Oh, my: Obama and Hillary regularly exchanged emails

March 9, 2015

 

"It's all good. No worries!"

“It’s all good. No worries!”

To and from her private email address, hosted on a private server of questionable security in her own house.

Well, there goes any argument that The One only learned of this in his usual way, by reading the papers:

President Barack Obama communicated via email with Hillary Clinton while she used her personal email, according to the White House.

In a press briefing on Monday, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said that Obama did correspond with his secretary of state via her private email address.

“The president, as I think many people expected, did over the course of his first several years in office trade emails with his secretary of state,” Earnest said. “I would not describe the number of emails as large, but they did have the occasion to email each other.”

Yeah, not many emails. You know, the President of the United States and his top diplomat were just trading LOL Cat links and recipes. No way were they conducting important discussions on matters of state or sharing classified information that governments around the world would die to get their hands on. Nope. Unthinkable.

Consider: any intelligence service worth its salt hacked the Clinton’s server the moment they learned she was using a private email address, and I guarantee you someone found that out over her four-year term. And, if that happened, they now have the president’s private email address plus copies of any information she sent him and he sent her.

It would be as if China’s Ministry of State Security had a stenographer in the Oval Office.

Remember, Clinton used this email exclusively. No matter what security the White House had, the Clinton’s server was secured by the equivalent of a “No peeking” sign. What information did she and Obama share with each other? Were any classified docs sent as attachments? Edward Snowden has to be wondering why he went to all that trouble, when we were making it so easy.

Food for thought: No one with more than half a brain believes Obama didn’t notice the sender info in his emails over four years, nor knew that Hillary was running a private network. And yet if His Oneness sent classified info over unsecure lines, knowing what Hillary was doing and making no effort to put a stop to it, isn’t the POTUS himself as culpable, at least morally?

Afterthought: You know, if the committees of Congress want to know what’s in Hillary’s emails, they could just ask Wikileaks…

 


l’Affaire Giuliani, or, “Does Obama love America?” No, and yes.

February 22, 2015
x

He loves one of these Americas

So, late last Wednesday, the MSM and the Left (I know, I’m repeating myself), exploded in outrage at comments made by former Mayor Rudy Giuliani at a dinner for likely presidential candidate Scott Walker at New York City’s “21 Club.”Speaking before the assembled guests, Giuliani stated with no equivocation that President Obama does not love America:

“I do not believe, and I know this is a horrible thing to say, but I do not believe that the president loves America,” Giuliani said during the dinner at the 21 Club, a former Prohibition-era speakeasy in midtown Manhattan. “He doesn’t love you. And he doesn’t love me. He wasn’t brought up the way you were brought up and I was brought up through love of this country.”

With Walker sitting just a few seats away, Giuliani continued by saying that “with all our flaws we’re the most exceptional country in the world. I’m looking for a presidential candidate who can express that, do that and carry it out.”

“And if it’s you Scott, I’ll endorse you,” he added. “And if it’s somebody else, I’ll support somebody else.”

Naturally, the airwaves exploded as Obama’s defenders rushed to express outrage: “How dare he question Obama’s patriotism?” (Conveniently forgetting that Obama did just that to George W. Bush) There were demands for apologies and, of course, cries of “racism!” I’m only surprised no one screamed “lèse–majesté” and demanded Rudy’s head.

But, enjoying the furor he caused, Giuliani refused to back down. The next day on “Fox and Friends,” he went there again:

“I do hear him criticize America much more often than other American presidents. And when it’s not in the context of an overwhelming number of statements about the exceptionalism of America, it sounds like he’s more of a critic than he is a supporter,” Giuliani said. “You can be a patriotic American and be a critic, but then you’re not expressing that kind of love that we’re used to from a president.”

Here’s video courtesy of Nice Deb:

If I understand that last sentence right, it sounds like Giuliani saying that a president cannot be critical of America and still love her. If so, then I respectfully disagree.

On the other hand, I think his general argument should be uncontroversial, when understood in a certain way: Barack Obama does not love America as she is. He does not love Americans as they are.

Bear with me for a bit.

To understand how it can be true that the President of the United States does not love the United States, we have to keep in mind his intellectual background:

  • His grandparents were very much on the Left (1), and his mother had a very left-wing education at her high school. She later married the Kenyan Barack Obama, the president’s father, who was himself on the far Left.
  • His mentor in Hawaii was Frank Marshall Davis, a card-carrying member of the Communist Party USA and a devout Stalinist who was savagely critical of America and its leaders. Davis was important to Obama, as one can see in his memoir “Dreams From My Father.”
  • As an undergraduate at Occidental College, we know from people who knew him that Obama was a revolutionary Marxist-Leninist.
  • Transferring to Columbia, and though his records are sealed, researcher Stanley Kurtz has made a strong case that Obama remained on the far Left, perhaps there first learning of community organizing, the profession created by “small c” communist Saul Alinsky, and becoming acquainted with James Cone and Black Liberation Theology.
  • In Chicago as a community organizer, again per Kurtz, Obama’s professional associations, direct and indirect, were all on the Socialist left: the crypto-Socialist Midwest Academy; his work with Socialist/communist community organizing groups ACORN and UNO of Chicago; his membership in the Socialist New Party; his close association –professional and personal– with former “small c” communist terrorist Bill Ayers; and the fact that he willingly sat for 20 years in the church of Reverend Jeremiah “God damn America!” Wright, a follower of Cone and Black Liberation Theology.
  • During his return to school at Harvard for a law degree, he was influenced by Professor Derrick Bell, the author of Critical Race Theory.
  • On his return to Chicago, he entered politics by running for the state senate seat of the retiring incumbent, Alice Palmer, a Socialist/Communist who was a great fan of the USSR. Palmer initially gave Obama her warm endorsement.

