Cyber Security Proposals Threaten Privacy

Obama on Cuban Relations

In the name of fighting against cyber attacks, Barack Obama wants to change the rules that protect your personal data. You see, the real motherlode of data on Americans currently sits in private hands.

But Obama wants to move the data into the claws of law enforcement agencies.

The goal is to have private sector companies give even more information to the government, in exchange for protection against lawsuits for the misuse of data.

It’s a beneficial deal for the companies and the government, but what this deal implies for the consumer is downright frightening…

The leading privacy advocates were aghast at Obama’s latest moves against online privacy.

In a statement criticizing the Obama proposal, the Electronic Frontier Foundation said: “Introducing information-sharing proposals with broad liability protections, increasing penalties under the already-draconian Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, and potentially decreasing the protections granted to consumers under state data breach law are both unnecessary and unwelcomed. The status quo of overweening national security and law enforcement secrecy means that expanded information-sharing poses a serious risk of transferring more personal information to intelligence and law enforcement agencies.”

The False Solution for a True Problem

Cyber security is a real problem, but the biggest threats are outside the country. Hackers from Russia and China are threatening private firms and public networks via the internet. Instead of beefing up security against these threats, the Obama team wants to broadly collect more data on generally law-abiding American citizens.

In the internet world, this is akin to having the TSA search your 85-year-old grandma at the airport. The focus is all wrong.

If you clearly analyze the myriad proposals affecting the internet from the Obama administration, they all have one common denominator: they give the federal government more control over private activity and citizens.

Another frightening proposal is pending at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), one that would declare data networks to be public utilities. Reason being, once again, to give the government (in this case, the FCC) dramatically more power over internet providers.

Adding insult to injury, a third proposal uses the FCC to strike down laws in the states that prohibit government agencies from building broadband networks to compete against private firms. Obama and his team love the idea of socializing the internet by putting networks in the hands of local governments.

Bottom line: Should these three proposals pass, they’ll dramatically change the way the internet works. Government as the guardian of your private data? Check. Government as regulator of all private internet providers? Check. And finally, the government actually providing your internet access.

A government in control of all cyber space is slowly taking shape. Consider yourself warned.


This commentary originally appeared at and is reprinted here with permission.

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom

Obama’s Foreign Policy Blunders To Explode

Photo credit: Navajo Nation Washington Office (Flickr)

When it comes to foreign policy, 2014 might have seemed unstable. But the actual shooting wars were well contained.

As we look forward to 2015, however, the landscape looks more chaotic than ever.

Let’s take a tour through the top five foreign policy blunders that are about to erupt over the coming months…

Blunder #1: Iran. When Obama entered office, the containment of Iran was a primary objective of American policy. Iran was using Russian and North Korean technology to become a nuclear power with a stated objective of ending the “Jewish” occupation of Palestine.

Iran’s nuclear program is an existential threat that Israel cannot (and should not) allow. 2015 is the year Israel moves unilaterally to end this threat.

Obama has been trying to coax Iran to give up its nuclear ambitions through diplomacy. This has been an adventure in naivety. To his surprise, Obama’s coaxing has only given Iran the time and ability it needed to consolidate its technological gains.

Expect Iran to become a flashpoint in 2015.

Blunder #2: Syria. Next up is Syria. (Iran and Russia are involved here, also.) Bashar al-Assad has hung on as Syrian President against all odds. His civil war, which began as a legitimate democracy movement, metastasized into the Islamic State.

If Obama had left well enough alone and not encouraged jihadi warriors with his support of the Arab Spring, then Assad would have likely never seen his country disintegrate. We’re now in Syria fighting – essentially, with Assad – because of Obama’s earlier bloopers.

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Blunder #3: Iraq. The Islamic State also was greatly helped by Obama’s premature withdrawal from Iraq. Iraq has suffered under unbelievable incompetence by both Bush and Obama.

Bush should have never dissolved the Iraqi Army. And just as a new one was finally taking shape, Obama left the field, and they disintegrated (this time on the battlefield).

Blunder #4: Ukraine. Circle around to Ukraine, and you see Obama pushing Russia up against the wall with economic sanctions and military aggressiveness within sight of their border. How would America feel if Russia made a deal with Mexico to station Russian tanks on our southern border?

Ukraine deserves freedom, but real freedom will result not from economic sanctions and blustering talk. The country suffered horribly in 2014. Its currency has lost half of its value. Food and medicine are scarce; and in parts of the country, a live shooting war is taking place.

Vladimir Putin shouldn’t shoulder all of the blame. Putin has been aggressive and has tried to look strong, but he’s Russian and proud. The way to deal with Russia is how Reagan handled the situation. Be firm, but also extend the hand of friendship. Eternal economic sanctions only hurt the lower classes. The elites never feel the pain.

