The Hill: Senate Intelligence Committee chief Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) has decided to postpone the panel’s confirmation vote on White House counterterrorism chief John Brennan’s nomination to become CIA chief.
The California Democrat ordered the delay after committee members requested the White House provide more information on its armed drone program and last September’s terrorist attack at the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya.
Fox News: The Senate Intelligence Committee will delay voting to confirm John Brennan as CIA director as the panel’s Democratic chairwoman demanded Wednesday that the White House turn over more details about lethal drone strikes on terror suspects and last September’s attack in Benghazi, Libya, that left the U.S. ambassador there and three other Americans dead.
Intelligence Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein said the vote likely will be pushed off until late February.
In a statement, the California Democrat said senators need to see more classified legal opinions that justify using the unmanned spy planes to kill Al Qaeda suspects overseas, including American citizens. The Obama administration last week released two of nine classified Justice Department memos outlining the legal reasoning to Feinstein’s committee just hours before Brennan’s confirmation hearing in front of the panel.
Feinstein said the memos are necessary “in order to fully evaluate the executive branch’s legal reasoning, and to broaden access to the opinions to appropriate members of the committee staff.”
The White House declined to comment Wednesday.
Feinstein and other lawmakers are considering creating a special court to review strikes against U.S. citizens. In 2011, drone strikes in Yemen killed three Americans: U.S. born cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, his 16-year-old-son and al-Qaida propagandist Samir Khan.
Last week, Brennan defended the strikes in his confirmation testimony, but also said he welcomed more discussion on the controversial program.
“American citizens by definition are due much greater due process than anybody else by dint of their citizenship,” Brennan told Feinstein’s committee.
The Senate and House Judiciary committees also want to see the documents, and other lawmakers are pressing the White House for more for information on the Sept. 11 attack on a U.S. diplomatic post in Benghazi the killed Ambassador Chris Stevens.
Let the president be duly warned. Rep. Walter B. Jones Jr., R-N.C., has introduced a resolution declaring that should the president use offensive military force without authorization of an act of Congress, “it is the sense of Congress” that such an act would be “an impeachable high crime and misdemeanor.”
Specifically, Article I, Section 8, of the Constitution reserves for Congress alone the power to declare war, a restriction that has been sorely tested in recent years, including Obama’s authorization of military force in Libya.
In an exclusive WND column, former U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo claims that Jones introduced his House Concurrent Resolution 107 in response to startling recent comments from Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta.
“This week it was Secretary of Defense Panetta’s declaration before the Senate Armed Services Committee that he and President Obama look not to the Congress for authorization to bomb Syria but to NATO and the United Nations,” Tancredo writes. “This led to Rep. Walter Jones, R-N.C., introducing an official resolution calling for impeachment should Obama take offensive action based on Panetta’s policy statement, because it would violate the Constitution.”
In response to questions from Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., over who determines the proper and legal use of the U.S. military, Panetta said, “Our goal would be to seek international permission and we would … come to the Congress and inform you and determine how best to approach this, whether or not we would want to get permission from the Congress – I think those are issues we would have to discuss as we decide what to do here.”“Well, I’m almost breathless about that,” Sessions responded, “because what I heard you say is, ‘We’re going to seek international approval, and then we’ll come and tell the Congress what we might do, and we might seek congressional approval.’ And I just want to say to you that’s a big [deal].”
Asked again what was the legal basis for U.S. military force, Panetta suggested a NATO coalition or U.N. resolution.
Sessions was dumbfounded by the answer.
“Well, I’m all for having international support, but I’m really baffled by the idea that somehow an international assembly provides a legal basis for the United States military to be deployed in combat,” Sessions said. “They can provide no legal authority. The only legal authority that’s required to deploy the United States military is of the Congress and the president and the law and the Constitution.”
The exchange itself can be seen below:
The full wording of H. Con. Res. 107, which is currently referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary, is as follows:
Expressing the sense of Congress that the use of offensive military force by a president without prior and clear authorization of an act of Congress constitutes an impeachable high crime and misdemeanor under Article II, Section 4 of the Constitution.
Whereas the cornerstone of the Republic is honoring Congress’s exclusive power to declare war under article I, section 8, clause 11 of the Constitution: Now, therefore, be it
Resolved by the House of Representatives (the Senate concurring), That it is the sense of Congress that, except in response to an actual or imminent attack against the territory of the United States, the use of offensive military force by a president without prior and clear authorization of an act of Congress violates Congress’s exclusive power to declare war under Article I, Section 8, clause 11 of the Constitution and therefore constitutes an impeachable high crime and misdemeanor under Article II, Section 4 of the Constitution.
by DREW ZAHN
Source & Complete Article Here.
