Tag Archives: Rand Paul

Chris Christie secures title as Republican presidential frontrunner: poll

christie

NY Daily News: Republicans are closer than ever to having a frontrunner in the 2016 presidential race, with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie rising to the top among the GOP contenders.

Christie shines through as the favorite with 24% support among Republicans and GOP-leaning Independents, according to a CNN/ORC International survey released Friday.

Support for the outspoken Republican, who was reelected in November to a second term as governor of the Garden State, jumped from 17% when the last CNN poll was released in September.

Whether or not he will run is the biggest question on the minds of Republicans hoping to take the White House in 2016, since the 51-year-old is touted as the closest thing to a savior the conservative movement will get.

Christie remains demure on his presidential ambitions, saying that only he hopes Washington is watching the success of his policies in New Jersey.

In the new CNN poll, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul came second with 13% support. His numbers were steady since the last survey result.

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.), who was Mitt Romney’s Vice Presidential pick in 2012, posted the third highest support at 11%. His popularity took a tumble from the September poll, when 16% named him as their favorite.

Texas Tea Party darling, Sen. Ted Cruz, and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) were also listed among the top five picks for the Republican presidential race.

Results reflect responses from a telephone survey of 843 American adults from November 18-20.

For the Democrats, former Secretary of State Hillary “What difference does it make?” Clinton dominates as the preferred candidate, with an eye-popping 63% of Democrats saying they would vote Clinton.

hillary

Take our unscientific poll! Who would you prefer for the 2016 Republican candidate?

DCG

President Lucifer wrote the Obamacare regulation to cancel your insurance

Fuhrer Obama by Bill DaviesThe regulation to cancel your health insurance wasn’t in the original version of the unAffordable Care Act, better known and will forever be known as Obamacare.

It was Obama himself who wrote and added that regulation to the bill, which was approved by every Democrat in Congress.

Senator Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) revealed this at a luncheon in Charleston, South Carolina on November 11, 2013.

Beginning at the 5:40 mark in the video below, Sen. Paul says:

I’m still learning about it [Obamacare law]. It’s 20,000 pages of regulations. The Bill was 2,000 pages and I didn’t realize this until this week, the whole idea of you losing or getting your insurance cancelled wasn’t in the original Obamacare. It was a regulation WRITTEN BY PRESIDENT OBAMA, three months later. So we had a vote, this is before I got up there. The Republicans had a vote to try to cancel that regulation so you couldn’t be cancelled, to grandfather everybody in. You know what the vote was? Straight party line. Every Democrat voted to keep the rule that cancels your insurance.

Today, the House of Representatives will be voting on a very important bill — HR 3350 to preserve your existing healthcare plans.

It’s important that we move on this now as the House will be voting on this in only a few hours.

Take Action: Tell Congress to support HR 3350!

H/t Patriot Action Network

~Eowyn

Obama’s Benghazigate gets stinkier: Dozens of CIA agents were on the ground during 9-11 attack

us-libya-ambassador-chris-stevens-nationalturk-0455No matter how much the POS airily dismisses his many scandals as “phony,” at least one scandal — Benghazigate — will not go away but is getting ever stinkier.

None other than CNN is reporting that on the night of September 11, 2012, when four Americans — U.S. Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens, State Department officer Sean Smith, and ex-Navy SEALS Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods — were killed during a terrorist attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, the CIA had dozens of operatives on the ground near the scene.

chris-stevens1Clockwise from top left: Amb. Christopher Stevens, Sean Smith, Glen Doherty, Tyrone Woods.

But the spy agency has engaged in an intimidation campaign of those agents to keep them quiet about the events of that night and why the CIA was in eastern Libya to begin with. The agents have been subjected to frequent polygraph examinations every month since January of this year, more frequent than the routine tests done every three to four years.

Former CIA operative and CNN analyst Robert Baer told CNN that “agency employees typically are polygraphed every three to four years. Never more than that. If somebody is being polygraphed every month, or every two months it’s called an issue polygraph, and that means that the polygraph division suspects something, or they’re looking for something, or they’re on a fishing expedition. But it’s absolutely not routine at all to be polygraphed monthly, or bi-monthly.”

