Republicans Advance Bill Targeting US Funding for UN: ‘What Are We Paying For?’

Republicans Advance Bill Targeting US Funding for UN: ‘What Are We Paying For?’

By

Patrick Goodenough

October 14, 2011

Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), chairwoman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, meets with U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in Washington in March 2009. (UN Photo by Eskinder Debebe)

(CNSNews.com)

– A U.S. House committee Thursday approved a bill linking U.S. contributions to the United Nations to significant financial and other reforms, one day after Secretary of State Hillary Clinton warned she would recommend that President Obama veto the measure if it reaches his desk.

Deeply divided along party lines, the House Foreign Relations Committee voted 23-15 for the U.N. Transparency, Accountability, and Reform Act (H.R. 2829), whose most radical provision aims to force the U.N. to change its funding mechanism from the current system of “assessed” contributions to voluntary ones.

Proponents say this would allow the U.S. – and other member states – to fund only those activities and agencies it regards as being efficiently managed, and in the national interest.

In order to compel the U.N. to make the shift, the legislation would withhold 50 percent of the U.S. assessed contributions to the regular budget (which does not include peacekeeping) if the U.N. has not moved at least 80 percent of the budget to voluntary funding within two years.

American taxpayers account for 22 percent of the U.N.’s regular operating budget and 27 percent of the separate peacekeeping budget in “assessed” dues. In addition the U.S. provides billions of dollars in voluntary contributions for various U.N. agencies. In FY 2010 the total U.S. contribution was $7.69 billion.

Conservatives critical of the U.N. have long advocated the U.S. using its leverage, as the biggest funder by far, to push the world body to reform – and to weaken efforts by hostile member-states to use the U.N. to harm American interests.

The bill’s author, committee chairwoman Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), told Thursday’s markup hearing that the U.N. budget continues to climb.

“What are we paying for?” she asked, then cited repressive regimes’ membership on the Human Rights Council, a continuing anti-Israel bias, the elevation of member states like North Korea and Iran to leadership positions in various bodies, and corruption scandals.

“Why do we bear the financial burden for this?” Ros-Lehtinen continued. “Every year, scores of member countries that contribute almost nothing to the U.N. vote together to pass the budget. Then they pass the costs on to big donors like the U.S., which is assessed a whopping 22 percent.

“In contrast, China pays just three percent. We need a game-changer.”

The committee’s top Democrat, Rep. Howard Berman, said the “real agenda” behind the bill was to end U.S. participation in the U.N. and to “deal a fatal financial blow to the world body.”

He argued that there was no evidence to support the notion that withholding dues can leverage meaningful change.

“Previous attempts at withholding did not lead to any significant and lasting reforms – they only succeeded in weakening our diplomatic standing and influence, and undermining efforts to promote transparency, fiscal responsibility and good management practices in the U.N. system,” Berman told the committee.

‘A dangerous retreat’

If the bill does pass in the House – where it has 125 co-sponsors, all Republican – its passage through the Democrat-controlled Senate would be an uphill battle. Even if it did make it through the Senate, its chances of making it into law are slim.

In a letter to Ros-Lehtinen on Wednesday, Clinton expressed strong opposition to the measure, saying if it reached the president, she would recommend a veto.

Citing U.N. missions in Iraq and Afghanistan as examples, she argued that international engagement through the U.N. comes at a fraction of the cost of acting alone.

“This bill also represents a dangerous retreat from the longstanding, bipartisan focus of the United States on constructive engagement within the United Nations to galvanize collective action to tackle urgent security problems,” she wrote

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Herman Cain Proves the Power of Ideas in the Republican Race

Floyd and Mary Beth Brown,FloydReports.com

America’s media is obsessed with every tick of every poll. The reason they cover polls is
because they don’t want to cover ideas. Republicans should resist being sucked
into this reality show mentality and focus instead on the candidate’s ideas.

Herman
Cain
used this to great effect in the Florida Straw Poll. His powerful
speech concluded with a riff in which he talked about how the media had
declared,“I can’t win.”He then empowered his audience by telling them,“You
decide who wins,not the media.”Good advice from a candidate that is now watching
this particular race from the frontlines.