One could go on, but I think you the pattern: From the beginning of his life through his professional career to today, Obama’s intellectual and emotional world has been almost wholly on the “America stinks” Left, and there is no evidence that I know of that he has ever moderated or rejected those views, other than to go from revolutionary Marxism-Leninism to a vague democratic socialism or corporatism.

With that kind of background –strongly Socialist and racialist– why would anyone expect Obama to love a nation founded on principles of limited government, free markets, capitalism, and the sanctity of property rights? All  our strengths he sees as flaws, and our wrongs as our main legacy. Ace puts it nicely:

…our weaknesses are footnotes (and footnotes worth reading, as footnotes usually are) to our accomplishments.

Obama doesn’t see our failings as footnotes. He sees them as the main text. He sees America doing a few good things here and there (most importantly: electing him) as the footnotes.

A president who loves the “America that is” accepts her for what she is, acknowledging her faults but seeing her good works, her greatness, and her exceptionalism as far outweighing the bad, marking her as indeed something special in the family of nations.

Obama, on the other hand, loves an America, but it’s not the same America most of us know and love. You don’t really love something or someone you want to “fundamentally transform.”

Barack Obama loves the America of his leftist dreams: statist and corporatist, where equality of result is guaranteed through the pervasive intervention of the only real arbiter of fairness, the government. A nation wherein people are treated as members of groups, not as individuals.

So, the answer to the question “Does President Obama love America,” is both “no” and “yes.”

The president we should look for is the one who simply and honestly answers “yes.”

RELATED: Moe Lane on why the Left is really upset. Kevin Williamson, who says Obama not only doesn’t love America, he doesn’t even like it.

Footnote:
(1) Kengor, “The Communist,” p. 229, Kindle location 4412. And, before someone accuses me of picking on his family, their potential influence on his future views is very much germane.


American political scientists downgrade our fourth-greatest president ever

February 17, 2015
"Tell me you love me!"

“Tell me you love me!”

Via The Washington Examiner, the results of this survey should have Obama running to his mirror for reassurance:

According to a Brookings Institution survey of American Political Science Association scholars, they put Obama on the worst, not best, list by a margin of nearly three-to-one. Here’s how Brookings wrote it: “Those who view Obama as one of the worst American presidents outnumber those who view him as one of the best by nearly a 3-1 margin.”

And, the friendly think tank added, “nearly twice as many respondents view Obama as over-rated than do those who consider him under-rated.”

Overall, Brookings said, “Few think of Obama as an excellent president, while many more rate his presidency quite low, with the bulk of experts appearing to give him a passing grade but not one that would get him on the Dean’s list.”

The survey was sent to 391 members of the American Political Science Association’s Presidents & Executive Politics section, the premier organization of experts of the American presidency, and 162 participated online.

First, let’s note that Brookings is not what one would call a “conservative” institution, so, if they have any bias, it likely runs in the other direction. Second, the APSA itself has a very liberal bent, so we can imagine that while it hurt to ding Obama, some of that criticism probably came from the Left, disappointed that he hasn’t gone far enough. Regardless, it’s a far cry from the fawning euphoria felt by those who greeted him as the second coming of FDR and those halcyon days when he was granted a Nobel peace Prize before he had done anything. (1)

Then again, FDR’s economic policies were largely a failure, so maybe the comparison was apt, after all.

Still, “the worst” by a 3-1 margin? There can be only one explanation: racism.

Don’t they know he’s the fourth-greatest president, ever?

Footnote:
(1) Then again, that is likely to be remembered as the high point of his administration….

UPDATE: Changed the headline from the original, since, the more I thought about it, the more it seemed tendentious.


Obama, the Un-War President

February 13, 2015

I’m kinder to Mr. Bush than Mr. Schindler is, but what he says about President Obama below is on-the-mark. If the Bush administration was too inclined to use force , a position I have some disagreements with, the Obama administration is almost mindbogglingly unwilling to recognize or admit to situations when force, or at least the credible threat of force, is the rational answer. Well-worth reading.

The XX Committee

It’s been a tough week for anyone seeking to defend President Obama’s record, particularly in foreign policy, against rising accusations of fecklessness. Seven days ago, the White House unveiled its overdue National Security Strategy, five years after its last edition, to understated fanfare, with National Security Adviser Susan Rice mostly complaining that nobody understands how great things are going globally — minor incidents like the rise of the Islamic State and the aggressive war waged by Russia against Ukraine notwithstanding — and that national security is, you know, a tough job.

The mantra attached to the new NSS is Strategic Patience, which was met with guffaws, since it seems to be more a rationalization of Obama’s (in)actions over the last six years than any bona fide strategy. Mostly, it appears to be “don’t do stupid shit,” the administration previous foreign policy mantra, dressed up in grad school IR cliches.

To…

View original post 1,358 more words


Obama: “Don’t criticize Islam because Christians did terrible things, too!”

