I’m very careful about politics when traveling. The media far too often tells us that the rest of the world doesn’t like the US since Trump was elected. The “Italian for Dummies” web page even has the phrase, “Non siamo americani.” (We aren’t American.”)
But my experience has been different: a lot of Europeans think Donald Trump is right about border security and limiting immigration. And we’ve heard this from citizens of England and Italy, who go out of their way to express their support of President Trump.
Last month, a British couple stopped to admire our narrowboat on the Thames. When they found out we were Americans, they turned the conversation to politics, support for Brexit and praise for President Trump.
We picked up our car at the Rome Airport on Friday and it happened again. Out of the blue, the 30-something agent asked, “What about Trump?”
I deferred answering to Larry and braced myself for criticism or ridicule of the President from our new aquaintance.
Instead, our Roman friend volunteered his approval of Donald Trump and the “changes’ both our countries are making in response to international pressure to accept overwhelming numbers of refugees.
He talked about the inability to vet the refugees picked up at sea, the effects on Italy’s employment situation, and the financial stress the boat loads of immigrants were causing Italy before his government’s recent refusal to accept ships full of migrants at Italian ports.
He said, “Trump is making changes. People are afraid of change, but this is good change.”
None of the people we talked to – or who made it a point to talk to us – expressed hate or racism. They are worried about the future if their countries and disapprove of “Brussels” forcing regulations on them, not simply afraid of foreigners.
I wonder who’s listening.
(BTW, several different sets of Canadians have initiated similar conversations. All approved of the President and disapproved of Trudeau.)
“”1 Most people with the capacity to become pregnant identify as women. Historically, both jurisprudence and public health data have focused on women when addressing reproductive rights and health. But there is an emerging recognition in the law and society more generally that not all people who may become pregnant identify as women. See generally Glenn v. Brumby, 663 F.3d 1312, 1316-19 (11th Cir. 2011)(holding, consistent with the weight of authority, that the Equal Protection Clause prohibits discrimination on the basis of “gender nonconformity”) (collecting cases); Robin Marantz Henig, How Science Is Helping Us Understand Gender, National Geographic (2017), https://www.nationalgeographic.com/magazine/2017/01/how-science-helps-us-understand-gender-identity/. The Constitution protects the rightof all individuals to end an unwanted pregnancy, regardless of gender identity.”
“Lawyers have told a judge that he had been biologically able to become pregnant but had legally become a man when the child was born.
“Explaining their unusual parenting arrangements, Amy said: “We went through a lot of fertility treatments, until we finally reached a point where we needed to make a decision as to whether we were going to do more medical intervention or if we were going to switch bodies. (emphasis mine)
“We were fortunate enough to have two uteruses. So, after a lot of thought and emotion and difficulties we switched to Chris.
“And while Chris lived as a man and didn’t feel female, he was willing to use his womb for the good of their family.”
Current barriers on imports into Canada from the US affect dairy, wine, telecommunications like TV, cable, and broadcasting, and even software and “cloud” data storage.
In contrast, there are very few barriers to trade with Mexico.
(Edited to add the link to information on Mexico.)
Here’s where we are, according to Red State:
The Senate has already approved the TPA. On Friday, the House voted on it. The TPA portion was actually approved by a tiny majority, however it did not pass because it was tied to another provision: TAA, which failed miserably. In essence, the TAA is a multi-faced welfare program for those allegedly “hurt” by trade deals.
“TPA ensures that only 51 votes are needed in order to pass the TPP. If you don’t think Obama and the Chamber of Commerce can engage in some bi-partisan vote whipping, you are living in fantasy land.”
“Is not this a lamentable thing, that of the skin of an innocent lamb should be made parchment?” (William Shakespeare, Henry VI, Part 2, just after the more famous, “The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers.)
The Senate took a House Bill, H.R. 1191, that originally amended ObamaCare (so that the IRS would know for certain that volunteer firefighters, paramedics, and other emergency personnel aren’t counted as employees) and changed it completely in order give birth to the “Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015.”
It’s appropriate that a bill that originally amended ObamaCare was changed this way, since ObamaCare was passed in the first place by Harry Reid’s Senate amendment to a bill that as originally titled, “Service Members Home Ownership Tax Act of 2009.”
From the Senate record:
SA 1140. Mr. CORKER (for himself and Mr. Cardin) proposed an
amendment to the bill H.R. 1191, to amend the Internal Revenue Code of
1986 to ensure that emergency services volunteers are not taken into
account as employees under the shared responsibility requirements
contained in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act; as
Strike all after the enacting clause and insert the
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.
This Act may be cited as the “Iran Nuclear Agreement
Review Act of 2015”.
SEC. 2. CONGRESSIONAL REVIEW AND OVERSIGHT OF AGREEMENTS WITH
IRAN RELATING TO THE NUCLEAR PROGRAM OF IRAN.
The Atomic Energy Act of 1954 (42 U.S.C. 2011 et seq.) is
amended by inserting after section 134 the following new
“SEC. 135. CONGRESSIONAL REVIEW AND OVERSIGHT OF AGREEMENTS
“(a) Transmission to Congress of Nuclear Agreements With
Iran and Verification Assessment With Respect to Such
“(1) Transmission of agreements.–Not later than 5
calendar days after reaching an agreement with Iran relating
to the nuclear program of Iran, the President shall transmit
to the appropriate congressional committees and leadership–
“(A) the agreement, as defined in subsection (h)(1),
including all related materials and annexes;
“(B) a verification assessment report of the Secretary of
State prepared under paragraph (2) with respect to the
“(C) a certification that–
“(i) the agreement includes the appropriate terms,
conditions, and duration of the agreement’s requirements with
respect to Iran’s nuclear activities and provisions
describing any sanctions to be waived, suspended, or
otherwise reduced by the United States, and any other nation
or entity, including the United Nations; and
“(ii) the President determines the agreement meets United
States non-proliferation objectives, does not jeopardize the
common defense and security, provides an adequate framework
to ensure that Iran’s nuclear activities permitted thereunder
will not be inimical to or constitute an unreasonable risk to
the common defense and security, and ensures that Iran’s
nuclear activities permitted thereunder will not be used to
further any nuclear-related military or nuclear explosive
purpose, including for any research on or development of any
nuclear explosive device or any other nuclear-related
“(2) Verification assessment report.–
“(A) In general.–The Secretary of State shall prepare,
with respect to an agreement described in paragraph (1), a
“(i) the extent to which the Secretary will be able to
verify that Iran is complying with its obligations and
commitments under the agreement;
“(ii) the adequacy of the safeguards and other control
mechanisms and other assurances contained in the agreement
with respect to Iran’s nuclear program to ensure Iran’s
activities permitted thereunder will not be used to further
any nuclear-related military or nuclear explosive purpose,
including for any research on or development of any nuclear
explosive device or any other nuclear-related military
“(iii) the capacity and capability of the International
Atomic Energy Agency to effectively implement the
verification regime required by or related to the agreement,
including whether the International Atomic Energy Agency will
have sufficient access to investigate suspicious sites or
allegations of covert nuclear-related activities and whether
it has the required funding, manpower, and authority to
undertake the verification regime required by or related to
“(B) Assumptions.–In preparing a report under
subparagraph (A) with respect to an agreement described in
paragraph (1), the Secretary shall assume that Iran could–
“(i) use all measures not expressly prohibited by the
agreement to conceal activities that violate its obligations
and commitments under the agreement; and
“(ii) alter or deviate from standard practices in order to
impede efforts to verify that Iran is complying with those
obligations and commitments.
“(C) Classified annex.–A report under subparagraph (A)
shall be transmitted in unclassified form, but shall include
a classified annex prepared in consultation with the Director
of National Intelligence, summarizing relevant classified
“(A) In general.–Neither the requirements of
subparagraphs (B) and (C) of paragraph (1), nor subsections
(b) through (g) of this section, shall apply to an agreement
described in subsection (h)(5) or to the EU-Iran Joint
Statement made on April 2, 2015.
“(B) Additional requirement.–Notwithstanding subparagraph
(A), any agreement as defined in subsection (h)(1) and any
related materials, whether concluded before or after the date
of the enactment of this section, shall not be subject to the
exception in subparagraph (A).
“(b) Period for Review by Congress of Nuclear Agreements
“(1) In general.–During the 30-calendar day period
following transmittal by the President of an agreement
pursuant to subsection (a), the Committee on Foreign
Relations of the Senate and the Committee on Foreign Affairs
of the House of Representatives shall, as appropriate, hold
hearings and briefings and otherwise obtain information in
order to fully review such agreement.
“(2) Exception.–The period for congressional review under
paragraph (1) shall be 60 calendar days if an agreement,
including all materials required to be transmitted to
Congress pursuant to subsection (a)(1), is transmitted
pursuant to subsection (a) between July 10, 2015, and
September 7, 2015.
