Lynch Confirmation 50/50 – McCain Against Lynch

Editor’s Note – It is no surprise that Loretta Lynch’s confirmation to succeed Eric Holder as Obama’s Attorney General is on the cusp of needing a tie-breaking vote by VP Joe Biden. What is a surprise is that so far, Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-SC) may vote for her confirmation.

Fortunately, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) is not going to vote yes:john-mccain-lindsey-graham

As two hefty primary challengers loom back home in Arizona ahead of his expected run for re-election to the U.S. Senate, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) has come out publicly against the nomination of U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch to be Attorney General because of her support for President Barack Obama’s executive amnesty.

“No he’s not voting for her, because she called the Obama executive action on immigration ‘reasonable,’” McCain spokesman Brian Rogers said in an email to Breitbart News in response to a breaking story from Politico that Lynch’s nomination is a “cliffhanger” that’s going down to the wire.

Only four Senate Republicans currently publicly support her, meaning that assuming all Democrats vote for her and no other Republicans do, she would have 50 votes—and Vice President Joe Biden would come in to cast the tiebreaker in favor of her nomination. (Read more at Breitbart.)

The vote is next week and we hope for all our sakes, and oddly, Graham’s Presidential aspirations that he changes his mind and follows in the footsteps of his running buddy, McCain.

Loretta Lynch nomination a cliffhanger

She currently has the bare minimum number of votes to succeed Eric Holder.

By Seung Min Kim – Politico

Just days before her nomination as attorney general goes to the Senate floor, Loretta Lynch is stubbornly stuck right around 50 votes — suggesting a confirmation fight the Obama administration once seemed certain to win with relative ease will go down to the wire.

Barring an 11th-hour surprise, Lynch is likely to be confirmed. But with four GOP senators currently backing her along with unanimous support from Senate Democrats, Lynch would secure the bare minimum required to be installed as the nation’s top cop – as long as senators hauled in Vice President Joe Biden to break a tie.AP124250231731-640x480

Several Republican senators who could have been potential “yes” votes are signaling ahead of the confirmation vote that that they will instead vote against her.

The overwhelming bloc of opposition from Republicans stems from President Barack Obama’s executive actions on immigration, and Lynch’s confirmation is also plagued with remnants of congressional Republicans’ toxic relations with current attorney general Eric Holder.

Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) said when he met with Lynch more than two months ago, he asked the federal prosecutor to lay out how the Justice Department’s agenda would differ than that of Holder, who’s led the Justice Department since 2009.

“She told me it would not be different,” Burr recalled of his conversation with the nominee. “I voted against Eric Holder and he’s lived up to exactly what I thought he would.”

But Lynch, who would be the first black woman to lead the Justice Department, is drawing potential opposition on other issues. Republican Sen. Dean Heller said in an interview that he is “leaning no” on the confirmation vote expected next week, a view that is based on Lynch’s answers to his concerns about how to regulate gambling.

The Nevada senator said Lynch’s responses to a letter he sent following up on the issue left him “not very comfortable.”

“She said she has very little knowledge of what occurred in the Wire Act,” a 1961 law that banned certain types of interstate gambling, Heller said. “And yet at the same time, she prosecuted illegal gambling, offshore gambling. You can’t be prosecuting illegal gambling and say you have very little knowledge of the Wire Act itself.”

The confirmation showdown is set for next week. Senate Majority Leader McConnell hasn’t indicated how he will vote, though two members of his leadership team – Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn of Texas and Missouri Sen. Roy Blunt, the fifth-ranking Republican – are confirmed “no” votes.

Senate Republicans who are backing her are Orrin Hatch of Utah, Jeff Flake of Arizona, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Susan Collins of Maine.

Democrats have argued that Republicans’ anger over Obama’s executive actions on immigration – which would halt deportations and give work permits for more than 4 million immigrants here illegally – shouldn’t be a factor in whether or not to confirm Lynch. She said during her confirmation hearing in January that she believes the presidential directives are legal.

But that hasn’t swayed Republican senators, who say they were troubled by her stance on the immigration matter.

The Big Default Lie – Obama Scare Tactics, Blame Game

Editor’s Note – With all the scare tactics being employed by the administration over the continuing resolution (CR) deadlock and the looming debt ceiling issue, it is apparent that the truth is in rare supply. Political ‘optics’ are clearly the driving force and its just abominable.

The White House continues to blame the Republican membership in the House, especially the Tea Party Caucus, and continually lambastes Senator Ted Cruz, but who really is at fault for the so-called shut down and impasse? What is for certain is that the those who constantly employ scare tactics and the blame game are the ones who are indeed to blame. Guilt transference for political game is the artifice of the coward and scoundrel.

