Tag Archives: Congress

GOP Begins To Fight Back Against Obama’s Broad Executive Overreach

Breitbart  March 20 2014

Has President Obama’s impunity come to an end?

obamaAfter five years of his flouting the letter and spirit of the law in an increasingly brazen fashion, congressional Republicans have been starting to ramp up their rhetoric about Obama’s lawlessness, their most concerted effort on the issue to date.

Several new reports from top Republicans underscore the breadth of Obama’s executive overreach. Viewed comprehensively, it involves laws ranging from healthcare to immigration to privacy to technology to social issues to national security matters and more. Scandals like Benghazi, Operation Fast and Furious, the IRS targeting of conservative groups, NSA spying, CIA spying on Congress, the Delphi pensions scandal, the auto bailout and others have many unresolved questions – and unmet document and information demands.

Last week, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor re-released his 33-page October 2012 report detailing 40 separate examples of “the break-down in the rule of law under the Obama Administration.” This time, Cantor added a nine-page addendum with scores more examples of lawlessness of the administration.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) has also issued a three-part series of reports on the matter called “The Legal Limit,” which totals 26 pages of examples of Obama’s lawlessness, legal analysis and details of how courts have rejected the Department of Justice (DOJ) explanations from Attorney General Eric Holder for the Obama power grabs. In his first report, for instance, Cruz details nine cases the DOJ lost in which the Obama administration was seeking—but ultimately failed to achieve—more power.

“If the Department of Justice had won these cases, the federal government would be able to electronically track all of our movements, fine us without a fair hearing, dictate who churches choose as ministers, displace state laws based on the President’s whims, bring debilitating lawsuits against individuals based on events that occurred years ago, and destroy a person’s private property without just compensation,” Cruz wrote about them.

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Pam Martens ~ Mr. President, Executive Orders Are No Match For This Economic Slowdown

WallStreetOnParade  March 12 2014

The warning signs are piling up that the U.S. economy is stalling and the feeble measures of the President to address this economic slowdown with executive signings are too little too late. Congress needs to put partisan bickering aside and open its eyes to an onslaught of data pointing to an economy hitting a brick wall.

For five years now, the executive branch and Congress have been living under the Wall Street-imposed delusion that flooding the big banks with liquidity (bailouts and years of quantitative easing) would promote job growth in the private sector and restore good jobs to the middle class. What it restored instead were rising bonuses for a limited, elite set of the financial sector who have used that flood of cash to make highly leveraged, high risk wagers in trading venues around the world while exacerbating income inequality in the U.S. and elsewhere.

Signs of the slowdown abound. On February 12, Cisco’s CFO, Frank Calderoni, told MarketWatch that “Clearly, there’s been a slowdown and it’s been very abrupt. It’s difficult to determine how long it will last.”

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Paul Craig Roberts ~ The Five Criminals: In America The Gestapo Has Replaced The Rule Of Law

Paul Craig Roberts  February 13 2014

PaulCraigRobertsRT is the best English language news source available to Americans. On January 29, RT published a photo of 5 presidential appointees lying through their teeth to Congress.

All five of these Gestapo wannabes are in violation of their oath of office to protect the Constitution of the United States. They have relentlessly violated the Constitution, which makes these five, who are in charge of US intelligence and black operations, traitors to the United States. Yet, they have not been arrested and put on trial. Congress is content to sit there and listen to their ongoing lies time after time after time, despite the fact that these 5 have committed more and worse crimes against our country than the “terrorists” that serve as an excuse for the crimes committed by the intelligence agencies.

Remember, dear readers, it is a crime for you to lie to any federal agent even if you are not under oath or before Congress. How much more evidence do you need that you are not a citizen of the United States but a mere serf of the federal government? Will you ever wake up?

James Clapper, who has the grand title of Director Of National Intelligence, is an admitted liar to the US Congress but nevertheless remains in office. That Clapper is still in office is a good measure of the decline both in the integrity of the US government and in the integrity that Congress, media, and the public expect from the government. President Nixon was driven from office for a very small thing: Nixon lied about when he learned about a burglary with which he had nothing to do. Clapper brazenly lied to the US Congress, denying that he was spying on members of the US Congress.

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Richard (RJ) Eskow ~ A Congress Of The Wealthy, By The Wealthy, And For The Wealthy

NationOfChange  January 26 2014

Richard Eskow

Richard Eskow

When the President of the United States delivers his State of the Union message next week, he’ll be speaking to the wealthiest Congress in history. What does it mean for a representative democracy when most of its representatives are insulated from the real-world economic experiences of its citizens?