The media uses polls to create self-fulfilling prophecies. Media
organizations who are more interested in influencing the outcome of the race
than they are providing unbiased coverage of the race use polls as an instrument
of voter and donor manipulation. They manipulate the desire of us all to be with
a winner.

We have been carefully watching Republican Party contests since the
1970′s,and there are some more interesting markers than polls that can help you
understand what is really happening. Remember ideas have
consequences
with Republican primary voters.

First,straw polls don’t matter. If they did matter Pat Robertson would have
been elected president in 1988. He won the straw poll in Iowa and surged in the
media horse race as a result. His victory lead the New York Times to
report:“For the second time in a year,the Rev. Pat Robertson has shaken Vice
President Bush and his other rivals for the Republican Presidential nomination
by winning a test of organizational strength.”

Herman Cain likewise has surged after his astounding victory in the Florida
straw poll. The Cain victory has conservatives chanting “9-9-9″after his bold
economic plan. Cain is calling for a total tax reform which would eliminate
payroll taxes,the estate tax,investment taxes,and replace it all with a simple
flat tax of 9 percent,coupled with a 9 percent consumption tax and a 9 percent
corporate tax.

If Cain is going to win,it will be because of his bold ideas and vision. And
with ideas Mr. Cain excels,and frankly leaves most of the other candidates
wanting.

So our second point would be….

Read
more
.

Secret panel can put Americans on “kill list’

Secret panel can put Americans on “kill list’

Wed, Oct 5 2011

By Mark Hosenball

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – American militants like Anwar al-Awlaki are placed on a kill or capture list by a secretive panel of senior government officials, which then informs the president of its decisions, according to officials.

There is no public record of the operations or decisions of the panel, which is a subset of the White House’s National Security Council, several current and former officials said. Neither is there any law establishing its existence or setting out the rules by which it is supposed to operate.

The panel was behind the decision to add Awlaki, a U.S.-born militant preacher with alleged al Qaeda connections, to the target list. He was killed by a CIA drone strike in Yemen late last month.

The role of the president in ordering or ratifying a decision to target a citizen is fuzzy. White House spokesman Tommy Vietor declined to discuss anything about the process.

Current and former officials said that to the best of their knowledge, Awlaki, who the White House said was a key figure in al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, al Qaeda’s Yemen-based affiliate, had been the only American put on a government list targeting people for capture or death due to their alleged involvement with militants.

The White House is portraying the killing of Awlaki as a demonstration of President Barack Obama’s toughness toward militants who threaten the United States. But the process that led to Awlaki’s killing has drawn fierce criticism from both the political left and right.

In an ironic turn, Obama, who ran for president denouncing predecessor George W. Bush’s expansive use of executive power in his “war on terrorism,” is being attacked in some quarters for using similar tactics. They include secret legal justifications and undisclosed intelligence assessments.

Liberals criticized the drone attack on an American citizen as extra-judicial murder.

Conservatives criticized Obama for refusing to release a Justice Department legal opinion that reportedly justified killing Awlaki. They accuse Obama of hypocrisy, noting his administration insisted on publishing Bush-era administration legal memos justifying the use of interrogation techniques many equate with torture, but refused to make public its rationale for killing a citizen without due process.

Some details about how the administration went about targeting Awlaki emerged on Tuesday when the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, Representative Dutch Ruppersberger, was asked by reporters about the killing.

The process involves “going through the National Security Council, then it eventually goes to the president, but the National Security Council does the investigation, they have lawyers, they review, they look at the situation, you have input from the military, and also, we make sure that we follow international law,” Ruppersberger said.

LAWYERS CONSULTED

Other officials said the role of the president in the process was murkier than what Ruppersberger described.

They said targeting recommendations are drawn up by a committee of mid-level National Security Council and agency officials. Their recommendations are then sent to the panel of NSC “principals,” meaning Cabinet secretaries and intelligence unit chiefs, for approval. The panel of principals could have different memberships when considering different operational issues, they said.

The officials insisted on anonymity to discuss sensitive information.

They confirmed that lawyers, including those in the Justice Department, were consulted before Awlaki’s name was added to the target list.

Two principal legal theories were advanced, an official said: first, that the actions were permitted by Congress when it authorized the use of military forces against militants in the wake of the attacks of September 11, 2001; and they are permitted under international law if a country is defending itself.

