American Elephants


The House Will Sue The President For Failing To Observe The Separation of Powers. by The Elephant's Child

Budget Talks Deteriorate Amid Republican Identity Shift On Tax Increases
House Speaker John Boehner told his colleagues on Wednesday that the House of Representatives will sue the executive branch of the government to defend the Constitution’s separation of powers. The Speaker, said the Wall Street Journal, is showing more care that the laws be faithfully executed as the Constitution demands than is President Obama.

The Congress, Mr. Boehner said in his memo to the House, is suffering institutional injury  under Mr. Obama’s “aggressive unilateralism” which is a pretty fair description of his governing philosophy. When the president suspends or rewrites laws across health care, drug policy, immigration laws, and so much else— elected legislators are stripped of their constitutional role.

The basic reason behind this step is Mr. Obama’s flagrant contempt for regular political order. For example, he has unilaterally revised, delayed or reinterpreted the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act on his own thirty-eight times.

Everyone would prefer that the Congress and the President would settle their disputes through the customary political debates and arguments. House members represent the people of their district by population, and are closest to the public for they must face reelection every two years. A senator represents a whole state. The president represents all the people of the country. It was designed by the Founders to slow things down, so that poorly considered laws were not enacted in haste, in the hopes that would result in better law.

In the current climate, potential laws are not getting through Congress. The lapdog media would blame it all on the Republicans, but the blame lies directly in the hands of the Majority Leader of the Senate—who refuses to allow laws passed by the House to even be voted on. That’s not the way it’s supposed to work.

The Founders did not consider the possibility that a future president might pay no attention to his oath of office, or just take the law into his own hands. They assumed that a president’s honor and character would mean that even when he disagreed, he would abide by the rules.

“The major reason to involve the judiciary in this case is Mr. Obama’s flagrant contempt for the regular political order,” said the Wall Street Journal.

This president does not feel restrained by the Constitution that he swore to uphold. When Congress will not pass the laws that he wants, as he has said, “I’ve got a phone and a pen.” He will just take action on his own by “executive order.”All presidents have used executive orders from time to time, but none have ever used executive orders to rewrite laws duly passed and signed into law.

Far from a partisan caper, this implicates the foundation of the U.S. political architecture. The courts generally presume that individual Members of Congress lack the “standing” to make a legal challenge, but Mr. Obama is stealing inherent Article I powers that no party other than Congress can vindicate. Mr. Boehner said he will seek a House vote authorizing the lawsuit and put it under the direction of the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group.

A single Congressman may not have standing, but Congress has the institutional standing to sue the president and are thus asking a constitutional question that has not been joined at the courts. More than a few judges and Supreme Court Justices seem to be concerned that Mr. Obama’s conduct is undermining the rule of law and political accountability. Just this week, the Supreme Court slapped down the EPA for defying the plain language of the law in the name of anti-carbon policy. More rebukes may be coming with cases about recess appointments and the ObamaCare contraception mandate.

Last summer, Mr. Obama proclaimed that “in a normal political environment” he’s ask Congress to fix laws such as ObamaCare, but since the House disagrees with his priorities, he’ll just go ahead and fix them himself without legislative consent. But then again, the president can hardly get through normal comments to the press without proclaiming that he is the President of the United States or The Commander in Chief. President Bush often said that “he was the Decider,” but that was not a proclamation of his importance, but a humble expression of the weight of the decisions that he must make. There’s a significant difference.

Thanks to Mr. Boehner, the courts will get a chance to weigh in on whether Mr. Obama or his successors can exercise imperial powers.

 



We All Need Reminding From Time to Time: by The Elephant's Child

constitution-signing

From Bernard Bailyn’s The Ideological Origins of the American Revolution:

“At the Philadelphia convention, with exquisite care and with delicate nuances, they devised a complex constitution that would generate the requisite power but would so distribute its flow and uses that no one body of men and no one institutional center would ever gain a monopoly of force or influence that would dominate the nation.”

In every generation, we need to remind the people of the care and wisdom that went into the making of the Constitution. It has worked for 286 years, and remains unique among nations in its establishment by “We the People,” and the limited powers that it grants to the government. And it is up to us to remind our representatives in government of its meaning, and to insure that our schools teach its history and its meaning .

See also: Catherine Drinker Bowen’s Miracle at Philadelphia



Democrats Are Trying to Create a Constitutional Crisis! by The Elephant's Child

us-constitution

We are told that the Senate, under the direction of Majority Leader Harry Reid, is trying to write a bill to give President Obama the authority to raise the US Debt Limit by executive order.

Great effort is being expended by the Democrats in general and Obama in particular to scare the public that everything is about to come apart because of the raging disagreement in Congress. Obama has said if Congress won’t give him his way, he will just have to “go around Congress.” The Constitution does not allow him to do that.

