Originally posted Center for Security Policy By Frank Gaffney, Jr.
Members of the United States Senate are surely tempted to give their insufferably arrogant colleague from Massachusetts a pass in confirmation hearings for his nomination to become the next Secretary of State. Quite apart from the tradition of senatorial courtesy practiced in the exclusive club once known as “the world’s greatest deliberative body,” most of them must be anxious to see John Kerry leave it.
There are, however, compelling reasons to resist this temptation and ensure that Sen. Kerry is subjected to rigorous scrutiny with respect to his past conduct, his judgment and his policy predilections.
Conventional wisdom holds that he is certain to be confirmed. Whether that proves to be the case or not, Senators have a duty to serve as the Framers had in mind– as a means of ensuring quality control with respect to cabinet-level and other senior presidential appointments and with respect to the treaties that a secretary of state in particular is wont to promote.
A number of topics cry out for such scrutiny. Herewith a few of the more important:
For starters, there is the question of John Kerry’s integrity. His conduct during and immediately his service in the Vietnam War– much of it compellingly documented by his former comrades-in-arms in the Swift Boat community– suggests a serious deficit in this personal quality. Senators could usefully revisit Mr. Kerry’s damning indictments of the U.S. military’s conduct of the war, including his depiction of its alleged “war crimes,” his fraudulent Winter Soldier testimony and his treating with the North Vietnamese enemy in the midst of hostilities.
Mr. Obama also observed that Sen. Kerry will not require “a lot of on the job training” because of his extensive dealings with foreign leaders, including in his role as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Among those with whom he has consorted are Syrian despot Basher Assad and Nicaragua’s Sandinista revolutionaries during their conflict with the United States in the 1980s. As the Wall Street Journal’s Mary Anastasia O’Grady put it last week: “Mr. Kerry’s record of promoting American values abroad is dismal. It isn’t that he opposes U.S. intervention – far from it. The trouble is that he has a habit of intervening on behalf of bad guys.”
As Jim Kouri of the Law Enforcement Examiner pointed out recently, Senator Kerry has also been suspected by the FBI of problematic dealings with the Communist Chinese. Kouri cites revelations by Judicial Watch in 2004 based on government records obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request. The investigative organization’s president, Tom Fitton, said: “These disturbing FBI documents raise further questions about Sen. Kerry’s involvement in what looks like a quid pro quo (cash for meetings) with the Communist Chinese.”
Senators will want to examine closely John Kerry’s promotion of the United Nations and various treaties that would increase its stature, influence and/or power at the expense of U.S. sovereignty. Cases in point are his support for the Disabilities Convention recently rejected by the Senate, the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty rejected by it in 1999 and the Law of the Sea Treaty that Senators may reject this year.
Because the Senate has actually been performing its constitutional quality control function with respect to such defective accords, there is growing concern that the Obama administration may pursue its goal of denuclearizing the United States through unilateral action. As John Bolton and John Yoo observed in the Wall Street Journal, a Secretary Kerry would likely support the findings of
a State Department advisory group headed by former Defense Secretary William Perry suggest[ing] that Mr. Obama ignore Congress. Its November report urges that America and Russia reciprocally reduce nuclear weapons without any international agreement: ‘Unilateral and coordinated reductions can be quicker and less politically costly… relative to treaties with adversarial negotiations and difficult ratification processes.'”
Senators should seize this chance to make clear their strong objection to such a strategically reckless and constitutionally unacceptable disarmament strategy.
Speaking of the Constitution, the Kerry nomination would be a good time for a debate about the Obama administration’s practice of dispensing with its requirements. A December 30th op.ed. by a law school professor at Georgetown published in the New York Times under the controversial title “Let’s Give Up on the Constitution” seems to track with the practice of the former law school professor at Chicago who is now president of the United States.
Of particular concern is a priority of Mr. Obama and the outgoing Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton – namely their efforts to appease Islamists determined to circumscribe our First Amendment right to free expression. Will John Kerry as America’s top diplomat continue to pursue this agenda in the so-called “Istanbul Process,” or stand up for our sovereignty and freedoms?
The Kerry confirmation process offers an opportunity to examine both the nominee’s fitness to serve in high office and the security policies President Obama and he will be pursuing, all other things being equal. This chance must not be squandered in the interest of realizing as quickly as possible his colleagues’ understandable desire to get John Kerry out of the Senate.
(Frank J. Gaffney, Jr. is President of the Center for Security Policy, a columnist for the Washington Times and host of the nationally syndicated program, Secure Freedom Radio, heard in Washington weeknights at 9:00 p.m. on WRC 1260 AM.)
Wealth is not Created at the Top: It is Only Devoured There
The UK has left the EU and we can argue about the minutiae of Wealth until we’re blue in the face. But the overriding factors are apparent and in one of the richest countries in the world it is shocking that so many people can’t even be sure if they are going to be able to eat enough today or provide for their loved ones.
