Filed under: Democrat Corruption, Freedom, Law, National Security, Politics, The Constitution, The United States | Tags: Executive Orders, Laws Are Made by Congress, Separation of Powers
In the first two years of his presidency, Barack Obama had an easy relationship with Congress, for both houses were controlled by Democrats, and what Obama wanted, Obama got. In the second two years, Republicans won a solid majority in the House of Representatives, and the president faced opposition. Mr. Obama has made it clear that he doesn’t like disagreement.
Republicans are deeply worried about the administration’s profligate spending, and worry that raising taxes, as they agreed to in January, will put the nation back into recession. Mr. Obama believes that spending is the way to economic growth.
The president’s arrogant attempts to go around Congress and the excessive flow of regulation from the administration have alarmed administration watchers. Promises of “transparency” have proven to be ephemeral.
Answers about the “Fast and Furious” gunrunning scandal have not been forthcoming. Sensitive security information about the bin Laden raid was released to the media for political purposes. Obama told Defense Contractors to hide scheduled layoffs until after the election, breaking the law.
The attack on the Benghazi compound and the death of the ambassador, his technology aide, and two former SEAL team members was covered up, blamed on an obscure video, the filmmaker imprisoned on spurious charges, amid charges that the administration made no effort to save their lives during a seven-hour battle. The president was disinterested and went to bed, as did the Secretary of State.
It came to light that the president has a “kill list” of terrorists who could be eliminated by drones. A terrorist in Yemen who was killed turned out to be an American citizen. His young son who was an American citizen was also killed. Lots of questions were raised. Does the president have the authority to kill an American citizen, even if he is a suspected, or known, terrorist? Are there rules? And what are they?
News report: Homeland Security ordered 450 million rounds of ammunition for its 65,ooo armed personnel. In 2011, the FBI ordered up to 100 million bullets for its 13,913 agents. A tragic mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School brought demands to end “gun violence.” Posturing politicians like California’s Dianne Feinstein went after “assault weapons,” though no one could identify just what an assault weapon is — it seems to be entirely cosmetic. Americans saw this as an effort to repeal the Second Amendment, and rushed to gun dealers to buy weapons and stock up on ammunition. What did you expect?
President Obama made a series of nominations for major cabinet offices, and chose, for Defense, a former enlisted man who believes in eliminating nuclear weapons and seems not to understand our recent wars at all. Obama fired, or encouraged the departure of two of our top generals. And for CIA he chose a man who was apparently involved in running a secret operation in Benghazi that affected the attacks there, and who seemed incapable of answering simple direct questions.
The Department of Homeland Security bought 7,000 5.56 x45 NATO personal defense weapons (real assault weapons), both automatic and semi-automatic. DHS has also purchased 2,717 MRAP (Mine-Resistant Ambush-Protected) vehicles with gun ports, for use on American city streets. Why?
Overarmed federal officials are increasingly employing military tactics as a first resort in routine law enforcement. They are employing heavily armed SWAT teams against harmless, frequently innocent civilians who are accused of non-violent civil or administrative violations. Deroy Murdock enumerated some of the victims of over-armed military style agency attack.
If these separate actions and incidents have made many Americans a little paranoid, it’s hardly surprising. Governments have been brought down for less.
When Americans demand “transparency,” they actually mean it. The President and all his minions and our representatives in Congress work for us. They are not autocrats entitled to keep their actions secret. The oaths they take to defend the Constitution are not matters of tradition, but promises they make— in return for the offices we allow them to hold temporarily. They need to explain their actions. They are responsible to us.
The government has no money of its own. The funds they squander so carelessly came out of our pockets, and represent a vacation we couldn’t afford, a neglected repair for the house, a needed new appliance that will have to wait for another year. We didn’t elect them to “fundamentally transform” the United States of America. We elected them to preserve, protect and defend. and they’ve been doing a lousy job of it. We want straight answers, and ethical behavior.
Senator Rand Paul had some questions about John Brennan, the nominee to head the Central Intelligence Agency. He wrote to Mr. Brennan requesting some clarification of administration attitudes toward their powers of authorizing drone strikes against a U.S. citizen on U.S. soil , and without trial. This came in the wake of considerable talk about the use of drones in the United States, and the execution with a drone of an American Citizen and his family in Yemen. The administration handed the question over to Attorney General Eric Holder, who was incapable of giving a straight answer, as was nominee Brennan.
So Rand Paul filibustered the nomination. Eric Holder could not clarify the distinction between what is a matter of due process and what is war-making and subject to the rules of war. Democrats would not give a “Sense of the Senate” that drone attacks could not be made on American citizens on American territory.
It is to be hoped that the administration will gain some understanding of the problems that have been caused by their own lack of transparency, their refusal to give straight answers to straight questions, and a general arrogance that proclaims that they are our betters and are not answerable to us.
Filed under: Democrat Corruption, Foreign Policy, Islam, Israel, Terrorism | Tags: Ignoring Congress, Separation of Powers, The Imperial Presidency
The White House seems to have an odd relationship with the separation of powers. The 2010 mid-term election when Republicans took over control of the House of Representatives was a sharp rebuke to the administration and congressional Democrats. Rather than understand that as a call for more cooperation and bipartisanship, Obama saw it as a sign that he should just go around Congress, accomplishing his goals by executive orders and agency regulation.
The Friday night news dump showed that Obama had exceeded his own guidelines. He decided that he would ignore the restrictions of Congress’s Palestinian Accountability Act with a “waiver.” He made the decision to pour American taxpayer dollars —$192 million — into the coffers of the Palestinian Authority despite its being illegal. This was first printed in the foreign press (AFP), where many of the more interesting things about this administration first appear.