Several officials said that when Awlaki became the first American put on the target list, Obama was not required personally to approve the targeting of a person. But one official said Obama would be notified of the principals’ decision. If he objected, the decision would be nullified, the official said.

A former official said one of the reasons for making senior officials principally responsible for nominating Americans for the target list was to “protect” the president.

Officials confirmed that a second American, Samir Khan, was killed in the drone attack that killed Awlaki. Khan had served as editor of Inspire, a glossy English-language magazine used by AQAP as a propaganda and recruitment vehicle.

But rather than being specifically targeted by drone operators, Khan was in the wrong place at the wrong time, officials said. Ruppersberger appeared to confirm that, saying Khan’s death was “collateral,” meaning he was not an intentional target of the drone strike.

When the name of a foreign, rather than American, militant is added to targeting lists, the decision is made within the intelligence community and normally does not require approval by high-level NSC officials.

‘FROM INSPIRATIONAL TO OPERATIONAL’

Officials said Awlaki, whose fierce sermons were widely circulated on English-language militant websites, was targeted because Washington accumulated information his role in AQAP had gone “from inspirational to operational.” That meant that instead of just propagandizing in favor of al Qaeda objectives, Awlaki allegedly began to participate directly in plots against American targets.

“Let me underscore, Awlaki is no mere messenger but someone integrally involved in lethal terrorist activities,” Daniel Benjamin, top counterterrorism official at the State Department, warned last spring.

The Obama administration has not made public an accounting of the classified evidence that Awlaki was operationally involved in planning terrorist attacks.

But officials acknowledged that some of the intelligence purporting to show Awlaki’s hands-on role in plotting attacks was patchy.

For instance, one plot in which authorities have said Awlaki was involved Nigerian-born Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, accused of trying to blow up a Detroit-bound U.S. airliner on Christmas Day 2009 with a bomb hidden in his underpants.

There is no doubt Abdulmutallab was an admirer or follower of Awlaki, since he admitted that to U.S. investigators. When he appeared in a Detroit courtroom earlier this week for the start of his trial on bomb-plot charges, he proclaimed, “Anwar is alive.”

But at the time the White House was considering putting Awlaki on the U.S. target list, intelligence connecting Awlaki specifically to Abdulmutallab and his alleged bomb plot was partial. Officials said at the time the United States had voice intercepts involving a phone known to have been used by Awlaki and someone who they believed, but were not positive, was Abdulmutallab.

Awlaki was also implicated in a case in which a British Airways employee was imprisoned for plotting to blow up a U.S.-bound plane. E-mails retrieved by authorities from the employee’s computer showed what an investigator described as ” operational contact” between Britain and Yemen.

Authorities believe the contacts were mainly between the U.K.-based suspect and his brother. But there was a strong suspicion Awlaki was at the brother’s side when the messages were dispatched. British media reported that in one message, the person on the Yemeni end supposedly said, “Our highest priority is the US … With the people you have, is it possible to get a package or a person with a package on board a flight heading to the US?”

U.S. officials contrast intelligence suggesting Awlaki’s involvement in specific plots with the activities of Adam Gadahn, an American citizen who became a principal English-language propagandist for the core al Qaeda network formerly led by Osama bin Laden.

While Gadahn appeared in angry videos calling for attacks on the United States, officials said he had not been specifically targeted for capture or killing by U.S. forces because he was regarded as a loudmouth not directly involved in plotting attacks.

White House very nervous about coverage of Fast and Furious

White House very nervous about coverage of Fast and Furious

Rick Moran

This has become an extremely
sensitive issue at the White House and for good reason; Holder may have been
caught in a lie in his testimony before Congress.

Note: Congressional perjury usually
sends the transgressor to jail.

A CBS reporter, Sharyl Atkisson,
told Laura Ingraham (via Weekly
Standard
):

Ingraham: So they were literally
screaming at you?
Attkisson: Yes. Well the DOJ woman was just yelling at me.
The guy from the White House on Friday night literally screamed at me and cussed
at me. [Laura: Who was the person? Who was the person at Justice screaming?]
Eric Schultz. Oh, the person screaming was [DOJ spokeswoman] Tracy Schmaler, she
was yelling not screaming. And the person who screamed at me was Eric Schultz at
the White House.”

