What Needs To Be Done

Congress has had a rather lackluster session so far this year. They failed to repeal ObamaCare and generally have not done anything to help the economy or the American people come out of the recession. Any economic growth has been the result of undoing regulations. That has been done by President Trump without the help of Congress. Now, as Congress comes back from their recess, it would be very nice to see them actually accomplish something. However, that is definitely wishful thinking, considering Congressional leaders and their agendas. The thing to remember here is that even though Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell have R’s after their name, they are not Republicans who believe in the Republican platform. They are Washington establishment types who believe in big government, expanding budgets, and expanding control over the lives of ordinary Americans. They have no intention of ever having to live under the laws they passed (they made sure they exempted themselves from any changes due to the repeal of ObamaCare before they discussed repeal). Keep in mind that the biggest nightmare of the Washington establishment is a successful Trump presidency. That is one of the reasons President Trump is so viciously attacked in the mainstream media.

One of the big items on the agenda for Congress this fall is tax reform. Our current tax system is a tribute to the efforts of lobbyists. Unfortunately, many of our political leaders are in the pockets a those lobbyists, so I am not optimistic that anything meaningful will be accomplished (other than possibly convincing Americans to vote these leaders out of office).

The Daily Signal posted an article today listing some of the problems with our current tax code. The current tax code is outdated, unfair, overly complicated, and an indication of the corruption that has crept into our government over the years.

The article lists some of the major areas where change is needed:

Problem 1: Our Tax Code Is Not Pro-Growth

Our current tax code suppresses business creation, expansion, and reinvestment thanks to high tax rates. The U.S. corporate tax rate is the highest in the industrialized world, which makes it difficult for American businesses to compete with their foreign counterparts.

America’s tax code puts companies at a disadvantage by failing to allow full expensing, or the ability to allow all businesses to deduct the full cost of new capital investments such as a building, machinery, technology, etc., necessary for business creation and growth.

It also taxes companies on the profits they earn overseas, discouraging foreign investment here in the U.S. to the tune of $2.6 trillion.

Finally, the tax code punishes saving and investment through double or even triple taxation, hurting small businesses and families looking to grow their personal wealth.

The tax code needs to be changed to encourage the growth of entrepreneurship and small business.

The article lists the second problem:

Problem 2: Our Tax Code Is Too Complex

When it started in 1913, the tax code was 400 pages long. By 2013 it was over 74,000 pages.

Americans spend 9 billion hours complying with the tax code every year, which costs them over $400 billion in lost economic productivity every year. It’s critical that we don’t just cut the tax rate, but that we work to simplify it as well.

More and more tax professionals are specializing in a small segment of the tax code, such as estate tax or small business taxes or companies with large assets that depreciate.

Four hundred pages was too long, seventy-four thousand is ridiculous.

Problem number three:

Problem 3: Our Tax Code Is Full of Corporate Favoritism

Well-connected people and businesses routinely game the tax system, precisely because it’s designed that way. This leaves the majority of hard-working taxpayers at a disadvantage.

For example, Nevada agreed to give Elon Musk’s Tesla $1.3 billion in tax incentives in exchange for them building a lithium battery production plant in the state.

Timothy Carney points out that other producers of batteries were experimenting with other types of battery power, but when they found about the special interest subsidy given to lithium batteries, they abandoned their testing of those battery types and focused on producing lithium.

Not only are taxpayers having to foot the bill for nearly a quarter of this for-profit investment, but there are opportunity costs lost in what could have come out of further innovation that was halted because business owners wanted to take advantage of a tax break.

Thank God the people manufacturing buggy whips didn’t have a better lobbyists. Who knows what subsidies they would be getting!

It’s time for common sense to intervene. It is questionable whether or not Washington is capable of common sense, but if the current Congress intends to be re-elected, they need to do what needs to be done to correct the problems in our tax system. It is long past time for an overhaul and long past time for excuses.

It Wasn’t A Unilateral Decision

This article is based on two sources–an article posted at Lifezette today and an article from the BBC, also dated today.

The article at Lifezette reminds us that until President Trump fired FBI Director Comey, the Democrats wanted Director Comey fired.

The article reports:

Comey, being Comey, closed the new investigation in record time, ending the investigation two days before Election Day and enraging Republicans by publicly declaring he still would not recommend charges against Clinton.

Schumer indicated Comey’s handling of the matter was a deal-breaker.

“I do not have confidence in him any longer,” Schumer said of Comey on Nov. 2.

Schumer called Comey’s letter to Congress “appalling.”

Schumer is far from the only Democrat who has questioned Comey’s judgement or called for his firing.

…”This is not fake news. Intelligence officials are hiding connections to the Russian government. There is no question,” then-Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid said in a Dec. 10 interview on MSNBC. “Comey knew and deliberately kept this info a secret,” he said.

The MSNBC host asked Reid if Comey should resign. “Of course, yes,” Reid replied.

 Comey’s decision to publicly reopen the Clinton investigation drove Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.) to also demand the FBI director resign.

“I called on FBI Director James Comey to resign his position after his recent communication with members of Congress regarding the bureau’s review of emails potentially related to Hillary Clinton’s personal email server,” Cohen wrote in a Nov. 3 op-ed published in The Hill.

It gets better.

The BBC posted a copy of the letter written by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein recommending that Director Comey be fired. Follow the link above to read the entire letter.

Director Comey made some unusual decisions during the run-up to the November 2016 election. There are some valid questions as to whether or not the FBI was politicized under President Obama. It is very obvious that the Justice Department was compromised, but the jury is still out on the FBI.

I don’t know whether or not this is part of draining the swamp. I do know that draining the swamp is going to be a long term, ongoing operation, and I wish President Trump all the best in doing that.

Is ObamaCare Dying?

The U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill today to repeal and replace ObamaCare.The bill, named the American Health Care Act, passed by a vote of 217-213. It is not a perfect bill, but it is a first step in stopping the collapse of ObamaCare and the descent into a government-controlled single-payer system. When President Obama gave us ObamaCare, the Democrats knew it would fail–the law ignored the statistics of the actuarial tables that keep the insurance agencies in business. There was no way it could succeed. The goal was to create an entitlement that would collapse and then institute a single-payer government plan. If Hillary Clinton had been elected, that would have happened. Instead, we have a President Trump who believes in free markets.

The Daily Signal posted an article about the passage of the bill today.

The article details some of the amendments to the bill:

New Jersey Rep. Tom MacArthur’s amendment would give the secretary of health and human services the authority to grant a waiver to states that wanted an exemption from costly Obamacare rating rules and benefit mandates.

