Can Obama Make A Deal With Iran?

Recently, the United Nations Security Council endorsed the landmark nuclear deal between Iran and six world powers. They also adopted a series of measures leading to the end of U.N. sanctions on the country.

Senator Mark Kirk, R-Ill. weighed in, calling the plan to “preempt” Congress’ review with a Security Council vote a “breathtaking assault on American sovereignty and Congressional prerogative. ”

Obama told reporters he’s hopeful Congress “will pay attention to that broad-based consensus” of the U.N.

But even if Congress votes down the deal, Obama has vowed to veto their legislation.

Many Americans are concerned for a variety of different reasons. There is the fear that if Congress doesn’t agree to the terms, America will have no inspections, no control over Iran. Another grave concern is the potential threat to American allies in the Middle East, and even the Islamic threat to America.

All these concerns make for great discussions, headlines, and shouting matches; and no doubt we have experienced all of the above.

But isn’t the real question “how did our Framers instruct America’s government to deal with treaties between other nations?”

Article 2, Section 2 of the Constitution states: “He (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”.

Finally, Article 6 requires that Treaties must be made under the authority of the United States.

President George Washington warned us in his farewell address: “Against the insidious wiles of foreign influence…the jealousy of a free people ought to be constantly awake, since history and experience prove that foreign influence is one of the most baneful foes of the republican government.”

If all the President had to do to bypass Congress and the Constitution is create a treaty with the U.N., then whose country would this be?  It certainly would no longer remain the country of “We the People,” where God-given rights are secure.

So to answer my title question, “Can Obama make a deal with Iran?” Well, yes, but that is his deal, not the deal of these United States; and it has absolutely no authority over our elected representatives or We the People.

 

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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 WesternJournalism.com.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth

What Just Happened In The House Could Make Planned Parenthood’s Worst Nightmare A Reality

She’s been trying for years to stop the flow of federal funds to Planned Parenthood. Now it appears that Tennessee Congresswoman Diane Black may be able to ride the crest of the latest controversy over the practices of the nation’s largest abortion provider — to move legislation forward on the swelling wave of discontent, even disgust, as she tries to stop hundreds of millions of federal dollars from being deposited into Planned Parenthood bank accounts.

In the aftermath of the release of two shocking undercover videos showing executives of the organization discussing the harvesting and possible sale of fetal body parts, new momentum is building on Capitol Hill to cut off financial support for Planned Parenthood.

Now, GOP Rep. Black — a nurse for more than 40 years and an outspoken member of the Congressional Pro-Life Caucus — has introduced the “Defund Planned Parenthood Act of 2015.” On her official website, Rep. Black says of the bill:

The legislation has the support of 80 original cosponsors and would place an immediate moratorium on all federal funding of Planned Parenthood for the span of one year while Congress conducts a full investigation into the organization’s activities. Introduction of the bill follows the release of multiple undercover videos showing Planned Parenthood employees discussing the harvesting of aborted babies’ tissue and organs.

Planned Parenthood has reportedly received more than half-a-billion dollars in federal funds in each of the last several years. This new attempt to strip that funding from the embattled organization seems to be a serious threat to the group’s generally reliable support from taxpayers, many of whom want no part in keeping open the doors of such an organization.

Politico notes that GOP leaders in both the House and Senate have signaled they will push hard to defund Planned Parenthood — the Politico article describes the “planned crackdown” as looking “increasingly real.”

“House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) told reporters Tuesday he’s anticipating amendments to strip the money over the course of the fall government funding debate,” according to Politico. “That’s in addition to a spate of Hill hearings he said are aimed at learning ‘the facts … and what’s truly is going on.’

“Meanwhile, Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn of Texas said he expects lawmakers to offer a Planned Parenthood amendment to the highway bill, a major piece of must-pass legislation that’s slated for consideration beginning this week.”

Despite the shocking, widely-viewed videos produced by The Center for Medical Progress, Planned Parenthood officials have denied they profit off of fetal organs cut from aborted babies.

When she took to the House floor Tuesday in support of her defunding effort, Rep. Black spoke in emotional terms about the organization whose work she clearly opposes.

CNS News quotes her floor speech, in part: “‘Planned Parenthood doesn’t empower women – it deceives them at their most difficult and vulnerable moments. It values convenience over truth and profit over life.’”

The Hill elaborates on the congressional effort to pull funding from the abortion provider: “Black’s legislation in the House coincides with pledges by Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Rand Paul (R-Ky.) —- both presidential candidates —- to force votes on defunding Planned Parenthood by adding amendments to the must-pass highway funding bill this week.”

