Tag Archives: Congress

Charles Hugh Smith ~ The Rot Within, Part III: Our Political Order Is Defined by Favoritism and Extortion

What’s the difference between the U.S. Congress and corrupt petty officials taking bribes at a Third-World border crossing? Only one of scale.” C H Smith

CharlesHughSmithCorruption ceases to be corruption when it becomes the Status Quo; what was once recognized as corruption is seen as just another cost of doing business. Our political order is structurally corrupt: the key dynamic in every level of governance is favoritism and extortion.

Favors must be bought: those foolish enough not to spend freely on lobbyists and campaign contributions find their competitors have gained the upper hand by buying favors such as tax breaks, federal subsidies, no-bid contracts, cost-plus contracts, backroom deals, regulations that exclude competition and so on.

Politicos must extort campaign contributions from the maximum number of supplicants seeking favors to maintain their perquisites and power.

Here’s how the system works.

There was much mainstream media hand-wringing and outrage in response to corporations moving their place of business offshore to lower their taxes. This outrage is completely misplaced–and indeed, seems designed to misdirect attention away from the systemic corruption that is the beating heart of the American political order.

Let me explain how favoritism becomes the Status Quo. There are two key dynamics at work.

1. Onerous, uncompetitive taxes and/or regulations. The U.S. corporate tax rate is 35%, the highest in the world, and various observers estimate the average state corporate tax tacks on another 4.1% for a total corporate tax rate of 39.1%. Continue reading

5 Minute Speech That Got Judge Napolitano Fired From Fox News [Video]

Speech That Got Judge Napolitano Fired From Fox News

Asking questions as Judge Andrew Napolitano did in a broadcast on his now cancelled daily show may very well be the reason behind his recent dismissal from Fox. Though specific details are hard to come by because the Judge has yet to give any interviews on the matter, it’s believed that his refusal to bow to commonly manufactured media narratives is among one of several key reasons he is no longer with the network.

This 5-Minute Speech that Got Napolitano Fired from Fox News is one that should be shared with every single man, woman and child in this country, and taught and expounded upon in every social studies, civics and government class from first grade through college.

SF Source UniBrowStudioVision   July 19 2014

Jonathan Turley ~ “So Sue Me”: Presidential Taunts And Constitutional Consequences

“These acts of defiance of Congress often come with chest-pounding acclaim, but they also come with costs. For example, by violating the Constitution on recess appointments, a huge array of rulings out of the National Labor Relations Board could be invalid — creating havoc in the area.” J Turley

jonathanTurleyBelow is my column yesterday in the Sunday New York Daily News on the unfolding controversy over President Obama’s unilateral actions to circumvent Congress. The pledge of the President to “go it alone” has already resulted in court losses for the Administration and a growing separation of powers crisis. I testified (here and here and here) and wrote a column on President Obama’s increasing circumvention of Congress in negating or suspending U.S. laws. I ran another column recently listing such incidents of executive over-reach that ideally would have included this potentially huge commitment under Obama’s claimed discretionary authority. I happen to believe that the President is right in many of these areas but that does not excuse the means that he is using to achieve these goals.

The unanimous decision of the Supreme Court late last month that President Obama violated the separation of powers in appointing officials is the type of decision that usually concentrates the mind of a chief executive. Obama, however, appeared to double down on his strategy — stating in a Rose Garden speech on Tuesday that he intended to expand, not reduce, his use of unilateral actions to circumvent Congress.

Summing up his position, the President threw down the gauntlet at Congress: “So sue me.”

The moment was reminiscent of George W. Bush’s taunting Iraqi insurgents over 10 years ago by saying, “Bring ’em on.” It was irresponsible bravado from a man who was not himself at the receiving end of IEDs and constant attacks that would go on to cost us thousands of military personnel. I imagine some lawyers at the Justice Department may feel the same way about Obama’s “sue me” taunt. They are the ones being hammered in federal courts over sweeping new interpretations and unilateral executive actions. Continue reading

Jon Rappoport ~ One Day In 1913, Woodrow Wilson Had A Shocking Thought

“The shadow power Wilson refers to are the “framers of reality” for the masses.” ~J Rappoport

WoodrowWilsonPresident Woodrow Wilson was one of those men who saw a horrible danger to his country, looked it in the eye, and decided that, instead of trying to decentralize and dismantle that overarching power, he would hope against hope that greater cooperation among leaders of nations would bring sanity and peace and freedom of the individual.

Of course, he was wrong.