In order to secure a waiver from these federal insurance rules, the amendment specifies that states must establish a high-risk pool for persons with pre-existing conditions, a program to stabilize the those premiums, or participate in a new federal risk-sharing program designed to secure continuing coverage and market stability.

As drafted, the waiver from these federal regulations would be virtually automatic. In short, the states would make the key regulatory decisions over benefits and rating rules.

A second amendment, offered by Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI) and Rep. Billy Long (R-MO) adds $8 billion over 2018-2023 to the bill’s $130 billion Patient and State Stability Fund (making the total around $138 billion).

It specifies that those additional funds are to be used by states that have received a waiver from federal insurance rules (under the MacArthur Amendment) to assist individuals with increased healthcare costs.

A Good Foundation

The House’s action should be understood as part of a continuing process of national health reform.

As amended, the House bill rightly focuses on costly health insurance rules, makes historic changes in Medicaid—transforming Medicaid from an open-ended entitlement to a budgeted program—and repeals the national health law’s mandate penalties and its slew of taxes.

In fact, the House bill provides for one of the largest tax reductions on record.

It’s not perfect, but it’s a beginning. Twenty Republicans voted against the healthcare bill. All the Democrats voted against the bill. It would be nice if Congress stopped playing politics and worrying about campaign donations and elections and simply tried to do what was best for America.

Why It Is So Difficult To Drain The Swamp

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), also known as ObamaCare, was signed into law on March 23, 2010. It was passed with only Democratic votes in the House of Representatives and in the Senate. In September 2009, The Tea Party organized a march on Washington and protests in other cities. The protestors were opposing the proposals for ObamaCare, increased federal spending, bigger government, and higher taxes. In 2010, the Republicans were elected to a majority in the House of Representatives and in 2014, the Republicans were elected to a small majority in the Senate. So why, after the elected Republicans promised smaller government, lower taxes, and less spending, did the government continue to grow? At the heart of the matter is the difference between process and policy. There is also the element of showmanship—the Republicans voted to repeal ObamaCare on a regular basis knowing that even if they had the votes to repeal it, they did not have the votes to override a Presidential veto that would surely occur.

So how does the process impact the policy? The following notes are taken from a Heritage Action Sentinel Brief explaining how Washington actually works.

The GOP Pledge to America included the following:

“We will end the practice of packaging unpopular bills with ‘must-pass’ legislation to circumvent the will of the American people. Instead, we will advance major legislation one issue at a time”

Well, that promise was quickly broken.

The Heritage Action Brief explains:

Congressmen may claim that they had no other choice but to vote on the package once Leadership made the decision. That is not true; it was not a fait accompli. As is custom, right before the House voted on the CR (Continuing Resolution), Leadership holds a procedural rule vote to consider every bill and set the terms of the debate. Any member who did not like the process whereby the subsequent provisions were to be considered has the opportunity to vote against the rule. This would prevent Leadership from packaging in unfavorable legislation, like the Ex-Im reauthorization or a myriad of other bad legislation.

Hiding Policy in Process. For more than a decade, GOP Leadership, when in control of the House, has promulgated the view that procedural “rule” votes are routine, party line votes that should be approved without a second thought. This has given them a relatively free license to bring bills to the floor not supported by conservatives, and they rely on Democrats for the necessary votes to pass them. The concept of “logrolling” bad bills into a crucial funding measure or, worse, a matter of foreign policy, is a compelling reason (one of many) for challenging a procedural rule. Not to mention, the American people voted this type of legislating out of office in 2010 when House Republicans adopted the Pledge of America, which precluded the packaging of unpopular legislation together.

Remember this the next time your Representative tells you they have no choice but to vote for more bad policy. Usually they only need to vote NO on the rule to change the process and allow better policy.

The longest serving congressman in history, former Michigan Representative John Dingell once said, “I’ll let you write the substance…you let me write the procedure, and I’ll [beat] you every time.” In other words, process is policy, and Congressmen who vote on auto-pilot on process fail to represent their constituents on a vast number of votes.

This is the swamp that needs to be drained. The best thing President Trump could do would be to give the conservatives in Congress the courage to stand up against the process status quo. It is time to make Congress more transparent and more responsive to the voters. We saw in this past election that the voters will speak up. It is time that our representatives started listening.

Will It Make A Difference?

I don’t know whether the fact that FBI Director James Comey is reopening the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails will matter to anyone or not. Everyone (including me) is tired of hearing about Hillary’s private server. I suspect if you took a poll you would find out that half of the people polled believe that whatever new information the FBI finds will not make a difference in her support and the other half believe that whatever new information the FBI finds will never lead to any penalty for her actions.

However, John Hinderaker at Power Line had an interesting take on this story. He posted a story today that pointed out the fact that the first instinct of the Clinton campaign when faced with this story was to lie.

The article reports:

I find it revealing that when the Clinton campaign launched its attack on Comey, it led off with a lie. In her press conference last night, Hillary Clinton accused Comey of partisanship, falsely claiming that he had sent his letter only to Congressional Republicans. In fact, Comey followed the standard protocol, addressing his letter to the chairmen of the relevant committees and sending copies to the ranking minority members of each committee:

This statement in the Power Line article is followed by a complete copy of the letter, including the people it was addressed to. Follow the link to Power Line to see the letter.

The article concludes:

But that’s not all: Hillary’s campaign manager, John Podesta, echoed Hillary’s smear:

“FBI Director Comey should immediately provide the American public more information than is contained in the letter he sent to eight Republican committee chairmen,” Podesta said in a statement.

Note that this was a written statement, not an off the cuff characterization at a press conference. So the campaign’s lie–Comey is a partisan, he only communicated with Republicans!–was deliberate. That being the case, it is hard to take the Democrats’ indignation seriously.

It is unfortunate that this is coming up a week or so before the election, but all this could have been avoided by not using a private server or by complying with subpoena requests when they were made. The only person responsible for this scandal is Hillary Clinton. Her staff simply reflected her handling of classified material. Had she cooperated with the investigation, it would simply be an unhappy memory by now, but that is not the way the Clintons historically handle their own bad behavior. Bill Clinton, as President, rode out his numerous scandals by delaying, distracting, and lying. That seems to be a popular strategy in the Clinton family.

No Wonder She Deleted Them

As more deleted emails drip out of Hillary Clinton’s email account, the information on them gets more interesting. It is becoming somewhat obvious why some of them were deleted. Judicial Watch has been busy making sure that the public gets a look at the deleted emails that are not marked classified (since Mrs. Clinton claims there were no classified emails on her server, there should be a lot of emails to look at).

Yesterday Counter Jihad posted a story about an interesting coincidence revealed in one of the emails that was deleted, recovered, and recently released.

