Have nothing to do with the [evil] things that people do, things that belong to the darkness. Instead, bring them out to the light... [For] when all things are brought out into the light, then their true nature is clearly revealed...

-Ephesians 5:11-13

Tag Archives: Senate

Voters Finally Learn What’s in the CRomnibus Bill Passed by the Senate

This article first appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Tuesday, December 16, 2014:

Official portrait of United States Senator (R-KY)

Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell, the leader of the Republican sellout

The so-called CRomnibus bill (a combination of a Continuing Resolution and an omnibus spending bill covering dozens of federal agencies) was passed by the Senate late Saturday night, 56-40, approving government spending through next September.

Passage, although delayed slightly by complaints from Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) that it funded President Obama’s illegal immigration executive order without debate, was guaranteed when 24 Republicans, including every GOP leader, voted for it. This allowed some Democrats the opportunity to vote against it as a sop to constituents or to build their resumes in contemplated runs for the White House in 2016. They included newly inducted Senator Cory Booker (D-N.J.), along with Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Amy Klobucher (D-Minn.), and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.).

Others whom Republicans bailed out with their “yea” votes included naysayers

Keep Reading…

Omnibus Bill Passes House, Funds Government Through September

This article first appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Friday, December 12, 2014: 

President Barack Obama holds a conference call...

President Barack Obama holds a conference call with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, in the Oval Office

At the very last minute, with time and funding for government agencies running out, the House voted 216-206 to pass the so-called “omnibus” bill on Thursday, opening the way for the Senate to pass it on Friday. President Obama has promised to sign it before the day is out.

It was sausage-making at its finest. Even Arizona Republican John McCain said “I hate it, I hate it, I hate it, I hate it” with many expecting him to vote for it on Friday anyway.

Instead of attempting to create and muster support for a temporary bill which would have left the heavy lifting to the newly elected incoming congress in January, House Speaker Boehner (R-Ohio) and President Obama decided that

Keep Reading…

Cassidy Replaces Landrieu; GOP Gains Nine Senate Seats

This article first appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, December 8, 2014:

The Louisiana runoff election on Saturday for U.S. Senate was closer than many polls indicated, with Congressman Bill Cassidy  defeating three-term incumbent Senator Mary Landrieu by 56 percent to 44 percent. Coupled with Republican victories in two Louisiana House districts, Republicans will have 54 votes in the new Senate (out of 100) and 246 votes in the new House of Representatives (out of 435). Remarkably, Democrats will be without a single governor or U.S. senator across nine Old South states, from the Carolinas to Texas.

Louisianans didn’t so much vote for Cassidy as they voted to get rid of Landrieu, once considered one of the Democrat Party’s strongest incumbents. She has been a staunch supporter of most of Obama’s policies, including

Keep Reading…

Pressure Building to Repeal Two Laws Keeping Oil and Gas Prices High

This article first appeared at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, November 17, 2014:

Senator Lisa Murkowski

Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski

Alaskan Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski, soon to chair the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, is already setting the table for a serious conversation about getting rid of at least one archaic law dating back to the mid-1970s: the Energy Policy and Conservation Act of 1975.

That law bans the export of crude oil (with some minor exceptions) and could endanger the oil shale boom as a result. Said Murkowski:

The price American drivers pay for gasoline at their local station is linked to the price of oil set by the global market.

 

Exporting U.S. oil to our friends and allies will not raise gasoline prices here at home and should, in fact, help drive down prices.

As the price of crude oil drops, it increases the chances that smaller marginal crude oil producers will be forced to close unless they are allowed to find buyers outside the United States willing to pay more for their product. One of the bottlenecks has already been opened:

Keep Reading…

The President is Rapidly Becoming Irrelevant

This article first appeared at The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Monday, November 17, 2014:

Matthew Dowd, George W. Bush’s campaign strategist, saw it coming almost a month before the midterms, telling ABC News on September 15th that the president is “fast becoming irrelevant in Washington” and noting further that Obama was at precisely the same point George Bush was in 2005:

That point in time it was basically the beginning of the end of President Bush’s presidency.

