TRADE: HINDERAKER – Vote No; BOLTON – Senate caves; CRUZ – Thieves, thieves, tramps . . .
LEADS: WILLIAMSON – Peak leftism; ITKOWITZ – Toomey/Manchin gun controls; SHANE – Drones; REGAN & JOHN – Spying on the French; BUCHANAN – NATO/Russia; TANNER – Medical pot does zip.
ISLAM: KAMISAR – BO pleads for misunderstood Muslims; ROGIN & LAKE – Iran & US share a base.
THE HILLARY: NICHOLAS & TAU – Blumenthal & Hill’s mail.
END NOTES: BRODY – College loans; FOX LOVES JEB; HOWLEY – O’Keefe detained @ border.
Recommended: JANET – Track the RINOs; Independent Women’s Forum.
Politicians and civil servants manage their present duties to protect their current job and to arrange their next one. BO and Val want to be annoyances for a long, long time . . . we are giving our current royalty the chance to become enormously wealthy and our future royalty . . .
TRADE . . .
John Hinderaker, Powerline: “Republicans Should Vote No On Trade Promotion Authority”
“Republican Congressional leadership has been working with President Obama to pass trade promotion authority, commonly known as “fast track” trade legislation. There is nothing radical about this; pretty much every post-war president has had such authority. But times have changed, in at least a couple of respects.
“First, the traditional purpose of trade agreements has been to reduce tariff barriers. As a free trader, I think this is a great thing. But as tariffs have become pretty much extinct, the main focus now is on non-tariff barriers. If we are talking about quotas, fine; free traders will say, get rid of them. But it isn’t that simple. Environmental regulation, or the lack thereof, can also be considered a non-tariff barrier. There is a real risk that a liberal administration may use trade negotiations to commit the United States to domestic policies that Congress would never pass.
“Second, through most of our history, we could count on the administration in power to watch out for American workers. But that is no longer true. The Obama administration represents an alliance of the wealthy, the government-dependent, the culturally aggrieved, and government employees and contractors. (There is considerable overlap among those groups.) Working-class Americans do not figure in the Obama administration’s, or the Democratic Party’s, calculations. So I have zero faith that trade agreements negotiated by the Obama administration will be intended to benefit American workers, who have taken a terrible battering since Obama assumed the presidency.
“If trade promotion authority passes, several agreements are waiting in the wings, most notably the Trans Pacific Partnership. The terms of the TPP, as they have so far been negotiated, are secret, but can be viewed in a special room by members of Congress. Some of what has leaked out about TPP is cause for concern. The President’s trade representative has said:
‘We will insist on a robust, fully enforceable environment chapter in the TPP or we will not come to agreement… Our proposals would enhance international cooperation and create new opportunities for public participation in environmental governance and enforcement… The United States reiterated our bedrock position on enforceability of the entire environment chapter.’
“So, what does the environmental chapter say? No one knows, except perhaps those who have seen the secret document.
“Worse, news reports indicate that TPP also includes provisions on immigration that promote the ‘mobility of labor.’ Will TPP commit the U.S. to allowing even more immigration of low-skill workers, on top of the historically unprecedented levels we are already accommodating? No one seems to know, or be willing to say.
“Further, TPP would establish a commission that can enter into new agreements so that TPP is a ‘living document.’ We know how well that works.
“Senator Jeff Sessions, the Republican in Washington who most looks out for American workers, is adamantly opposed to granting President Obama fast track authority:
“A vote for fast-track is a vote to erase valuable procedural and substantive powers of Congress concerning a matter of utmost importance involving the very sovereignty of this nation. Without any doubt, the creation of this living commission with all its powers will erode the power of the American people to directly elect—or dismiss from office—the people who impact their lives.
“The Democrats want us to be like the European Union, where millions of people are ruled by unaccountable bureaucrats in Brussels, and national interests are subordinated to the welfare of the trans-national class of the rich, fashionable and politically connected.
“Toward that end, the Obama administration has consistently sold out American workers for the last 6 1/2 years, in order to serve its corporate sponsors in Silicon Valley and elsewhere. Any power we give the Obama administration likely will be used to pursue further sellouts. The time has come to put the brakes on the Left’s effort to drive down the wages of American workers to benefit the ‘Masters of the Universe,’ as Sessions likes to put it.
“Republicans should vote No on trade promotion authority. We need to slow down this process and get a better understanding of what the Trans Pacific Partnership and other trade deals mean for America’s future. And if we are going to grant broad negotiating authority on behalf of the American people, we should grant it to an administration that actually cares about the American people, and not just super-rich donors. Republicans should vote No tomorrow.”
