The U.S. Military Being In Syria Is An Illegal Act Of War

 

This commentary today is simply my belief’s on the issue of the U.S. still having troops, combat or otherwise within the borders of the sovereign State of Syria. When our mission there was to destroy the illegal Caliphate of ISIS we had a defined reason and mission for being inside the borders of Syria. Since ISIS is now just another run of the mill terror group without a ‘State’ foothold our ‘mission’ there is done. The reason I say that we have no right to be there is because the legitimate government of Syria under its President Mr. Assad has said several times that we are not welcome there and that he wants us out of their country, now.

 

Just because we don’t like the Leader of a country this is not a legal reason for our government leaders to conduct military operations in that country. The last I heard the U.S. is conducting military operations in about 30 countries, why isn’t this enough for the military hawks in our government? As long as the government of these 30 or so countries have asked us in, asked us for help against honest to goodness terrorists, then we have a right to be there, if we so choose to help them. But, in a case like Syria where the government does not want us there and has said that they will attack any of our troops that are on their soil, we have no legal right to be there!

 

What could possibly be the reasoning behind our government keeping troops in Syria? Is our military and our government trying to start a direct war with Syria? Yet a bigger question would be, is our government trying to start not just a direct war with Syria but a proxy war with Iran and with Russia? If this is the case folks there is no doubt that we will end up being in a direct shooting war with Syria, Iran and Russia, is this really what we the people of the U.S.want? I really don’t think so. About the only member of President Trumps Cabinet that I have been backing so far is our Secretary of State Rex Tillerson but about two days ago he made the statement that we (the U.S.) need to be in Syria ‘long term’. I am not such a fan of his now folks.

 

Here in the United States if a country, any country, came inside our borders and started shooting and bombing any of our citizens we would declare War on that country. This would be the case even if our direct neighbors like Canada or Mexico attacked any group of our people whether they be Hispanic, Indian, Oriental, Black or White, we would actively repel them, neighbors or not. Why does our government feel that they have any right to be in Syria without the blessings of the Syrian government? Folks, we don’t have any right to be there, none! I do not like the Leadership of Syria nor the Supreme Leader of Iran nor his flunkies but they are a reality that we have no legal right to depose. It is a shame that we have the relations that we now have with President Putin and Russia and it appears that as long as President Putin is in charge there we will not be able to have the friendship between our Nations that I wish we had. No matter what you or I like or think, by the laws of our Country it is illegal for us to have any troops inside the borders of Syria. Without a Congress approved declaration of War it is also illegal for the U.S. Military to fire any missiles into the sovereign Nation of Syria. We need to get out right now before we blow this up into a World War.

Mitch McConnell’s tax plan slammed tiny Berea College; nevertheless, he persisted

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE LEXINGTON KENTUCKY CURRIER JOURNAL)

 

Mitch McConnell’s tax plan slammed tiny Berea College; nevertheless, he persisted | Joseph Gerth

https://uw-media.courier-journal.com/video/embed/108794256?sitelabel=reimagine&platform=desktop&continuousplay=true&placement=uw-smallarticleattophtml5&pagetype=story

In a White House press conference, President Trump, Mitch McConnell, Paul Ryan and other republican leaders celebrated the passage of a new tax plan. USA TODAY

Mitch McConnell is a stickler for rules.

Heck, he’s even a stickler for rules that don’t exist. Like the one about not considering Supreme Court appointments in an election year.

That’s why it seems so, well, so hypocritical of him to write a letter to Courier Journal whining that we shouldn’t blame him for his tax reform bill that will cost Kentucky’s tiny Berea College as much as $1 million dollars a year in additional taxes.

See, McConnell proposed his tax reform bill that was designed to get at some of the money that is being stashed away at liberal universities like Yale and Harvard.

When he learned that the bill would also ensnare Berea, which educates poor mountain students for free, he tried to exempt the college located in Madison County, leaving all other private colleges with large endowments to pay the freight.