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth

Planned Parenthood’s Response To Video Exposing Them Is Almost Unbelievable

Planned Parenthood wrote a five-page letter to Congress Monday arguing the Center for Medical Progress has “spent a decade deceiving the public and making false charges” about its abortion practices. CMP revealed two undercover videos over the last week featuring top Planned Parenthood officials discussing the sale of aborted babies’ body parts.

In the first released video, CMP’s undercover investigators are discussing the price of infant body parts with Dr. Deborah Nucatola, Planned Parenthood’s national medical director. She tells the CMP investigators, who joined her under the guise of representatives of a medical research company – Biomax – that hearts and livers are most popular right now.

“Every provider has had patients who want to donate their tissue and they absolutely want to accommodate them. They just want to do it in a way that is not perceived as, ‘This clinic is selling tissue, this clinic is making money off of this,’” Nucatola told them. “You know, I would throw a number out, I would say it’s probably anywhere from $30 to $100 [per specimen], depending on the facility and what’s involved.”

Planned Parenthood senior counsel Roger K. Evans disputed the claims made by CMP in a letter to Congress Monday. “During the surreptitiously taped meeting, Dr. Deborah Nucatola of Planned Parenthood expressly stated that ‘nobody should be ‘selling’ tissue. That’s just not the goal here,’” Evans wrote.

This highly relevant statement was omitted from the video excerpt. In fact, ten times during the conversation, Dr. Nucatola said Planned Parenthood would not sell tissue or profit from tissue donations, and all ten instances were cut out of the video, misleading the public into thinking she said something she didn’t.

Evans would go on to attack CMP’s head, David Daleiden. “Over the last eight years, Mr. Daleiden has participated in at least 10 separate attacks on Planned Parenthood involving gaining access to our health centers and offices under false pretenses, taping staff (and sometimes patients) without their knowledge on at least 65 occasions (not counting this latest fraud), and misleading the public with heavily edited tapes and flat-out false charges.”

The letter was written in response to a letter composed last week by members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee requesting Dr. Nucatola brief committee staff no later than July 31 “to explain specifically the context and meaning of her statements on the video, what comments were edited or not portrayed accurately, and to provide information so that we may better understand your organization’s practices and standards relating to the collection and sale of fetal tissue.”

Evans’ letter continues: “When the video was released last week, there were assertions by leading politicians that [Dr. Nucatola’s] remarks were evidence of illegal, and possibly criminal, activity. Republican Governor Scott Walker accused Planned Parenthood and Dr. Nucatola of ‘heinous, and possibly illegal actions.’ Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal directed state officials to launch an investigation into ‘this alleged evil and illegal activity’ and asked the FBI ‘to assist … in investigating this alleged criminal activity.’ We strongly dispute these assertions, and the longer video footage of the conversation with Biomax does not support them.”

But in light of these allegations, we are understandably in the process of retaining counsel to advise us on the best way to proceed. Until we have completed this engagement and provided counsel an opportunity to become familiar with the relevant facts, we cannot provide a definitive response.

On Tuesday, one day after Evans’ letter, CMP released a second undercover video featuring another top Planned Parenthood official discussing how aborted baby parts could be harvested and sold. The video concludes with the official joking at the end of the clip ensuring there was enough “compensation” so she could purchase a Lamborghini.

h/t: Breitbart

Is this all very disturbing to you? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth

Is There Any Hope Left For American Schools?

With the House passing a bill to limit the federal role in K-to-12 schooling and a unanimous Senate committee doing the same, it might look as if there is finally some progress in fixing the broken over-centralized national educational system.

The bill is the brainchild of education committee chairman Sen. Lamar Alexander, who claims it would “ban the federal government from mandating any sort of education standards, Common Core or otherwise.” If it becomes law, “it would lessen federal control in the education system and help calm heated debates about Common Core standards. Rather than the Feds making the decisions, the bill would allow states to create their own accountability systems and determine how much standardized tests should account for student and faculty evaluations.”

Alexander predicts he has the votes to pass the whole Senate based upon the overwhelming support of his committee, ranging from Elizabeth Warren to Rand Paul. Sen. Patty Murray is the co-sponsor. Of course, that means things have been compromised quite a bit; but it is headway made against federal control. The fact that the progressive Center for American Progress fears that the bill will weaken national standards and allow states to change one-size-fits-all “maintenance of effort” funding standards suggests things are going in the right direction.

