Barack Obama

Congress denied access to classified document prior to NSA vote

In May 2011, Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) took the floor of the Senate to warn his colleagues that Americans would one day be outraged to learn that the U.S. Government was actively engaged in surveillance activities that most citizens would consider outright criminal.

With carefully measured words, to avoid being reprimanded, the Senator from Oregon took the time to bring up an even more serious problem, which also worried his colleague Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM): the Obama administration’s unwillingness to cooperate by allowing for an open debate on the specifics of the government’s classified interpretation of the Section 215 of the Patriot Act, the particular section that allegedly authorizes the NSA to collect records on nearly every single American citizen.

The Obama administration managed to avoid looking into the query and Sen. Wyden’s amendment, which would declassify the Administration’s legal interpretation of Section 215, failed. Congress finally voted to reauthorize the Patriot Act for four more years despite not having access to one single classified document concerning the number of Americans affected by the surveillance activities authorized under the Patriot Act.

Fast forward to August, 2013. During a recent speech, President Obama claimed his administration had already begun the process of opening the debate on the NSA’s surveillance activities long before Mr. Edward Snowden stepped into the picture.

Veterans Affairs Backlog May Foreshadow Obamacare Provision

Veterans Affairs

It would appear the US Department of Veteran’s Affairs’ answer to the backlog of VA disability claims is to burden high-performing offices with some of those unanswered claims to help offset the build up.

While the effort to do something — anything — should be applauded, this kind of shuffling off of responsibility to high performing offices like the one in Sioux Falls, South Dakota seems almost like a punishment for efficiency. And, while some legislators have been vocal about the travesty of delaying disability payments to those who defend us abroad, President Obama — if his recent speeches to service men and women are any indication — is more interested in getting buy-in from our military for his policy positions, rather than focusing on what needs to be done to spur the provision of their benefits.

Speaking to servicemen and women and veterans this past week, most recently at Camp Pendleton, the President spent most of his time trying to convince them that a failure to reverse sequester cuts was detrimental to veterans and the actively enlisted, and that this was the fault of Congress and, most especially, House Speaker John Boehner.

Meanwhile, those who have a vested interest in some of the fixes to address the disability claim backlog are asking some rather interesting questions:

Obama assures public he believes in the free market, outlines government-sponsored housing reform

It seems like the liberty movement has accomplished far more than what most of us ever expected: it got President Barack Obama to admit he believes in the free market.

The statement was made before a crowd in Phoenix, Arizona while President Obama outlined the first four principles of his new plan to govern the housing reform.

The new plan includes facilitating credit for what the president calls qualified buyers, who “want to get a mortgage but keep getting rejected by the banks,” and offering a solution to “address the uneven recovery” by restoring rundown homes and vacant property.

While summarizing his government-run plans to restore the economy by stimulating the housing market, which is nothing out of the ordinary when it comes to this administration’s policies, President Obama reassured Arizonans that steps must be taken to avoid yet another bubble.

The solution, President Obama says, is to do precisely what he wants to do with Obamacare, which is to set up ”clear rules for insurance companies to protect consumers,” thus making housing more affordable. He claims that his plan would offer a market-based solution still under the government’s watch that would ensure home value would go up for everybody.

House Conservatives: Government shutdown in President Obama’s hands

Members of Congress are back in their districts this month where they’ll be hearing from constituents about various issues that face the country and their local communities. But in case you haven’t heard, there is a pretty big fight brewing between congressional Republicans over whether or not to fund ObamaCare.

With the current fiscal year expiring at the end of September, there is going to be an extraordinary amount of pressure in Congress to pass a Continuing Resolution to keep the government running. But there is a wrinkle as many conservative members, empowered by the delay of ObamaCare’s employer mandate, are pushing leadership to defund the law.

Democrats in both chambers of Congress and the media are quick to point out that defunding ObamaCare will embroil Republicans in a budget showdown with the White House, the likely result of which would be a government shutdown.

But conservative members of Congress are quick to say that don’t want to shutdown the federal government. They note that they want to pass appropriations measures or a Continuing Resolution to keep the government running, they just don’t want to fund a law that Americans consistantly reject and want repealed.

Rep. Tom Graves (R-GA), who has introduced legislation to defund ObamaCare, recently told United Liberty that this effort is about getting rid of a law that harms Americans, not shutting down the government.

Chatting with Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY)

Thomas Massie

“[T]he House and the Senate control the purse strings. It’s the only check that we have besides some oversight on the Executive Branch. And so I’m going to be part of that group that goes into this August recess and goes back home and says, ‘I will not vote for a continuing resolution that funds ObamaCare.’” - Rep. Thomas Massie

The last couple of election cycles have led to several interesting, liberty-minded Republicans being sent to Congress. On Tuesday, United Liberty had a chance to chat with one of those Republicans, Rep. Thomas Massie, who represents Kentucky’s Fourth Congressional District.

