American Elephants

“Contained,” But Under Obama’s Watch ISIS Has Grown by 4,400 Percent. by The Elephant's Child

lk_1The raging debate about Syrian refugees is full of lies and misrepresentations, and totally confusing.  Syria is a battleground with some of the worst characters imaginable. Bashar Assad is using barrel bombs and poison gas on his own citizens, ISIS is committing some of the worst crimes against humanity ever known, and destroying the archaeological remnants of the ancient world as well.

Strangely, to western eyes, those atrocities — beheading, crucifying, burning people in cages — are all designed to attract adherents. President Obama has claimed that ISIS is “controlled,” yet under Obama’s watch ISIS has grown by around 4,400 percent. CIA Director John Brennan admitted that the Islamic State terror group has grown by that much during President Barack Obama’s tenure in office. During former president George W. Bush’s term in office ISIS was “decimated” and had around “700 or so adherents left.” The CIA has found the organization currently has somewhere from 20,000 to 31,500 fighters operating across the Middle East.

The Islamic State “was, you know, pretty much decimated when US forces were there in Iraq. It had maybe 700-or-so adherents left. And then it grew quite a bit in the last several years, when it split then from al Qaeda in Syria, and set up its own organization,” Brennan said.

So much for ISIS being “contained.”

How “Syrian refugees” are presented to the public governs public opinion. A huddled Muslim woman with her arms around two small children, backed with other women and children creates a far different impression than a long column of young men of military age. The heartbreaking photo of the drowned Syrian toddler washed up on a Turkish beach had a photographer there to arrange the body and smooth back the hair. The toddler was from Lebanon, not Syria, and almost nothing about the whole story was true except that the child drowned.

“Refugee” is a word that has a specific meaning, and the nation’s laws describe how one gets classified as a refugee — the president does not get to decide who is a refugee — Congress does, and there is a religious test. A “refugee” is escaping persecution or threatened harm especially because of his religious beliefs. And yes, the Christians  in the Middle East do meet that test. We have welcomed some groups of refugees, from Cuba, from Vietnam. Many immigrants seek to make a new life in America leaving their country of origin, but that does not make them “refugees.” I’m really tired of Obama telling us who we are; and what is and is not American. We do not make hard decisions based on compassion and empathy — but on hard nosed facts.

When I hear political leaders suggesting that there would be a religious test for which a person who’s fleeing from a war-torn country is admitted … that’s shameful…. That’s not American. That’s not who we are. We don’t have religious tests to our compassion.

Under federal law, the executive branch is expressly required to take religion into account in determining who is granted asylum. Under the provision governing asylum (section 1158 of Title 8, U.S. Code), an alien applying for admission must establish that…religion was or will be at least one central reason for processing the applicant.

How much of a risk should we take to allow into the country a host of people among whom a few terrorists or many terrorists may be hiding. The notion that we can “vet” them is clearly nonsense. There is no government in Syria to which we can apply for true information about who these people are. ISIS is increasingly using female suicide bombers. One just blew herself up in Paris. There are reports of ISIS fighters shaving their beards and disguising themselves as women in Europe. The fact that we have welcomed immigrants in the past has nothing whatsoever to do with the current situation. That’s a cheap appeal to emotion, and meant as a conversation stopper. It is not a simple question.

In welcoming immigrants, we have welcomed those who want to come to America, who want to become Americans, and who want to learn our history and our customs and our language. President Obama is attempting to eliminate, by executive order, portions of the oath of citizenship that require the immigrant to serve in the military if required. European countries have never figured out how to turn the immigrants they have accepted into real citizens.

We have been processing Syrian refugees for years. A leader of New York City’s Syrian community said that ISIS terrorists ave “absolutely” sneaked into America by posing as refugees from the civil war in Syria. He said he believes terrorists have been coning not only in the past few years, but way before that, said Arafat “Ralph” Succar. He added I think they’re already at work. He said the corruption in his homeland is so rampant that anyone could pay bribes and get official identification papers with a fake name to disguise their real identity.

And as Obama is being outraged over the governors and presidential contenders who want to pause the inflow of Syrian refugees. From Manila he tweeted

Slamming the door in the face of refugees would betray our deepest values. That’s not who we are. And it’s not what we’re going to do.

But back in 2011, at Obama’s behest, the administration stopped processing Iraqi refugee requests for six months after two Iraqi refugees were arrested on terrorism charges in Bowling Green Kentucky. The State Department stopped processing refugee requests in order to review and revamp security screening procedures. This included Iraqis who had worked with American troops as interpreters and intelligence assets. One Iraqi was assassinated before his refugee application could be processed because of the immigration delays. Only half as many Iraqis were resettled as refugees as the number from the previous year.
There’s really not much compassion, but a singular concern for how things would look to — who exactly? Whose opinion is he so concerned about? He has surrounded himself with a small group of sycophants, and regards anyone who is critical as the enemy.

You probably noticed all the women and widows and 3 year old orphans in the picture above.


ADDENDUM: That  female ISIS suicide bomber who blew herself up turned out not to be female. DNA tests on the remnants of the body established that she was a man.

