Tag Archives: Congress

“Six Californias” opens new U.S. secession debate

Voters in California may be asked to vote on a proposal to split the state into six Californias.

The plan, called “Six Californias” by Tom Draper, the venture capitalist behind the idea, must first obtain signatures from over 800,000 registered voters before it will be placed on the ballot.

Opponents argue that the proposal would give some of the new states an unfair advantage in regards to tax revenue, claiming “the ‘Six Californias’ campaign is nothing more than a scheme for making sure that the taxes of wealthy individuals like Draper gets ‘redistributed’ inside their own affluent neighborhoods.” see more…

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Justin Amash trashes “No Budget, No Pay” as unconstitutional

Earlier this week Darryl Perry wrote here at Hammer of Truth that the No Budget, No Pay Act (H.R. 325) was an unconstitutional measure, and a sure sign of Republican weakness to boot:

The 27th Amendment reads, in part, “No law, varying the compensation for the services of the Senators and Representatives, shall take effect, until an election of the Representatives shall have intervened.”

Despite the fact that the compensation is not changing, the bill could still be unconstitutional as it alters the scheduled dates of pay, which would be “varying the compensation.” It is unlikely any of the Republicans will challenge the bill, and the Democrats reportedly see “the legislation as a white flag on the part of the GOP, something that allows Congress to skirt the debt limit issue and move on to other fiscal arguments.”

On Tuesday, Justin Amash — a second-term, libertarian-leaning, Republican Congressman from Michigan — posted his take on facebook:

I voted no on H R 325, No Budget, No Pay Act of 2013. The bill has two parts.

First, the bill suspends the debt ceiling through May 18, 2013. In other words, it allows the government to operate as though there is no debt ceiling. On May 19, the debt ceiling will automatically increase by the amount borrowed during the suspension. Because the government borrows about $4 billion per day, this bill will likely increase the debt ceiling by $400 billion or more, without any cuts or reforms to reduce future spending. see more…

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No budget, no pay? No thanks, no constitutional!

The US House of Representatives recently passed H.R.325, the No Budget, No Pay Act of 2013.

The No Budget, No Pay Act passed by a vote of 285-144 with 86 Democrats joining 199 Republicans to support this measure, 33 Republicans joined 111 Democrats in opposition. Good bills are rarely passed with bipartisan support, this bill is an exception, right?

The legislation temporarily suspends the debt ceiling and states, “If by April 15, 2013, a House of Congress has not agreed to a concurrent resolution on the budget for fiscal year 2014” the payroll administrator shall hold the salary in an escrow account, which will only be given to the Representatives after a budget has been passed OR “on the last day of the One Hundred Thirteenth Congress.”

This is not a good bill. It does not actually withhold the pay of any member of Congress if a budget is not passed, it simply delays payment until a budget is passed or the term expires. It should more accurately be called the “No Budget, Delayed Pay Act of 2013.”

Aside from no doing what it claims, Peter Grier of the Christian Science Monitor reported on another issue with the bill. Greir wrote “It is quite possible that the ‘no pay’ part of the bill is unconstitutional.
Why is that? Because of the 27th Amendment to the Constitution, that’s why.”

The 27th Amendment reads, in part, “No law, varying the compensation for the services of the Senators and Representatives, shall take effect, until an election of the Representatives shall have intervened.”

Despite the fact that the compensation is not changing, the bill could still be unconstitutional as it alters the scheduled dates of pay, which would be “varying the compensation.” It is unlikely any of the Republicans will challenge the bill, and the Democrats reportedly see “the legislation as a white flag on the part of the GOP, something that allows Congress to skirt the debt limit issue and move on to other fiscal arguments.”

Walter Hickey of BusinessInsider.com points out, “According to subsection (b) of section 2 of the bill, nonvoting delegates and resident commissioners will be subject to the same rules. So, despite the fact that the delegates can’t actually vote on a budget, they still will not be paid.”

It’s possible that if No Budget, No Pay is signed into law, that one of the six non-voting Delegates will file a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the bill. Of course, the bill must first pass the Senate.

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X Date: The new fiscal cliff

ZeroHedge.com reports X Date is approaching, that is “the day past which the US government will no longer be able to rely on ‘extraordinary measures’ to delay the day of reckoning, and will be unable to pay all its bills without recourse to additional debt. It is not the day when the US defaults, at least not defaults on its debt. It will begin ‘defaulting’ on various financial obligations, such as not paying due bills on time and in full, but since this is something Europe’s periphery has been doing for years, it is hardly catastrophic.”

