Tuesday, July 28, 2015

WHAT WAS HAL ROGERS THINKING WHEN HE VOTED THE WAY HE DID? WHERE DO YOU STAND ON THE ISSUES?







Contact: 202-225-4601
Website: http://halrogers.house.gov

Name: Harold Rogers


Congress: Kentucky, District: 5, Republican


Cumulative Freedom Index Score: 52%


Status: Active Member of the House

Score Breakdown:
50% (114th Congress: 2015-2016); 40% (113th Congress: 2013-2014); 64% (112th Congress: 2011-2012); 80% (111th Congress: 2009-2010); 58% (110th Congress: 2007-2008); 35% (109th Congress: 2005-2006); 37% (108th Congress: 2003-2004); 44% (107th Congress: 2001-2002); 59% (106th Congress: 1999-2000)


Key Votes:




H R 1314: Trade Act of 2015
Vote Date: June 12, 2015Vote: AYEBad Vote.
Trade Promotion Authority.
The House held separate roll call votes on the Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) and Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) sections of H.R. 1314. The TPA portion of the bill would renew the on-again-offagain "fast track authority" that Congress has often awarded to the president over the past several decades. The essential features of TPA are: (1) Congress unconstitutionally delegates its constitutional authority "to regulate commerce with foreign nations" to the Executive Branch; and (2) Congress dramatically increases the probability of approval of foreign trade agreements by restricting itself to voting up or down by simple majority on the agreements, as negotiated and submitted by the president, with no ability to amend the agreements and with no possibility of filibusters in the Senate.

So-called free-trade agreements that have already been passed under previously awarded "fast track authority," such as the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), and the currently proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), have in common a structure and purpose that would create supranational political entities that would supersede the national independence of the United States. Genuine free trade would mean the absence of government involvement, but these agreements entail more than just trade and put the United States on a trajectory to regional governance similar to Europe's trajectory from a Common Market to the EU.

The House agreed to the TPA section of H.R. 1314 on June 12, 2015 by a vote of 219 to 211 (Roll Call 362). We have assigned pluses to the nays because TPA would facilitate the subordination of the national independence of the United States to regional trading blocs."

KENNETH STEPP BELIEVES THAT AMERICA SHOULD RETAIN OUR INDEPENDENCE!





H R 2393: Country of Origin Labeling Amendments Act of 2015
Vote Date: June 10, 2015Vote: AYEBad Vote.
Country of Origin Labeling.
The proposed Country of Origin Labeling Amendments Act of 2015 (H.R. 2393) would amend the Agricultural Marketing Act of 1946 to repeal the requirements of Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) for beef, chicken, and pork sold in the United States. This vote came after the World Trade Organization's recent ruling against an appeal from the United States to keep its COOL. Representative Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) opposed passage of the bill to repeal COOL. From the House floor, Massie elaborated: "What is the World Trade Organization, and who are they to tell Congress what laws we have to pass? These judges weren't appointed by the President. They weren't confirmed by the Senate. These are not judges from our Constitution. These are extra-constitutional judges, yet they are telling us here in Congress you have got to do this or there will be repercussions."

The House passed H.R. 2393 on June 10, 2015 by a vote of 300 to 131 (Roll Call 333). We have assigned pluses to the nays because this bill would cede national sovereignty over food-related choices and regulations to the WTO. Moreover, this bill would prevent American consumers from knowing where their food comes from."

KENNETH STEPP BELIEVES THAT AMERICANS HAVE A RIGHT TO KNOW WHERE OUR FOOD COMES FROM.  IF WE GET A CAN OF FISH FROM ISIS [those people that lop off Coptic Christian and American and Japanese Journalists heads on YouTube] it should plainly state "PRODUCED IN ISIS" on the side of the can.  I have bought cans of food from overseas--more than I'd buy now.  So what if we get pitched out of the WORLD TRADE ORGANIZATION (WTO)or even the INTERNATIONAL MONETARY FUND (IMF)?  If we do, we'll go it alone and do better without those people that try to regulate us from overseas.  Wasn't Taxation Without Representation the battle cry of the American Revolution?  Why do we turn our backs on the beliefs of our forefathers now?  A Nay vote would protect a Congressman from buying a cancer-laden can of poisoned pork also.  We're all in the same boat.   You wanted the present Congress, so you voted for it!  Are you going to vote for the same group of people next time?





H R 1732: Regulatory Integrity Protection Act
Vote Date: May 12, 2015Vote: AYEGood Vote.
EPA Waters Regulations.





H R 1731: National Cybersecurity Protection Advancement Act of 2015
Vote Date: April 23, 2015Vote: AYEBad Vote.
Cyberspace Intelligence Sharing.
The proposed National Cybersecurity Protection Advancement Act (NCPA) of 2015 (H.R. 1731) would amend the Homeland Security Act of 2002 to expand the role of the Department of Homeland Security's National Cybersecurity and Communication Integration Center, designating it the principal federal entity to receive and disseminate information about cyberspace threats from and to private companies and other federal agencies.

Expressing opposition to both H.R. 1731 and H.R. 1560, another related cybersecurity intelligence bill, Congressman Justin Amash (R-Mich.) said, "As drafted, these bills violate the Fourth Amendment, override privacy laws, and give the government unwarranted access to the personal information of potentially millions of Americans."

The House passed H.R. 1731 on April 23, 2015 by a vote of 355 to 63 (Roll Call 173). We have assigned pluses to the nays because this bill would further empower the unconstitutional Department of Homeland Security, erode the privacy protections enshrined in the Constitution, and gradually move the United States closer to becoming a police state."

We are pretty close to being a police state already, Buckaroo!  What could a police state do that your police can't do now?  Think about it.





H R 1105: Death Tax Repeal Act
Vote Date: April 16, 2015Vote: AYEGood Vote.
Estate Tax Repeal.
H.R. 1105, the Death Tax Repeal Act of 2015, would amend the Internal Revenue Code to repeal the estate tax.





H RES 162: Calling on the President to provide Ukraine with military assistance to defend its sovereignty and territorial integrity.
Vote Date: March 23, 2015Vote: AYEBad Vote.
Ukraine Military Aid.
House Resolution 162, which calls on the president "to provide Ukraine with military assistance to defend its sovereignty and territorial integrity," allows President Obama to provide Ukraine with defensive weapons to defend against aggression from Russia.

