On the Liberty Amendments

Mark Levin, radio host and author, had the perfect plan to regain individual liberties from the elite political class in Washington.  As an example, let’s take term limits.  I remember in the 90’s after a series of House scandals (money laundering with the post office and free overdrafts with the bank), people were screaming for term limits.  Many states like Ohio voted for term limits on their state Representatives and Senators.  Some tried to limit the terms of their federally elected officials, but that was deemed unconstitutional.  Full disclosure, I voted with the 30% who opposed term limits.  I felt that people should just run better campaigns against an incumbent who has become out-of-touch, and part of me still believes I was right.

Returning to federal term limits, Congress would never pass an amendment limiting their power.  They would never repeal the 17th Amendment that allowed Senators to be elected by popular vote.  I can’t remember when I first heard it, but President Obama was going through the variety of patriots who serve America – “teachers, nurses, factory workers, and political servants.”  Ouch!  The Constitution does everything it can to prevent a political class, and yet that’s exactly what we have now.  The counties around Washington DC are the richest in the country as former Congressmen become lobbyists to help write thousand-page bills that only they understand.  As I tell my liberal friends, Congress is incapable of delivering on their most well-intentioned promises.

And now, the punchline of “The Liberty Amendments.”  We don’t need Congress to pass an amendment!  Here is the Wikipedia summary, but if 34 states agree to a State Convention to Propose Amendments, then it happens!  Through our state representatives we can propose term limits for Congress and the repeal of the 17th Amendment.  Levin also proposes a method to overturn a Supreme Court interpretation (why should a single guy or gal tip a 5-4 vote that the rest of us have to live by?) and a way to limit federal spending.

On September 28th in Ohio, I will be at the We The People Convention in Columbus.  The Article V Convention will be a major point of conversation as well as the Kasich Medicaid Expansion proposal, Common Core, and the Agenda 21 push in northeast Ohio by the Sustainability Communities Consortium, also known as VibrantNEO.  Follow me on Twitter @OdieMoats which I have streaming on the right of this page and I will try to live-tweet the event.  State Treasurer and 2012 Senate candidate Josh Mandel is for the Liberty Amendments in general and I hope he can help Ohio citizens to lobby their State Reps and Senators to propose and affirm Ohio’s role in an Article V Convention.  I look forward to the meeting and to help cut the legs off of the Washington elite.

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GOP: The Surrender Party

Our elected Washington DC Republicans are just as useless on vacation as they are when working.  The Democrats have started the month of August completely owning the two issues on which conservatives should be arguing: Amnesty and Obamacare.

First we have stories that 40 GOP members are going to vote for a path to citizenship regardless of border security.  (http://www.breitbart.com/breitbart-tv/2013/08/08/Dem-Rep-Gutierrez-I-ABSOLUTELY-Have-40-to-50-Republicans-Willing-To-Vote-Yes-On-Immigration).  Republicans should have been able to keep the argument on the border.  Hell, even John McCain ran on border security just 12 months ago.  And we don’t have good enough technology to secure the border?  Bricks and stone worked for the Chinese, why can’t we start there?  But instead, the straw man argument of deportations and the borderline bigoted argument that only Mexicans will do certain jobs seem to have won the day.

Then we can’t seem to do anything about Obamacare, which Harry Reid admits is a path to single-payer.  (http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Government/2013/08/10/Reid-obamacare-first-step-towards-single-payer).  Congress breaks the law by subsidizing themselves, exempts many federal employees and many unions and Democrat supporters.  Where’s the GOP?  They are opposing Mike Lee!  They say that they will eliminate Obamacare… when they get 60 Senate votes!  I won’t hold my breath.

Elections have consequences, and those conservatives who stayed home are just as much to blame as the spineless Republicans in Congress.  If I were John Boehner, I’d be EXCITED to have one-half of one-third of the government!  The Democrats wouldn’t whine about it, they’d be charging up their base.  The base is ready to be charged, but first they need to insist on new leadership.  To that end, check out my new website, http://www.gopprimarycentral.com and lets support conservative nominees so we don’t end up with squishy leadership.

Senator Rob Portman and the Mike Lee Problem

What do you call a person who pays for something he is dead set against?  Senator!