Trouble is, the Senate parliamentarian ruled that his effort to carve out Berea violated the rules.

So, surely, McConnell stopped the process and vowed to get it right. Right?

Nope.

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To paraphrase ol’ Addison Mitchell McConnell: He had appeared to violate the rule, He was warned. He was given an explanation. Nevertheless, he persisted.

Yep, he steamed right ahead, despite the fact that he knew his tax bill would mean that Berea will have to cut the number of scholarships it gives to poor students and cut the number of poor students educated, just so McConnell and his millionaire and billionaire buddies get a big tax break.

Oh, you’ll get one too.

It will be smaller. Much smaller.

And there will be tax breaks available to the extremely wealthy that aren’t available to you. And the federal deficit will rise, requiring Congress to slash programs that mean a heck of a lot more to you and your families than to the extremely wealthy.

But hey.

No biggie. Right?

Instead of deciding that the Senate would stop the process, rewrite the bill, fix it, do it right, vote on it early next year, McConnell forged ahead.

Part of that was to give President Donald Trump a victory in his first year as president but part of it was likely to get around the problem of a smaller GOP majority in the Senate when Democrat Doug Jones, of Alabama, is sworn in to replace Republican Luther Strange.

And McConnell is nothing if not consistent when it comes to making sure important legislation is acted upon quickly before there is a midterm change in Senate makeup.

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You remember back in 2010, when he demanded that the Senate deal with Obamacare legislation before Republican Scott Brown was seated to replace the late Sen. Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts, don’t you?

Nope?

Oh, yeah. That didn’t happen.

Sorry about that.

OK, so let’s get this straight.

Tax bill hurts Kentucky College. McConnell’s attempted fix violates Senate procedures. He pushes it through anyway because, well, politics.

Now, what to do?

Blame Democrats.

That’s right. And in this case, a Democratic Socialist. Bernie Sanders.

Sure, he’s got a Republican majority in the Senate. Sure, he’s the most powerful man in the Senate. Sure, he’s got a Republican as vice president who would break a tie in the Senate in the case that he lost a couple of votes.

Sure, he used a parliamentary move called “reconciliation” that allowed him to pass  legislation without threat of a filibuster – something that he screamed long and loud about when Democrats used it to pass the Affordable Care Act.

Sure, he voted for it, as did Rep. Andy Barr, the Republican from Lexington who has Berea College in the district. Sure, not a single Democrat in the Senate voted for his tax bill.

But it’s the Democrats’ fault that McConnell’s tax bill is poised to cost Berea College a million dollars a year and force it to cut services to bright kids from the mountains who otherwise won’t have a chance to attend college?

The fact is that McConnell is to blame. He had appeared to violate the rule. He was warned. He was given an explanation. Nevertheless, he persisted.

Joseph Gerth’s column runs on most Sundays and at various times throughout the week. He can be reached at 502-582-4702 or by email at [email protected] Support strong local journalism by subscribing today: www.courier-journal.com/josephg.

Ignoring The Will Of The People

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE U.S. NEWS AND WORLD REPORT)

 

The $1.5 trillion tax bill, hailed with glee and relief by Republicans eager to appease donors and desperate for the year’s first major legislative win, is the most unpopular major piece of legislation to pass in decades.

That may sound remarkable, but it’s not the only case where public opinion – exhaustively collected, analyzed and reported by pollsters, interest groups and political parties – appears to have had little impact on a matter of public interest. President Barack Obama’s Deferred Access for Childhood Arrivals program to allow certain young immigrants to stay in the country is also overwhelmingly approved of by the electorate. But Congress failed to codify that program as it prepared to wind up for the year. Background checks for gun buyers, too, enjoys widespread public approval, polls consistently show – but that idea, too, never manages to get enough votes for passage.



So what’s the congressional calculation? Do they not trust the polls, or care what Americans think? Lawmakers do indeed care, pollsters and political analysts say. They just care more about what certain people think and want.

