working families are paying the price every day. The American people deserve better, but Republicans are standing in the way. We want Republicans and their corrupt big donor-driven agenda to get out of the way. It has given the American people a raw deal. Democrats are offering a better deal for our democracy.”

She continued, “To save our democracy we are committed to empowering the American voter to demand responsive government, protecting every citizen’s right to vote and their right to have their vote counted as cast, safeguarding our election infrastructure and ending partisan redistricting. Next we are strengthening America’s ethics laws to fight the special interests, ending the revolving door in Washington and reining in the influence the lobbyists, big money donors and special interests who drive the Republican agenda, fixing our broken campaign finance system to combat big money influence, wiping out the scourge of unaccountable, secret dark money, and overturning Citizens United. Republicans’ special interests and donor-first agenda is part of their DNA but Democrats have a people-first agenda. To put the power back in the hands of the American people, we’re fixing our broken political system and ensuring government works for everyone, not just the wealthy and well connected.”

Follow Pam Key on Twitter @pamkeyNEN

Expert: China’s Navy Will Be Double the Size of U.S. Navy by 2030

Expert: China’s Navy Will Be Double the Size of U.S. Navy by 2030

China’s navy is on track to be double the size of the United States’ by 2030, which puts U.S. interests at risk in the Asia Pacific and around the world, a U.S. military expert testified at a recent congressional hearing. 

“The future size of the [People’s Liberation Army] Navy will be about 550 warships and submarines by 2030. That is twice the size of today’s U.S. Navy,” said Retired U.S. Navy Capt. James Fanell at a House Intelligence Committee hearing on Thursday.

“As such, it’s clear the U.S. Navy is at great risk. We simply are not adequately sized or outfitted to meet our national security commitments in the Indo-Asia Pacific, let alone around the globe,” said Fanell, former director of intelligence and information operations for the U.S. Navy’s Pacific Fleet.

Fanell said the Chinese navy, or PLAN, currently consists of about 400 warships — at least 330 surface ships and 66 submarines. Meanwhile, he said the U.S. Navy has 283 warships — 211 surface ships and 72 submarines.

While the U.S. Navy aims to grow to 355 ships by 2030, it is hotly debated whether it can be achieved.

Fanell and other experts who testified said the growth of China’s military — particularly its navy — is just one part of its plan to become the world’s superpower by 2050. That plan not only involves pushing the U.S. out of Asia, where it has allies and interests to defend, but expanding Chinese influence throughout the world.

“China, to date, has largely relied on its economic power to cultivate influence in its immediate neighborhood and beyond. But the PLA Navy is beginning to expand its reach to protect China’s growing interests,” said Patricia Kim, a fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations.

Already, China’s naval expansion has dramatically altered the strategic balance of power in the region and threatens to do so throughout the world, Fanell said.

“It’s not their words, but their actions and enormous expenditures that point to [China’s] expanding capability to use their maritime forces to coerce, intimidate and use force globally, as it is already doing regionally,” he said.

Richard D. Fisher Jr., of the International Assessment and Strategy Center, said despite China’s denials, it is building forces to project power beyond the Asia Pacific.

First, he said, China is assembling a “power-projection Navy” that, by 2030, may have the world’s first entirely nuclear-powered carrier battle group, which would enable aircraft carriers and their accompanying ships and forces to sail further and longer. 

The Chinese military is also building their amphibious projection — or the ability to travel onto land by sea — and could have 12 large ships by the early 2030s and are reforming their marine force to about 100,000, he said.

In addition, he said, the PLA Air Force, or PLAAF, is building a projection air force, based on 100 to 200 large C-17 transport aircraft that can carry troops and heavy equipment, and lightweight airborne forces and medium-weight airborne projection forces “are anticipated,” he said.

And he said China is also using “debt trap diplomacy” to gain access for its military around the globe, where China will loan a large sum of money to a small country to help build a port but exact tough terms of repayment and, when the country cannot meet them, take control of the port for its own use, including as a potential military base in the future.