“(3) Limitation on actions during initial congressional
review period.–Notwithstanding any other provision of law,
except as provided in paragraph (6), prior to and during the
period for transmission of an agreement in subsection (a)(1)
and during the period for congressional review provided in
paragraph (1), including any additional period as applicable
under the exception provided in paragraph (2), the President
may not waive, suspend, reduce, provide relief from, or
otherwise limit the application of statutory sanctions with
respect to Iran under any provision of law or refrain from
applying any such sanctions pursuant to an agreement
described in subsection (a).
“(4) Limitation on actions during presidential
consideration of a joint resolution of disapproval.–
Notwithstanding any other provision of law, except as
provided in paragraph (6), if a joint resolution of
disapproval described in subsection (c)(2)(B) passes the
Congress, the President may not waive, suspend, reduce,
provide relief from, or otherwise limit the application of
statutory sanctions with respect to Iran under any provision
of law or refrain from applying any such sanctions pursuant
to an agreement described in subsection (a) for a period of
12 calendar days following the date of passage of the joint
resolution of disapproval.
“(5) Limitation on actions during congressional
reconsideration of a joint resolution of disapproval.–
Notwithstanding any other provision of law, except as
provided in paragraph (6), if a joint resolution of
disapproval described in subsection (c)(2)(B) passes the
Congress, and the President vetoes such joint resolution, the
President may not waive, suspend, reduce, provide relief
from, or otherwise limit the application of statutory
sanctions with respect to Iran under any provision of law or
refrain from applying any such sanctions pursuant to an
agreement described in subsection (a) for a period of 10
calendar days following the date of the President’s veto.
“(6) Exception.–The prohibitions under paragraphs (3)
through (5) do not apply to any new deferral, waiver, or
other suspension of statutory sanctions pursuant to the Joint
Plan of Action if that deferral, waiver, or other suspension
“(A) consistent with the law in effect on the date of the
enactment of the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015;
“(B) not later than 45 calendar days before the
transmission by the President of an agreement, assessment
report, and certification under subsection (a).
“(c) Effect of Congressional Action With Respect to
Nuclear Agreements With Iran.–
“(1) Sense of congress.–It is the sense of Congress
“(A) the sanctions regime imposed on Iran by Congress is
primarily responsible for bringing Iran to the table to
negotiate on its nuclear program;
“(B) these negotiations are a critically important matter
of national security and foreign policy for the United States
and its closest allies;
“(C) this section does not require a vote by Congress for
the agreement to commence;
“(D) this section provides for congressional review,
including, as appropriate, for approval, disapproval, or no
action on statutory sanctions relief under an agreement; and
“(E) even though the agreement may commence, because the
sanctions regime was imposed by Congress and only Congress
can permanently modify or eliminate that regime, it is
critically important that Congress have the opportunity, in
an orderly and deliberative manner, to consider and, as
appropriate, take action affecting the statutory sanctions
regime imposed by Congress.
“(2) In general.–Notwithstanding any other provision of
law, action involving any measure of statutory sanctions
relief by the United States pursuant to an agreement subject
to subsection (a) or the Joint Plan of Action–
“(A) may be taken, consistent with existing statutory
requirements for such action, if, during the period for
review provided in subsection (b), the Congress adopts, and
there is enacted, a joint resolution stating in substance
that the Congress does favor the agreement;
“(B) may not be taken if, during the period for review
provided in subsection (b), the Congress adopts, and there is
enacted, a joint
resolution stating in substance that the Congress does not
favor the agreement; or
“(C) may be taken, consistent with existing statutory
requirements for such action, if, following the period for
review provided in subsection (b), there is not enacted any
such joint resolution.
“(3) Definition.–For the purposes of this subsection, the
phrase `action involving any measure of statutory sanctions
relief by the United States’ shall include waiver,
suspension, reduction, or other effort to provide relief
from, or otherwise limit the application of statutory
sanctions with respect to, Iran under any provision of law or
any other effort to refrain from applying any such sanctions.
“(d) Congressional Oversight of Iranian Compliance With
“(1) In general.–The President shall keep the appropriate
congressional committees and leadership fully and currently
informed of all aspects of Iranian compliance with respect to
an agreement subject to subsection (a).
“(2) Potentially significant breaches and compliance
incidents.–The President shall, within 10 calendar days of
receiving credible and accurate information relating to a
potentially significant breach or compliance incident by Iran
with respect to an agreement subject to subsection (a),
submit such information to the appropriate congressional
committees and leadership.
“(3) Material breach report.–Not later than 30 calendar
days after submitting information about a potentially
significant breach or compliance incident pursuant to
paragraph (2), the President shall make a determination
whether such potentially significant breach or compliance
issue constitutes a material breach and, if there is such a
material breach, whether Iran has cured such material breach,
and shall submit to the appropriate congressional committees
and leadership such determination, accompanied by, as
appropriate, a report on the action or failure to act by Iran
that led to the material breach, actions necessary for Iran
to cure the breach, and the status of Iran’s efforts to cure
“(4) Semi-annual report.–Not later than 180 calendar days
after entering into an agreement described in subsection (a),
and not less frequently than once every 180 calendar days
thereafter, the President shall submit to the appropriate
congressional committees and leadership a report on Iran’s
nuclear program and the compliance of Iran with the agreement
during the period covered by the report, including the
“(A) Any action or failure to act by Iran that breached
the agreement or is in noncompliance with the terms of the
“(B) Any delay by Iran of more than one week in providing
inspectors access to facilities, people, and documents in
Iran as required by the agreement.
“(C) Any progress made by Iran to resolve concerns by the
International Atomic Energy Agency about possible military
dimensions of Iran’s nuclear program.
“(D) Any procurement by Iran of materials in violation of
the agreement or which could otherwise significantly advance
Iran’s ability to obtain a nuclear weapon.
“(E) Any centrifuge research and development conducted by
“(i) is not in compliance with the agreement; or
“(ii) may substantially enhance the breakout time of
acquisition of a nuclear weapon by Iran, if deployed.
“(F) Any diversion by Iran of uranium, carbon-fiber, or
other materials for use in Iran’s nuclear program in
violation of the agreement.
“(G) Any covert nuclear activities undertaken by Iran,
including any covert nuclear weapons-related or covert
fissile material activities or research and development.
“(H) An assessment of whether any Iranian financial
institutions are engaged in money laundering or terrorist
finance activities, including names of specific financial
institutions if applicable.
“(I) Iran’s advances in its ballistic missile program,
including developments related to its long-range and inter-
continental ballistic missile programs.
“(J) An assessment of–
“(i) whether Iran directly supported, financed, planned,
or carried out an act of terrorism against the United States
or a United States person anywhere in the world;
“(ii) whether, and the extent to which, Iran supported
acts of terrorism, including acts of terrorism against the
United States or a United States person anywhere in the
“(iii) all actions, including in international fora, being
taken by the United States to stop, counter, and condemn acts
by Iran to directly or indirectly carry out acts of terrorism
against the United States and United States persons;
“(iv) the impact on the national security of the United
States and the safety of United States citizens as a result
of any Iranian actions reported under this paragraph; and
“(v) all of the sanctions relief provided to Iran,
pursuant to the agreement, and a description of the
relationship between each sanction waived, suspended, or
deferred and Iran’s nuclear weapon’s program.
“(K) An assessment of whether violations of
internationally recognized human rights in Iran have changed,
increased, or decreased, as compared to the prior 180-day
“(5) Additional reports and information.–
“(A) Agency reports.–Following submission of an agreement
pursuant to subsection (a) to the appropriate congressional
committees and leadership, the Department of State, the
Department of Energy, and the Department of Defense shall,
upon the request of any of those committees or leadership,
promptly furnish to those committees or leadership their
views as to whether the safeguards and other controls
contained in the agreement with respect to Iran’s nuclear
program provide an adequate framework to ensure that Iran’s
activities permitted thereunder will not be inimical to or
constitute an unreasonable risk to the common defense and
“(B) Provision of information on nuclear initiatives with
iran.–The President shall keep the appropriate congressional
committees and leadership fully and currently informed of any
initiative or negotiations with Iran relating to Iran’s
nuclear program, including any new or amended agreement.
