Senator Ben Sasse, Senator Deb Fischer, Iran, War and GOP Immigration
Senator Sasse and Senator Fischer YouTube Videos
Iran, Middle East, War and Constitution
Failure of GOP on Border Security (Bottom of the Page with Video)
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This weekend’s blog (posted on Monday for readership) is on war and the progress of our two Senators from Nebraska. I wanted to post Senator Sasse’s video on this topic with Iran. Senator Sasse put together a very eloquent piece that summarizes why we should care about what the President is doing with Iran (spoiler alert on President’s actions—it is horrible).
Senator Sasse (R-NE) puts it best, “This is getting your lunch money taken in the alley” (referring to Obama’s negotiation skills with Iran). “I don’t even think Jimmy Carter would make a deal this bad.” Well put….
This stance is not really a minority position (not that the Senator is saying it is) as many people would like to believe. I think many conservatives think ‘they’ are only on the side of supporting Israel. This “Us Against Them” mentality can take on a life of its own, but the ‘them’ element is a minority position across the political spectrum in America. The reality is a strong majority of this country is behind Israel with a rogue President pushing a foreign policy agenda that does not speak for the will of the people or even concur with national stated policy positions. The United States House Committee on Foreign Affairs has a stated jurisdictional goal that should be followed: “Export control, including nonproliferation of nuclear technology and nuclear hardware.” Any agreement with Iran should be dead on arrival to Congress. Allowing nuclear advancement should not be debated by the President with Iran in the first place.
The Arab news, the Israelis, many Democrats (Domina stands in support of Israel), the GOP and myself stand against this foreign policy by our President. We need to stand strongly with Senator Sasse, Senator Fischer or anyone else properly aligned on this issue to send the message loud and clear to the world that our President does not represent our collective will (the majority) in his foreign policy decisions and actions.
Worse yet in the category of diplomatic failure is the President refusing to make time with our largest ally in the Middle East (Israel) during the Prime Minister’s visit to the US. However, he remains in correspondence with secret letters to the Iranians on a deal.
This is more than appalling! However, these actions are not surprising considering who he promotes, his language and tone that varies based on the religious followers he is addressing (see Offensive National Day of Prayer Speech), and his private correspondence with the leader of the largest country of State Sponsored Terror!!!
It is time the Senate step up and OWN the foreign policy the Senate will approve. We cannot trust our President to lead in this area. Ben is out front on this topic and I commend him for his leadership on Iran because so many of these other leaders play the old game of “React” to the President. Its time Americans open their eyes to what is going on in Iran. It is time for outside groups to lead the affirmative dialogue with Israel again until we have a new President that understands the proper relationship the majority of Americans do and do not want to have with Iran and Israel. This video helps promote that awakening and stance.
Senator Fischer will actually have far more influence on the Middle East then Senator Sasse in the short term based on her committee assignment. Thank you KETV for focusing on the more pertinent Senator on this issue (due to committee assignment) during your weekend morning show (by far the best journalistic institution in Omaha).
Senator Fischer wants a large debate for the public. God bless her. That is exactly what we need. Jim Jenkins (the other Independent in the race in 2014) and I have been calling for more debates and they are starting to happen this year. Our Independent brethren across the country leading these 2014 debates worked at pushing these parties to action. For the sake of America, I hope it works. We are off to a better start (low bar) but the parties have a long way to go to function properly for America. The American people deserve an honest, respectable, and vigorous debate on this conflict. This conflict has the ability to make or break this country. This decision needs significant ‘buy in or buy out’ from the American people.
The action I’m not happy with by Senator Fischer is the continued tone of reacting to the President. She is clear she wants to see the President’s strategy. I definitely respect that position with regards to waging the war (as opposed to how to fund it). Waging the war is his job and we need her to evaluate the strategy of those plans. However, we need the Senate to lead the discussion if America should engage this war. ‘How many Countries’, ‘Boots on the Ground’, ‘How Long’, and ‘How Much is America Willing to Spend on This War’, ‘How Much is America Willing to Add to the Debt Load and the Next Generation to Pay For Another War’ are questions the Senate should be debating.
I would like the Senate to push to lead the foreign policy and war (conflict) decision process.
The Congress controls the purse. Instead of waiting for the strategy from the President, the Senate should debate how much they are willing to fund for the war campaign. Congress will dictate how much can be appropriated and they can send a clear signal of “How Much” they will back this war. I understand we don’t want to fund a bad strategy but the roles of each branch need some guidance from the other side. The President needs to understand the appropriations of the purse he will have to work with (is a balanced budget still a goal in war GOP?–please debate) and receive the will for war by the people through approval through Congress. Both branches need to communicate. Both sides should be leading. Waiting on the President to take the first step is getting old. Congress needs to lead in their constitutionally assigned roles.