The House adopted H. Res. 162 on March 23, 2015 by a vote of 348 to 48 (Roll Call 131). We have assigned pluses to the nays not only because foreign aid is unconstitutional but also because this bill would further interject the United States into a foreign conflict. Allowing the U.S. president to provide lethal arms to Ukraine in order to fight Russia is tantamount to waging a proxy war on Russia without the constitutionally required congressional declaration of war. The House, by giving such power to the president, is relinquishing one of its constitutional responsibilities."



The Ukraine, former home of Nikita Khruschev, had the opportunity to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (N.A.T.O.  and for you Latin Scholars, nato means "I swim" and we all swim together in N.A.T.O.)  Why did they not join N.A.T.O. at an earlier time?  We should keep on signing up N.A.T.O. members from Mongolia to  Lithuania, but we should act in enlightened self interest, and only accept alliances that are beneficial to the United States.  How does being an ally with the Ukraine benefit the United States?  Russia had better remember that Stalin is gone, the Soviet Union is gone, it's a one power world now, and that power is the United States, so they'd better tow the line!





H R 749: To reauthorize Federal support for passenger rail programs and for other purposes
Vote Date: March 4, 2015Vote: AYEBad Vote.
Amtrak Reauthorization.
The proposed Passenger Rail Reform and Investment Act of 2015 (H.R. 749) would authorize $7.2 billion for Amtrak funding over the next four years, through 2019. Representative Tom McClintock (R-Calif.), who opposed the reauthorization of federal funds to Amtrak, noted: "We will shell out $45 every time a passenger steps aboard an Amtrak train. That is $45 per passenger per trip and directly billed to taxpayers, up from $32 from six years ago. Despite endless promises, things aren't getting better."

The House passed H.R. 749 on March 4, 2015 by a vote of 316 to 101 (Roll Call 112). We have assigned pluses to the nays because spending billions of tax dollars for Amtrak transportation is unconstitutional, and the spending has no chance of boosting the prospects of Amtrak to make it self-sufficient."



Hal should have voted against this.  How does this benefit Kentucky?   Hardly at all.  Amtrak only loops through a northern corner of Kentucky.  If it's not good for Kentucky Hal should vote against it.  This is a boondoggle that doesn't even enter the Fifth District.   Kenneth Stepp prefers Federal Money for obsolete systems to be spent in the Fifth District and not elsewhere.





H R 596: To repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and health care-related provisions in the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010, and for other purposes
Vote Date: February 3, 2015Vote: AYE

ObamaCare Repeal. 
Kenneth Stepp would have voted NAY!
 





H R 7: To prohibit taxpayer funded abortions.
Vote Date: January 22, 2015Vote: AYEGood Vote.






H R 240: On Agreeing to the Amendment 1 to H R 240
Vote Date: January 14, 2015Vote: AYEGood Vote.
Executive Action on Immigration. 





H R 83: An Act to require the Secretary of the Interior to assemble a team of experts to address the energy needs of the insular areas of the United States and Freely Associated States through the development of energy action plans aimed at promoting access to energy
Vote Date: December 11, 2014Vote: AYEBad Vote.
Omnibus Appropriations.
According to Congressional Quarterly, H.R. 83, dubbed the "CRomnibus bill" (combination of Continuing Resolution and Omnibus), "would provide $1.013 trillion in discretionary appropriations in fiscal 2015 for federal departments and agencies covered by the 12 unfinished fiscal 2015 spending bills. Included in that total is: $20.6 billion for Agriculture; $61.1 billion for Commerce-Justice-Science; $554.2 billion for Defense, including $64 billion for overseas contingency operations associated with the war in Afghanistan, the fight against ISIS and other counterterrorism operations; $34.2 billion for Energy-Water; $43.2 billion for Financial Services; $30 billion for Interior-Environment; $158.2 billion for Labor-HHS-Education; $4.3 billion for the Legislative Branch; $71.8 billion for Military Construction-VA; $52 billion for State-Foreign Operations; and $53.5 billion for Transportation-HUD. The measure contains full fiscal year funding for all departments except for Homeland Security, which would be funded at current levels until Feb. 27, 2015."

The House concurred with the Senate version of the bill on December 11, 2014 by a vote of 219 to 206 (Roll Call 563). We have assigned pluses to the nays because with this fiscal 2015 omnibus appropriations bill Congress is failing to address its fiscally and constitutionally irresponsible budgeting and appropriating process that is currently yielding annual federal deficits measured in the hundreds of billions of dollars that contribute directly to the dramatic growth of our already $18 trillion national debt."

Hal should have voted against this!  We need to get our runaway national debt under control!   The Republican Spendthrift Congress is about to put us under!  Elect more Democrats!





H R 5759: To establish a rule of construction clarifying the limitations on executive authority to provide certain forms of immigration relief
Vote Date: December 4, 2014Vote: AYEGood Vote.
Executive Action on Immigration.
 





H R 5682: To approve the Keystone XL Pipeline
Vote Date: November 14, 2014Vote: AYEGood Vote.
Keystone XL Pipeline.
 





H R 24: To require a full audit of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System and the Federal reserve banks by the Comptroller General of the United States, and for other purposes
Vote Date: September 17, 2014Vote: AYEGood Vote.
Federal Reserve Audit.
 





H R 5078: Waters of the United States Regulatory Overreach Protection Act
Vote Date: September 9, 2014Vote: AYEGood Vote.
Water Regulation.
 





H R 4899: Lowering Gasoline Prices to Fuel an America That Works Act
Vote Date: June 26, 2014Vote: AYEGood Vote.
Oil and Gas Exploration.
 





H R 4870: On Agreeing to the Amendment 69 to H R 4870
Vote Date: June 19, 2014Vote: NAYBad Vote.
Surveillance.
During consideration of the Defense Appropriations bill, Representative Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) introduced an amendment to prevent defense funds from being used to allow U.S. intelligence agencies to sift through electronic metadata that contains the personal information of U.S. citizens or legal residents. Massie's amendment would also prohibit funds from being used by the NSA for "backdoor" surveillance - requiring or requesting the redesign of a product to facilitate the electronic surveillance of a person who uses it.