“(6) Compliance certification.–After the review period
provided in subsection (b), the President shall, not less
than every 90 calendar days–
“(A) determine whether the President is able to certify
“(i) Iran is transparently, verifiably, and fully
implementing the agreement, including all related technical
or additional agreements;
“(ii) Iran has not committed a material breach with
respect to the agreement or, if Iran has committed a material
breach, Iran has cured the material breach;
“(iii) Iran has not taken any action, including covert
action, that could significantly advance its nuclear weapons
“(iv) suspension of sanctions related to Iran pursuant to
the agreement is–
“(I) appropriate and proportionate to the specific and
verifiable measures taken by Iran with respect to terminating
its illicit nuclear program; and
“(II) vital to the national security interests of the
United States; and
“(B) if the President determines he is able to make the
certification described in subparagraph (A), make such
certification to the appropriate congressional committees and
“(7) Sense of congress.–It is the sense of Congress
“(A) United States sanctions on Iran for terrorism, human
rights abuses, and ballistic missiles will remain in place
under an agreement, as defined in subsection (h)(1);
“(B) issues not addressed by an agreement on the nuclear
program of Iran, including fair and appropriate compensation
for Americans who were terrorized and subjected to torture
while held in captivity for 444 days after the seizure of the
United States Embassy in Tehran, Iran, in 1979 and their
families, the freedom of Americans held in Iran, the human
rights abuses of the Government of Iran against its own
people, and the continued support of terrorism worldwide by
the Government of Iran, are matters critical to ensure
justice and the national security of the United States, and
should be expeditiously addressed;
“(C) the President should determine the agreement in no
way compromises the commitment of the United States to
Israel’s security, nor its support for Israel’s right to
“(D) in order to responsibly implement any long-term
agreement reached between the P5+1 countries and Iran, it is
critically important that Congress have the opportunity to
review any agreement and, as necessary, take action to modify
the statutory sanctions regime imposed by Congress.
“(e) Expedited Consideration of Legislation.–
“(1) In general.–In the event the President does not
submit a certification pursuant to subsection (d)(6) or has
determined pursuant to subsection (d)(3) that Iran has
materially breached an agreement subject to subsection (a)
and the material breach has not been cured, Congress may
initiate within 60 calendar days expedited consideration of
qualifying legislation pursuant to this subsection.
“(2) Qualifying legislation defined.–For purposes of this
subsection, the term `qualifying legislation’ means only a
bill of either House of Congress–
“(A) the title of which is as follows: `A bill reinstating
statutory sanctions imposed with respect to Iran.’; and
“(B) the matter after the enacting clause of which is:
`Any statutory sanctions imposed with respect to Iran
pursuant to ______ that were waived, suspended, reduced, or
otherwise relieved pursuant to an agreement submitted
pursuant to section 135(a) of the Atomic Energy Act of 1954
are hereby reinstated and any action by the United States
Government to facilitate the release of funds or assets to
Iran pursuant to such agreement, or provide any further
waiver, suspension, reduction, or other relief pursuant to
such agreement is hereby prohibited.’, with the blank space
being filled in with the law or laws under which sanctions
are to be reinstated.
“(3) Introduction.–During the 60-calendar day period
provided for in paragraph (1), qualifying legislation may be
“(A) in the House of Representatives, by the majority
leader or the minority leader; and
“(B) in the Senate, by the majority leader (or the
majority leader’s designee) or the minority leader (or the
minority leader’s designee).
“(4) Floor consideration in house of representatives.–
“(A) Reporting and discharge.–If a committee of the House
to which qualifying legislation has been referred has not
reported such qualifying legislation within 10 legislative
days after the date of referral, that committee shall be
discharged from further consideration thereof.
“(B) Proceeding to consideration.–Beginning on the third
legislative day after each committee to which qualifying
legislation has been referred reports it to the House or has
been discharged from further consideration thereof, it shall
be in order to move to proceed to consider the qualifying
legislation in the House. All points of order against the
motion are waived. Such a motion shall not be in order after
the House has disposed of a motion to proceed on the
qualifying legislation with regard to the same agreement. The
previous question shall be considered as ordered on the
motion to its adoption without intervening motion. The motion
shall not be debatable. A motion to reconsider the vote by
which the motion is disposed of shall not be in order.
“(C) Consideration.–The qualifying legislation shall be
considered as read. All points of order against the
qualifying legislation and against its consideration are
waived. The previous question shall be considered as ordered
on the qualifying legislation to final passage without
intervening motion except two hours of debate equally divided
and controlled by the sponsor of the qualifying legislation
(or a designee) and an opponent. A motion to reconsider the
vote on passage of the qualifying legislation shall not be in
“(5) Consideration in the senate.–
“(A) Committee referral.–Qualifying legislation
introduced in the Senate shall be referred to the Committee
on Foreign Relations.
“(B) Reporting and discharge.–If the Committee on Foreign
Relations has not reported such qualifying legislation within
10 session days after the date of referral of such
legislation, that committee shall be discharged from further
consideration of such legislation and the qualifying
legislation shall be placed on the appropriate calendar.
“(C) Proceeding to consideration.–Notwithstanding Rule
XXII of the Standing Rules of the Senate, it is in order at
any time after the committee authorized to consider
qualifying legislation reports it to the Senate or has been
discharged from its consideration (even though a previous
motion to the same effect has been disagreed to) to move to
proceed to the consideration of qualifying legislation, and
all points of order against qualifying legislation (and
against consideration of the qualifying legislation) are
waived. The motion to proceed is not debatable. The motion is
not subject to a motion to postpone. A motion to reconsider
the vote by which the motion is agreed to or disagreed to
shall not be in order. If a motion to proceed to the
consideration of the qualifying legislation is agreed to, the
qualifying legislation shall remain the unfinished business
until disposed of.
“(D) Debate.–Debate on qualifying legislation, and on all
debatable motions and appeals in connection therewith, shall
be limited to not more than 10 hours, which shall be divided
equally between the majority and minority leaders or their
designees. A motion to further limit debate is in order and
not debatable. An amendment to, or a motion to postpone, or a
motion to proceed to the consideration of other business, or
a motion to recommit the qualifying legislation is not in
“(E) Vote on passage.–The vote on passage shall occur
immediately following the conclusion of the debate on the
qualifying legislation and a single quorum call at the
conclusion of the debate, if requested in accordance with the
rules of the Senate.
“(F) Rulings of the chair on procedure.–Appeals from the
decisions of the Chair relating to the application of the
rules of the Senate, as the case may be, to the procedure
relating to qualifying legislation shall be decided without
“(G) Consideration of veto messages.–Debate in the Senate
of any veto message with respect to qualifying legislation,
including all debatable motions and appeals in connection
with such qualifying legislation, shall be limited to 10
hours, to be equally divided between, and controlled by, the
majority leader and the minority leader or their designees.
“(6) Rules relating to senate and house of
“(A) Coordination with action by other house.–If, before
the passage by one House of qualifying legislation of that
House, that House receives qualifying legislation from the
other House, then the following procedures shall apply:
“(i) The qualifying legislation of the other House shall
not be referred to a committee.
“(ii) With respect to qualifying legislation of the House
receiving the legislation–
“(I) the procedure in that House shall be the same as if
no qualifying legislation had been received from the other
“(II) the vote on passage shall be on the qualifying
legislation of the other House.
“(B) Treatment of a bill of other house.–If one House
fails to introduce qualifying legislation under this section,
the qualifying legislation of the other House shall be
entitled to expedited floor procedures under this section.
“(C) Treatment of companion measures.–If, following
passage of the qualifying legislation in the Senate, the
Senate then receives a companion measure from the House of
Representatives, the companion measure shall not be
“(D) Application to revenue measures.–The provisions of
this paragraph shall not apply in the House of
Representatives to qualifying legislation which is a revenue
“(f) Rules of House of Representatives and Senate.–
Subsection (e) is enacted by Congress–
“(1) as an exercise of the rulemaking power of the Senate
and the House of Representatives, respectively, and as such
are deemed a part of the rules of each House, respectively,
but applicable only with respect to the procedure to be
followed in that House in the case of legislation described
in those sections, and supersede other rules only to the
extent that they are inconsistent with such rules; and
“(2) with full recognition of the constitutional right of
either House to change the rules (so far as relating to the
procedure of that House) at any time, in the same manner, and
to the same extent as in the case of any other rule of that
“(g) Rules of Construction.–Nothing in the section shall
be construed as–
“(1) modifying, or having any other impact on, the
President’s authority to negotiate, enter into, or implement
appropriate executive agreements, other than the restrictions
on implementation of the agreements specifically covered by
“(2) allowing any new waiver, suspension, reduction, or
other relief from statutory sanctions with respect to Iran
under any provision of law, or allowing the President to
refrain from applying any such sanctions pursuant to an
agreement described in subsection (a) during the period for
review provided in subsection (b);
“(3) revoking or terminating any statutory sanctions
imposed on Iran; or
“(4) authorizing the use of military force against Iran.
“(h) Definitions.–In this section:
“(1) Agreement.–The term `agreement’ means an agreement
related to the nuclear program of Iran that includes the
United States, commits the United States to take action, or
pursuant to which the United States commits or otherwise
agrees to take action, regardless of the form it takes,
whether a political commitment or otherwise, and regardless
of whether it is legally binding or not, including any joint
comprehensive plan of action entered into or made between
Iran and any other parties, and any additional materials
related thereto, including annexes, appendices, codicils,
side agreements, implementing materials, documents, and
guidance, technical or other understandings, and any related
agreements, whether entered into or implemented prior to the
agreement or to be entered into or implemented in the future.