A new report from Open Secrets shows that, for the first time, the average member of Congress is worth more than $1 million. It’s hard to say how much more, because the House has adopted the Senate’s less stringent financial reporting requirements, but most representatives are, as they used to say back home, “pretty well fixed.” More than half of them are worth more than $1 million, according to Open Secrets.

Some members of Congress aren’t wealthy, of course. But if the President sticks with his recent theme of inequality next week, he’ll be doing it in front of an audience that has disproportionately benefited from the very phenomenon he’ll be describing. Some reports say that the president may ask for an extension of unemployment benefits, too. If so, he’ll be proposing it to a room full of people who are unlikely to ever feel unemployment’s anguish and terror themselves.

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Thomas R. Eddlem ~ N.Y. Judge: NSA Spying “Imperils Civil Liberties Of Every Citizen” But “Legal”

   December 27 2013

Judge William Pauley III

Judge William Pauley III

Southern District of New York Judge William Pauley III declared in a December 27 decision that the NSA surveillance program — which draws in every American’s telephone records without a warrant or probable cause — was “legal” even though it “imperils the civil liberties of every citizen.” The decision contrasts sharply with adecision two weeks ago by Washington, D.C. District Court Judge Richard Leon that termed the warrantless surveillance program unconstitutional and “almost Orwellian.”

Almost Orwellian was no problem for Pauley, who foundthat the Constitution should not get in the way of programs the government claims have worked: “The question for this Court is whether the Government’s bulk telephony metadata program is lawful. This Court finds it is.”

Pauley dismissed the lawsuit by the ACLU despite acknowledging that “This blunt tool works because it collects everything. Such a program, if unchecked, imperils the civil liberties of every citizen.”

Metadata is the record created by a telephone call, and includes the number calling and the number called, as well as the time and duration of the call. The NSA also has other programs to collect Internet traffic and other data on Americans, but these other programs were not the subject of the lawsuit dismissed by Pauley.

Pauley claimed, however, that “Bulk telephony metadata collection is subject to extensive oversight by all three branches of government. It is monitored by the Department of Justice, the Intelligence Community, the FISC [Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court], and Congress.”

Pauley’s claim is not backed up by the facts, nor even by the text of his own 54-page decision. The public record is devoid of any serious restrictions on NSA created by the intelligence community or the Justice Department. And the FISC has turned out to be an NSA lapdog, not a watchdog. The Wall Street Journal reported back on June 9 that “From 1979 through 2012, the court overseeing the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act has rejected only 11 of the more than 33,900 surveillance applications by the government, according to annual Justice Department reports to Congress.” Indeed, Pauley’s decision — despite touting “extensive oversight” from FISA courts — acknowledged “there is no way for the Government to know which particle of telephony metadata will lead to useful counterterrorism information. When that is the case, courts routinely authorize large-scale collections of information, even if most of it will not directly bear on the investigation.”

As for Congress’ surveillance of the NSA, most members didn’t even know about the program until Edward Snowden revealed it to the public. Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) noted that NSA briefings of Congress amounted to “a totally ridiculous game of twenty questions.”

The court decision read more like an op-ed by NSA chief Keith Alexander than a neutral court ruling, as Pauley derided “judicial-Monday-morning-quarterbacking” by the Leon court. Throughout the wordy 54-page decision, Pauley never articulated any objective restriction on a search that would be a violation of the Fourth Amendment. Not, at least, an argument on the Fourth Amendment that would be even a “substantial” burden on the government. Pauley noted that “To obtain a section 215 order [under the Patriot Act], the Government must show (1) ‘reasonable grounds to believe the tangible things south are relevant to an authorized investigation.’” But the “reasonable” standard is one defined by the U.S. Constitution’s Fourth Amendment. Pauley argued that “Under section 215, the Government’s burden is not substantial.” But the Fourth Amendment explicitly defines a “reasonable” search as one with a warrant supported by an oath, probable cause and particularity in describing what will be found and where it will be found.

Pauley claimed in his decision that “The collection of breathtaking amounts of information unprotected by the Fourth Amendment does not transform that sweep into a Fourth Amendment search.” Of course, all searches are subject to the Fourth Amendment; the amendment makes no exceptions for non-Fourth Amendment searches. The text of the Fourth Amendment reads:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

The New York court’s decision revealed how courts can “interpret” a constitutional amendment out of existence. Pauley openly acknowledged in his decision that the NSA program does not comport with the Fourth Amendment’s “probable cause” requirement, writing that “Any individual call record alone is unlikely to lead to matter that may pertain to a terrorism investigation.” He also acknowledged that the NSA-backed surveillance did not comport with the warrant requirement through National Security Letters issued by the FBI: “An NSL does not require judicial approval.”

