Tag Archives: Mike Lee

Lock him up: Ex-DC demorat staffer admits to doxing republicans, threatening witness

The “democratic political professional student” worked for U.S. Sen. Maggie Hassan (D-NH) and previously worked for Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA). He also previously worked or was an intern with the office of Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA).

As reported by NY Post: A former Democratic congressional staffer pleaded guilty Friday to federal charges after he posted leaked personal information about Republican senators on Wikipedia, then threatened a witness who caught him.

Jackson Cosko, 27, of the District of Columbia, pleaded guilty to five offenses related to his “doxing” the senators — uploading their personal information online — including computer fraud, making public restricted personal information, witness tampering and obstruction of justice.

Prosecutors said he went after the lawmakers after one senator fired him and he got upset with the others while watching testimony on sexual assault allegations during Supreme Court justice Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearings.

His targets included GOP Senate Judiciary Committee members Lindsey Graham, Mike Lee and Orrin Hatch, as well as Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul.

He faces nearly five years in prison when he is sentenced June 13.

DCG

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12 Republican senators voted against Trump’s national emergency to build border wall

Bridget Bowman reports for Roll Call that yesterday, 12 Republican senators joined every Demonrat senator in voting for a resolution to block President Trump invoking a national emergency at the southern border so as to build the wall with defense funds. Trump had declared a national emergency last month after the Democrat-dominant House refused to appropriate his requested $5+ billion funds for a border wall.

See “The Trump Show” on Trump’s declaration of national emergency to build border wall, and “Ann Coulter: By signing the budget deal, Trump signs away his right as CIC to build the wall“.

The resolution passed the Senate, 59-41, after passing the House late last month.

The Gang of 12 Republicans includes so-called “moderate” senators — one of whom is up for re-election in 2020 — and so-called “conservatives”. 6 of the 12 serve on the Senate Appropriations Committee.

Here are the 12 Republican senators who voted to thwart President Trump’s national emergency declaration:

(1) Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee: A 3-term senator and member of the Appropriations Committee said in a statement yesterday ahead of the vote that although he supports the president on border security, the emergency declaration sets a dangerous precedent: “His declaration to take an additional $3.6 billion that Congress has appropriated for military hospitals, barracks and schools is inconsistent with the U.S. Constitution that I swore an oath to support and defend.” Alexander announced last December that he would not run for re-election in 2020.

(2) Sen. Roy Blunt of Missouri: A senior member of the Appropriations Committee, Blunt is concerned about the precedent Trump’s declaration of emergency would set. Blunt was re-elected to a second Senate term in 2016. (He served several terms in the House before running for Senate in 2010.)

(3) Sen. Susan Collins of Maine: Not only is this POS pro-late term abortions, Collins actually co-sponsored the resolution ostensiblyout of concern for the precedent an emergency declaration would set for the powers of the executive branch. The four-term senator is likely to face her toughest re-election next year, with Democrats raising millions of dollars for a yet-to-be-determined challenger after she voted for Supreme Court Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh.

(4) Sen. Mike Lee of Utah: First elected in 2010, Lee announced his support for the resolution Wednesday after Trump rejected Lee’s offer of a compromise to curtail future national emergency declarations through an amendment of the National Emergencies Act to include the automatic termination of future emergencies after 30 days unless Congress authorizes the emergency to continue. Lee said in a statement announcing his decision that “For decades, Congress has been giving far too much legislative power to the executive branch.”  One of the most conservative senators, Lee is up for re-election in 2022.

(5) Sen. Jerry Moran of Kansas: A member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Moran tweeted that “I share President Trump’s goal of securing our borders, but expanding the powers of the presidency beyond its constitutional limits is something I cannot support.” Moran is up for a third term in 2022.

(6) Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska: Another pro-abort POS, Murkowski said in a floor speech earlier this month: “Congress is a co-equal branch of government and as such Congress should stand up for itself.” She is not up for re-election until 2022.

(7) Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky: Earlier this month, Paul announced at a GOP Lincoln Day dinner that he would support the resolution because Congress did not appropriate the funds Trump was looking to use for the border wall, and “If we take away those checks and balances, it’s a dangerous thing.” A self-described libertarian, Paul was re-elected to the Senate in 2016 after a failed White House bid, and he will not face voters again until 2022.

(8) Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio: Portman had worked with Mike Lee on the compromise resolution. The two-term senator said that while he supported Trump’s request for border wall funding, an emergency declaration is not necessary to secure those funds, and that the declaration would set a “dangerous precedent” by opening “the door for future presidents to implement just about any policy they want.” Portman won re-election by more than 20 points in 2016 and won’t face voters again until 2022.