As Massie said during debate on his amendment, "The American people are sick of being spied on. Our Founding Fathers wrote an important provision into the Bill of Rights - the Fourth Amendment - and that requires probable cause and a warrant before the government and government agents can snoop on any American."

The House adopted Massie's amendment on June 19, 2014 by a vote of 293-123 (Roll Call 327). We have assigned pluses to the yeas because Massie's amendment seeks to uphold the Constitution and its protection of privacy rights. Any attempt to curtail the surveillance state and restore constitutional protections to Americans is good."

Hal Rogers should have voted YEA to this because because Massie's amendment seeks to uphold the Constitution and its protection of privacy rights. Any attempt to curtail the surveillance state and restore constitutional protections to Americans is good





H R 4870: On Agreeing to the Amendment 51 to H R 4870
Vote Date: June 19, 2014Vote: NAYBad Vote.
Weapons to Syrian Rebels.
During consideration of the Defense Appropriations bill, Representative Jeff Fortenberry (R-Neb.) introduced an amendment that would have prohibited any funding in the bill from being used to provide weapons to Syrian rebels. Fortenberry noted on the House floor that "the rebel movement is a battleground of shifting alliances and bloody conflicts between groups that now include multinational terrorist organizations," that "sending our weapons into this chaotic war zone could inadvertently help these extremists," and that "it has already happened." He added: "The naive notion that we can deliver weapons to vetted, moderate opposition groups at war with other rebel militias gives no guarantee that our weaponry won't be seized or diverted."

The House rejected Fortenberry's amendment on June 19, 2014 by a vote of 167 to 244 (Roll Call 328). We have assigned pluses to the yeas because arming "moderate" rebels in a foreign country is tantamount to going to war, which would require a declaration of war by Congress. Also, the United States should follow the Founders' advice not to become involved in foreign quarrels."



Hal Rogers should have voted YEA to this because arming "moderate" rebels in a foreign country is tantamount to going to war, which would require a declaration of war by Congress. Also, the United States should follow the Founders' advice not to become involved in foreign quarrels.





H R 4870: On Agreeing to the Amendment 52 to H R 4870
Vote Date: June 19, 2014Vote: NAYBad Vote.
Militarizing Local Police.
During consideration of the Defense Appropriations bill, Representative Alan Grayson (D-Fla.) introduced an amendment that would have prohibited any funding in the bill from being used to transfer excess military equipment, such as aircraft (including drones), armored vehicles, grenade launchers, and bombs, to local police departments. "Those weapons have no place in our streets, regardless of who may be deploying them," Grayson said in remarks supporting his amendment.

The House rejected Grayson's amendment on June 19, 2014 by a vote of 62 to 355 (Roll Call 329). We have assigned pluses to the yeas because the proper role of local police is undermined by converting them into militarized units more suitable for occupying hostile territory than for protecting their local communities from the criminal element. Providing local police with "free" U.S. military equipment also greases the skids for more federal control, leading ultimately to nationalized police beholden to Washington as opposed to independent police departments beholden to local citizens acting through their elected officials."

Hal Rogers should have voted YEA on this.  Kenneth Stepp one lived in just outside a town that had a S.W.A.T. team--which was unnecessary.   We don't need little S.W.A.T. teams roaming the hills of Kentucky.   Providing local police with "free" U.S. military equipment also greases the skids for more federal control, leading ultimately to nationalized police beholden to Washington as opposed to independent police departments beholden to local citizens acting through their elected officials.





H R 4870: On Agreeing to the Amendment 56 to H R 4870
Vote Date: June 19, 2014Vote: NAYBad Vote.
Military Operations in Afghanistan.
During consideration of the Defense Appropriations bill, Representative Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) introduced an amendment that would have barred any funding in the bill from being used "pursuant to the Authorization for Use of Military Force [AUMF] ... after December 31, 2014," the date that was set as the official end of U.S. combat operations in Afghanistan. Enacted in 2001 in the wake of 9/11, the AUMF has been invoked numerous times by the executive branch for U.S. military intervention not only in Afghanistan but elsewhere.

The House rejected Lee's amendment on June 19, 2014 by a vote of 157 to 260 (Roll Call 330). We have assigned pluses to the yeas because presidents have been able to claim broad authority to go to war whenever or wherever they choose under the AUMF, despite the fact that the Founding Fathers never intended for one man to make this decision and under the Constitution only Congress may "declare war."

Hal Rogers should have voted YEA for this because  presidents have been able to claim broad authority to go to war whenever or wherever they choose under the AUMF, despite the fact that the Founding Fathers never intended for one man to make this decision and under the Constitution only Congress may "declare war."





H R 4435: On Agreeing to the Amendment 13 to H R 4435
Vote Date: May 22, 2014Vote: NAYBad Vote.
Indefinite Military Detention.

During consideration of the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal 2015 (NDAA, H.R. 4435), Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.) introduced an amendment to prohibit the indefinite military detention of any person detained under the Authorization for the Use of Military Force authority in the United States, its territories, or possessions by providing immediate transfer to a trial and proceedings by a court. It also would strike language that would provide for mandatory military custody of covered parties.

The House rejected Smith's amendment on May 22, 2014 by a vote of 191 to 230 (Roll Call 234). We have assigned pluses to the yeas because any attempt to limit or prohibit indefinite military detention is desirable, especially since persons detained may include U.S. citizens. Indefinite military detention is a blatant violation of the Sixth Amendment, and an executive who can wield such powers is akin to a monarch or dictator. As Rep. Smith said during consideration of the amendment: "That is an enormous amount of power to give the Executive: to take someone and lock them up without due process. It is not necessary. This President has not used the authority. President George W. Bush did not use it after about 2002 and then only in a couple of instances. It is not necessary. It is an enormous amount of power to grant the Executive, and I believe places liberty and freedom at risk in this country."

Hal Rogers should have voted YEA for the amendment because pluses to the yeas because any attempt to limit or prohibit indefinite military detention is desirable, especially since persons detained may include U.S. citizens. Indefinite military detention is a blatant violation of the Sixth Amendment, and an executive who can wield such powers is akin to a monarch or dictator.