 

I think the president [Obama] is a very big fan of history. He watched that go on with [Bush]. Unless the president changes his trajectory, he is on the road to irrelevancy.

He hasn’t, and he is. The Baltimore Sun used the “R” word (relevance) in its review of the demolition of the Democrats on November 4th:

Keep Reading…

House Votes to Approve Keystone, for Ninth Time

This article first appeared at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, November 17, 2014:

Keystone XL demonstration, White House,8-23-20...

Keystone XL demonstration

In the first major vote in the House during the current lame duck session, on Friday a bill to approve the Keystone XL Pipeline passed by a vote of 252-161. In an ironic twist, the bill — the ninth one approving Keystone — was sponsored by Rep. Bill Cassidy, the Louisiana Republican facing Democrat Senator Mary Landrieu in a runoff election on December 6. Landrieu has been moving heaven and earth in the Senate to approve Keystone in an attempt to salvage her career.

Said Cassidy:

Here we are on the ninth attempt. It has been 539 days, about a year and a half, since the House first sent a Keystone approval bill to the Senate in this Congress. We are going to make it as easy as possible for the Senate to finally get a bill to president’s desk.

And there it will die, if it makes it that far, as President Obama has repeatedly stated. Which raises the question:

Keep Reading…

West Virginia a Microcosm of the National Republican Sweep

English: Official Congressional portrait of Co...

English: Official Congressional portrait of Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This article first appeared at TheNewAmerican.com on Friday, November 7, 2014:

For the first time since the policies of Republican President Herbert Hoover so enraged West Virginia voters that the state shifted to the Democrats, newly enraged voters there have tossed the Democrats out in favor of the Republicans. While the shift was seismic when it comes to party labels, in political ideology, not so much, but an improvement nonetheless.

The first observation from West Virginia, when viewed as a microcosm of the national election on Tuesday, is the power of an enraged electorate in determining political outcomes.

Before the election, Republicans in the state’s House of Representatives trailed Democrats by six seats. After the election, Republicans now hold a 30-seat majority, a monumental shift of 36 seats.

In the state Senate, the shift was just as remarkable.

Keep Reading…

Harry Reid’s Final Infliction

This article first appeared at The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Friday, November 7, 2014:

Criticisms of Harry Reid fill one-and-a-half pages of his own Wikipedia entry. Imagine how many others he failed to mention. He earmarked funds to build a bridge close to land that he owned while calling it “incredibly good news for Nevada.” He failed to note that it was also incredibly profitable for himself.

He used campaign funds to buy Christmas gifts for the staff at the condominium where he lives. He pressured regulatory agencies to promote the business interests of one of his business partners, Harvey Whittemore, who also just happened to be a major campaign contributor.

And so on.

His final infliction on the American people is likely to take place over the next couple of months

Keep Reading…

The Dangers Lurking in the Upcoming Lame Duck Congress

This article first appeared at TheNewAmerican.com on Thursday, October 6, 2014:

In anticipation of the Republican sweep in the elections on Tuesday, Senators Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Ted Cruz (R-Texas) wrote to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) in September warning him not to offer any significant legislation during the lame duck session following the elections. Knowing Reid, they presumed the worst from him:

Presumably, a lame duck session would be used [by you] to try to pass partisan, unpopular bills in November or December that might be indefensible before the … election….

 

Deliberately planning to reconvene the Senate in a lame-duck session to address major new legislation would subvert the will of the American people, lessen accountability and do lasting damage to the dignity and integrity of this body’s proceedings.

Libertarian economist Donald Boudreaux no doubt thinks Lee and Cruz have understated the danger:

Keep Reading…

Senate Republican Dreaming after November

This article first appeared at the McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Monday, October 13, 2014:

English: Official photo cropped of United Stat...

Possible Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) in 114th Congress?

Some Republicans are beginning to lick their chops in anticipation of a takeover of the Senate in November. New Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has already promised to rein in Obamacare, pass a real budget, and hold hearings on the EPA’s onerous greenhouse gas regulations – which would resonate positively with his coal-fired constituents in Kentucky.