WASHINGTON (AP) — A bipartisan quartet of senators, including two National Rifle Association members and two with “F” ratings from the potent firearms lobby, are quietly trying to find a compromise on expanding the requirement for gun-sale background checks.
A deal, given a good chance by several participants and lobbyists, could add formidable political momentum to one of the key elements of President Barack Obama’s gun control plan. Currently, background checks are required only for sales by the nation’s 55,000 federally licensed gun dealers, but not for gun show, person-to-person sales or other private transactions.
The senators’ talks have included discussions about ways to encourage states to make more mental health records available to the national system and the types of transactions that might be exempted from background checks, such as sales among relatives or to those who have permits to carry concealed weapons, said people who spoke anonymously because they were not authorized to describe the negotiations publicly.
The private discussions involve liberal Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York, who is the No. 3 Senate Democratic leader; West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin, an NRA member and one of the chamber’s more moderate Democrats; Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., another NRA member and one of the more conservative lawmakers in Congress; and moderate GOP Sen. Mark Kirk of Illinois.
“It will not limit your ability to borrow your Uncle Willie’s hunting rifle or share a gun with your friend at a shooting range,” Schumer said last week in one of the senators’ few public remarks about the package the group is seeking. He said he believed a bipartisan deal could be reached.
Polls show that requiring background checks for nearly all gun purchases has more public support than Obama’s proposals to ban assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines, and it is among those given the best chance of enactment. Even so, it is opposed by the NRA and many congressional Republicans, who consider it intrusive and unworkable for a system they say already has flaws.
“My problem with background checks is you’re never going to get criminals to go through background checks,” Wayne LaPierre, NRA executive vice president, told the Senate Judiciary Committee at its gun control hearing last week.
An agreement among the four senators could help overcome that opposition by opening the door to support from other conservative Republicans besides Coburn. It also could make it easier to win backing from Democratic senators from GOP-leaning states, many of whom face re-election next year and who have been leery of embracing Obama’s proposals.
Schumer and Kirk each have “F” scores from the NRA, while Coburn and Manchin have “A” ratings.
Prompted by the December massacre of 20 first-graders and six adults in Newtown, Conn., the Democratic-led Judiciary Committee plans to write gun control legislation in the next few weeks. The committee’s chairman, Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., has expressed strong support for universal background checks and it is expected to be a cornerstone of his bill, but a version of that language with bipartisan support could give the entire package a boost.
“If the language is meaningful, it would be obviously a huge step,” said Josh Horwitz, executive director of the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, which represents child welfare, religious and other groups favoring gun curbs. “To have someone like Coburn, who’s voted consistently with the gun lobby, to come out and endorse a meaningful background check would be very helpful.”
It is likely that any gun-control bill will need 60 votes to pass the 100-member Senate. Democrats have 55 votes, including two Democratic-leaning independents.
Leaders of the GOP-run House are planning to see what, if anything, the Senate passes before moving on gun legislation. Strategists believe that a measure that passes the Senate with clear bipartisan support could pressure the House to act.
Federal data on gun purchases is gathered by the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, which is run by the FBI.
According to Justice Department estimates, the federal and state governments ran 108 million background checks of firearms sales between 1994 when the requirement became law and 2009. Of those, 1.9 million — almost 2 percent — were denied, usually because would-be purchasers had criminal records.
People legally judged to be “mentally defective” are among those blocked by federal law from firearms purchases. States are supposed to make mental health records available to the federal background check system and receive more generous Justice Department grants if they do, but many provide little or no such data because of privacy concerns or antiquated record-keeping systems.
Coburn got involved in the background check talks about two weeks ago and says a compromise could make it harder for dangerous people to acquire firearms.
“The whole goal is to keep guns out of the hands of the mentally ill and criminals,” he said in a brief interview.
Manchin could be particularly influential with Democrats like Sens. Mark Begich, D-Alaska, and Mark Pryor, D-Ark., who face re-election next year in deeply Republican states. Besides being an NRA member, Manchin ran a campaign ad in 2010 in which he promised to defend West Virginian’s Second Amendment rights to bear arms and “take on” the Obama administration — all while shooting a hole in a copy of a Democratic bill that would have clamped limits on greenhouse gases — another sore spot for a coal-mining state like West Virginia.
In an interview, Manchin said that besides hoping for a background check compromise, he wanted inclusion of a commission that would study “how our culture has gotten so desensitized toward violence.”
Participating senators declined to provide details of the talks. But people following the discussions say the talks have touched on:
—The types of family relatives who would be allowed to give guns to each other without a background check.
—Possibly exempting sales in remote areas.