H R 4435: On Agreeing to the Amendment 17 to H R 4435
Vote Date: May 22, 2014Vote: NAYBad Vote.
Use of Military Force.

During consideration of the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal 2015 (NDAA, H.R. 4435), Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) introduced an amendment to sunset the 2001 Authorization for the Use of Military Force 12 months after the enactment of the 2015 NDAA.

The House rejected Schiff's amendment on May 22, 2014 by a vote of 191 to 233 (Roll Call 237). We have assigned pluses to the yeas because the Authorization for the Use of Military Force, while granted by Congress, gives the president almost unlimited powers to invade countries, overthrow governments, and assassinate people under the pretext of waging the "war on terror." Congress essentially handed over its constitutional authority to declare war to the executive branch, thus giving the executive unconstitutional abilities. Any attempt to end the Authorization for the Use of Military Force is a step in the right direction."

      Hal Rogers should have voted YEA to this amendment because  the Authorization for the Use of Military Force, while granted by Congress, gives the president almost unlimited powers to invade countries, overthrow governments, and assassinate people under the pretext of waging the "war on terror." Congress essentially handed over its constitutional authority to declare war to the executive branch.





H R 4152: To provide for the costs of loan guarantees for Ukraine
Vote Date: April 1, 2014Vote: AYEBad Vote.
Ukraine Aid.

This bill (H.R. 4152), as amended by the Senate (see Senate vote below), would provide $150 million for direct aid to Ukraine. It would also provide for loan guarantees (meaning that U.S. taxpayers would be stuck holding the bag if the loans are not paid). And it would impose sanctions on Russian and ex-Ukrainian officials deemed responsible for the crisis in the Ukraine.

[ The Senate version of this legislation - offered in the form of a substitute amendment to the House version, H.R. 4152 - would provide $150 million for direct aid to Ukraine. It would also provide for loan guarantees (meaning that the U.S. taxpayers would be stuck holding the bag if the loans are not paid). And it would impose sanctions on Russian and ex-Ukrainian officials deemed responsible for the crisis in the Ukraine. ]

The House voted for this legislation on April 1, 2014 by a vote of 378 to 34 (Roll Call 149). We have assigned pluses to the nays because foreign aid is unconstitutional. The rationale for providing U.S. aid to Ukraine is that the country needs our assistance to resist Russian hegemony and build "democracy." Yet the oligarchs wielding power in Ukraine are hardly "democrats," and (because money is fungible) U.S. assistance could effectively be funneled to Russia in the form of Ukrainian energy and debt payments."



Hal Rogers should have voted NAY to this bill, because The rationale for providing U.S. aid to Ukraine is that the country needs our assistance to resist Russian hegemony and build "democracy." Yet the oligarchs wielding power in Ukraine are hardly "democrats," and (because money is fungible) U.S. assistance could effectively be funneled to Russia in the form of Ukrainian energy and debt payments.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Cancer Deaths per 100,000 in certain countries.

My family and I had taken an interest in alternative treatments for cancers.  We were interested in the oxygen treatment where a person drinks a mixture of a glass of distilled water mixed with three drops of a special type of hydrogen peroxide that is safe for human internal consumption.  An article I read stated that that procedure is fairly commonly used as a treatment in the nations of Austria, Cuba, Germany, Italy, Mexico, and Russia, but not in the United States.  If the treatment is effective, you would expect the other nations to have a lower cancer death rate than does the United States.  Let's look at the basic figures:
Nation         Death Rate From All Cancers per 100,000 Persons

United States           123.8

Austria                    123.6
Cuba                       143.6
Germany                 127.5
Italy                         124.2
Mexico                      81.5
Russia                     129.8
 Average of the 6:   121.7             

That could be taken as evidence that alternate medicine treatment of cancer including oxygen and hydrogen peroxide therapy have beneficial effects where used.
Kenneth Stepp.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

ALLIANCES

Allies Are Not Like Facebook Friends: US Should Drop Useless and Dangerous Alliances


Posted: Updated:

If America ends up at war, it almost certainly will be on behalf of one ally or another. Washington collects allies like most people collect Facebook "friends." The vast majority of U.S. allies are security liabilities, tripwires for conflict and war.
Perhaps even worse, American officials constantly abase themselves, determined to reassure the very countries which the U.S. is defending at great cost and risk. Indeed, America's most hawkish politicians, who routinely posture like reincarnations of Winston Churchill, routinely talk of sacrificing U.S. lives, wealth, and security for the benefit of other nations. For instance, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fl.) recently worried, "What ally around the world can feel safe in their alliance with us?" The more relevant question should be with what ally can America feel safe?
Instead of relentlessly collecting more international dependents, Washington policymakers should drop Allies In Name Only (AINOs). The U.S. should return to a more traditional standard for alliances: Join with other nations only when doing so advances American security. Alas, that rarely is the case today.
Indeed, contra the scare-mongering of hawkish politicians such as Sen. Rubio and his GOP compatriots, the strategic environment today is remarkably benign for the U.S. The world is messy, to be sure, but that's always been the case. The number of big conflicts is down. More important, America faces no hegemonic threat or peer competitor and is allied with every major industrialized state other than China and Russia.
All of Washington's recent wars have been over -- from America's standpoint -- unimportant, indeed, sometimes frivolous stakes. The Islamic State, Libya and Iraq were regional problems for U.S. allies with minimal impact on America. Iran and North Korea are ugly actors, but mostly for Washington's dependents. The two would face destruction if they attacked America. The latest crisis du jour, Yemen, worries Riyadh but is not even a speed bump for the globe's sole superpower. Yet Washington now is involved in another sectarian proxy war through its totalitarian "ally" Saudi Arabia.
Terrorism remains a genuine threat, but falls far short of the sort of existential danger posed by the Soviet Union during the Cold War. Worse, terrorism typically is a response to foreign intervention and occupation. Washington has inadvertently encouraged terrorism by backing authoritarian regimes, joining foreign conflicts, and creating enemies overseas. America has done some of the worst damage to itself when protecting the interests of allies -- fighting their wars, killing their enemies, backing their campaigns, advancing their interests.
Adding unnecessary allies obviously makes this problem worse. In Ukraine, for instance, the Obama administration is under pressure to treat a non-ally as an ally -- arming and/or defending Russia's neighbor -- which would yield a proxy war with Russia, a nuclear-armed state which considers border security a vital interest. Bringing Ukraine (and Georgia) into NATO would be even more dangerous, inviting a geopolitical game of chicken over minimal stakes. Neither country has ever been considered even a marginal security concern of America. In contrast, both were long ruled by Moscow, which sees their links to the West as a form of encirclement, capping the extension of NATO up to Russia's borders.
Of course, both nations have been treated unfairly and badly by Moscow. But that doesn't justify a military alliance with the U.S. Alliances should be based on interest, not charity. They should not be an end, an independent security interest, but a means to an end, to protect America. Adding troubled states with limited military capabilities and unresolved conflicts turns the purpose of alliances on their head.
The U.S. long eschewed alliances and other "foreign entanglements," against which George Washington had warned. Even in World War I, a foolish imperial slugfest of no concern to America, Woodrow Wilson brought in the U.S. only as an "associated power." Popular and congressional opposition then prevented Wilson from guaranteeing the allied powers' post-war territorial seizures. Nevertheless, Washington's involvement was a catastrophic mistake, making possible the Versailles Treaty, which turned out to be only a generational truce before the combatants returned to fight a second and far bloodier round.
The extraordinary circumstances of World War II led to a genuine and justifiable alliance. During the Cold War the U.S. created what were intended to be temporary alliances. This policy was justified by the vulnerability of America's war-ravaged friends and hostility of the great communist powers, China and the Soviet Union. But even Dwight Eisenhower warned against turning the Europeans into permanent dependents. It makes no sense for Washington to retain responsibility for defending a continent with a larger economy and population than America -- and vastly greater resources than its only serious potential threat, Russia.
Much the same has happened in Asia, which Washington filled with allies after World War II. Even as Japan became the world's second economic power Tokyo relied on the American military. South Korea now has 40 times the GDP and twice the population of the North, yet Washington is responsible for the South's defense.
The problem is not just wasted resources, but tripwires for war. Alliances deter, but they also ensure involvement if deterrence fails, as it often does. And lending smaller states the services of a superpower's military changes their behavior, causing them to be more confrontational, even reckless. America and China aren't likely to come to blows over, say, Hawaii, which Beijing has no intention of attacking. But conflict could erupt over irrelevant allied territorial disputes, such as the Senkaku Islands and Scarborough Reef, claimed by Japan and the Philippines, respectively, and China.
Unfortunately, commitments to marginal allies determine basic U.S. defense strategy. Should America be prepared to fight one, one and a half, two, or more wars at once? These prospective conflicts invariably involve allies, not America directly. After all, what state can actually harm the U.S.? Other than Russia (and to a much more limited degree China) with its ICBMs, there is none. If war comes, it will involve Korea, Japan, the Persian Gulf, or Europe. The greater the number of dependent allies, the larger the number of possible wars. But when the interests involved are unimportant and the nations involved are capable of defending themselves, why is Washington sacrificing its people's lives and wealth for other states?
The U.S. should start defenestrating AINOs. Most of these nations would remain close. With all of them commerce should be free, culture should be shared, people should be friends, and governments should cooperate. In some cases military coordination may be called for, when the U.S. and other nations share vital objectives.
However, Washington should stop defending South Korea. With an overwhelming resource advantage, the South should deter North Korean adventurism and build cooperative regional relationships to preserve security in Northeast Asia. Despite historic tensions, Seoul should build ties with Japan, another American dependent which should transcend the past and create a military sufficient constrain a growing China. Washington should base relationships on equality rather than dependence.
The U.S. also should end its European defense dole. Today, NATO is effectively North America and the Others. Yet the Europeans collectively are wealthier and more populous than the U.S. They should take over NATO or set up their own alliance. No doubt there still would be important occasions for Washington to work militarily with these nations, which share history and values. But they, not America, should secure Europe.
Even more so the U.S. should not turn conflict-prone nations like Georgia and Ukraine into allies. Europe, not America, should protect the continent's eastern reaches and police North Africa, such as Libya. If the Europeans prefer not to pacify their neighborhood, Washington certainly shouldn't do so. Life might not be fair for Russia's immediate neighbors, but that's no reason to make them U.S. "allies."
Washington should be particularly wary about turning less important and less democratic states into allies. America's wars in Afghanistan and Iraq were misguided. Neither nation warrants a long-term security commitment or permanent military garrison. Pakistan and Saudi Arabia are at most "frenemies," which Washington should deal with as circumstances warrant. Americans should refuse to allow such nations to drag the U.S. into extraneous conflicts, like that in Yemen.
Washington still has an interest in preventing a hostile, hegemonic power from dominating Eurasia. But that possibility isn't likely for decades to come. Russia is a declining power, despite Vladimir Putin's pretensions. Europe is unlikely to ever marry economic strength with political unity and military power, let alone direct its resources against America. India must raise its people out of poverty before it will be ready to impose its will on the international system.
The People's Republic of China is most likely to become a superpower peer of America. However, the PRC remains relatively poor and faces enormous economic and political challenges. China is surrounded by states with which it has fought in the past -- and which remain interested in restraining Beijing's ambitions. The U.S. should watch warily, but act only if the PRC threatens far more than a border scrape with a well-heeled U.S. ally.
America has benefitted much from its relative geographical isolation. It rarely needed allies in the past. It requires even fewer allies today. When appropriate, Washington should cooperate with like-minded states to promote shared objectives. In the rare case, the U.S. should make an alliance to advance American security. But Washington should beware allowing the tail to wag the dog. Washington should create alliances to deter and win wars, not go to war to promote and preserve alliances.
Geopolitics is not a grand version of Facebook, with the objective of amassing as many "friends" as possible. While America's faux warriors see allies as another reason for promiscuous war-making, alliances instead should reduce the likelihood of conflict. Since most of Washington's military pacts endanger the U.S., America should be dropping, not adding, allies.

This post originally appeared at Forbes online.