Elected last year with strong supports from grassroots groups, Massie quickly established his libertarian tendencies by taking strong stands for civil liberties and economic freedom. He’s an approachable guy and very down to Earth.

Along with Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI), Massie fought hard to get a vote last week on an amendment to the defense appropriations bill to defund the National Security Agency’s broad surveillance of American citizens.

Massie offered an inside baseball account of how a vote on the amendment, which was offered by Amash, came to pass in the face of fierce opposition from President Barack Obama, congressional leaders from both parties and the nation’s security apparatus.

Joe Scarborough vs. The Minister of Truth

MSNBC is typically a safe place for the Obama administration to promote talking points, propaganda, and bald faced lies. Imagine Press Secretary (or more accurately, Obama’s Minister of Truth) Jay Carney’s surprise on Morning Joe when the host Joe Scarborough wouldn’t allow him to get away with arguing that the ongoing congressional investigations into the Obama Administration are ‘phony scandals’.

Washington Post: Democrats Are Abandoning Obamacare

From The Washington Post’s The Fix:

Moderate Democrats are quitting on Obamacare

By Scott Clement, Published: July 23 at 9:00 am

The landmark health-reform law passed in 2010 has never been very popular and always highly partisan, but a new Washington Post-ABC News poll finds that a group of once loyal Democrats has been steadily turning against Obamacare: Democrats who are ideologically moderate  or conservative.

Just after the law was passed in 2010, fully 74 percent of moderate and conservative Democrats supported the federal law making changes to the health-care system. But just 46 percent express support in the new poll, down 11 points in the past year. Liberal Democrats, by contrast, have continued to support the law at very high levels – 78 percent in the latest survey. Among the public at large, 42 percent support and 49 percent oppose the law, retreating from an even split at 47 percent apiece last July.

2013-07-22 hcare among Democrats

White House, Intelligence Committee Oppose Amash’s Amendment

In a very unsurprising turn of events, the White House press secretary Jay Carney announced that the White House is urging Congress to reject the amendment introduced by Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI) that would keep the National Security Agency from collecting data on anybody who is not a suspect or under investigation.

According to the WH press secretary, the amendment to HR 2397 is an attempt by Amash to “hastily dismantle one of our Intelligence Community’s counterterrorism tools.” He asked Congress to reject the measure and “move forward with an approach that appropriately takes into account the need for a reasoned review of what tools can best secure the nation.”

While Amash’s amendment is meant to only defund programs asking FISA court orders related to persons who are not under investigation, the White House seems to be using all tools available to discourage congressmen to break up the bipartisan support Rep. Amash has received.

Liberty-minded Republicans and liberal Democrats have expressed their intent to support the amendment that has been co-sponsored by Reps. Thomas Massie (R-KY), Mick Mulvaney (R-SC), John Conyers (D-MI), and Jared Polis (D-CO). According to Justin Amash’s spokesperson Will Adams the team believes it has all the votes necessary. “We’re very optimistic that we have the votes to get it across the finish line.” He continues “support began with the American people and has filtered through to members of Congress.”

McCain joins Obama in push to encourage states to review stand your ground laws

In light of Zimmerman’s acquittal, countless protests have been held across America. While some of those participating in the protests might not be quite aware of how a trial process takes place, most are definetely unaware that stand your ground laws had nothing to do with the shooting that took the life of Trayvon Martin on February 26th, 2012.

While it’s easy to see why most Americans prefer to keep from distancing themselves in order to arrive at a more logical and less passional conclusion, and fail to avoid politicizing the event and holding on to arguments that promote the type of change that restricts an individual’s right to self-defense, it’s hard to comprehend how a Republican senator and former GOP Presidential contender would act in a similar fashion.

According to Senator John McCain (R-AZ), states must review their stand your ground laws amid the racial profiling debate the Zimmerman case has stirred over the past couple of weeks. During CNN’s “State of the Union”, McCain claimed he’s “confident that the members of the Arizona legislature will [review] this very controversial legislation.” While the Senator representing Arizona reported he trusts the jury’s judgment, he also said that stand your ground rules must be evaluated.

Obama and Detroit the industry versus Detroit the city

Images_of_Money (CC)

When the news broke that the City of Detroit had declared bankruptcy, there were a fair number of jokes going around on social media, but in general, it wasn’t “news.” Yes, it is the largest city to take that step so far, but it’s Detroit. No one in their right mind could consider it surprising. What was remotely interesting in the case was what happened afterwards.

One judge - Circuit Court Judge Rosemarie E. Aquilina - put a new twist to the story by declaring that it was unconstitutional for the City of Detroit to declare bankruptcy in the first place. And so the political circus begins. Of course, Allahpundit at Hot Air dissected the situation, and came to the conclusion that this was little more than political pandering by yet another leftist judge.

 


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