February 5, 2015

satire does not equal 02

Sigh. While speaking at the National Prayer Breakfast, Obama warned against insulting religions, just because one has the right to do so. In the process, he engaged in some intellectually lazy moral equivalence:

“Humanity’s been grappling with these questions throughout human history, and unless we get on our high horse and think that this is unique to some other place — remember that during the Crusades and Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ. In our home country, slavery and Jim Crow all too often was justified in the name of Christ,” Obama said.

“…So it is not unique to one group or one religion; there is a tendency in us, a simple tendency that can pervert and distort our faith. In today’s world when hate groups have their own Twitter accounts and bigotry can fester in hidden places in cyberspace, it can be even harder to counteract such intolerance. And God compels us to try.”

Obama advocated starting with “some basic humility.”

First, let’s all take a moment to clean up after the spit-take we all experienced when Barack “I’m the 4th greatest president, ever” Obama advocated some basic humility. Better, now?

The President was speaking in the context of the horrific murder of Jordanian pilot Lt. Mu’adh Yusuf al Kasasibah by burning him alive. And Obama, always supposing himself to be the only reasonable man in the room wanted to warn others, “Hey, Christians have done some nasty things, too, so let’s not go overboard in reaction.”

This is called a tu quoque error, Latin for “you, too,” or arguing the accuser is a hypocrite for being just as guilty as the accused. Not only is this an error of relevancy –what happened centuries ago has no bearing on the atrocities committed by ISIS nor our condemnation of them– in this case Obama is showing an all too common ignorance of both history and the religions he presumes to lecture about.

Put bluntly, when a Christian commits “terrible deeds” while invoking the name of Christ, he is acting against Christ’s teachings. On the other hand, when a Muslim does something similar, he is often acting in accord with the teachings of the Qur’an, the hadiths, and the recorded deeds of the life of Muhammad. Writing at Victor Davis Hanson’s site, Bruce Thornton puts it so when criticizing another example of historical and theological ignorance:

This point makes [Harvard Professor Kevin Madigan’s] argument a false analogy, for there is nothing in traditional Islamic theology that provides a basis for making violence against heretics and non-believers un-Islamic. The professor wants to argue away these inconvenient truths about traditional Islam by arguing that the faith can evolve away from them, just as Christianity did. But again, whereas historical Christian violence could find no scriptural justification, and much to condemn it, Islamic violence and intolerance––and of course slavery and Jew-hatred––are not the result of fringe or extremist misinterpretations. Rather, they are validated in the Koran, the Hadith, and 14 centuries of Islamic theology and jurisprudence, all regularly and copiously cited by today’s jihadists and theologians.

Thus the doctrine of jihad against infidels––the notion that such aggression is a justified form of the defense of Islam and necessary for fulfilling Allah’s will that all people become Muslims––is the collective duty of those dwelling in the House of Islam. The Koran instructs, “Fight those who do not believe in Allah, nor in the latter day, nor do they prohibit what Allah and His Messenger have prohibited, nor follow the religion of truth.” Nor can there be any “tolerance” or “mutual respect” for those who reject Islam, especially Jews and Christians: “O you who believe! Do not take the Jews and the Christians for friends; they are friends of each other; and whoever amongst you takes them for a friend, then surely he is one of them; surely Allah does not guide the unjust people.” The professor’s dream of a “broad-minded form” of Islam would require an extensive reinterpretation or rejection of some of Islam’s fundamental tenets.

That whole article is worth the time to read.

While I was raised in a Catholic household, I’m not a religious person. And while I have a great deal of respect for (most) religions, I have none for the kind of shallow, intellectually indolent and sanctimonious ignorance Obama displayed in his remarks. The fact is, while Judaism, Christianity, and Islam arose in roughly the same region and have some similarities, what is valued as right and good and a religious duty in Islam is far different than in the former two faiths, as anyone who takes more than a superficial glance at them can see.

If we’re to fight this war successfully, we have to understand accurately the beliefs of those fighting on the other side. Sadly, we’ll have to wait for the next president to have any hope of that in our leadership.

PS: Regarding the Crusades, whatever wrong happened during them, let’s not forget that they originated in a Western counterattack against the Muslim conquest of two-thirds of the Eastern Roman (Byzantine) Empire, including Christendom’s holiest sites.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


(Audio) Obama has spoken. Now listen to a real orator

January 20, 2015

President Obama has just delivered his State of the Union address Speech from the Throne. If you had the stomach to put up with that, then you deserve a reward: the greatest orator of the 20th century at the climax of his greatest speech.

Ladies and Gentlemen, the Prime Minister:

No comparison.


Is the White House press office hiding Obama’s #Benghazi photos, @PressSec?

December 24, 2014
American Blood, US Consulate, Benghazi

American Blood, US Consulate, Benghazi

That’s the accusation made by investigative reporter Sharyl Attkisson:

“If you know how the White House works, a photographer is omnipresent,” Attkisson said. “He would have been there taking photographs in the Situation Room. He would have been taking photographs of the president that night. So we asked for the photos, which in my view, are public information. They are paid for with tax dollars, and they release them when they want them released and they are positive . The photo office indicated initially, this was probably in October or November 2012, that we could have the photos at the end of the day and that never materialized. They suddenly started referring us a White House deputy press secretary, Josh Earnest, who is now press secretary. And they said Josh would have to approve it, and he would never return a call or e-mail. We would try to maintain communication with him or try to make communication with him over a long period of time, and he wouldn’t even answer. We would go to the press, photographer’s office and say you have given us an impossible task, you have told us to talk to someone who will not talk to us. You need to give us another route to follow to try and get these photos, and they would say no, you have to talk to Josh Earnest. So that just went down a dead-end road…”

Attkisson’s right, this is public property and should be subject to Freedom of Information Act rules. And it’s not as if the White House has ever been shy about releasing photos of Obama in other situations. Quite the opposite. There are, for example, well-known photos of Obama observing the mission to assassinate Osama bin Laden. And, if you think back there were plenty of photos of President Bush and the White House staff dealing with the crisis of the 9-11 attacks.