“(2) Appropriate congressional committees.–The term
`appropriate congressional committees’ means the Committee on
Finance, the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban
Affairs, the Select Committee on Intelligence, and the
Committee on Foreign Relations of the Senate and the
Committee on Ways and Means, the Committee on Financial
Services, the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, and
the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the House of
“(3) Appropriate congressional committees and
leadership.–The term `appropriate congressional committees
and leadership’ means the Committee on Finance, the Committee
on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, the Select Committee
on Intelligence, and the Committee on Foreign Relations, and
the Majority and Minority Leaders of the Senate and the
Committee on Ways and Means, the Committee on Financial
Services, the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, and
the Committee on Foreign Affairs, and the Speaker, Majority
Leader, and Minority Leader of the House of Representatives.
“(4) Iranian financial institution.–The term `Iranian
financial institution’ has the meaning given the term in
section 104A(d) of the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions,
Accountability, and Divestment Act of 2010 (22 U.S.C.
“(5) Joint plan of action.–The term `Joint Plan of
Action’ means the Joint Plan of Action, signed at Geneva
November 24, 2013, by Iran and by France, Germany, the
Russian Federation, the People’s Republic of China, the
United Kingdom, and the United States, and all implementing
materials and agreements related to the Joint Plan of Action,
including the technical understandings reached on January 12,
2014, the extension thereto agreed to on July 18, 2014, the
extension agreed to on November 24, 2014, and any materially
identical extension that is agreed to on or after the date of
the enactment of the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of
“(6) EU-iran joint statement.–The term `EU-Iran Joint
Statement’ means only the Joint Statement by EU High
Representative Federica Mogherini and Iranian Foreign
Minister Javad Zarif made on April 2, 2015, at Lausanne,
“(7) Material breach.–The term `material breach’ means,
with respect to an agreement described in subsection (a), any
of the agreement, or in the case of non-binding commitments,
any failure to perform those commitments, that
“(A) benefits Iran’s nuclear program;
“(B) decreases the amount of time required by Iran to
achieve a nuclear weapon; or
“(C) deviates from or undermines the purposes of such
“(8) Noncompliance defined.–The term `noncompliance’
means any departure from the terms of an agreement described
in subsection (a) that is not a material breach.
“(9) P5+1 countries.–The term `P5+1 countries’ means the
United States, France, the Russian Federation, the People’s
Republic of China, the United Kingdom, and Germany.
“(10) United states person.–The term `United States
person’ has the meaning given that term in section 101 of the
Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment
Act of 2010 (22 U.S.C. 8511).”.
Of the 168,000 caught illegally entering the United States in the Rio Grande Valley from October, 2013 to May, 2014, 33,000 were “unaccompanied” minors. Since 75% are from El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala, we are also supposed to believe that they traveled the entire length of Mexico not only without their parents, but without the Mexican authorities even noticing.
In the meantime, many have reported physical and sexual abuse in “shelters.”
The root cause of the influx is obvious. Our President is aware of the lawlessness and is using the children in a in a political ploy to beat at the resistance to immigration reform in the US. (“Obama delivered a commencement address at a technical school in Worcester, where he said 30 to 40 percent of the students were children of immigrants.”)
And now, we hear that ICE releases 90% of the children to “sponsors.” Not just with family members, but with “friends* already in the country. Who is to say what happens to the children when the authorities can’t even keep up with their whereabouts? Are they being further abused and trafficked?
No one knows. There doesn’t seem to be any way – or any effort? – to track them once they are released.
The simplest and most urgent need would be to close the border to more illegal crossings. At the same time, we must convince Mexico to stop ignoring the passage of hundreds of thousands illegally making their way through that country. We should also begin to track at least the minors we have already taken into custody after they are released. Finally, we must return these children and families to their homes in their own country.
This is not the time for hyperbole and political grandstanding, but for practical action. My concern is not only that our national security and sovereignty is severely compromised: If our current immigration and border control policies result in human trafficking and child abuse, we may see a lasting international debacle.
Raise your hand if you were one of the delegates to the Republican Party of Texas Convention who voted for the plank but didn’t have a clue what you were voting for. I didn’t think any of you did. I certainly knew what I was voting for.
In case you were incompetent or driven by ugly emotions when you voted on the Platform – and for those who weren’t there but are hearing from the media and even some Republicans: Here’s the Immigration Plank we voted into the Platform: http://wp.me/p1FiCk-1cj and here’s my review of the controversy on the floor of the Convention: http://wp.me/p1FiCk-1ce
The press has been running an increasing number of articles about the crisis in our State resulting in the arrest of over a 1000 people a day in the Rio Grande Valley alone – 148,000 in 7 months, compared with 60,000 caught in Arizona. Over 47,000 of the Rio Grande detainees were minor boys and girls, some as young as 8 years old, since last October. 75% are from El Salvador, Guatemala, and the Honduras, countries other than Mexico.
I don’t fully support only two of the many points in the new plank. For one thing, I’m not convinced about ending in-state tuition for young kids who are brought here before 15 years old who go on to graduate from our high schools. Although I do worry that we are drawing those minors numbered above. In addition, I’m concerned about new Federal data banks and the usefulness of E-verify.
However, I agree with the bulk of the Plank, especially the call for a secure border. I agree with the suggested cooperation between law enforcement branches and relieving ranchers from the fear that they and landowners will face crippling civil suits if a trespasser is harmed on their land while in the country illegally.
I’ve seen some confusion about this line: “Contiguous physical barrier coupled with electronic, infrared and visual monitoring.” That’s support for a fence that’s actually on the border where the two countries meet, rather than miles in. It’s not a call for a continuous fence all along the border, but one where it’s needed and supplemented by actual people and technology where they are needed.
My main sticking point was the Committee report’s appearance of asking for a “provisional visa program,” that apparently started with “the participant’s” application from within the country by people here illegally. That’s why I decided that the plank is a good compromise for our Party. I strongly approve of the statement that “Any form of Amnesty should not be granted, including the granting of legal status to persons in the country illegally”
Edit: cleaned up grammar and typos, 6:22 AM 6/10/14 – BBN
“They put the three of us up front like a “panel” discussion, and the reporters started asking us questions about our presentation, allowing us an opportunity to talk about what we came to present. About 20 minutes into the interview, the Secretary General of MIWA, a Canadian woman, burst into the room (I kid you not. …and all of this is on camera), and came up to the table and said “What presentation is this? Donna Harrison said “it’s not a presentation”. So she snarled “Why are you being interviewed? At that point, the answers were left to Anna, our host. Anna said that this was a requested interview by the press.
“The SecGen then said “Who gave you permission to interview these people?” And the reporters said “We are the press, we don’t need anyone’s permission. We have freedom of the press” And the Sec Gen snarled at Anna and said “Did you arrange this? Did you talk to the organizing committee?” And Anna said “I am on the organizing committee. I don’t need to talk to anyone.” And the Sec Gen stood in front of the camera, and refused to move, and said “The interview is over.” Then the reporters said “You can’t do this. We have the freedom of the press. You are interfering with the freedom of the press.” But the Sec Gen would not move and said “The interview is over.””
If there’s no such thing as right and wrong or good and evil, why are we arguing in the first place?
If you crack the egg of a bird on the Endangered Species List, it won’t matter that the bird was a fetus or embryo. You’ve still broken Federal law. Why is the species of an (unhatched) animal so clear cut under law, but human embryos have no protection under current law? Legal follies such as this underscore our lack of seriousness and consistency when contemplating our children of tomorrow. My concern is that we are not teaching them why they should treat us kindly, much less giving them a good example.
Bioethics dilemmas and most political disputes may seem to be new problems, but they’re not. Every “new” problem is another facet of the potential to deny the existence of right and wrong or to infringe on the inalienable rights of our fellow humans. Knowledge of the basics can guide decisions and actions.
If there’s no such thing as right and wrong or good and evil, why are we arguing in the first place? These truths transcend relative social considerations and laws, including religious beliefs, ideology, or the wants and wishes of the powerful or majority. They even transcend time and space: if you take a close look at the big debates, the speakers aren’t simply talking to each other: we’re arguing with the great thinkers of the past and trying to convince people who come along after us.
The unique nature of the species Homo sapiens sapiens is the source and the definition of “human dignity,” and the reason that all members of the species and our offspring are human beings who should be valued equally, without discrimination.
And of course, we are unique, since It looks like we’re the only species having this conversation. We’re the only species that, when an individual has safety, food and sex, doesn’t just go to sleep. Our species makes art, records history, and argues about the nature of the universe. Humans seem to naturally “know” “that’s not fair,” even at 3 or 4 years old. We seek Unconditional Justice, Truth, Love, Beauty and Knowledge. And we value Unconditional Love most of all.