This may come as a surprise to those who still believe the Republican wing of the Republicratic Duopoly supports fiscal responsibility; in mid-January former Vice Presidential nominee Paul Ryan told reporters that the GOP would agree to a short-term increase in the debt-ceiling.

ZeroHedge also reports, “the US hit its debt ceiling on December 31, and has since been utilizing some $200 billion in Extraordinary Measure to stave off X Date” which is expected to come sometime between Feb. 15 and March 1.

What does this actually mean? The Treasury has approximately $201 billion in “Extraordinary Measures” available to spend.

Once the $201 billion, consisting primarily of plundering the government retirement G-fund, runs out, the Bipartisan Policy Center says, “There is no precedent; all other debt limit impasses have been resolved without reaching the X Date.” Which means, the Treasury has never failed during a debt limit impasse to meet a payment obligation, so no one really knows what will happen if the X Date is reached.

The Bipartisan Policy Center also reports, “Treasury will not attempt to ‘firesale’ assets during a crisis.” A firesale would be great! Imagine how much better run the various national parks would be if they were operated by private organizations. Just imagine visiting Yellowstone or Yosemite Park if they were being operated by the Audubon Society with voluntary funding. In total, the federal government owns approximately 635 million acres of land. If the land were to sale for as little as $10,000 per acre, the federal government would bring in $6.35 TRILLION for the land! Of course, there are many more ways the federal government could raise revenue or cut spending that do not involve threats of violence, unfortunately they’re not interested in peaceful solutions.

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Stephen Gordon’s “2013 Congressional Liberty Team Lineup”

Stephen Gordon — the highly acclaimed expert Libertarian/Republican strategist, consultant and commentator (and HoT alumni) — posted his picks for who to watch in the 133th’s Congress. As stolen from his facebook page:

Senate Starters:
Rand Paul
Jeff Flake
Mike Lee
Ted Cruz
Senate Second String**:
Ron Johnson
Pat Toomey
Tom Coburn
Marco Rubio
House Starters:
Justin Amash
Tom McClintock
Steve Stockman
Thomas Massie
Walter Jones
Adrian Smith
Scott Garrett
Kerry Bentivolio
Ted Yoho
Steve Chabot
Jason Chaffetz
Jimmy Duncan
House Second String**:
Tim Huelskamp
Jim Jordan
Dave Schweikert
Michael Fitzpatrick
Raúl Labrador
Mick Mulvaney
Tom Price

* This is just the preseason lineup, which will obviously change through this congressional session. It’s my best guess, at this moment, of who is most likely to carry the freedom football in the proper direction for a touchdown for liberty.

** These players have demonstrated some potential ability, but have thrown too many interceptions, fumbled the ball too often, or otherwise made too many mistakes on the field to be included in the starting lineup. However, with enough constituent coaching, liberty workouts and freedom scrimmages, they have the potential to help move the ball towards the liberty goal line.

For all the naysayers who buy into the malaise and believe the endless propaganda asserting that the libertarian message of fiscal responsibility, freedom and liberty is dead in Congress, there’s twenty-seven representatives who are apparently working hard to disprove that notion.

Of course it’s a little awkward to note that there’s no women in this liberty team lineup, so hopefully the 2014 elections will see some females putting on some makeup and running serious campaigns.

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Ron Paul’s new year’s resolutions for Congress

As I prepare to retire from Congress, I’d like to suggest a few New Year’s resolutions for my colleagues to consider. For the sake of liberty, peace, and prosperity I certainly hope more members of Congress consider the strict libertarian constitutional approach to government in 2013.

In just a few days, Congress will solemnly swear to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against ALL enemies, foreign and domestic. They should reread Article 1 Section 8 and the Bill of Rights before taking such a serious oath. Most legislation violates key provisions of the Constitution in very basic ways, and if members can’t bring themselves to say no in the face of pressure from special interests, they have broken trust with their constituents and violated their oaths. Congress does not exist to serve special interests, it exists to protect the rule of law.