The Democrats are dealing with the Fourteenth Amendment, Section 4, which says:

The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pension and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned. But neither the United States nor any State shall assume or pay any debt or obligation incurred in aid of insurrection or rebellion against the United States, or any claim for the loss or emancipation of any slave; but all such debts, obligations and claims shall be held illegal and void.

The Section 5 clause adds:

The Congress shall have power to enforce by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.

Since neither Harry Reid nor the Senate can amend the Constitution — that has to be done by passing an amendment in both houses which has to be approved by the 50 states, or by holding a Constitutional Convention— I suppose they’re going to try some tricky application of Section 5 to let them fix Section 4 to meet their preferences.

The “power of the purse” rests with the House of Representatives. That is the power to lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the debts and provide for the common Defense and general Welfare of the United States. To borrow money on the credit of the United States, To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several states, to coin Money, and to deal with pirates. I’ve left some things out, it’s a long section.

The reason the House is in charge of the government purse, is because they are the closest representatives to the people, and it is the people’s taxes that they are arguing about. Members of the House represent the people of their state according to population numbers. They have to face the voters every two years to seek their approval.  In the 2010 election, Americans gave Republicans the biggest landslide victory in 75 years — after Democrats passed ObamaCare.

Because the Democrats in the Senate refused to pass a budget— as they were required by law to do for four years — Congress has been reduced to operating on ‘continuing resolutions’ which simply kick the can down the road for a few months when they will have the same battle all over again.

Democrats are remarkably unconcerned about money. The national debt of nearly $17 trillion will get fixed— somehow. Congress must agree to finance the government so that we do not default on the debt. Only the president and the Democrats have suggested that anyone would default on the debt. Democrats don’t do principles, they freely admit it. They consider issues as they come up and react to them. Whether this partly explains their unconcern with deficits, balanced budgets, or whether it’s math avoidance, economic ignorance or just an illusion that there’s always more tax money to be collected, I have no idea. I do not understand how they can be so casual with the people’s money.

I find their attitude bewildering. You will often hear a liberal say that marginal tax rates under FDR were 94% for the rich, and we got along all right. Why can’t we do that again? Obama has for five years exhibited no restraint in spending whatsoever. Chicago style politics reigns, cronies and supporters are rewarded, graft and fraud are common. The agencies and departments of government have been used as political tools to subvert elections, punish supporters of the opposition party, destroy the businesses of opponents, and to give out guaranteed loans and grants to supporters. Crooked government.

This is the man who ran for office promising to be “a uniter, not a divider.” That worked out well.

I don’t know where the Democrats are planning to take this. The American people are worried about the debt and about government spending. Americans may not understand higher economics — but they do know about bills and debt and not running up a big balance on the national credit card. They are beginning to sense the president’s contempt for ordinary citizens.  #Occupy America and jokes about the Barrycades simply presage greater civil disobedience. Americans don’t take well to Autocrats, nor dictators.



Mark Levin Explains “The Liberty Amendments.” by The Elephant's Child

Sound interesting? Here is Mark Levin”s book, and here is one of  many editions of The Federalist Papers.



The Most Important Video You Will Watch This Year. by The Elephant's Child

This beautifully made and powerful video from the SpecialOps and Intelligence (ret.) community is important to let people know the extent to which this administration has betrayed America’s national intelligence, endangered lives, and destroyed relations, just for pure personal political gain. Selling out America and Americans. If enough people watch this, the election is over.



The United States of America Doesn’t Do Imperial Presidencies. by The Elephant's Child

Still smarting from the response to his “you didn’t build that” comment, which was an enormously clarifying view into his far-left thinking, President Obama did it again. This time, according to his mindset, allowing Americans to keep more of their own money is a “giveaway.

Only last Wednesday at a New Orleans campaign event, Obama talked about “another trillion-dollar giveaway for millionaires”  in referring to extending the Bush tax-cuts. Just a day later, press secretary Jay Carney repeated the canard — he called an extension “another $1 trillion giveaway to the wealthiest Americans.”

Let’s clarify. Refusing to extend the Bush tax cuts is, by definition, raising taxes. Government exists at the sufferance of the American people. What the American people earn by their efforts is their money— it is not “government money.” The people are willing to be taxed, and give permission their elected representatives to do so — for the specific purpose of funding necessary government functions, like national defense, enforcing the laws, and providing for the general welfare. If government gets too grasping with their definition of the latter, the people will remove those elected representatives. Is that clear enough?

President Obama has ignored the “enforcing the laws” part when he doesn’t like the law; which is not  optional for a President of the United States. Now he is assuming that government owns all the money and has the authority to manage everyone’s life. He does not recognize business as the lifeblood of America, and assumes that government work— which he regards as far nobler — is “service” to some kind of higher ideal.