Of course, in federal education policy, nothing is that simple. Obama officials are resisting, and so are some conservative representatives who want to allow states to opt-out of federal education controls entirely without any financial penalty. House Education Committee Chairman John Kline says he supports the concept of the conservative amendment and allowed a vote on it, but it failed. The bill passed the House without a single Democrat—who objected to the loss of federal control—and was opposed by two dozen Republicans, who said the bill did not go far enough in limiting control. Kline hopes a conference with the Senate might eliminate the test mandates and work out the other details.

The House bill would make some major changes. While, like the Senate version, it would still require states to hold annual standardized tests in reading and math from third to eighth grades and once again in high school, and publish data on results, it would allow students to opt out of tests without loss of federal funds. It would largely allow states to spend federal money as they pleased and would not require them to meet federal benchmarks for success. States would still be required to intervene in local schools that need improvement, but the type and number of interventions would be up to the states. A new provision called “portability” would allow federal funds to “follow the child” if he or she transferred to a school not covered by current law.

Alexander’s response, in a The Hill newspaper interview, to conservatives who think the bill does not go far enough was, “If you leave No Child Left Behind like it is, you are leaving in place a national school board and a Common Core mandate. From a Republicans or conservative point of view, I would think you would want to move away from that.”

It will be a tough call for conservatives who have been at the forefront of the twin activities that have led to Congressional willingness to consider reform: the movements to limit the national education standards regime called Common Core, and the one in the states promoting charter schools, often at the urging of governors, now overwhelmingly Republican. While touted as originating in the states, Common Core sputtered until President Obama used his Race To The Top legislation to promise to moderate some No Child Left Behind Act burdens and to acquire new financial grants if states adopted Common Core standards. In 2010, Obama ordered that all federal education grants be conditioned on adopting the standards. Even with this pressure, bipartisan majorities in Congress and in many states have now soured on Common Core.

The other grassroots reform of offering charter alternatives to traditional public schooling has become almost mainstream. Today, a majority of students in the overwhelmingly Democratic District of Columbia have escaped failing public schools to enroll in charters. Even Democratic New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has supported raising the limit on the number of charter schools, which has been the main teacher association strategy to stifle the idea. Democratic Mayor Bill de Blasio, the Democratic majority in the New York lower legislative body, and the teachers unions are the last holdouts against reform even in the Empire state. Even President Obama concedes American education is failing. There is a growing understanding that bureaucratization, union self-interest, and method-over-substance do not work.

One of the pioneers of entrepreneurial education and advocates for lifting governmental restrictions on innovation argues the movement must now go further. Bob Luddy, chairman and founder of a $300 million commercial kitchen ventilation company, CaptiveAire, based in Raleigh, North Carolina, created one of the state’s early charter schools, Franklin Academy, in 1998. He started with a handful of students in a single location. Franklin now has 1,650 students at five locations in two K-2 schools, two 3-8 schools, and a $9 million high school. With a 1,500 student waiting list, Franklin has perhaps the largest demand for admission in the country. After making his own charter school a success, Luddy was instrumental in increasing North Carolina’s numerical limit on charters to make similar opportunities available for other parents and their children.

Although less regulated than traditional public schooling, charters are subject to pressure from well-funded education lobbyists interested in limiting charter competition to their union-dominated public school clients. Unfortunately, they have been more successful than not. Frustrated by such charter restrictions, Luddy concluded that true reform must free itself from state bureaucratization. With the knowledge garnered by previously founding a religious private high school called St. Thomas More Academy with 180 students, he launched a classical curriculum private school he called Thales Academy, named for the Greek philosopher. Today Thales Academy boasts 1,700 students and 150 faculty in three K-5 locations and two 6-12 locations in the greater Raleigh area, with an average growth rate of 15 percent per year.

Luddy’s educational philosophy parallels that of his business: keep overhead low and deliver quality to customers. Administrators are few and sports are de-emphasized. As Luddy told the American Spectator, “A lot of people say you shouldn’t talk of education as a business, but the reality is, it is a business.” The weakest elements he sees in current education are rules that limit innovation, weak curricula, and high costs. Private education is the answer to the first, rigorous classical education to the second, and business acumen to the third. Luddy provided all three.

