Politically Incorrectile Dysfunction Newsreel

Loading...

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Concerns About Negotiating with Our Enemies

We live in an era when our enemies are often difficult to identify and track, but some nations and their leaders have made well-known their desire to defeat America. Despite the growing global dangers to our country, President Obama has chosen to negotiate with nations which have openly threatened America and our allies. Not only has he met them at the negotiating table, but he has also given in to a disturbingly large number of their demands. Adding to the concern about these deals is the way President Obama has pursued them by bypassing Congress.

Details are trickling down about the nuclear agreement with Iran. In this deal, long-held sanctions against Iran would be lifted, allowing global financial resources to flow into a country still included on our list of state sponsors of terrorism. Unfortunately, the agreement appears to contain few mechanisms to ensure Iran holds up its end of the bargain.

Though the full agreement has not yet been made available to Congress, I am deeply concerned by reports of concessions we are giving to Iran such as lifting arms and missile embargoes and not securing the release of the Americans imprisoned there. Under the terms of the deal, Iran can keep International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspectors out of suspected nuclear sites for at least three weeks after the request is made. Ambassador Susan Rice and Secretary John Kerry have also now acknowledged a side deal between Iran and IAEA, but the details are unknown.

These negotiations with Iran bear many similarities to the deal recently struck by the Obama administration with Cuba. This week, the Cuban Embassy in Washington, D.C., and the U.S. Embassy in Havana formally reopened after President Obama and Cuban President Raúl Castro came to an agreement in December to resume diplomatic relations. President Obama called it a "historic step forward," but getting to this point required the U.S. to give much more than we received in the deal.

Castro has made it clear he does not intend to change any of his country's oppressive socialist policies. There are no indications Cuba's rampant human rights abuses will subside or even lessen. Cuba maintains its close connections to countries such as Iran, North Korea, and Venezuela, and continues to harbor terrorists and fugitives. Meanwhile, President Obama has removed Cuba from the list of state sponsors of terrorism.

Even these concessions by the U.S. are not enough for Castro. At the reopening ceremony for the Cuban Embassy in Washington, Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez not only advocated for an end to the embargo but also called for the U.S. to compensate Cuba for the embargo's effects and to dismantle our naval base at Guantanamo.

With both Iran and Cuba, President Obama adds to his lengthy track record of ignoring Congress and taking unilateral executive action to pursue his agenda. He moved forward with reopening embassies and normalizing relations with Cuba without engaging Congress in these decisions. On Iran, the Obama administration took the deal to the United Nations before Congress even had a chance to review it. These actions are disturbing and show a continued disregard for the American people and their elected representatives.

Despite President Obama's determination to expand his executive authority, the Constitution mandates a crucial oversight role for Congress in these types of agreements with foreign nations. Congress has 60 days to disapprove the Iran deal, and only Congress can lift the Cuba embargo. My top priority remains ensuring any deal is in the best interest of the U.S. and our allies, as well as giving Nebraskans a voice in these decisions which will greatly impact our country's future.

About the Author:

Congressman Adrian Smith from Nebraska serves on the Committee on Ways and Means. Congressional Rural Caucus (Chair), Congressional Rural Veterans Caucus (Chair), Modern Agriculture Caucus (Chair), Congressional Pro-Life Caucus, Congressional Sportsmen's Caucus, Congressional Western Caucus and Congressional General Aviation Caucus. Smith has been noted for his consistent voting against tax increases, massive government bailouts, and in his opposition of the affordable healthcare act (aka ObamaCare) which is creating massive uncertainty for our nation's job creators.

Smith, a co-sponsor of the Balanced Budget Amendment and a supporter of a Congressional earmark moratorium, has earned a reputation as a solid conservative through his votes to protect the rights of gun owners, efforts to limit the scope of government, and his strong pro-life voting record.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Damon/Affleck Project Coming to Syfy

"Incorporated" is a new series coming from the minds of Matt Damon and Ben Affleck. The last time these two put their heads together for a major project resulted in the Academy Award winning film "Good Will Hunting." This time the writing/producing team are focusing on cable television, specifically the Syfy Channel.

The TV movie, which will likely lead to a regular series, is set 47-years in the future where the world is teetering on disaster as a result of continued climatic changes, mega corporations completely out of control and city landscapes that range from the heavenly elegance to complete chaos and nearly medieval living conditions. One man tries to do what has never been attempted — bring about the downfall of one of the largest and most powerful corporations on the planet named Chrysalis which is responsible for much of the world's dilemma.

Damon and Affleck will executive produce while Alex Pastor (Self/less) is set to direct the pilot film and is the script's co-writer with his brother David Pastor (The Last Days).

"Incorporated" has a young leading cast including Sean Teale (Survivor), Georgia Haig (Once Upon A Time) and Eddie Ramos (Teen Wolf).

The project is currently in its prep-production stage. Syfy has yet to announce a premiere date.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

The Iran Agreement

An Iranian diplomat once told me, “We have more reasons to be friends than enemies.” In a necessary diplomatic dance, I responded, “It is sad that we have taken divergent paths.”

Now a complex and controversial agreement over Iran’s nuclear development is dominating the news. As a matter of first principle, Iran cannot be allowed to acquire a nuclear weapon. An Iranian bomb would threaten America, our ally Israel, and other friendly countries in the Middle East. The key question to ask is whether this potential agreement will stop, verify, and reverse Iran’s current course. All three points are debatable. Any agreement must move Iran away from the nuclear precipice.

For years Iran has developed the fuel necessary for a nuclear weapon, and the United States must recognize that Iran has a level of mastery over the process. Congress will now undertake the difficult task of unpacking the components of the agreement. The agreement’s architecture offers Iran relief from economic sanctions as long as it significantly scales back its nuclear program. There are two risks involved: the risk of an agreement, and the risk of no agreement. Iran could use it as a ruse to develop a nuclear weapon, but I think this is unlikely. However, the agreement confers upon Iran a status as a threshold nuclear state, an unprecedented dynamic in international affairs for a country with such problematic entanglements.

Rather than look at the technical details here (a summary of the agreement can be found on my website) let’s examine the various options before us. First, we could do nothing. The United States and the international community could continue the deteriorating trajectory without an agreement. Second, the international coalition could demand a better deal by continuing or tightening sanctions. However, other countries involved in the agreement, including the Russians and the Chinese, are not likely to be reliable partners at the negotiating table, and they have already signed this agreement, making further negotiation virtually impossible. Third, we could take the current agreement—but this decision has many implementation and compliance risks, including lifting an international arms embargo on Iran. The fourth option is military strikes, which have multiple negative consequences. All options have significant downsides.

Some people tend to regard Iran monolithically. But Iranians are not all the same. The Iranian regime is led by hardliners and theocrats who envision an Islamic Revolution spreading across the Middle East. On the other hand, a majority of the country is under age 30 and more oriented toward the West: interested in openness, dialogue, and opportunity. Like many people, Iranians face difficult economic circumstances that they hope to change. The tyranny of decades past still controls the country, but new dynamics exist that could chart a better way forward. In a perfect scenario, the agreement could ultimately open a gateway for Iran to have a better relationship with the United States and the world. In any event, the country’s cultural and political contradictions cloud the view of the future.

After a 60 day period of intense review, Congress will confront an up or down vote of approval or disapproval. Many Members of Congress are already expressing deep skepticism about the agreement. Reservations stem from a combination of varied factors. Widespread distrust of Iran is more than justified, and the verification mechanisms could become a cat and mouse game. Added to this, President Obama’s heavy handedness on issues like healthcare and immigration has created a divisiveness that has alienated many Members of Congress and undermines the trust needed for such a delicate diplomatic initiative. Congress should be circumspect about the limits of what we can achieve with—or without—an agreement.

One thing is clear: the dilemma is gravely serious and does not lend itself to sound-bite foreign policy. Prudential judgment about how to keep ourselves and the rest of the world safe requires statesmanship and a solid diplomatic footing, and any resolution must be firewalled from unnecessary political acrimony. We have the responsibility to scrutinize the details of the agreement, debate the merits, and examine added options. The consequences of an agreement will frame the geopolitics of the 21st century.

About the Author:

JEFF FORTENBERRY has served as the U.S. Representative for Nebraska's 1st congressional district since 2005. He is the Chairperson for the Subcommittee on Department Operations, Oversight, Nutrition and Forestry. Vice Chair of the Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health and Human Rights and has a seat on the Subcommittee on the Middle East and South Asia.

He is a member of the following Caucus groups: Civil War Battlefield Caucus - Congressional Biofuels Caucus - Congressional Farmer Cooperative Caucus - House Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Caucus - International Conservation Caucus - Sportsmen's Caucus.

Congressman Fortenberry has become the most knowledgeable representative on Capitol Hill for nuclear security issues.

Monday, July 6, 2015

New Tax Sham Designed To Rob Viewing Public

Politicos' Never Ending Search For "Mo Money, Mo Money, Mo Money!"

The digital streaming tax has arrived with all its ugly glory. Chicago, a town infamous for its dirty politics, is the first U.S. city to institute this made-up tax as a way to take more money away from those seeking alternative sources for receiving entertainment.

Chicago is calling their streaming theft of people's hard earned dollars a “cloud tax.” Its first introduction will be a whopping 9% on every movie, video, music download, video gaming, online commerce and online gambling. Video and music streaming avenues such as Netflix and Spotify will be the first to see this tax which officially hits customer’s pockets beginning September 1, 2015.

According to the Chicago Sun-Times the expected revenue for the city should come to around $12 million (USD) annually. However, we all know how ravenous politicians are — especially the low-down and dirty found in the Windy City — it won't be long before that 9% rate will skyrocket and roll through city after city across the country destroying yet another innovative approach to mass marketing a product to the entire public.

Well, it was fun while it lasted but the Net is now officially just another revenue Ponzi-Scheme for dear old Uncle Sam and his crooked State and local offspring.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Freedom

This week marks the 239th anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence and the birth of our free and sovereign nation. We all know well the Declaration's chief passage:

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Our nation’s philosophical foundation, unique in the history of the world, is reflected in these profound words. The Declaration provides a framework for a vibrant American society by outlining the notions—ever ancient and ever new—of who we are as a people. Rooted in the fundamental concepts of liberty and justice, the United States has grown and prospered across time. Our strength is drawn from our values: the dignity of all persons, the importance of community, and the responsibility of freedom—the cherished first principle of human life.

As we celebrate this Independence Day, we are also reminded that our freedoms are under some duress. Cultural discord, economic hardship, and political dysfunction are wounding our country, and different accounts of how to preserve our freedom often clash harshly in the public square. Some turn to either the government or the market, hoping Washington or Wall Street can solve our problems. While we must work toward both proper government and economic dynamism, the answer to our troubles lies in a third way: promoting a strong society.

Society is the space where individuals can flourish in strong families and communities—the space where liberty is sustained. It is the place where persons can pursue genuine freedom, which is the ability to do what we ought for ourselves and one another. As we navigate a particularly turbulent period of national affairs, we might consider the words of the second stanza of America the Beautiful: "Confirm thy soul in self-control, Thy liberty in law." Freedom is best secured and practiced when it is ordered toward that which is good.

As we spend the holiday with families and loved ones, enjoying the festivals, parades, and fireworks displays in our communities, we celebrate our blessings as Americans: that our home is built on such enduring higher truths. The clear and powerful ideals of the Declaration offer a reminder of our nation's capacity to overcome the greatest challenges. May we remember those who have sacrificed before us and our obligation as citizens to protect and pass forward in time the great virtues of our nation.

I wish you all a happy and safe Independence Day!

About the Author:

JEFF FORTENBERRY has served as the U.S. Representative for Nebraska's 1st congressional district since 2005. He is the Chairperson for the Subcommittee on Department Operations, Oversight, Nutrition and Forestry. Vice Chair of the Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health and Human Rights and has a seat on the Subcommittee on the Middle East and South Asia.

He is a member of the following Caucus groups: Civil War Battlefield Caucus - Congressional Biofuels Caucus - Congressional Farmer Cooperative Caucus - House Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Caucus - International Conservation Caucus - Sportsmen's Caucus

Congressman Fortenberry has become the most knowledgeable representative on Capitol Hill for nuclear security issues.

Monday, June 29, 2015

"Killjoys" — A Review

After two episodes of the new Syfy Channel series “Killjoys” I think it might be safe to say that if the writers and/or suits doesn't screw this one up then the cable network will have themselves a new hit show somewhere on the order of “Defiance.”

To give an idea of what “Killjoys” is about for those who have yet to view the show, it can be summed up as Browncoats with a license to misbehave and badges to boot.

“Killjoys” follows the escapades of three space-faring bounty hunters. However, the term bounty hunter has been replaced with the title of Killjoys, which seems appropriate to the task they are hired to perform. Killjoys are bound to no individual, no government, no military and no corporation but are an entity totally self-governed and self-policed. Their only allegiance is to tracking and bringing back whatever they have been hired to secure, be it human, animal, tech or just about anything someone or something holds as valuable.

The series stars Aaron Ashmore ("Warehouse 13," "Smallville"), Tamsen McDonough ("Lost Girl," "The Incredible Hulk") and Luke Macfarlane ("The Night Shift"). It is the creation of Michelle Lovretta ("Lost Girl").

I made the comparison to the Joss Whedon series “Firefly” because the first two episodes shown so far have that Whedonesque feel and look to it and unless Syfy pulls a Fox this show should fare better than “Firefly” when it comes to number of episodes and seasons.

I can recommend the series based on what I have seen so far and will continue giving it a chance to improve.

I give “Killjoys” a solid * * * our of 5 Stars.