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More hypocrisy: Senate opens debate on amendment to partially repeal the First Amendment while taking corporate cash

Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM)’s S.J. Res. 19, the constitutional amendment proposal that would severely handicap our First Amendment political speech protections, has just been pushed forward in the Senate.

The Hill reports that early on Monday, the Senate advanced the amendment proposal after 20 Republicans voted with Democrats. The amendment, which would reverse the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, has been worded to restrict the work performed by issue-focused nonprofit organizations and political action committees. It would also target corporations, which is the reason why this amendment is being so widely supported by liberals.

While most Republicans originally stood against boosting the regulatory burden on political speech, Sens. Marco Rubio (R-FL), John McCain (R-AZ), and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) - among others - voted to push the motion forward. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), among others, voted against the proposal.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has claimed he will spend as much time as Republicans need to debate the issue. To him, campaign spending reform is necessary to curb the easy flow of what he calls “dark money” in politics. According to Reid, “this constitutional amendment is what we need to bring sanity back to elections and restore Americans’ confidence in our democracy.”

Voter fraud in Georgia: Two groups tied to Democrats are under investigation for forged voter applications

There’s some big news is coming out of the Peach State that implicates organizations tied to state House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams (D-Atlanta), a supporter of Michelle Nunn and Jason Carter, the Democratic Party of Georgia’s nominees for U.S. Senate and Governor.

Third Sector Development, founded by Abrams, and its subsidiary, the New Georgia Project, have allegedly forged voter registration applications, forged signatures, and told voters that they have to re-register. The two organizations focus their efforts on minority engagement. According to WSB-TV, the Georgia Secretary of State’s office subpoenaed records from the two investigations after receiving numerous complaints:

In a memo sent to county elections officials, Secretary of State Brian Kemp said in recent weeks his office has “received numerous complaints about voter applications submitted by the New Georgia Project.”

Kemp wrote, “Preliminary investigation has revealed significant illegal activities’ including forged voter registration applications, forged signatures on releases, and applications with false or inaccurate information.”

A spokesman confirmed Kemp’s office was contacted by officials in DeKalb, Gwinnett, Henry, Bartow, Butts and Muscogee counties.

Food Freedom Fest and the War on Our Food

This past weekend, a small mountain town in Southwest Virginia was the site of a meeting of radicals. They looked like mild-mannered citizens, some even literally and obviously just off the farm, but behind the friendly handshakes and smiles you could see the light of fighters in a war most people don’t even realize exists: the right to grow and eat what you want, free of burdensome government regulation and intrusion.

The ideological heart of this gathering is one Joel Salatin, a man pushing 60 who looks a decade or more younger, who knows first hand what it looks like when the government decides it wants to shut you down and drive you out of business for encroaching on their self-styled food provision empire. His manifesto is summed pretty handily thus:

Food freedom is even more basic than gun, religious, or speech freedom,” says. “In fact, I would argue that the reason the founders of our country did not write it into the bill of rights was because it was so basic they couldn’t conceive of any society abrogating it.  It would have been like guaranteeing citizens the right to watch the sun rise or sit on their porch.  The way it relates to other small government initiatives is that once we actually have food freedom, it destroys the assumptions that led to its demise.

Republicans are about to cave on the crony Ex-Im Bank, surrendering more ground to the Obama White House

After months of a very public debate over the future of the Export-Import Bank, House Republicans are poised to temporarily extend the life of the controversial New Deal-era agency to avoid any drama before the mid-term election.

The Ex-Im Bank has, rightly, been criticized by conservatives both inside and outside of Congress because it has become symbolic of cronyism, the marriage of big government and big business. The Bank has doled out billions of dollars in taxpayer-backed loans to some United States’ biggest corporations, including Boeing, Caterpillar, General Electric.

Despite the efforts of some members willing to take on cronyism, House Republicans are poised to reauthorize Ex-Im, albeit temporarily, instead of risking a big fight before the chamber, because, apparently, there’s never a good moment to get into a debate over bad policy:

Speaker John Boehner on Tuesday signaled the House will extend the Export-Import Bank’s charter, saying that one of the institution’s biggest critics is on board.

The Ohio Republican said he is working with Texas Rep. Jeb Hensarling, the Financial Services chairman, who “thinks a temporary extension of the Export-Import Bank is in order.”

Oversight Judge to Blogger: You Were Right about Supreme Court Justice, but We’re Not Going to Do Anything about It

In a stunning move, the Tennessee Board of Judicial Conduct has declined to discipline Supreme Court Justice Gary Wade for violating the state Code of Judicial Conduct when he was Chief Justice, and has dismissed a complaint brought against him by a United Liberty contributor.

Judge Chris Craft, Board Chair of the Tennessee Board of Judicial Conduct, acknowledged in a letter dated September 5, 2014 that your humble scribe “raised an area of concern” in the ethics complaint I filed against Justice Gary Wade on July 9 for a breach of the court’s rules governing political activity as he campaigned for retention to the state Supreme Court this summer. Judge Craft also says that the Board has addressed the complaint “by other means,” and will not be reprimanding or censuring Justice Wade, and has therefore dismissed the complaint.