So why none of President Obama on what was arguably one of the most dramatic nights of his administration, when Americans in the nation’s service were fighting for their lives?

It’s just a guess, but I suspect the reason is that their revelation would seriously embarrass Obama, who (again, guessing) left it to Panetta and JCS Chairman General Dempsey to handle things while he “arranged things” with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, in order to preserve their deal. Or maybe he just didn’t think it was important and just went to bed, which in its own way would be equally embarrassing. So, just as the LA Times sits on the Rashid Khalidi tape, the White House press office has deep-sixed those photos (1) to spare Obama public disgrace.

Someday they’ll come out. Just not while Obama is in office and Josh Earnest is his press secretary.

via Max Abrahms

Footnote:
(1) If they exist. Admitting they don’t would be just as bad for Obama, since it would also be an admission that he wasn’t doing anything worth recording that night.


Recognizing Cuba: what do we get out of the deal?

December 19, 2014
"Pues, yo venci."

“Yo venci.”

It was announced a couple of days ago that the Obama administration had concluded months of secret negotiations (facilitated by Canada and the Vatican) leading to the diplomatic recognition of Communist Cuba. The deal includes the exchange of ambassadors; the humanitarian release of an American held unjustly in Cuba; an exchange of captured spies (three of theirs for one of ours); and the easing of some economic and financial restrictions. President Obama will also ask Congress to end the half-century old embargo against the neo-Stalinist island.

Now, to be clear, I’m not unshakably opposed to opening relations with Cuba. Few policies are etched in stone, and, as circumstances change, so should policy if it no longer serves American interests. And there are rational arguments to be made in favor of relaxation. For example, my friend Jazz Shaw is of the “it wasn’t working, so let’s try something else” school, while analyst Tom Nichols makes “The Conservative Case” for normalizing relations. (For cogent rebuttals, please read Andrew McCarthy and Fausta)

So, like I said, there are rational arguments on both sides of the matter.

But, look at it another way. Try looking at it like a good capitalist would and ask yourself “What’s in this for us?”

A deal like this is a transaction in which each party gives up something of value to get something it values. What you’re getting is (or should be) worth as much or more to you than what you gave up. Otherwise, why are you making the deal?

And that’s where I’m stumped; I can’t figure out what we got that’s worth anything like what we are giving away. Consider:

If the agreement is carried out, the US gives up:

  • Official recognition of the Castro regime
  • Permission to export to US markets, potentially worth billions
  • Access to US financial markets, see above
  • Lots of US tourists and the dollars they’ll bring

Cuba gives up:

  • An unjustly held American
  • A spy who had been working for us.

Cuba gets:

  • See what the US gives up, and remember this will probably strengthen and shore up the regime, since all those dollars have to flow through them, first.

The USA gets:

  • ???

In other words,”What, exactly?” American recognition and the end of the embargo is of incredible value to Cuba’s struggling totalitarian regime, possibly guaranteeing its survival for decades to come. Is giving all that up worth what amounts to an ornament for Obama’s legacy? I don’t think we’re getting a good deal for our side.

Jazz and others argue that times have changed and that Obama was right to change policies from something that wasn’t working.

My argument is that since the policy (embargo and non-recognition) was not significantly harming us; since lifting it probably won’t measurably help the Cuban people (what incentive to liberalize do the Castros have now?), but does reinforce the idea that we will bargain for hostages; and since we aren’t getting anything of equal or greater value, why not keep the policy in place? It isn’t as if we’re talking about China or Russia, where other factors would outweigh our outrage at their barbaric record on political and economic liberty. American recognition and trade is an incredibly valuable asset worth far more than what Cuba offers (even if they do make great cigars); the Castros need us far more than we need them. If they want it, let them give us something big. Here’s what I would ask for at a minimum:

  • The release of all political prisoners
  • An end to media censorship
  • Tolerance for and free participation by opposition political parties
  • Religious liberty

I suspect the Fidel and Raul would turn down my offer.

The making of bad deals, however, is a trademark of the Obama administration. Senator Rubio (R-Fl), who’s livid over the agreement, puts it succinctly:

“I think the people of Cuba have a right, if they are free, to choose any economic system they want. Nothing the president will announce today will further that goal. It is ironic a week after he imposed sanctions on human rights violators in Venezuela, we are lifting sanctions on the government that has taught the Venezuelans how to commit these human rights violations,” Rubio continued. “It’s absurd, and it’s part of long record of coddling dictators and tyrants that this administration has established.”

“It’s par for the course and administration possibly giving away unilateral concessions for Iran or Cuba in exchange for nothing,” said the Florida senator. “His foreign policy is, at a minimum, naive, and perhaps truly counterproductive to the future of democracy in the region.”

Barack Obama is the worst negotiator that we’ve had as president since at least Jimmy Carter, and maybe in the modern history of this country,” Rubio concluded.

Yes. Yes he is. Rubio could also have mentioned the bizarre trade of five vicious Taliban warlords in return for one alleged deserter, Bowe Bergdahl.