Blunder #5: Asia. Asia also has some really urgent problems. Rhetoric is heating up between India and Pakistan. These two nuclear powers just can’t keep from fighting. Essentially, it boils down to a religious war between Islamic Pakistan and the Hindu-influenced Indian government.

Obama has ignored Pakistan and encouraged instability there by using a highly destabilizing drone policy in which the United States insists it has the right to kill people inside of other sovereign nations. This is a policy fraught with unintended future consequences (none of them good).

Bottom line: I hope you’re prepared… Any of these Obama failures has the ability to spin out of control and strike U.S. financial markets – creating uncertainty, which limits economic growth and the future of peace.


This commentary originally appeared at and is reprinted here with permission. 

Photo credit: Navajo Nation Washington Office (Flickr)

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom

Syria Causing Heated Debate On Capitol Hill

Photo credit: Navajo Nation Washington Office (Flickr)

The big debate before the Committee on Foreign Relations is an authorization for the use of military force (AUMF) in Syria.

Under normal circumstances, this would involve the Obama administration sending Congress a draft AUMF resolution and requesting its passage.

These types of resolutions are required under the War Powers Act, and have largely replaced the constitutionally required Declaration of War.

But Obama has sent nothing to Congress.

He seems to believe the open-ended resolution that was passed in 2002 – giving President Bush the authorization to oust Saddam Hussein – still gives him enough power to push ahead with war in Syria.

So, as Senate Democrats are rushing to pass one of these resolutions before Republicans take control of the Committee (and the U.S. Senate) in January, what can we expect to happen?

Not Another Iraq…

Democrat Robert Menendez of New Jersey (Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Relations for the next few weeks) wants any resolution to contain clear boundaries on troop deployments and a limited timeframe–the main reason being the Democrats’ frustration with the open-ended resolution Bush had on Iraq.

On December 10, Secretary of State John Kerry was on Capitol Hill arguing against the restriction. And here’s what he said before the Committee: “The fact is that we’re going to continue this operation, because the president and the administration are absolutely convinced – and I respect your opinion – [that] we have the authority.”

Translation: They believe they don’t need Congress’ okay.

In hindsight, it’s ironic that both Obama and Kerry held different opinions when they were in the U.S. Senate. As Senators, both were actively trying to limit President Bush’s actions as Commander-in-Chief.

Unconstitutional Moves?

At this point, the fight is primarily within the Democratic Party. Most Republicans are sitting on the sidelines because they believe the U.S. President has wide latitude to make his own decisions concerning the use of force. Heck, the majority of Republicans would give even Barack Obama a blank check to run the war anyway he pleases.

While the Republicans are mum, one stands alone – Rand Paul. And his position is much more principled. Paul believes we don’t need an AUMF resolution, but a full-blown Declaration of War (as mandated by the U.S. Constitution) before Obama moves forward.

At the same hearing… Paul said, “The Constitution is quite clear that this responsibility lies with Congress… For four or five months, we’ve been derelict in our duty… [and] I think this president has been derelict.”

So there’s the real division in D.C.: Both the Democrats and Republicans disregard the Constitution’s call for a Declaration of War – happy to settle with an AUMF. Obama has even less care for the rule of law, as he doesn’t even want a new AUMF.

And yet, only the Tea Party Constitutionalist Rand Paul wants a Declaration of War. And by the look of things, he’s completely outnumbered.


This commentary originally appeared at and is reprinted here with permission. 

Photo credit: Navajo Nation Washington Office (Flickr)

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom

Boehner Just Broke A Promise To Americans, And It Will Have Obama Grinning From Ear To Ear

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Since he became Speaker of the House, John Boehner has made many promises – one of which involved giving House Members ample time to read bills before they were passed.

Well, he just abandoned his pledge…

The House of Representatives is getting dangerously close to voting on the passage of a gigantic, trillion-dollar spending package – and the bill hasn’t even been presented yet!

Indeed, the bill makes the Oxford comprehensive dictionary look like a small paperback; yet members of Congress will likely have less than 24 hours to digest the information and make an “informed” decision.

Come crunch time, will members be tempted to bypass reading the bill before voting?

Congress in a Tight Squeeze?

At the time of this writing, the bill was scheduled to be released on Monday or Tuesday; and a vote will be held today. Nobody will have time to read what they’re voting on. Hundreds of Republican Members have repeatedly promised to read bills before they vote. Any voting for this bill will break that promise.

I wish I could tell you exactly how long the bill is, but we don’t know the exact page count. We also don’t know the total dollar amount, or which programs will be cut and added.

But here’s what we do know: Boehner has once again put Congress between a rock and a hard place – pretty much turning its members’ hands to let the bill slide through legislation.