According to Fox News, at least 5 of those CIA spooks on the ground in Benghazi during the attack have been “told” to keep quiet:

One of CNN’s sources described the CIA’s attempts to silence its agents as “unprecedented”: “You have no idea the amount of pressure being brought to bear on anyone with knowledge of this operation.”

More than keeping those CIA agents silent, Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) says the CIA is hiding them from the public, “changing [their] names, creating aliases,” and dispersing them around the U.S.

In other words, the Obama regime is engaged in a massive Benghazi-gate cover-up.

So why were “dozens” of CIA spooks in Benghazi that night?

Breitbart.com reports that Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA), a sub-committee chairman of the Appropriations Committee, says “We’re getting calls from people who are close to people who were [in Benghazi at the time] that they [CIA] were moving guns [to Syrian rebels]. So where are the guns?” Wolf also wonders what Ambassador Chris Stevens was actually doing in Benghazi on that night: “Nobody knows, so I think there are so many questions from the failure to respond to where the guns went.”

Wolf is currently attempting to create a Select Committee to investigate the Benghazi attack by launching a discharge petition from committee. He needs 218 signatures to take the issue to a vote on the floor.

Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) first asked then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during a congressional hearing about her knowledge of any gun running coming out of the CIA annex in January. Clinton claimed she did not know anything about the issue and referred Paul to the CIA for such questions. Clinton also callously dismissed the deaths of Amb. Stephens and the other three Americans as old news: “What does it matter?”

Additionally, members of Congress’s Super Eight, (consisting of both parties’ leaders in both chambers, along with House and Senate Select Intelligence committee chairs and ranking members) would have been required to have been briefed on such gun running activity. Five of the eight members have either said they knew nothing about any gunrunning that was happening in Benghazi or claimed the issue cannot be spoken about because it is classified.

See also:

H/t FOTM’s Tina.

~Eowyn

FBI director admits drones used for surveillance of Americans

A quadrocopter drone equipped with a camera stands on display at the Zeiss stand on the first day of the CeBIT 2012 technology trade fair on March 6, 2012 in Hanover, Germany. (credit: Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

More than a year ago, FOTM first posted on the Obama regime’s admission (only because of a Freedom of Information Act request) that unmanned spy drones are deployed not just over war zones like Afghanistan, but also over the United States, and that the government was “considering” arming those drones. In fact, there are 63 active drone sites in 20 states scattered across America.

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We were told at the time that those drones in the sky over our heads are really for border patrol and to combat terrorism.

Lies.

All lies.

Jordy Yager reports for The Hill that yesterday, June 19, 2013, testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee, FBI Director Robert Mueller admitted that the FBI uses drones for surveillance within the United States.

But never fear!

Mueller says the drones are used “infrequently” and only to watch “specific targets” “in isolated instances” in regards to “specific investigations” of “particularized cases,” which “is the principle of privacy limitations we have.”

Mueller said, “Our footprint is very small. We have very few and have limited use,” and that the FBI is in “the initial stages” of developing privacy guidelines for how the agency balances civil liberty concerns with security threats.

Mueller made the revelation amid a debate over National Security Agency programs used to collect U.S. phone records and overseas Internet data.

While Mueller told lawmakers that the FBI uses drones domestically only for surveillance purposes, members of Congress have had growing concerns over the use of armed drones.

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) made headlines in the lead-up to CIA Director John Brennan’s confirmation earlier this year when he delivered a 13-hour talking filibuster aimed at delaying the vote until the administration told him that it could not legally kill U.S. citizens on American soil using a drone strike, which Attorney General Eric Holder ultimately did.

The use of drones by the American military and the CIA to attack terrorists began under former President George W. Bush, but President Obama has increased the use of the armed, unmanned aerial vehicles dramatically — largely in the Middle East — to target individuals his administration suspects are carrying out acts of terrorism.

Obama laid out the administration’s policy and rationale for the increased use of drone strikes abroad in a speech last month, saying that the U.S. “does not take strikes when we have the ability to capture individual terrorists.”

