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2013: a year of forgetable triumphs and memorable failures

2013 started the year on somber tones – the loss of children in the Sandy Hook shooting was still very fresh in the mind of the nation. Equally as memorable were the lingering questions about what happened at the American consulate in Benghazi, Libya. It was the beginning of the 2nd term of President Obama. The transition promised in 2007 was mere moments away, in the eyes of Liberals and fears of Conservatives.

At the beginning of the year, Congress was at 15% approval. A rating that was well earned due to the gridlock in Washington D.C. It was not only a feature of the 1st Obama Administration, it was a guarantee to continue based on the unchanged chasm that separated the Republican led House of Representatives, the Democrat led Senate, and a President who had many promises but little to show for them.

Thus, the year started with an assault on the 2nd Amendment. For the “good” of the nation, to “protect” our children, the President circumvented Congress and enacted 23 Executive Orders to create gun restriction laws. A use of Executive Orders that a Senator named Barack Obama denounced President G. W. Bush for even considering on 2008. Actions that even VP Biden admitted (though little covered by the major news media)

At the same time, Congress expressed its unwillingness to do its job in regard to fiscal responsibility with the enactment of HR 8. Government spending increased, taxes increased by $41 for a mere $1 of increased spending reductions. The road to fiscal instability was set and confirmed.

All of which meant that while Congress succeeded in avoiding the “fiscal cliff” of 2012 it failed horribly to address the long-term danger that the national debt posses to the nation. That the President succeeded in providing the delusion of safety, while failing to impede the criminal or criminally insane from their actions and yet criminalized law-abiding citizens that never posed a problem in the first place.

If that were all that 2013 did to America it would have been bad enough. But with a steady and increasing pace we learned that it would get far worse. In fact on January 20, 2013 I made a statement that would prove to be the summation of the year

“What is our path?

Fiscal unsustainability, modified by international instability, adjusted for an ever growing centralized Government power on the backs of ever fewer individual freedoms and Rights, wrapped by political gridlock and a pursuit of the best intentions that lead to… well you know the saying.”

But the specter of an immigration reform that rewarded violation of our laws edged closer to reality. A process that would continue, in ebbs and flows, throughout the year. While no final course has been set, the path that we are approaching in 2014 seems to lead to a politics backed law that negates the rule of law and needed reforms.

Separately, North Korea followed by Syria and then Iran, all took their places at the forefront of international politics. Each with the terror of weapons of mass destruction as a critical component of how we reacted. And in order, we effectively ignored North Korea, threatened unilaterally Syria, and capitulated to Iran. Hardly actions of a strong defender of democracy across the globe. Actions that concerned, angered, and distanced our international allies while emboldening our enemies.

In fact it can be well argued, and Israel is making that argument, that our actions have done more to destabilize world peace in the long run than even produce a short-term calm. Chemical weapons are (allegedly) being used by those we supported in Syria, North Korea continues to advance its nuclear arms, and Iran seems destined to become a nuclear power sooner than later (though their promises of a lack of interest in nuclear bombs belies the untruth they have proven to speak in past promises).

On the fringe of all these major headlines (not even to the middle of the year for most of this) there was the terrifying question of what our Government is doing with Drones – aerial unmanned vehicles. We learned early on that our Government sought, and possibly gained approval from the DOJ, to kill U.S. citizens abroad – via drone strikes and without trial or forewarning – for actions they may or may not even be aware of. An issue that was sadly forgotten before the 2nd Quarter even started, as the Drone Caucus (which includes Rep. Richard Hanna) continued to march the nation towards unlimited use of drones domestically [More on that in a bit].

Also on the fringe, there were the early promises of tax reform and infrastructure reform (which every year since 2009 has been called by a new catch phrase – “shovel-ready jobs”, “infrastructure investments”, “fix-it-first”, and so on). There were promises of a bloom of renewable energy jobs and global warming (or climate change as the new phrase) prevention – which were based on a desired outcome even in the face of a reality that confirmed without question that the jobs were not blooming and that climate change was infeasable at best and ineffective regardless of action.

Add to this even more Commissions. To support American manufacturing as of the State of the Union (that went nowhere from that moment on), then on the NSA and the Affordable Care Act as the year waned. But like Bowles-Simpson and the President’s Job Council, the answers that would be provided ensured no real action from Government nor the Congress. While some may hold hope for results in 2014, history has shown that regardless of the determinations made, the Obama Administration and Congress only regard these Commissions as a means to politically ensure re-election and maintaining political powerbases.

All of this and we still have failed to even reach the middle of 2013 overall.

But let’s skip to the middle of the year. Scandals and Government overreach, with a Congress that was locked in gridlock with representatives that were either unwilling or too calculating to take positions until the political math of the situation was clear.

Take your pick. There was the continuing inconsistent answers on Benghazi – with a complete lack of accountability for anyone that was publicly even tangentially connected to the fiasco. There were the revelations of the abuses by the NSA, domestically and internationally, that drew public outrage while some politicians flip-flopped and obfuscated their position (I specifically will point out Rep. Richard Hanna). There was the rush to unilaterally engage in essentially an act of war against Syria – instigated by the President, over the objection of the public and for once most of the Congress (at least those that took a position).

The Benghazi attack is now being brushed aside as a false distraction while legitimate questions remain. The NSA continues to wield power that at least one Court believes is unconstitutional, even as the findings of a Commission is being evaluated without even a hint of promise a single recommendation will be enacted. Syria remains embroiled in a war, with both sides having chemical weapons, neither side pleased with America, and our nation embarrassingly dragged into an agreement that lessened our stature and international standing.

Plus there are the revelations that The FBI, DEA, and other Agencies of the Government have been using drones domestically – without a shred or clarity on how they have been used, if abuse has occurred, or any impact of the legality of their use – since 2006. Sadly, there is also the delusion lifting reality that mass shootings continue to exist unabated – just as VP Biden promised, even as freedoms were restricted.

Which leaves only the Government shutdown and Obamacare.

The fiscal ineptitude of Congress manifested itself in a attempt to remove Obamacare – based on the fear of its inability to achieve the goals that it promised, and the freedoms it sacrificed. This was not a universal move – it was pushed by Republicans that had voted repeatedly to remove Obamacare (well those that did not abandon the votes they had made – again I specifically point out Rep. Hanna). It resulted in a limited shutdown, that was emphasized by drastic measures meant to create an emotional backlash and result in a political win for Democrats (much like the Sequester, but this time done effectively).

The result was a Congressional approval rate of 8%, a political loss for Republicans, and ultimately a budget deal that increases deficit spending, grows the national debt, expands the size of Government, all for a promise of a future reduction in future increased spending. The reality is that the addiction of Government to spending taxpayer money they have yet to earn remains the only constant regardless of political party.

As for Obamacare, well, the description of failure is a compliment. Perhaps the quote of President Obama – labeled as the Lie of the Year – puts it into context

“If you like your health care plan, you can keep it”

No, millions cannot. The President, and Democrats in general according to Sen. Gillibrand of NY, knew it years ago. In addition we learned the President, knew that the Healthcare.gov website would fail the moment it was unveiled. That many of the fears of Conservatives were absolutely true and correct. That for the hundreds of millions of dollars in over-budget spending that was allocated and spent, untold tens (maybe hundreds) of millions more would need to be spent to even be moderately functional.

At the end of the day, and year, with deadlines made and passed by, the website that is the hub of all that Obamacare (or the Affordable Care Act – the name changes with the popularity of the program) was promised to be continues to fail to be 100% operational. Essential targets of young and health Americans signing up for the program have failed to be met (by enormous proportions). Attempts to appease the public have resulted in attempts to usurp power from Congress (President Obama “allowing” plans that legally cannot exist to continue).

All of this while an Obama Administration struggles to prop up dubious and insignificant facts (numbers of visitors to the website), rewords clearly stated and recorded facts (see the Lie of the Year), and shrugs off detailed and absolute calculations of requirements (numbers signed by specific dates), and claim success where abject unmitigated undeniable failure is apparent even in the eyes of the most Left and unwavering of supporters (like Jon Stewart).

The result of 2013 has been the equivalent of a boil on the arse of the nation.

At every turn the public has been failed. From the Executive Branch and the Legislative. From politicians at various levels. From mismanagement and fiscal irresponsibility. From abuse and overreach of powers. From limits and restrictions of freedom.

For all of this, 2013 has been a year where the only memories that Government has provided are of ineptitude and uncompromising failure. Each claim of success has been met with an ever greater misstep and decline.

The only thing that is a positive is the hope that in 2014 the nation cannot fall as far as it already has. That with the mid-term elections of Congress and various State and local races, there might be some hope of regaining accountability, responsibility, fiscal austerity, and protection of freedoms that are essential to the continuation of the nation.

2014 could be a year of great upheaval in Congress, which would mean great change in Government – whether the political parties like it or not. It could be a year where Government regains its limitations, improves its confidence with the American public, and rises from the mire of its current international standing. 2014 could be all of this…

But that will be a different summation, for a different day.

What has Rep. Richard Hanna done for you lately?

With the accidental resolution of military strikes against Syria completed (or at least off the table until some time in 2014) its time of the nation to get back to the issues that directly affect the nation, and constituents of the New York 22nd Congressional District.

Since most of the public is likely to have completely forgotten what was being discussed over the summer, due to the looming potential of involvement in yet another Middle East war that the solid majority of Americans opposed (and Rep. Richard Hanna had no opinion on), I went over what Rep. Richard Hanna has done in 2013. There is no better indication of how well the public is served than by seeing what they are being served.

Looking at Govtrack.us, a quick search provides a list of 14 Bills that Rep. Hanna has either sponsored or co-sponsored. Of those, only 1 has made it past a House Committee, and was actually made law. That was HR 1071: To specify the size of the precious-metal blanks that will be used in the production of the National Baseball Hall of Fame commemorative coins. Baseball fanatics are sure to be happy as the Bill was predicted to only have a 14% chance of passage.

Rep. Richard Hanna (R-NY 22)

Rep. Richard Hanna (R-NY 22)


Does this Bill help small businesses? Outside the finite and niche baseball collectibles arena, no. Does it help the NY-22? No. Does it improve the quality of life for even a minority of the residents in Upstate New York? No. But politicians don’t count their success based on what Bills they actually pass in Congress (lest voters actually evaluate them on the merits of their work ethic), strong attempts to pass the Bills that matter to voters is what counts.

Rep. Hanna failed to get past committee, or even get strong support, on House Resolution 134 (H Res 134): Condemning the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea for its continuing acts of aggression, its expressed intent to break the July 10, 1953, Korean War Armistice Agreement, and for its repeated violations of United Nations Security Council resolutions.

North Korea, a nation that is top on the list of countries that hates America, starves its people, and is reportedly winding up a plutonium reactor (which is good for nuclear weapons like radioactive dirty bombs) is universally condemned by Congress. There is not 1 member of Congress that would support North Korea and the horrors it imposes on its people, yet Rep. Hanna was unable to get traction on this.

Then there is H Res 190: Condemning the April 15, 2013, Improvised Explosive Device (IED) attacks in Boston, Massachusetts and calling upon the United States Government, the governments of all nations, the United Nations, and other international organizations to renounce the use of IEDs and take actions to stop their proliferation.

Absolutely everyone in America was aghast and angered by the terrorist bombing at the Boston Marathon. Equally, the devastation done to our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan by IED’s has no support from any member of Congress or American. Yet again this has gone nowhere, and is predicted to have 0% chance of getting passed.

In both cases, these are issues that are universal. Neither would alter the position of the nation, or alter the lives of the public, they are merely statements of the opinion of Congress (and in these two Bills, the clear mindset of the nation). Bipartisan support should not be a difficult task, if presented by an effective politician. The results speak for themselves.

Then there is HR 2310: To amend title 38, United States Code, to direct the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to make available for purchase Department of Veterans Affairs memorial headstones and markers for members of reserve components who performed certain training.

Again, an issue that no politician would take issue with, and the public can support. Yet it sits, without notice or action, a testament to the ability of the politician that proposed it. For the record there are 89 Representatives with prior military service (which Rep. Hanna is not among), 4 support this Bill. Prominent members of Congress that served in the military like Speaker Boehner, or even Rep. Chris Gibson of NY, Rep. Michael Grimm of NY, Rep. Peter King of NY, even Rep. Charles Rangels all without support of this Bill. Which begs the question, where they even asked?

So it’s pretty clear that Rep. Hanna isn’t very good at passing a Bill he has written, unless it involves baseball collectibles. What about Bills he has co-sponsored? Nope, to date nothing has passed their either. But it does bring up a very interesting Bill that he has cosponsored.

HR 2131 (SKILLS Visa Act): To amend the Immigration and Nationality Act to enhance American competitiveness through the encouragement of high-skilled immigration, and for other purposes.

This is an immigration reform Bill, which is a tough subject for Rep. Hanna. In April and early May 2013, Rep. Hanna placed himself on both sides of the immigration debate. With HR 2131 it appears that he has finally picked a side.

What the SKILLS Visa Act does is give visas to immigrants that work in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). This of course will allow those immigrants to compete with the US graduates with STEM degrees. According to the Center for Immigration Studies, over the next 10 years there will be 3.9 million US STEM degrees – or 1.55x the number of jobs projected to be available. Yet, Rep. Hanna wants to increase the competition for these jobs with foreign workers. Odd.

But HR 2131 does even more. It immediately increases the number of foreign workers by 90,000 [SEC. 201. H-1B VISAS] – current actual unemployment in the US is 21.2 million.

Further, the SKILLS Visa Act apparently allows foreign workers of ANY type under the following

(c) Aliens Who Are Members of the Professions Holding Advanced Degrees or Aliens of Exceptional Ability- Section 203(b)(2)(A) of such Act (8 U.S.C. 1153(b)(2)(A)) is amended by striking ‘paragraph (1),’ and inserting ‘paragraphs (1), (6), and (7),’.

(d) Skilled Workers, Professionals, and Other Workers- Section 203(b)(3)(A) of such Act (8 U.S.C. 1153(b)(3)(A)) is amended by striking ‘paragraphs (1) and (2),’ and inserting ‘paragraphs (1), (2), (6), and (7),’.

HR 2131 also lets an additional 10,000 foreigners get a visa to start a business in the US. This at a time where 1.3 million US business owners have lost their business (according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data since 2009) and are not being helped to start a new one. Not exactly the job growth that has been promised by politicians since the 2008 Recession began.

In Section 105 FAMILY-SPONSORED IMMIGRANT VISAS – it increases the number of visas for foreign families, without regard to STEM jobs. The SKILLS Visa Act even helps let students, who are actually working a temp job, to bring their families – because the DREAM Act is very clear on what happens to the children of these immigrants after they stay in the US beyond the visa timeframe [SEC. 205. STUDENTS].

Perhaps the best part of the HR 2131 is the fact that it will justify increasing competition for STEM jobs by providing an additional $225,000 to each State – in the best case scenario, if all 50 States request the money – to be used for STEM education. A pittance compared to the cost of education, even worse if the cost of a STEM higher degree is considered.

Overall, Rep. Hanna as done nothing to help those unemployed in the New York 22nd Congressional District to find a job. He has not improved conditions for small business (except for baseball collectibles). He is actively helping foreign workers get jobs, and bring their families – conditions that are the root of the problem today and the justification for the DREAM Act. Rep. Hanna is also actively increasing competition for STEM jobs, now and in the future, at a time when his constituents are well above the national average for unemployment, and below the State average for pay.

Does this represent what you want from Congress? Is this what you were thinking of when Rep. Richard Hanna was re-elected? Does this job performance improve your confidence in Congress and Government?

If not, you can donate for a better option. I’m Michael Vasquez, and like everyone in the NY-22 I expect more from a representative in Congress. It’s time we get it.

Syria: Timeline in Tweets and Facebook comments

In just a matter of weeks, the Unites States has taken a curious path with regard to Syria and the use of chemical weapons. From a “red line” clearly defined by President Obama alone, to the question of attack (and if congressional approval is necessary), to blunders by Secretary of State Kerry that created a diplomatic resolution. Through out the course of these events public opinion has remained steadfast in opposition as a justification and plan of action failed to be presented to the American (and British and German) people.

The following are a series of tweets (@electvasquezny) and Facebook comments (www.facebook.com/ElectMichaelVasquezNY) presenting some of the thoughts and views during this political drama. Included are key events that occurred along this timeline. For a history of key events in Syria since 1918 (from a British perspective) you can review this BBC News summary.

***Note that for the New York 22nd Congressional District Representative Richard Hanna, along with 15 other NY members of Congress, did not make any position on Syria throughout the proposed conflict. While overwhelming opposition from the public was in place, Rep. Hanna could not determine if standing by constituents or the leaders of the Party was correct course of action.

While this has currently resolved itself, the question of where Rep. Hanna – and the other members of Congress for New York (and other parts of the nation) that chose to sit on the fence – stands on this and similar issues remains unclear and perhaps implies political self-preservation as opposed to the best interests of the nation or representation of the public.***

August 21, 2013 – An alleged chemical attack took place at Ein Tarma and Zamalka in Syria. After initial confusion, blame for the attack was placed on the Syrian Government lead by President Assad. Syria has consistently denied the use of chemical weapons.

August 28, 2013 – President Obama states in an interview with Judy Woodruff that he has not decided what to do about Syria –

“JUDY WOODRUFF: But Mr. President, with all due respect, what does it accomplish? I mean, you’re – the signals the American people are getting is that this would be a limited strike or of limited duration. If it’s not going to do that much harm to the Assad regime, what have you accomplished? How – what – what’s changed?

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, Judy, again, I have not made a decision, but I think it’s important that if, in fact, we make a choice to have repercussions for the use of chemical weapons, then the Assad regime, which is involved in a civil war, trying to protect itself, will have received a pretty strong signal, that in fact, it better not do it again. And that doesn’t solve all the problems inside of Syria, and, you know, it doesn’t, obviously end the death of innocent civilians inside of Syria.”

‏@JazzShaw 28 Aug
I assume Joe Biden will be opening impreachment proceedings if Obama bombs Syria w/o congressional resolution in support?
Retweeted by Michael Vasquez

‏@MVConsult 28 Aug
If regime change not the point of dropping bombs on Syria, why bother? http://reut.rs/17joBUw

@SenRandPaul 28 Aug
@BarackObama in 2007: POTUS lacks authority to unilaterally authorize military attack w/o imminent threat to nation http://bo.st/6sTzx
Retweeted by Michael Vasquez

August 29, 2013 – British Prime Minister David Cameron’s support of a military strike against Syria is voted down,

“…it was clear that parliament did not want to see a military strike on Syria to punish it for chemical weapons use and that he would act accordingly.”

@electvasquezny 29 Aug
So why hasn’t Rep Hanna joined the call to have Pres Obama get authority from Congress for Syria along w 100 Repubs http://m.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-politics/wp/2013/08/28/more-than-100-lawmakers-ask-obama-to-seek-congressional-approval-on-syria-strikes/ …

@electvasquezny 29 Aug
Will Syria be another foreign policy flip-flop for Rep Hanna, like Libya? http://m.cnsnews.com/news/article/81-republicans-flip-flop-libya-opposition-votes …

@electvasquezny 29 Aug
Apparently the British can’t see a point in bombing Syria that benefits them, so why is President Obama pushing for it when America is same.

August 30, 2013 – President Obama and Secretary of State Kerry try to make case for a military strike on Syria, resistance is noted internationally as well as domestically.

“In Washington, questions about the veracity of the U.S. intelligence and whether the nation is headed for another long war based on false information — like happened in Iraq — have emerged from both parties in Congress.”

‏@MVConsult 30 Aug
I still am unclear what US national interest is affected by a Syrian internal conflict. And why are economic sanctions off the table?

‏@electvasquezny 30 Aug
50% don’t want US involved w Syria (NBC poll), 80% want Congress approval, US intel still unsure of details, British are out. Time to pause

@electvasquezny 30 Aug
Can anyone recall the last time Britian didn’t support, even grudgingly, a military action by US?

@electvasquezny 30 Aug
In dictionaries, under examples of feckless you can see the following: ‘See Obama Syria bombing plan’

Michael Vasquez – August 30 via mobile [Facebook]
Britain has supported every military action by US that I recall, even if they didn’t like it. But on Syria they are out, and the powerhouse of France is backing us. When was the last time France won a military action? Napoleon? Is this really the only support we are getting. Shouldn’t this give pause as maybe something is wrong.

I think you can find the answer on what to do about Syria in the following quote from December 20, 2007…

“The president does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation.

As commander-in-chief, the president does have a duty to protect and defend the United States. In instances of self-defense, the president would be within his constitutional authority to act before advising Congress or seeking its consent. History has shown us time and again, however, that military action is most successful when it is authorized and supported by the legislative branch. It is always preferable to have the informed consent of Congress prior to any military action.”

August 31, 2013 – France steps up as a supporter of a military strike against Syria. President Obama takes first steps to get Congress to authorize a military strike,

“In a dramatic turnaround, President Obama said Saturday that he will wait for congressional authorization to punish Syria for a chemical weapons attack, even though he has decided a military strike is needed.”

Blog article – The Syria questions

September 1, 2013 – Syria responds to US actions,

“Syria hailed a “historic American retreat” on Sunday, mockingly accusing President Barack Obama of hesitation and confusion after he delayed a military response to last month’s chemical weapons attack near Damascus to consult Congress.”

September 2, 2013 – Pending vote on Syria in Senate stirs comments,

“We cannot make this about the president versus Congress or him shuffling off responsibility,” Mr. Rogers, the Michigan Republican, said Sunday on “State of the Union” on CNN. “We can have all of those debates at another time. This is really about the credibility of the United States of America standing up for an antiproliferation and use of chemical and biological weapons.”

September 3, 2013 – Senate Foreign Relations Committee passed the resolution (10 – 7) that authorizes a limited military response, comedian (and noted Liberal) Jon Stewart expressed a backlash against President Obama and the plan on his Daily Show program. President Obama to travel overseas to Stockholm on the 4th.

‏@pewresearch 3 Sep
Few See U.S. Military Action Discouraging Chemical Weapons Use http://pewrsr.ch/1agR1m6 pic.twitter.com/HqOJu2r1AX
Retweeted by Michael Vasquez

‏@MVConsult 3 Sep
1,400 dead Syrians = moral imperative for US. In Darfur 1.2 million dead, 250,000 refugees, over more than 8 yrs = nothing.

@electvasquezny 3 Sep
So what are the odds of the Nobel asking for the peace prize back when President Obama is in Sweden? And yes I know it was Oslo.

Michael Vasquez shared a link. – September 3 [Facebook]
74% believe this will cause a backlash against US and 61% think it won’t stop chemical weapons use. So is it really worth helping the President save face?

September 4, 2013 – President Obama tries to shift pressure on Syria from his “red line” to the international community, and fails to win support – “While Obama may have had some justification for drawing that line based on international conventions, the decision to tie U.S. military involvement to Assad using chemical weapons was Obama’s red line.” Russian President Vladimir Putin expresses pending opposition to the US on Syria during upcoming G20 talks,

“We have our ideas about what we will do and how we will do it in case the situation develops toward the use of force or otherwise. We have our plans.”

@MVConsult 4 Sep
Bold statement from Rep Hanna on Syria – ‘I’m definitely standing on the fence’ http://bit.ly/15ykqGp

@electvasquezny 4 Sep
Can Rep Hanna be any less decisive on Syria? Or is taking a stand too politically definitive for his arbitrary standards?

@electvasquezny 4 Sep
Leadership is not about winning every battle or being right in every debate, its about decisiveness in the face of ambiguity. Rep Hanna?

@electvasquezny 4 Sep
Shockingly at 1:38pm Secrty Kerry went 2 for 2 on comparisons to nazi concentration camps killings. What arw the odds he will try another?

Michael Vasquez shared a link. September 4 [Facebook]
A statement saying you (Rep Richard Hanna) have no statement is just an attempt to look good as you waste taxpayers money. Pick a side on Syria, that you believe is right, and explain why you think that. Constituents will let you know if they agree.

Michael Vasquez September 4 via mobile [Facebook]
Sect Kerry dodged completely the timeframe and scope of potential Syria attack, and any potential consequence as asked by Rep Smith of NJ. He didn’t even try to acknowledge the question. @ 1:24pm. Does that mean there is no plan or projections? Or is it trying to maintain a sembance military secrets on a very public action?

Michael Vasquez September 4 via mobile [Facebook]
Secty Kerry response to Rep Chabot of OH on difference of Syria to Libya @ 1:32pm, was the imminent threat to life – they why has there been no action on Darfur in past 8 years. Or do 1.2 million dead not count to President Obama in his concern about saving lives?

‏@MVConsult 4 Sep
Seriously, vote on Syria is not partisan but about best interest of America and our plan of action. How can a Congressman not have opinion?

Mike Vass September 4 via DROID [Facebook]
Seriously, vote on Syria is not partisan but about best interest of America and our plan of action. How can a Congressman not have opinion?

September 5, 2013Opposition in House of Representative to a military strike on Syria is notable – even with both Dem and Republican leadership support of President Obama,

“If the House voted today on a resolution to attack Syria, President Barack Obama would lose — and lose big.”

Blog article – What’s the worst position to have on Syria?

Michael Vasquez shared a link via Mike Vass. September 5 [Facebook]
Issues of this magnitude have grave consequences, and political opportunism can never benefit the average American. More than ever, moments like this define the future of the nation and thus require those strong enough to stand up and take a stance they believe is both correct and worthy. Only in making strong arguments, and fighting for the best outcome can America walk a path to tomorrow with confidence it has done the right thing.

September 6, 2013 – Syrian rebels attack US – Russia deal on chemical weapons –

“America told the world it would bomb Syria and then, when the time came, it got scared,” said Abdelqaderi Asasheh, operations chief of the Liwa al-Tawhid brigade in Aleppo.”

September 7, 2013White House weekly address on limited military action in Syria.

September 8, 2013 – Syrian President Assad warns of retaliation from any US military action,

“You should expect everything,” Assad said in an interview with CBS taped in Damascus. “Not necessarily from the government. It’s not only the government … in this region. You have different parties, you have different factions, you have different ideology.”

September 9, 2013 – Secretary Kerry offers rhetorical resolution to Syria to avoid military strike. Secretary Kerry also describes any US military action as “unbelievably small”“We will be able to hold Bashar al-Assad accountable without engaging in troops on the ground or any other prolonged kind of effort in a very limited, very targeted, short-term effort that degrades his capacity to deliver chemical weapons without assuming responsibility for Syria’s civil war. That is exactly what we are talking about doing – unbelievably small, limited kind of effort.”

President Obama acknowledges may lose congressional support of military strikes,

“Battling stiff resistance in Congress, President Barack Obama conceded Monday night he might lose his fight for congressional support of a military strike against Syria, and declined to say what he would do if lawmakers reject his call to back retaliation for a chemical weapons attack last month.”

Michael Vasquez September 9 via mobile [Facebook]
So what does the Obama administration do now that, as the President seeks to create support for what most see as (and Secretary Kerry described) a useless show of force, Kerry has given Syria an out? Ignore the diplomatic solution that they offered? Or push forward on an attack that has no support on all sides, national and international (France doesn’t count)?

‏@MVConsult 9 Sep
Amazing how an option in Syria is available once the Obama Admin mentions it and does not assume the answer

September 10, 2013 – President Obama speaks to American public, trying to gain support for military strikes as Russia moves on Secretary Kerry’s rhetorical offer.

September 11, 2013 – President Obama places congressional approval on hold, as Russia and Syria indicate support for Secretary Kerry’s rhetorical offer.

Fred Thompson ‏@fredthompson 11 Sep
Kerry:Syria attack would be an “unbelievably small, limited kind of effort”. Oh… like the State Department’s Benghazi investigation? #tcot
Retweeted by Michael Vasquez

Michael Vasquez likes an article on POLITICO. September 11 [Facebook]
Good translation of of the polispeak in the speech – What President Obama said, what he meant

Michael Vasquez September 11 via mobile [Facebook]
Much to the relief of Rep Richard Hanna and 15 other members of Congress representing NY State, the question of bombing Syria is off the table – for now. These members have been rewarded for sitting on the fence. No longer do they need to justify why they would not support the overwhelming view of their constituents, nor stand with their Party leadership. Each has preserved their re-election hopes, but will voters recall thier lack of intestinal fortitude?

September 12, 2013 – US and Russia start talks with Syria on turnover of chemical weapons.

@electvasquezny 12 Sep
If report cited by WSJ correct and N Korea is starting plutonium reactor, will Pres O bomb them? Doesn’t Syria policy mandate response?

Michael Vasquez September 12 via mobile [Facebook]
The problem with how Syria has showcased a weak and confused US stance may be realized, if as Wall Street Journal article suggests, North Korea is activating plutonium reactor. Isn’t that a more credible US national interest and threat? Will Pres Obama suggest bombing N Korea, and is the assumption that the US is impotent spurring this action?

‏@MVConsult 12 Sep
If US ignores first 100,000 Syrian dead & 1.2 mill Darfur but alleged chem use = bombing then what is policy on N Korea and plutonium?

September 14, 2013 – Deal reached on Syrian chemical weapons, plan to take place by mid-2014. President Obama states military option still possible if deal fails.

“If diplomacy fails, the United States remains prepared to act.”

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