The story reports:

Yesterday Judicial Watch released emails showing that a Crown Prince of Bahrain was able to secure a meeting with then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton through the Clinton Foundationafter being rejected by official State Department channels.  Today, the International Business Times follows up on that report by revealing that the timing of this meeting lined up with a sudden, and large, increase in arms sales to Bahrain.  Furthermore, this increase came in spite of Bahrain being engaged in massive human rights abuses and suppression of peaceful civilian protests.  Finally, Hillary Clinton’s lawyers destroyed the emails documenting this meeting without turning them over to the State Department.  These were among the emails destroyed as allegedly “personal.”

Now, Bahrain is an important regional ally of the United States.  The US 5th Fleet, also called NAVCENT as it is the fleet permanently assigned to US Central Command, is based out of Bahrain’s harbors.  Bahrain would thus ordinarily enjoy some US military arms sales, as well as occasional access to high level State Department officials.  However, in this case the State Department had already turned down the request for a meeting when it came through official channels.  So, Crown Prince Salman contacted the Clinton Foundation to ask them to get him a meeting anyway.

And they did.

I really wouldn’t consider this email personal, but I guess Hillary did. The article goes on to explain that after the discussion of a meeting, the United States dramatically increased the amount of weaponry sold to Behrain (at a time when the government of Bahrain was moving against pro-democracy protests).

The article includes the following statement:

During those Arab Spring uprisings of 2011 — when Bahrain was accused of using tear gas on its own people — the Clinton-led State Department approved more than $70,000 worth of arms sales classified as “toxicological agents.”

The arms deal also included armored vehicles, missiles and ammunition. The sale of these items to Bahrain faced opposition in Congress, but the sale was approved.

The article concludes:

But the Crown Prince wanted his meeting, and he wanted his arms, and he got both because he was a good friend of the Clinton Foundation.

Not that the public would have known this, but for the FBI investigation.  Clinton’s lawyers deleted these emails without turning them over to the State Department, though it turns out that they are clearly public records that explain just how a momentous decision was made on a major arms deal.

In spite of that, the FBI recommended no prosecution.

I guess pay-for-play is not illegal in Washington. Now we know how the Clintons went from dead broke when they left the White House (as Hillary Clinton has stated) to a net worth in 2015 of $32,015,000 (Breitbart.com). I suppose she and Bill should be congratulated on their entrepreneurial spirit.

The House Of Representatives Leadership Does Not Represent Me

Freedomworks posted an article today illustrating how Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives are trying to silence conservative voices. It is time we had new leadership in both the U.S. House and the U.S. Senate. The people currently serving represent themselves and not the rest of us.

The article reports:

Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) is at it again.

He is using a House procedure to try and pass major legislation in a way that minimizes debate and prevents conservative amendments from being introduced and debated. Last month the majority leader did this to authorize $1 billion in taxpayer dollars for a global food security bill. FreedomWorks drew attention to the bill on our blog.

Today, Majority Leader McCarthy has scheduled H.R. 5077, the Intelligence Authorization Act for fiscal year 2017, for a vote in the House under the same expedited procedure, called suspension of the rules. This procedure is customarily reserved for non-controversial legislation. This bill is anything but non-controversial. It is scheduled for only 40 minutes of debate, as opposed to an hour of debate, which is the norm for bills considered under a rule. Amendments cannot be offered, and the bill can be voice-voted, allowing members to avoid being put on the record with a recorded vote.

H.R. 5077 proposes to spend $521 million of taxpayer and borrowed money over a 5-year period. That is just on the unclassified portion of the legislation. According to the committee report on the bill, the goal of the bill is to “authorize the intelligence and intelligence-related activities of the United States Government for fiscal year 2017. These activities enhance the national security of the United States, support and assist the armed forces of the United States, and support the President in the execution of the foreign policy of the United States.” Majority Leader McCarthy shouldn’t bring up such an important bill in a manner that prevents conservative and liberty movement amendments.

The article points out that there needs to be an opportunity for Representatives to make amendments that will protect the U.S. Constitution, as many of the entities funded in this bill have overstepped their boundaries in the past. It is quite possible that if the bill were allowed to be amended, it might be improved. Unfortunately, that may be exactly what Leader McCarthy wants to avoid.

The article concludes:

The majority leader should be running the floor in a way that allows significant bills to be fully debated with opportunities for members of the House to work their will through an amendment process. The intelligence bill should have come up as a regular rule bill, not under an expedited procedure that keeps member input to a minimum. The House, members, and the intelligence bill deserve better.

It is time for a change of leadership in Congress. We need Congressmen who will represent the interests of the American people–not people who represent only their own interests.

Effectively Using The Power Of The Purse

Theoretically, the House of Representatives can limit executive power by using its control of the purse strings. According to the U.S. Constitution, the government cannot spend money unless that spending is authorized by the House of Representatives. We haven’t seen the House of Representatives use that power as much as I would have liked under the Obama Administration, but the power is there. In fact, there was one recent incident where the House of Representatives successfully used that power.

In October I posted a story about the Obama Administration attempting to spend money that was not allocated by Congress. At issue were payments to insurance companies to alleviate their losses under Obama.

As reported by the Daily Signal in October:

In January, Sessions’ committee and the House Energy and Commerce Committee had identified that the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) lacked an appropriation for bailing out insurance companies through the risk corridors. They asked the Government Accountability Office to look into the matter. That September, the GAO issued its legal opinion: the administration would need an appropriation from Congress to make outgoing payments.

Today The Los Angeles Times reported:

A federal judge ruled for House Republicans on Thursday in their suit against President Obama and declared his administration is unconstitutionally spending money to reimburse health insurers without obtaining an appropriation from Congress.

The judge’s ruling, though a setback for the administration, was put on hold immediately and stands a good chance of being overturned on appeal.

The ruling upholds the Constitution, why would it be overturned on appeal?

The article at The Los Angeles Times reports:

The Constitution says “No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law,” said Judge Rosemary Collyer, yet the administration has continued to pay billions to insurers for their extra cost of providing coverage for low-income Americans.

“Paying out Sec. 1402 reimbursements without an appropriation thus violates the Constitution,” she wrote. “Congress is the only source for such an appropriation, and no public money can be spent without one.”

Stay tuned to see if the Constitution will be upheld.

Is American Sovereignty Important?

America is now more than two hundred years old. The U.S. Constitution that we began with is still in place. We are still a sovereign nation. Most of us take our freedom and national sovereignty for granted, but what are some of the forces working against our freedom and against our sovereignty and what are we doing to stop them?