(9) Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah: Although Romney is a freshman senator, he entered the Senate with a high profile as his party’s 2012 presidential nominee and the former governor of Massachusetts. Critical of Trump in the past, even before Trump officially declared a national emergency, Romney said he “would also expect the president stay within statutory and constitutional limits.” Romney won the open Utah Senate race in 2018 by 32 points, and he is not up for re-election again until 2024.

(10) Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida: Like the others, Rubio too warned of the precedent set by Trump’s national emergency. A member of Senate Appropriations, he said in February that while he agrees there is a crisis at the southern border, “a future president may use this exact same tactic to impose the Green New Deal.” Rubio won re-election by 8 points in 2016 after an unsuccessful run for the GOP nomination for president. Trump carried Florida by just 1 point in 2016.

(11) Sen. Patrick J. Toomey of Pennsylvania: A “conservative” Republican, Toomey had occasionally broken with President Trump in the past, particularly on Trump’s use of tariffs. Toomey told the Philadelphia Inquirer that he supports Trump’s effort to build a border wall, but the declaration of a national emergency was “a very important separation of powers issue.” Toomey narrowly won re-election in 2016 when Trump won Pennsylvania by less than a point.

(12) Sen. Roger Wicker of Mississippi: The two-term senator, who’s the chairman of the Commerce Committee and the second-highest-ranked Republican on the Armed Services Committee, also had “serious reservations” about what an emergency declaration would do to the separation of powers. Wicker said in a statement earlier this week: “The precedent we set this year might empower a future liberal President to declare emergencies to enact gun control or to address ‘climate emergencies,’ or even to tear down the wall we are building today.” Wicker, an Air Force veteran, won re-election comfortably last fall in a state Trump carried by nearly 20 points in 2016.

Today, President Trump used his veto powers for the first time to overturn the Congressional resolution, calling it “reckless”. He said: “Today I am vetoing this resolution. Congress has the freedom to pass this resolution and I have the duty to veto it.” To override his veto would require two-thirds of the vote in both the House and the Senate, and the Senate doesn’t have the 67 votes needed for an override. (New York Post).

For all the Gang of 12’s concerns about the separation of powers and Trump setting a “dangerous precedent” by declaring a state of national emergency, one would think such declarations are rarely invoked.

Not so.

The fact of the matter is there have been 58 national emergencies declared by presidents since 1979 under the National Emergencies Act of 1975, 31 of which are still active national emergencies. Below are the number of national emergencies declared by President Carter and after:

  • Jimmy Carter: 2 — one of which is still active.
  • Ronald Reagan: 6 — none of which is active.
  • George H.W. Bush: 5 — none of which is active.
  • Bill Clinton: 17 — 6 of which are still in effect.
  • Barack Obama: 13 — 11 of which are still active.
  • Donald Trump: 3. (Source: CBS News, citing the Brennan Center)

H/t Kelleigh

~Eowyn

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Demorat intern arrested after doxxing GOP senators, faces 50 years in prison

Good. Make an example out of this unhinged demorat.

From Fox News: The arrest of a Democratic congressional intern this week for allegedly publishing the private information of three Republican lawmakers, with police investigating more possible incidents, underscores what has become an increasingly confrontational approach by the anti-Trump ‘resistance.’

Jackson Cosko, who recently worked as an unpaid intern for Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas, was arrested for posting the personal information of Sens. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., Mike Lee, R-Utah, and Orrin Hatch, R-Utah on Wikipedia — including their home addresses.

Fox News learned Wednesday that Capitol Hill police are investigating additional doxxing incidents involving at least two senators, including Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky. It was not clear if Cosko — who worked with other Democratic lawmakers including Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., Sen. Maggie Hassan, D-N.H., and former Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif. — was involved.

Cosko had worked in a host of roles in the House and Senate, including as press assistant and legislative correspondent, according to his LinkedIn page.

Former Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz said on Fox News’ “America’s Newsroom” Thursday that the wide range of charges against Cosko, including witness tampering and burglary, suggests there could be more to the case than meets the eye.

“With seven different charges out there, it really does makes it sound like it’s more sophisticated and widespread because now you see Sen. Rand Paul is also having issues,” he said, although he added that it wasn’t clear if Cosko was connected to the Paul case.

While it was not clear what the motivation was behind the posting of personal information (known as “doxxing”), Graham, Lee and Hatch have been outspoken defenders of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh amid sexual assault allegations against him. The doxxing on Thursday came moments after Graham had scorched Senate Democrats in a fiery speech for what he called “an unethical sham” in their treatment of Kavanaugh.

The incident marks the latest in escalating attacks against Republican lawmakers and Trump administration officials — particularly in relation to the Kavanaugh controversy — by far left-wing activists, which have occasionally picked up the support of Democratic lawmakers.