Finally, Attkisson notes that the
White House is claiming that a thorough investigation of the scandal is
unwarranted:

[The White House and Justice
Department] will tell you that I’m the only reporter–as they told me–that is
not reasonable. They say the Washington Post is reasonable, the LA Times is
reasonable, the New York Times is reasonable, I’m the only one who thinks this
is a story, and they think I’m unfair and biased by pursuing
it.

For Watergate buffs, that sounds
eerily like the advice given to Ben Bradlee by the Nixon White House. Press
Secretary Ron Zeigler angrily called Bradlee, executive editor at the time, and
complained that no one else in the country was worried about this break in story
except the Post. If history is any guide, and I were CBS, I would redouble my
efforts to get to the bottom of this story.

Republicans have
called
for a special prosecutor and they will probably get it. But Holder is
smart enough to know his orders without asking; stall, stonewall, obstruct as
much as possible, as long as possible, in order to drag the investigation out
beyond the election.

See also: Fast
and Furious: Let It Bleed

Independence Day 2011: Happy 235th birthday, America

Independence Day 2011: Happy 235th birthday, America

By Michelle Malkin  •  July 3, 2011 11:09 PM

The Declaration of Independence

IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, 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 evinces a design to reduce them 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.–Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

The 56 signatures on the Declaration appear in the positions indicated:

Column 1
Georgia:
Button Gwinnett
Lyman Hall
George Walton

Column 2
North Carolina:
William Hooper
Joseph Hewes
John Penn
South Carolina:
Edward Rutledge
Thomas Heyward, Jr.
Thomas Lynch, Jr.
Arthur Middleton

Column 3
Massachusetts:
John Hancock
Maryland:
Samuel Chase
William Paca
Thomas Stone
Charles Carroll of Carrollton
Virginia:
George Wythe
Richard Henry Lee
Thomas Jefferson
Benjamin Harrison
Thomas Nelson, Jr.
Francis Lightfoot Lee
Carter Braxton

Column 4
Pennsylvania:
Robert Morris
Benjamin Rush
Benjamin Franklin
John Morton
George Clymer
James Smith
George Taylor
James Wilson
George Ross
Delaware:
Caesar Rodney
George Read
Thomas McKean

Column 5
New York:
William Floyd
Philip Livingston
Francis Lewis
Lewis Morris
New Jersey:
Richard Stockton
John Witherspoon
Francis Hopkinson
John Hart
Abraham Clark

Column 6
New Hampshire:
Josiah Bartlett
William Whipple
Massachusetts:
Samuel Adams
John Adams
Robert Treat Paine
Elbridge Gerry
Rhode Island:
Stephen Hopkins
William Ellery
Connecticut:
Roger Sherman
Samuel Huntington
William Williams
Oliver Wolcott
New Hampshire:
Matthew Thornton

 

***


Photo credit and source: U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Randall Clinton via defense.gov

Don’t forget: We remain the land of the free because of the brave. These are U.S. Marines assigned to the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit, most of whom joined the service after the jihadi attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. They ran in NYC in honor of 9/11 heroes and victims recently during Fleet Week.

And here’s the story of U.S. Army Spc. Matthew Thomas, who survived an insurgent rocket attack June 6 on Forward Operating Base Loyalty near Baghdad that took the lives of six of his fellow soldiers. He’s home for Independence Day, but will return to Iraq to finish his second tour of duty:

“This July 4th will have special meaning,” Thomas said. “I will be thinking of those lost to make freedom possible.”

…Thomas, whose family has deep roots in the area, joined the Army in 2006.

“I asked myself, ‘If others are serving, why shouldn’t I? I want to help and serve,’” he said.

He served in Iraq in 2008-09 and began his current tour in 2010. He is assigned to the 1st Battalion, 7th Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, based at Fort Riley, Kansas.

“Those serving feel there is no duty too difficult, and no sacrifice too great,” to protect the country, he said. “The ultimate sacrifice of these six soldiers may help save thousands in the U.S. by avoiding a terrorist attack” on American soil.

God bless all our men and women in uniform on this and every day.