Obama is unimpressed by success in business, possibly because he has never had any, and resents the rewards earned by those who are successful. He thinks they’re all way overpaid, and that excess should be taken away to raise up those who are not successful, for he is sure that they have worked just as hard.

The American people are inclined to get a little testy when their labor is so disrespected, and rise in fury when the money represented by their hard labor is just plain wasted. It remains taxpayer money. It is not government money. It should be treated with care and thrift and conscience.

The President of the United States is a “public servant.” That means that he is subject to the wishes of the American people, not that he has been elected King. We dispensed with that a long time ago. Americans have great respect for the office of the presidency, largely because George Washington set such a restrained and careful example. The current occupant of the office would do well to review our founding father’s restraint.



A President Above the Law, Making His Own Rules. by The Elephant's Child


Kim Strassel of the Wall Street Journal wrote a column last Thursday about Obama’s  “imperial presidency.”

If you recall, that was a favorite charge of the left about the 43rd president’s conduct in war, wiretapping and detentions. “Yet say this about Mr. Bush, His aggressive reading of executive authority was limited to the area where presidents are at their core power — the commander-in-chief function,” Strassel said.

Executive power is weakest  in the realm of domestic policy. It is subject to checks and balances, and is co-equal with the other two branches of government. Yet this is the very area where Mr. Obama has granted himself unprecedented power.

The president did work with Congress on the health care law, but that was an unusual example of Mr. Obama working with Congress. His more usual pattern is complete disregard for the powers of the legislative branch in favor of administrative decision-making, without, or in spite of congressional action.

The president proposes, Congress says no, and Mr. Obama does it anyway.

Mr. Obama doesn’t like the federal law that criminalizes the use of medical marijuana. Congress has not changed the law. The president has instructed the Justice Department not to prosecute. He doesn’t like the Defense of Marriage Act, but Congress has not repealed it, so he stops defending it in court. He asked Congress to get rid of the provisions in the No Child Left Behind Act that annoy the teachers union, they didn’t, so now the Education Department issues waivers.

Congress refused to pass cap-and-trade, so the EPA is now putting it into effect with an overly-generous reading of the Clean Air Act. The NLRB has pushed through an election law to replace the”card-check” that Congress turned down. Incensed by the Supreme Court’s decision that Arizona could still ask for an illegal’s papers, he announced that the administration would not respond to requests for information about legal status. States have made an effort to clean up their voter rolls to prevent vote fraud,  he sues the states to make them stop.

The United States has bankruptcy laws, which handle companies in trouble quite efficiently and bankruptcy judges are expert at reducing labor costs if they are out of line. Obama simply took over the auto industry, and gave a big chunk of it to the unions. The Supreme Court rejected the health care mandate, and said it was a tax. Obama said he rejected that. In one situation after another, the president has simply rejected the authority of Congress, and done what he wanted.

Then there’s the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, that has a very questionable agenda that emphasizes legally questionable interpretations of nondiscrimination laws. The release of unverified customer complaints against credit-card companies suggests that it is a tool of the overreaching administration. The “independent” agency is interacting with the White House in inappropriate ways for an agency that is supposed to be independent. And the idea that consumers need financial protection seems like more of a grasp for power.

Its spending and hiring practices have not been made available to Congress, and Richard Cordray, the consumer chief  was nominated in a recess appointment when the Senate was in session, which is unconstitutional. The president said it’s up to him to declare whether the Senate is in recess or not, and he says they weren’t. That isn’t up to the president. So private parties can refuse to obey any regulation issued by this new unaccountable bureau.

This is all  a startling insight into Mr. Obama’s view of his own importance and authority.

The other co-equal branches of government have never before been faced with a president who has no respect for the Constitution. After all, there is that oath. What makes it even more troubling is that this executive overreach is usually done as pure political payoff to special interests or voting groups the president is trying to subvert.  It is an ugly situation.

Now a second Obama cabinet official faces a contempt of Congress charge. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar has ignored a duly authorized and issued Congressional subpoena for documents that would shed light on the drilling moratorium that he imposed after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.  The order meant thousands of lost jobs and decreased energy production, and the House Natural Resources Committee has real questions.

Last week Attorney General Eric Holder became the first cabinet member in American history to be cited for contempt of Congress for refusing to produce documents related to Fast and furious. Salazar has already been found in contempt of federal court in 2010 for imposing a moratorium in spite of a federal judge’s preliminary injunction.  He may be the second to be found in contempt of Congress. This is the administration that promised to be “the most transparent” in history.

I hope the Romney campaign is paying attention. Americans, mostly, are deeply satisfied with their Constitution, and feel that the Founders got it right in the first place. Arrogant disregard will not go down well.




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