Wilson knew he was entangled with those very powers that were destroying the best of what American stood for.

Nevertheless, no modern President has made more revealing comments on the existence and nature of the shadow government, the real rulers of America.

This was his 1913 thought:

“…the control of credit…has become dangerously centralized…The great monopoly in this country is the monopoly of big credits. So long as that exists, our old variety and freedom and individual energy of development are out of the question.

“A great industrial nation is controlled by its system of credit. Our system of credit is privately concentrated. The growth of the nation, therefore, and all our activities are in the hands of a few men who, even if their action be honest and intended for the public interest, are necessarily concentrated upon the great undertakings in which their own money is involved and who necessarily, by very reason of their own limitations, chill and check and destroy genuine economic freedom.

“This is the greatest question of all, and to this statesmen must address themselves with an earnest determination to serve the long future and the true liberties of men. This money trust, or, as it should be more properly called, this credit trust, of which Congress has begun an investigation, is no myth; it is no imaginary thing. Continue reading

Greg Campbell ~ Ted Cruz To Eric Holder: Appoint Prosecutor For IRS Scandal Or Face Impeachment

Zemanta Related Posts ThumbnailOn Thursday, Tea Party Senator Ted Cruz called for the impeachment of Attorney General Eric Holder if he refuses to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate the IRS’ targeting of Tea Party and other conservative groups.

Sen. Cruz called for unanimous consent to demand that the Department of Justice (DOJ) appoint a prosecutor to investigate the IRS scandal, the years-long campaign of harassment aimed at suppressing Tea Party influence in politics by delaying tax-exempt status to nonprofits by requiring the submission of multiple invasive questionnaires and information that far surpassed any reasonable requests for tax-exempt considerations.

“Americans need a guarantee that the IRS will never be used again to target an Administration’s political enemies,” Sen. Cruz said. “It saddens me that there is not one Democrat in this body who has had the courage to stand up to his or her own party and say that using the IRS to target citizens for their political beliefs is wrong. We need a special prosecutor with meaningful independence to make sure justice is served and our constitutional rights to free speech, assembly, and privacy are protected.”

“If Attorney General Eric Holder does not appoint a special prosecutor to investigate the IRS,” Cruz added, “the House should use its power to impeach him. Impeding justice is intolerable and he should not be permitted to refuse the American people a true investigation into the actions of those who used the machinery of government to target, intimate, and silence them for politically driven reasons.”

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Jonathan Turley ~ Supreme Court Unanimously Finds President Obama Violated Constitution In Use Of Recess Appointments

“The decision is an important victory for the separation of powers. It will also further magnify the growing controversy over President Obama’s unilateral actions in various areas — part of his pledge to circumvent Congress to get things done.” ~J Turley

jonathanTurleyThe Supreme Court has ruled in Noel Canning v. NLRB, No. 12-1115, and found that President Obama had indeed violated the constitution in his recess appointment. The decision was unanimous. I will be discussing this and the abortion case ruling at 1pm with Wolf Blitzer on CNN.

The unanimous decision was personally satisfying because I was the lead witness in the Judiciary Committee hearing on the appointments. Roughly two years ago, I testified in Congress that the recess appointments of President Barack Obama were unconstitutional. Those four appointments by President Obama included Richard Cordray, who had been denied confirmation to a consumer protection board in a Republican filibuster. While I liked Cordray, I testified that the appointments were in my opinion clearly unconstitutional. As someone who previously testified and written that the appointments were flagrantly unconstitutional, I received a great deal of push back. I was highly critical of the work of the Office of Legal Counsel in my testimony and my writings, which advised Obama that he had this authority. See Jonathan Turley, Recess Appointments in the Age of Regulation, 93 Boston University Law Review (2013) and Jonathan Turley, Constitutional Adverse Possession: Recess Appointments and the Role of Historical Practice in Constitutional Interpretation, 2103 Wisconsin Law Review (2013). It was a disappointing piece of work by an office that used to be independent and highly respected for its analysis. For prior columns, click here and here and here and here. Continue reading

Gallup Declares ‘Death Of Public Confidence In Congress’ As Trust Falls To Historic Low Of 7%

 Americans’ confidence in their elected officials has fallen to a historic new low in Gallup’s annual 2014 confidence in institutions survey. Only a scant 7% of citizens had a “great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence in Congress, down from the previous record low of 10% logged in last year’s poll.