***

I’m still in London, where many Americans will celebrate Independence Day at Grosvenor Square with the unveiling of a Ronald Reagan statue:

An $800,000 statue honoring former President Ronald Reagan is set to be unveiled on Independence Day, joining monuments to Franklin Roosevelt and Dwight Eisenhower in the heart of the British capital.

At a time when the much-celebrated “special relationship” between the U.S. and Britain is widely seen to have frayed, about 2,000 people are expected at the ceremony. Organizers say that is about ten times the typical crowd for such an event.

Former U.K. Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, who declined an invitation to Prince William’s recent wedding due to her poor health, is said to be “determined” to attend. Now aged 85, the “Iron Lady” rarely appears in public.

Nancy Reagan will be represented at the ceremony by former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who will give the keynote address. U.S. Ambassador Louis B. Susman and a congressional delegation led by House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy are also due to attend on Monday.

Reagan Foundation executive director John Heubusch told msnbc.com that roughly $800,000 had been raised from private donors for the sculpture, with around 40 percent of the funds coming from people in the U.K.

Sculpted by Charlotte, N.C.-based artist Chas Fagan, the 10-foot bronze will stand near statues of Eisenhower and Roosevelt outside the U.S. Embassy in Grosvenor Square. A plaque will recognize the 40th president’s role in ending the Cold War.

The ceremony will be part of a European tour celebrating Reagan’s 100th birthday.

One of Reagan’s famous quotations engraved on the statue provides an apt warning for holiday revelers who forget the reason for the season:

“Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction.”

May we never take for granted the sovereignty and liberty our Founding Fathers risked their lives to secure 235 years ago.