Second, I’m a proponent of Founding Father Constitutional thinking. As a Constitutionalist, I need to remind the Republicans what the original Constitution called for in war (the area they often overlook because the Democrats don’t address this area). Our original Constitution stated, “The Congress shall have power to…raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer term of two years.” Our Founding Fathers desired a short review of any given conflict and understood the dangers to the economy in prolonged fighting.
Republicans want to give the President (and all future Presidents) “flexibility” and are debating an unlisted or a 3 year time table. The Republicans need to stop fighting for an undefined duration. Observe the Constitution and advocate for a limited 2 year authorization if they want an engagement. Congress can always reauthorize the war as you approach a 2 year landmark. A progress report and a reauthorization of funds should be a welcome part of the process. Merely citing this Constitutional philosophy will yet again reinforce the Original Constitution as our guiding framework that this country needs. There is wisdom in the founder’s guidance.
Furthermore, the Constitution gives the authority to grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal to the Senate. What this essentially means is that if we are going to support and provide Non-Americans or Nations with guns to fight on behalf of America’s interest– this needs approval by Congress (see the Hastings debate where this was debated by the Democrat and 2 Independents). With ISIS now spanning so many countries (some with rebel control of a signficant portion of land in a country), the time is now to debate who you want to grant letters of marque and financial aid to fight. There are a lot of groups that will take our arms but the debates on which groups to support need to be robust (North Africa just added fuel to the fire of potential groups that need debate).
(Briefly—my heart goes out to my Egyptian Christian brothers and their families for being martyred for their beliefs. My stomach turned and Americans better wake up to the ultimate world mission the jihadists are on, how they are funded (oil–still a free trade proponent?–56% of our largest import comes from the Middle East and funds groups like ISIS), how they organize, and their strategy based on current population levels. I’m thankful for a secular Egyptian government that retaliated against these barbarians against their own people.)
The Committee on Foreign Relations of the United States Senate has a very clear history of what can be done in the Senate on the situation. I have tremendous confidence in Senator Corker (R-TN) and Senator Menendez (D-NJ) to lead this Committee as both are calling out the President and know our stated policy goals. Both have a strong record in working across party lines to find consensus.
Many conservatives will question whether you can support a Democrat (member/not President) on Foreign Policy. Let me give you this quote of the Ranking Democrat of that Committee that should reestablish your faith in at least one member.
Senator Menendez (D-NJ), “I have to be honest with you, the more I hear from the administration and its quotes, the more it sounds like talking points that come straight out of Tehran. And it feeds to the Iranian narrative of victimization when they are the ones with original sin.”
I have confidence in both men to get the job done.
The history of the Senate’s leading role is not just in our Constitution but is woven into our actual history.
The Senate amended President Wilsons Treaty of Versailles to protect our national sovereignty. The Chairman of the 20’s kept us out of International organizations the President wanted us to join. In the 30’s, the Committee drafted isolationist language to keep us out of European conflict. In the 40’s, the Committee withdrew isolationist language after Pearl Harbor and enabled us to engage in war. In 1973, the Congress passed the War Powers Resolution to end commitment of more than 60 day engagements without their approval. Our history is filled with Senate leading foreign policy and dictating what the President can and cannot do. Let’s set the tone in the Halls and quit looking to the President to always take the first step.
Finally, if the Republicans want to stop Obama and his continuous overreach and really lead– follow the historical actions of Vice President Biden (Then a Senator on the Foreign Relations Committee). He led the charge to shut down the United States Information Agency, the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency and merged their functions into the Department of State. In addition, he led the charge to bring the United States Agency for International Development under the direct control of the Secretary of State. That is changing the power structure. The Senate has options. The Senate should lead.
There are 19 core jobs called for in the Foreign Relations Senate Committee. The key functions in this debate:
#4 Foreign Military Assistance
#7 International aspects of nuclear energy (Iran anyone?)
#11 Intervention abroad and declarations of war (notice the word Intervention)
#16 Relations of the United States with foreign nationals generally
There are many opportunities for the Senate to lead. However, the Senate’s most powerful tool remains the purse. Debate it, use it, and allocate it. You can easily control how much war you want by how much you will allocate. That is a statement the Congress needs to own.
My Independent colleague Jim Jenkins advocated an idea of a “War Tax” (see Kearney Debate on the campus of UNK between Jim and I not covered by the Media on my You Tube channel) if we wanted to declare war in the future as a form of fiscal responsibility. America had a natural check on war spending before the XVII amendment (a topic for another day), but in today’s world we have taken out the safeguards of fiscal discipline by how we structure the Federal Reserve to create money and by changing the checks once provided by the States over the purse before Constitutional amendments took their power.