ConfidenceInCongress1

Gallup declared the number so low that it represents the “death of public confidence in their elected officials“:

The current 7% of Americans who place confidence in Congress is the lowest of the 17 institutions Gallup measured this year, and is the lowest Gallup has ever found for any of these institutions. The dearth of public confidence in their elected leaders on Capitol Hill is yet another sign of the challenges that could face incumbents in 2014′smidterm elections – as well as more broadly a challenge to the broad underpinnings of the nation’s representative democratic system.

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Charles Hugh Smith ~ The Most Destructive Presidencies In U.S. History: George W. Bush And Barack H. Obama

“We should also not be surprised that all these power grabs by the executive branch and the National Security State are cloaked in secrecy, and that anyone who dares to reveal the power grabs and abuses of power to the public is declared a traitor and crucified.” ~C H Smith

CharlesHughSmithAfter 13.5 years, there is more than enough evidence for reasonable people to conclude that the presidencies of George W. Bush and Barack H. Obama are easily the most destructive in U.S. history.

When historians speak of failed presidencies or weak presidencies, they are typically referring to presidencies characterized by uneven leadership, petty corruption by self-serving cronies or in extreme cases such as the Nixon presidency, abuses of executive power.


But weak or failed presidencies are not destructive to the rule of law and the foundations of the nation. The failed president leaves office and the basic structure of the nation continues: the rule of law, the balance of powers and a free-market economy.

A destructive president weakens or corrupts these core structures in favor of executive-branch powers, and passes these unconstitutional powers to the next executive for further expansion.

The Bush and Obama presidencies have effectively dismantled the rule of law and the Constitution by invoking essentially unlimited executive powers in the name of “national security:” we the citizens of the U.S. can now be accused of violating secret laws, be indicted in secret, tried in secret and sentenced to life in prison based on evidence fabricated in secret, i.e. declaring unclassified documents classified after the fact to incriminate and imprison whistleblowers.


How is this any different from totalitarian fascist regimes?

This is absolutely contrary to basic civil liberties defined by the Constitution. Who benefits from this destruction of fundamental civil liberties? (Always start by asking cui bono–to whose benefit?) Continue reading

George Washington ~ No Wonder Impeachment Was “Off The Table”: Democrats Approved Mass Surveillance And Torture … And The Subsequent Cover-Up

“Veteran reporter Robert Scheer wrote in the San Francisco Chronicle in 2007 that Pelosi and Harman hid from the 9/11 Commission and the American people the fact that the interrogations of 9/11 suspects were videotaped, and that the alleged “confessions” of those held at Gitmo were wholly unreliable. They could have stopped the whole farce cold — but chose to go along with it.” ~G. Washington

Pelosi Was Briefed On – and Covered Up – NSA Spying On Americans

NancyPelosiWhen a teen asked Nancy Pelosi last week why she supports unconstitutional NSA spying, Pelosi responded that the NSA lied to Congress about what they were doing, and she didn’t know:

But Pelosi was actually briefed on – and approved – illegal mass surveillance by the NSA.

Last November, high-level NSA whistleblower Bill Binney confirmed to Washington’s Blog that Pelosi was briefed on NSA’s mass surveillance of Americans:

WASHINGTON’S BLOG: Is CBS right that you tried to warn Congress 10 years ago?

BILL BINNEY: Yes, first to Diane Roark (House senior staff assigned to monitor NSA) in late 2001, then, to a House Intel Committee member. Diane also talked to Porter Goss [then-chair of the House Intelligence Committee] and Nancy Pelosi [ranking member on the Intelligence Committee at the time] about it in the same time frame. This to me was the obvious reason Nancy said (when she was speaker) that impeaching George W was off the table. Cause she was part of it from the beginning.

Last week, Diane Roark confirmed that this was true:

WASHINGTON’S BLOG: Bill Binney explained in a recent interview that Pelosi refused to impeach Bush because she herself had signed off on mass NSA surveillance of Americans. Can you confirm Mr. Binney’s statement from your experience?

DIANE ROARK: Yes, Nancy Pelosi was one of the “gang of four” because she was the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee in 2001 and for some time after that. So she gave the go-ahead to the Administration along with the others.

She now claims that the administration withheld information from her. However, I sent her numerous memos updating her as I learned more and giving background on the system. I did this through her staff director, who assured me he had given them to her. Her office claimed to the New Yorker in 2011, however, that she had not received the memos.

See this for Roark’s explanation of what the mass surveillance is really about, and Congress’ refusal to demand accountability or controls.

Pelosi Also Complicit In Torture

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