—Whether to help some veterans who sought treatment for traumatic stress disorder — now often barred from getting firearms — become eligible to do so.
An NRA spokesman, Andrew Arulanandam, declined to comment on the senators’ discussions.
The site explained that not only did the legislation he referred to applied to both security and non-security spending, but that a considerable part of the deficit reduction came from tax increases and not spending cuts.
The worst part? The senator made the same erroneous statement twice. Reid made the affirmations on ABC’s “This Week” on Feb. 3rd, were he also added that further deficit reduction should include more tax increases and cuts in military spending.
Later on, after host George Stephanopoulos probed the Senator on the issue, he repeated his claim saying,
According to FactCheck.org Reid inflated the $2.6 trillion figure for the show. The senator referred to the same figure as being $100 billion less, three days before on the Senate Floor.
“We have already made nearly $2.5 trillion in historic, bipartisan deficit reduction,” he said on the floor Jan. 31.
In this short but cogent post by VotingAmerican you can clearly see, what every whinny liberal and centered conservative knows. And that is that the vast majority of Americans do not trust any form of Government to be able to protect them. We also realize that making thes guns black market just ups the ante for decent law abiding citizens thereby giving the criminal element a peek at our hand. But will it happen? We say, if and or when the government tries to take the law abiding citizens guns, it will be a blood bath. Molon Labe. -PBN
Only 22% of Americans believe gun control will reduce crime
58% of Americans believe violent crime would be reduced if more people had guns
65% of American gun owners say they would defy gun confiscation
52% of gun owning Democrats would defy gun confiscation
70% of gun owning Republicans would defy gun confiscation
73% of gun owning Independents would defy gun confiscation
77% of gun owning Men would defy gun confiscation
52% of gun owning Women would defy gun confiscation
68% of gun owning whites would defy gun confiscation
54% of gun owning non-whites would defy gun confiscation
58% of gun owners with a college degree would defy gun confiscation
69% of gun owners without a college degree would defy gun confiscation
Among every segment of the gun owning population, a majority says they will defy gun confiscation.
Full article posted here.
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The very same people who think that 20 million illegals can’t be found and deported think that they are going to find 350 million guns and take them from the legal rightful owners. Can you say Blood Bath boys and girls? -PBN
While the Obama administration and some Democrat lawmakers plot ever more extreme assaults on the Second Amendment, state and local officials across the country are working just as hard to find ways to protect the gun rights of law-abiding citizens in their jurisdictions. One local Pennsylvania police chief is helping to lead the way, asking officials in his borough to pass an ordinance or resolution nullifying any unconstitutional attacks on the unalienable rights of residents.
Meet Gilberton Borough Police Chief Mark Kessler. After watching anti-Constitution politicians in Washington, D.C., try to exploit a tragedy to trample on Americans’ right to keep and bear arms, he decided enough was enough. Now, he is speaking out, and asking lawmakers in his small borough of around 1,000 people to pass a nullification measure. He is also promoting the idea nationwide, most recently appearing on the popular Alex Jones radio show heard all across the country.
In a phone interview with The New American, Chief Kessler detailed his proposed “Second Amendment Preservation Ordinance,” which would prevent any federal or state infringements on the right to keep and bear firearms, accessories, or ammunition within the jurisdiction. If approved, the resolution, citing the U.S. and Pennsylvania constitutions, would nullify any unconstitutional acts purporting to restrict gun rights.
Section 21 of the Pennsylvania Constitution reads: “The right of the citizens to bear arms in defense of themselves and the State shall not be questioned.” Virtually all other state constitutions contain similar protections. The U.S. Constitution, meanwhile, states explicitly that the right of the people to keep and bear arms “shall not be infringed.” For Chief Kessler, like for countless Americans, the constitutional language is clear, and any pretended acts of legislation contradicting those simple guarantees should be viewed as null and void.
“Hopefully this will spread like fire throughout the country, and the people will stand up and say, you know what, enough is enough, and under the Tenth Amendment, which grants the power of nullification of unconstitutional laws, we’re going to recognize this as unconstitutional, we’re not going to enforce it, we’re going to make sure this doesn’t happen,” the police chief said, sounding determined. Other members of the law-enforcement community nationwide have been pondering the subject in recent weeks, too.
The 10th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, of course, reserves to the states or the people all powers not specifically delegated to the federal government — powers that are few and defined. All across the country, state and local lawmakers have been nullifying unconstitutional federal statutes by citing the amendment, constitutional limitations on the power of Washington, and the Founding Fathers.