Thursday, March 19, 2015



"American People Must Say No to Washington's Foolish Policy of Constant War

"American foreign policy is controlled by fools. What else can one conclude from the bipartisan demand that the U.S. intervene everywhere all the time, irrespective of consequences? No matter how disastrous the outcome, the War Lobby insists that the idea was sound. Any problems obviously result, it is claimed, from execution, a matter of doing too little: too few troops engaged, too few foreigners killed, too few nations bombed, too few societies transformed, too few countries occupied, too few years involved, too few dollars spent. As new conflicts rage across the Middle East, the interventionist caucus' dismal record has become increasingly embarrassing."
Kenneth Stepp agrees with Doug Bandow.  We need to oust Hal Rogers and his interventionist caucus from Congress and replace them with people like Kenneth
Stepp who PUT AMERICA FIRST.    SURE PEOPLE IN FOREIGN LANDS ARE KILLING EACH OTHER.   SUNNIs KILL SHIITES, AND SHIITES KILL KURDS.  SUPPOSE THEY GAVE A WAR AND NO ONE CAME?  THE POLICY OF ABRAHAM AND ISAAC WHEN THEY WERE IN THAT PART OF THE WORLD WAS TO STEER CLEAR OF THE LOCALS--BECAUSE OF THE LOCALS' SINFUL NATURE.  NOW, THE LOCALS OF MESOPOTAMIA WANT TO HAVE A BLOODBATH WITH EACH OTHER AND HAL ROGERS AND HIS INTERVENTIONIST CAUCUS WANT US TO PARTICIPATE.   LET'S GET OUR TROOPS OUT OF THERE.  WE DON'T NEED HAND TO HAND COMBAT WITH ISIS.  BRING OUR TROOPS HOME, NOW.  BRING OUR INTERVENTIONIST CAUCUS CONGRESSMEN AND SENATORS HOME NOW AND REPLACE THEM WITH PEOPLE LIKE KENNETH STEPP WHO PUT AMERICA FIRST IN FOREIGN POLICY DECISIONS.  WHAT DO WE GAIN BY FIGHTING ISIS HAND-TO-HAND?   HAND-TO-HAND COMBAT WITH SUICIDAL PEOPLE IS STUPID.  IT COSTS US THE LIVES OF TOO MANY OF AMERICA'S SONS AND DAUGHTERS.  LET'S BRING THE TROOPS HOME NOW!  KENNETH STEPP.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

NEW INTERNET TAX.

KENNETH STEPP OPPOSES ANY NEW INTERNET TAX.

Saturday, March 07, 2015

SPENDTHRIFT REPUBLICANS!

HAL ROGERS AND THE NATIONAL DEBT!

"U.S. Debt Deadline Prompts Emergency Measures

 


Posted: Updated:

CAPITOL STORM

(Adds background)

"WASHINGTON, March 6 (Reuters) - The Obama administration on Friday said it would start using emergency cash measures to allow the government to keep paying the nation's bills once it hits the legal debt limit in about a week.

"Congress is expected to face another contentious debate over raising the U.S. legal borrowing authority, which is due to expire on March 15. If it stretches to the final deadline, the timing would coincide with the debate over government agency funding for the new fiscal year, which starts Oct. 1.

"The Congressional Budget Office said this week that if Congress does not raise the federal debt limit, the Treasury Department will exhaust all of its borrowing capacity and run out of cash in October or November, slightly later than a previous forecast.

"To avoid running out of room to borrow, Treasury said it will suspend issuance of state and local government series securities, known as "slugs," next Friday.

"In a letter to congressional leaders on Friday, U.S. Treasury Jack Lew urged Congress to raise the borrowing cap "as soon as possible."

"In 2011, a debt limit standoff in Congress brought the United States close to an unprecedented debt default before it was resolved with a budget deal that put in place automatic spending constraints that last through 2021. (Reporting by Anna Yukhananov; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)"

You remember how Hal Rogers and all those "good ol' boys" that control Washington avoided a government shutdown during the election campaign by giving the government an infinity debt ceiling, with the proviso that it expired March 15, 2015 and regular government would resume with limits on government borrowing being set at whatever debt the government had managed to run up during the interim?   WHAT GOES AROUND COMES AROUND!  The six months has run out!  The statutory limits on government borrowing resumes March 15, 2015, which is a week from tomorrow.  Kenneth Stepp opposed the infinity debt ceiling for the Federal government!  That runs out in eight days.  It's time to pay the piper!  You can see the Rogers  Years on the chart--from 1981 to the present.  Why do you keep re-electing the man?  Do you think you can spend your way into prosperity?

It's Time to Pay the Piper!

"U.S. Debt Deadline Prompts Emergency Measures



Posted: Updated:

CAPITOL STORM


(Adds background)

"WASHINGTON, March 6 (Reuters) - The Obama administration on Friday said it would start using emergency cash measures to allow the government to keep paying the nation's bills once it hits the legal debt limit in about a week.

"Congress is expected to face another contentious debate over raising the U.S. legal borrowing authority, which is due to expire on March 15. If it stretches to the final deadline, the timing would coincide with the debate over government agency funding for the new fiscal year, which starts Oct. 1.

"The Congressional Budget Office said this week that if Congress does not raise the federal debt limit, the Treasury Department will exhaust all of its borrowing capacity and run out of cash in October or November, slightly later than a previous forecast.

"To avoid running out of room to borrow, Treasury said it will suspend issuance of state and local government series securities, known as "slugs," next Friday.

"In a letter to congressional leaders on Friday, U.S. Treasury Jack Lew urged Congress to raise the borrowing cap "as soon as possible."

"In 2011, a debt limit standoff in Congress brought the United States close to an unprecedented debt default before it was resolved with a budget deal that put in place automatic spending constraints that last through 2021. (Reporting by Anna Yukhananov; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)"

You remember how Hal Rogers and all those "good ol' boys" that control Washington avoided a government shutdown during the election campaign by giving the government an infinity debt ceiling, with the proviso that it expired March 15, 2015 and regular government would resume with limits on government borrowing being set at whatever debt the government had managed to run up during the interim?   WHAT GOES AROUND COMES AROUND!  The six months has run out!  The statutory limits on government borrowing resumes March 15, 2015, which is a week from tomorrow.  Kenneth Stepp opposed the infinity debt ceiling for the Federal government!  That runs out in eight days.  It's time to pay the piper!


Tuesday, March 03, 2015

NO PERMANENT WAR.