Well, one U.S. House of Representatives member has come up with a good place to start. Alabama’s Representative Mike Rogers on March 2, 2015, introduced H.R. 1205: American Sovereignty Restoration Act of 2015 into the House of Representatives. The bill has about a 1 percent of being passed, but at least it was introduced. The bill has been referred to the Committee on Foreign Affairs. The bill would end the United States’ membership in the United Nations. Why would we want to do that? Because the United Nations as of late has become a sounding board for tin horn dictators who want to take money from free countries who have earned it and give the money to other tyrants who have not. Part of their objective is to undermine the sovereignty of free western countries and set up a worldwide government that will control everyone and be run be a few elites who will establish the rules but not have to live by them. I just happen to have a few examples of what the United Nations has done in recent years that should be cause for alarm.

Some comments from the Washington Times about the UN Arms Trade Treaty:

The criteria that arms should not be used to “prolong” or “aggravate” instability is troubling. China could use such a provision to label U.S. arms sales to Taiwan as a violation of international law. In 1941, such a treaty would have made illegal the U.S. lend-lease program to aid Britain before Pearl Harbor.

The implication is absurd: If giving arms to an ally fighting a tyrant prolongs the conflict, the only “legal” option for the ally is to surrender.

Another problem is the draft’s invocation of “international human rights law.” Unfortunately, liberal activists often claim that strict gun control is a “human right.” This reference, then, could be interpreted in ways that infringe on Americans’ constitutional right to bear arms.

Why should we care what some U.N. treaty says? Just ignore it, you say, because our Constitution trumps everything. Well, not if the U.S. signs and the Senate ratifies it. At that point, the treaty carries the weight of U.S. domestic law.

Forbes Magazine posted the following about The Law of the Sea Treaty:

Then there’s the currently proposed, Obama-endorsed, Law of the Sea Treaty (LOST) which would subordinate U.S. naval and drilling operations beyond 200 miles of our coast to a newly established U.N. bureaucracy. If ratified by Congress, it will grant a Kingston, Jamaica-based International Seabed Authority (ISA) the power to regulate deep-sea oil exploration, seabed mining, and fishing rights. As part of the deal, as much as 7% of U.S. government revenue collected from oil and gas companies operating off our coast will be forked over to ISA for redistribution to poorer, landlocked countries.

The U.S. would have one vote out of 160 regarding where the money would go, and be obligated to hand over offshore drilling technology to any nation that wants it… for free. And who are those lucky international recipients? They will most likely include such undemocratic, despotic and brutal governments as Belarus, Burma, China, Cuba, Sudan and Zimbabwe…all current voting members of LOST.

Both of the above articles are from 2012. This is not a new thing.

According to the website appinsys.com:

On November 14, 2010 the NZZ Online had an interview with Ottmar Edenhofer (Edenhofer is joint chair of IPCC Working Group 3 and deputy director and chief economist of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) and Professor of the Economics of Climate Change at the Berlin Institute of Technology).

Mr. Edenhofer stated:

  • …“Basically it’s a big mistake to discuss climate policy separately from the major themes of globalization. The climate summit in Cancun at the end of the month is not a climate conference, but one of the largest economic conferences since the Second World War. … One has to free oneself from the illusion that international climate policy is environmental policy. This has almost nothing to do with environmental policy anymore … But one must say clearly that we redistribute de facto the world’s wealth by climate policy.”

Last night I went to see the movie “Climate Hustle.” There was a lot in the movie that I was already aware of, but it was nice to see it organized and in one place. I don’t know if and when the movie will be shown again, but it is worth seeing.

Representative Rogers H.R. 1205: American Sovereignty Restoration Act of 2015  may never get out of committee. That in itself illustrates the need for change in Washington. If we don’t change our representatives in Washington, we may lose our sovereignty as a country and our lifestyle.

Making The World A More Dangerous Place

President Obama has again announced his plans to close the terrorist detainee center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Politico reported yesterday that the Pentagon planned on releasing its plan to close the facility and move the prisoners to the United States.

Yahoo News reported today on the President’s plan to close down Guantanamo. The article explained:

President Barack Obama presented a long-shot plan Tuesday to shutter the Guantanamo Bay detention center, hoping to fulfill an elusive campaign promise before he leaves office next year.

Describing the jail as a stain on America’s reputation and a catalyst for jihadists, Obama said “I don’t want to pass this problem on to the next president.”

“For many years, it’s been clear that the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay does not advance our national security. It undermines it,” Obama said from the Roosevelt Room

…The Guantanamo Bay closure plan, which took months to produce, offers no specifics on where a US facility would be, but military officials have previously listed Fort Leavenworth, Kansas or the US Navy brig in Charleston, South Carolina among the possible destinations for inmates.

Those locations, however, face objections from local politicians.

The US leader has long argued that many Guantanamo prisoners should be transferred overseas and some should be tried by military courts.

A small number — those deemed too dangerous to release but too difficult to prosecute — would be held in the United States.

So what is the problem with this? In the closing, some prisoners would be released to various countries.

In January 2015, Fox News reported the following:

SEPTEMBER 2014 REPORT OF THE OFFICE OF THE DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE

As of July 15, 2014, 620 detainees have been transferred out of the detention facility.

Of the total, 107, or 17.3 percent, have been “confirmed of re-engaging,” which is defined as being directly involved in terrorist or insurgent activities. Nearly half of those — 48 — are now dead or in custody.

Of the total, 77, or 12.4 percent, are “suspected of re-engaging.” This category comprises detainees for whom it’s plausible that they are directly involved in terrorist or insurgent activities, but it can’t be verified or is based only on information from a single source. Sixteen of these 77 are now dead or in custody

Many of the former detainees have attained ‘superstar’ status in the terrorist groups they now lead.

Closing Guantanamo is a really bad idea. Unfortunately, the prison could have been a valuable asset in ending the war on terror had it been properly used during the Obama Administration. The Obama Administration did not send anyone to Guantanamo, instead they used drones to simply kill terrorists. At least sending them to Guantanamo to be questioned might have given us some of the intelligence we needed to predict the rise of ISIS. There is also the problem of putting terrorists in prison on American soil. The lawyers will have a ball claiming civil rights that non-combatant terrorists are not entitled to (under the Geneva Convention or any other convention). There is also the risk of a nearby school, mall, airport (pick your target) being taken hostage so that the terrorists will be freed to commit more terrorism.

All in all, closing Guantanamo is a really bad idea. It will make America less secure–not more secure.

I Thought This Was A Done Deal, Evidently It Is Not

The Daily Signal posted an article yesterday about the budget deal the House of Representatives put forth under Paul Ryan. The deal was essentially the deal that was negotiated by the previous Speaker of the House, John Boehner.