Warning to Washington: Follow the Constitution

Warning to Washington: Follow the Constitution

Big power grabs by federal government get widespread opposition from
states


Posted: February 06, 2011
6:09 pm Eastern

By Bob
Unruh

© 2011 WorldNetDaily

President Barack Obama participates in a national tele-town hall meeting at the Holiday Park Multipurpose Senior Center with senior citizens to discuss the Affordable Care Act and ways to combat scams targeting seniors in Wheaton, Maryland on June 8, 2010. Secretary of Health and Human Service Kathleen Sebelius was on hand to moderate the questions from seniors. UPI/Gary Fabiano/Pool Photo via Newscom
It’s not just Montana anymore.
And folks at the Tenth
Amendment Center,
who monitor states’ declarations of independence from the
federal government’s rules and regulations, suggest perhaps Washington should be
paying attention.
Montana has earned fame for its legislative independence in recent years,
authoring the original Firearms
Freedom Act
that now is law in 8 states and being considered in another 8.
It also was among the first states to introduce legislation cancelling
Obamacare’s effects inside its borders. It even
considered a plan, tabled for now, that would require federal agents to check in
with the local sheriff before attempting to enforce federal laws inside his
jurisdiction.
Such ideas have been ridiculed by those in government power, as well as the
old established media.
“Reaching into the dusty annals of American history” is how Associated Press
described nullification, the idea that at least is suggested in the Tenth
Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which says, “The powers not delegated to the
United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are
reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.”
Just exactly what are those powers given to the federal government? Mostly
listed in Article 1,
Section 8,
they include the power to tax and pay debts, provide for the common defense and general welfare of the U.S., borrow money, regulate commerce with foreign nations and “among the several states,” establish a “rule of naturalization,” coin money, punish counterfeiters, establish post offices and courts, declare war, raise and support armies and a navy and others.
(Story continues below)
But over the years the federal government has mandated education procedures,
even though education isn’t listed in the Constitution. It has established the
Energy Department, even though that is not in the Constitution. There’s the EPA,
even though that is not in the Constitution. And many others.
And now it has decided, under the federal Obamacare health care takeover,
that not purchasing health insurance is an action that can be regulated by the
federal government.
The result, explains Michael Boldin, chief of the Tenth Amendment Center, is that
there are so many efforts to deny Washington the authority it claims, or refuse
it the compliance it expects, that his volunteer staff of several dozen workers
cannot even keep up with the issues.
He also explained that John Adams probably would consider it a revolution,
since Adams one wrote the original was not about the war, but about the change
years earlier in how people look at government.
The AP said such state efforts to “nullify” Washington’s actions are
“completely unconstitutional in the eyes of most legal scholars because the U.S.
Constitution deems federal laws ‘the supreme law of the land.'”
And those at the Tenth Amendment Center agree – as long as the federal laws
are within the Constitution’s enumerated powers given to the federal government.
But they cite the Tenth Amendment that other powers belong to the states and
people, and just exactly what fits into which category is the crux of many of
the current arguments.
Nullification
itself goes far back into U.S. history, with references in the Kentucky
Resolutions to that very term.
Jefferson once opined, “When all government, domestic and foreign, in little
as in great things, shall be drawn to Washington as the center of all power, it
will render powerless the checks provided of one government on another, and will
become as venal and oppressive as the government from which we separated.”
And Connecticut Gov. Jonathan Trumbull once said, “Whenever our national
legislature is led to overleap the prescribed bounds of their constitutional
powers, on the State Legislatures, in great emergencies, devolves the arduous
task – it is their right – it becomes their duty, to interpose their protecting
shield between the right and liberty of the people, and the assumed power of the
General Government.”
Among the issues, according to Boldin, that have come to the forefront for
literally dozens of states:
  • 10th Amendment Resolutions, which are intended to be statements of the
    legislature of the state to exercise those rights not given to the federal
    government.
  • The Firearms Freedom Acts, which are law in eight states and being
    considered in another eight. Started in Montana, they declare any firearms made
    and retained in-state are beyond the authority of Congress under its
    constitutional power to regulate commerce among the states.
  • State marijuana laws, which explain that the federal government has no
    constitutional authority to override state laws on marijuana, even though all
    three branches of the federal government have stated they do have that
    authority.
  • Health Care Nullification Acts, which state in some dozen plans already that
    “the federal law known as the ‘Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act,’
    signed by President Barack Obama on March 23, 2010, is not authorized by the
    Constitution of the United States and violates its true meaning and intent as
    given by the Founders and Ratifiers, and is hereby declared to be invalid, shall
    not be recognized, is specifically rejected, and shall be considered null and
    void and of no effect.” Twenty-seven states also have gone to court to overturn
    Obamacare.
  • REAL ID Act, which started in Maine and has been joined by more than two
    dozen states, denouncing and refusing the implement the Bush-era law which many
    expressed concerned about privacy, funding and more.
  • Defend the Guard, which reasserts governors’ authority over the National
    Guard units from their state. The Constitution allows the guard to be called
    into duty by the federal government to execute the laws of the union and
    suppress insurrection and repel invasions. Deployments outside the country do
    not appear to be considered.
  • Constitutional Tender, which advocates for the Constitution’s requirement
    that “No State shall … make any Thing but gold and silver Coin a Tender in
    Payment of Debts.”
  • Cap and Trade/EPA, which challenge the authority of the federal agencies to
    regulate agriculture, manufacturing, mining and land use.
  • The Sheriffs First Legislation, which would make it a state crime for any
    federal agent to make an arrest, search, or seizure within the state without
    first getting the advanced, written permission of the elected county sheriff of
    the county in which the event is to take place.
Boldin said it’s essential for citizens to know what to do when the federal
government takes authority that it does not have under the Constitution.
“The standard viewpoint that we the people take in response to federal
usurpation of our rights is, ‘Let’s vote some bums out and hope the new bums
don’t do it again,'” he said.
But, “going to the federal government to fix problems created by the federal
government doesn’t work,” he said.
“Nullification is a way to bypass the federal government and have our states
do what they’re supposed to do.”
He cited some of the old traditional media reports on the dispute as proof
that headway is being made.
“First, they ignore you. Then they laugh at you. Then they attack you,” he
said, pointing to AP’s characterization of the movement as of “dubious
constitutional nature.”
He even explained that resorting to court action and other challenges is not
always the best course of action. Instead, he said people should tell
Washington:
“You don’t matter any more. We the people are going to exercise our rights no
matter what you say. Get on board if you want to keep the power in the
Constitution.”