These days, politicians from the left to the right assume that most wealth is created at the top. By the visionaries, by the job creators, and by the people who have “made it”. By the go-getters oozing talent and entrepreneurial-ism that are helping to advance the whole world – Opinion by Rutger Bregman
… across the spectrum virtually all agree that wealth is created primarily at the top and so entrenched is this assumption that it’s even embedded in our language. When economists talk about “productivity”, what they really mean is the size of your paycheck. And when we use terms like “welfare state”, “redistribution” and “solidarity”, we’re implicitly subscribing to the view that there are two strata: the makers and the takers, the producers and the couch potatoes, the hardworking citizens – and everybody else.
Bankers, pharmaceutical giants, Google, Facebook … a new breed of rentiers are at the very top of the pyramid and they’re sucking the rest of us dry
In reality, it is precisely the other way around. In reality, it is the waste collectors, the nurses, and the cleaners whose shoulders are supporting the apex of the pyramid. They are the true mechanism of social solidarity. Meanwhile, a growing share of those we hail as “successful” and “innovative” are earning their wealth at the expense of others. The people getting the biggest handouts are not down around the bottom, but at the very top. Yet their perilous dependence on others goes unseen. Almost no one talks about it. Even for politicians on the left, it’s a non-issue.
To understand why, we need to recognise that there are two ways of making money. The first is what most of us do: work. That means tapping into our knowledge and know-how (our “human capital” in economic terms) to create something new, whether that’s a takeout app, a wedding cake, a stylish updo, or a perfectly poured pint. To work is to create. Ergo, to work is to create new wealth.
But there is also a second way to make money. That’s the rentier way: by leveraging control over something that already exists, such as land, knowledge, or money, to increase your wealth. You produce nothing, yet profit nonetheless. By definition, the rentier makes his living at others’ expense, using his power to claim economic benefit.
But here comes the rub. Most rentiers are not as easily identified as the greedy banker or manager. Many are disguised. On the face of it, they look like industrious folks, because for part of the time they really are doing something worthwhile. Precisely that makes us overlook their massive rent-seeking…
The problems we face are that the politicians are firmly in the hands (pockets) of the uber wealthy. We live in a corporate plutocracy and those holding all the wealth and therefore power have no intention of changing the status quo, even if it isn’t sustainable. They remind me of bacteria (or cancer) devouring the host body more and more even though eventually it will kill them too.
Donald Trump Forgets Important Lesson From Grandad:
Harper’s Magazine reprints an interesting letter from US President Donald J. Trump’s own grandfather that may get you thinking. Here is it then:
The Emigrants – By Friedrich Trump – From a letter written in 1905 by Friedrich Trump, Donald Trump’s grandfather, to Luitpold, prince regent of Bavaria. Trump had been ordered to leave Bavaria for failing to complete mandatory military service and to register his initial emigration to the United States twenty years earlier.
Prince Luitpold rejected Trump’s request for repatriation; the family later settled in New York. Translated from the German by Austen Hinkley.
Most Serene, Most Powerful Prince Regent! Most Gracious Regent and Lord!
I was born in Kallstadt on March 14, 1869. My parents were honest, plain, pious vineyard workers. They strictly held me to everything good — to diligence and piety, to regular attendance in school and church, to absolute obedience toward the high authority.
After my confirmation, in 1882, I apprenticed to become a barber. I emigrated in 1885, in my sixteenth year. In America I carried on my business with diligence, discretion, and prudence. God’s blessing was with me, and I became rich. I obtained American citizenship in 1892. In 1902 I met my current wife. Sadly, she could not tolerate the climate in New York, and I went with my dear family back to Kallstadt.
The town was glad to have received a capable and productive citizen. My old mother was happy to see her son, her dear daughter-in-law, and her granddaughter around her; she knows now that I will take care of her in her old age.
But we were confronted all at once, as if by a lightning strike from fair skies, with the news that the High Royal State Ministry had decided that we must leave our residence in the Kingdom of Bavaria. We were paralyzed with fright; our happy family life was tarnished. My wife has been overcome by anxiety, and my lovely child has become sick.
Why should we be deported? This is very, very hard for a family. What will our fellow citizens think if honest subjects are faced with such a decree — not to mention the great material losses it would incur. I would like to become a Bavarian citizen again.
In this urgent situation I have no other recourse than to turn to our adored, noble, wise, and just sovereign lord, our exalted ruler His Royal Highness, highest of all, who has already dried so many tears, who has ruled so beneficially and justly and wisely and softly and is warmly and deeply loved, with the most humble request that the highest of all will himself in mercy deign to allow the applicant to stay in the most gracious Kingdom of Bavaria.
Your most humble and obedient,
… Well then. Long ago, yes.. Still applies? You tell me.
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