The article reports:

In October, in his effort to “clear the barn” for Ryan, then-Speaker John Boehner helped negotiate a two-year budget deal with President Barack Obama and Democrats. It raised the 2017 spending level roughly $30 billion above the total lawmakers set in 2011 to control spending.

Though the majority of Republicans did not vote for the Boehner-Obama budget deal, the new House leadership has indicated spending bills for fiscal year 2017 must abide by the higher spending level prescribed by the October agreement.

But a new report from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office projecting trillion-dollar deficit levels by 2022 appears to be persuading more than just the usual suspects to ignore the budget deal and insist on a lower spending level.

Someone considerable smarter than I am observed recently that the current difference between Democrats and (establishment) Republicans is not over the size of the federal budget, but over who controls the money. Conservative Republicans are more interested in the size of the budget and want to shrink both government and government spending. The establishment Republicans have consistently ignored the conservative base that put them in office. That is going to become a problem for the establishment Republicans in the very near future.

The article further reports:

“I can tell you that Obamacare and the spending crisis are the reasons why I came up here and the reason I voted against the omnibus [spending bill] is because we got off Paul Ryan’s path to prosperity,” Rep. Blake Farenthold, R-Texas, said in an interview with The Daily Signal. “I will fight hard for a lower budget number, and I expect a great deal of my colleagues will do the same.”

Farenthold is referring to 2012 proposal authored by Ryan, R-Wis., when he was chairman of the House Budget Committee that reformed entitlement programs, cut taxes, and reduced spending.

While the conservative House Freedom Caucus is leading the charge to renege on the October budget deal and revert to the lower spending number set under the Budget Control Act of 2011, other GOP members also are concerned.

The Republican Study Committee, a larger group of conservative House members from which the Freedom Caucus sprang, will propose a budget that sticks to sequestration levels, its chairman says.

America cannot continue to spend money at its present rate. The deficit passed nineteen trillion dollars this week. I don’t even know how to write that number! Conservatives have been sending people to Washington since 2010 to cut spending. It is about time Washington heard their voices. If the people who are in Washington to represent us now do not represent us, we will have to send different people.

This Really Does Not Sound Safe

On Thursday, Fox News reported some changes President Obama made to the Visa Waiver Program.

The article reports:

The Obama administration on Thursday eased visa rules for certain European travelers who have visited terror hotspots in the Middle East and Africa, triggering a backlash from congressional lawmakers who sought the restrictions for security reasons. 

Moments after the announcement, two key Republicans declared the administration is “blatantly breaking the law” – a law that President Obama signed – by implementing the changes.

“This is not a difference of opinion over statutory interpretation, it is a clear contradiction of the law and the agreement we reached with the White House,” House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul, R-Texas, and Rep. Candice Miller, R-Mich., author of the bill, said in a statement. 

The revised requirements announced Thursday pertain to changes passed by Congress in the Visa Waiver Program.

Lawmakers had sought new restrictions to tighten up the program – which allows visa-free travel for residents of eligible countries — in order to prevent Europeans who have joined ISIS from entering the United States. Under the newly passed Visa Waiver Improvement and Terrorist Travel Prevention Act of 2015, nationals of Iraq, Iran, Syria and Sudan as well as other travelers who have visited those countries since Mar. 1, 2011 now must apply for a visa in order to travel to the U.S.

So what is this about? The article explains:

The new restrictions had previously been criticized by the Iranian government which suggested the U.S. might be violating the nuclear deal by penalizing legitimate business travel to the country. 

At some point, the executive branch of our government needs to realize that one of the major supporters and sponsors of terrorism is Iran. To allow people who have visited Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Sudan visa-free travel to America is simply not smart. If this policy stands, we will see increased incidents of terrorism in America. This is not about business travel.

Attempting To Fight Corruption

Hot Air posted an article yesterday about the House of Representatives’ move to impeach John Koskinen for his blocking the investigation into the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) practices regarding conservative groups.

An article at Townhall reports the charges:

Specifically, Commissioner Koskinen violated the public trust in the following ways:

-Failed to comply with a subpoena resulting in destruction of key evidence. Commissioner Koskinen failed to locate and preserve IRS records in accordance with a congressional subpoena and an internal preservation order. The IRS erased 422 backup tapes containing as many as 24,000 of Lois Lerner’s emails – key pieces of evidence that were destroyed on Koskinen’s watch.
-Failed to testify truthfully and provided false and misleading information. Commissioner Koskinen testified the IRS turned over all emails relevant to the congressional investigation, including all of Ms. Lerner’s emails. When the agency determined Ms. Lerner’s emails were missing, Commissioner Koskinen testified the emails were unrecoverable. These statements were false.
-Failed to notify Congress that key evidence was missing. The IRS knew Lois Lerner’s emails were missing in February 2014. In fact, they were not missing; the IRS destroyed the emails on March 4, 2014. The IRS did not notify Congress the emails were missing until June 2014 – four months later, and well after the White House and the Treasury Department were notified.

The article at Hot Air also reminds us that a federal judge has already threatened to hold Koskinen accountable for his obstruction of the investigation into the IRS.

The article at Hot Air reports:

According to the rules of play, the House can bring the charges with a simple majority vote. Easy enough this year. But the trial is held in the Senate and requires a two thirds vote to convict. (If this is treated as a partisan issue and all the Democrats abscond in their duty it would be impossible.) Also, Joe Biden gets to preside over the trial. Many seem to think that it would be John Roberts, but he would only preside in the case of impeaching the President. That’s a tough hill to climb. In all of US history there have been seven successful impeachments and all of them were judges. The only cabinet official to ever be impeached was William Belknap, Secretary of War under President Grant, but he wasn’t convicted. The only two Presidents to be impeached were not found guilty, as were the various Senators brought to stand before the wheel.

Politically this is a losing battle. Legally it is a necessary battle. What this process will do is eliminate any doubt as to which Senators put party loyalty over honesty. There is no way Koskinen would be acquitted in a fair trial, but Congress (and the Justice Department) are not really focused on doing what is right at this point.

No, The Videos Were Not Manipulated

Yesterday The Blaze posted an article about the testimony of Planned Parenthood CEO Cecile Richards before the House Oversight Committee hearing. Ms. Richards is quoted as saying, “I think everyone has agreed they were heavily edited.” The problem with that statement is that it is not true. The videos have been shown to be accurate by both supporters and foes of Planned Parenthood.

The article reports:

Alliance Defending Freedom hired tech firm Coalfire Systems to perform a forensic analysis of the undercover videos, in order to disprove claims they were “highly edited.” Planned Parenthood doctors discuss harvesting and selling aborted fetuses to researchers in the footage.