The question is, why? Why make a deal with Cuban oligarchs that gives away the store in return for bupkis? Aside from Obama’s general leftist affinity for Socialist tyrannies and aside from political changes in the younger generation of Cuban-Americans that leads then to care less and less about the issue, I have another sneaking suspicion. Way back in the 60s and 70s, the leadership of the Weather Underground were great fans of the Cuban revolution and, especially, of Che Guevara. One of those leaders was Bill Ayers, who became a professor at the University of Chicago and then became close with one Barack Obama.

And now, years later, President Obama showers gifts on Cuba.

Just sayin’…

RELATED READING: The Diplomad: “The Castros pull it off again.” Elliott Abrams: The triumph of ideology over US national interests. McCarthy: Rewarding Castro in return for nothing. Rubio: Not so fast with that embassy construction, bud. Sean Davis: Free trade with Cuba is a fantasy. Mike Gonzalez: Obama didn’t tell the whole story about Cuba. Legal Insurrection: Is this the opening of Rubio’s campaign for president?

UPDATE: Reader SteveInTN links to an analysis at Stratfor suggesting major problems for Venezuela arising from this deal. One can only hope.


#Immigration: Congress *can* defund Obama’s executive order

November 26, 2014

Obamacaligula

Apparently Caesar Obama can decree all he wants, but getting the money to pay for his tyranny is another matter altogether:

The letter, requested by a Republican lawmaker, addressed an issue raised by House Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers (R-KY), who has claimed it is impossible for Republicans to defund Obama’s amnesty since the agency in charge of issuing the work permits, the United Stated Citizenship and Immigration Services office, is almost entirely funded by user fees.

The [Congressional Research Service] found that Rogers’ claim was completely false. From the letter:

“In light of Congress’s constitutional power over the purse, the Supreme Court has recognized that “Congress may always circumscribe agency discretion to allocate resources by putting restrictions in the operative statutes.” Where Congress has done so, “an agency is not free simply to disregard statutory responsibilities. Therefore, if a statute were enacted which prohibited appropriated funds from being used for some specified purposes, then the relevant funds would be unavailable to be obligated or expended for those purposes.

A fee-funded agency or activity typically refers to one in which the amounts appropriated by Congress for that agency or activity are derived from fees collected from some external source. Importantly, amounts received as fees by federal agencies must still be appropriated by Congress to that agency in order to be available for obligation or expenditure by the agency. In some cases, this appropriation is provided through the annual appropriations process. In other instances, it is an appropriation that has been enacted independently of the annual appropriations process (such as a permanent appropriation in an authorizing act). In either case, the funds available to the agency through fee collections would be subject to the same potential restrictions imposed by Congress on the use of its appropriations as any other type of appropriated funds.”

This makes perfect sense constitutionally and legally: the agency is a creation of Congress, which has told it to raise money for its operations from user fees. It would be risible to say that Congress somehow lacked the power to tell that same agency how to spend the money Congress authorized it to collect in the first place.

The Republican leadership is discussing a long-term funding resolution for most of the government, and a short-term one for the Immigration Service, so that the new Republican legislature could then order it not to spend any money to enforce Obama’s order. This would be a first good step toward reining in Obama’s usurping presidency.

Let’s hope they have the courage to do it.


#Immigration: Going off script, Obama admits he usurped power

November 25, 2014
"Caesar Obama"

“Caesar Obama”

(Photo credit: @exjon)

Dealing with radical immigration activists while in Chicago, President Obama spoke off the cuff, once again proving he should never leave the safety of his teleprompter:

“I have heard you, but you have got to listen to me, too. All right? And I understand you may disagree, I understand you may disagree. But we have got to be able to talk honestly about these issues, all right?”

“Now, you’re absolutely right that there have been significant numbers of deportations. That’s true. But what you are not paying attention to is the fact that I just took an action to change the law.

That may be the first time he’s spoken the truth in years. To quote Article 1 of the United States Constitution:

All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives.

That includes the power to “change the law.” How odd that there’s no mention of that being a presidential power…

All across America, state attorney generals about to file suit are saying a quiet but heartfelt “Thank you, sir,” for the gift he just gave them.


#ISIS: Rand Paul’s declaration of war

November 24, 2014
"Of course you know, this means war."

“Of course you know, this means war.”

One of the criticisms of President Obama’s conduct of our foreign affairs (and of our domestic affairs, frankly) is that he disregards statutes and the provisions of the Constitution whenever it is convenient for him to do so. This extends to the war powers inherent in the presidency under Article II. Both in Libya and, now, in Syria and Iraq in the fight against ISIS, Obama has been accused of acting without authorization from Congress, either under the specific War Powers Act of 1973 or Article I of the Constitution, the latter of which grants Congress the sole power to declare war. With regard to ISIS, Obama has claimed authorization under the existing Authorization to Use Military Force (AUMF) against al Qaeda, since ISIS is an al Qaeda “spawn.” Not surprisingly, critics call that a stretch.

One of the critics is Senator Rand Paul (R-KY), who has often accused Obama of acting unconstitutionally. At PJM, Bridget Johnson reports that Paul has plans to assert Congress’ authority over the war-power by introducing a bill to declare war on ISIS:

The resolution would kill the 2002 Iraq Authorization for Use of Military Force and put a one-year expiration date on the 2001 Afghanistan AUMF. The administration has been leaning upon those war on terror statutes to conduct current operations against ISIS in Iraq and Syria.