“If you polled big donors, you’d find overwhelming support for the tax bill,” says Stan Collender, executive vice president at Qorvis MSLGROUP and a leading expert on the federal budget and taxes. The presumption – “and it’s a little risky, is that money can overcome the anger of the individual voter,” Collender adds. “To them, somehow, $1,000 is worth more than 1,000 votes.”

Polls show that the tax bill, passed on party-line votes, gets abysmally low marks from the public, a majority of whom also believe the package was designed to help the rich at the expense of the middle class. An NBC-Wall Street Journal poll taken shortly before the votes showed just 24 percent of Americans thought it was a good idea. A Monmouth University poll found that half of Americans believe their taxes will actually go up under the package, which provides for a bigger standard deduction, but limits on such popular deductions such as state and local tax payments and mortgage interest.

A CNN poll showed 55 percent opposed (10 points higher than the previous month), with 37 percent thinking they will be worse off.

According to an analysis by George Washington University political science professor Chris Warshaw, that makes the tax bill the second-most hated piece of legislation in the past quarter century-plus, behind only Trumpcare – which didn’t pass. Even the bank bailout of 2008 and the failed Clinton health care plan of 1993 were more popular with voters.

Republicans are already nervous about losing control of the House next year, spooked by off-year elections which had Democrats making inroads in the politically critical suburbs and flipping 33 state legislative seats (compared to just a single blue-to-red flip). But lawmakers are more worried about vocal interest groups and wealthy donors who can cripple their campaigns before they get the chance to make their pitches to voters, experts say.

“It has a lot to do with money,” says Lee Miringoff, director of the nonpartisan Marist Institute for Public Opinion in Poughkeepsie, New York, pointing to the “Citizens United” Supreme Court case which allowed corporations and interest groups to spend massive amounts of money to influence elections.

“We see the tremendous impact of the lobby community in the tax bill. Lobbying interests were very much dominant in drafting and creating this approach.” And that means public opinion, so painstakingly quantified by pollsters candidates themselves hire, is often disregarded.

Not all matters should be decided by public polls, political veterans say, noting that congressmen and senators were elected to exercise their informed judgment on issues and balance public needs. If a pollster asked Americans if they thought schools, infrastructure and other public operations should be top-notch, they’d likely say yes. But they also might want to pay lower taxes, making the first goal harder.

But on several major issues in the news, the views of the public at large appear to have no effect on Congress.

For example, Americans overwhelmingly agree that so-called “Dreamers” – young people whose parents brought them into the United States illegally, and who have known no other home than America – should be allowed a way to stay lawfully, either with a path to citizenship or some kind of legal status. A recent poll by the nonpartisan Marist Institute for Public Opinion shows that a combined 81 percent of Americans want this, compared to 15 percent who believe they should be deported. The stay-here-legally side includes 67 percent of Republicans.

The problem, says Frank Sharry, executive director of the pro-immigrant group America’a Voice, is that lawmakers are divided into three broad groups – the pro-immigrant side, the build-the-wall side, and a group in the middle trying to balance a desire to be compassionate to Dreamers with a wish to maintain border security. While the hardliners against legal status may be in the minority, they are also often the loudest and most likely to punish a candidate for defiance, experts say.

“The path of least resistance inevitably becomes more attractive for people in the middle,” Sharry laments.

Special interest groups across the board have outsized influence because of their financial resources to influence campaigns as well as their ability to rile up their rank-and-file members, analysts say. That explains, they say, how the National Rifle Association has been able to quash any effort to tighten up background checks for gun buyers, despite consistent evidence that the public wants it. A Quinnipiac University poll last summer, for example, showed that 94 percent of Americans endorse background checks for all gun buyers.

The current political environment, too, is to blame, says Tim Malloy of the Quinnipiac poll. “We are so polarized and people are so entrenched – either pro-Trump or anti-Trump. I think it’s grown out of anger. It’s an angry disillusioned country right now,” Malloy says. “People at this point are almost impervious to the issues” themselves.

