Refusing To Continue A Practice That Was Abused

Townhall posted an article this morning stating that the House Freedom Caucus will refuse to reauthorize the FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) court unless serious reforms are made. The FISA court was the vehicle used by the Obama administration to spy on the Trump campaign and the early days of the Trump administration. The authorization to spy was gained by misleading the court, specifically by omitting the fact that Carter Page was a CIA asset–not a Russian asset and omitting the fact that Joseph Mifsud was an American asset–not a Russian spy.

The article reports:

Members of the House Freedom Caucus released a statement Wednesday morning vowing to vote against any reauthorization of the FISA court unless serious and substantial changes are made to the spying program. 

“Members of the Freedom Caucus have long called for reforms to FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act). Recent revelations that FISA was severely and repeatedly used to spy on a presidential campaign are beyond the pale—if the government can misuse this system to spy on a presidential campaign, they can surely do it to any other American citizen,” members of the caucus said. “As Congress considers reauthorizing FISA, anything short of significant and substantive reforms would betray the trust of the American people. The House Freedom Caucus will oppose any bill that does not meet a Constitutional standard for the protections of American citizens’ rights. We will also oppose any ‘clean’, short-term reauthorization of the current, harmful version of FISA.”

Members of the Freedom Caucus include House Oversight Committee Ranking member Jim Jordan, Paul Gosar, Louie Gohmert, Matt Gaetz, Chip Roy and other long time critics of FISA. 

The FISA court was misused by the Obama administration, and unless it is seriously reformed, could easily be used for political purposes again. There needs to be a limitation so that the court could only use surveillance on foreign citizens–not Americans. Unfortunately, FISA misuse was one of many traps set in place by the Obama administration to hinder the progress of the Trump administration.

The article continues:

“Enhanced penalties for abusing the system and additional layers of certification from the Department of Justice and the FBI are insufficient to gain our support, particularly when, to date, no one has been charged with a crime for previous abuses,” the statement continues. “A proposal for additional scrutiny when elected officials and candidates are the target of investigations similarly misses the point: politicians don’t need more protection from government spying than their fellow citizens. More fundamental changes to standards of evidence and process that mirror as closely as possible our Article III courts are needed to gain our support.”

Yesterday the House reached a compromise on how to move a bill, sponsored by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, forward for reauthorization of the program. It does not reform the system that was used as a political weapon against President Trump in 2016 and well into his presidency.

Until people are held accountable for past abuses of FISA, it should not be reauthorized.

I Would Rather See The Government Shut Down Than See The Current Budget Bill Pass

I would like to remind Republicans that they were sent to Washington to shrink the size of government and reduce spending. If they choose not to do that, I will gladly vote to replace them with people who will. On Wednesday night, a $1.3 trillion budget plan was introduced. The proposal does not include many of the things the Republicans that were sent to Congress promised–there is funding for Planned Parenthood, funding for Sanctuary cities, and there is very limited funding for a border wall. The bill also does not include any remedy for the DACA children, which is something the Democrats said they wanted (I don’t think they wanted a solution–I think they wanted the issue). It is a bad bill. Not only is it a bad bill–it was introduced in a manner that does not allow anyone to analyze it properly.

In an article posted yesterday Breitbart points out:

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) struck a deal in February to increase domestic and military spending by nearly $300 billion over the next two years. The bill includes an additional $90 billion in disaster aid for states and localities affected by last year’s hurricanes and $140 billion for emergency military funds.

Jason Pye, vice president of legislative affairs for FreedomWorks, said, “Republicans don’t know how to stop spending money.”

Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL), a member of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, told Breitbart News in an exclusive interview that our national debt has skyrocketed in recent years to untenable levels.

“This year, we’re looking at a deficit of $750 to $1 trillion. Next year, the estimate is $1 trillion or more. I have to wonder if there is any way that we can avoid a national insolvency or bankruptcy.”

House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows (R-NC) lamented in an interview with Breitbart News Daily on Tuesday that the “Senate Democrats seem to be calling most of the shots.”

A report on Monday suggested that the omnibus spending bill will not include a bailout of Obamacare.

Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), another member of the House Freedom Caucus, suggested that a number of liberal policies will be included in the omnibus, without any substantial border wall funding.

Jordan said, “Planned Parenthood, Gateway Bridge, Planned Parenthood, trillion dollar deficit, and no wall.”

This is a bad bill, and Congress should be forced to go back to the drawing board and cut spending. I don’t care if the government shuts down–they need to get it right.

The Government Envisioned by Carroll Quigley Has Come To Pass

We are here:

“The argument that the two parties should represent opposed ideals and policies, one, perhaps, of the Right and the other of the Left, is a foolish idea acceptable only to doctrinaire and academic thinkers. Instead, the two parties should be almost identical, so that the American people can ‘throw the rascals out’ at any election without leading to any profound or extensive shifts in policy” (Georgetown University Professor Carroll Quigley, Tragedy and Hope, 1966.)

The dream of Carroll Quigley has come true. We have reached the point where it does no good to simply ‘throw the rascals out.’ We tried that in 2016, and nothing has changed. On Sunday night, Republicans and Democrats in Congress put together a spending bill that would fund the government through September. It is truly a bad bill that does not respect the wishes of the voters in the 2016 election.