And so it is with the GOP establishment.  The House has voted to repeal Obamacare almost 40 times, which we all understand to be a fool’s errand.  Where the real damage can and SHOULD be done is with the budget process.  The Congress, if it still has power, controls the money in Washington DC.  The weak-kneed Republican leadership has never drawn a battle line from which they wouldn’t retreat.  Continuing resolutions have given the federal government uncontrolled access to whatever money they ask for, and they’ve spent it on dance lessons, conventions, and daily air travel.  Forgive us GOP if we don’t say thank you.

Sen. Mike Lee has a letter that says he will continue to fund all the stupid portions of the federal government, but he won’t fund Obamacare.  Sounds overly-generous to me, but it is the last line in the sand we can draw when it comes to Obamacare.  Next year, everybody will need to look at exchanges, private insurance at whatever cost they offer, or pay a fine by April 2015.  And what comes after 2015?  The campaigns and elections of 2016, which includes Senator Rob Portman.

Our Republican Governor John Kasich has tried to get Ohio to partake in Obamacare’s Medicaid buy-in program and this has infuriated Ohio’s Tea Parties.  It is likely that they will challenge him in a primary or (worse) run a conservative third-party candidate.  There simply aren’t enough conservatives in Ohio that can survive two candidates on the right and we’ll be setting the carpet for Democrat Ed Fitzgerald.  Kasich’s poll numbers are up right now, but I forsee some problems in the months to come.

But Kasich’s problems won’t come close to Portman’s if he continues to support the funding of Obamacare.  The farm bill, internet sales tax, and his dance around the amnesty issue have made Portman a player for the establishment when we need people on the opposition.  Mike Lee, Ted Cruz, and Rand Paul are showing people how it’s done.  If Rob Portman isn’t being helpful, then he’s likely to be shown the door in 2016.

Weak or Vulnerable GOP Congressmen

It’s nice to receive validation, especially from folks at the Madison Project who I believe cross over into RealClearPolitics and RedState.  The Madison Project has scored the last Congress on conservative votes, and then compared that to the conservativeness of their respective district.  In looking at their “Hall of Shame,” we can see which Representatives should be voting more conservatively than they currently are.  Many of the greatest offenders come from weaker Republicans in strong GOP districts in the South, although there are many strong GOP districts across the country.  (“Hall of Fame” kudos to Jim Jordan, and also to Steve Chabot who didn’t make the cut but is fighting the good fight.)

Most of Ohio’s Republican districts would be considered leaning or swing, and they include the four who I’ve previously tagged as weak or vulnerable.  Both Steve Stivers (OH-15) and Pat Tiberi (OH-12) were redistricted away from central Columbus into areas which should be more Republican.  These two are ripe for GOP primaries.  (The Madison Project has Tiberi in a D+1 district, but I think that is the old district and not the new one.)  These two do NOT show up in Cook’s current Race Ratings and any Republican should be a winner, so why not challenge these two and get somebody in Congress more conservative?

The other two might be a little more tricky.  David Joyce (OH-14) (replacing Steve LaTourette, and who seems to have a similar temperament although we’ll wait for more data) and Jim Renacci (OH-16) are in districts that are slightly more Democrat-leaning than the 2002 map.  LaTourette had earned respect from his district and Republican challenges weren’t done and Democrat challenges fell flat.  If Joyce were to lose a primary to a more conservative candidate, the national Democrats will throw everything at this district because it is certainly winnable for them.  Ashtabula County has always leaned Democrat, and this district now includes more parts of Summit County which is certainly more Democrat.

Renacci’s district now includes the southwestern parts of Cuyahoga as well as parts of Medina County which are swing areas.  His district may be a bit more conservative than Joyce’s, but Democrats are pretty active and will likely have a high-profile candidate run on their side.  A primary generally hurts the incumbent, and it would be a struggle for either Renacci or the challenger to follow up with a November win.  It doesn’t mean somebody won’t try, and maybe Cook sees something that I don’t.  Like Stivers and Tiberi, Renacci is NOT listed as a vulnerable seat.

Moving to the Cook Report, there are two other seats that he has as “likely Republican.”  Bob Gibbs has a completely new district and people in the rural north are generally more Democrat than the rural central.  Bill Johnson’s district travels the southeast edge of the state bordering Pennsylvania and West Virginia.  The Appalachian areas are becoming more Republican and I think Gibbs is the more vulnerable of the two.