Pauley based his constitutionality ruling on the claim in his decision that “an individual has no legitimate expectation of privacy in information provided to third parties” and that “when a person voluntarily conveys information to a third party, he forfeits his right to privacy in that information.” Of course, while his court claimed that a person has no right to claim privacy in any third party records voluntarily created, the Federal Trade Commission was busy suing businesses such as Google for violating this same non-existent privacy violation. Google paid a $22.5 million fine in 2012 for putting “cookies” on browsers that used its websites after being taken to court by the Federal Trade Commission. So if there’s no legitimate right to privacy, why did the Obama administration — the same branch of the federal government that claimed there’s no reasonable expectation of privacy in the NSA lawsuit — sue Google?

Moreover, Pauley took pains to stress that the NSA keeps the data private, writing that “The NSA store the metadata in secure networks and access is limited to authorized personnel.” If there’s no reasonable expectation of privacy, why all the secrecy and restricted access?

Pauley’s claim that the information is “secure” is false on its face. Edward Snowden’s release of the information alone is proof that the information is not secure, and Pauley acknowledged the lawsuit was only possible because of Snowden’s revelations. Snowden was a 27-year-old contractor for Booz-Allen-Hamilton — not even an NSA employee — who had access to this sensitive information. And the NSA has admitted a dozen other instances of abuse of that “metadata” information, in some instances whereNSA employees were using the data to spy on their wives and girlfriends. 

This, of course, puts the lie to Pauley’s claim that “the Government does not know who any of the telephone number belong to.” [Emphasis in original.] Of course, if they don’t know to whom any of the numbers belong, how did NSA employees know enough to zoom in on their girlfriends and wives?

The revelation that NSA employees were using the surveillance program as a crutch for their failing romantic relationships also puts the lie to Pauley’s claim in his decision that “There is no evidence that the Government has used any of the bulk telephony metadata it collected for any purpose other than investigating and disrupting terrorist attacks.”

The December 27 decision did put the USA Patriot Act in its proper light, however. Pauley noted that one provision of the Patriot Act was “eliminating the restrictions on the types of businesses that can be served with such orders [broad demands for private information without a search warrant] and the requirement that the target be a foreign power or agent.” In other words, the Patriot Act was written to allow the government to target Americans — for the first time — for surveillance. “The ACLU argues that the category at issue — all telephony metadata — is too broad and contains too much irrelevant information. That argument has no traction here. Because without all the data points, the Government cannot be certain it connected the pertinent ones.” Indeed, Pauley stressed that “the Government invoked this authority to collect virtually all call detail records or ‘telephony metadata.’”

One can paraphrase Pauley’s decision as essentially one where “one nation under surveillance” is an acceptable way of life, and where the Fourth Amendment is a relic of a bygone era without any “substantial” impact on the federal government.

Catherine J. Frompovich ~ The Assumed Powers of Any U.S. President: What Are We to Do?

Activist Post December 26 2013

Recently this writer came across a YouTube which discusses some unimaginable circumstances and actions that the voiceover claims are little-known, but apparently imminent in the United States. The actions as discussed, unfortunately, result from Presidential Executive Orders (PEOs), which were designed to and supposedly will take away: our rights as citizens, our cars, food and farms, healthcare and welfare services, and relocate us to relocation centers at the federal government’s whim plus, there are PEOs that give FEMA control and powers Congress cannot do anything about for at least six months and which affect supposedly free persons in the United States of America.

In that YouTube, the PEOs that are of concern to the voice-over are listed below. In checking out which president of the U.S. issued them, I find that President John F Kennedy issued most. One has to wonder why such extreme dictatorial measures were self-assumed and consequently placed into what may become future presidents’ armamentaria for despotism and one-man rule. No president seems exempt from being capable to proclaim and implement dictatorial powers or invoke those as granted by former presidents in preceding PEOs, or those issued in the future.