I also urge my colleagues to end unconstitutional wars overseas. Stop the drone strikes; stop the covert activities and meddling in the internal affairs of other nations. Strive to observe “good faith and justice towards all Nations” as George Washington admonished. We are only making more enemies, wasting lives, and bankrupting ourselves with the neoconservative, interventionist mindset that endorses pre-emptive war that now dominates both parties.

All foreign aid should end because it is blatantly unconstitutional. While it may be a relatively small part of our federal budget, for many countries it is a large part of theirs–and it creates perverse incentives for both our friends and enemies. There is no way members of Congress can know or understand the political, economic, legal, and social realities in the many nations to which they send taxpayer dollars.

Congress needs to stop accumulating more debt. US debt, monetized by the Federal Reserve, is the true threat to our national security. Revisiting the parameters of Article 1 Section 8 would be a good start.

Congress should resolve to respect personal liberty and free markets. Learn more about the free market and how it regulates commerce and produces greater prosperity better than any legislation or regulation. Understand that economic freedom IS freedom. Resolve not to get in the way of voluntary contracts between consenting adults. Stop bailing out failed yet politically connected companies and industries. Stop forcing people to engage in commerce when they don’t want to, and stop prohibiting them from buying and selling when they do want to. Stop trying to legislate your ideas of fairness. Protect property rights. Protect the individual. That is enough.

There are many more resolutions I would like to see my colleagues in Congress adopt, but respect for the Constitution and the oath of office should be at the core of everything members of Congress do in 2013.

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The republican (establishment) has failed the nation

Erick Erickson writes at Red State:

Over the next couple of years, Barack Obama wants to raise the national debt to $18.9 trillion or so.

John Boehner, Mitch McConnell, and the congressional Republicans want to raise the national debt to $18.4 trillion or so.

The present leadership of the Republican Party has gone from making the case that government is the problem and the American people are the solution to making the case that Democratic controlled government is the problem and Republican controlled government is the solution.

By giving up on making the case that government is the problem and pivoting to “Democrats are the problem,” the Republican Party has failed the American people. Historically, when parties lost, their leadership went and hid for an appropriate amount of time under a rock after an acceptance of blame and a resignation.

The present Republican leaders in Washington, instead of hiding under a rock, have taken to standing on the rock and demanding conservatives self flagellate. Neither John Boehner nor Mitch McConnell are visionaries. They are survivors. They survive by recognizing the biggest threat to them and trying to befriend it or neutralize it.

Right now, both see conservatives as their biggest threat, not Barack Obama. Why? Because while Barack Obama maintains the White House, John Boehner and Mitch McConnell maintain their positions of power. They exist for power, not for vision. The visions they articulate are routinely backpedaled. Remember the pledge to nowhere the House Republicans concocted in 2010 as a second coming of the Contract With America? Within two months of returning to the majority they’d already ditched their pledge faster than a frat boy fleeing a one night stand. Only conservatives wish to hold them accountable for their breach of trust, thus conservatives are the threat.

The very same Republican leadership who paved the way for the rise of the Democrats in 2006 through moral opaqueness on the role of government in the lives of Americans now seek to shut up and shut out the conservatives who continue to loudly point out that the size and scope of the federal leviathan has grown too unwieldy.

I joined the Republican Party in 1964 and voted for Barry Goldwater, a man ahead of his times. The Republican Party was not what it should have been for years after the Goldwater nomination for President and his loss.

Finally it appeared the Republican Party got its act together with Ronald Reagan. We had eight very good years. The economy was so strong even Clinton could not undo it during his eight years. Then it was downhill again.

In 2005 I quit the Republican Party and became unaffiliated and dabbled with the Libertarian Party. After Obama was elected I was convinced to rejoin in 2008, shortly after his inauguration, and really got involved, close to a full time unpaid volunteer for the tea party grassroots movement and the Republican Party internal politics.

We appeared to have momentum in our favor with our wins in 2010. We, a bunch of amateurs, did not have the Republican institutional establishment professional politicians and operatives as allies. They were our enemies and we had an uneasy alliance with them and yet I did not realize how much they rejected us as part of the process until now.

Now, here we are, could not get a grassroots candidate nominated for President, lost ground at the state and local levels, lost the Colorado House, failed to get some grassroots Congressmen re-elected, and had to live with a presidential candidate many of us did not support in the primaries but choked it down anyway and worked hard on his behalf.

