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 WallStreetDaily.com 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 WesternJournalism.com.

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

Sarah Palin Just Called The Last Group Of People You Would Ever Expect A Bunch Of “Yahoos”

Photo Credit: Therealbs2002 (Creative Commons)

In an interview published Friday, former Republican Governor Sarah Palin of Alaska sharply criticized members of Congress for voting for the $1.1 trillion “CROmnibus” bill that funds most of the government through September, saying the measure “stinks to high heaven.”

Palin told Breitbart News that “It was tough going up against Obama’s lapdogs in the media and the power liberals have to play their politics of personal destruction against common sense conservatives.” The bill, which passed in the House 219-206, is expected to be taken up by the Senate late Friday.

“It stinks to high heaven. Did arrogant politicians not get the memo that Obama’s agenda was decisively defeated in last month’s historic midterm landslide? Good Lord, America said loud and clear not just ‘no’ but ‘hell no’ to Obama’s failed policies. Americans who pay attention said absolutely no to Obama’s amnesty for illegal aliens.

She continued: “It’s baffling really. The Republican leadership in the House just flipped American voters the bird by sidelining the new Congress we just elected.”

“I want the names of all 162 yahoos who would squander the opportunity to respect the will of the people and get America on the right track. Please print their names so we can ask them, ‘What the heck are you thinking?!’”

“And thank you to the 67 House Republicans who did vote no. Let’s remind everyone of their names also,” Palin added. The former Alaska Governor, or anyone else reading at the time, can find the entire roll of who voted for the bill and how here.

As a result of the bill’s passage through the lower chamber, Palin also called for Speaker Boehner to be replaced in January. “It’s time for new energy and steel-spined commitment to stop Obama’s bizarre behavior against this country!” she said.

“Surely there are more of us than not who know that our Founders’ memory, our vets, and our children deserve better than what we’re underneath today. Keep the faith that there more of us than there are of them who think broken campaign promises are just dandy.”

 

H/T Breitbart

Photo Credit: Therealbs2002 (Creative Commons)

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

House Chooses New Cold War With Russia

Photo credit: speaker.gov

Last week, the US House voted overwhelmingly in favor of an anti-Russia resolution so full of war propaganda that it rivals the rhetoric from the chilliest era of the Cold War. Ironically, much of the bill condemns Russia for doing exactly what the US government has been doing for years in Syria and Ukraine!

For example, one of the reasons to condemn Russia in the resolution is the claim that Russia is imposing economic sanctions on Ukraine. But how many rounds of sanctions has the US government imposed on Russia for much of the past year? I guess sanctions are only bad when used by countries Washington doesn’t like.

The resolution condemns Russia for selling weapons to the Assad government in Syria. But the US has been providing weapons to the rebels in Syria for several years, with many going to terrorist groups like al-Qaeda and ISIS that the US is currently bombing!

The resolution condemns what it claims is a Russian invasion of Ukraine (for which it offers no proof) and Russian violation of Ukrainian sovereignty. But it was the US, by backing a coup against the democratically elected Yanukovich government in February, that first violated that country’s sovereignty. And as far as a military presence in Ukraine, it is the US that has openly sent in special forces and other military advisors to assist the government there. How many times have top US military and CIA officials visited Kiev to offer advice (and probably a lot more)?

The resolution condemns Russia for what it claims are attempts to “illicitly acquire information” about the US government. But we learned from the Snowden revelations that the NSA is spying on most of the rest of the world, including our allies! How can the US claim the moral authority to condemn such actions in others?

The resolution attacks Russian state-funded media, claiming that they “distort public opinion.” At the same time, the bill demands that the thousands of US state-funded media outlets step up their programming to that part of the world! It also seeks “appropriate responses” to Russian media influence in the rest of the world. That should be understood to mean that US diplomats would exert pressure on foreign countries to shut down television networks like RT.

The resolution condemns what it claims is Russia’s provision of weapons to the Russian-speaking eastern part of Ukraine, which seeks closer ties with Russia, while demanding that the US government start providing weapons to its proxies on the other side.

As I have said, this is one of the worst pieces of legislation I can remember. And trust me, I have seen some pretty bad bills. It is nothing but war propaganda, and it will likely lead to all sorts of unintended consequences.

Only ten Members — five from each party — opposed this reckless resolution. Probably most of those who voted in favor did not bother to read the bill. Others who read it and still voted in favor may have calculated that the bill would not come up in the Senate. So they could vote yes and please the hawks in their districts — and more importantly remain in good graces of the hawks who run foreign policy in Washington — without having to worry about the consequences if the bill became law.

Whatever the case, we must keep an eye on those Members of Congress who vote to take us closer to war with Russia. We should thank those ten Members who were able to resist the war propaganda. The hawks in Washington believe that last month’s election gave them free rein to start more wars. Now, more than ever, they must be challenged!

Photo credit: speaker.gov

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

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

Photo credit: johnboehner.house.gov

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 WallStreetDaily.com and is reprinted here with permission. 

Photo credit: johnboehner.house.gov

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

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

This One Thing Could Put Americans In Grave Danger, And Obama Can’t Make Up His Mind About It

CIA

U.S. Marines are on heightened alert. So are the CIA, DHS, Congressional security details, even the Secret Service at the White House.

CNN tells us why tensions are running high in Washington and at U.S. facilities around the world:

They’re all geared up for possible reaction to the Senate Intelligence Committee’s $50 million investigation of Bush-era CIA interrogation tactics on detainees in the years after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Administration critics argue that President Obama is trying to have it both ways — claiming to be concerned that the release of the highly controversial report could lead to real trouble for America — yet, at the same time, saying he supports its being made public.

In his briefing on Tuesday, White House spokesman Josh Earnest revealed for reporters what appears to many to be the self-contradictory nature of Obama’s position:

Via usatoday.com:

“There are some indications that the release of the report could lead to a greater risk that is posed to U.S. facilities and individuals all around the world,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest said Monday.

“The president believes that, on principle, it’s important to release that report, so that people around the world and people here at home understand exactly what transpired,” Earnest said.

The Democrat in charge of the U.S. Senate committee that’s making the long-awaited report public is California’s Dianne Feinstein, who will soon be replaced in her committee leadership role by an incoming GOP senator.

There are those who argue that Feinstein and her fellow Democrats on the panel are determined to rush the report out of Congress before the Republicans take control in January.

By clicking on the video above, you can watch a CNN piece on the Senate report, the intense controversy surrounding it, and the potential for trouble that its release could introduce.

 

Photo Credit: twitter

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