Bernard-Henri Lévy
  • David Bromwich


  • Doug Bandow Headshot

    Congress Should Deny President Obama Authority for Perpetual War

    Posted: Updated:
    ISLAMIC STATE BOMB
    ASSOCIATED PRESS
    The Islamic State is evil. But that's no reason for America to go to war again in the Middle East. Or for Congress to approve years more of conflict.
    The president requested formal legal authority to war against ISIS -- more than six months after dropping the first bomb on the self-proclaimed caliphate. USA Today headlined an article on the administration request: "Obama Ready to Take the Fight to Islamic State." Just what has Washington been doing for the last half year?
    The congressional debate will focus on limits to presidential authority. The administration wants to do most anything without admitting as much to the American people. Some Democrats advocate a more restrictive resolution, while many Republicans endorse untrammeled executive power. All to defend a gaggle of frenemies from a far weaker foe unable to seriously threaten America. Washington has rushed into war in a fit of pique.
    The self-proclaimed Islamic State has gone through several incarnations dating back to 1999. The group achieved notoriety during the Iraq war, before fading. ISIL recently revived in Iraq and then became a potent opposition force in Syria.
    For a long time the Obama administration ignored the group's gains, recognizing that ISIL was more about insurgency than terrorism, and was targeting Middle Eastern countries, not the U.S. Moreover, Washington could do little to resolve the underlying causes of the group's rise: sectarianism in Iraq and civil war in Syria.
    The administration reversed course when the group's advances threatened Kurdistan's capital of Erbil and Iraq's Yazidi community. Ironically, Washington had not responded a decade ago to attacks on Iraq's Christian community or more recently to violence against religious minorities in Syria. Even so, the mission seemed limited, until the beheading of two American hostages transformed administration policy.
    Now President Obama claims the Islamic State "poses a threat to the people and stability of Iraq, Syria and the broader Middle East and to U.S. national security." Yes to the first two and possibly the third, but these are not reasons for America to go to war. Exactly how is U.S. security at risk? The president argued that ISIS creates "a threat beyond the Middle East, including to the United States homeland." How can a few thousand insurgents, locked in bitter combat with several Middle Eastern nations, threaten the rest of the world, and especially the globe's superpower? The most serious danger may be Western jihadists cycling back home -- but most of them joined after Washington made the sectarian Islamic war all about America.
    The administration created yet another pseudo-coalition of roughly 60 nations and the European Union, with U.S. forces responsible for around 85 percent of the airstrikes. While the American-led campaign has had some defensive successes -- for instance, halting ISIL's attacks on Kurdistan's Erbil and Syria's Kobani -- the radical movement seems no closer to defeat. Despite sizable personnel losses, the Islamic State remains in control of most of the territory it seized before the U.S. offensive. "ISIL is going to lose," declared the president. But you wouldn't know it from results on the ground.
    In fact, Washington gave the group a recruiting bonanza. Estimated at around 10,000 mid-summer, the Islamic State's fighting cadre jumped to 20,000 or 30,000 after the U.S. entered the conflict. And now, reported the Associated Press, foreign fighters continue to join "in unprecedented numbers." Moreover, while the Islamic State once was almost entirely isolated, formerly antagonistic groups such the al-Nusra Front, an al-Qaeda affiliate in Syria, since have endorsed ISIL.
    In seeking congressional authority the administration is playing on emotions, highlighting ISIL's crimes, including targeting "innocent women and girls with horrific acts of violence." Of course, some of America's Middle Eastern allies, such as Saudi Arabia, engage in barbaric practices. And plenty of foreign governments, a number friends of Washington, are little better than ISIL. But never mind.
    Moreover, U.S. hostage Kayla Mueller's killing "fueled congressional outrage and renewed calls to defeat" the organization, reported USA Today. House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul (R-TX) declared: "Her death will only strengthen our resolve to destroy these depraved barbarians." Yet her tragic fate actually demonstrates ISIL's limited reach. The only U.S. citizens harmed by the Islamic State are those who voluntarily traveled to a war zone.
    Of course, the president paints ISIL's threats much more broadly. However, the Islamic State's expansive ambitions are the group's chief weakness. It wants to be a government, but while the organization would be a wealthy terrorist group, it is a poorly-funded nation state, and its performance has suffered accordingly.
    The longer the "caliphate" has existed in cities like Mosul, Iraq, and Raqqa, Syria, the less popular ISIL has become. In particular, repression has generated opposition, as previously happened with al-Qaeda and the Taliban.
    During its first incarnation in Iraq ISIL's brutality cost popular backing and working relationships with other insurgents. Leading jihadi groups and theorists, even some linked to or supportive of al-Qaeda, are denouncing the organization again. Syrians call Islamic State fighters "foreign occupiers." In Mosul, reported USA Today, ISIL fighters "face increasing opposition from residents chafing under the harsh laws being imposed there." Even many who once welcomed the Islamic State now are thought to favor its overthrow. The gruesome execution video of the Jordanian pilot created widespread demands for revenge among that nation's majority Muslim population, most Sunnis like ISIL's fighters.
    The group has succeeded so far only because of others' failings. In Syria a civil war destroyed the political order. The so-called moderates are weak and tend to surrender, along with their U.S.-supplied weapons, to the Islamic State. In Iraq the sectarian Shia central government spawned a corresponding Sunni counter-reaction. Despite the desperate need for reconciliation, Shia militias continue to murder Sunnis; in fact, the former were blamed for executing an important moderate Sunni leader in Baghdad a couple weeks ago, sparking a Sunni parliamentary boycott and threat to withdraw from Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi's unity government.
    The Islamic State found the going much tougher once it moved beyond select areas of Iraq and Syria. Indeed, the movement has targeted nations with a million or more men under arms. Protecting ISIL from the full attentions of this formidable collection of enemies is, paradoxically, Washington. Because the U.S. took over other nations' defense duties, Turkey has remained studiously aloof. Morocco and the United Arab Emirates have quit flying missions against Islamic State. The Iraqi government has continued mistreat Sunnis, driving many of them toward ISIL. America's "allies" are enjoying a very cheap ride even though it is their security at risk.
    In fact, some of these countries have scaled back their participation to pressure the U.S. to advance their agenda. For instance, Turkey fields an army of 400,000 men, 2500 tanks, 3600 armored personnel carriers, and 7800 artillery pieces, as well as an air force with 350 combat aircraft and 60 helicopters. Instead of using that military abundance, Ankara insists that Washington act in its stead against Syria's Bashar Assad -- and eliminate the strongest bulwark against the Islamic State.