Now the big talk is about America’s status on the global economic stage and what the true meaning of default really is; who cares if the Chinese are concerned. They see a political ploy as well and will use any leverage to make us look bad, so isn’t President Obama and Harry Reid actually shouting fire in a crowded theater? Read the facts below, stay informed and stop allowing America’s low-informed folks from being manipulated for political game.

Again, it is their stock in trade to scare and blame, because they know who is really to blame! It is time to hold the President, Harry Reid and John McCain responsible for their lies and personal attacks on our elected representatives in the House and Senators Ted Cruz and Mike Lee, et al.

Obama’s Big Lie-There Won’t Be Default Unless HE Ignores Constitution (We’re Already Over Debt Limit)

From Yidwiththelid

The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned. But neither the United States nor any State shall assume or pay any debt or obligation incurred in aid of insurrection or rebellion against the United States, or any claim for the loss or emancipation of any slave; but all such debts, obligations and claims shall be held illegal and void. US Constitution, Amendment 14 Section 4

 The President is doing his best to frighten Americans and our creditors by claiming if the GOP does not capitulate to his demands and “cleanly” raise the debt ceiling we will default on our debt, damaging forever the full faith and credit of the United States. Simply put, that is a lie!

debt-ceiling

In fact we are already over the debt limit and the sky hasn’t fallen. The present debt limit is $16.999 trillion. According to Treasury Direct, the Dept. of Treasury’s website the US has already surpassed the debt limit by over $47 trillion.

If the October 17th deadline is passed without an increase in the debt ceiling it simply means the government can’t borrow money and has to “live” on the tax revenue it takes in each month (about $250 billion). Interest on the federal debt runs about $20 billion each month leaving money left to run parts of the government.

Screen Shot 2013-10-09 at 8.22.07 AMForbes’ Jeffery Dorman describes one way for the remaining dollars to be spent

The federal government estimates it will collect almost $3 trillion in revenue for the fiscal year that runs from October 1, 2013 until September 30, 2014. Below I demonstrate one possible way the federal government could institute some priorities and spend only the amount it receives in revenue.

To begin with, the interest on the national debt must be paid. I will budget $240 billion for that. The White House is guessing a little lower, but interest rates have been rising, so I will play it safe. Next, social security payments should run about $860 billion. Place that as the second priority and we already have spent $1.1 trillion of the $3 trillion we have.

Holding Medicare spending to about its fiscal year 2013 total and making some small cuts to Medicaid and other health spending would keep health care spending by the government to $860 billion. This does not include additional spending for the Affordable Care Act, but we need to prioritize and I am making it a lower priority than the health spending we have already been incurring. Also, there is no need for extra spending for the Affordable Care Act before January 1 since the coverage does not start until then. So as long as the debt ceiling is raised before then, there is no problem.

Veteran’s benefits will cost another $140 billion if we leave it unchanged. Department of Justice programs and general government functions add another $83 billion if their spending levels are held roughly constant. We can save some money by cutting science funding to $10 billion and international affairs spending to $13 billion which is enough to operate the State Department and embassies, but not pay foreign aid. This takes total spending to $2.2 trillion.

If the debt ceiling deadline is missed the federal government will have to prioritize spending. And despite the scary verbiage, there will not be a default unless Obama himself decides to ignore the constitutional direction that interest on our debt comes first.

Obviously nobody believes deficit spending should be brought down to zero immediately that would be irresponsible and will eventually damage the economy. On the same hand if the debt assuming that a debt ceiling freeze is not a permanent fix and lasts just a short while, the government can operate and our debt can be serviced without a blow to the US economy.

The damage will come when, just as he did with the sequester and the shutdown, Obama acts like a spoiled angry child and prioritizes government spending in a way that will cause the most “hurt” to the American people.

UPDATE Moody’s Agrees

” We believe the government would continue to pay interest and principal on its debt even in the event that the debt limit is not raised, leaving its creditworthiness intact,” the memo says. “The debt limit restricts government expenditures to the amount of its incoming revenues; it does not prohibit the government from servicing its debt. There is no direct connection between the debt limit (actually the exhaustion of the Treasury’s extraordinary measures to raise funds) and a default.

Brennan nomination out of committee, shocking drone letter from Holder

By SUA Staff – The Brennan nomination for CIA Director clears the committee hurdle while Eric Holder sends a shocking letter in response to queries by Sen. Rand Paul. The most transparent administration is of course the opposite as the Senate now must vote on Brennan. Drones in the USA? Policy opinions of the DOJ say lethal force may be used.