The Republican Wish List also includes

Keep Reading…

Sissel Lawsuit Threatens ObamaCare

This article first appeared at TheNewAmerican.com on Wednesday, October 8, 2014: 

After losing an appeal before a three-judge panel of the District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals in Sissel v. US Department of Health and Human Services, the Pacific Legal Foundation (PLF) filed a petition for a full rehearing — called “en banc” — on Monday. Sissel claims that the Origination Clause — Article 1, Section 7 of the U.S. Constitution — was violated at the very birth of ObamaCare (also called ACA, the Affordable Care Act), and since the Supreme Court ruled in NFIB v. Sibelius that the ObamaCare fines are not penalties but taxes, ObamaCare itself must be ruled unconstitutional.

Nearly 100 lawsuits challenging ObamaCare have been filed since it was passed back in March 2010, but only five now present serious threats to its legal existence, the Sissel case being the one with the most teeth. It was originally brought by

Keep Reading…

Koch Brothers and Friends Pouring Millions Into Midterms

This article first appeared at TheNewAmerican.com on Tuesday, October 7, 2014: 

Americans for Prosperity

Americans for Prosperity, one of the Koch Brothers’ key operating units, in its efforts to bring its conservative influence into national politics, is expected to spend more than $125 million in the 2014 elections.

After getting thrashed in the 2012 elections, when the brothers and their friends spent nearly $400 million with little to show for it, they have adopted much of the Left’s political organizing strategy and database management strategies. They’re determined not to make the same mistake twice.

In January, the Koch Brothers were able to raise nearly

Keep Reading…

Obama’s Poll Numbers Continue to Drop

This article was first published at TheNewAmerican.com on Wednesday, September 17, 2014:

English: In January 2009, President of the Uni...

In January 2009, President of the United States of America, George W. Bush invited then President-Elect Barack Obama and former Presidents George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and Jimmy Carter for a Meeting and Lunch at The White House.

With the midterm elections less than seven weeks away, pollsters are coming out of the woodwork expressing their opinions on the outcome on November 4. The latest CBS News/New York Times poll, focusing on President Obama’s handling of the ISIS crisis and terrorism and foreign policy in general, shows him not only setting new personal lows, but lows never before recorded by the survey:

Keep Reading…

Labor Board Ruling Against McDonald’s a Huge Boost for Union

This article first appeared at TheNewAmerican.com on Thursday, July 31, 2014:

Français : Logo SEIU

The ruling by the general counsel of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) that McDonald’s is actually a huge employer of more than 175,000 workers in the United States, rather than a franchisor with thousands of independent franchisees, will, if it is upheld, allow the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) to recruit those workers much more easily.

The ruling was supposedly about low wages and local disputes with a few of those franchisees, but it had precious little to do with that carefully crafted public perception.

Richard Griffin, the NLRB’s general counsel, said he investigated more than 180 claims by local McDonald’s’ workers that they were being penalized for protesting low wages in a series of one-day strikes earlier this year. He found 43 of them to be “valid” and, in the process, ruled that McDonald’s itself would be held jointly liable for any penalties along with the individual franchisees.

The New York Times, to its credit, saw through the scam, calling it

Keep Reading…

Leahy Offers Weak Bill to Curb NSA Eavesdropping on Americans

This article first appeared at TheNewAmerican.com on Wednesday, July 30, 2014:

English: Official photo of Senator Patrick Lea...

Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT)

On Tuesday, Senator Patrick Leahy (shown, D-Vt.), Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, introduced his version of the USA Freedom Act intended to strengthen a similar bill passed by the House last May. It’s scarcely an improvement and likely won’t be taken up before November, if at all in this congress.

But Leahy was optimistic nonetheless, saying that his bill, if enacted, “would represent the most significant reform of government surveillance authorities since … the USA Patriot Act 13 years ago.” That was easy for this hard-left Democrat to say, as there has been no reform of the unconstitutional Patriot Act since it was passed. In fact, without revelations provided by whistleblower Edward Snowden, even these modest “reforms” would never have been presented. Without Snowden, the NSA would have continued collecting every last piece of communications data it could and storing it for future reference at one or more of its vast collection facilities around the country. Since the bill was presented so late in this Congress, it is virtually certain no action will be taken on it.

