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Congress abdicates authority over Syria

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Another national security event and another failure by the American government, specifically Congress, to follow the Constitution. Friday night’s strikes in Syria, despite being “limited,” are another example of the House and Senate abdicating authority to the executive and weaken the separation of power concept the founders put into the hallowed document.

The Constitution is explicit in its language on which branch of government has the power to enter the United States into an armed conflict with another nation. Article I, Section 8 writes, “Congress shall have Power…To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water.” No other branch of government has the right to get American soldiers involved in war, despite claims by presidents, congressional members, and pundits otherwise. The fact presidents, starting with Harry Truman, started going around Congress to get the U.S. involved in wars is execrable.

Yet, Congress also deserves criticism for not asserting its power more when it comes to keeping the U.S. from going into war. The State Department’s archives detail a July 1950 meeting with Truman and then Senate Majority Leader Scott Lucas on whether a resolution declaring war in Korea was necessary (emphasis mine).

Senator Lucas said that to go up and give such a message to Congress might sound as if the President were asking for a declaration of “war.

The President said this was exactly the point. He said that he had not been acting as President but as Commander-in-Chief of our forces in the Far East.

Senator Lucas reported that the President would be practically asking for a declaration of war if he came up to the Congress like this. On the other hand a fireside chat with the people would be good. He said the document itself was wonderful. He would merely leave out the paragraph on the top of page 14…

The President said that it was up to Congress whether such a resolution should be introduced, that he would not suggest it. He said it was not necessary to make the decision today and that he too was just thinking out loud…

Senator Lucas said that he felt he knew the reactions of Congress. He thought that only (Senate Minority Leader Kenneth) Wherry had voiced the view that Congress should be consulted. Many members of Congress had suggested to him that the President should keep away from Congress and avoid debate. He thought a debate on the resolution might last at least a week.

No resolution on whether the U.S. should go to war in Korea was introduced in Congress, and it’s been downhill since then. At least President George W. Bush got the authority from Congress to go to wa-sorry-Authorisation for Use of Military Force in Afghanistan and Iraq, although the text of the former has been used to allow the U.S. to keep its eternal “War on Terror” going. Even House Speaker Paul Ryan suggested President Donald Trump didn’t need to get congressional authority on Syrian airstrikes because of the 2001 AUMF.

The problem with Ryan’s statement is the fact there’s no real concrete evidence tying the Syrian government to terrorist groups, although there are defectors who have claimed otherwise. A part of me wonders if Ryan made this statement because all he can do is point to the 2001 AUMF if the U.S. gets more involved (since we’re already involved in Syria) in a quagmire in Asia. This way it can’t be used by anti-war candidates to hit at any Republicans or Democrats who voted on a war resolution. It’s kind of a smart cop out by Ryan, but still atrocious policy.

The second problem is the text of the 2001 AUMF in general which gives the executive broad power, “to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons, in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States by such nations, organizations or persons.”

There’s an even larger problem in all of this: the fact political parties seem wont to disagree with leadership on military actions. Lucas, a Democrat, told Truman most people in Congress were okay with the U.S. going into Korea without a resolution declaring war. Ryan, a Republican, said the 2001 AUMF gave Trump the authority to go to war in Syria. Michigan Congressman Justin Amash went a step further on Friday to point out this political hypocrisy.

The amusing thing is Congress would probably approve a vote for war in Syria with only few elected officials disagreeing with the strikes. The prevailing belief in Washington, DC is the U.S. needs to be world police and protect the world from itself, so there’s no reason why a resolution couldn’t be offered up. There’s no reason for the U.S. to be involved in Syria, even if it’s limited strikes which will slowly get larger and larger before even more ground troops are involved, something the Pentagon is still considering. It’s fine if Israel, Saudi Arabia, Russia, Yemen, et al want to be involved Syria. America has no business participating in military action in Syria at all. All Syria is doing is proving war never changes, and no one should get involved in a land war in Asia.

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The robot dog that will murder you will also dance on your grave

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To cleanse the palate, obviously I don’t know if there’ll be “graves” as such after the robot apocalypse. I assume it’ll depend on their olfactory capabilities. If they’re not equipped to detect scent, maybe the ‘bots will just leave us where we lie to decay in the sun, our streets transformed into rivers of putrefied viscera from the sheer mass of leaking carcasses.

It’s my great privilege to share thoughts like that with you at the end of a long day.

I’m curious about what possessed Boston Dynamics to put this clip together. Could be nothing more than boredom or a creative way to show off Spot’s motor skills. But I wonder if all the freaky-deaky videos of humanoid robots demonstrating ever more impressive feats of mobility has created a strange sort of PR problem for them. They don’t want every promo they do to seem menacing, however inadvertently. Soon they’ll have people breaking into their factory, trying to stop them before they build the first T-800. Time to do something whimsical instead.