It notes that “the organization referring to itself as the Islamic State has declared war on the United States and its allies” and “presents a clear and present danger to United States diplomatic facilities in the region, including our embassy in Baghdad, Iraq.”

“The state of war between the United States and the organization referring to itself as the Islamic State, also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), which has been thrust upon the United States, is hereby formally declared pursuant to Article I, section 8, clause 11, of the United States Constitution,” the resolution states.

“The President is hereby authorized and directed to use the Armed Forces of the United States to protect the people and facilities of the United States in Iraq and Syria against the threats posed thereto by the organization referring to itself as the Islamic State, also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).”

The bill also contains specific limitations on the authorization to use force, namely action is to be limited to ISIS and its “affiliates,” and specifies that ground troops can only be used to protect Americans and American facilities, and in certain limited offensive operations.

I have my quibbles with this proposal (1), but overall I support the idea. Obama has created a constitutional crisis by pushing the limits of the presidency’s powers past their breaking point. We’re running the risk of passively acquiescing to our transformation from a republic with separate, co-equal branches of government, each with their own powers, to more of a strongman presidential model, such as in France (2).

To prevent that, Congress needs to start acting to jealously guard its prerogatives and assert its status, as Madison described several times in the Federalist Papers. Senator Paul’s bill to declare war may be a good start to redressing the balance.

RELATED: Charles Cooke on why Republicans should not retaliate in kind for Obama’s usurpations. Jay Cost on the proper way to rebuke Obama. Andrew McCarthy on “President Orwell.”

Footnote:
(1) Namely that I believe US “boots on the ground” in offensive operations will be necessary to defeat the new Caliphate; the Arab forces in the area are worthless.
(2) Not that I’m implying that France is a dictatorship — far from it. But the presidency under the Gaullist system is quite a bit more powerful than the legislature.


Obama Ignored US Embassy’s Warnings On Climate Change Speech

November 23, 2014

Our petulant man-child president strikes again, this time insulting a close ally in order to push his climate-change claptrap. The only word to describe such a performance is “juvenile.”

Watts Up With That?

US_Embassy_Seal[1]Obama’s Climate Fiasco Drives Aussies Closer To India & China

Barack  Obama defied the advice of his embassy in Canberra to deliver a stinging attack on the Abbott government’s climate policies in Brisbane last weekend. The US embassy, under the leadership of ambassador John Berry, advised the President, through his senior staff, not to couch his climate change comments in a way that would be seen as disobliging to the Abbott government, sources have revealed. Historians of the US-Australia relationship are unable to nominate a case of a visiting president making such a hostile speech for the host government. — Greg Sheridan, The Australian, 23 November 2014

The United States embassy in Canberra advised President Barack Obama not to make the provocative, anti-Abbott speech on climate change which he made at the University of Queensland in Brisbane. That the President acted against the advice of his own embassy reveals a…

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Endorsed: Bar Obama from making his State of the Union address before Congress

November 21, 2014
The President who would be King

The President who would be King

Since it became apparent that President Obama was about to (and did, last night) usurp the legislature’s authority to write and amend our laws, Republicans and conservatives (and some liberals) have been bandying around several strategies to fight back: some form of defunding, censure, even impeachment.

Writing at Ace of Spades, Drew M. adds a symbolic but very powerful idea: do not let Obama give his State of the Union address before the joint houses of Congress.

There’s one idea I’d like to add that is in many ways symbolic but that would focus the nation on the seriousness of this problem, do not invite Obama to address a joint session of Congress to deliver the State of the Union address.

The Constitution simply requires that “He shall from time to time give to the Congress information of the state of the union, and recommend to their consideration such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient.” Nothing requires that he do so in person. The modern in person State of The Union dates back to Woodrow Wilson but Truman, Eisenhower and Nixon all gave written reports as was the custom from Thomas Jefferson to Wilson.

And Presidents don’t simply show up whenever they please to address the Congress, they must be formally invited. That’s where Boehner and McConnell can strike a blow for the legislature…simply don’t invite him.

Yesterday, Boehner said, “The president had said before that he’s not king and he’s not an emperor,” Boehner says. “But he’s sure acting like one.”

There’s a reason for the reference to the behavior of kings: it’s a part of our history, dating back at least to the crises that gave rise to the English Civil War. In 1642, King Charles I attempted to usurp the powers of the House of Commons by barging in with soldiers to arrest five members. In commemoration of this, the House of Commons slams the doors in the face of Black Rod when he comes to summon them to hear the Queen’s Speech. Nowadays, this is just a ceremonial tradition, a reminder of the Commons’ independence from the Crown.

It is also an echo of a very real crisis.

We are England’s heirs, and Congress is facing its own crisis with an arrogant, usurping Executive. Let Speaker Boehner and (soon to be) Majority Leader McConnell reach deep back into our history and, along with more substantive actions, assert the legislature’s rights as a co-equal branch of government. Refuse our modern King Charles the stage his ego so desperately needs (1).

It’s time to bar the doors.

via Gabriel Malor

Footnote:
(1) Come on, you know Obama’s ego is so brittle that this would drive him nuts. As a narcissist, he craves a stage from which to lecture his inferiors.


Video: Sen. Cruz Invokes Cicero’s Words Against President Obama’s Lawlessness

November 20, 2014

Well-played by Senator Cruz. This Classics fan nods in approval.