“China may be using debt pressure right now to force Djibouti to limit U.S. military access in that strategic base. It recently gained ownership of a new large port in Sri Lanka by debt default. Vanuatu, Pakistan, Thailand and others are vulnerable,” Fisher said.

He said China’s new “Belt and Road Initiative” is spreading “more and more loans and more and more opportunities for debt trap acquisitions.”

“From its One Belt One Road initiative to its unlawful maritime claims in the South China Sea, China is using its economic and military power to subvert international norms, undermine U.S. national security, threaten our friends and allies, and reshape the global balance of power,” said Chairman Devin Nunes (R-CA), who is planning a series of hearings on the topic.

Experts who testified recommended that the U.S. do more to confront China, work closely with allies, and strengthen its own military capabilities.

“Right now, our Navy can’t fight a war at sea,” Fanell said. “We’ve geared ourselves up for 30 years to fight a land war in Afghanistan and Iraq and Syria, but we’re not ready to fight a war in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.”

They also said the U.S. should do more to help Taiwan, which Fanell said China could attempt to take by force as early as the mid-2020s.

Fisher said if China does take Taiwan by force, it could turn Taiwan into a major nuclear and conventional military base, which would then trigger Chinese moves to isolate Japan and consolidate control over the South China Sea even more and project power into the Indian Ocean in order to isolate India.

“In conclusion, the United States has about a decade to prepare to deter a China well on its way to global power projection,” he said. “We have the ability to maintain military superiority if we commit to that goal. We can organize and lead our allies to higher levels of political coordination and economic security.” 

“But the battle to hold off China starts at the Taiwan Strait, and we must ensure that freedom there survives and has a chance to form an eventual evolution away from China’s communist dictatorship,” he said.

David Jones boss John Dixon shown the door

David Jones boss John Dixon shown the door

John Dixon, the former Marks & Spencer executive charged with turning around department store chain David Jones, has been shown the door after 2½ years in Australia.

Barely four months after moving from Sydney to Melbourne as part of David Jones’ head office relocation, Mr Dixon has lost his job as regional chief executive for South African retailer Woolworths – which involved overseeing the management of David Jones and The Country Road Group – following a strategic review aimed at cutting costs.

David Jones chief executive David Thomas – who took over day to day running of David Jones from Mr Dixon last September – will continue in his role and will now report directly to Woolworths chief executive Ian Moir.

Country Road Group chief executive Scott Fyfe will also keep his position and report to Mr Moir.

Woolworths has effectively unwound the management structure it put in place less than a year ago, when Mr Dixon, who came to Australia as David Jones CEO in 2015, was promoted to the newly created role of chief executive for Woolworths Australasia, assuming his new role on September 1.

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At the time, Mr Moir said the creation of a single regional structure was a logical next step for the business following Woolworths’ $2.1 billion takeover of David Jones in 2014 and the acquisition of Solomon Lew’s 12 per cent stake in Country Road Group.

“It enables the benefits and synergies of the Australian acquisitions to be fully realised and allows the creation of a single team and culture,” Mr Moir said.

Since the move, however, the trading environment has deteriorated and like arch rival Myer, David Jones is struggling to grow sales and earnings.

David Jones’ operating profit fell 25 per cent to $127 million in the 12 months ending June 2017 after the retailer invested $31 million in new finance, merchandise, customer relationship management and e-commerce systems, developing a new food business and relocating David Jones’ head office to Melbourne.

Underlying earnings fell 9.7 per cent to $158 million as gross margins slipped 0.9 per cent to 37 per cent and same-store sales slipped 0.7 per cent.

Sources said the structural cost review was not triggered by current trading conditions and the company’s strategy is unchanged.

Mr Moir thanked Mr Dixon for his stewardship of the business over the last two and a half years and wished him success for the future.

Mr Dixon, a former head of clothing and food at Marks & Spencer, could not be reached for comment.

Mr Dixon’s departure comes only three months after Myer sacked its UK-born chief executive Richard Umbers, after three profit downgrades. Mr Umbers has been replaced by former House of Fraser CEO John King, who starts his new job on June 4.