Here we go again: Barack Obama tells Congress he doesn’t need authorization to wage war

Well, it looks like President Barack Obama is going to bypass Congress to wage a military campaign once again avoiding the constitutional role Congress has in determining when the United States is at war.

President Obama told the four main congressional leaders — House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), House Minority Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) — that he doesn’t need a vote in Congress authorizing military action against in Iraq against the Islamic State:

The president is expected to use [his Wednesday evening] speech to announce the expanded use of airstrikes against ISIS targets in Iraq, as well as his administration’s efforts to build an international coalition to confront the terror threat.

The president is also weighing the possibility of airstrikes against ISIS targets in Syria, as well as asking the United Nations to pass a binding resolution requiring governments to prevent the flow of foreign fighters to the region.

While Obama told the House and Senate leaders he would welcome congressional action that demonstrates a unified front, the president told the bipartisan group “he has the authority he needs to take action against (ISIS) in accordance with the mission he will lay out in his address,” according to the White House.
[…]
None of the four leaders present in the meeting mentioned the need for congressional action following the meeting, nor did they offer many clues as to what new strategy elements Obama might announce.

About time: House of Representatives condemns Barack Obama’s Taliban prisoner swap

The House of Representatives slammed President Barack Obama early Tuesday evening with the passage of a resolution “[c]ondemning and disapproving” of his administration’s failure to notify Congress of the release prisoners as required by law — in this case, five Taliban leaders — from the U.S. Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba:

The measure passed largely along party lines in a 249-163 vote, but 22 Democrats broke ranks to rebuke the president, with just two months to go before the midterm elections.

The executive branch is required by the 2014 Defense Appropriations Act to notify Congress at least 30 days before transferring prisoners at the Guantánamo Bay detention facility. A Government Accountability Office report found last month that the administration violated the law by not adhering to the requirement.
[…]
The resolution further states that the exchange hurt the administration’s relationships with lawmakers. The text says that “these actions have burdened unnecessarily the trust and confidence in the commitment and ability of the Obama administration to constructively engage and work with Congress.”

Bad news for Mark Begich: Obamacare premiums are going to rise by an astronomical rate in Alaska

The last couple weeks haven’t been kind for Sen. Mark Begich (D-AK). He’s facing backlash over a campaign ad that falsely accused his Republican challenger, former Alaska Attorney General Dan Sullivan, of setting a man free from prison who is now accused of killing two people. The Alaska Democrat was forced to pull the ad from the air due to complaints from the victims’ family.

Once seen as the most likely vulnerable Senate Democrat to survive a Republican challenger, Begich now trails Sullivan by 6 points, according to a poll released over the weekend, the first that has come out since the dust up over the ad. Further complicating matters for Begich is a new report that Obamacare premiums in Alaska are set to rise by a significant margin:

Alaskans buying health insurance through their state exchange can expect a price spike of more than 30 percent on average, news that could hurt Sen. Mark Begich (D-Alaska), who voted for ObamaCare.

The victims’ families deserve transparency: Barack Obama should declassify the 28 pages of the joint inquiry into 9/11

It’s hard to believe it has been 13 years since the September 11 terrorist attacks, a day in which nearly 2,977 people lost their lives at the hands of 19 radical Islamic militants doing the work of al-Qaeda and its founder, Osama bin Laden.

Americans know the story of what happened and the massive intelligence failures that led up to the attack. But there is some information in a 2002 congressional report that the Bush administration and, now, the Obama administration don’t want the public to see.

At issue are 28 pages in the Joint Inquiry into Intelligence Community Activities before and after the Terrorist Attacks of September 11, 2001 (Volume I, Volume II), a report conducted by the House and Senate intelligence committees. The then-chairmen of the two committees, Sen. Bob Graham (D-FL) and Rep. Porter Goss (R-FL) , both of whom have since retired from public service, oversaw the inquiry and the report.

The Bush administration classified 28 pages of the report, citing national security concerns. Three House members, however, are working with families of the victims of the September 11 attacks to declassify these page, which, they say, details the Bush administration’s relationship with Saudi Arabia and ties elements within the Middle Eastern country’s government to the Islamic radicals who carried out the attack, as The New Yorker explains:

Well, this is unconstitutional: Senate Democrats want to go after corporations that have left the U.S. over the last 20 years

Article I, Section 9 of the Constitution explicitly prohibits ex post facto laws, those that are passed and signed to outlaw some sort of activity after the fact. But don’t tell that to Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY). He may soon introduce legislation that would penalize companies that moved their headquarters overseas because the United States’ unfriendly tax climate, reaching as far back as 1994:

A top Senate Democrat’s proposal to limit future deductions for companies that moved tax addresses out of the U.S. as many as 20 years ago would penalize dozens of so-called inversion deals.

The proposal by Charles Schumer of New York, the No. 3 leader in the Senate’s Democratic majority, would reduce the amount of deductible interest for inverted companies to 25 percent of U.S. taxable income from 50 percent, according to a draft obtained by Bloomberg News.

President Barack Obama has included a similar provision in his annual budgets, and this is the first time the language made it into a legislative proposal, Robert Willens, a New York-based independent consultant on corporate taxes, said by phone yesterday.

“It would have a very profound and immediate effect on these companies and would be very effective at reducing the attractiveness of inversions,” Willens said. “This is certainly a political statement.”

 


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