The public can fight back, and has: in 1988, Congress passed a law to provide catastrophic health coverage to seniors. The cost was shifted to the older Americans, who revolted (including by chasing the car of the then-Ways and Means Committee chairman, Rep. Dan Rostenkowski, D-Ill.). Congress repealed the law the following year.

As for the tax bill, “the Republicans are betting that by the time people realize what a turkey this bill is, it will be somebody else’s problem,” Collender says. And that problem may be dumped onto the tax bill-hating Democrats, should they succeed in wresting control of Congress.

Tags: taxestax codecorporate taxesRepublican Partycampaign financeCongress

Congress Votes To Strengthen Our 2nd Amendment Rights To Protect Our Own Families

(THIS IS AN EMAIL I JUST RECEIVED FROM MY U.S. CONGRESSMAN ANDY BARR THAT I HOPE WILL INTEREST MANY OF THE LAW ABIDING CITIZENS IN OUR COUNTRY WHEN IT COMES TO SELF AND FAMILY PROTECTION SECURITY ISSUES)

 

Home About Services Media Center Contact

Legislative Update

 

Dear Friend,

I am writing to update you on recent legislation the House of Representatives has passed, with my support, to defend the Second Amendment and to promote reciprocity between states in order to allow the legal carry and transport of concealed firearms.  Your communication is a vital part of our legislative process and I appreciate hearing your thoughts on this issue.

As a strong supporter of the Second Amendment, I feel very passionately that the government must not infringe upon Americans’ constitutional rights by preventing law-abiding citizens from carrying or transporting firearms across state lines.

That is why I felt it was important to vote in favor of H.R. ­­­38, the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act, which was endorsed by the National Rifle Association (NRA), the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), 24 State Attorneys General, and the Gun Owners of America (GOA).

The Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act would allow an individual possessing a valid state-issued Concealed Deadly Weapon License (CDWL) the ability to carry in all 50 states (as well as the District of Columbia) as long as he or she obeys all state laws in which the individual resides and travels through.  This legislation would also ensure that valid concealed carry permits issued in one state are valid in any other state that also recognizes its own residents’ right to carry concealed.  If a gun owner is arrested for illegal concealed carry, this legislation puts the burden of proof on the state to prove that the accused did not comply with law.  I am proud to support H.R. 38 and other bills to uphold gun rights, and I will continue to help ensure that Congress does not advance measures that undermine the Second Amendment.

I know that law-abiding, responsible gun owners make essential contributions to public safety and that attacking the Second Amendment – as some in Washington are all too quick to do – is bad policy.  Responsible gun ownership constitutes a vital part of our nation’s heritage and remains essential to the rights of Americans to defend themselves and their families.  This is an important constitutional protection that I will always step forward to defend.

Sincerely,
Andy Barr

Congress Will Vote On Concealed Carry Reciprocity Bill

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

 

House will vote on concealed carry reciprocity bill

Pres. Trump’s complex relationship with guns

Washington (CNN)The House will vote Wednesday on a bill that would let gun owners with permits to carry concealed weapons travel to other states with their concealed firearms.

The bill is a top priority of the National Rifle Association, and since leaving committee it has been combined with an additional measure that is designed to update the federal background check system after holes were exposed by November’s mass shooting at a church in Texas.
The move to merge the two pieces of legislation makes it a difficult vote for Democrats.
Second Amendment advocates maintain that gun owners should not lose their right to bear arms as they travel across state lines, and current laws that vary in different states could mean that licensed owners might unintentionally violate the law. Under the proposed law, gun owners would be required to abide by the local and state regulations in place for concealed weapons.
The part of the legislation that aims to update background checks through the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, or NICS, held bipartisan support when it was being considered by the House Judiciary Committee, after more than 20 people were killed at the church in Sutherland Springs, Texas.
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The gunman in that shooting was a former member of the Air Force, and had been imprisoned for domestic abuse. This information hadn’t been relayed by the Air Force to the NICS, which should have prevented him from buying the guns he used in the crime.