Though the CIA is not permitted to operate within the territorial United States, nor may it investigate American citizens here, the military is also prohibited from operating in a law enforcement capacity within the USA as well by the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878. These appear to be open to interpretation by our current administration  its Department of Justice, and now, its nominee for CIA Director, John O. Brennan.

His opinions and his advice to the President, along with his own operations as Chief Counterterrorism Advisor come into great question based on the above law and covert operation across the globe and attacking American citizens. The President who claims that his administration is the most transparent in history has been quite the opposite, especially concerning the Fast and Furious Scandal and the Benghazi attack and murders and now John Brennan due to the intertwining issues of all of the above.

No matter that the Senate asked for a lot of documentation in the process of confirming Brennan as CIA Director, it appears it does not matter to the committee. Why, well the Senate Intelligence Committee voted for his nomination to go to the floor today despite delays surrounding Brennan’s work on drone strikes, DOJ opinion papers, along with the stalemate over Benghazi documents. This was done despite an initial dump of useless documents followed by clearer ones after hackles were raised.

The Senate Intelligence Committee voted Tuesday to approve President Barack Obama’s pick to lead the CIA after winning a behind-the-scenes battle with the White House over access to a series of top-secret legal opinions that justify the use of lethal drone strikes against terror suspects, including American citizens.

John Brennan’s installation at the spy agency has been delayed as Senate Democrats and Republicans have pressed the Obama administration to allow a review of the classified documents prepared by the Justice Department. The senators have argued they can’t perform adequate oversight without reviewing the contents of the opinions, but the White House had resisted requests for full disclosure.

The intelligence committee’s chairwoman, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., said in a statement Tuesday that the committee voted 12-3 to send Brennan’s nomination to the full Senate for confirmation. The panel’s deliberations were held behind closed doors. Feinstein did not identify the senators who voted against Brennan. (Read more here from the Toledo Blade.)

Benghazi Documents – The documents did come forth and there were many surprises. First among them were the fact that they were useless, but they were followed by a second set that was much clearer.

During a speech at the Woodrow Wilson Center on April 30, 2012, John Brennan, President Obama’s nominee to head the CIA, discussed “The Ethics and Efficacy of the U.S. President’s Counterterrorism Strategy.” Brennan explained that President Obama has “pledged to share as much information with the American people ‘so that they can make informed judgments and hold us accountable.’ ” Obama, he continued, “has consistently encouraged those of us on his national security team to be as open and candid as possible.” After all, “our democracy depends” upon “transparency.”

But nearly two years after the May 1, 2011, assault on Osama bin Laden’s compound, the Obama administration has made public just 17 documents out of the huge cache of information captured during that raid. U.S. intelligence officials tell The Weekly Standard that the vast collection includes “hundreds of thousands of documents and files.” Obama administration officials themselves have referred to the documents as a “treasure trove” the size of a “small college library.” Why hasn’t the public seen them?

One of the main reasons: John Brennan. (Read more here at Fox News.)

Continuing from Fox News:

But the first batch of documents contained hundreds of pages that were of no use, the source said.

“It was so redacted that there was no information whatsoever,” said the source, who spoke to Fox on the condition they not be identified. “There were some documents that were 100 pages with every word on the page redacted. They were worthless.”

A second set of documents were delivered to Capitol Hill Thursday night which had only minimal redactions.

So it appears, at least 12 of the 15 members of the committee were satisfied despite the fact that America still knows so little and we know Congress is still trying to access the many witnesses, many reported to be under lock down and the suspects held by other governments like Egypt. The trouble is, his nomination now comes to the entire body of the Senate and many are still dead set against his nomination. Then we see a letter released today from Eric Holder to Sen. Rand Paul regarding drone use policy:

Eric Holder responds to Rand Paul on Drone use – The most important part of Eric Holder’s letter is excerpted here. The main phrase: “…imagine an extraordinary circumstance in which it would be necessary and appropriate under the Constitution and applicable laws of the United States for the President to authorize the military to use lethal force within the territory of the United States…” has everyone asking questions, especially since he authorized use on American citizens overseas:

SUA once again states emphatically: John Brennan is unfit for the position, and that does not even include his dubious connections and predilections to jihadism. Now it appears the administration believes you are open game, even here in America.

Read Eric Holder’s entire letter to Rand Paul here.