Historically, American states have a long tradition of invoking nullification against federal usurpations — Wisconsin, for example, famously used it to prevent enforcement of a federal statute purporting to require the return of escaped slaves to their masters. More recently, state and local lawmakers and citizens have invoked it to nullify everything from ObamaCare and federal gun control to marijuana prohibition and the recent National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) statute claiming to unlawfully authorize the indefinite military detention of Americans without charge or trial.
“We want to nullify any and all rules, regulations, and acts against the Second Amendment or our freedoms. We need to say this is unconstitutional, we need to stick together, and we need to get our message out there. We’re not going to stand for this anymore,” Kessler explained. “We want to do this peacefully, we don’t want any kind of violence whatsoever — I’m totally against that— I just want to see a peaceful resolution to this. And under the Tenth Amendment, hopefully we can accomplish this through the nullification process.”
The police chief, who rose to instant online stardom in recent days after his proposal was announced, also praised the Founding Fathers, saying they were highly intelligent people who learned from their experiences. “They drafted the Constitution of the United States because they experienced oppressed nations, where the people were looked upon as peasants and servants or slaves,” he noted, referring to European nations ruled by oftentimes autocratic regimes. “They didn’t want that for America.”
However, over the last century, the clear meaning of the Constitution has increasingly been ignored or distorted in an effort to continually expand the size and scope of government far beyond its rightful bounds. That trend is accelerating, and in recent years, Kessler and countless other Americans who support limiting government say the assault on liberty and constitutionally guaranteed freedoms is only getting worse.
“The current administration and a lot of lawmakers in Washington want you to believe that the Constitution is a living document, but what’s in there is the law of the land, not their interpretation of it,” Chief Kessler said. “’The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed,’ I don’t know what part of that these people in Washington don’t understand, it’s just mind boggling. We need to say enough is enough, we’ve had it — there is too much power in government.”
It seems that many people across the country agree. According to Kessler, his phone has been ringing off the hook with supporters — sheriffs and other law-enforcement personnel, elected officials at all levels of government, and citizens throughout America have expressed overwhelming support for the idea. “I am asking our elected officials here to nullify any and all federal or state laws which would infringe on the citizens’ right to keep and bear arms, and I’ve been getting massive, massive support from all over the country,” he said. “I haven’t heard of anyone who is against my proposal.”
There is still much to be done, however, if Americans hope to preserve their gun rights and their freedom more broadly. Citizens, Kessler continued, should be educating themselves, registering to vote, talking to their elected officials at the local, state, and federal levels, and networking with others in their communities. They should also be meeting with their local law-enforcement leaders, he explained.
“People need to get their chief of police to step up and come forward. They need to say ‘hey, you’re either with us or against us — you stand with freedom and the citizens of the United States or you stand with the oppressors and tyranny in government,’” Kessler continued. As for him, his stance is clear: “I stand for freedom, I stand for the Constitution, and I will not support any unconstitutional laws — specifically anything against the Second Amendment, at all, never, and I will never confiscate anybody’s firearms, ever.”
Just the idea that otherwise law-abiding gun owners could suddenly become criminals merely by the adoption of unconstitutional statutes is “absurd,” Kessler said — especially when some three fourths of murders committed with firearms in the United States are gang related. The highest murder rates, meanwhile, are in areas with the strictest gun control — Chicago and Washington, D.C., for example. But in the end, regardless of the bogus arguments put forth by anti-gun rights extremists, Americans must stick to their guns.
“The reason it is so important to preserve our gun rights is this: Our rights have nothing to do with sporting or hunting purposes; the reason the Second Amendment was put in the Constitution was because of tyranny in government,” Kessler said. “It gives the people, as a last resort — and I’ll say that again, as a last resort — to stand up against tyranny in government. Now, that’s the last thing I want to see, and that’s the last thing everyone I’ve spoken to all across this country wants — from California to Alaska and from Texas all the way up to New York. We don’t want to see any kind of last resorts, any kind of violence.”
Still, Kessler believes it is important for people like him — law enforcement, political leaders, and regular Americans — to always stand up for liberty, especially in this day and age. “I’m just doing what I believe is right. I’ve always been a Second Amendment guy, I’ve always been pro-gun, pro-Constitution, and I’m standing up for what I believe in,” he said. “It’s not about me, it’s about our freedoms, and there has never been another time in the history of our country that our freedoms have been so under attack.”
Concluding the interview, the principled police chief offered the following advice: “Spread the word and stand together.” All over the Internet, gun rights activists are already doing that. Whether Congress is listening, however, remains to be seen.
Full article here.