Former Conyers aide: ‘Most of us’ have seen him in his underwear

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

 

Former Conyers aide: ‘Most of us’ have seen him in his underwear

  • Weiner defended Conyers’ “surly moments” with staffers

(CNN)A former top communications aide to Democratic Rep. John Conyers of Michigan offered a defense of his former boss amid Tuesday growing allegations of sexual harassment, saying it wasn’t uncommon for staffers to accidentally see the congressman in his underwear.

One former employee, Melanie Sloan, came forward with allegations last week, including one instance where Conyers called her to his office when he was in his underwear.
“I was pretty taken aback to see my boss half-dressed,” she told The Washington Post. “I turned on my heel and I left.”
Bob Weiner, who served as Conyers’ communications director from 1994 to 2000, spoke to reporters and photographers assembled outside the Congressman’s office, disputing Sloan’s allegations.
“Something else that people need to know: his closet is in his office right here. He changes clothes in his office. Most of us have walked in on him accidentally without knocking and have seen him in his underwear. Big deal. That’s where his closet is, he changes his clothes there. So to say that somebody came to a meeting and that’s how it was, that’s an untrue statement. That is the kind of thing that needs to be explored before there’s any acceptance to that kind of an allegation,” Weiner said, later clarifying that all members of Congress have closets in their offices.
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Weiner also defended Conyers’ “surly moments” with staffers, saying that is commonplace among politicians. “That’s not sexist. That’s just being aggressive as the member of Congress or the Cabinet member or the VIP that you are. It has nothing to do with being anti-women. I got it too.”
The House Ethics Committee announced last week it has opened an investigation into allegations against Conyers after BuzzFeed reported that he settled a wrongful dismissal complaint in 2015 after allegedly sexually harassing a staffer. Conyers denied wrongdoing in that case, but acknowledged that there had been a financial settlement to that complaint. Another former staffer, Deanna Maher, told CNN that Conyers made three sexual advances toward her when she worked for him in his district office in Detroit from 1997 to 2005. Through his lawyer, Conyers also denied wrongdoing in that case.
Conyers stepped down from his position as top Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee on Sunday.
Weiner said he was going to recommend that Conyers hold a town hall in Detroit on how should men and women act in the workplace: “And let him say, I want to learn, I want to do better, and let him have that kind of a learning experience.”
Weiner, who also helped set up Conyers’ leadership PAC, said the mood in the congressman’s office is “very depressed” and current staffers are hoping he can complete his term amid growing pressure to resign.
“His staff is very depressed and think that people are trying to make the die cast against him, and everybody’s trying to work out statements of what to say that’s the right thing to say and it’s very complicated,” he said. “People are hoping that the die hasn’t been cast too far too soon already, and as I said, the staff is hoping very much that, at a minimum, that he gets the chance to complete his term as a member of Congress. That’s the objective right now of the staff.”

Explicit Barton image raises possibility of ‘revenge porn’

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

 

Explicit Barton image raises possibility of ‘revenge porn’

Nude photo goes viral, congressman apologizes

(CNN)After a sexually explicit photo of Texas Republican Rep. Joe Barton surfaced this week on an anonymous Twitter account, the congressman — one of the most senior members of the House of Representatives — is raising the possibility that he’s the victim of “revenge porn,” a criminal act in Texas.