In a letter to Congress the day before Obama’s speech, Holder said that four Americans suspected of terrorism had been killed abroad in “counterterrorism” operations since 2009. In all four instances, drones have been reported as being used. The most widely known case, which initially prompted congressional concern, came in 2011 when U.S. officials targeted and killed American-born Anwar al-Awlaki in a drone strike. Al-Awlaki was known for inciting attacks against the United States, such as the 2009 Fort Hood mass shooting, the thwarted “underwear” bombing of a U.S.-bound plane the same year and the failed Times Square bombing in 2010.

It was last year in a speech at Northwestern University that Holder first laid out the Obama regime’s justification for targeting U.S. citizens abroad  last year. He said that the regime’s definition of a person who posed an “imminent threat” consisted of three criteria:

  1. There was a limited open window for attacking the person;
  2. A grave possible harm that not attacking the target could have on U.S. civilians; and
  3. A strong likelihood that targeting the person would head off a future attack against the United States.

So when we wake up some morning to the news that someone in the United States had been killed by a drone strike, you’ll know that Pres. Lucifer’s “reasons” for the murder assassination.

Just my humble Public Service Announcement heads-up!

See also “FBI director not sure if Americans can be assassinated on U.S. soil,” March 13, 2012.

~Eowyn

John McCain is a POS

RINO Sen. John McCain was one of the sponsors of the National Defense Authorization Act that gives “authority” to the president and military to arrest and indefinitely detain U.S. citizens without charge or trial.

So it really shouldn’t surprise us that he favors capitulation on raising our national debt ceiling — yet again — and is bawling about conservatives Republicans “pushing too far.”

McCainThe Associated Press reports, May 23, 2013:

Tactics for dealing with the government’s budget and debt became the latest quarrel In a string of them between McCain —sometimes joined by other traditionalist Republicans —and Tea Party champions such as Ted Cruz of Texas, Rand Paul of Kentucky, Mike Lee of Utah and Marco Rubio of Florida.

Those four won Senate seats by defying the party establishment, and are shaking up the tradition-bound Senate with no-compromise, no-apology stands on key issues like debt and deficits, government spending and the use of drones in the war on terrorism.

McCain himself has defied Republican orthodoxy at times. But he was the party’s 2008 presidential nominee, and he now is among those who say a minority party will accomplish little in the Senate if it can’t find ways to cut deals with the majority.

Cruz, who like Paul is weighing a 2016 presidential bid, renewed his taunts of the party establishment in a speech Thursday on the Senate floor. The more accommodating Republicans, he said, are in cahoots with Democrats to raise the government’s borrowing limit by disabling the GOP’s ability to mount a filibuster threat that could be used to extract spending cuts from Democrats and the White House

[...] Earlier in the day, Lee angered McCain with similar remarks. Lee said Republicans should block a House-Senate conference designed to resolve budget differences because it might ease the Democrats’ effort to raise the government’s borrowing limit. That rankled the sometimes cantankerous McCain, of Arizona. He said the Tea Partyers’ tactics could embolden Democrats who are threatening to change Senate rules that now allow the minority party — or even just one senator— to block various actions.

“That would be the most disastrous outcome that I could ever imagine,” McCain said.

For months, Democrats have complained about Republicans blocking or delaying confirmation of top White House nominees, including some federal judges. Democrats say the impasse over a budget conference is further evidence of a small group of senators in the minority abusing their powers to block actions that in the past would have gone forward after a few speeches.

Supporters of the Tea Party-backed lawmakers say the ongoing IRS and Benghazi controversies have vindicated their sharply partisan, uncompromising views. Republicans cite the controversies as examples of Democratic overreach and obfuscation.

This week’s budget quarrel follows a high-profile split between Tea Partyers and champions of a big defense program over drone attacks, and an intra-GOP disagreement over gun control tactics. It involves an obscure procedural battle and arcane rules governing the congressional budget process. Democrats want to set up an official House-Senate negotiating committee to iron out the gaping differences between the budget plans passed by the Democratic-controlled Senate and the Republican-controlled House.

Cruz, Lee and others say they fear House and Senate leaders will use the budget measure to engineer a scenario in which an increase in the government’s borrowing cap could pass the 100-member Senate by a simple majority instead of the 60 votes typically need to overpower the minority on an issue.