Nice Deb

Obamacaligula

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, speaking  Senate floor, Thursday, harkened back to Cicero’s famous warning to the citizens of Rome over 2,000 years ago. The Roman philosopher, Marcus Cicero, was advocating a return to a Republican form of government after the emperor Julius Caesar died. The words, as spoken by Cruz have special resonance today in respect to our current President’s lawlessness.

The text of the speech:

The words of Cicero powerfully relevant 2,077 years later. When, President Obama, do you mean to cease abusing our patience? How long is that madness of yours still to mock us? When is there to be an end to that unbridled audacity of yours swaggering about as it does now? Do not the nightly guards placed on the border, do not the watches posted throughout the city, does not the alarm of the people and the union of all good men and women, does…

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Krauthammer: “I’ve Waited Long Enough” Is Something A Banana Republic Leader Would Say

November 20, 2014

All Obama needed was the general’s uniform and the mirrorshade sunglasses.

Nice Deb

One of the more obnoxious things about Obama’s imperial decree on amnesty is the rationale he’s been using to go forward – which he has repeated over and over again and it didn’t sound any better the 10th time he (or one of his minions) said it..  Congress failed to pass “common-sense, comprehensive immigration reform” when Emperor Obama laid out his glorious principles for reform two years ago — and that’s why he must now act unilaterally.

That’s an obscene distortion of how our system of government works.

“The only rationale Obama is citing in doing this,” Krauthamer explained is “not lack of resources, it’s not a crisis, it’s not something new. As he said the system is broken, it has been for decades. It is one thing and one thing alone. ‘I’ve waited long enough.’ That’s what a caudillo says in a Banana Republic. ‘I waited long enough, and the…

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Quote of the Day: “Obama’s imperial transformation is now complete”

November 20, 2014
"Caesar Obama"

“Caesar Obama”

(Photo credit: ExJon)

Having sold us a bill of goods as a humble reformer who knew what needed to be done, Charles Cooke writes, tonight Obama will emerge from his cocoon to reveal himself as Emperor Barack I:

Today, the transformation of Barack Obama from wide-eyed idealist to bitter imperator will finally be completed. Amid the glitz and the artifice of Las Vegas, the last vestiges of the one we were waiting for will be swept ignominiously away, leaving only power, cynicism, and partisanship in their stead. There was a time when our 44th president claimed to stand for transparency, modesty, moderation, tolerance, humility, reason, and calm. Today, just feet from Caesars Palace, he will don the robes of the emperor and spin minor discretion into gargantuan usurpation, all norms and touchstones be damned. However convincing are the promises of the ambitious, Lord Acton always has the last laugh.

As with everything Cooke writes, read the whole thing.


Barack C. Calhoun, nullifier

November 20, 2014
Obama's inspiration

Obama’s inspiration?

J. Christian Adams, a former attorney with the Department of Justice, makes an interesting comparison in advance of President Obama’s expected Executive Order that would unilaterally rewrite our nation’s immigration laws. Writing at PJMedia, he argues that Obama has adopted the logic of John C. Calhoun, the antebellum South Carolina US Senator and vice-president to Andrew Jackson, that the states can nullify federal laws they disagree with.

Back then in the 1830s, President Jackson vigorously opposed Calhoun’s theory of nullification, and the resulting crisis almost lead to civil war. Now, Adams argues, instead of upholding the law as he is constitutionally bound, President Obama is about to claim the power of nullification for himself:

In announcing a lawless amnesty edict tonight, President Obama is our modern John C. Calhoun.

Elementary school civics class has taught the same thing for two hundred years: Congress makes the laws, the president enforces the laws, the judiciary interprets the laws. The reason this is so is because individual liberty thrives when government is hobbled by division of power. People live better lives when federal power is stymied.

When President Obama announces that he will be suspending laws to bless the illegal presence of millions of foreigners in the United States, he will have adopted the most basic philosophy of John C. Calhoun: some laws can be tossed aside because his ends justify the lawlessness.

Adams also compares Obama to King Charles I, who lost his throne (and his head) in a fight over power with the English Parliament. Others have made that same comparison, seeing the parallels in the struggle between the legislature and the Crown/Executive in 1640, 1689, and 1776. Now we’re in 2014, and another executive is declaring himself superior to the legislature, to have the power to act when it won’t do his will.

The question is, what will the legislature do in return to preserve the constitutional order?

I wish I knew.


Obama Still Behind The Learning Curve On Midterm Shellacking (Video)

November 9, 2014

The sign of a true narcissist: everyone is wrong except him. He won’t learn from his mistakes because, in his mind, he hasn’t made any.

Nice Deb

There seemed to be the consensus among the political wags on the Sunday talk shows, today.  The president still hasn’t gotten the message from the mid term shellacking  nor does he seem to grasp that he’s going to have to compromise with Republicans. Furthermore, he refuses to acknowledge the fact that his left-wing agenda has been rejected by the American people.

Bob Woodward, was taken aback by the president’s interview with Bob Schieffer, Sunday, making a great point about the president’s attitude toward the Republican congress. Basically Obama is going to do them the great favor of running his dictats past them before he whips out his pen.

“He said he’s going to reach out to the other side to persuade and sell,” Woodward noted. “Now, if you’re going to reach out to get done something, one of the things you’re going to do is listen. But we didn’t hear

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So, now the President of the United States is hearing voices in his head?

November 7, 2014
"My mandate is supreme!"

“My mandate is supreme!”