A day after the doxxing, two female activists cornered Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., in an elevator on Friday and screamed at him, with one of them repeatedly demanding he look at her as she accused him of suggesting her own sexual assault “doesn’t matter.”

Moments later, Flake demanded an FBI investigation into the accusations against Kavanaugh — forcing GOP leaders, faced with little room for error on Senate votes, to accede. It was not clear if the dressing down caused Flake to waver, but he later told The Atlantic that the incident “struck a chord.”

Days earlier on Monday, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and his wife Heidi were hounded out of a restaurant by protesters peppering the senator with questions about Kavanaugh and chanting “we believe survivors” and “cancel Kavanaugh.” His Democratic opponent in the Texas Senate race, Beto O’Rouke, condemned the incident and said his family “should be treated with respect.”

The tactic of hounding lawmakers and Trump officials out of restaurants became more prevalent in June, when White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders and Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen were driven out of restaurants amid the backlash over the separation of illegal immigrant families at the border.

That move was encouraged by Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., who days later called on supporters to confront Trump officials in public spaces.

“If you see anybody from that Cabinet in a restaurant, in a department store, at a gasoline station, you get out and you create a crowd and you push back on them and you tell them they’re not welcome anymore, anywhere,” she told a crowd.

In July, Sen. Cory Booker, D-NJ., who recently compared himself to Thracian gladiator Spartacus, told supporters to go to Capitol Hill and “get in the face of some congresspeople.”

This week, Republicans have been pushing back against such tactics. Some have pointed to the shooting of Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La., at a Republican baseball practice last year as a reminder of how heated rhetoric can lead to much worse.

Kelley Paul, the wife of Sen. Paul, wrote in an open letter to Sen. Booker, saying that she now keeps a loaded gun by her bed after her family has “experienced violence and threats of violence at a horrifying level.”

“I would call on you to retract your statement,” she said. “I would call on you to condemn violence, the leaking of elected officials’ personal addresses (our address was leaked from a Senate directory given only to senators), and the intimidation and threats that are being hurled at them and their families.”

The Daily Caller reported that Sen. David Perdue, R-Ga., and his wife were chased through Reagan National Airport by activists — who kept yelling at him even as he tried to use the bathroom.

On the Senate floor on Wednesday, Perdue blamed Democrats for inciting such behavior, and read quotes he said were inciting harassment of Republicans in public.

“This is America, but these are the tactics of the Brownshirts in Germany in the 1930s, Mr. President,” he said. “Unacceptable. Totally irresponsible.”

According to the Washington Examiner, Cosko could face 50 years in federal prison.

DCG

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Leaders of 9 western states meet to take land back from federal govt

The United States of America was founded, not as a centralized state wherein all power is concentrated in the central government, but as a federation wherein political power is diffused by dividing it between a national (federal) government and the republic’s constituent state governments.

Our Founders conceived federalism as one of the institutional mechanisms to check and balance political power so as to prevent government from being so dictatorial as to become a threat to the People’s inherent rights and liberties.

This founding principle of federalism is codified in the Tenth Amendment to the United States Constitution:

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

But America has been drifting away from the founding vision, with the federal government amassing more and more power, and the presidency becoming increasingly imperial.

For the first time, political leaders of NINE western states have convened to talk about wresting control of state lands away from the federal government.

Western states lawmakersL to r: Montana House Speaker Mark Blasdel, Utah state Rep. Ken Ivory, Montana state Sen. Jennifer Fielder, Idaho House Speaker Scott Bedke, Utah House Speaker Becky Lockhart (photo by Scott Sommerdorf, Salt Lake Tribune)

Kristen Moulton reports for The Salt Lake Tribune that on April 18, 2014, more than 50 political leaders (state legislators and county commissioners) from 9 western states convened a daylong closed-door meeting in Salt Lake City, the Legislative Summit on the Transfer for Public Landsto talk about wresting control of their oil-, timber- and mineral-rich lands away from the federal government.

The nine western states were Arizona, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.

The summit was organized by Utah state Rep. Ken Ivory and Montana state Sen. Jennifer Fielder. U.S. Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) also attended the meeting and addressed the group over lunch.

The summit, described by Ivory as “It’s simply time. The urgency is now,” had already been in the works before this month’s tense standoff between Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy and the Bureau of Land Management over cattle grazing.

Utah Speaker of the House Becky Lockhart said, “What’s happened in Nevada is really just a symptom of a much larger problem.” She emphasized that the states’ intent was never to take over national parks and wilderness created by an act of Congress. “We are not interested in having control of every acre. There are lands that are off the table that rightly have been designated by the federal government.”