 “Coalfire’s analysis of the recorded media files contained on the flash drive indicates that the video recordings are authentic and show no evidence of manipulation or editing,” the report released Tuesday states.

The article further states:

An earlier analysis commissioned by Planned Parenthood also found the videos were not meaningfully edited, in spite of the brief cuts and skips. Planned Parenthood hired Fusion GPS — a Democratic opposition research firm — to perform the analysis.

“This analysis did not reveal widespread evidence of substantive video manipulation, but we did identify cuts, skips, missing tape, and changes in camera angle,” the report concludes. And the analysts “found no evidence that CMP inserted dialogue not spoken by Planned Parenthood staff.”

The videos are accurate. The question now is, “Do Americans want to continue sending taxpayer dollars to an organization that is selling aborted baby body parts?”

What kind of a nation are we going to be?

 

House Speaker John Boehner Is Resigning

NBC News reported today that Speaker of the House John Boehner has announced that he will resign at the end of October. The announcement comes at a time when the battle between the conservative Republicans and the establishment Republicans is heating up in Washington and in some states.

Many Republican voters are disillusioned because they have voted Republican for the past two or three election cycles, and nothing has changed–we are still overspending, ObamaCare has not improved health care, in fact it has cost more and done less, and the treaty with Iran is going forward. So why did we bother to vote? A change in House leadership was needed last year, but did not happen–Boehner held on to his position.

The article reports:

An aide to Boehner said that the Ohio Republican had planned to serve only through the end of last year, but that the stunning primary loss of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor changed that calculation.

The defeat of Eric Cantor was an indication that the grass roots are not happy with the direction of the party. The establishment Republicans are no different than the Democrats in most policy areas, and the voters have figured this out. The Tea Party evolved out of that feeling, and despite reports to the contrary, has not gone away.

So where do we go from here? We can probably expect a government shutdown some time in the near future over the funding of Planned Parenthood. I don’t know how any American who has seen the undercover videos about the selling of aborted baby body parts can support the funding of Planned Parenthood, but evidently some do. The Republicans offered to give the money to community health centers that serve women, but the Democrats wouldn’t budge (possibly because of the large amount of money Planned Parenthood puts in their campaign coffers). I honestly do not know where the American public stands on Planned Parenthood, but if they support what is going on, we are in danger of losing our humanity.

Has Anyone In Washington Read The U.S Constitution?

The question really should be, “Has anyone in Washington read the U.S. Constitution, and do they take their Oath of Office to uphold it seriously?” Currently, the obvious answer to both questions is “no.”

On Tuesday The New York Post posted an article about the Congressional maneuverings on the Iranian nuclear deal. First of all, I would like to note that many of our Congressmen and Congresswomen have been paid off by the Iranian lobby (rightwinggranny). The article in The New York Post points out how the approval process for the Iranian nuclear agreement is unconstitutional.

The article reports:

Under the Constitution, treaties require the support of two-thirds of the Senate. The deal with Iran is a treaty in every respect — a legally binding long-term agreement between sovereign powers, in which hundreds of billions of dollars will flow and billions of dollars in nuclear materiel will be destroyed.

Since this is a treaty and we have 100 senators, Obama should have been obliged to secure the backing of 67 senators, not 41.

But Obama knew he could never get his treaty through Congress. You see, the American people have given the Republican Party majorities in both the House and the Senate.

The very fact that the American people did so to put a brake on Obama’s outsized ambitions just wasn’t going to hold this guy back.

So where are we now? The Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015, sometimes also known as “Corker-Cardin,” allows the Iran Nuclear Agreement to be treated like any other piece of ordinary legislation. In order to block the deal, the Senate would have to override a Presidential veto if the Senate voted the agreement down. Thus, rather than the two-thirds of the Senate needed to ratify the agreement (required for a treaty), you need two-thirds of the Senate to oppose it or it becomes law. The Republicans cannot filibuster the treaty because forty-two Democrats support it–they can block a filibuster. The Iranian lobby will get its money’s worth, and the treaty will pass. The U.S. Constitution and the American people are the losers in this deal. Iran will now receive millions of dollars to use to support terrorism around the world. Even if a Republican President is elected in 2016, and voids the agreement, the money will have gone to Iran, and the damage will have been done. No Senator who supports this treaty should be re-elected. The Republican leadership who did not use all of the legal tools at their disposal to fight this treaty should also be replaced. We need Senators and Representatives who have read the U.S. Constitution and who will be faithful to their Oath of Office to uphold the U.S. Constitution. At the current time, that is not what we have.

Stepping Back And Looking At The Big Picture

There are a number of conservatives seriously alarmed at the rise of Donald Trump. Donald Trump has not consistently espoused conservative principles and probably does not qualify as a conservative in the minds of many of the conservative intellectuals. What Donald Trump represents is the anger of the conservatives at the miserable performance of the establishment Republicans in Washington. The conservatives believed what they were told–elect Republicans and things will change–the debt will decrease, ObamaCare will go away, and the Republicans will check the runaway executive orders of President Obama. Right. And I saw a flying pig last week.

Yesterday The Conservative Treehouse posted an open letter to Jonah Goldberg, a conservative who is concerned that the Donald Trump candidacy will destroy the Republican party.

The article reminds us:

Angered (by the tricks used to pass ObamaCare), we rallied to the next election (November 2010) and handed the usurping Democrats the single largest electoral defeat in the prior 100 years.  The House returned to Republican control, and one-half of the needed Senate seats reversed.  Within the next two election cycles (’12 and ’14) we again removed the Democrats from control of the Senate.

Within each of those three elections we were told Repealing Obamacare would be job #1.  It was not an optional part of our representative agreement to do otherwise.

We are still waiting.

The article points out:

We are not blind to the maneuverings of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and President Tom Donohue.  We are fully aware the repeal vote did not take place because the U.S. CoC demanded the retention of Obamacare.

Leader McConnell followed the legislative priority of Tom Donohue as opposed to the will of the people.   This was again exemplified with the passage of TPPA, another Republican construct which insured the Trans-Pacific Trade Deal could pass the Senate with 51 votes instead of 3/5ths.

We are not blind to the reality that when McConnell chooses to change the required voting threshold he is apt to do so.  Not coincidentally, the TPP trade deal is another legislative priority of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Again, the Republican party ignored the people who elected them.

The article cites the Iran deal:

Another bill, the Iran “agreement”, reportedly and conveniently not considered a “treaty”, again we are not blind.  Nor are we blind to Republican Bob Corker’s amendment (Corker/Cardin Amendment) changing ratification to a 67-vote-threshold for denial, as opposed to a customary 67 vote threshold for passage.  A profound difference.

The elected Republicans again ignored the wishes of the people who elected them.