The big race in 2014 in Ohio will be for Governor.  Active Tea Party members are upset at the Medicaid expansion proposed by Kasich, and may consider a challenge in a primary.  I would be very concerned if they choose to challenge in the general, however, as a third party.  Kasich barely won in the big year of 2010, and if he loses just 5% to a third party then that might get a Democrat back in the statehouse.

Next year’s summer and fall should be all about getting out the conservative vote, but the winter and spring better be about getting a conservative candidate.  I hope conservatives are considering challenges at least to Stivers and Tiberi (and throw in Boehner), and we can push the next House even further to the right.  Gowdy, Amash, Chaffez, Brindenside, Gohmert, and Jim Jordan need all the help they can get.

Congress Letter on Immigration

And now for my letter to Gibbs.  Just venting…

The Tea Party was created because of Democrats who follow through on what they say and by Republicans who don’t.  It was just a few days ago that Chuck Schumer and Harry Reid said that building a fence wasn’t truly possible, but now they have supported a bill by saying it would do just that.  There are laws today that require the building of a fence, yet nobody is enforcing it and, as we have plainly seen over the last few years, Congress is incapable of providing any oversight.  After watching John Boehner draw lines in the sand in the 112th Congress only to scrap them and draw new lines (budget, CR, debt ceiling, and repeat), I cannot trust a bill that comes out of Conference with members that he will appoint.

I would rather you take out the special crony citizenship path of the bill and keep the border security portion.  If you can’t, however, here’s an idea.

Add a Voter ID law.  Say that all voters in a federal election must register and sign up for an ID that is only legal for one person at one location.  It would encourage illegal immigrants to “come out of the shadows” and begin the citizenship process.  For those disinterested in citizenship, they would be prevented from voting.

Rubio, Flake, and even McCain had campaigned on border security, and now have passed a citizenship path where the fence is up to the discretion of the Executive.  We’ve had these scabs picked off before by previous GOP Congressmen and have become very cynical to what anybody says.

Half-measures and small victories are no longer possible.  Progressives of both parties have slowly but constantly pushed and pushed for central control and loss of Legislative power.  Take that power back and stop the money flow if you have to.  Central power will always work against the individual, and we’re counting on you to start treating citizens and workers with respect.

Ohio Senator Letters on Immigration

I’ve been quite busy, but I felt a need to write my Senators about the Immigration bill.  I have the conservative Rob Portman with a tendency to use bi-partisan-speak, and the liberal Sherrod Brown with a tendency to use Marx-speak.  Here are the letters I quickly wrote over lunch.

Portman:

Please do not support the current immigration bill to be due for a vote this week.  I do not spend my time writing Congress, but I need to take time out of this day to do so.

The Democrat line is that conservatives and Republicans are inconsiderate of the real lives of illegal immigrants.  There seems to be a beltway line that Republicans need to “do something” to gain support of Latinos.  Both of these forces are pushing the wobbly GOP to support a bad bill.

As a person who considers himself more Tea Party than Republican, I promise you that there is a lot more compassion on our side for illegal immigrants than on the other.  The irlanguage seems to suggest that we need illegals to be codified as a second class citizen.  These immigrants will get perks for their labor (no Obamacare, preferred hiring), but there is nobody advocating to them for anything resembling liberty.

If you want to see how compassionate we can be with illegal immigrants, then just pass one bill.  BUILD A FENCE, SECURE THE BORDER.

It would be funny if it weren’t so sad that I need to remind you “The first priority of our immigration policy must be to enforce our immigration laws at the border and in the interior. ”  Of course Rubio, Flake, and even McCain made similar statements while campaigning only to flip after getting elected.  I don’t expect that from you.

You should be out in the open opposing this Immigration bill.  So should McConnell for that matter – I’m not sure what you guys are thinking.  Please listen to the voters and not K Street political consultants.

Brown:

Please vote against the Immigration bill that is due for a vote this week.  You did a good thing by opposing the previous bill a number of years ago because it would hurt the American worker.  I promise you that this will do the same.  It seems that the unions who are for this bill are doing so for political reasons, and sacrificing the short-term hurt for the long-term gain.