McCain and others, like Budget Committee Chairman Patty Murray, D-Wash., note that House Republicans can block any move by Democratic negotiators to engineer a filibuster-free debt limit increase.

“Isn’t it a little bizarre,” McCain said Wednesday. “Basically what we are saying here on this (Republican) side of the aisle is that we don’t trust our colleagues on the other side of the Capitol who are in the majority, Republicans.”

“Let me be clear. I don’t trust the Republicans,” Cruz responded. “And I don’t trust the Democrats. I think a whole lot of Americans likewise don’t trust the Republicans and the Democrats, because it is leadership in both parties that has gotten us in this mess.”

At a Tea Party rally last month in Texas, Cruz taunted fellow Republicans after the Senate rejected a call for background checks on virtually all prospective gun buyers.

Cruz and other Tea Partyers had threatened to filibuster the gun legislation and keep it from coming to the Senate floor for votes. Other Republicans said the smarter political move — which eventually prevailed — was to let the votes take place, and have a few Democrats join Republicans in rejecting the wider background checks. Cruz suggested that Republicans who favored proceeding with the votes were “a bunch of squishes.”

That earned Cruz a rebuke from the conservative Wall Street Journal editorial page — gleefully retweeted by McCain. “Would it have been right for us to not even debate in light of the Newtown massacre?” McCain said.

[...] Democrats say the debt ceiling must be raised to pay for expenses already incurred by Congress. Failing to raise the ceiling, they say, would trigger a catastrophic default on U.S. obligations.

McCain scuffled with the tea party senators in March after Paul launched a filibuster to warn of the threat of unmanned drone attacks against U.S. citizens on American soil. McCain referred to newcomers like Paul and Cruz as “wacko birds” and said their fears of drone strikes against Americans were “ridiculous.”

“It has been suggested that we are ‘wacko birds,’” Cruz said Thursday. “I will suggest to my friend from Arizona there may be more wacko birds in the Senate than is suspected.”

The split between McCain, 76, and next-generation, 40-something potential 2016 candidates like Paul, Cruz and Rubio also illustrates the broader GOP drift toward the right. McCain has spent decades in the Senate, mixing a penchant for confrontation with a capacity for bipartisan relationships and legislation; the new generation is feistier and more wary of compromise.

H/t FOTM’s tina!

~Eowyn

Mr. Paul Goes to Washington – Watch Live

mr-smith-goes-to-washington-1

Remember Jimmy Stewart in the Frank Capra classic movie, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington?

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) is doing the same thing RIGHT NOW on the Senate floor.

Rand Paul

Sen. Paul is filibustering the POS regime’s appointment of John Brennan as CIA Director because the administration won’t disavow drone killing American citizens on US soil without due process. In fact, the POS’s attorney general Eric Holder three-times refused to answer the question whether it is constitutional for the the United States to use a drone to kill an American citizen on U.S. soil, even if said citizen does not pose an “imminent [national security] threat”.

This is unconstitutional and Sen. Paul said he’s had a enough of unconstitutional actions by this regime and will talk until he can’t do it any more.

Sen. Paul is getting great support from Sens. Mike Lee (R-Utah), John Barrasso (R-Wyoming), and Ted Cruz (R-Texas).

Will any other senators step in when Paul has to quit? Flood your senators’ phone lines with that question.

This is democracy in action, folks!

Sen. Paul and other supporting speakers are also using this occasion to give the American people an excellent crash course on the threats posed to our liberty by the Obama regime’s drones, as well as the fundamentals of the U.S. government as designed by our Founding Fathers — separation of powers into three co-equal branches, the Constitution, the Bill of Rights (especially the Fourth Amendment), and the importance of due process.

Read more in the Washington Times.

Watch Senator Paul live on CSPAN here.

H/t my friend Robert K. Wilcox

~Eowyn

Fiscal Cliff deal: The good, bad, and ugly

Last night, Jan. 1, 2013, at 10:45 pm, the U.S. House of Representatives approved a deal to avert the fiscal cliff, by a final vote of 257 to 167.