The article lists examples of the establishment GOP working against the will of the voters. Please follow the link to the article to read the list. It is eye-opening.

The article concludes:

The last federal budget was passed in September of 2007, and EVERY FLIPPING INSUFFERABLE YEAR we have to go through the predictable fiasco of a Government Shutdown Standoff and/or a Debt Ceiling increase specifically because there is NO BUDGET!

That’s a strategy?

That’s the GOP strategy?  Essentially:  Lets plan for an annual battle against articulate Democrats and Presidential charm, using a creepy guy who cries and another old mumbling fool who dodders, knowing full well the MSM is on the side of the other guy to begin with?

THAT’S YOUR GOP STRATEGY?

Don’t tell me it’s not, because if it wasn’t there’d be something else being done – there isn’t.

And don’t think we don’t know the 2009 “stimulus” became embedded in the baseline of the federal spending, and absent of an actual budget it just gets spent and added to the deficit each year, every year.  Yet this is somehow smaller fiscal government?

….And you’re worried about what Donald Trump might do?

Seriously?

I truly believe that this article expresses the frustration of the conservatives in the Republican party. Right now there is very little difference between the establishment Republicans and the Democrats. If the establishment Republicans don’t wake up soon, there will be two political parties–the Democrats and the Conservatives. Donald Trump is not the problem–he may be a symptom, but he is not the problem.

What Difference Does It Make?

As the media covers the fact that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has finally agreed to hand over her computer server to the Justice Department, let’s back up a minute and look at the history of Secretary Clinton and her server.

On March 30, Byron York posted a story at The Washington Examiner that included the following:

The subpoena story began on Sept. 20, 2012, nine days after the attacks. Rep. Jason Chaffetz, who was chairman of the House Oversight Committee’s Subcommittee on National Security, Homeland Defense and Foreign Operations, sent a letter to then-Secretary of State Clinton asking for “all information … related to the attack on the consulate.” Chaffetz specifically asked for all analyses, whether classified or unclassified, on the security situation leading up to the Benghazi attack, plus, among other things, all analyses that either supported or contradicted UN Ambassador Susan Rice’s assertion that the attack was the spontaneous result of outrage over an anti-Muslim video. The short version of the letter was that Chaffetz demanded “all information” on Benghazi.

Just to be clear, the Chaffetz letter included standard language telling Clinton, “In complying with this request, you are required to produce all responsive documents that are in your possession, custody, or control, whether held by you or your past or present agents, employees, and representatives acting on your behalf.”

…The routine got old fast. Republicans (and Democrats, for that matter) couldn’t copy the documents and couldn’t use them at hearings. Chaffetz and Rep. Darrell Issa, then the chairman of the full Oversight and Government Reform Committee, became frustrated. In response to their protests, the State Department stressed that it had made all the relevant documents available, even if under restrictive conditions. State has “provided Congress with access to documents, comprising over 25,000 pages to date, including communications of senior Department officials regarding the security situation in Benghazi,” State official Thomas Gibbons wrote to Issa on March 29, 2013.

That did nothing to quiet Republican unhappiness. The problem came to a head on Aug. 1, 2013, when the committee issued a subpoena to the State Department. (It was officially directed to new Secretary of State John Kerry.)

Note that the date of the subpoena was August 1, 2013–more than two years ago.

Yesterday The New York Post posted a story that included the following:

Security experts warned Wednesday that the chances of recovering deleted information from Hillary Rodham Clinton’s home e-mail server are slim — unless she did a lousy scrubbing job.

“Being the fact that this is Hillary Clinton with significant resources and a reputation to uphold, I would say that those who are seeking out additional information on the servers … would have a very difficult time finding something,” Robert Siciliano, an online-security expert, told The Post.

When items are deleted they still leave a trace — or “bread crumbs,” as ­Siciliano put it — but a skilled person doing the deleting can ensure that fewer crumbs are left to recreate the missing documents.

Does anyone really believe that the Justice Department is going to uphold the law in regard to Secretary Clinton? This case will be a litmus case to see if President Obama actually supports the presidential candidacy of Hillary Clinton. I suspect the President Obama does not want Hillary Clinton to become President, but I also suspect he has seen the list of people who have opposed the Clintons in the past and faced severe consequences. Watching this unfold will be extremely educational to all of us.

Throw The Bums Out

Conservatives who have repeatedly voted Repubican with the expectation of change in Washington are getting impatient. We have a few Representatives in Washington who actually represent the Conservative view, but unfortunately they are few and far between. The latest Washington elite trick to avoid being negatively impacted by the laws they pass was recently exposed in a Judicial Watch Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).

The link above is to the letters written by various House of Representative members stating that they had only forty-five staff members.

CNS News posted an article yesterday explaining exactly what this is about.

The article explains:

In October 2013, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) issued a final rule that provides an “employer contribution” covering about three-quarters of the premiums of congressional employees enrolled in the small business exchange starting Jan. 1, 2014.

The OPM rule “allowed at least 12,359 congressional employees and their spouses and dependents to obtain health insurance through the Small Business Exchange…These 12,359 participants represent an astonishing 86% of the Small Business Exchange’s total enrollment,” the appeal states.

Judicial Watch filed the lawsuit last October on behalf of Kirby Vining, a D.C. resident since 1986, who objected to the expenditure of municipal funds to insure congressional employees in an exchange that was established specifically for small employers in the District.

Congress authored the law [ACA], and is going to rather questionable lengths to avoid compliance with the law it drafted,” Vining said.

Laws for thee, but not for me. Representative David Vitter has attempted to shed light on this practice, but his efforts were blocked. The story was posted at rightwinggranny.com in May of this year. Every Congressman who claimed to have forty-five staff members and actually does not should be sent packing immediately.

Showing My Cynicism

The Hill is reporting today that New York Senator Charles Schumer will not support President Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran. Sorry about my cynicism, but I suspect that decision was made after a careful calculation that the treaty would be approved without his vote. I also expect that if enough Democrats refuse to support the treaty and Senator Schumer‘s vote is needed, he will somehow have a change of heart. Nevertheless, The Hill is reporting that he will not support the treaty.

Meanwhile, Fox News reported yesterday:

The shadowy Iranian Quds Force commander Qassem Soleimani recently visited Moscow to meet with senior Russian leaders, according to two Western intelligence sources, despite a travel ban and U.N. Security Council resolutions barring him from leaving Iran. 

On July 24, one week before Secretary of State John Kerry testified to the Senate Armed Services Committee and faced questions about the newly struck nuclear deal, Soleimani arrived in Moscow for meetings with Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and President Vladimir Putin. It was not immediately clear what the Iranian leader discussed, but the revelation comes as the United Nations and European Union arms embargo against Iran is slated to be lifted in five years as part of the comprehensive nuclear agreement announced July 14 from Vienna. 