The anonymous tweet, circulated this week on social media, included a nude image of the congressman — which he does not deny is legitimate.
Sarah Dodd of Dodd Communications, who is helping Barton respond to the image, confirmed that the image is of him and on Wednesday the Congressman apologized for not using “better judgment” while separated from his wife and in consensual relationships with women.
“While separated from my second wife, prior to the divorce, I had sexual relationships with other mature adult women,” Barton said in a statement first reported by The Texas Tribune. “Each was consensual. Those relationships have ended. I am sorry I did not use better judgment during those days. I am sorry that I let my constituents down.”
But Dodd told CNN that Barton did not release the image himself and does not know who did.
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“It’s really a violation of his privacy,” she said.
Wednesday evening, an unnamed woman came forward to The Washington Post, telling the newspaper that Barton sent her lewd photos, videos and messages when they had two sexual encounters over the course of five years.
In a 2015 phone call, Barton allegedly confronted the woman over her communications with other women, including her decision to share explicit materials he had sent, the Post reported.
The woman shared that secretly recorded phone call with the paper and, according to the Post, in that call, he warned her against using the explicit images he had sent her, in a way that would negatively affect his career — vowing that he would go to the Capitol Hill police over her actions.
The woman told the Post she took that phone call as a threat, and she never had any intention to use the materials to retaliate against Barton.
Barton, in a statement released through a spokesman, says it was to stop her from publicly releasing the images as “revenge porn.” Revenge porn — when sexually explicit images are posted online without consent — was outlawed in Texas in 2015.
“The Dallas Morning News has identified a potential crime against me and the transcript referenced in the Washington Post may be evidence,” he said. “This woman admitted that we had a consensual relationship. When I ended that relationship, she threatened to publicly share my private photographs and intimate correspondence in retaliation. As the transcript reflects, I offered to take the matter to the Capitol Hill Police to open an investigation. Today, the Capitol Police reached out to me and offered to launch an investigation and I have accepted. Because of the pending investigation, we will have no further comment.”
CNN has not independently confirmed the woman’s account, nor independently viewed the videos or message.
“I was in it for the politics connection,” the woman said of their relationship, in The Washington Post.
“I was kind of unwittingly drawn into it with him because of just the amazement of having a connection to a congressman,” she said, according to the Post.
Barton, the longest-serving member of the Texas House delegation, had announced plans to seek re-election to Congress earlier this month. Dodd said that Barton “is not resigning.”
AshLee Strong, a spokeswoman for House Speaker Paul Ryan, said that the Wisconsin Republican had spoken to Barton, adding, “We will keep those conversations between the two of them.”
She declined to elaborate on the specifics of their exchange.
Dodd said that Barton is using her firm to handle this matter rather than his congressional office because “it’s the holiday weekend” and there have been “a lot of calls” about the image and he needed the “extra help.”
Dodd would not comment as to whether Barton expects other images to surface.

Republican Texas Congressman of 32 Yrs Sends His Naked Pictures On Twitter

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

 

Texas Rep. apologizes for not having ‘better judgment’ after anonymous tweet of graphic image

STORY HIGHLIGHTS

  • Barton announced plans to seek re-election to Congress earlier this month
  • He is the longest serving member of Congress from Texas

Washington (CNN)Texas Republican Rep. Joe Barton on Wednesday apologized for not using “better judgment” while separated from his wife and in consensual relationships with women.

The statement comes in response to an anonymous tweet that included a nude image of Barton. Sarah Dodd of Dodd Communications, who is helping Barton respond to the image, confirmed that the image is of him.
“While separated from my second wife, prior to the divorce, I had sexual relationships with other mature adult women,” Barton said in a statement first reported by The Texas Tribune. “Each was consensual. Those relationships have ended. I am sorry I did not use better judgment during those days. I am sorry that I let my constituents down.”
Dodd told CNN that Barton did not release the image himself and does not know who did.
“It’s really a violation of his privacy,” she said.
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Barton, the longest serving member of the Texas House delegation, had announced plans to seek re-election to Congress earlier this month. Dodd said that Barton “is not resigning.”
AshLee Strong, a spokeswoman for House Speaker Paul Ryan, said that the Wisconsin Republican had spoken to Barton, adding, “We will keep those conversations between the two of them.”
Dodd said that Barton is using her firm to handle this matter rather than his congressional office because “it’s the holiday weekend” and there have been “a lot of calls” about the image and he needed the “extra help.”
Dodd would not comment as to whether Barton expects other images to surface
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