    Perhaps the only good news is that ISIL is bound to weaken. Allied action, aided by oil price declines, has cut the group's funding, which already is stretched by its nominal responsibilities as a state. Brutal repression, growing economic hardship, and lack of government services have angered those conquered. The bounty of American weaponry captured in Iraq will diminish without maintenance and spare parts. Military stalemate may slow the flow of volunteers.
    Unfortunately, the proposed Authorization for the Use of Military Force would further entangle America in sectarian war without addressing the reasons for ISIL's success. Indeed, declared presidential press secretary Josh Earnest, the measure was "intentionally fuzzy" so as to maintain the president's "flexibility," since "we believe it's important that there aren't overly burdensome constraints" on the executive.
    The measure would repeal the 2002 AUMF regarding Iraq, but leave in place the 2001 AUMF, directed against al-Qaeda, under which the administration improbably claimed authority to attack the Islamic State, a different group which had nothing to do with 9/11 and which has not attacked America. Despite his criticism of the 2001 AUMF for "keeping America on a perpetual wartime footing," the president would leave it in place for a future administration to similarly misuse.
    Moreover, the new measure would be a dangerous expansion of executive power. First, the administration requested authority to wage at least three more years of war. In December Secretary of State John Kerry also urged "provisions for extension" of such a limit. If ISIL really is such a dire threat to the U.S., can't the world's greatest power win more quickly? America spent three and a half years in World War II and less than two years in World War I. Yet the U.S. is incapable of defeating a motley crew of radicals surrounded by enemies, outmanned 30, 40, or 50 to one, massively out-gunned, and busy making enemies among their own people?
    Second, there is no geographic limit. Today the U.S. is operating in Iraq and Syria. The new AUMF would authorize combat anywhere. Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, and the Gulf already are on ISIL's target list. The administration could declare most anywhere else to be a battleground as well. Yet if there was good cause to expand U.S. activities, legislators no doubt would respond favorably to a future presidential request.
    Third, the measure does not limit war to the Islamic State. Also included are "any closely related successor entity" and "associated persons or forces," meaning ISIL's allies, defined as "fighting for, on behalf of, or alongside ISIL or any closely-related successor entity in hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners." That would cover almost any Syrian opposition group, from the al-Nusra Front to so-called moderates, as well as Sunni tribes, former Baathists, and anyone else opposed to the Shia-majority government in Iraq. Washington could attack forces which subsequently broke with the Islamic State, even if they did so because they didn't want to combat America.
    Also included could be national groups claiming "loyalty" to ISIL, which already exist in Afghanistan, Algeria, Egypt, Libya, and Yemen, and are likely to show up in one form or another elsewhere in the Mideast, Africa, and Asia. Such affiliates only need threaten one of three score coalition partners, most in name only; in Libya militants professing their allegiance to the Islamic State just killed 21 Egyptian Copts, triggering a retaliatory attack by Cairo. The potential daisy chain is long: In Foreign Policy Ryan Goodman pointed out how the administration used AUMF 2001 to justify airstrikes on Syria's Khorasan Group which was linked to the al-Nusra Front which was linked to al-Qaeda.
    Fourth, the resolution bars only "enduring offensive ground operations," like the lengthy conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq, suggested the president. However, the current operation is described as a matter of America's "inherent right of individual and collective self-defense" even though ISIL did not attack America. Moreover, most "offensive ground operations" can be redefined as a means to defend someone somewhere. Government actions which start out temporary have a tendency to become "enduring." The administration already has used bait and switch tactics on the American people -- citing the plight of the Yazidis while organizing a lengthy regional war.
    The resolution would ratify the current U.S. presence in Iraq, 2,630 personnel already there for training and advising the Iraqi military, and protecting the U.S. embassy. Another 4000 soldiers with the 3rd Brigade Combat Team are being deployed to Kuwait, ready for action elsewhere. The president's transmittal letter exempted a variety of activities from any limit -- rescue operations, actions against ISIL leadership, intelligence work, "missions to enable kinetic strikes," and "other forms of advice and assistance." Americans in these pursuits easily could be drawn into conflict. Islamic State forces recently captured much of the town of al-Baghdadi, only a few miles from Ayn al-Asad Air Base where more than 300 Marine Corps trainers are stationed. That facility has been subject to mortar attacks and small assaults. These could be merely the beginning.
    Fifth, instead of turning the war over to threatened Arab states, the new AUMF would assure Washington's "allies" that they need not worry about their own defense for the next three or possibly more years. The resolution even authorizes war against "associated" groups which threaten "coalition partners," irrespective of the military balance. Instead of intervening temporarily to blunt the Islamic State's momentum and give time for surrounding states to act, the administration plans to create a herd of long-term military dependents. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) even wishes to authorize war on Syria, which has not threatened America. Indeed, if he and the other neoconservative and hyper-nationalist hawks have their way, there will be no limits to presidential action.
    Seeking congressional authority made sense -- six months ago. Doing so now looks like an attempt to prolong U.S. participation in yet another unnecessary Middle Eastern war. Again the administration claims the mantle of peacemaker while extending old conflicts and initiating new ones. About the only benefit of a congressional vote would be to mandate transparency and accountability. But there's little reason to expect the administration to comply and the Congress to force compliance.
    The president's proposal is a bad idea. If Congress truly is concerned about legality, it should enforce the 2001 AUMF, which does not permit new misadventures in the Middle East and elsewhere. Any new measure should sharply limit military operations. Former Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel urged Congress "to avoid any undue restraints on the commander-in-chief's choices." But the Constitution gives the basic decision over war and peace to Congress. Legislators should end old wars rather than rationalize new ones.
    This post first appeared on Forbes online.

    Kenneth Stepp agrees that we should not authorize the President to wage permanent war.   Permanent war was a bad idea in the 1910's and 1920's and it is still a bad idea now.  Ask your Congressman and Senators to vote NO on giving the President the military authority to wage permanent war.  The Constitution--may it be preserved!