Congress Is Writing The President A Blank Check For War

While the Washington snowstorm dominated news coverage this week, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was operating behind the scenes to rush through the Senate what may be the most massive transfer of power from the Legislative to the Executive branch in our history. The senior Senator from Kentucky is scheming, along with Sen. Lindsey Graham, to bypass normal Senate procedure to fast-track legislation to grant the president the authority to wage unlimited war for as long as he or his successors may wish.

The legislation makes the unconstitutional Iraq War authorization of 2002 look like a walk in the park. It will allow this president and future presidents to wage war against ISIS without restrictions on time, geographic scope, or the use of ground troops. It is a completely open-ended authorization for the president to use the military as he wishes for as long as he (or she) wishes. Even President Obama has expressed concern over how willing Congress is to hand him unlimited power to wage war.

President Obama has already far surpassed even his predecessor, George W. Bush, in taking the country to war without even the fig leaf of an authorization. In 2011, the president invaded Libya, overthrew its government, and oversaw the assassination of its leader, without even bothering to ask for Congressional approval. Instead of impeachment, which he deserved for the disastrous Libya invasion, Congress said nothing. House Republicans only managed to bring the subject up when they thought they might gain political points exploiting the killing of U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens in Benghazi.

It is becoming more clear that Washington plans to expand its war in the Middle East. Last week, the media reported that the U.S. military had taken over an air base in eastern Syria, and Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said that the U.S. would send in the 101st Airborne Division to retake Mosul in Iraq and to attack ISIS headquarters in Raqqa, Syria. Then on Saturday, Vice President Joe Biden said that if the upcoming peace talks in Geneva are not successful, the U.S. is prepared for a massive military intervention in Syria. Such an action would likely place the U.S. military face to face with the Russian military, whose assistance was requested by the Syrian government. In contrast, we must remember that the U.S. military is operating in Syria in violation of international law.

The prospects of such an escalation are not all that far-fetched. At the insistence of Saudi Arabia and with U.S. backing, the representatives of the Syrian opposition at the Geneva peace talks will include members of the Army of Islam, which has fought with al-Qaeda in Syria. Does anyone expect these kinds of people to compromise? Isn’t al-Qaeda supposed to be our enemy?

The purpose of the Legislative branch of our government is to restrict the Executive branch’s power. The Founders understood that an all-powerful king who could wage war at will was the greatest threat to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. That is why they created a people’s branch, the Congress, to prevent the emergence of an all-powerful autocrat to drag the country to endless war. Sadly, Congress is surrendering its power to declare war.

Let’s be clear: If Senate Majority Leader McConnell succeeds in passing this open-ended war authorization, the U.S. Constitution will be all but a dead letter.

© Copyright 2016 Ron Paul

Repub Sen. Just Revealed Which 2016 Candidate He ‘Supports’ – I Doubt Anyone Expected This

Vermont’s self-professed socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders has had a lot of trouble getting endorsements, especially from his colleagues in the U.S. Senate. This week, Sanders finally got another senator’s endorsement, but odds are it’s one he won’t be happy about.

Conservative Arkansas Republican Sen. Tom Cotton came out this week as a Sanders supporter, but maybe not in the way that Sanders would appreciate.

Cotton offered a sort of tongue-in-cheek endorsement of Sanders saying that he couldn’t imagine a better candidate to represent the Democrats for 2016.

“For many months, I’ve been strongly in favor of Bernie Sanders in the Democratic primary,” Cotton joked on a broadcast of “Arkansas Week: Special Edition.”

As CNN notes, Cotton’s playful endorsement serves as the only voice of support among the Democrat candidate’s colleagues.

Of the 44 Democrat senators, 38 have already come out full force with endorsements of Hillary Clinton while the rest have made no endorsements at all.

Still, it is more than clear that Cotton would only be happy to see Sanders win the Democrat nomination because he thinks Sanders would be easy to beat.

CNN also noted that Cotton has slammed Sanders in the past, saying Sanders “espouses the economic theory of communism, a political system that caused the deaths of tens of millions of people in the 20th century.”

While certainly joking about Sanders, Cotton was coy about whom he really supports. And in that, he is in good standing with the bulk of the GOP caucus in the Senate.

Not too many Republican senators have made a choice yet in this primary cycle. Not even Jeb Bush, the presumed establishment favorite, has racked up too many supporters in the upper chamber. So far, only three sitting senators have endorsed Bush.

As to others, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio picked up three GOP senators, while former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee was favored by two. Sen. Rand Paul also secured the support of fellow Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell, the majority leader. Before he left the race, Sen. Lindsey Graham picked up the support of John McCain of Arizona.

With only 10 of the 54 GOP Senators announcing a favorite, these few commitments show that most Republican senators are not ready to endorse anyone yet.

BREAKING: Republicans Just Pulled The Plug On Dems’ Big Plan – Obama Will Be LIVID

Senate Republicans rejected an amendment to an ObamaCare repeal bill on Thursday that would have given the attorney general the authority to bar the sale of firearms to known or suspected terrorists.

The amendment, offered by Sen. Diane Feinstein, D- Calif., went down in a 45-54 procedural vote. The California Democrat also offered the proposal as a separate stand-alone piece of legislation.