I’m against a “War Tax” on a “Defensive” basis but I believe the topic has merit on an “Offensive” war. A War Tax is a worthy debate as war and welfare are the causes of this out of control national debt situation these national parties built. Republicans rarely showing restraint for war and Democrats rarely showing restraint in welfare being primary culprits.
We have a nation that engages conflict but no longer thinks of how to pay for the battles. Responsibility for our behavior must be rebuilt. A tax directly to support a conflict would really create buy in or buy out. I’m in favor of eliminating our enemies that preach and conduct death to our people. I also know we have a large risk with these debt levels. The competing interests of fighting global terror (abroad) and fiscal responsibility is a debate worthy of the floor.
If you want a tough subject to take on Senator Sasse or Senator Fischer—try a war tax, or immigration quotas taking place in the EU and are they right for America, or take a defined position on boots on the ground. That is sticking your neck out there to create real discussion. Supporting Israel and speaking out against Iran is more of a slam dunk.
We have to quit thinking “What We Want” all the time and think discipline in all areas for the future. With that said, we may need to take this conflict on now for the sake of our future. This is a very real threat to many generations to come who want freedom. These are very tough choices and I will not be critical of a candidate that preaches from the heart on their opinion. I will remain critical of those with no position and no debate. Cowards who will not take thorough positions on the war for political popularity are not leaders. This topic needs a thorough, rigorous, and respectful debate. We need leaders and not popularity politicians in Washington for decisions like these.
Let’s also not forget God’s guidance. “Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God.” Our own American history tells us that big weapons and big spending does not always guarantee victory. I believe looking to God is a lost art in national guidance. When you have an administration at war with those who observe God in our military, you bring risk to these camps by suppressing their religious conscious that is so vital to face battles that require bravery and courage.
Religious liberty and their right to free exercise (someone please fight for this in Washington) are supposed to be constitutionally protected. Our military should not be forced to turn their back on their spiritual heritage or spiritual exercise. Our soliders who profess God need their open expression so their souls are full and they can “Be All They Can Be” before the fight.
There are a lot of Republicans and Democrats that just look to the size of purse and guns to win in the modern world. That is good and necessary preparation, but we can be in a weak spiritual position for battle when we force out spiritual behavior before the fight. We ask them to defend the Constituion but we tell them they do not have rights to free exercise? Hypocrisy.
The Jews defeated the greatest army in the world at that time with no arms (at least minimal) during the Egyptian empire. Money and the latest and greatest equipment mean nothing if God is against you. We are too prideful to think we do not need God in our camps.
I know many of you remain uncomfortable with my religious tones in civil discussion. Let’s at least agree to celebrate and conduct a robust debate on the topic of war for America’s sake.
To close, Israel is our ally and Iran is not. Corresponding with the Supreme Leader in Iran and refusing to meet with the Prime Minister of Israel could not be a poorer choice. It is time for debate on war to occur and our historical allies to be reaffirmed.
A Great Generalist Video By Ben Sasse
I’ve complemented Sasse and made my differences known based on merit. I wanted to make sure I complimented him on Iran. I also wanted to praise this speech in this video above. A few points I’d like to highlight.
One. “We will disagree but don’t need to be disagreeable. Focus on building relationships.” See my speech in the last debate in North Platte where Sasse and I were together and I made the exact same comments to the state on PBS. This was the message I pushed hard in 2014. This was not the tone from their camp to ours or the other competitors by refusing to debate in 2014 for the final 6 plus debates. I fully support this change of tone and I hope it is genuine. Creating cordial relationships and being willing to allow all sides to debate and speak will work.
Two. I really liked his point on “Generational Threats” – Amen. We have to get this topic right. I give Ben my 100% support in attacking Generational Threats. We don’t always have the same details on how to address the large problem. However, I’m ok in losing a battle and winning a war. We need something significant in unfunded liabilities to move the country forward. I will hold Fischer and Sasse accountable if they do not fight and propose unfunded liability reform they were committed to in their campaigns. Reform is a must and a proposal is the first step to discover who will blockade financial solvency proposals. It will be the citizens’ job to vote out those that blockade reform to ensure financial solvency for the next generation of freedom seekers.
Three. Great comments on correcting the reporter on “Who” creates jobs. We have to reframe the discussion for America. Ben does a brilliant job of that to the media. We have to keep correcting the national dialogue on who creates jobs (private sector) and who does not (government).
Four. You may not like all his words Republicans. In this speech he adopted more of my line on taxes. During the campaign he was adamant we needed no new tax revenue. I took a position of no higher rates and lower spending to pay off debt. Ben is still advocating for lower taxes to be clear.