The Negative rights to Life, Liberty and Property are owned and endowed upon individuals; they are not the property of or gift of societies or governments. These exist in a necessary order; a hierarchy of importance and power to call on society for protection. The right not to be killed trumps the right not to be enslaved, which precedes the right not to have your property taken from you by force or fraud. If they can kill you, there are no limits on how much they can enslave you or take from you. We must be secure that others won’t take our property against our will, because earning and owning property is how we avoid enslavement to others and how we make plans and lay by the staples of life to support the lives of ourselves and our families, both immediately while we can earn, and later when we are unable to work.
Society and government must protect these “inalienable” rights of individuals, but only as far as to ensure equality of opportunity, not the equality of outcome. These are protections against the actions of others, not against words or thoughts. It is not protection or promotion of someone’s personal tastes and not the right to not be offended. We must be very, very careful when we tax and even more careful if we presume to force the actions of others.
Good politics and science cannot exist in a moral vacuum. The powerful, the majority, the surging mob. the man with the biggest gun or governments cannot do good when their actions infringe on the life, liberty or property of the individual. To claim that people must act or give up property indefinitely for the greater good – Utilitarianism – ends in domination without measurable or objective limits.
And yet, to function in society carries responsibilities. Extraordinary privileges like those given to lawmakers, doctors, and scientists to do good, may also result in extraordinary power to do evil through abuse of unequal power of weapons, tools, numbers or even knowledge and skill. This is where conscience and the first principle of “first do no harm” come in. The right of conscience is a function of the liberty of an individual not to be forced to act against his understanding of good and evil, right and wrong.
Medicine and science have held a unique position to advocate for the protection of human rights, at least since Hippocrates, who formalized the now 2500 year old oath to “heal when possible, but First, do no harm” Non-maleficence, or not acting in order to avoid harm, must precede and be incorporated in the desire to do good or beneficence.
Once again, we come back to that first point: all of our offspring, descendants deserve the same value and protection of their rights to life, liberty and property without discrimination. It’s possible that we already have offspring among us who are not of our species. Science has created human embryos with more than two biological parents and others who have been the subject of genetic manipulation. Also out there are is the Humanity+ or Transhumanism movement in all its permutations, along with more accessible enhancement of the human mind and body through technology, medicine, machines, and manipulation at the nano-level.
We must consider how our children of tomorrow will consider us. It is true that humans aren’t perfect, we will make mistakes, and some humans will purposefully infringe on the rights of others. However, what values and principles will the pattern of our governments and individual action reflect? Will it be our respect and love for one another? Will they respect and love us or will they look back in horror or disgust?
(I want to thank Robert Spitzer, who wrote “Healing the Culture,” one of the best Ethics books in existence.)
This is a March, 2011 post from LifeEthics. org. Why Ethics? | LifeEthics. Edited 5/10/13 to move to top of the list.
I’m in the middle of reading Willie Nelson’s latest book, the semi-biographic stream of consciousness, Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die: Musings from the Road.
I enjoy the stories about his life and family, but I’m continually irritated by his confused comments on politics and ethics.
It really knocks me for a loop when I encounter someone like Mr. Nelson, who has obviously thought long and hard about certain issues but doesn’t seem to understand the basics of ethics or logic. Because he doesn’t know *why* some things are right and others are wrong, he ends up proving one of the homey proverbs he quotes in the book: if you don’t stand for something, you’ll end up falling for anything.
I love to hear Willie Nelson and his songs. My husband and I went to see his band play at the Majestic Theater in San Antonio last January and were very impressed by the Nelson concerts — both of them. Lukas Nelson’s band, Promise of the Real, opened for his father and sons Lukas and Mikah joined the Nelson family on the stage.
It’s tempting to reference Laura Ingraham’s book, Shut Up and Sing, along with the theory and demand behind it. Just because a person is a great singer, songwriter and guitar player, doesn’t mean he’s a great person, much less that he’s a great philosopher or thinker. It certainly shouldn’t mean that his philosophy should be given greater weight than that of other people because of his celebrity and access to the press.
The fact is that Mr. Nelson is a leader and he influences a large number of people. It’s a shame it’s not for the right reasons.
In this book, Mr. Nelson praises the Occupy Wall Street protests, says he agrees with Warren Buffet “that it just ain’t fair for people like us to have all the advantages,” and states that the Second Amendment shouldn’t apply to today’s weapons because they aren’t designed for hunting, only for killing people. His religious comments are mostly just silly ramblings.
However, the cause Mr. Nelson is best identified with – and the one for which it would be simplest to correct his logical errors – is the legalization of marijuana. He writes about his founding of the “TeaPot Party” in the book. Mr. Nelson’s reason for legalizing marijuana is simply that people want to smoke it and there are other legal substances that are worse. And he proposes a Statist’s plan as flimsy as his utilitarian ethic: “Tax it, regulate it and legalize it!” to raise money for the Government:
It’s already been proven that taxing and regulating marijuana makes more sense than sending young people to prison for smoking a God-given herb that has never proven to be fatal to anybody. Cigarettes and alcohol have killed millions, and there’s no law against them, because again, there’s a lot of money in cigarettes and alcohol. If they could realize there is just as much profit in marijuana, and they taxed and regulated it as they do cigarettes and alcohol, they could realize the same amount of profit and reduce trillions of dollars in debt.
Nelson, Willie; Friedman, Kinky (2012-11-13). Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die: Musings from the Road (p. 20). William Morrow. Kindle Edition. (accessed 12/03/2012)
It might surprise some people that I – the self-proclaimed “hot air under the right wing” – agree that marijuana shouldn’t be illegal to grow, own or use. I base my belief on a plain reading of the US Constitution. How on Earth can our Federal government outlaw a plant that literally grows like a weed and doesn’t require manufacturing or processing to use? In fact, my theory as to why the plant is illegal is because it would be hard to regulate and tax.
Or maybe not.
Back in the mid-1990’s, I attempted to grow a traditional herbal medicine garden and ran into trouble obtaining Oriental poppy seeds, Papaver somniferum. Most of the orders I placed were cancelled, so I started doing some research. I learned that the Clinton Administration was raiding gardens and arresting people for growing and sharing the seeds of heirloom plants passed down from their mothers. This was in spite of the age-old use of the plants in gardens and herbal medicine, as well as the ready availability of food grade fertile Oriental poppy seeds for cooking and baking.
The more I thought about it, I came to the conclusion that the Federal government’s “War on Drugs” is not Constitutional and it’s not conservative. I agree with Mr. Nelson that this “war” is a costly abuse of government that strengthens organized crime and too many American freedoms have fallen as collateral damage. But the reason is not because people want to abuse drugs or because the Government could make money off the taxes. It’s because there’s no justification for outlawing a plant in the Constitution.
This is what happens when we the People don’t know our own Constitution and allow our Legislators to habitually pass abusive laws: the infringement of our inalienable rights.
Texas’ Attorney General, Greg Abbott, in a letter to the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, on the plans by the UN “partner” organization to “watch” our voting in Texas:
“The OSCE may be entitled to its opinions about Voter ID laws, but your opinion is legally irrelevant in the United States, where the Supreme Court has already determined that Voter ID laws are constitutional.
“If OSCE members want to learn more about our election processes so they can improve their own democratic systems, we welcome the opportunity to discuss the measures Texas has implemented to protect the integrity of elections. However, groups and individuals from outside the United States are not allowed to influence or interfere with the election process in Texas. This State has robust election laws that were carefully crafted to protect the integrity of our election system. All persons—including persons connected with OSCE—are required to comply with these laws.
Will the Bill authorize the force that is necessary, in contrast to this regulation from the Department of Homeland Security? I hope so, and hope it’s passed and signed into law.
“Every step closer the Jaime Zapata Border Enforcement Security Task Force Act takes toward becoming law is good news for our nation’s continued border security and a fitting tribute to the exemplary agent in whose memory it is named,” Cuellar said in a statement. “I look forward to seeing this bill continue to move forward.”
The legislation, which cleared the House with a vote of 391-t0-2 on May 30, authorizes American and Mexican coordination against crime and drug cartels that permeate the border. It would require local and federal law enforcement to coordinate with officials in Mexico and Canada on border security efforts, and looks to provide $10 million over five years to implement equipment and training for those tasks.
A Brownsville native, Zapata was killed by the Los Zetas cartel members in a highway ambush in February 2011, while on assignment as an adviser to Mexican authorities. Cuellar, a Laredo Democrat, conferred with the slain agent’s family before creating the bill.
Why do I support David Dewhurst for Texas Senator?
From the Preamble to the 2010 Platform of the Republcan Party of Texas: The embodiment of the conservative dream in America is Texas.”
