Friday, June 24, 2016

Sit In, Immigration, Voting Rights, Osama's Bodyguard, IRS abuse

Members of Congress has decided to stage a sit in in order to get gun control laws passed. They say they are sitting in on the House floor in tribute to the victims of the Orlando nightclub shooting and all those who have lost their lives or loved ones to senseless gun violence. Check me if I am wrong, but weren't most of the shootings lately done by ISIS extremists? Seems to me that the problem is who's holding the weapon, not the weapon itself.


The Supreme Court has blocked President Obama’s executive actions to shield illegal immigrants from deportation. According to Congressman John Shimkus (R-IL, 15th), “This is a major victory for the separation of powers and the rule of law. The Supreme Court’s ruling reaffirms that Congress – not the president – has the sole power to write laws and that individuals who came to our country illegally remain subject to deportation.”

Democrats are blaming it on not being able to place a new judge on the Supreme Court bench since Scalia's death.


Congressman Marc Veasey, co-chairman of the Congressional Voting Rights Caucus, introduced H.R. 5557, The Poll Tax Prohibition Act, to ensure the underlying costs of restrictive photo voter ID laws don’t prevent everyday Americans from exercising their right to vote. That is all well and good, as long as it doesn't open the door for illegal immigrants to vote.


Osama bin Laden’s bodyguard Abdel Malik Ahmed Abdel Wahab al-Rahabi has been released from Guantanamo Bay.


On June 14, 2016, the U.S. House of Representative passed H.R. 5053, the Preventing IRS Abuse and Protecting Free Speech Act. This legislation would eliminate the Schedule B form requirements for non-profit, tax-exempt organizations that require the disclosure of personal donor information.

The next day, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee passed a House Resolution 737 to censure Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Commissioner John Koskinen unlawfully targeting conservative tax-exempt organizations.


Saturday, June 18, 2016

Legal Aid, Cuba, Net Neutrality, Weapons, GOP Agenda

On June 16, 2016, Rep. Matt Salmon (R-AZ, 5th) announced the tenth bill in his 2016 Shrink our Spending Initiative to highlight and cut wasteful taxpayer-funded programs. Upon introduction of his latest bill to eliminate the duplicative and wasteful Legal Services Corporation, he said, “Legal Aid services are a very common mechanism to assist our society’s poor who need legal representation. But these programs are funded at the state and local level, and connected directly to the people they serve. The Legal Services Corporation was chartered to be a federal variant, but in recent years it has been abused as a way to line the pockets of wealthy, well-connected lawyers who use its funds to lobby for new government programs, and then sue to expand them. And let’s not even mention the bogus charges for booze and travel. Let’s give the taxpayer a break and put an end to this waste.”


The Senate Appropriations Committee approved an amendment to the Senate Financial Services Appropriations bill that would allow travel to Cuba.


The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals just issued its long-awaited decision striking down the FCC’s network neutrality rule. This is the second time in four years that this court struck down the FCC’s attempt to adopt a network neutrality rule. It is now legal for AT&T or Verizon to block Slate, your blog, or any other site. You can read more about this by clicking HERE


Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA, 28th), the Ranking Member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, sent a letter to President Obama urging the Administration take a small step to help prevent future attacks like the Orlando massacre. Schiff encourages the Administration to consider providing F.B.I. agents with the discretion to place a tag on someone who had been under a terror investigation that would generate a hit when they go to purchase a weapon. Schiff also reiterated his support for “No Fly No Buy” legislation to prevent known or suspected terrorists from purchasing firearms or explosives.


House Republicans Unveil Bold Agenda to Restore Balance of Powers, Reassert Congress' Unique Constitutional Role. Check out "A Better Way" by clicking HERE

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Veterans, Carbon Tax, Organ Harvesting, Printing, Shooting

On June 7, 2016, Rep. Phil Roe (R-TN, 1st) introduced the Ethical Patient Care for Veterans Act, legislation to require clinicians practicing at the VA to report directly to state licensing boards whenever they witness unacceptable behavior from other VA clinicians. Currently, it takes at least 100 days for the VA to decide whether or not a complaint of substandard health care practices reported to the VA should be referred to the state licensing board.


The Ozone Standards Implementation Act of 2016, passed the House of Representatives on June 8, 2016. This legislation would extend the implementation deadlines for the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) costly ozone standards. Studies by the EPA have shown ozone levels have dramatically declined since 1980.