Feinstein told reporters before the vote that her amendment should be “the definition of a no-brainer,” according to The Hill.  

“If somebody is too dangerous to board an airplane (because they are on a terrorist watch list), they are too dangerous to buy a gun,” Feinstein said at a press conference with seven Democratic senators. “This shouldn’t be a partisan issue.”

Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, voiced concern about giving the attorney general the power to bar people from purchasing firearms without due process of law. “This is not the way we’re supposed to do things in this country,” he said before the vote on Feinstein’s amendment. “If you believe the federal government is omniscient and all competent, vote for the Feinstein amendment,” he added.

The Texas senator offered an alternative one that would grant the attorney general the authority to delay a terrorist suspect from getting a gun for up to 72 hours, while the government seeks a court order blocking the sale to the person in question.

The Senate rejected Cornyn’s amendment as well in a 55-44 vote.

“House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., created a Republican task force on homeland security in the wake of the Nov. 13 attacks in Paris, and said Thursday the no-fly list gun ban may be an issue that task force ‘will look at.’ McCarthy said the task force is intended to consider ‘any gaps or any vulnerabilities’ in U.S. security, though he would not commit to any specific action,” USA Today reported. 

As reported by Western Journalism, President Obama specifically advocated on Wednesday, following the San Bernadino shooting, for giving the federal government the authority to deny people who are on the “no-fly” list the ability to purchase a gun.

Wow: Prosecutor Just Announced He’s Investigating Harry Reid For A BIG Reason

Senator Harry Reid, D-Nev., is in hot water again. This time, he is being investigated by the state attorney general of Utah in a pay-to-play scheme involving two former Utah attorneys general, John Shurtleff and John Swallow.

Troy Rawlings, a Davis County, Utah, attorney, said that he’s looking into allegations against Reid. Rawlings wouldn’t comment on the allegations, but said they were related to the case involving the attorneys general.

Since 2013, Reid has been denying any involvement into fixing an investigation into a software business of one of the attorneys general. At the time, U.S. Department of Justice investigators decided not to charge Reid with criminal wrongdoing.

Salt Lake City’s City Weekly raised questions about Reid’s involvement that Rawlings alluded to in a statement to the Associated Press: “To simply ignore and run from what has been presented by multiple witnesses and sources, and the potential impact on the Mark L. Shurtleff case, would mean I am either intentionally blind, or overly worried.”

Shurtleff and Swallow were arrested in the summer of 2014 and have pleaded not guilty to charges of bribery.

Rawlings voiced his criticism of apparent stalling within the U.S. Department of Justice by limiting his access to information related to his investigation.

The Justice Department concluded their investigation in 2013 without filing charges, but the FBI has continued to work with Rawlings in the investigation. Rawlings told the AP: “It is not up to the DOJ to tell me who can and who cannot be investigated and what evidence is relevant and material to a state case.”

Stephen Dark of the City Weekly reported on the investigation. He wrote that a businessman named Jeremy Johnson recorded a conversation between himself and Shurtleff.

Jeremy Johnson claims that Reid was involved in a pay-to-play bribery scheme focused on gambling, the details of which were published in The Salt Lake Tribune in October 2014. A transcript of a conversation that Johnson recorded between himself and Shurtleff included allegations about a group of online poker business owners who had funneled $2 million to Reid in 2010 to get Reid to introduce legislation legalizing online poker. According to a June 6, 2013, AP story, Reid as well as Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., ‘pursued federal law to legalize Internet poker but ultimately gave up before even introducing the legislation.’

Obama Just Got This HUGE News About His Pork Ban That He’s Not Going To Like One Bit

Inmates in America’s federal prisons must like bacon after all.

The Bureau of Prisons reversed its plans to get rid of all pork products after announcing only a week ago that it was banning pork from all of its 122 prisons.

The bureau didn’t offer a reason for its about-face, but the decision came shortly after a senator submitted a complaint. A prison bureau spokesman said he would not comment on the change in plans, saying he wasn’t cleared to answer reporter’s questions on the issue

Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, who submitted the complaint, said such a decision would have an adverse effect on Iowa’s farm economy. Grassley is chair of the powerful Senate Judiciary Committee, which oversees federal prisons.

“The pork industry is responsible for 547,800 jobs, which creates $22.3 billion in personal incomes and contributes $39 billion to the gross domestic product,” Grassley said in his letter to Bureau of Prisons Director Charles E. Samuels. He added that such a decision could hurt those employed in the pork industry.

Grassley said he is suspicious of claims that inmates simply do not want pork products. A Bureau of Prison spokesman said inmate consumption of pork had dropped. The only item that remained on the menu prior to last week’s ban was pork roast. Now, prison bureau officials said bacon, pork chops and sausage will make a comeback to the prison menu.

Another reason for the ban, according to prison officials, was the growing cost of pork. NASDAQ is reporting that hog prices will remain flat. Prices have risen steadily since August, but U.S. packer bids for hogs were lower in the major regions this week, according to reports. The retail price ranges from $1.50 to $2.50 per pound, depending on the cut, according to USDA reports.

Pork prices are actually lower this year than in 2014, according to government records. A virus outbreak in the fall of 2013 reduced inventories, and prices hit a peak at the beginning of 2014, according to USDA reports.