The House bill that was passed back in May was so full of loopholes and modifications by last minute amendments as to make the effort essentially ludicrous. Although offered jointly in October 2013 by Leahy and his House counterpart, Jim Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin (the author of the Patriot Act), only the House bill ever saw the light of day. At the time, Sensenbrenner expressed great hopes for his bill:

Following 9/11, the USA Patriot Act … has helped keep Americans safe by ensuring information is shared among those responsible for defending our country and by enhancing the tools the intelligence community needs to identify and track terrorists.

But somewhere along the way, the balance between security and privacy was lost…. Washington must regain Americans’ trust in their government. The USA Freedom Act [I am offering] is an essential first step.

That first step was more like a stumble. Under the bill, according to The Guardian, “the government will still be able to collect phone data on Americans, pending a judge’s individualized order based on ‘reasonable articulable suspicion’ — the standard preferred by the NSA (National Security Agency) — of wrongdoing.” This is a far cry from the “probable cause” requirement demanded in the Fourth Amendment, but that’s only the beginning.

The bill purports to modify Section 715 of the Patriot Act while saying nothing about Section 702, which allows worldwide surveillance by the NSA. The bill allows for the continuous collection of Americans’ telephone records, according to the Open Technology Institute. Most grievously, the bill extended the Patriot Act until December of 2017.

Once the House passed its USA Freedom Act, 303 to 121, those opposed, including Republicans Darrell Issa, Ted Poe, and Raul Labrador and Democrat Zoe Lofgren expressed their disappointment with it. Said Lofgren, “[This] bill will actually not end bulk collection, regrettably.” It shifts collection responsibilities from the NSA to the telephone companies to which the NSA has virtually unlimited access, so it’s a cosmetic change only. The bill requires the NSA to get permission from the FISA Court, but FISA is not known for having a high regard for the freedoms protected by the Bill of Rights.

When Senator Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) saw what the House had wrought, he said he was “gravely concerned that the changes that have been made to the House version of this bill have watered it down so far that it fails to protect Americans from suspicionless mass surveillance.”

Not surprisingly, the White House endorsed the watered-down version of the bill:

The Administration strongly supports … the USA Freedom Act…. The Administration applauds and appreciates the strong bipartisan effort that led to the formulation of this bill, which heeds the President’s call on this important issue.

The bill ensures our intelligence and law enforcement professionals have the authorities they need to protect the Nation, while further ensuring that individuals’ privacy is appropriately protected.

Especially grievous is the power that continues to be granted to the so-called FISA “court.” This is the secret court that first came to light when Edward Snowden in 2013 leaked a top-secret order issued by the court requiring a subsidiary of Verizon to provide a daily, on-going feed of all call detail records — including those for domestic calls — to the NSA. As Jennifer Granick, director of civil liberties at Stanford Law School, explained,

The Administration and the intelligence community believe they can do whatever they want, regardless of the laws Congress passes, so long as they can convince one of the judges appointed to the secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) to agree. This isn’t the rule of law. This is a coup d’etat.

Leahy’s bill allegedly will tighten up the House bill somewhat, creating a “special advocate” for liberty at the FISA courts, and limiting the NSA from vacuuming up data from an entire zip code or all the records from a communications service provider. It also declassifies some of those FISA court orders which have remained sealed and protected from public view. In its tentative support for Leahy’s new offering, Nadia Kayyall of the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), said,

The legislation may not completely end suspicionless surveillance … it allows the NSA to get a second set of records (a second “hop”) with an undefined “direct connection” to the first specific selection term.

Because the “direct connection” standard is vague, the government may seek to construe that phrase to mean less than reasonable suspicion.

Translation: The NSA, under Leahy’s new stronger, tighter, more restrictive language, may continue to do whatever it pleases in collecting and storing for later use all private communications from Americans.