H.Res. 343, Expressing concern regarding persistent and credible reports of systematic, state-sanctioned organ harvesting from non-consenting prisoners of conscience in the People's Republic of China, including from large numbers of Falun Gong practitioners and members of other religious and ethnic minority groups – passed by voice vote, in the U.S. House of Representatives.


Congressman Steve Russell’s (OK-5) amendment, also known as Federal Register Printing Savings Act, was adopted in the House by a voice vote, and was included in the Legislative Branch Appropriations Act which was passed Friday morning. Russell’s amendment curtails the printing and distribution of unnecessary copies of the Federal Register that is distributed to each Congressional and House Committee office daily. Since the Federal Register is available online, any office that needs the information can find it digitally; therefore, almost all of the printed copies are discarded. Of course, if a member of Congress, or other federal official, wishes to receive the printed copies of the Federal Register they may still register to do so. The annual savings of hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars could then be put to better use.


About the Orlando Shooting: (for those who want to make the issue about guns) I think a gun that can shoot one bullet to kill one human being is just as dangerous in the wrong hands as one that can shoot 700 rounds. I also believe that if anyone takes away my right to own either is putting me into danger when face to face with a criminal who obtained his weapon illegally. Whether he got the weapon legal or not, not having the option of owning a gun with the same firepower diminishes my ability to defend myself.

And, if you think you are going to make such weapons disappear completely so they can't be obtained illegally, you are dreaming.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Impeachment, Iran, American Contractors Abroad, Ramadan, Property Rights

Oklahoma lawmakers have officially called for impeaching President Obama. I guess this was their answer to Obama's LGBT Pride Month (June) celebration. Go Oklahoma!


Following a letter from Congressman Robert Pittenger urging stiffer penalties against Chinese state-affiliated companies which violate Iran sanctions laws, the Commerce Department has issued a subpoena to Huawei Technologies. According to The New York Times, Commerce is seeking documents related to Huawei’s alleged role in selling embargoed technology to the Iranian government. Huawei is closely affiliated with the Chinese government.

In April, Congressman Pittenger wrote the Commerce Department, co-signed by 22 Members of Congress, expressing concern over questionable enforcement of embargoes intended to prevent Iran from acquiring technology which could be used to oppress human rights.


Congressman David Price (D-N.C.) and Congressman Darell Issa (R-Calif.) introduced a bill to provide accountability for American contractors and government employees working abroad. The Civilian Extraterritorial Jurisdiction Act (CEJA) builds on efforts in previous Congresses to close a gap in current law to ensure that government employees and contractors working overseas are not immune from prosecution for criminal acts.

The number of private contractors employed by the U.S. government overseas has increased dramatically in recent years, even surpassing the number of U.S. military and civilian personnel in some locations, particularly as the U.S. reduces its military footprint in Iraq and Afghanistan. While contractors are increasingly performing functions once reserved for government personnel, they are held to a different legal standard than uniformed personnel because the laws governing their activities remain unclear and outdated.

The Civilian Extraterritorial Jurisdiction Act will allow the U.S. Justice Department to prosecute government contractors and employees for certain crimes committed overseas. Tragedies like the 2007 killing of unarmed civilians in Baghdad by private security contractors with Blackwater underscore the need for clear jurisdiction and trained investigative and prosecutorial task forces able to hold wrongdoers accountable.

The bill will complement the Military Extraterritorial Jurisdiction Act (MEJA), which provides similar criminal jurisdiction over Department of Defense employees and contractors but does not clearly apply to U.S. contractors working overseas for other federal agencies, such as the Department of State. The Military Extraterritorial Jurisdiction Act was originally enacted in 2000, with additional improvements to the law secured in 2004. As the United States military withdraws from Iraq and Afghanistan, leaving behind thousands of civilian government employees and contractors, the broader jurisdictional scope of CEJA will become a critical accountability tool.

The Civilian Extraterritorial Jurisdiction Act will:

  • Expand criminal jurisdiction over certain crimes committed by United States employees and contractors overseas;
  • Direct the Justice Department to create new investigative task forces to investigate, arrest and prosecute contractors and employees who commit serious crimes overseas;
  • Require the Attorney General to report annually to Congress about the offenses prosecuted under the statute and the use of new investigative resources.
  • Allow the Justice Department to prosecute government contractors and employees for certain existing serious crimes without impacting the conduct of U.S. intelligence agencies abroad.

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    Charles B. Rangel (D-NY, 13th) wished Islam a great Ramadan.


    A recent unanimous Supreme Court ruling in Army Corps of Engineers v. Hawkes Co. Inc. allows private property owners to appeal how their land is classified by the Corps, and therefore the types of regulations land is subject to, in Federal court.