Thales’ test scores are higher than even charter schools. Where the average building cost for a new public school nears $100 million, Thales delivered it for $10 million. Student tuition is $5,300 per year for kindergarten through fifth grade and $6,000 for sixth through 12th grades at Thales, compared to $11,000 for the average local private school and $9,000 (in per pupil cost) for public schooling. Now Luddy wants to take his idea national. “My idea was that parents should have hundreds of choices, whereas currently if they go to the public school system, they have one maybe two. They have precious few choices. Once you open up competition, the choices will be abundant.”

It is a long road from Alexander’s first steps away from centralized administration, content-less curriculum and vanilla character training, and expensive and politicized teacher-oriented rather than student-focused education today to Luddy’s ideal of thousands of private schools offering choice by actually educating America’s youth. But, at last, there is some sense of hope.

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 – Equipping You With The Truth

The ‘Shall Not’s’ Of Congress

Universal human rights are determined by government restraint. In what areas of human life should the government not be involved? What areas of life must the government not regulate, not restrain, not limit, not oversee, not implement, not subsidize, and not legalize or make illegal?

Interestingly, the first five words of the Bill of Rights state what Congress cannot do: “Congress shall make no law… .”

Even more telling– the first ten amendments, with perhaps The Sixth as the exception, all define what the government cannot do:

  • First: “Shall make no law … prohibiting … abridging
  • Second: “Shall not be infringed”
  • Third: “No soldier shall … without the consent …”
  • Fourth: “Shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue …”
  • Fifth: “No person shall be held … nor shall any person be subject …”
  • Seventh: “Shall be preserved … No fact … shall be otherwise reexamined …”
  • Eighth: “Shall not be required … Nor excessive … imposed, nor … punishments inflicted”
  • Ninth: “shall not be construed to deny or disparage”
  • Tenth: “Not delegated … nor prohibited.”

The third, fifth, eighth, and tenth amendments don’t state “rights”; they state what authority the government does not have. In effect, limits on government are universal human rights. The Constitution outlines specific areas of human life that are off-limits to government. This suggests that there are certain aspects of human life which are fundamentally free.

The Constitution did not outline rights or prohibitions defined by a government that could later redefine them. It outlined rules to be followed by a self-ruling people in addition to separating and balancing political authority among the judiciary, legislative, and executive branches.

Despite the limits the Founders enumerated in the Constitution, their limits are still limited in their ability to constrain government overreach. Matters of conscience, especially as they relate to the First Amendment, dictate certain situations when citizens decide to not follow and/or disobey unjust laws. Interestingly, dissent in the form of collective actions of conscience (refusing to pay taxes, boycotting specific products, and armed resistance) characterized approximately one third of American colonists who fought for independence.

The Constitution was the result of a point in time that the Founding Fathers and Framers identified of a line they could not cross. They could not comply in good conscience– it would be immoral to comply– with the laws of a corrupt and tyrannical government. Christians joined them, citing New Testament directives, identifying that they also must only “obey God rather than men.”

They recognized they could not selectively disobey certain laws because the government itself could not be obeyed. They needed a new government. Rebellion and resistance were required because the ruling authorities had rebelled against God. The government had not only violated basic principles of justice but also had squandered God-given human rights, rendering itself illegitimate.

Thomas Jefferson asserted:

PRUDENCE, INDEED, WILL DICTATE THAT GOVERNMENTS LONG ESTABLISHED, SHOULD NOT BE CHANGED FOR LIGHT AND TRANSIENT CAUSES; AND, ACCORDINGLY, ALL EXPERIENCE [HAS] SHOWN THAT MANKIND ARE MORE DISPOSED TO SUFFER WHILE EVILS ARE SUFFERABLE THAN TO RIGHT THEMSELVES BY ABOLISHING THE FORMS TO WHICH THEY ARE ACCUSTOMED.

BUT, WHEN A LONG TRAIN OF ABUSES AND USURPATIONS,  PURSUING INVARIABLY THE SAME OBJECT, EVIDENCES A DESIGN TO REDUCE [THE PEOPLE] UNDER ABSOLUTE DESPOTISM, IT IS THEIR RIGHT, IT IS THEIR DUTY, TO THROW OFF SUCH GOVERNMENT, AND TO PROVIDE NEW GUARDS FOR THEIR FUTURE SECURITY.

Jefferson also said: “Rebellion to tyrants is obedience to God.”

The Shall Nots were imperative to the Founders– they wanted to ensure that if Congress violated them, the people had just cause to rebel.

This column was first published on Constitution.com.

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 – Equipping You With The Truth