The House vote came less than 24 hours after the Senate had overwhelmingly approved the bill 89 to 8, with both parties’ support. The bill now goes to the POS for his signature. Instead of signing the bill, he’s already left D.C. to resume his vacation in Honolulu which was so rudely interrupted by the fiscal cliff negotiations. [snark]

The Fiscal Cliff deal:

  • The top tax rate increases from 35% to 40% on annual income over $450,000 for married couples and $400,000 for single people. This is the first time in more than two decades that a broad tax increase has been approved with GOP support.
  • “Temporary” Bush tax cuts for couples making less than $450,000 and individuals making less than $400,000 per year are made “permanent” (which means “until Congress changes their mind”).
  • More than 100 million “middle class” families (those earning less than $250,000 a year) will be protected from significant income tax increases set to take effect this month, but their payroll taxes will rise with the expiration of a temporary tax cut adopted two years ago.
  • No estate taxes on inheritance of $5 million, or $10 million for married couples.
  • Federal dairy policies will be extended through September, averting a threatened doubling of milk prices.
  • Extension of unemployment benefits to 2 million people for another year.
  • Automatic cuts to the Pentagon and other agencies that had been set to take effect today will be delayed for two months.
  • Pay raise for members of Congress, which was effectuated by Obama’s executive order, is nixed.
  • Automatic spending cuts (sequestration) from last year’s debt ceiling deal are postponed until March 2013, which means — oh joy — there’ll be a Fiscal Cliff II next month!

The Bad:

Buried in the fine print of the 150-page deal are some New Year’s gifts to some of Washington’s favorite cronies. Under the plan, the federal government would eat nearly $100 billion in forgone tax revenue over the next two years by extending special tax credits for select businesses that had been set to expire:

  • $430 million for Hollywood through “special expensing rules” to encourage TV and film production in the United States. Producers can “expense” up to $15 million of costs for their projects. All this for a film industry that enjoyed a record box office last year.
  • $331 million for railroads by allowing short-line and regional operators to claim a tax credit up to 50% of the cost to maintain tracks that they own or lease.
  • $222 million for Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands through returned excise taxes collected by the federal government on rum produced in the islands and imported to the mainland.
  • $70 million for NASCAR by extending a “7-year cost recovery period for certain motorsports racing track facilities.”
  • $59 million for algae growers through tax credits to encourage production of “cellulosic biofuel” at up to $1.01 per gallon.
  • $4 million for electric motorcycle makers by expanding an existing green-energy tax credit for buyers of plug-in vehicles to include electric motorbikes.

The Absurd:

  • This is how farcical the fiscal cliff brouhaha was: Members of the U.S. Senate had only 3 minutes to read the 154-page fiscal cliff bill and budget score, before they voted 89-8 to approve the bill. Senators received the bill at approximately 1:36 AM on Jan. 1, 2013 – a mere three minutes before they voted to approve it at 1:39 AM. I’ve taken longer to read the instructions for my new cell phone.
  • House Republicans also violated their pledge to allow three days for the public to read the legislation before they would vote on a bill. This was a promise the GOP made to voters before the 2010 elections.

The Ugly:

151 Republicans in the House voted “no,” which meant the GOP tally fell far short of a majority of the GOP caucus. That broke a long-standing preference by House Speaker John Boehner to advance only bills that could draw the support of a majority of his Republican members. So Boehner himself cast a rare vote: He supported the bill. So did Rep. Paul Ryan (Wis.), the GOP’s vice-presidential candidate last year.

40 House Republicans voted for the bill, including such GOP leaders on tax-and-spending policy as Sen. Patrick J. Toomey (Pa.) and Ronald H. Johnson (Wis.), a tea party star.

The Good:

  • Senate Republicans who voted against the bill include tea party favorites Rand Paul (Ky.) and Mike Lee (Utah), as well as Marco Rubio (Fla).
  • House Republicans who voted no include Majority Leader Eric Cantor (Va.) and Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (Calif.).