Fox News reported today:

The proposed legislation has no funding for Trump’s oft-promised wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, but does set aside $1.5 billion for border security measures such as additional detention beds. It does give Trump a $12.5 billion down payment on his request to strengthen the military, a figure which could rise to $15 billion should Trump present Congress with a plan for fighting the Islamic State terror group. The proposed $15 billion amounts to half of Trump’s original $30 billion request.

…The House and Senate have until 11:59 p.m. Friday to approve the bill, which would avert a government shutdown. If passed, the catchall spending bill would be the first major piece of bipartisan legislation to advance during Trump’s short tenure in the White House. The measure is assured of winning bipartisan support in votes this week, but it’s unclear how much support the measure will receive from GOP conservatives and how warmly it will be received by the White House.

Democratic votes will be needed to pass the measure even though Republicans control both the White House and Congress. The minority party has been actively involved in the talks, which appear headed to produce a lowest common denominator measure that won’t look too much different than the deal that could have been struck on Obama’s watch last year.

Breitbart posted an article today quoting Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), the vice chairman of the House Freedom Caucus:

Jordan argued the entire point of doing a short-term spending bill last year was to get the government through until the next administration took office. Then, he explained Republicans in a GOP-controlled federal government would have the opportunity to fight for their priorities.

“Why did we last fall do a short-term spending bill if we weren’t going to actually fight for the things we told the voters we were going to fight for?” he said. “So we’d have been, I mean if this is the deal we’re going to get it seems to me we should have just did the bill for the whole year. But we specifically held the vote for; we did a short-term spending bill for this time so that when Republicans controlled the government, we could actually do the things we campaigned on. This bill doesn’t seem to do that. Plus it maintains Chris this idea that for every new dollar you spend in defense money you’ve got to give the Democrats more money in non-defense. That’s again not what we campaigned on. So I’m disappointed. We’ll see how it plays out this week. But I think you’re going to see conservatives have some real concerns with this legislation.

We might want to remember that the first rule of Saul Alinsky‘s Rules for Radicals is:

“Power is not only what you have, but what the enemy thinks you have.” Power is derived from 2 main sources – money and people. “Have-Nots” must build power from flesh and blood.

Part of the problem here is that the Democrats have convinced the Republicans that if the Democrats shut down the government, the Republicans will somehow be blamed for the shutdown. Because of the mainstream media’s support of the Democrats, that is the way it will be spun, but many Americans are looking past the spin.

This budget bill is a major mistake for Congressional Republicans. They need to look at the votes lost by the Democratic Party in elections over the past decade and understand that if the Republican Party continues in the direction they seem to be currently going, they will also lose voters. If the Republicans ignore the results of the 2016 election and the popularity of Donald Trump because he stood for change, there will be a successful third party within a decade.

 

Some Republicans Discover Their Spine

The war between the conservative Republicans and the establishment Republicans has been going on for some time. It has been obvious at all levels of the party. The problem is that most of the energy in the party is coming from the conservatives, so the establishment Republicans need them. The establishment Republicans love the conservatives when it is time to put boots on the ground during the election season, but other than that, most of the establishment simply wishes that the conservatives would go away. This is very evident in Washington when elected conservatives are stymied when they try to do what the people that elected them elected them to do. Sometimes being a conservative Republican can be very frustrating. I left the Democrat party because they had no room for conservatives. I can’t leave the Republican party because there is no place for me to go.

Today’s Washington Examiner posted an article that should provide hope for conservatives who wonder why they bother to elect Congressmen.

The article reports:

Dozens of members of the House GOP’s most conservative faction plan to meet Tuesday to discuss ways to counteract the decision of House Speaker John Boehner and other leaders to seek retribution against members who vote against must-pass measures.

The House Freedom Caucus, a GOP group made up of about 40 of the most conservative members, plans to hold the discussion some time after Tuesday’s evening votes, according to lawmakers familiar with the initiative.

It’s about time.

The article explains what caused the House Freedom Caucus to go into action:

The latest punishment was handed down to Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., for voting against an important procedural resolution to advance “Fast Track” trade legislation the GOP is eager to pass. Meadows last week was stripped of his chairmanship of the House Oversight Government Operations subcommittee.

“So, Mark Meadows, a good man, a good friend, and what they did to him is exactly wrong, and there are a number of us who are fed up with it,” Jordan (Freedom Caucus Chairman Jim Jordan, R-Ohio) said on the Laura Ingraham show. “And we are looking for ways that we can say, hey, we are going to stay with Mark and be as helpful as we possibly can.”

The first mistake the conservatives made at the beginning of the legislative session was to reelect the previous leaders. If you want serious change, it is a good idea to change leaders.

The article concludes:

Lawmakers who are being punished say the leadership is trying to force them to vote against what they believe is best for their constituents, who have flooded their offices with calls and emails in opposition to the trade legislation. Meadows and other Republicans opposed to the trade bill believe the trade bill would cede too much power to the executive branch and would facilitate trade deals that would cause U.S. job losses.

“There is no honor in bowing to a bully,” Meadows told the Examiner. “There is only fighting the good fight and whether you win or lose, I am willing to do my best to represent the people who elected me.”

It is definitely time for new Republican leadership in Congress.