These individuals who will get provisional status will also get perks that appeal to business owners.  There will be an incentive to hire people that come with legal waivers and exceptions over native-born Americans who have no such luxury.   Additionally, I’m confused as to the criminal record exceptions where certain crimes are waived for provisional citizens.  This is another unfair segregation of native-born Americans.

If equality of opportunity means anything in this country, it is that people are not given special treatment for reasons that have nothing to do with the individual.  I expect to be treated in a way because of who I am and what I’ve done, and NOT because I fall into this class or that category.  Being a part of the “crony” class is all well and good as long as everything is going our way, but not when we are suddenly on the outside at the back of the line. 

The only solution is to reject special treatment for groups of people, in this case the non-citizen worker.  Let them go through the normal immigration process, and work to fix the process while you’re at it.

So, back to me now, I took a harsher tone with Portman because we don’t know for sure where he will land.  Ohio had Voinovich and DeWine for a number of years, two Republicans with 70% conservative ratings landing them in the middle-left of the caucus.  Portman has a reputation of being more conservative that those two, and apparently we need to keep reminding him of that.

Brown is a liberal, but he also voted against the Kennedy immigration bill because it hurt the worker.  Every once in a while, Brown, Sanders, and Kucinich might take the right position but for the wrong reason.  Nonetheless, the bill is unfair to Americans… or native-born citizens.

Next stop, the House.  We can’t trust Boehner to keep a bad bill from passing so it’s best to pass no bill whatsoever.

The Benghazi Story on September 16 – Transcript Review

This week’s Oversight Committee hearing with the Benghazi whistleblowers put to shame the kid-gloves treatment of Hillary Clinton in the Foreign Affairs Committee.  Jason Chavez, Trey Gowdy, Jim Jordan and others were organized and asked questions that seemed part of an actual plan.  The Oversight Committee did a great job at finding out what really happened that night on September 11, 2012, but I also think we need to investigate what didn’t really happen – a spontaneous riot due to a YouTube video.  It should be noted that the original Benghazi talking points memo initially said that al-Qaida had participants in the attacks, that there were warnings of the attacks, and that the attacks were a response to the Cairo protests.  No mention of the YouTube video was made in the talking points memo.

Since the second Presidential debate, the narrative has been “Of course we knew it was a terrorist attack as we’ve said from the beginning.”  But for those of us paying attention, we know they may have said 2 sentences describing it as a terrorist attack but they said 200 blaming it on the video!  I wish somebody would have looked up all of Candy Crowley’s comments on the Libya attack to see how often she referred to a spontaneous response versus a terrorist act.  Instead, I’ll look at the Susan Rice transcripts.

ABC This Week – “But our current best assessment, based on the information that we have at present, is that, in fact, what this began as, it was a spontaneous — not a premeditated — response to what had transpired in Cairo. In Cairo, as you know, a few hours earlier, there was a violent protest that was undertaken in reaction to this very offensive video that was disseminated… What happened this week in Cairo, in Benghazi, in many other parts of the region was a result — a direct result of a heinous and offensive video that was widely disseminated, that the U.S. government had nothing to do with, which we have made clear is reprehensible and disgusting. We have also been very clear in saying that there is no excuse for violence, there is — that we have condemned it in the strongest possible terms… [The President] went out and repeatedly made a number of very important and powerful statements condemning the violence and conveying the message that, however hateful such a video may be, there is absolutely no justification for violence against the United States or other Western partners.”

Rice made three references to the YouTube video and none to al-Sharia or any act of terror.  Moreover, she specifically rejected the idea that it was premeditated.  The show went on with Brian Ross talking about the video director as a Coptic Christian, and Christiane Amanpour said the film was “clearly designed to incite.”  George Will and Liz Cheney later questioned the narrative about the video and Cheney said that Mitt Romney had “gotten it right” with his immediate statement.

Jonathon Karl, who finally broke this story in the mainstream news, made the comment: “Well, there you go.  But — but in terms of the longer-term implications here, this is really a potential, you know, danger for the president.  There will be questions asked.  No doubt there will be hearings up on Capitol Hill about what happened, why there was not more security in Benghazi.  There will be questions about the overall situation in the Middle East.  Was this really about one YouTube video or trailer for a movie that had been out, you know, for months actually and was finally translated into Arabic and put on an extremist television show in Egypt?  Or is there something more fundamental going on?”