Congress mandated that no funds may be made available to the Palestinian Authority until it ends its terrorist activities and an independent audit is conducted of its finances. White House spokesman Tommy Vietor said it would ensure “the continued viability of the moderate PA government.” This is the same moderate government which has tried to form a pact with Hamas. He added that “the PA had fulfilled all its major obligations, such as recognizing Israel’s right to exist, renouncing violence and accepting the Road Map for Peace.”
In the real world, the PA is not only not moderate, but has reneged on all its commitments. The whole thing is a blatant lie.
Obama’s thinks of himself as an imperial president, above mere laws. His rant against the Supreme Court in the wake of the ObamaCare hearing was a disgrace. The Supreme Court is a fully equal branch of the government to the executive branch, and they decide what is Constitutional — not the president, who was a part-time lecturer on the 15th Amendment at the University of Chicago —not a professor of Constitutional Law.
Obama instructed Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to inform Congress of the move, on the grounds that “waiving such prohibition is important to the national security interests of the United States.” Embarrassing.
Former federal prosecutor Andy McCarthy suggests that Congress should slash the executive branch’s budget— perhaps with a treble damages rule. Will they do it? remains to be seen, but unless they respond definitively, the imperial presidency will continue. Obama doesn’t think anyone will dare to do so.
Filed under: Democrat Corruption, Law, The Constitution, The United States | Tags: Chicago Politics, Separation of Powers, The US Constitution
Unable to allow Republicans to dominate the news with the Iowa Caucuses, President Obama traveled to Shaker Heights, Ohio to give a speech at the high school, on the economy. What made the news was not the soaring rhetoric, but the fact that the President of the United States announced his intention to act in total and utter disregard to the U.S.Constitution, which he solemnly swore to preserve, protect and defend. He said:
When Congress refuses to act and as a result hurts our economy and puts people at risk, I have an obligation as President to act without them.
The President’s power over what are called “recess appointments” comes from Article II, section 2, of the Constitution, which grants him the authority “to fill up all Vacancies that may happen during the Recess of the Senate, by granting Commissions which shall expire at the End of their next Session.” As John Yoo points out,”the Senate adjourns for short periods of time, and the question becomes when does an “adjournment” become long enough to turn into a “recess?”
In the past Attorneys General and Presidents have thought that an adjournment would have to be longer than at least 10 days to become a “recess.” In the Founders’ day, it took a long time to get from Philadelphia to their home states and back by horseback, and it was pretty clear. The Senate is not officially in adjournment, but is holding “pro forma” meetings, where little or no business is conducted, to prevent Obama from making exactly such appointments. This is a tactic that Harry Reid used to prevent George W. Bush from making “recess” appointments.
It is the Senate who decides whether or not they are in session, it is not up to the President. He cannot decide the legitimacy of the actions of the Senate, nor can the Congress have the right to decide whether the President has thought long enough about granting a pardon. Separation of powers is an important and essential characteristic of our Constitution, and not only protects the authority of each branch of government, but acts as a brake on their actions.
Roger Pilon of the Cato Institute says that the president, under Article II, section 2, may make temporary recess appointments — but only when the Senate is in recess. Mr. Pilon said:
All of Obama’s appointments yesterday are illegal under the Constitution. And, in addition, as too little noted by the media, his appointment of Richard Cordray to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is legally futile. Under the plain language of the Dodd-Frank Act that created the CFPB, Cordray will have no authority whatsoever.
He added: “So what is this? It’s politics — Chicago politics, plain and simple. If any doubt remained, three years into his presidency, that Obama is a master demagogue, with class warfare as his central tool, this incident should dispel it.
Richard Epstein adds that” within the framework of the current law, …it is for the Senate and not for the President to determine whether the Senate is in session. The usual view in all cases is that the internal rules of each institution govern its operations, and for the President to say that the Senate is not in session when the Senate says that is is, introduces a set of constitutional confrontations that we would be far better off doing without.”
Epstein questions the whole idea of “recess appointments,” though he agrees with John Yoo on the Constitution and the law. It’s a thoughtful discussion.
The Supreme Court has held that the National Labor Relations Board cannot operate with only two members, so the question of legitimate appointments will not go away. Neither the President’s appointments to the NLRB nor his appointment of Richard Cordray to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau will have any authority, so there will be more court cases. Anyone who disagrees with rulings by these people will be free to ignore them or to sue.
Press secretary Jay Carney said today that :
We hope to work with Congress to continue to take action on that to continue to grow the economy and create jobs. Separate from that, and this was the case last year and will be the case this year, we can’t wait for Congress to act. And when Congress refuses to act, and Republicans choose the path of obstruction rather that cooperation, then the president is not going to sit here, this gridlock in Washington is not an excuse for inaction.
He’s going to take the actions that he can take using his executive authority to help the cause here, to help Americans deal with this challenging economy. And they can be small, medium or large actions and they don’t have to be just executive authority actions.
If you pay attention to the President’s actions and not his rhetoric, it’s clear that he has no idea how to improve the unemployment situation. Business has pointed out that ObamaCare is the number one reason for business’ reluctance to hire. Obama has essentially shut down the energy sector and thousands of potential jobs because he is pursuing a green fantasy. His agencies cannot stop piling on regulations that make for an uncertain business climate. Our corporate taxes are the highest in the world. It’s no wonder that business looks to conducting their business where they are better treated.
The late Walter Wriston said it very clearly:
Capital will go where it is wanted and stay where it is well treated. It will flee from manipulation or onerous regulation of its value or use and no government power can restrain it for long.
You might copy that off and send it to your Congressman or Occupy protester.