Read more: Warning to Washington:
Follow the Constitution
http://www.wnd.com/?pageId=259837#ixzz1DIF636Sb

Ronald Reagan vs. Barack Obama; a matter of life and death

Ronald Reagan vs. Barack Obama; a matter of life and death

Phil Boehmke

 

Today we celebrate the Ronald Reagan Centennial. Revisionists on the left
have been busy reinterpreting and recasting the life of President Reagan in an
attempt to explain his continued popularity. Time magazine photo-shopped President Reagan with his hand on Barack Obama’s
shoulder for last week’s cover in a curious attempt to link the two polar
opposites.
The gulf that separates Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama cannot be bridged by
media hype and superficial comparisons. Perhaps no issue defines the differences
between President Reagan and Mr. Obama more closely than their views on
abortion. Last month Barack Obama marked the anniversary of Roe vs. Wade by
re-affirming his unyielding support of abortion. During his lack-luster career
in the Illinois Senate, Mr. Obama revealed his extreme and radical pro-abortion
agenda.
On March 30, 2001, Obama was the only Illinois senator who rose to speak
against a bill that would have protected babies who survive late-term
labor-induced abortions…Obama rose to object that if the bill passed, and a
nine-month-old fetus survived a late-term labor-induced abortion was deemed to
be a person who had the right to live, then the law would “forbid abortions to
take place.” Obama further explained the equal protection clause of the
Fourteenth Amendment does not allow somebody to kill a child, so if the law
deemed a child who survived a late-term abortion had a right to live, “then this
would be an anti-abortion statute.” [1]
In stark contrast to Mr. Obama’s radical views on abortion, Ronald Reagan
as a Christian, believed in the sanctity of life and sought ways to educate and
convince pro-abortion supporters to consider the rights of the unborn. In The
Reagan Diaries the president relates that he had received a wire from a woman in
Peoria, Il in response to his State of the Union speech. The woman was unhappy
with his stance on abortion and felt that he wanted to take away her freedom of
choice. Rather than write a response, President Reagan called her on the
telephone and explained that “there were 2 people‘s rights involved in
abortion-the mother‘s & the unborn child.” After what he termed “a nice
visit,” the woman promised to give the matter further thought. Ronald Reagan
noted that “I think I made a friend.” [2]
During his presidency Ronald Reagan was impressed with the new ultra-sound
procedure and predicted that the new technology would have a powerful impact on
the abortion issue. In a meeting with leaders from the Right to Life movement he
viewed a short film which showed an ultra-sound of an actual abortion being
performed. President Reagan related that the Doctor who had performed the
abortion (and some 10,000 others) was so moved by the evidence that he joined
the pro-life movement. He wrote in his diary “The movie (28 minutes long) was
most impressive & how anyone could deny that the fetus is a living human
being is beyond me.” [3]
Of course President Reagan never met Barack Obama. Standing in stark and
bloody contrast to Ronald Reagan, Mr. Obama was never swayed by evidence which
would assert that a fetus is “a living human being.”
More than once, Obama heard Illinois nurse Jill Stanek testify before the
Illinois Senate Judiciary Committee, relating the following story of an aborted
Down syndrome baby who survived a late-term induced-labor abortion and was
abandoned in the hospital’s Soiled Utility Room because the baby’s parents did
not want to hold him. “I couldn’t bear the thought of this child lying alone in
a Soiled Utility Room,” Stanek testified before Obama’s committee in the
Illinois Senate. “So I cradled him and rocked him for the 45 minutes that he
lived.” Stanek reported Obama was “unfazed” by the testimony. [4]
Ronald Reagan embraced life and had a confident and simple way of
expressing the importance of each life. On July 6, 1983 he wrote:
Nancy’s Birthday! Life would be miserable if there wasn’t a Nancy’s
birthday. What if she’d never been born. I don’t want to think about that.
[5]
On Ronald Reagan’s 100th Birthday if we pause to ask, what if he had never
been born? The response would clearly be, “I don’t want to think about that.”
The United States of America was truly blessed to have had President Ronald
Reagan at the helm for eight wonderful years.
[1] Jerome Corsi, The Obama Nation: Leftist Politics and the Cult of
Personality (New York: Threshold Editions, 2008), p. 238.
[2] Douglas Brinkley Editor, The Reagan Diaries (New York: HarperCollins,
2007), p. 217-8.
[3] Ibid., p. 296.
[4] Corsi, The Obama Nation, p. 238.
[5] Brinkley, The Reagan Diaries, p. 164.
February 6, 2010

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