No Senator who takes his Oath of Office seriously can honestly vote for the Iranian treaty. However, I suspect it will pass. Democrats tend to stick together, even when it involves jumping off a cliff.

Is This Even Legal?

The National Review posted a story today about the nuclear deal with Iran. In the story, Fred Fleitz, the author, reports on two aspects of the deal with Iran that were not going to be made public (or available to Congress or other nations).

The article reports:

Senator Tom Cotton (R., Ark.) and Congressmen Mike Pompeo (R., Kan.) issued a press release yesterday on a startling discovery they made during a July 17 meeting with International Atomic Energy Agency officials in Vienna: There are two secret side deals to the nuclear agreement with Iran that will not be shared with other nations, with Congress, or with the U.S. public. One of these side deals concerns inspection of the Parchin military base, where Iran reportedly has conducted explosive testing related to nuclear-warhead development. The Iranian government has refused to allow the IAEA to visit this site. Over the last several years, Iran has taken steps to clean up evidence of weapons-related activity at Parchin. 

The other side deal relates to the possible military dimensions (PMDs) of Iran’s nuclear program. Evidently the PMD issue is not resolved. In 2013, Iran agreed to answer International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) questions about work in weapons-related areas, but has not actually answered the questions.

This is a copy of part of the press release issued by Senator Cotton and Congressman Pompeo:

According to the IAEA, the Iran agreement negotiators, including the Obama administration, agreed that the IAEA and Iran would forge separate arrangements to govern the inspection of the Parchin military complex — one of the most secretive military facilities in Iran — and how Iran would satisfy the IAEA’s outstanding questions regarding past weaponization work. Both arrangements will not be vetted by any organization other than Iran and the IAEA, and will not be released even to the nations that negotiated the JCPOA [Iran nuclear agreement]. This means that the secret arrangements have not been released for public scrutiny and have not been submitted to Congress as part of its legislatively mandated review of the Iran deal. 

Do we need any more reasons to reject this treaty?

 

 

This Is Just Ugly

Yesterday CBS News reported that the deal with Iran negotiated by America, Russia, France, China, the United Kingdom and Germany will be voted on by the United Nations Security Council on Monday. Since five of the countries who negotiated the treaty with Iran are permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, it is fairly certain the agreement will be adopted.

The article reports:

CBS News foreign affairs analyst Pamela Falk says the resolution will make the Iran nuclear deal international law, but will delay its official implementation for 90 days, to allow for the U.S. Congress’ consideration.

Falk explained that while Congress cannot block the implementation of the deal, if the legislative body votes against it and has enough votes to override a promised veto from President Obama, it is not clear what would happen next.

Whether Congress approves the treaty or not, it goes into effect internationally. Whatever happened to America? First of all, even if Congress votes against the treaty, the treaty goes into effect worldwide. So where is American sovereignty? Second of all, why do we need Congress if the Senate’s role to advise and consent to treaties has been taken out of the equation.

The article concludes:

If U.S. lawmakers were to decide after Monday’s vote that they wanted changes to the terms of the agreement, it would essentially be too late, because it would require the Security Council to propose a new resolution — and there would likely be little appetite for such deliberations among the other negotiating partners.

The chairman of the Senate’s foreign relations committee, Bob Corker, on Thursday wrote a letter to President Obama saying, “We urge you to postpone the vote at the United Nations until after Congress considers this agreement.”

But the chief U.S. negotiator in the Iran talks, Wendy Sherman, rejected that idea Thursday.

She told reporters: “It would have been a little difficult when all of the (countries negotiating with Iran) wanted to go to the United Nations to get an endorsement of this, since it is a product of the United Nations process, for us to say, ‘Well, excuse me, the world, you should wait for the United States Congress.'”

Sherman said the council resolution allows the “time and space” for a congressional review before the measure actually takes effect.

America has become internationally irrelevant.

This Would Be So Much Easier If We Would Just Get Back To Basics

Andrew McCarthy posted an article at the National Review today about the recently announced nuclear treaty with Iran. Yes, it is a treaty.

This is the lead paragraph from the article:

It is time to end the Kabuki theater. The Corker Bill and its ballyhooed 60-day review process that undermines the Constitution is a sideshow. If you scrutinize President Obama’s Iran nuclear deal, you find that the president ignores the existence of the Corker process. So should Congress.

So what does the U.S. Constitution say about treaties?

“The President… shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur….

ARTICLE II, SECTION 2, CLAUSE 2

The deal with Iran is a treaty. It needs to be treated as such.

The article further reports:

Obama’s Iran deal also ignores the existence of Congress itself – at least, of the United States Congress. As I’ve previously detailed (piggy-backing on characteristically perceptive analysis by AEI’s Fred Kagan), the deal does expressly defer to the Iranian Congress, conceding that key Iranian duties are merely provisional until the jihadist regime’s parliament, the Majlis, has an opportunity to review them as required by Iran’s sharia constitution. The United States Constitution, however, is a nullity in the eyes and actions of this imperial White House.

There is no way America should ever defer to any other constitution, much less one subject to Sharia Law.

Let’s get back to the guidelines set forth in the U.S. Constitution, which is supposed to be the ‘supreme law of the land’ in America. It is time we got acquainted with what it says and got back to following it.

Please read the entire article. It contains a few very good suggestions on how Congress can limit the damage that will be caused by the current nuclear deal with Iran. The question is whether or not Congress will have the backbone to stand up for America.

The Government Is Now Controlling Your Water

This was posted on YouTube yesterday. This law was not passed by Congress–it came from the unelected officials at the Environmental Protection Agency. It is time for Congress to assume its proper role of legislating–not ceding that role to the members of the Executive Branch.

The House Of Representatives Gets It Right

The Hill posted a story today about a bi-partisan group in the House of Representatives who have sponsored a bill stating that all trade deals would have to be made publicly available for 60 days before they could be approved using fast-track authority.

The article reports:

“Today it [trade promotion authority (TPA)] has become more of a blank check for the executive and turned Congress into little more than a rubber stamp,” Kaptur said. “This legislation calls for an end to this dangerous and irresponsible approach and replaces it with sunlight in the form of public access and accountability.”

The House is expected to vote on fast-track as early as Thursday, and opponents have argued that the administration is not providing enough transparency on the deals it is negotiating. 

Members of Congress have only been allowed to review text of the emerging Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal in a classified setting. 

Congress has a role to play in reviewing trade deals and treaties. The U.S. Constitution includes that review in its list of Congressional duties. It really is time those in power in Washington began to follow the U.S. Constitution.