Alexander Bolton, The Hill: “Senate advances fast-track trade bill for Obama”
“The Senate on Tuesday voted to advance President Obama’s trade agenda, approving a measure to end debate on fast-track authority.
The 60-37 motion sets up a vote on final passage on Wednesday. If the Senate approves fast-track or trade promotion authority (TPA), it would then be sent to Obama’s desk to become law.
“Fast-track authority would allow Obama to send trade deals to Congress for up-or-down votes. The White House wants the authority to conclude negotiations on a sweeping trans-Pacific trade deal.
Thirteen Democrats backed fast-track in Tuesday’s vote, handing Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) a major legislative victory. Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) voted against the procedural motion.
“The Democrats cast “yes” votes even though the trade package did not include a workers assistance program for people displaced by increased trade. The Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) program was a part of the last fast-track package approved by the Senate in May, but became a key part of opposition to the package among Democrats in the House.
“To move fast-track forward, the White House and GOP leaders in both chambers decided to break TAA away from fast-track and to try to approve both in separate votes.
“After the Senate votes Wednesday on final passage for fast-track, it will take a procedural vote on a package that includes TAA and trade preferences for African countries known as the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA). . .”
Sen. Ted Cruz, Big Govt: “Exclusive — Ted Cruz: Obamatrade Enmeshed in Corrupt, Backroom Dealings”
“The American people do not trust President Obama. And they do not trust Republican leadership in Congress. And the reason is simple: for far too long, politicians in Washington have not told the truth.
“. . . As a general matter, I agree (as did Ronald Reagan) that free trade is good for America; when we open up foreign markets, it helps American farmers, ranchers, and manufacturers.
“But TPA in this Congress has become enmeshed in corrupt Washington backroom deal-making, along with serious concerns that it would open up the potential for sweeping changes in our laws that trade agreements typically do not include.
“Since the Senate first voted on TPA, there have been two material changes.
“First, WikiLeaks subsequently revealed new troubling information regarding the Trade in Services Agreement, or TiSA, one of the trade deals being negotiated by Obama.
“Despite the administration’s public assurances that it was not negotiating on immigration, several chapters of the TiSA draft posted online explicitly contained potential changes in federal immigration law. TPA would cover TiSA, and therefore these changes would presumably be subject to fast-track.
When TPA last came up for a vote, both Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL)
and I introduced amendments that would have barred fast-track treatment for any trade agreement that attempted to impact immigration law. Two other Republican senators objected, and we were both denied votes on our amendments. Instead, the House inserted substantially weaker language in related legislation.
“At the time that Sessions and I introduced our amendments, many said our fears were unfounded. But now we have far more reason to be concerned.
“Second, TPA’s progress through the House and Senate appears to have been made possible by secret deals between Republican Leadership and the Democrats. . .”
LEADS . . .
JEB backs Common Core, immigration reform, and believes in climate change. Mark Levin, 6/22/15
Kevin Williamson, NRO: “We Have Officially Reached Peak Leftism”
“If it seems to you that the Left has, collectively, lost its damned mind as the curtain rises on the last act of the Obama administration, you are not imagining things. Barack Obama has been extraordinarily successful in his desire to — what was that phrase? — fundamentally transform the country, but the metamorphosis is nonetheless a good deal less than his congregation wanted and expected. We may have gone from being up to our knees in welfare-statism to being up to our hips in it, and from having a bushel of banana-republic corruption and incompetence to having a bushel and a peck of it, but the United States of America remains, to the Left’s dismay, plainly recognizable as herself beneath the muck.
“Ergo, madness and rage.
“We have seen an extraordinary outburst of genuine extremism — and genuine authoritarianism — in the past several months, and it will no doubt grow more intense as we approach the constitutional dethroning of the mock messiah to whom our progressive friends literally sang hymns of praise and swore oaths of allegiance. (“I pledge to be a servant to our president” — recall all that sieg heil creepiness.) There is an unmistakable stink of desperation about this, as though the Left intuits what the Right dares not hope: that the coming few months may in fact see progressivism’s cultural high-water mark for this generation.