The result of conservative government in Texas is clear. Our State’s direction with the leadership of Lt. Governor David Dewhurst and Governor Rick Perry is a Conservative example for the Nation. Their policies and achievements demonstrate the results of action based on the belief that true liberty is Pro-life, Pro-Family, Pro-business, holds the line on taxes, spending, torts, and Washington, DC interference and regulation.
Texas leads the Nation in the creation of jobs. Our unemployment rate went down to 6.9% in May, in spite of legal US immigrants that average close to a thousand a day. Lt. Governor Dewhurst has balanced our budget in Texas, even when it meant cutting $10 million in 2003 and $15 million in 2011. In fact, the 82nd Legislature cut Texas’ dollar amount spending below the previous biennial amount for the first time since WWII. Adjusted for inflation and population, Texas spends less than when Dewhurst took office.
And there is no contest when it comes to legislative victories on social issues. Texas’ Defense Of Marriage Act was passed not once but twice under Lt. Governor Dewhurst; the second time amended our State Constitution. Thanks to his leadership, Texas passed our own Prenatal Protection Act and the “Woman’s Right to Know” informed consent law in 2003. This year, we not only added sonograms to the informed consent law, we also managed to move all of our State health care funding away from abortion providers and any of their corporate affiliates. Yes, that’s right, Texas de-funded Planned Parenthood.
The 2011 Texas 82nd Legislature was also incredibly effective on protecting our State’s borders and Sovereignty; banning drivers’ licenses for illegals, getting Voter ID, allocating $400Million for border security, and changing the law to allow Texas authorities to turn illegal aliens over for timely deportation after they’ve served their jail time. And yet, Lt. Governor Dewhurst’s opponents ignore these victories, claiming that the Lieutenant Governor “killed” two Bills in 2011: the Transportation Security Agency Anti-Groping Bill and the Sanctuary Cities Bill. However, both the TSA and Sanctuary Cities Bills were passed by the Senate at different times. The problem was coordination with the House, where the Speaker refused to allow timely consideration of the Bill and opposition by some strong conservatives, including Steve Hotze and Norm Adams. In the Special Session, the TSA bill was passed by the Senate, along with the biennial budget and a landmark omnibus medical finance bill.
In fact, even the “failed” passage of the TSA Bill in the Senate during the 82nd Legislature’s Regular Session was an example of the power of Dewhurst. He is said to have “twisted arms,” along with Governor Perry, to get the vote to the floor, even going so far as to try to “suspend the rules” to bring it up out of order. The Democrat Senators block-voted to prevent the 2/3 vote necessary while every single Republican voted for it. It is likely that had the Lt. Governor not pushed for the suspension of the rules on the TSA Bill, the budget would have passed in the Regular Session if it hadn’t come down to the midnight filibuster by the Dems.
Finally, I support Lieutenant Governor Dewhurst because he’s proven that he believes that “The government has no money, it’s the people’s money.”
Clarification, June 15, 2015 Please note: This article is about the disingenuous nature of several rants by the then-candidate in which he called the CFR “a pit of vipers” and “a pernicious nest of snakes,” without mentioning that his wife was a 5-year member of the Council until June, 2011 as part of her job for the Bush administration. The point is not the CFR or Mrs. Cruz’ job, but rather Mr. Cruz’ theatric performance, which would have been more honest if accompanied by more information.
I was researching a rumor that I read that Ted Cruz’ wife was a member of the Council on Foreign Relations until June, 2011 and that she was a Vice President at Goldman Sachs. I was curious how such a young woman could become a member of the CFR, an organization that I assumed only admitted (old) heads of State and incredibly powerful business interests.
I found this CFR Task Force report, “Building a North American Community,” which lists Heidi Cruz as a member of the Task Force which “applauds the announced ‘Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America,’ but proposes a more ambitious vision of a new community by 2010 and specific recommendations on how to achieve it.” The news release also notes that Mrs. Cruz worked for Condyleeza Rice in the Bush White House National Security Council and had been a banker at Merrill Lynch and J. P. Morgan.
Just wow! Mrs. Cruz is much more accomplished than I’d imagined.
Further searching yielded this bit of video from Ben Smith’s October 27, 2011 blog at Politico. (There’s a break in the middle, indicating editing and the source is not “conservative,” but that’s Ted saying what he’s saying. The title is also Politico’s.)
Ted Cruz, the former Texas solicitor general and tea party favorite for the Republican nomination for Senate, has been focusing some of his harshest campaign trail rhetoric on that longtime villain of those suspicious of U.S. internationalism: The Council on Foreign Relations.
The New York-based group, Cruz said at a speech to a Republican women’s group in Sugarland, Tex., last week, is “a pit of vipers.”
When asked about the Council at another event in Tyler, Tex., on Oct. 15 — Texas, home of Ron Paul and Alex Jones, is the sort of place this comes up a lot — Cruz called the organization “a pernicious nest of snakes” that is “working to undermine our sovereignty,” according to video provided by someone who opposes his candidacy.
Well, Cruz should know: The candidate’s wife, Heidi S. Cruz, was an active member of the Council on Foreign Relations until this June. She was a member until June on a 5-year “term membership” program, an official at the organization confirmed.
The US House and Senate specifically denied these funds. I’m assuming that Obama signed the Bill into law. But, what’s law got to do with it?
. . . In signing the waiver, Obama instructed Clinton to inform Congress of the move, on the grounds that “waiving such prohibition is important to the national security interests of the United States.”
The Department of State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs Appropriations Act of 2012 contained a provision that said none of the funds “may be obligated or expended with respect to providing funds to the Palestinian Authority.”
In November, the US Congress released $40 million but the State Department had expressed concern about being able to provide the necessary funding to address the dire economic and humanitarian hardship facing Palestinians.
More explanation from the UPI:
Obama cited his authority under section 7040(b) of the Department of State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs Appropriations Act of 2012 section 7040(a) of the Act, to provide appropriated funds to the Palestinian Authority.
. . . House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairwoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla., had questioned the Obama administration’s request for $147 million for the Palestinian Authority at a time when P.A. President Mahmoud Abbas has demanded preconditions for returning to the negotiations while also pushing a unilateral statehouse plan at the United Nations. She also expressed concern that $26.4 million had been requested for projects in Hamas-run Gaza.
“The administration also says we need to help ‘rebuild the Palestinian economy’ — this at a time when our economy is facing serious challenges and Americans are suffering,” Ros-Lehtinen said.
Paging Libertarian Ron Paul: What do you think. Is this a major step? The Obama Admin plans to let people apply for mini-amnesty from this side of the border.
This waiver won’t fit all 11 million (typo in the article says 11.2 total), but 24,000 made this sort of application from their home country last year. Any bets on how quickly fraud will rear up on this scheme?
Current law mandates that illegal immigrants applying for legal status must return to their home country to do so. Once there, they are barred from re-entering the United States for either three or 10 years, depending on the length of their unauthorized stay.
But immigrants can apply for a waiver that allows them re-entry during the process if they can prove that their separation is causing extreme hardship for spouses or parents who are U.S. citizens. The new proposal would allow the applicant to apply for the waiver before leaving the country; if granted, the applicant could return to the U.S. during the visa application process.
BTW, read the odd comments about “nuts with machine guts.”
Governor Perry has been active in border security and controlling illegal immigration since early in his first term as Governor.
During his first Session of the Texas Legislature, he vetoed a bill that would have allowed illegal aliens to obtain drivers’ licenses. (We finally got a law that prohibits them, this year.)
Immediately after September 11, 2001 attacks on Washington, DC and New York’s World Trade Center, the Governor helped coordinate the deployment of 530 National Guardsmen at airports all over the State. In November 2001, he added 133 more to the number of National Guards posted at 27 airports in Texas.
In October 1, 2001, Governor Perry announced the creation of the Governor’s Task Force on Homeland Security. http://governor.state.tx.us/news/executive-order/4440/
In June, 2002, the Governor announced that Texas would receive Federal grants for building border security facilities at the border crossings. These facilities would inspect trucks and other vehicles that cross from Mexico into Texas. (there were none before 2002).http://governor.state.tx.us/news/speech/10787/
In May, 2002, the Governor used funds from his own office to institute Counter Terrorism training at the Port of Houston and another separate program to train state and local law enforcement. http://governor.state.tx.us/news/press-release/4322/
Too many of those who oppose Governor Perry seem to fixate on one law, the exception for non-resident tuition for the children of illegal aliens, ignoring the forest for one tree.
Over and over in Texas, we have demanded and begged for the Federal government to carry out its job of securing the border.. We pump our own money, men and machines, into programs meant to secure the border. If the United States Federal government followed the laws that are in place, they would be forced to block the border and to notice and to deport illegal aliens, long before their kids finish 3 years of school.
The safety of our Nation depends on border security, and keeping terrorists, drug runners and spies from crossing the border, not on how we treat 18 year-olds whose families brought them here when they were 15 years old or less.