Leahy’s bill will probably never see the light of day in this congress and will have to be reintroduced in the next session if anything is to be done to rein in the NSA’s collection of data. In the meantime, the NSA’s vacuuming of innocent Americans’ private communication continues unabated.

 

 

Obama: A Law unto Himself

This article first appeared at The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Wednesday, July 2, 2014:

Official photographic portrait of US President...

Events of recent months have clearly revealed Barack Obama for what he is: a revolutionary progressive determined to change the United States into a fascist system of controls over every aspect of a citizen’s life. In spite of a recent series of events that would have humiliated and shamed a less committed totalitarian into silence and withdrawal, Obama instead has pressed on with his agenda.

On Saturday, in his weekly press conference, Obama announced that he was taking things into his own hands:

Keep Reading…

Study: All Jobs Growth Since 2000 Went to Immigrants

This article was first published at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, June 30, 2014: 

 

Immigrants just arrived from Foreign Countries...

Immigrants just arrived from Foreign Countries–Immigrant Building, Ellis Island, New York Harbor.

With the release of the report by the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) last week, Director of Research Steven Camarota drove the final nail into the coffin of immigration reform for this year, saying:

Government data show that since 2000 all of the net gain in the number of working-age (16 to 65) people holding a job has gone to immigrants (legal and illegal).

This is remarkable given that native-born Americans accounted for two-thirds of the growth in the total working-age population.… There were still fewer working-age natives holding a job in the first quarter of 2014 than in 2000, while the number of immigrants with a job was 5.7 million above the 2000 level.

All of the net increase in employment went to immigrants in the last 14 years.

 This effectively obliterates the assumptions underlying the immigration reform bill SB 744, which was promoted by a bipartisan group of Democrats and Republicans (called by some observers the “Gang of Eight”) and passed by the Senate, 68-32, a year ago last week. That bill was based on several key assumptions: 1) that there is a labor shortage in the country, 2) that there are some jobs only immigrants want, and 3) that higher levels of immigration would stimulate the economy so that everyone, native-born or immigrant, would find more work.

Keep Reading…

The Media Ignored the Real Hero of the Las Vegas Shootings

This article first appeared at The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Wednesday, June 11, 2014: 

 

Old English Sheepdog-Nana

Old English Sheepdog-Nana (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The media coverage of the murderous attacks on policemen and Las Vegas Walmart shoppers on Sunday predictably ignored the actions of one individual who confronted one of the attackers, giving the police time to neutralize the threats before they became horrendous. His name: Joseph Robert Wilcox.

Largely ignored in USA Today’s reporting of the event, and ignored entirely by the Los Angeles Times, Wilcox’s role in ending the attack before it got out of hand was nearly invisible. USA Today referred to Wilcox as

Keep Reading…

Oklahoma is the next state to Affirm gold and silver as Legal Tender

1907 Double Eagle, Liberty Head, Obverse

1907 Double Eagle, Liberty Head, Obverse (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On Wednesday, June 4, Oklahoma joined Utah, Texas and Louisiana in affirming that gold and silver coins are (as they always have been under the Constitution) legal tender in the payment of debts in the state. On the surface this seems almost silly: affirming a right that already exists in Article I, Section 10 of the U.S. Constitution. But it is much more than that.

 

Senate Bill 862 which Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin signed into law this week says:

Keep Reading…

Large Employers face huge fines for not Complying with ObamaCare rules

English: President Barack Obama's signature on...

English: President Barack Obama’s signature on the health insurance reform bill at the White House, March 23, 2010. The President signed the bill with 22 different pens. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A just-discovered ruling by a writer at the New York Times earlier this week threatens to upend various employer-sponsored health plans and ultimately cost employees more for coverage they likely won’t be using. The ruling by the Internal Revenue Service back in September negates an option that many employers with more than 50 employees were considering: canceling their plans and just reimbursing their employees with funds to go buy their own coverage on the ObamaCare exchanges.

This option, according to the IRS, would cost employers $100 per day for each employee

Keep Reading…

Many of the articles on Light from the Right first appeared on either The New American or the McAlvany Intelligence Advisor.