However, I believed we need to close the loopholes and create an equal and fair tax base (closing loopholes would create more tax revenue). I believe in a simpler code that forces entities to pay their fair share of taxes regardless of political donation level.
He cites in his comments on tax reform, “Stop trying to pick winners and losers among the politically connected.” I believe that is more of the tune we had in our campaign. We called it “Closing Loopholes”. That thread has some promise. However, I’m highly doubtful he can execute being supported by banks and oil companies who are some of the worst offenders in an unequal tax code (I know–they used to be my clients at KPMG). We need a system that is fair but we don’t need higher rates (with the exception of offensive wars that have the propensity to break the bank). We both agree in cutting spending.
Finally, I applaud his desire to make change happen sooner rather than later. I understand he is trying to be respectful as a freshman. However, we have had a full generation of DC “Lifers” fail to make a tough choice for the long term well-being of the Republic and future generations. I don’t know if they have the guts that are worthy to be followed (why I left the party). They have spent 3 generations of money for the “needs” of their generation. They lecture the young to work harder despite spending their kids and their grandkids future financial resources (debt) into the system for the benefit of today (much of it for themselves). They continue to create a system where capital is superior to labor and runs in direct contrast the words of wisdom by the GOP founder Abraham Lincoln who emphasized that labor is the superior to capital.
Civic, religious, and family neglect have occurred in the last generation for the sake of “me”. Much of this neglect is due to chasing the Federal Reserve Note and a lifestyle they feel entitled to while ingoring the civic, religious, and family time needed to strengthen the fabric of this country (of course our spiritual and family leaders often ignore the government as well). I don’t look for the DC “Lifers” to make hard sacrificial choices for the sake of their love of the Federal Reserve Note and the dependence on the lifestyle they desire. They have not had the guts to make a tough call. I would not worry about “fitting in” Senator Sasse. Be Bold!
“Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity” I Timothy 4:12. Don’t let them look down on you because you are a young freshman Ben. We need change.
Ok. Now that it looks like I’m kissing up to the Republicans let me put the video out that warrants some complaints on Ben.
I agree with Ben’s points against Obama on the funding of newly arrived illegal immigrants. However, this political complaining of the same tag lines gets old. The GOP needs to face the facts they can’t even agree to secure the border in their own party! Does any GOP member watching the Republican channel (Fox News) realize their party is the hold up right now? They campaigned on securing the border as the only and singular place to start on immigration. Now the Republicans can’t pass the bill. This is identical to the 20 week abortion bill you thought was a slam dunk with Republicans at election time. Surprise electorate! Action is not happening because they cannot agree on these stances as a party come voting time.
They need to get consensus in party to secure the border in whole and get past some of the minor details holding up the bigger problem. Their squabbles are like two sailors in the middle of the ocean arguing about what process to use to repair the hole in the boat.
Moving on….A “Bipartisan Border Learning Tour?” Really??? Newsflash Summary of the Learning Tour: The border is broken. Hopping on Fox News (who gladly tees up questions to the GOP) to highlight a bad border is old and redundant.
Does anyone really doubt the border is not secured? How many times do we need to blow wind on the broken border flame? We don’t need any more research, fact finding tours, or “Bi-Partisan Border Learning Tours” to know the border is broken.
It is time to debate “How to Fix the Border”. We need problem solvers in the room.
How about a complete plan on paper from the GOP? What are we doing with “Visas”? How many agents? Are we using drones? How much fence? Are we going to use fewer fences and more technology? What do we do with law enforcement rights within our own border? The election is over. Taglines can stop. Securing the border was a winning stance. It is time to deliver on the promise and stop the tag lines.
We established this border broke 30 years ago. Let’s move the debate to “How” from “Problem Identification” that frankly started with Reagan and not Obama. These types of interviews just promote tired old divisive political points that move us nowhere except keep the older GOP base tuned in to the Republican channel and riled up with Obama over a problem that is three decades old, well known, and established. What the continued airing of tired news stories do is allow Fox News to turn their loyal watchers onto the latest pharmaceutical drugs during commercial breaks to keep funding profits that support the GOP party and coughers of Fox News. Bottom-line: We know the border is broken—solve it!
If I was Ben I would not contribute to the tired GOP sound bites of Obama failure on securing the border. I’d show leadership in solving the problem with concrete proposals that Republicans cannot agree on. Bring a proposal forward to the main stream press. We want to hear a plan. Our Senators should have the ability to move this debate to problem solving from problem identification. That is what America needs.
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I’m working on a more in-depth piece on oil during my spare weekend time to open more eyes to political reality. ‘Markets and Oil’ is a 1930’s archaic way to approach and view a resource at the center of power around the world. Stay Tuned!
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