This has been an interesting month for the future of the NSA’s bulk collection of metadata. Near the beginning of the month, the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals ruled “The text of (Section 215 of the USA PATRIOT Act) cannot bear the weight the government asks us to assign to it, and … does not authorize the telephone metadata program.” However, the Court did not order the program to be halted citing the June 1 expiration date. However, the Congress would not allow an illegal spying program to go away without a fight. see more…
Tag Archives: Senate
Big ups to the torch-bearer Paul, winner of the 2013 CPAC Presidential Straw Poll:
Today, the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC 2013) concluded with Senator Rand Paul winning the CPAC Straw Poll. The Straw Poll was sponsored by The Washington Times and conducted by Fabrizio, McLaughlin & Associates.
Today’s 40th Annual National CPAC was a high-energy three-day conference bracketed by dynamic remarks by top regional and national conservative leaders.
In first place, Rand Paul secured 25% percent of the vote by registered CPAC attendees, followed by Senator Marco Rubio at 23% percent. Former Senator Rick Santorum received 8% percent of the vote, closely followed by Governor Chris Christie with 7% percent and Representative Paul Ryan with 6% percent.
Speaking of straws, apparently Rubio did a better job of podium drinking on the job this go around:
Let me tell you what the stakes are. Because the stakes are not just America. The stakes are bigger than that. [thank you. never in the history of the world has water been so popular. I appreciate that.].
Let’s start the Senator Rubio game, when he talks about water: you have to pick up your drink from the floor and slowly sip it.
Also, we are totally not implying that Rubio drinks on the job.
In contrast, Rand Paul seems to also have his faux pas moments of style (wearing cargo shorts with a suit top is certainly not one of them, endorsing Mitt Romney assuredly was), but he beats Rubio hands down n the categories of substance and genuineness. Senator Paul is also the tea party favorite and certainly what remains of the Ron Paul Revolution’s best shot at the White House in 2016. Maybe if Rubio would toe the libertarian line more often, his brand of mostly boring republican glass-eyed charm would be an asset.
Let’s take a moment to commemorate the great news that they both stomped the fuck out of Chris Christie and Rick “Spreading” Santorum and elevated a known libertarian and what is probably an honest to god conservative. That’s some great news showing the sanity of CPAC voters (who I assume are an accurate cross-section of the entire Republican Party and not just people off the street).
Congrats to all of them though, I’m sure it’s going to be tough staying positive once the dramatic theater of primary campaigning forces everyone to become an asshole to the enemy opposition.
On Wednesday March 6, Senator Rand Paul delayed the Senate confirmation of John Brennan as the new head of the CIA. He began his 13 hour filibuster, which was essentially a political show, by stating “I rise today to begin to filibuster John Brennan’s nomination for the CIA I will speak until I can no longer speak. I will speak as long as it takes, until the alarm is sounded from coast to coast that our Constitution is important, that your rights to trial by jury are precious, that no American should be killed by a drone on American soil without first being charged with a crime, without first being found to be guilty by a court.” Paul added, The President says, he hasn’t killed anyone yet, and has no intention of killing Americans. But he might. Paul asks, “Is that enough? Are we satisfied by that? Are we so complacent with our rights that we would allow a President to say he might kill Americans? … No one person, no one politician should be allowed to judge the guilt, to charge an individual, to judge the guilt of an individual and to execute an individual. It goes against everything that we fundamentally believe in our country.”
After the filibuster, Attorney General Eric Holder, sent a letter to Rand Paul that reads: “It has come to my attention that you have now asked an additional question: ‘Does the President have the authority to use a weaponized drone to kill an American not engaged in combat on American soil?’ The answer to that question is no.”
Rand Paul found this answer to be acceptable, I do not! At first glance it appears that Eric Holder is saying the President can not kill an American on American soil. However, the statement deserves a closer look. The word combat can be both a noun and a verb. When used as a verb, combat is defined as “to fight or contend against; oppose vigorously.”
At this very moment, it could be construed that I am “engaged in combat” as I vigorously oppose the very existence of the federal government. I also vigorously oppose the the destruction of civil liberties, the foreign policy of the American government and the lack of fiscal responsibility. I contend that, based on the definition of combat as a verb, I, along with many thousands of others, could potentially be targets of domestic drone attacks. Despite the potential threat, I will not be silenced!
Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) had an interesting spee^Wquestion for Wayne LaPierre during the AWB hearings in Washington today.
Cruz pointed out that the AWB is about “scary-looking guns”, among other things. For those of us that don’t want to watch it, The Dallas Morning News did a pretty good text story about it.
Texas Sen. Ted Cruz displayed a flair for showmanship this afternoon at the Senate’s gun violence hearing as he sought to puncture the argument for a proposed ban on assault weapons.
“What it bans, I would suggest to you, are scary looking guns,” he said.
With a life size photo of a Remington 750, a popular hunting rifle used — as Cruz said, by millions of Americans – the senator argued that the proposed ban focuses on “cosmetic features” such as pistol grips that in no way change the lethality of a weapon.
He produced a plastic pistol grip and held it to the photo to demonstrate.
“If this were attached to this rifle, it would suddenly become a banned assault weapon,” he said, prefacing a question to witness Wayne LaPierre, NRA executive vice president, who concurred with his analysis.
“The problem with the whole bill,” LaPierre said, is that “it’s based on falsehoods from people who do not understand firearms.”
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.
Here is the article from the Daily Caller:
California Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein staged a dramatic press conference Thursday on Capitol Hill with 10 weapons at her side and unveiled legislation instituting a government ban on more than 150 types of firearms, including rifles, pistols and shotguns.
Flanked by other anti-gun liberal lawmakers, including New York Sen. Chuck Schumer and Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin, Feinstein announced the introduction of the “Assault Weapons Ban of 2013.”
The legislation being pushed by Feinstein — who has long history of calling for gun bans — would prohibit the sale, transfer, importation and manufacture of certain firearms.
I’m going to become an outlaw. How many millions of Americans are going to join me? Yep, let’s all roll over and be compliant. Nope, will never happen. I see financial opportunity here. Who else does?
I will bet the 150 firearms listed are not a complete list. There are many others.
We can see this is being done by a bunch of rank amateurs when it comes to firearms and ammo. Let’s not tell them how stupid they are.
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.
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.