PEO No. Established Power(s) for

JFK 10990 Reestablishing the Federal Safety Council

JFK 10995 Assigning telecommunications management functions

JFK 10997 Assigning emergency preparedness functions to the Secretary of the Interior

JFK 10998 Assigning emergency preparedness functions to the Secretary of Agriculture

JFK 10999 Assigning emergency preparedness functions to the Secretary of Commerce

JFK 11000 Assigning emergency preparedness functions to the Secretary of Labor

JFK 11001 Assigning emergency preparedness functions to the Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare Continue reading

William F. Jasper ~ Reid, Pelosi — If ObamaCare’s So “Wonderful” Why Aren’t YOU Joining?

TheNewAmerican  November 16 2013

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) is fuming over Senator David Vitter’s efforts to expose members of the Senate and House who exempt themselves and their staff members from the negative impacts of ObamaCare they are forcing on the rest of us.

By Thursday, November 14, Sen. Vitter (R-La.) had Sen. Reid almost ready to blow a gasket. On Tuesday, November 12, Vitter had held up a unanimous consent vote needed to move a pharmaceutical bill forward.

On Thursday, Vitter asked for unanimous consent agreements to have a vote on his legislation called the “Show Your Exemption Act,” which would require each congressional office to publicly disclose whom they are exempting from entering the ObamaCare exchange. He offered to have a vote on the legislation as an amendment to the Compounding Pharmacies bill, the National Defense Authorization Act, or as stand-alone legislation.

“The fact that Harry Reid is going to such lengths to block even this disclosure vote says it all: As Americans face mass cancellations and huge premium increases, his top priority is to protect the Washington exemption from Obamacare,” Vitter said in a press release.  “I’ll continue to demand votes on this issue as opportunities arise — and they will — including as next year’s election approaches.”

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Jonathan Turley ~ The Fix Is In: Can President Obama Grant An Effective ACA Waiver To Millions Of Disgruntled Citizens?

JonathanTurley  November 15 2013

President Obama is taking a great deal of heat for the cancellations of millions of policies after he repeatedly told citizens that if you like your policy you could keep it. He recently apologized for what seems a classic bait and switch. However, Obama has now announced a fix that raises a more serious question in my mind. Most of us have become used to a relatively high level of dishonesty from our leaders in Congress as well as the White House. This blog has documented whoppers, even perjury, that results in little more than a shrug in today’s political system. However, the “fix” involves the President unilaterally changing that scope and timing of a law. This has been a recurring concern with this President and the rise of the “Imperial Presidency” that he has established within ever-expanding executive powers. I will be discussing this issue today on CNN.

While the line between legislation and enforcement can become blurred, this view is generally reflective of the functions defined in Article I and Article II. The Take Care Clause is one of the most direct articulations of this division. The Clause states “[The President] shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed . . .” U.S. Const. art. II, § 3, cl. 4. It is one of the clearest and most important mandates in the Constitution. The Framers not only draw the distinction between making and enforcing laws, but, with the enforcement of the law, the Framers stressed that the execution of the laws created by Congress must be faithfully administered. The language combines a mandate of the execution of laws with the qualifying obligation of their faithful execution.

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Michael Snyder ~ Obama’s Secret Treaty Which Will Merge America More Deeply Into The Emerging One World Economic System

EconomicCollapse  November 13 2013

Did you know that the Obama administration is negotiating a super secret “trade agreement” that is so sensitive that he isn’t even allowing members of Congress to see it?  The Trans-Pacific Partnership is being called the “NAFTA of the Pacific” and “NAFTA on steroids”, but the truth is that it is so much more than just a trade agreement.  This treaty has 29 chapters, but only 5 of them have to do with trade.  Most Americans don’t realize this, but this treaty will fundamentally change our laws regarding Internet freedom, health care, the trading of derivatives, copyright issues, food safety, environmental standards, civil liberties and so much more.  It will also merge the United States far more deeply into the emerging one world economic system.  Initially, twelve nations will be a party to this treaty including the United States, Mexico, Canada, Japan, Australia, Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.  Together, those nations represent approximately 40 percent of global GDP.  It is hoped that additional nations such as the Philippines, Thailand and Colombia will join the treaty later on.

There are some very good reasons why Obama does not want the American people to know anything about what is in this treaty.  This agreement will impose very strict Internet copyright rules on the American people, it will ban all “Buy American” laws, it will give Wall Street banks much more freedom to trade risky derivatives and it will force even more domestic manufacturing offshore.

It contains a whole host of things that Obama would be unable to get through Congress on his own.  But he is hoping to spring this on Congress at the last minute and get them to agree to this “free trade agreement” before they realize all of the things that are contained in it. Continue reading