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Eric Holder: Drone strikes against Americans on U.S. soil are legal

By Joel Gehrke – Washington Examiner

Attorney General Eric Holder can imagine a scenario in which it would be constitutional to carry out a drone strike against an American on American soil, he wrote in a letter to Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky.

“It is possible, I suppose, to imagine an extraordinary circumstance in which it would be necessary and appropriate under the Constitution and applicable laws of the United States for the President to authorize the military to use lethal force within the territory of the United States,” Holder replied in a letter yesterday to Paul’s question about whether Obama “has the power to authorize lethal force, such as a drone strike, against a U.S. citizen on U.S. soil, and without trial.”

Paul condemned the idea. “The U.S. Attorney General’s refusal to rule out the possibility of drone strikes on American citizens and on American soil is more than frightening – it is an affront the Constitutional due process rights of all Americans,” he said in a statement.

Holder noted that Paul’s question was “entirely hypothetical [and] unlikely to occur,” but cited the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks as the type of incidents that might provoke such a response.

“Were such an emergency to arise, I would examine the particular facts and circumstances before advising the President on the scope of his authority,” he concluded.

Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, an attorney and Judiciary Committee member, told The Washington Examiner last month that the drone policy so far outlined by the administration is too vague.

“That has the potential to swallow the rule,” Lee said after the drone program white paper was leaked. “If you’re going to regard somebody as presenting an imminent threat of an attack on the U.S. simply because you have concluded that they are an ‘operational leader’ or they are involved in planning an attack in one way or another, you find yourself giving way to much discretion to the government.”

Lee said that the White House should release the formal legal analysis underpinning the drone program. “We know that in some instances where the government has released its legal analysis, it gets it wrong,” he said.

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Deal on Drone Documents Opens Path for Brennan

By Tim Starks – Roll Call Staff

The confirmation prospects for John O. Brennan to become CIA director got a boost Tuesday with Senate Intelligence Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein announcing that the administration would supply her panel with additional legal opinions on the targeted killing of U.S. citizens suspected of terrorism overseas.

Senators on both sides of the aisle had demanded the documents, but the committee had only viewed four of the 11 Office of Legal Counsel memos, and Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., had not ruled out the possibility of putting a hold on Brennan’s nomination until the rest were handed over. Feinstein’s announcement appears to remove that threat to his confirmation.

“I have reached an agreement with the White House to provide the committee access to all OLC opinions related to the targeted killing of Americans in a way that allows members to fulfill their oversight responsibilities,” the California Democrat said in a press release. “I am pleased the administration has made this information available. It is important for the committee to do its work and will pave the way for the confirmation of John Brennan to be CIA director.”

The committee was slated to vote on his nomination Tuesday afternoon. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said Monday that he plans a full Senate vote on Brennan this week.

Wyden, along with fellow Intelligence panel members Mark Udall, D-Colo., and Susan Collins, R-Maine, praised the administration’s decision to share the legal opinions.

“We anticipate supporting the nomination of John Brennan to be Director of the CIA and we appreciate that the executive branch has provided us with the documents needed to consider this nomination,” the trio said Tuesday in a written statement. “Mr. Brennan will be the principled and effective leader that the dedicated men and women of the CIA deserve and we look forward to working with him in his new capacity.”

They also suggested that they would consider legislation related to drone strikes in the future.

“The appropriate next step should be to bring the American people into this debate and for Congress to consider ways to ensure that the President’s sweeping authorities are subject to appropriate limitations, oversight, and safeguards,” they wrote.

The agreement on the drone documents does not clear every barrier to Brennan’s confirmation, however.

Republican Sens. John McCain of Arizona and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina have both threatened holds over information related to last year’s terrorist attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya.

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., has also threatened a hold until the Obama administration answers publicly whether it can conduct drone strikes within the United States.

Read Eric Holder’s entire letter to Rand Paul here.

Paul said Tuesday that he received a useful answer from Brennan in a recent letter.

“In the letter, Brennan says that he agrees the CIA should not and it’s against the law for them to operate on U.S. soil,” he said. “That is the answer I was looking for.”

But Paul added that he received a more equivocal answer from Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr.

“He basically said that they don’t intend to do it and they probably won’t do it but he can imagine a circumstance where they might,” Paul said. “My problem is I don’t know the exact number but if I had to guess a significant number of the drone strikes are on people walking down a pathway, people eating dinner, people in a cafe. They may be bad people but you can’t use that kind of standard in the United States to kill people eating in a cafe in San Francisco because they emailed somebody.”

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Beware America – these are not confident times!