The Really Bad:

Regardless of one’s political affiliation or beliefs, from an economic and fiscal perspective, the cliff deal has accomplished nothing. Here’s why:

  • The bill’s proposed spending cuts of $15 billion are less than 2% of the federal government’s deficit.
  • The bill’s tax increases will raise $620 billion over the next ten years — roughly $62 billion in new tax revenue per year.
  • $62 billion in new tax revenue per year is less than 6% of the $1+ trillion deficit the Obama regime has incurred every year for the past four years.
  • According to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, the fiscal cliff bill will cause the national debt to be $4 trillion higher by 2022 than if all of the cliff’s tax increases and spending cuts had been allowed to take effect.

Sources: CNN, Washington Post, ABC News, CNS News.

~Eowyn

Insanity: Federal law makes it a crime to violate any foreign law

Conservatives are jubilant that last Friday, as reported by the AP, a bill designed to prevent Kansas courts or government agencies from making decisions based on Islamic or other foreign legal codes has cleared the state Legislature. The measure goes next to Republican Gov. Sam Brownback, who hasn’t said whether he’ll sign or veto the measure.

Though the bill was prompted by concerns about Islamic Shariah law being used in U.S. courts, it does not specifically mention Shariah. Instead, the bill says that Kansas’ courts, administrative agencies or state tribunals can’t base rulings on any foreign law or legal system that would not grant the parties the same rights guaranteed by state and U.S. constitutions.

The Kansas legislature must not have known about the Lacey Act — a Congressional law that makes it a federal offense to violate any foreign law when it comes to fish, wildlife, or plants.

In 1900, illegal commercial hunting threatened many game species in the United States. So Congress passed the Lacey Act to protect and preserve game and wild birds by making it a federal crime to poach game in one state with the purpose of selling the bounty in another. It was also concerned with the potential problems of the introduction of non-native, or exotic species of birds and animals into native ecosystems.

Since 1900, the Act has been amended several times, the result of which is  to expand the Act’s coverage to include fish, amphibians, reptiles, mollusks, crustaceans, plants (including trees), as well as the products made from the preceding.

Although the original Lacey Act was concerned with the trafficking of illegally captured or prohibited animals and birds across state lines within the United States, by the 1960s, according to Robert S. Anderson in his 1995 article for the Public Land Law Review, the Lacey Act had shifted in importance from a domestic anti-poaching statute to one that would address the problems of international trade — which means violations of foreign laws.

A position paper by the NCBFAA (National Customs Brokers & Forwarders Association of America, Inc.) points out that:

“The sweeping scope of the product coverage takes on added meaning when you consider that the Lacey Act offenses include not just violations of U.S. laws or treaties, but violation of any foreign law that protects or regulates plants or trees. There are almost 9,000 such laws in Indonesia alone. Moreover, a list of all the relevant foreign laws with which an importer is responsible for compliance does not exist. The penalties for violations of the Lacey Act offenses range from civil administrative penalties to forfeiture of the goods to criminal fines and imprisonment. In effect, the Lacey Act Amendments criminalize U.S. citizens involved in importing a wide range of products far removed from the logging process as a substitute for stronger enforcement by foreign governments in timber rich countries.”

Paul Larkin writes for the Heritage Foundation, March 11, 2012, that the Lacey Act violates one of the fundamental tenets of Anglo–American common law: that ‘men of common intelligence’ must be able to understand what a law means.

Not only has the recent explosion of U.S. federal criminal law rendered this standard a mere fiction, the problem is exacerbated by the fact that the Lacey Act makes it a crime to violate a foreign nation’s law. If Americans don’t even know the dizzying profusion of U.S. laws, how would we know the laws of foreign countries?

An example is what happened to Abner Schoenwetter. In the case of United States v. McNab, Schoenwetter and several other individuals were convicted of several federal offenses in connection with their importation of Caribbean spiny lobsters from Honduras. The federal government charged the defendants with violating the Lacey Act by importing Honduran lobsters in violation of Honduran law: The lobsters were too small to be taken under Honduran law; some contained eggs and so could not be exported; and the lobsters were packed in boxes rather than in plastic as required by Honduran law.