“If there is desperation, it probably is because the Left is starting to suspect that the permanent Democratic majority it keeps promising itself may yet fail to materialize. The Democrats won two resounding White House victories but can hardly win a majority in a state legislature (seven out of ten today are Republican-controlled) or a governorship (the Democrats are down to 18) to save their lives, while Republicans are holding their strongest position in Congress since the days of Herbert Hoover. The Democrats have calculated that their best bet in 2016 is Hillary Rodham Clinton, that tragic bag of appetites who couldn’t close the deal in the primary last time around. “Vote for me, I’m a lady” isn’t what they thought it was: Wendy Davis, running for governor of Texas, made all the proper ceremonial incantations and appeared in heroic postures on all the right magazine covers, but finished in the 30s on Election Day. With young people trending pro-life, that old black magic ain’t what it used to be. “For the Left, it feels like time is running out. So it isn’t sufficient that same-sex marriages be legalized; bakers and florists must be locked in prison if they decline to participate in a gay couple’s ceremony. It isn’t sufficient that those wishing to undergo sex-change surgery be permitted to go their own way; the public must pay for it, and if Bruce Jenner is still “Bruce” to you, you must be driven from polite society. It isn’t enough that the Left dominate the media and pop culture; any attempt to compete with it must be criminalized in the name of “getting big money out of politics.” Not the New York Times’s money, or Hollywood’s money, or the CEO of Goldman Sachs’s money — just the wrong sort of people’s money. Every major Democratic presidential candidate and every Democratic senator is on record supporting the repeal of the First Amendment’s free-speech protections — i.e., carving the heart out of the Bill of Rights — to clear the way for putting all public debate under political discipline.
“Like it or not, you will be shackled to hope and change. . . http://www.nationalreview.com/article/420211/left-activist-peak-kevin-d-williamson
Colby Itkowitz, WaPo: “Manchin, Toomey both interested in reviving gun control push”
“In the wake of the Charleston shooting, Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) are considering ways to renew their failed push to expand meaningful background checks on gun purchases.
In separate interviews Tuesday night, at a reception before a ceremony hosted by Sandy Hook families where Toomey was honored, the senators discussed their desire to find a new way forward.
“‘We want to make sure we have the votes. Pat’s going to have to, and I’ll work with him, to get some of our colleagues on the Republican side,’ Manchin said, adding that he hasn’t talked directly to Toomey about a revival. . .”
Scott Shane, NYT: “Documents on 2012 Drone Strike Detail How Terrorists Are Targeted”
“WASHINGTON — Early in 2012, worried that suicide bombers might pass through airline security undetected, American counterterrorism officials ordered a drone strike in Yemen to kill a doctor they believed was working with Al Qaeda to surgically implant explosives in operatives, according to British intelligence documents.
“The documents, previously undisclosed, include details about how terrorism suspects are targeted in drone strikes and how strikes can go wrong at times. The documents also show how closely the National Security Agency has worked in Pakistan and Yemen with its British counterpart, Government Communications Headquarters, or G.C.H.Q.
“Britain has carried out drone strikes only in war zones in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya. The documents raise the possibility that in addition, British intelligence may have helped guide American strikes outside conventional war zones.
“Drone strikes carried out by the C.I.A. and the military’s Joint Special Operations Command have received fresh scrutiny after President Obama disclosed in April that a strike had killed two Western aid workers held hostage by Al Qaeda in Pakistan. In that case, intelligence officers targeting the Qaeda compound had no idea the hostages were there, illustrating how incomplete or faulty information has led to civilian deaths in the drone campaign.
“Last week offered two more examples of the uncertain outcomes of airstrikes. A prominent Algerian terrorist, widely reported dead in a Pentagon strike by F-15s, appears to still be alive. And only several days after a strike in Yemen did American officials learn that an attack had killed the leader of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, who was also the No. 2 leader of Al Qaeda’s global terror network.
“The British documents were provided by Edward J. Snowden, the former N.S.A. contractor, to The Guardian, the British newspaper and global website, and shared with The New York Times.
James Regan & Mark John, Reuters: “NSA spied on French presidents: WikiLeaks”
“The United States National Security Agency spied on French presidents Jacques Chirac, Nicolas Sarkozy and Francois Hollande, WikiLeaks said in a press statement published on Tuesday, citing top secret intelligence reports and technical documents.
“The revelations were first reported in French daily Liberation and on news website Mediapart, which said the NSA spied on the presidents during a period of at least 2006 until May 2012, the month Hollande took over from Sarkozy.
“WikiLeaks said the documents derived from directly targeted NSA surveillance of the communications of Hollande (2012–present), Sarkozy (2007–2012) and Chirac (1995–2007), as well as French cabinet ministers and the French ambassador to the U.S. . .”
Pat Buchanan, Townhall: “NATO-Russia Collision Ahead?”
Thx Ted! Actually it builds a crisis for BO to manage . . .
“‘U.S. Poised to Put Heavy Weaponry in East Europe: A Message to Russia,’ ran the headline in The New York Times.