In two years the odds of keeping the Colorado State Attorney General’s office, the Colorado Secretary of State and the Colorado State Treasurer may be dismal. If the Democrats succeed in taking those three offices the transition of Colorado to a socialist state (think California) will be complete and nearly perfect.

Look what we have. The big dogs in the Republican Party are having a discussion on moving to the left of center, far left, not just a tad. NO, NO, UNACCEPTABLE. If they do, that will for sure end any alliances we grassroots common, hardworking citizens have with them.

I do not blame myself or any grassroots Constitutional conservative libertarian Republicans. I blame the institutional establishment old line Republicans for being ready, willing and able to destroy the Republican Party so they could destroy us and teach us a lesson. It was a political suicide bombing of the Republican Party by Republicans with them destroying themselves to destroy us.

Now what? Quit? Never, ever quit, just figure out another strategy even if it does not include the Republican Party or mainstream politics. I predict many of us who placed everything political in working within the Republican Party are going to transition and morph into something different, what that is I do not know but it will not be the same old politics. It may be peaceful, it may not. We will see. I know I will not again make the same mistakes twice.

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Ron Paul has left the House

His farewell speech is likely to be heralded as the most antipathy-filled since Eisenhower. Here’s the epic forty-eight minute video heard ’round ‘murica (but you won’t see this on TV):

The transcript can be found here.

TL;DW – Trust yourself, not the government.

Oh, and “the internet will provide the alternative to the government/media complex that controls the news and most political propaganda.” Yep.

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XKCD infographic of 224 years of Congress

Follow the yellow line on the right to see who had the majority. SOURCE:

Interesting to note that Republicans have only had control of the President, House and Senate for a relatively short period (106th, 108th, 109th) and chose to enact tax cuts rather than repeal government largess. And of course that trend quickly reversed when Obama took office and enjoyed a Democrat majority during which his major “reform” measure was to expand government into the healthcare industry.

Is it any wonder that libertarians find themselves better aligned within the GOP than the DNC (when they aren’t piddling with the always marginalized LP)? One is actually willing to give your money back to you and let the government peons flip out over how to pay for things (ahem, fire some bureaucrats please), while the other eventually succumbs to the reality that Obamacare is a massive tax hike.

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Presidential Election: What If Nobody Wins?

The Presidential election is just days away and the pundits are speculating about who will win and by what margin. Some talking heads are even saying that one candidate or another will act as a “spoiler” for one of the major party candidates in one or more States.

Some people have event speculated at the possibility of a tied electoral vote, in which Obama and Romney each receive 269 Electoral Votes. This scenario is extremely unlikely and has only happened three times in American history (1800, 1824 & 1836), with one more extremely unusual situation in 1876. What would happen in such an unlikely scenario?

First, allow me to explain how the Presidential election works. One election day, voters cast a ballot for a slate of electors that are pledged to the various Presidential candidates. The winning slates of electors are usually certified in mid-November and under federal law must be certified by December 11. The fifty-one slates of electors (one slate from each State, plus Washington, D.C.) meet and cast the official votes on December 17. The official vote by the electors is sealed and sent to the President of the Senate by December 26 and the electoral votes are officially counted on January 6 before a joint session of the newly sworn-in Congress.

The Office of the Federal Register states, “If a State submits conflicting sets of electoral votes to Congress, the two Houses acting concurrently may accept or reject the votes. If they do not concur, the votes of the electors certified by the Governor of the State on the Certificate of Ascertainment would be counted in Congress.”

Further, “If no Presidential candidate wins 270 or more electoral votes, a majority, the 12th Amendment to the Constitution provides for the House of Representatives to decide the Presidential election. If necessary the House would elect the President by majority vote, choosing from the three candidates who received the greatest number of electoral votes. The vote would be taken by state, with each state having one vote.” The Senate would decide the Vice President, with each Senator having one vote.

This is where things get interesting, especially since the House votes per State delegation. Under the current Congress, the Republican Party has a majority in 33 State Congressional delegations (3 States have the same number of Republican and Democrat Congressmen). The Republican’s will likely maintain control of 34 State Congressional delegations after the election. This means that if there is a tie for Electoral Votes, then Mitt Romney will likely be elected by the House. If the Democrats retain the Senate, then Joe Biden would likely be elected Vice-President. However, there is a very slim possibility that the Republican’s will control the Senate after the election.