The jury convicted the defendants, and both the district court and the court of appeals upheld the convictions. The circuit court even refused to give any weight to the opinions of the Honduran courts and the Honduran Attorney General that the regulations were invalid under Honduran law and could not serve as a predicate violation under the Lacey Act. The result was that Schoenwetter was sentenced to eight years in a federal prison—a term longer than what some violent criminals could spend in lockup—for domestic regulatory offenses that did not even violate foreign law.

Larkin points out:

“Foreign nations may have very different allocations of governmental power, bureaucracies, and enforcement personnel. Some will speak and write in English; some will not. Some will make their decisions public; some will not. Some will have one entity that can speak authoritatively about its own laws; some will not. And different components of foreign governments may change their interpretations of their own laws over time, perhaps nullifying the effect of a prior interpretation, or perhaps not.

It is sheer lunacy to assume that the average citizen can keep track of such laws, let alone do so by him- or herself without a supporting cast of lawyers—that is, assuming that the average citizen could find a lawyer knowledgeable about the intricacies of a particular foreign nation’s law. Domestic lawyers and judges are not even familiar with foreign law, let alone qualified as experts.”

Adding to the nightmare is the fact that, as pointed out by Robert Anderson, the Lacey Act violator need not be the same person who took, possessed, transported, or sold the wildlife in violation of the underlying law. Culpability attaches to anyone who imports, exports, transports, receives, acquires, or purchases the wildlife, and who knows, or in exercise of due care should know, that it was illegally taken, possessed, transported, or sold. The degree of the accused’s knowledge regarding the status of the tainted wildlife is one of the factors that distinguishes a felony from a misdemeanor violation.

Did you get that?

Let me emphasize:

“Culpability attaches to anyone who…purchases the wildlife” or plant or tree or products made from the wildlife or plant or tree, in violation of some foreign nation’s law(s).

Which means you and me. And that, of course, is insanity.

Senator Rand Paul (R–KY) and Representative Paul C. Broun (R–GA) have introduced two bills in Congress—each one called the FOCUS Act (Freedom from Over-Criminalization and Unjust Seizures Act of 2012 )—to defang the Lacey Act. FOCUS would amend the Lacey Act in several ways, one of which would make it enforceable only through the civil process.

H/t FOTM reader Wade.

~Eowyn

S1867′s Bad vs. Good Senators

Last Thursday, December 1, 2011, by an overwhelming majority and bipartisan vote of 93 vs. 7, the U.S. Senate passed S. 1867, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012.

In so doing, the Senate gives authority to the President to have the military arrest and detain U.S. citizens deemed to be enemy combatants (called “covered persons” in Sec. 1031 of S.1867) without charge or trial.

In so doing, the Senate also legalizes sodomy and bestiality in the U.S. military, by repealing the Uniform Code of Military Justice’s Art. 125 (see S1867′s Sec. 551(d)).

These are the senators who are mainly responsible for S1867:

1. Sen. Carl Levin (D-Michigan), who is the sponsor of S. 1867 and the Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee. The committee had approved and recommended S. 1867 to the rest of the Senate.

2. Sen. John McCain (R-Arizona), who is the minority leader of the Armed Services Committee.

3. The other members of the Armed Services Committee:

  • Democrats:

Joseph I. Lieberman (Connecticut)
Jack Reed (Rhode Island)
Daniel K. Akaka (Hawaii)
Ben Nelson (Nebraska)
Jim Webb (Virginia)
Claire McCaskill (Missouri)
Mark Udall (Colorado)
Kay R. Hagan (North Carolina)
Mark Begich (Alaska)
Joe Manchin III (West Virginia)
Jeanne Shaheen (New Hampshire)
Kirsten E. Gillibrand (New York)
Richard Blumenthal (Connecticut)

  • Republicans:

James M. Inhofe (Oklahoma)
Jeff Sessions (Alabama)
Saxby Chambliss (Georgia)
Roger F. Wicker (Mississippi)
Scott P. Brown (Massachusetts)
Rob Portman (Ohio)
Kelly Ayotte (New Hampshire)
Susan M. Collins (Maine)
Lindsey Graham (South Carolina)
John Cornyn (Texas)
David Vitter (Louisiana)

These are the seven senators who voted against S1867:

Here’s Sen. Jeff Merkley explaining why he voted against S1867:

H/t beloved fellow Tina.