“In a significant move to deter possible Russian aggression in Europe, the Pentagon is poised to store battle tanks, infantry fighting vehicles and other heavy weapons for as many as 5,000 American troops in several Baltic and Eastern European countries,” said the Times. The sources cited were “American and allied officials.”
“The Pentagon’s message received a reply June 16. Russian Gen. Yuri Yakubov called the U.S. move “the most aggressive step by the Pentagon and NATO since the Cold War.” When Moscow detects U.S. heavy weapons moving into the Baltic, said Yakubov, Russia will “bolster its forces and resources on the western strategic theater of operations.”
“Specifically, Moscow will outfit its missile brigade in Kaliningrad, bordering Lithuania and Poland, “with new Iskander tactical missile systems.” The Iskander can fire nuclear warheads.
“The Pentagon and Congress apparently think Vladimir Putin is a bluffer and, faced by U.S. toughness, will back down. . .”
Lindsey Tanner, AP: “Study: Scant evidence that medical pot helps many illnesses”
For Folmer & Vereb . . .
“CHICAGO (AP) — Medical marijuana has not been proven to work for many illnesses that state laws have approved it for, according to the first comprehensive analysis of research on its potential benefits.
“The strongest evidence is for chronic pain and for muscle stiffness in multiple sclerosis, according to the review, which evaluated 79 studies involving more than 6,000 patients. Evidence was weak for many other conditions, including anxiety, sleep disorders, and Tourette’s syndrome and the authors recommend more research. . .”
ISLAM . . .
Ben Kamisar, The Hill: “Obama laments ‘distorted impression’ of Muslims”
“”Our prayers remain with Charleston and Mother Emanuel church,” Obama said Monday night, using the nickname of the historically black church in Charleston where nine people were killed Wednesday night after a gunman opened fire in a Bible study.
“As Americans, we insist that nobody should be targeted because of who they are, or what they look like, who they love, how they worship. We stand united against these hateful acts.”
Obama lamented the “distorted impression” that many Americans have of Muslims.
“‘Here in America, many people personally don’t know someone who is Muslim. They mostly hear about Muslims in the news — and that can obviously lead to a very distorted impression,’ Obama said. . .”
Josh Rogin & Eli Lake, Bloomberg: “Iran’s Forces and U.S. Share a Base in Iraq”
“The U.S. military and Iranian-backed Shiite militias are getting closer and closer in Iraq, even sharing a base, while Iran uses those militias to expand its influence in Iraq and fight alongside the Bashar al-Assad regime in neighboring Syria.
Two senior administration officials confirmed to us that U.S. soldiers and Shiite militia groups are both using the Taqqadum military base in Anbar, the same Iraqi base where President Obama is sending an additional 450 U.S. military personnel to help train the local forces fighting against the Islamic State. Some of the Iran-backed Shiite militias at the base have killed American soldiers in the past.
Some inside the Obama administration fear that sharing the base puts U.S. soldiers at risk. The U.S. intelligence community has reported back to Washington that representatives of some of the more extreme militias have been spying on U.S. operations at Taqqadum, one senior administration official told us. That could be calamitous if the fragile relationship between the U.S. military and the Shiite militias comes apart and Iran-backed forces decide to again target U.S. troops. . .”
THE HILLARY . . .
Peter Nicholas & Byron Tau, WSJ: “New Emails Offer Window into Blumenthal Role in Hillary Clinton’s Life”
“He advised then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on the need for a “ferocious” bombing campaign in Libya during the U.S.’s 2011 military intervention. He sent flattering notes and told Mrs. Clinton she should take her rightful place in history for helping oust former Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi.
“A new batch of emails released by a congressional committee Monday offers a rare window into the unique and complicated role that Sidney Blumenthal has played in the life of Mrs. Clinton, now the frontrunner for the Democratic presidential nomination.
“The committee had asked Mr. Blumenthal for documents and deposed him last week as part of a broader investigation. . .”
END NOTES . . .
College Loans: Check out the blog post ‘T4T: College Loans’
Blog post added by James Brody: Blog post link: T4T: College Loans
Fox loves JEB . . . Chris Stigall, 6/23/15.
Patrick Howley, Daily Caller: “Feds Detain At Least One Border Crosser…James O’Keefe!”
“Conservative filmmaker James O’Keefe was detained by U.S. Customs and Border Patrol agents Monday while returning through an airport to U.S. soil. Why? Because he once filmed a video in which he crossed the U.S.-Mexico border without going through customs. And customs agents told him he will be detained every single time he enters the country from overseas henceforth.” http://dailycaller.com/2015/06/22/feds-detain-at-least-one-border-crosser-james-okeefe/