Man, the Great Shellacking II must have been hard on our 44th Chief Executive (1). He’s now claiming he can hear those who didn’t vote, and that his imaginary friends gave him a bigger mandate than that of the incoming Republican Congress:

President Obama did something extraordinary, perhaps unprecedented, in his post-election news conference Wednesday: He claimed a mandate on behalf of voters who didn’t vote.

“To everyone who voted, I want you to know that I hear you,” the president said. “To the two-thirds of voters who chose not to participate in the process yesterday, I hear you, too.”

What did that mean? What did those non-voters say?

It would probably be more useful to ask what the president heard. And apparently Obama heard expressions of support from non-voters across the land.

The president explained that many more voters turned out when he was elected, and then re-elected, than in Tuesday’s midterms that left Republicans firmly in control of House and Senate. “One of the things that I’m very proud of in 2008 and 2012, when I ran for office, was we got people involved who hadn’t been involved before,” Obama said. “Part of what I also think we’ve got to look at is that two-thirds of people who were eligible to vote just didn’t vote.”

Of course, more than one-third of the people who were eligible to vote in Obama’s two presidential elections didn’t vote then, either. But Obama’s message to Republicans was unmistakable: My mandate is bigger than your mandate.

Oh, dear. It looks like our “constitutional scholar” president needs a lesson in American politics. Don’t worry, sir, I’ll make it easy for you:

In 2008, you and your party did indeed have a mandate —  a mandate to restore prosperity after a financial panic and crash. That is why you were elected and that is why you had insuperable majorities in both chambers of Congress. You had a free hand.

But, you blew it.

You wasted nearly a trillion dollars, much of it borrowed, on a “stimulus” program that was a utter failure and a pork fiesta. You then devoted you and your party’s energies to passing a national healthcare law that the majority of the nation never wanted. And you rammed it through by constitutionally questionable methods that left Americans aghast at your arrogance. The one thing you didn’t do was was the one thing the electorate asked you to do: make us prosperous again.

So, in 2010, the people took your mandate away by giving the House to the Republicans, meaning a majority of those voting across the nation gave the Republicans a mandate to put the brakes on your plans.

Fast forward to 2012. You won reelection, much to the nation’s, the world’s, and my regret. You also won with fewer votes than 2008 and a smaller percentage of the vote. The Republicans also retained control of the House. That, sir, is not a mandate for anything than “learn to work and play well with the Opposition,” which you failed to do.

And now here we are in 2014. For various and sundry reasons we won’t go into (2), the voting public took away control of the Senate; increased the Republican majority in the House to levels not seen in 70 years; and took even more gubernatorial offices and state legislative chambers from your party. That is not a mandate to you for anything other than to grow up and act like a responsible adult charged with leading the greatest nation on Earth, and not like a petulant, self-absorbed 16 year old.

This, Mr. President, is how are system works. Midterm elections are times when the people can affirm the status quo, or issue orders for a correction. When the win is big enough, it can be considered a mandate. The 2014 midterm election really was a mandate — for the Republicans and for a correction.

And that mandate can only be conferred by those who actually care enough to get off their butts, put down their cell phones, and go out and vote. Not by a mysterious, vague, known only by you, secret message-sending 2/3rds who couldn’t be arsed to cast a ballot. And, no, you don’t have the power to divine what they really must’ve meant.

Stop listening to those imaginary voices, Mr. President, and start listening to the people who spoke and spoke loudly last Tuesday.

Do that, and you may salvage something from the last two years of your presidency.

Footnote:
(1) And, by his own estimation, the fourth-greatest president ever.
(2) Summary: It was because you and your crew are frighteningly incompetent.

UPDATE: Linked by Pirate’s Cove. Thanks!


Is President Obama a Republican mole?

October 21, 2014

barack obama capitol

Sometimes I think that’s the only explanation. Consider what’s happened: More than half the nation wants to repeal and replace his signature legislation, Obamacare; if you add in those who want to just repeal it, you’re pushing 60%. In 2010 the nation punished the Democrats with huge federal and state losses. The 2009 “stimulus” bill was a big, fat failure that only rewarded cronies and drove up the national debt. His foreign policy is a shambles in a way we haven’t seen since the lowest days of Jimmy Carter’s maladministration. His administration has utterly bungled the Ebola crisis. His job approval rating has been mired in the low 40% for months. All this and more have given incumbent Democratic senators and candidates seeking to unseat Republicans good reason to run screaming from Obama and his policies to try save their party’s grip on the federal Senate. Some will do anything to avoid saying they voted for him.

But, for some reason, Obama won’t let them run away, regardless of his protestations otherwise. First he said that his policies are definitely on the ballot, in effect declaring this a referendum election on him. Democrat candidates in difficult races across the country did a collective face-palm.

But then in an interview with MSNBC’s Al Sharpton, discussing incumbents running for reelection in states that voted against him in 2012, which are most of those holding elections in this cycle,  Obama doubled down:

Here’s a partial transcript:

“The bottom line is tough, these are all folks who vote with me, they have supported my agenda in Congress…” and “These are folks who are strong allies and supporters of me,…”

Those sounds you hear are Mark Pryor, Allison Lundergan Grimes, Kay Hagan, Mary Landrieu, Mark Udall, Bruce Braley, and other Democrat candidates all speed-dialing to look for lobbying jobs after the election. Because, with Obama’s “help,” that’s the only way they’re going to D.C.

Maybe it’s his ego overwhelming his common sense, but, whatever the reason, President Obama may be the Republicans’ best friend in this election.