~Eowyn

Sen. Feinstein Confirms S. 1867′s Detention of U.S. Citizens w/out Trial

UPDATE:

Our concerns about Sec. 1031 are ignored. The reconcile conference committee has produced a final version of NDAA, which Obama says he will not veto. US citizens are NOT exempted from being arrested and detained without charge or trial. See my post of Dec. 14, 2011: “U.S. Citizens Still Subject to Detention w/out Trial in Final Version of Defense Bill.”

See also, “There Really Are FEMA Camps.”

+++

Sen. Dianne Feinstein

If you still have doubts that the recently passed Senate bill 1867 (National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012) is harmless, read this e-mail from Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif).

S. 1867′s Sec. 1301 gives authority to the President to detain certain “covered persons” without charge or trial “until the end of the [war] hostilities.” There’s a dispute in the blogosphere as to whether “covered persons” include U.S. citizens.

Sen. Rand Paul

Feinstein — like Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) and Mark Udall (D-Colo)– had tried to get an amendment into S 1867 that would “limit the authority of the Armed Forces to detain citizens of the United States under section 1031″, but her proposal was rejected by the Senate 45Y – 55N.

Sen. Mark Udall

Here’s Sen. Feinstein’s e-mail to FOTM’s beloved Tina:

From: <senator@feinstein.senate.gov>
Date: Mon, Dec 5, 2011 at 12:05 PM
Subject: U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein responding to your message

Dear Mr. and Mrs. ___:

Thank you for writing to express your concerns about the detention provisions in the “National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012.”  I appreciate knowing your views and welcome the opportunity to respond.

This year’s defense authorization bill would, among other things, authorize funding for the U.S. Department of Defense.  As you know, section 1031 would authorize the U.S. government to detain suspected terrorists until the end of hostilities, and section 1032 would require that certain suspected terrorists connected to al-Qaeda be automatically detained in military custody when apprehended.

Like you, I oppose these provisions.  Section 1031 is problematic because it authorizes the indefinite detention of American citizens without due process.  In this democracy, due process is a fundamental right, and it protects us from being locked up by the government without charge.  For this reason, I offered an amendment to prohibit the indefinite detention of U.S. citizens without trial or charge.  Unfortunately, on December 1, 2011, this amendment failed by a vote of 45-55.

I was, however, able to reach a compromise with the authors of the defense bill to state that no existing law or authorities to detain suspected terrorists are changed by this section of the bill.  While I would have preferred to have restricted the government’s ability to detain U.S. citizens without charge, this compromise at least ensures that the bill does not expand the government’s authority in this area.

I also oppose section 1032 of the defense bill, which creates a presumption that individuals associated with al-Qaeda will be held in military custody, as opposed to being processed through the criminal justice system.  I disagree with this approach, and believe that the President should be able to hold captured terrorists in the military or the criminal justice systems based on the individual facts and evidence of each case.  Accordingly, I offered an amendment to clarify that under section 1032, the presumption of U.S. Armed Forces detention only exists for an individual captured abroad.  Unfortunately, on December 1, 2011, this amendment also failed on a vote of 45-55.

Once again, thank you for your letter.  Please know that I am committed to ensuring that our nation has the appropriate tools to combat terrorism, and committed to upholding our fundamental constitutional rights.  If you have any additional comments or questions, please do not hesitate to contact my Washington, D.C. office at (202) 224-3841.  I hope that you and your family enjoy a happy and healthy holiday season.
May I wish you and your family a happy and healthy holiday season.

Sincerely yours,

Dianne Feinstein
United States Senator

In the end, however, both Feinstein and Mark Udall voted “yes” on S1867, while Sen. Rand Paul held firm and was one of seven senators who voted against the bill.

This is not the end of the story. Now that both houses of Congress have passed their respective versions of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012 (the House version of this Act is HR1540), they must now reconcile their two versions in committee. FYI, the House version of the Act is significantly different from the Senate’s version. More on this in a separate post to come.

~Eowyn