American Elephants

Nevermind the Rulings of the Court. Lawless Administration. by The Elephant's Child

The House Financial Services Committee disinvited Consumer Financial Protection Bureau chief Richard Cordray from testifying on Tuesday, pointing out that President Obama’s non-recess, “recess appointment”  of Mr. Cordray  had been invalidated by a January D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals decision — Noel Canning v. NLRB, that invalidated other appointments made under the same pretense. Texas Republican Jeb Hensarling told Mr. Cordray that the committee stands ready to accept the testimony of the director of the CFPB when “an individual validly holds this position,” reported the Wall Street Journal’s Mary Kissel.

Maxine Waters (D-CA) ranking member of the committee said: “no court has addressed the legitimacy of the President’s appointment of Richard Cordray.” (We don’t care what the court says)

The Canning decision related to the president’s appointment of three members of the National Labor Relations Board, claiming that Congress was in recess. The Congress said no they weren’t. The three judge panel of the D.C. Circuit Court said:

“not only logic and language, but also constitutional history” invalidated non-recess, recess appointments. The NLRB and the CFPB have ignored this decision. The consumer bureau, for instance, has taken enforcement actions against private mortgage insurers and issued rules that touch a range of industries, from student loan servicing to auto dealerships, since Canning.

Congress can’t defund the consumer bureau for so flagrantly ignoring the law, but they can exert oversight by insisting that the bureau respect the court’s decision. That’s about all Mr. Hensarling can do until Republicans regain control of Congress, and can impose checks and balances on this rogue agency.

President Obama’s lack of respect for the Constitutional separation of powers is troubling. He intends to do as he pleases, and will issue executive orders and ignore both Congress and the courts as he finds it convenient.

Have You Heard of the Atrocities Prevention Board? by The Elephant's Child

A year ago today, President Obama announced the creation of the Atrocities Prevention Board. Over the past year, there have been appalling atrocities in Sudan, in the Congo, in Syria — just to mention some of the really big ones — and the Atrocities Prevention Board has been utterly silent.

No pronouncements, no calls from the board to respond to this situation or that. Members of the board, headed by Samantha Power, with  professors Skloot and Professor Totten have refused to respond to correspondence from dozens of scholars of genocide studies and human rights activists. If the board is faithful to its mission, it would call on the U.S for more intervention, yet it has been created by a president who has made it completely clear that he doesn’t want to intervene anywhere if possible.

Samantha Power made her living on a claim that the problem was a lack of political will to intervene in situations of gross humanitarian atrocities. The board apparently defers to the United Nations, which makes the existence of the board an absurdity. The administration has preferred to downplay radical Islam. The President only recently managed to say “terrorism” for the first time, and the word “Islamist,” which Muslims themselves use all the time, has never to my knowledge crossed his lips.

We have had reports from the Israelis that Bashar Assad has been using poison gas on the rebels who are fighting the government, for several weeks. This has not been mentioned by the White House, nor by the Atrocities Prevention Board. The White House has not, as far as I know acknowledged that. And where did Assad get big supplies of poison gas anyway? The missing WMD in Saddam Hussein’s Iraq? Nah, couldn’t be.

State Supported Terrorism: The Downside of Welfare by The Elephant's Child

As we gradually learn about the two Tsarnaev brothers, one of the big questions has been where did they get the money and training to amass their arsenal of bombs and guns? Apparently, from the taxpayers of Boston.

According to the Boston Herald Tammerlan Tsarnaev, a 26-year-old with a green card entitling him to permanent residence in the United States, was living on taxpayer-funded welfare checks from the State of Massachusetts Office of Health and Human Services, along with his wife and their 3-year-old daughter. The welfare benefits ended in 2012 when the family stopped meeting income eligibility requirements.

His wife was working 80 hour weeks as a home health aide, while Tammerlan stayed home and delved into the world of radical anti-American Islamism.  Both of the Tsarnaev parents received benefits, and the brothers received benefits through their parents when they were of age. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, a 19-year-old now in federal custody, was attending college on scholarship, but recent grades showed hm failing. He apparently earned money by selling pot, and in 2011, when FBI agents interviewed the brothers on suspicion of terrorism, the City of Cambridge awarded him a $2,500 scholarship, according to the Boston Globe.

Tammerlan had been a Golden Gloves boxer who delivered pizza while attending community college, and hoped to compete in the Olympics.  Supposedly at the urging of his mother, he began taking his religion more seriously, started intensely studying Islam and attending a radical local mosque funded with Saudi money and controlled by the Muslim Brotherhood. Relatives say his descent into extremist Islam began around 2008 or 2009.

The Russian FSB intelligence service reportedly contacted the FBI repeatedly to warn that Tammerlan was suspected of being a dangerous radical. In mid-2011 he was being monitored by the FSB, as he prepared to leave the United States to join unspecified underground groups. The FBI reported finding no “terrorism activity,” and according to Secretary Janet Napolitano dropped him off their watch list. Lots of questions.

The bigger the bureaucracy, the more fraud and abuse can be found. You get way too many layers of management, and the right hand doesn’t know what the left hand is doing, and nobody wants to stir up trouble, large or small. The ideal becomes going along to get along. Is that inevitable? I thought there was something in the immigration laws that required those seeking to immigrate to prove that they would be self-supporting. That’s another problem with big bureaucracies, The people no longer know what the rules are, and we only find out when something terrible happens to expose the carelessness of government. Mistakes happen, of course, but when they become big ones, people lose faith in their officials.

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