A Democratic congressman, a Nobel-winning economist and several prominent writers are now floating the idea that the Treasury Department should use obscure powers to mint a $1 trillion coin if Congress does not permit an increase in the debt ceiling. The debt ceiling is the maximum Congress lets the government borrow. Back in ancient times (World War I), Congress started setting a big old debt limit so that it wouldn’t have to constantly approve new borrowing, its job under the Constitution.
“This is a different government. The government we made that deal with is now in jail.”
Later this month, the new government in Egypt is scheduled to begin taking delivery of 10 F-16 fighter jets and 200 Abrams tanks – courtesy of U.S. taxpayers.
The $213 million deal is part of a foreign aid package signed when American ally Hosni Mubarak was president, but a growing chorus of critics say the Obama administration should pull the plug. They cite Egypt’s new Muslim Brotherhood government’s mixed signals to the U.S. and Israel, as well as America’s fiscal problems, as reasons for rescinding the deal.
“A Shariah dictatorship on Israel’s border – armed with American weapons – is a deadly threat to Israel and America,” reads a petition being circulated by The American Center for Law and Justice. “All U.S. funding to Egypt must be cut off until we can certify that aid to Egypt will help the national security interests of the United States and Israel.”
“This is a different government. The government we made that deal with is now in jail.”
- Jordan Sekulow, American Center for Law and Justice
The petition has garnered more than 150,000 signatures, and ACLJ Executive Director Jordan Sekulow believes it could bolster mounting opposition in Washington. Although the deal has already been approved by Congress and could only be rescinded by President Obama, Sekulow said lawmakers have leverage because Obama needs their backing for some $1.5 billion in aid earmarked for Egypt later this year.
“It’s all up to the president,” Sekulow said. “It will take people speaking out, and we have a limited time to act.”
Egypt would add the state-of-the-art F-16s, built by Lockheed-Martin, to its fleet of 200 fighter jets. The M1A1 Abrams battle tanks would allow Egypt to increase its number of tanks by 20 percent. The first delivery is to take place Jan. 22. Critics say the arms could end up being used against neighboring Israel or even against the Egyptian people, should Morsi ever face a Syria-style revolt.
Reneging on the deal would be justified, say critics, because new Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood has long supported terrorist groups in the Middle East. Since being elected, Morsi has declared himself above the law and rammed through a constitution based on Sharia law. Human rights advocates say the regime’s treatment of women and non-Muslims is cause for concern.
President Obama has even said that Egypt’s alliance with the U.S., which was solid during Mubarak’s 30-year reign, may be in a state of transition.
“I don’t think that we would consider them an ally, but we don’t consider them an enemy,” the president told Telemundo in September.
Tearing up the agreement would not blemish America’s honor, given the new regime in Cairo, said Sekulow.
“Would we have given these to the Mubarak government when the revolution was occurring in Tahrir Square?” he said. “When things aren’t stable, you don’t just say, ‘Well we made this agreement two years ago so we have to go through with it.’
“This is a different government. The government we made that deal with is now in jail.”
A spokesperson at the U.S. Department of State declined to say whether the deal is being reviewed, but said the Obama administration seeks to “maintain a strategic partnership with Egypt that enhances the security and peace of the region.”
“We are closely following the political situation in Egypt,” the spokesperson said. “We support a stable and democratic Egypt, and we look to all Egyptians to resolve their differences peacefully.”
Florida Rep. Vern Buchanan, who recently called for ending foreign aid to Egypt altogether, told FoxNews.com last month the Muslim Brotherhood-backed Morsi government has been sending increasingly troubling signals to Washington, and giving it state-of-the-art fighter jets is a dangerous idea.
“American tax dollars must not be used to aid and abet any dictatorial regime that stands with terrorists,” Buchanan said.
WASHINGTON (AP) — For House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, the swearing-in of a record number of Democratic women was a historic moment worth a photograph. And, she decided, history needed a little digital help.
After only 57 of the 61 congresswomen showed up in time for the photo scheduled Thursday on the Capitol’s steps, Pelosi’s aides digitally inserted images of the four absent members into the photograph. She then had the altered image posted on her Flickr photo-sharing site.
Journalists and historians frown on such altered views of history. On Friday, Pelosi defended the photo.
“It was an accurate historical record of who the Democratic women of Congress are,” Pelosi said at a news conference. “It also is an accurate record that it was freezing cold and our members had been waiting a long time for everyone to arrive and … had to get back into the building to greet constituents, family members, to get ready to go to the floor. It wasn’t like they had the rest of the day to stand there.”
Pelosi said the photo reflected the nation’s diversity because it included women from every community and religious faith.
“So we were pretty excited about it,” she said. “We got a lot of response back from the country, and one I loved was when they said, ‘Can the women in Congress hear the people cheering across the country?’”