Since the 2000 Presidential election, there have been calls for changing or abolishing the Electoral College. If there were an tie vote, I’m fairly certain that the Electoral College would be modified in some manner, and probably in a way that further discourages voting for a “minor party” candidate.

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THE SECRET SAL PACE: Burglary, Multiple Public Urination Arrests, Bench Warrant Bespeckle Rap Sheet

This was forwarded to us (and over 3,500 political observers in Colorado) today by one of Hammer of Truth’s veteran opposition researchers:

Police records obtained by Colorado Peak Politics reveal a long and troubling criminal record for 3rd Congressional district candidate and state Representative Sal Pace (D-Pueblo). His criminal rap sheet reveals two arrests for public urination, one for felony burglary and larceny, as well as a bench warrant for failure to appear on his second public urination charge.

  • March 12, 2004 Pace was pulled over and charged with driving without a valid license, driving under restraint, driving without proof of insurance, expired license plates and suspended license plates. He pled guilty and was fined for the suspended license plate violation.
  • August 15, 2003 Pace was arrested for public urination, his second charge for public urination. He pled guilty.
  • August 29, 2003 A warrant was ordered for Pace’s arrest for failure to appear in court on the public urination charge.
  • April 20, 1996 Pace was arrested for obscene conduct, which Pace has confirmed was for public urination.
  • October 5, 1995 Pace was arrested and jailed for felony burglary in the 3rd degree and larceny, which Pace has said was for attempting to steal from his dorm’s vending machine.

These revelations, barely three months after Pace announced his candidacy for the 3rd Congressional district make Pace the worst vetted candidate since Dan Maes.

It’s one thing to have a criminal rap sheet as a state legislative candidate in a safe district where no one pays much attention to the race.

It’s entirely different to run for Congress in a competitive district with a long and illustrious criminal background that invites comparisons to disgraced New York Congressman Anthony Weiner.

Certainly a bombshell story about Colorado’s 3rd Congressional district candidate Sal Pace’s rather interesting rap sheet. We’re hoping it will be making national news soon, because it’s rather salacious and scandalous.

I think he’s kind of like the R. Kelly of Colorado politics. What will he get caught peeing on next?

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House deliberates H.R. 459 under hour before postponing

21:49 EDT: House adjourned for the day. Evidently the stalling tactics will continue until morale improves.

20:40 EDT:

You can catch a C-SPAN video of the bill being introduced and supported — including a very fiery speech by this Lakewood resident’s very own Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) and of course Ron Paul (R-TX) himself — starting around the 41 minute mark.

17:14 EDT: Looks like it’s going to be a late night in D.C. as we watch (and read) the Federal Reserve Transparency Act of 2011, A.K.A. the Audit the Fed bill, slowly makes its way through the sausage grinder democratic process:

Time Bill Activity
3:07:54 P.M.
The Speaker announced that votes on suspensions, if ordered, will be postponed until a time to be announced.
3:10:00 P.M. H.R. 459
Mr. Issa moved to suspend the rules and pass the bill, as amended. H.R. 459 — “To require a full audit of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System and the Federal reserve banks by the Comptroller General of the United States before the end of 2012, and for other purposes.”
3:10:12 P.M. H.R. 459
Considered under suspension of the rules.
3:10:16 P.M. H.R. 459
DEBATE – The House proceeded with forty minutes of debate on H.R. 459.
3:40:00 P.M.
MOMENT OF SILENCE – The House observed a moment of silence in memory of Officer Jacob J. Chestnut and Detective John M. Gibson of the United States Capitol Police.
3:41:00 P.M. H.R. 459
DEBATE – The House resumed debate on H.R. 459, as amended.
4:01:29 P.M. H.R. 459
At the conclusion of debate, the Yeas and Nays were demanded and ordered. Pursuant to the provisions of clause 8, rule XX, the Chair announced that further proceedings on the motion would be postponed.

Less than an hour and then poof, to the back of the bus behind a bill on allowing child labor on farms and another expanding oil drilling. We’ll be updating this post once the bill comes back on the floor. It is expected to pass the House with “292 votes if everyone shows up”, and make its way to the Senate.

15:07 EDT: H.R. 459 Introduced by Darrell Issa (R-CA).

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