As I’ve written before, Governor Rick Perry is for border control and has the record to prove it, in spite of very unique challenges in Texas.
Unfortunately, the Federal government which has the Constitutional duty to protect our borders has refused to fund the necessary manpower and equipment and has also been negligent in identifying, arresting, and deporting illegal aliens. Governor Perry has focused on border security to control illegal invasion in the first place, both in Texas and the greater United States. He advocates what he calls “boots on the ground:” patrolling the border, with agents, planes, drones, and helicopters.
Governor Perry supports strategically placed fencing in urban areas and not the rural fence that doesn’t work well when placed 1/4 mile from the Rio Grand. More here from National Public Radio. This article from the LA Times, gives an example of the unintended consequences of unwise placement of the fence, resulting in Texans whose homes have been fenced off from the rest of the US.
While there are National Guard troops on the 2000 mile border with Mexico, only 250 of the 1200 are deployed along the 1200 miles of Texas’ border. Perry has repeatedly asked for more. Read this news report from a year ago. He also pushed the Federal government to allow the military practice to their skills with unmanned Predator aircraft along our border (“They’ve gotta practice somewhere.”)
As a direct result of the Governor alerting Texas Republican Congressmen about President Obama’s plan to remove the National Guard after less than 6 months, we’ll have them longer. News report, here, from June, 2011 about the extension.
Texas (along with our costs from eleven ICE detention center detainees being dumped in the State by Homeland security, our support of Katrina refugees, and our natural disasters like Ike, wildfires, and tornadoes) is expected to pay for our own Guard if we want them here after September.
Watch and listen to Governor Perry talking with Fox News Greta van Susteren about the border, that “boots on the ground” phrase, and the problems with the fence. (You can see and hear the Texas Ranger helicopters in the background.)
He created the Ranger Recon force, sending 150 Texas Rangers (Motto:”One riot, one Ranger”) to the border along with helicopters and Texas Guardsmen, paid for with Texas state funds. “Operation Linebacker” and “Border Star” were efforts from 2006 and 2007: Gov. Perry Implements and Leads Operation Border Star From 2009: Gov. Perry Expanding Operation Border Star – Sends Rangers, Guard to the Border (2009)
Texas spends over $200 million a year on the cost of jailing illegal aliens that the feds bring here. In addition, we’ve spent $79 million of our own Texas tax funds on troops, helicopters.
When the Texas Legislature refused to fund his program to implement a “virtual border” using camera surveillance to augment “boots on the ground,” so he used money from the Governor’s discretionary fund. In some cases, local sheriffs and cities refused to cooperate and their opposition impeded full implementation of the program.
The following are from the Governor’s News room:
Tuesday, June 07, 2011: Gov. Perry Adds Sanctuary Cities to Special Session Call He also added bills to approve “Secure Communities” and a ban on Texas driver license for illegal aliens.
“Gov. Rick Perry announced the addition of legislation relating to the abolishment of sanctuary cities, the use of the federal Secure Communities program by law enforcement agencies, and the issuance of driver’s licenses and personal identification certificates to the special session call.
“Texas owes it to the brave law enforcement officials, who put their lives on the line every day to protect our families and communities, to give them the discretion they need to adequately do their jobs,” Gov. Perry said.
“Abolishing sanctuary cities in Texas, using the federal Secure Communities program and ensuring that only individuals who are here legally can obtain a valid Texas driver’s license sends a clear message that Texas will not turn a blind eye to those breaking our laws.”
Tuesday, May 10, 2011 Gov. Rick Perry on House Passage of House Bill 12.
Tuesday, June 28, 2011: Statement by Gov. Rick Perry Regarding Sanctuary City Legislation
2005: Gov. Perry works with the 16-member Texas Border Sheriff’s Association to deter illegal immigration and prevent border-related crime – Creates ‘Operation Linebacker” – Awards $6 Million to Border Counties for Border Security
2010: Governor Perry’s Letter to Barack Obama (2010)
(Thanks to “casinva” at FreeRepublic.com for many of these sources.)
As I wrote before, Texas took our opposition to forced enrollment of illegal students in elementary and high school all the way to the Supreme Court. We fight for real border control every day, spend millions of our own tax money to supplement the border security and even try to use our own law enforcement to deport convicted criminals.
However, we’re constantly stymied by changing and ever more intrusive Federal rules and regulations.
Even that last requires cooperation from the Feds, and we can’t be sure that the criminals are deported or whether, as in the past, they’re just released into Texas.
“”But since the legislation passed, parole officials have worried that once they turned over custody of the parolee to federal officials, they might never know whether the felon was sent home or released in Texas if the deportation were to go awry.
“”That’s exactly what has happened in the past, parole officials said. They said over the past several years, several hundred foreign-born felons were paroled and released to federal officials for deportation but were not sent home — and instead were allowed to remain in Texas on parole, on state taxpayers’ dime.
“”Officials with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, in their first public comments on the new law, assured state officials Wednesday that convicts who are not deported will be handed back to state prison officials.””
And it doesn’t help that the Federal forces bring in criminals from all over the US to the 11 Immigration and Customs Detention centers.
Worse than that, though, the Department of Justice has been bringing us captured illegal aliens from other border States like Arizona that they then release in Presidio, Texas or Del Rio, Texas.
“”Under the program, the agency transports illegal border-crossers caught in Arizona to the Texas border and deports them back to Mexico. The Border Patrol first started the program in November 2009: Two buses per day, each loaded with up to 47 male illegal immigrants aged 20 to 60, were taken from Arizona to Presidio, where they were deported to Ojinaga, Mexico. The program generated heated resistance from state officials, including Perry, who worried about an influx of illegal immigrants, and from local officials, who said the remote area could not handle an onslaught of new people.””
From Todd Staples, Texas’ Agricultural Commissioner, via the Austin American Statesman:
Despite empty assurances from Washington, communities along the Texas-Mexico border continue to face threats and violence from Mexican drug cartels. With the release of our commissioned report, “Texas Border Security: A Strategic Military Assessment,” the Texas Department of Agriculture offers a powerful perspective into this national security breach. If President Barack Obama and his administration won’t hear the concerned voices of Texans, perhaps he will listen to high-ranking retired military generals who know a thing or two about facing foreign enemies.
Retired Gen. Barry R. McCaffrey, the former U.S. drug czar under President Bill Clinton and SouthCom commander of all U.S. troops in Latin America, and retired Maj. Gen. Robert H. Scales, former commandant of the United States Army War College, were commissioned by the Agriculture Department and the Texas Department of Public Safety to utilize their vast military expertise to incorporate strategic, operational and tactical elements of securing borders and hostile territories and make recommendations to apply these elements along the Rio Grande.
First and foremost, the generals argue that Washington must shed the cloak of denial and admit there is a problem. Additionally, they say, there must be a highly organized, integrated, pro-active approach in which local, state and federal officials work together to create synergies to stop terrorists’ incursions. None of this is possible, they continue, without sufficient federal resources, support and additional boots on the ground.
The generals agree that our farmers, ranchers and rural residents — along with our urban areas — are under attack by cartels that rely daily on tactics such as killing, kidnapping, human smuggling, transnational arms shipments and blackmail to carry out their illegal trade to distributor gangs in hundreds of U.S. cities. Those same gangs help facilitate illegal commerce that pushes drugs into America while sending illegal weapons and cash into Mexico. The report says between $19 billion and $39 billion in illicit proceeds move through southwestern border “bulk smuggling” operations to Mexico each year.
The generals also conclude that Mexican cartels are seeking to create a “sanitary zone” — their own turf — inside the United States, specifically inside the southwest border, which they consider to be “vulnerable.” Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steven McCraw has testified that over a period of 18 months, six of seven cartels have established sophisticated command and control facilities in Texas cities. The report goes on to say at least 70 residential lots in Hidalgo County have been purchased with millions of dollars in drug proceeds.
This lack of security and disregard for Americans’ safety cannot be what our Founding Fathers had in mind when they penned the Constitution and specifically outlined the federal government’s responsibility to protect American soil and citizens from foreign invaders.
It’s important for the American people and the federal government to fully understand that besides being a gateway for criminal activity, the 1,200-mile Texas-Mexico border plays a critical role in the safe transportation of goods and services through our nation. Allowing this area to be under siege is not only inexcusable for the sake of our citizens’ safety, but also is detrimental to American trade, agriculture and our overall economy. The proof will be seen in your neighborhood grocery stores, as food prices increase to compensate for added security. Keep in mind, Mexico is the No. 1 trading partner for Texas and No. 2 for U.S. exports. It is this legal trade we are trying to preserve.
As the generals’ report concludes, it is imperative the federal government admits to the problem of cartel violence along the Texas-Mexico border and fulfills its duty to defend and protect Americans.
Denying the problem fails our Founding Fathers, our citizens and our nation. Are you listening, Washington? Texans want action.