This thing is set to go on sale next year, by the way. Not to everyday consumers; the price tag will likely ensure that it remains a corporate plaything. But you’ll be seeing them around sooner than you think. Plus, some ultra-rich tech bros are destined to buy them and show them off as look-what-I-got novelties. We all know who the first one will be.

Weird but true: In a few decades’ time, this thing shaking its ass in your face as it does a victory twerk might be the last thing you ever see.

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WOW! Claire McCaskill Speaks Out After Project Veritas Reveals She’s a Complete Fraud — Lies and Blames Hawley (VIDEO)

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James O’Keefe strikes again!

On Monday evening, Project Veritas released an undercover video of endangered Missouri Democrat Senator Claire McCaskill admitting to being deceptive about her stance on firearms and immigration policies.

McCaskill is a red-state Democrat Senator so she has to appear pro 2nd Amendment to her constituents because Missourians love their guns.

Claire McCaskill’s staffers were also caught on video saying she puts on a moderate front to get the Republican votes.

The top staffer then continued saying McCaskill believes everything Obama does.

THIS WAS A DEVASTATING VIDEO! Claire McCaskill was COMPLETELY EXPOSED!

Senator McCaskill’s staffers admitted she is pro-DACA, pro-DREAMERS and against the border wall even though she runs ads to the contrary claiming she is strong on border security.
The Project Veritas Video has been viewed over 267,000 times so far!

On Tuesday morning Claire McCaskill responded to the stunning revelations.
McCaskill went on Ozarks First to try to dig herself out of this deep hole.


Claire lied some more, blamed Josh Hawley for the undercover video.

Senator McCaskill: I’ve been very up front about all my positions. I remember this person was trying to get me to say something different than what my positions are… It is startling that Josh Hawley would be part of fraudulently embedding something in my campaign.

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Coincidence or corruption? In Andrew Cuomo’s government it’s hard to tell

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Given the parade of people in the orbit of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo who have recently either been shipped off to jail or come under investigation, it’s amazing that none of the dirt ever sticks to Cuomo himself. How does he account for the various people who funneled money toward his campaign, and then were later discovered to have benefitted from state government “generosity” and wound up in handcuffs? It’s all just a coincidence.

Today we’re hearing news of yet another of these amazing coincidences. This story starts with a situation we first covered more than a year ago and it dealt with some donors who helped Cuomo out during his 2014 campaign. A medical corporation named Crystal Run Healthcare was run by a few people who had funneled more than $400K to Cuomo’s campaigns over the previous four years. When the “Buffalo Billion” was announced (a plan to invest a billion dollars of taxpayer money into projects creating jobs in the western, upstate region) Crytal Run was at the front of the line. They wound up receiving more than $25M dollars for two new medical centers.

But there were some fishy elements to the story. First of all, they had actually broken ground on both of those new projects six months before the grants were even announced or applications were being taken. It’s almost as if they knew they had the money coming from somewhere. Then we found out that the Crystal Run had coughed up a flurry of maximum donations only weeks before the checks to them were cut. In addition to that, there was a meeting held less than two weeks after the announcement of the grants where Crystal Run executives met with state officials, including a top aide from inside Cuomo’s office.

How did Cuomo explain it? It was all just a happy coincidence and the meeting didn’t matter because they didn’t even talk about the grants. The meeting was about Medicaid.

But now the local press has gotten hold of emails from Crystal Run showing that they did indeed discuss their two new developments and the grants, and that the state representatives at the meeting were “very receptive” to their requests. (NY Post)

Now, despite earlier denials from everyone involved, it turns out company execs got a private sitdown with top state officials in 2015, just 12 days after Albany started seeking applications for $1.2 billion in development grants. Crystal Run wound up with $25.4 million of that (the only for-profit company to qualify) for two projects.

Team Cuomo insists those projects never even got mentioned at the meeting, saying it was only about Medicaid. Yet the Albany Times Union reports that an e-mail sent two weeks later by Crystal Run’s chief legal officer stressed that company execs had “shared our vision for growth,” including the two “expansions,” with the health commissioner and a top aide who worked in Cuomo’s office.

Both officials, the e-mail noted, “were, obviously, supportive, as we are bringing real jobs to real people” — and had agreed that “further discussion was warranted” with the state economic-development agency “at the highest levels.”

How much more evidence do we need at this point? Cuomo’s spokespeople obviously lied about what went on at that meeting. They have records from the company who benefitted from it after making massive contributions. (Two of the people involved in organizing these meetings, donations, and windfalls have already been convicted or indicted on related charges.) And yet Andrew Cuomo continues to insist that all the grants were handled fairly and above board. These are all just amazing coincidences. And somehow, while his closest aides head off to the crowbar motel, Cuomo floats along and prosecutors can’t seem to lay a glove on him. On top of that, he’s on track to cruise to electoral victory for another four years in office.

I guess that’s just a happy coincidence too, eh?

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