Montana state Sen. Fielder said federal land management is hamstrung by bad policies, politicized science and severe federal budget cuts: “Those of us who live in the rural areas know how to take care of lands. We have to start managing these lands. It’s the right thing to do for our people, for our environment, for our economy and for our freedoms.”

Idaho Speaker of the House Scott Bedke said, “It’s time the states in the West come of age. We’re every bit as capable of managing the lands in our boundaries as the states east of Colorado.” As evidence, Bedke pointed to how Idaho’s state-managed forests and rangeland have suffered less damage and watershed degradation from wildfire than lands managed by federal agencies.

Utah state Rep. Ivory said the issue is of interest to urban as well as rural lawmakers, in part because they see oilfields and other resources that could be developed to create jobs and fund education. Moreover, the federal government’s debt threatens both its management of vast tracts of the West as well as its ability to come through with payments in lieu of taxes to the states. Utah gets 32% of its revenue from the federal government, much of it unrelated to public lands. Ivory warns, “If we don’t stand up and act, seeing that trajectory of what’s coming … those problems are going to get bigger.”

In 2013, Utah’s state legislature passed HB142, which was sponsored by Ivory and signed by Gov. Gary Herbert. HB142 demands the federal government make good on its promises in the 1894 Enabling Act for Utah to become a state, by relinquishing title to federal lands in Utah. A study is underway at the University of Utah to analyze how Utah could manage the land now in federal control.

None of the other Western states has gone as far as Utah, demanding Congress turn over federal lands. But five have task forces or other analyses underway to get a handle on the costs and benefits.

~Eowyn

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Veterans march on D.C.; barricade White House

Here’s news that isn’t being reported by the State Controlled Media.

vetsSuzanne Hamner reports for Freedom Outpost that yesterday, Oct. 13, 2013, military veterans descended upon Washington DC to visit the open air WWII  Memorial and the Iwo Jima memorial that were closed by Park Rangers last week, ostensibly because of the government shutdown.

Thousands of other Americans were also there to  support the veterans. They picked up the barricades the Obama regime had set up around the WWII Memorial to block citizens’ access, and piled them in stacks on the grassy areas of the park.

vets7vets4

In order to insure the veterans were able to attend the rally, bobtail truckers and 4 wheel vehicles participating in the Trucker Ride for the Constitution drove through Washington DC to the WWII memorial in support, blowing their horns while crowds of bystanders cheered.

Another part of the convoy, led by General Earnest Lee, drove around the  beltway with approximately 10 miles deep of supporters, then headed into DC  along I-395.  Lee’s convoy drove right into downtown DC going about 10 mph and literally shutdown the access into DC.  While Lee broke off to go to another  choke point, other truckers stayed behind slowing to halt traffic in order to  make sure veterans and supporters captured the heart of the DC in peaceful defiance of Obama’s attempt to close the open air war memorials. Several police cars reportedly had lined up in a barricade of the street but allowed the truckers to proceed through in a single file. Several officers even saluted the truckers in support of their Ride For the Constitution.

vets3Hundreds of Americans, led by Will Gonzalez, marched from the WWII memorial to the White House, assisted by law enforcement. According to Will’s live report on Guerilla Media Network, the truckers’ horns  could be heard as the truckers passed the White House. When the group reached the gates of the front door of the White House, their loud protests directed at Obama could be heard on the live broadcast. Will  Gonzalez yelled, “Get the F*** Out, Obama,” then led the crowd in cheering over and over, “U-S-A! U-S-A!”

Police officers, without riot gear, were stationed around the White House, but remained calm and neutral.

vets6Patriots also reclaimed the Lincoln Memorial as one woman urged all Americans, “to do something now.”

Palin, Lee, Cruz

Former Alaska governor Sarah Palin, Senators Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Ted Cruz (R-Texas) helped protestors to remove the barricades blocking the Lincoln Memorial.

Protestors then  carried the barricades from the Lincoln Memorial and the WWII Memorial to the White House and placed the barricades in front of the WH gates. This was when five police officers appeared in riot gear with face masks and stood in front of the barricades blocking the crowd. According to Will Gonzalez, the protesters were within 10 feet of the gates to the White House.

vets2vets5

Police officers then became more aggressive and used the barricades to push people away from the White House gates. Gonzales reported that officers wearing blue helmets were using the most force to repel the group. Ten police on horseback appeared, but did not use force or engage the protesters.vets1

See also The Blaze‘s story on the veteran’s march.

Here are two videos on the veterans’ march and protest:

[youtube=https://youtu.be/XHdNtEvDfu4]

[youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XcNzv97uqE8]

H/t FOTM’s TnRick and my friend John Molloy.

~Eowyn

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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

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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

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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:
[youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=dKhjw7ZT7pU]
H/t beloved fellow Tina.
~Eowyn

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