Police training has been a significant part of the Merida Initiative, which outlined the U.S. partnership with Mexico and Central America in the drug war and has committed $1.4 billion since 2008. However, the focus now shifts to historically out-gunned and ill-prepared local forces ducking bullets and facing ominous threats on a daily basis.
Mexico received $327 million for police training in fiscal 2009 from the U.S. State Department through Merida, placing it behind only Afghanistan and Iraq in total funds received for police training from the departments of State or Defense, according to a report from the Government Accountability Office in April.
I’m about halfway through the book, Fed Up! by Governor Rick Perry and found these notes about the service of former Solicitor General Ted Cruz, who is running for Senator from the State of Texas.
On the death penalty for child rapists:
Texas supported Louisiana. Our able solicitor general Ted Cruz argued the case on behalf of Texas and eight other states, defending the authority of democratically elected legislatures to determine the appropriate punishment for the very worst rapists. (p. 100). Kindle Edition.
On the World Court mandate that Texas review cases of illegal aliens:
Somewhat shockingly, to me at least, President Bush then issued a memorandum attempting to order Texas and other states to review convictions of those not apprised of their consular rights. The case proceeded to the U.S. Supreme Court, where Solicitor General Cruz again argued our case. Neither I nor my friend Texas attorney general Greg Abbott believed that the United States should be forced to obey the World Court or that the President had authority to order the state courts to do so. In a 6–3 opinion authored by Chief Justice John Roberts, the Court agreed, and Medellin was executed on August 5, 2008.
(p 101 location 1649)
Statement by Texas Gov. Rick Perry on VP Joe Biden’s Comment Regarding China’s One Child PolicyPosted on August 23rd, 2011
AUSTIN – Texas Gov. Rick Perry today issued the following statement on Vice President Joe Biden’s comments regarding China’s one child policy:
“China’s one child policy has led to the great human tragedy of forced abortions throughout China, and Vice President Biden’s refusal to ‘second-guess’ this horrendous policy demonstrates great moral indifference on the part of the Obama Administration. Americans value life, and we deserve leaders who will stand up against such inhumanity, not cast a blind eye.”
Yep, $16 Trillion. Or maybe, less?
(or was it $1 T? This guy doesn’t explain his numbers, but REALLY? Only $1 Trillion?)
Thursday, the Government Accounting Office released its review, “Opportunities Exist to Strengthen Policies and Processes for Managing Emergency Assistance” of the accounts of the Federal Reserve Bank’s books from December 2007 through July, 2011. (Some were credit lines never used, some were paid back. As far as I can tell from page 4, there’s $956 Billion still outstanding. But I’m a doctor, not an accountant.)And some went to foreign-based subsidiaries of US institutions in Switzerland, France, Germany, Scotland, Britain, and Belgium.The GAO report, “Federal Reserve System: Opportunities Exist to Strengthen Policies and Processes for Managing Emergency Assistance, ” is here.
Why GAO Did This Study:
The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act directed GAO to conduct a one-time audit of the emergency loan programs and other assistance authorized by the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (Federal Reserve Board) during the recent financial crisis.
The GAO criticized the Fed’s reluctance to explain all of it’s reasoning about the emergencies. There’s also criticism about the way that Timothy Geithner, then-Chairman of the New York Federal Reserve Bank, gave waivers and allowed no-contract bids for entities hired to help arrange the Emergency loans. One of those waivers went to a man who had interest in AIG, and is now the President of the New York Federal Reserve Bank, replacing Geithner when the latter moved to DC to take over the Treasury Department.
(I’m thinking they were really scared and doing the best they could at the time.) (But, again, I’m a doctor, not an accountant.)
The Committee consists of representatives from 40 nations, including the U.S., who are considering taxes on carbon, international aviation and shipping, international financial transactions and a wire tax for producing electricity. The UN is also pushing for removal of fossil fuel subsidies and redirecting them to its international green agenda, which would cause the U.S. to be even more dependent on foreign oil.
The purpose of the Fund is to enable the UN to implement its global blueprint for sustainable development called Agenda 21. This green agenda is the new Marxism that requires government ensured economic equity and environmental neutrality. Agenda 21 is not a treaty, but a plan of action produced by the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Is it the concern of President Obama that if Texas executes a murderer, other nations will hold us accountable to their laws concerning murder? In the mean time, we’ll be in more danger from every murderer among us, especially illegal aliens like today’s killer.
(I’m trying to write this article without mentioning the name of the murderer, only the name of his victim. She was a child, and her killer has been in jail more years than she was alive.)
First, few realize that the Governor of Texas cannot pardon people about to be executed. Because Democrat Governor James “Pa” Ferguson, 1915 – 1917, was so corrupt that the Legislature took the power to commute and pardon away from all Governors. The Governor may only approve or reject the recommendation of the Board of Grants and Pardons. If he rejects the recommendation of the Board, he can only grant a 30-day reprieve, and that, only once.
Second, Adria Sauceda was 16 and her killer was 23, when her naked body was found because the accused’s brother had raised the alarm when the man came home saying he had killed a girl. Her body was found on the side of a road nearby.(See transcript, and/or the excerpt below from Texas Court of Criminal Appeals.)
(And did I mention that she was 16? Adria had gone to a party where there was beer. She shouldn’t have. However, she did not deserve to be gang raped or to have the man who falsely claimed to know her take her away from the party then brutally abuse and kill her. She was 16. A decent 23 year old man would have protected her.)
Third, the killer had been in the US since he was 2 years old. There’s no evidence that he told the police that he was an alien – and asking that question would have been complicated in San Antonio in 1994. (And still would be – notice all the fuss and bother over sanctuary cities in Texas.) He did not seek help during his trial. His lawyers brought up the Mexican Consulate angle on appeal.
Many of my pro-life and Catholic readers may be upset with me about my support of the death penalty. I will admit to being conflicted about the killing of people by my State. However, I do believe in punishment and I do believe that a man like this would be a real danger to the lives of other people unless he could be kept in solitary confinement.
I remember the prison break from maximum security in Kenedy, Texas, back in 2000, which ended in the death of a policeman on Christmas Eve. The seven men were serving anywhere from 5 years sentences for burglary to 50 and even 99-life for rapes and murders. One had been given a life sentence for a capital murder. This story was probably the main reason that I became less ambivalent about the death sentence: when proven killers have nothing to lose, they have nothing to lose by killing again.
From one of the many appellant decisions filed by Adria’s killer’s lawyers:
The evidence presented at trial shows that on May 20, 1994, the intoxicated sixteen-year-old victim was at a party. The twenty-three-year-old appellant also was at the party. At some point the intoxicated but conscious victim was placed in appellant’s car. Appellant and the victim left together in appellant’s car.
About thirty minutes later, appellant’s brother arrived at the party in a car which came to a screeching halt. Appellant’s brother was very excited or hysterical. Appellant’s brother started yelling to the people left at the party, “What the hell happened!” Appellant’s brother was yelling that appellant came home with blood on him saying he had killed a girl. Witnesses Torres and Ortega were present when appellant’s brother made these statements. Shortly thereafter appellant’s brother left in a rush.
Several of the party members went looking for the victim in the same area where the party was. They found her nude body lying face-up on a dirt road. They noticed the victim’s head had been bashed in and it was bleeding. Her head was flinching or jerking. These party members called the police.
When the police arrived, they saw the nude victim lying on her back. There was a 30 to 40 pound asphalt rock roughly twice the size of the victim’s skull lying partially on the victim’s left arm. Blood was underneath this rock. A smaller rock with blood on it was located near the victim’s right thigh. There was a gaping hole from the corner of the victim’s right eye extending to the center of her head from which blood was oozing. The victim’s head was splattered with blood.
There was a bloody and broken stick approximately 14 to 16 inches long with a screw at the end of it protruding from the victim’s vagina. Another 4 to 5 inch piece of the stick was lying to the left side of the victim’s skull. The police made a videotape of the crime scene[,] portions of which were admitted into evidence.
Later that day, the police questioned appellant. Appellant gave two voluntary statements. In appellant’s first statement he said he was with the victim in his car when she began hitting him and the steering wheel causing him to hit a curb. Appellant attempted to calm her down but the victim leaped from appellant’s car and ran away. Appellant claimed he sat in his car and waited about ten or fifteen minutes to see if the victim would return and when she did not he went home.
After giving this statement, appellant was informed that his brother had also given a statement. Appellant then gave another statement. In this statement, appellant claimed he followed the victim when she got out of his car and ran away. Appellant claimed the victim attacked him. Appellant pushed her and she fell to the ground. When she did not get up appellant attempted to wake her but could not. He then looked at her nose and saw bubbles. Appellant stated he got scared, went home, prayed on the side of his mom’s bed and told family members what had happened, claiming it was just an accident. After giving this statement an officer gave appellant a ride home.