You see, legislation is a messy business in the best of times; and Boehner’s stewardship has made it worse. Conservative budget hawk Rep. Tim Huelskamp of Kansas explained Boehner’s moves this way: “Here we are doing the appropriations bill the last couple days” before a government shutdown, and “that’s not to squeeze Harry Reid. That’s to squeeze us.”

Plain and simple, Boehner is putting the hammer to anyone trying to limit government spending and foster fiscal responsibility. After all, his main objective is to deliver Barack Obama a spending plan to his liking. And he’s made it clear that the Republicans in his caucus need to toe the Obama line.

At least conservatives are seeing Boehner’s actions for exactly what they are…

Rep. Walter Jones of North Carolina told the publication, The Hill, why Boehner is pushing so hard and punishing dissenters that don’t go along: “They don’t want you to read it, that’s why! You think they want you to analyze all the mischievous items in there? I think it’s aimed at screwing over the American people. You can quote me on that.”

The Fine Print Spells “Failure”

Instead of putting strong language in the bill against Obama’s Immigration Executive Action that would guarantee Republican support, Boehner is counting on Democrats to help him pass this massive piece of legislation.

And since it funds all of Barack Obama’s legislative priorities from Obamacare to a Homeland Securities Immigration rewrite, Nancy Pelosi has signaled (like Harry Reid) that she will provide votes to Boehner to get the job done.

Think about it: Why is Boehner doing the work of his political opponent? And, furthermore, why is Democratic Senate Leader Harry Reid so excited to help John Boehner violate his previous pledges?

You see, lame-duck sessions of Congress are notorious for being when the Washington power elite get most of their dirty work done. Members who know they’ll be out of a job come January are only too happy to ingratiate themselves with the powers’ structure and vote for bills they otherwise would reject if they had to face the voters again.

It’s a very poor situation; John Boehner should be ashamed. And Republicans supporting this spending plan should face primary opponents in two years.


This commentary originally appeared at and is reprinted here with permission. 

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The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom

Is America Facing Another Government Shutdown?

Photo credit: Talk Radio News Service (Flickr)

When a commentator says that government spending is out of control and on autopilot, today’s reader becomes bored and moves on to a different article.

I’ve personally been pounding the table with this message since my commentary became a part of Wall Street Daily nearly two years ago.

But it’s different this time…

You see, Congress and Obama are venturing off into dangerous territory – leaving little time before America self-implodes.

I need you to read carefully to understand what’s happening…

Losing Control

Spending used to be the most significant part of government oversight conducted by the U.S. Congress.

But over the years, Congress has given up more and more authority and responsibility to the executive branch and the courts. Today, members of Congress have a mere shadow of the authority they once wielded.

The reason is simple: Members of Congress do nothing but campaign. The next election starts the morning after one election is won.

And in today’s high-stakes campaigning environment, issue management is supreme.

John Boehner is a master of issue management, which has made him extremely successful as Speaker of the House. Basically, John Boehner is good at keeping members of Congress from having to take tough votes.

Congress still has plenty of votes. In fact, Congress is always voting. But the votes involve secondary issues or measures that have no chance of final passage.

These are nothing more than feel-good votes – and Congressmen know that they’re just for show.

Think about it… you’ve surely heard a member of Congress say, “I’ve voted to repeal Obamacare 400 times.”

These were all stage-managed votes that everyone knew had no meaning. These are essentially a waste of time, but they make great theater and are part of an extensive issue management regime.

Every issue possible is pushed to the administration or the courts for the real decisions. If Congress makes no decisions, then it has no responsibility. If it has no responsibility, then it can look the voter in the eyes and say: “Isn’t it terrible what Barack Obama did on immigration, but I have no power to stop it. But if you send me back for another two years, I will do my best to stop it this time.”

Going in Circles

Now that you understand how Congress has been managed for the last decade, let me explain how this works with spending.

When I came to Washington 30 years ago, powerful committee chairmen ruled over government by passing spending or appropriations bills. These bills are a part of history.

Today, we’re ruled by the omnibus spending bill. This year, the bill was called the “Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2014”; and it was signed by Barack Obama on January 17.

Like the Groundhog Day movie, it’s all set to start again. Another one of these monster bills (which no one really reads or understands) has to pass before December 11, or the government shuts down again. Our U.S. government has become so dysfunctional that only one significant vote is made each year.

A gun is pointed at the U.S. Congress’ head, and it’s told to repeat everything the way it was done last year; or “I [Barack Obama] will veto the bill… and you, Congress, will be responsible for the government going out of business.”

Obama doesn’t shut down government; Congress does (so says the media.) So we have this impasse, and governance suffers. No changes can be made, no adjustments considered.

It’s just one gigantic bill from hell that will rule America another year.


This commentary originally appeared at and is reprinted here with permission. 

Photo credit: Talk Radio News Service (Flickr)

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom