Americans are by now broadly aware of the threat posed by Chinese-owned TikTok, including its threat…
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TikTok’s Latest Assault: Ripping Off American Artists and Songwriters

Americans are by now broadly aware of the threat posed by Chinese-owned TikTok, including its threat to U.S. national security.

In recent days, we’ve witnessed in real time another emerging TikTok threat reaching the headlines:  The threat it poses to intellectual property protections, which undergird America’s status as the most artistically and musically productive and influential nation in human history.

Universal Music Group, however, has decided to stand up and fight back by removing its catalog of songs – including artists like Taylor Swift, Drake and Billie Eilish – from TikTok.

Tone-Deaf TikTok has built its aggressive worldwide empire largely on the backs of music created by American artists, as even its corporate leadership openly admits.  As TikTok’s very own…[more]

February 08, 2024 • 12:44 PM

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The Iran Deal and America’s Crisis of Self-Government Print
By Troy Senik
Thursday, July 30 2015
This is a total inversion of the constitutional practice.

There are plenty of good reasons to be depressed over the recent deal hammered out in Vienna to address Iran’s nuclear program. For one, it bears the imprimatur of President Obama who, as the Bowe Berghdal swap and the Cuba deal illustrate, is a master of “buy high, sell low” negotiations.

For another, the negative implications for Middle Eastern security are almost too numerous to count: a virtually inevitable nuclear arms race that could include the likes of Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Turkey; hundreds of billions of dollars in sanctions relief that Iran can use to fund terrorist groups throughout the region; and a legitimization of the mullahs’ rule that shrinks the prospect of regime change in Tehran to almost zero.

Yet there’s another aspect of this process that ought to concern any American conscious of the fragility of our system of self-government: a wholesale abandonment of the rule of law.

At the moment, Congress is reviewing the Iran deal and preparing for a vote that must take place by the end of September. Should the legislative branch reject the deal, President Obama could then veto their decision — at which point 2/3 majorities in both the House and the Senate would be required to overrule the White House. This process is an embarrassment.

Here’s why: Under the terms of the Constitution, presidents are required to submit treaties to the Senate, where a 2/3 majority is necessary to ratify the agreement. That means that, under standard procedures, President Obama could not implement this agreement unless he won over every single member of the Democratic Caucus in the upper chamber as well as 11 Republicans. That, needless to say, would not happen.

Because this administration hasn’t the slightest regard for the rule of law, however, President Obama simply sidestepped that process by declaring that the deal with Iran is not, in fact, a treaty. With Congress scared that they would be completely cut out of the process, Republican Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee advanced the bill that set up the current system: one in which 2/3 of both houses are required to stop an agreement rather than 2/3 of just the Senate being necessary to approve it.

This is a total inversion of the constitutional practice. Under these rules, President Obama will have his deal as long as he can persuade a scant 34 senators or 145 House members to go along. It turns out that winning is quite easy when you can change the rules in the middle of the game.

Here’s the problem: A system such as ours is reliant in some measure on soft norms of civic forbearance. When you push the system too hard — when you start eroding the trust that is necessary to get strong partisans to at least consent to a common set of rules — you send institutions spinning off into chaos.

Yet President Obama has never blinked at that prospect. This is the guy who decided that the president could tell the Senate when it was or wasn’t in session. This is the guy who — contradicting dozens of statements he had previously made to the contrary — decided he could upend immigration laws by executive fiat without any role for the Congress. And now this is the guy who’s decided that the treaty power doesn’t apply to him when it’s politically inconvenient.

Make no mistake — these problems are not limited to the executive branch. We’ve just concluded a Supreme Court session in which the two most prominent decisions involved a majority of justices flamboyantly dispensing with the idea that they’re bound by the text of the Constitution or unambiguous statutes. And Congress, for its part, has become by far the weakest of the three branches, with many of its traditional powers now having been annexed by the federal bureaucracy and with its oversight of those bodies proving feckless.

We are at a crisis point in American government. With all three branches in the grips of systematic dysfunction, the system of checks and balances is beginning to lose its power to make course corrections. The only rehabilitative measure left at that point is a backlash from the American people — one that insists that our public offices be populated exclusively by those who take the obligations imposed by the Constitution seriously.  Failing that, this effort is sunk. America is just another country.

Benjamin Franklin famously described our system of government as “A republic … if you can keep it.” Without a civic renaissance in the next decade or two, there’s a very real chance that we’ll have failed Dr. Franklin’s test.

Notable Quote   
 
"A nursing student bludgeoned to death near a tranquil Georgia college campus. A developmentally disabled person raped in Boston. A mother and son killed in a head-on crash in Colorado. New York's finest assaulted in the heralded Times Square.The roll-call of victims violated by Joe Biden's border policies is rising as fast as the hotel and welfare tabs for sanctuary cities, thrusting an American…[more]
 
 
— John Solomon, Chief Executive Officer and Editor in Chief of Just the News
 
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