CBS Face the Nation – “Based on the best information we have to date, what our assessment is as of the present is in fact what began spontaneously in Benghazi as a reaction to what had transpired some hours earlier in Cairo where, of course, as you know, there was a violent protest outside of our embassy sparked by this hateful video. But soon after that spontaneous protest began outside of our consulate in Benghazi, we believe that it looks like extremist elements, individuals, joined in that effort with heavy weapons of the sort that are, unfortunately, readily now available in Libya post-revolution. And that it spun from there into something much, much more violent… We do not have information at present that leads us to conclude that this was premeditated or preplanned… I think it’s clear that there were extremist elements that joined in and escalated the violence. Whether they were al Qaeda affiliates, whether they were Libyan-based extremists or al Qaeda itself I think is one of the things we’ll have to determine.”

Before Susan Rice came on, Bob Schieffer interviewed the Libyan President Mohaned Yousef-Magariaf, and he said “The way these perpetrators acted and moved, I think we– and they’re choosing the specific date for this so-called demonstration, I think we have no– this leaves us with no doubt that this has preplanned, determined– predetermined.”  After Rice, John McCain laughed at the notion that it was a spontaneous response and said that the United States was the weak horse.  Later both Richard Haass of the Council of Foreign Relations and Tom Friedman questioned the veracity of the video excuse.

NBC Meet the Press – “But let’s remember what has transpired over the last several days. This is a response to a hateful and offensive video that was widely disseminated throughout the Arab and Muslim world.  Obviously, our view is that there is absolutely no excuse for violence and that what has happened is condemnable, but this is a spontaneous reaction to a video, and it’s not dissimilar but, perhaps, on a slightly larger scale than what we have seen in the past with The Satanic Verses with the cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad… But putting together the best information that we have available to us today our current assessment is that what happened in Benghazi was in fact initially a spontaneous reaction to what had just transpired hours before in Cairo, almost a copycat of the demonstrations against our facility in Cairo, which were prompted, of course, by the video…. First of all we had no actionable intelligence to suggest that any attack on our facility in Benghazi was imminent.  In Cairo, we did have indications that there was the risk that the video might spark some protests and our embassy, in fact, acted accordingly, and had called upon the Egyptian authorities to reinforce our facility… Well, first of all, David, let’s put this in perspective.  As I
said, this is a response to a very offensive video.

Five mentions of the video and a specific rejection to the claim that there was a terrorist element and says that they had no warning of the attacks.  Reps Peter King and Keith Ellison were on the roundtable and disagreed on how “clear” Obama’s Middle East policy had been and King was dubious of the YouTube claim.  David Gregory continued to state that the attacks were “caused by the video” as if it were fact.

Fox News Sunday – “But what sparked the recent violence was the airing on the Internet of a very hateful very offensive video that has offended many people around the world. Now, our strong view is that there is no excuse for violence. It is absolutely reprehensible and never justified. But, in fact, there have been those in various parts of the world who have reacted with violence. Their governments have increasingly and effectively responded and protected our facilities and condemned the violence and this outrageous response to what is an offensive video… But
we are vigilant and we are of the view that is not an expression of hostility in the broadest sense towards the United States or U.S. policy. It’s essentially a reaction to this video and it’s a hateful video that had nothing to do with the United States and which we find disgusting and reprehensible… The information, the best information and the best assessment we have today is that in fact this was not a preplanned, premeditated attack. That what happened initially was that it was a spontaneous reaction to what had just transpired in Cairo as a consequence of the video.”

Rep. Mike Rogers, House Intelligence Committee Chairman, felt that the attack was preplanned, while Chris Wallace kept reiterating that the official story had pinned the attack on the video.  During the roundtable, both Jeff Zeleny of the NY Times and Bill Kristol raised questions about the video story.  Brit Hume said that the video seemed to be a poor cover story, but he felt the White House needed to double down on the story just to prove that Mitt Romney was wrong with his initial statement.

So in summary, Susan Rice mentioned the video over a dozen times during these talk shows and specifically denied that it was preplanned or a coordinated attack.  Now, for everybody who was paying attention and didn’t take the administration’s word as gospel, we knew that it was a lie at the time.  History is a good disinfectant, and I know that future generations will wonder how the mainstream news and the general public could be so duped by such a silly story.