Obama Is a Little Confused About Just Who The Enemy Is by The Elephant's Child

Obama ArroganttPresident Obama is accustomed to admiring treatment from most of the media most of the time. He was asked repeatedly at a press conference in Turkey on Monday why he continues to insist that he never underestimated ISIS, and his strategy, he believes, is working.  Oddly enough, in the wake of terrorist attacks, and the Parisian roundup of the remaining terrorists who were responsible for ISIS attack on Paris, Obama has reserved his most intense anger for the Republicans. He says we’re playing into the hands of ISIS with our “anti-refugee hysteria.”

We are not well served when, in response to a terrorist attack, we descend into fear and panic,” Mr. Obama said at a summit in Manila, the Philippines. “We don’t make good decisions if its based on hysteria or an exaggeration of risks.”

Mr. Obama said some of the same people who have suggested stopping refugees from coming into the country also have suggested that they are tough enough to just stare down Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“Apparently they are scared of widows and orphans coming into the United States of America,” Mr. Obama said. “At first they were too scared of the press being too tough on them in the debates. Now they are scared of three-year-old orphans. That doesn’t seem so tough to me.”

“Three-year-old orphans,” Mr. President? We just watched a massive attack by ISIS, the organization you claim is controlled, on civilians in Paris. I would suggest that Americans are not terrified by refugees, but just want them thoroughly vetted, and afraid you are incapable.

Europe is now dealing with the European Union policy on open borders. German Chancellor Angela Merkel, in the name of wikkommenskkultur ( a culture of welcoming) suspended restrictions on refugees seeking asylum. Unchanged,  Germany would have a million refugees by year’s end. Last week the interior ministry re-imposed the very restrictions Ms. Merkel had lifted. Germans are calling for her resignation.

Mr. Obama misunderstands. Americans are far more afraid of the administration’s lack of resolve, arrogance, and failure to understand the nature of the threat. The dreadful Iran Deal gives Iran the time and funding to complete their development of nuclear weapons, the desultory effort to contain ISIS in Iraq has such restraint on targeting that nothing is accomplished in fear that we might possibly hit a civilian or anything else that might elicit disapproval.

Veteran journalist Sharyl Attkisson said that her sources have told her that President Barack Obama does not want and will not read intelligence reports on groups “he does not consider terrorists,” despite being on a U.S. list of designated terrorists.

“I have talked to people who have worked in the Obama administration who firmly believe he has made up his mind. I would say closed his mind, they say, to their intelligence that they’ve tried to bring him about various groups that he does not consider terrorists, even if they are on the U.S. list of designated terrorists. He has his own ideas, and there are those who’ve known him a long time who say this dates back to law school. He does not necessarily—you may think it’s a good trait you may think it’s a bad trait—he does not necessarily listen to the people with whom he disagrees. He seems to dig in. I would suppose because he thinks he’s right. He is facing formidable opposition on this particular point.”

In his latest harangue against Republicans and other American opposed to his insistence on continuing to import thousands of Muslim refugees from Syria and other parts of the Middle East and Africa, Obama said:

When I hear political leaders suggesting that there would be a religious test for which a person who’s fleeing from a war-torn country is admitted … that’s shameful…. That’s not American. That’s not who we are. We don’t have religious tests to our compassion.

We have noted that Obama has often tried to insert the idea of empathy or compassion into Constitutional law and federal law.
The law is about justice, and supposedly is blind to tests of compassion. Andy McCarthy wrote today: (Do read the whole thing)

Under federal law, the executive branch is expressly required to take religion into account in determining who is granted asylum. Under the provision governing asylum
(section 1158 of Title 8, U.S. Code), an alien applying for admission must establish that … religion [among other things] … was or will be at least one central reason for persecuting the applicant. …

The law requires a “religious test.” And the reason for that is obvious. Asylum law is not a reflection of the incumbent president’s personal (and rather eccentric) sense of compassion. Asylum is a discretionary national act of compassion that is directed, by law not whim, to address persecution.

There is no right to emigrate to the United States. And the fact that one comes from a country or territory ravaged by war does not, by itself, make one an asylum candidate. …

Other lawyers have noted today that the president doesn’t get to decide who is a refugee and who is not. John Hinderaker wrote:

There are strong practical as well as legal reasons for distinguishing between Islamic applicants for asylum and similar applications by Christians or others. We know that ISIS is trying to infiltrate terrorists into groups of migrants leaving Syria; there is some evidence that they have succeeded. As McCarthy says, no one has a right to emigrate to the U.S. The government’s first duty is to protect the American people, not to extend favors to foreigners. Moreover, Obama’s “compassion” argument falls flat. A recent Center for Immigration Studies report found that, for the cost of resettling one refugee in the United States, we could instead care for 12 refugees overseas. That is a much more cost-effective approach, and one that will not impose needless dislocation either on us, or on the refugees.

It would be interesting to know just who Obama considers “real terrorists,” and which advisers he actually listens to — but everybody says that he has only a very narrow group of people that he associates with. His selection of advisors seems to be confined to those who will do exactly as they are told and don’t even think of disagreeing. The rest have resigned, or left for other ventures.  He doesn’t even seem to be particularly impressed with the attack on Paris. After all the more important big climate meeting is coming up, and there’s a world to be saved from the horrors of carbon dioxide.

Intelligence Sources Say that 4 Out of 5 Syrian Refugees Are Not From Syria. by The Elephant's Child

Syria2_442696bPresident Obama is set on his plan for admitting 10,000 “Syrian refugees” next year, and his press conference yesterday is not going over well even with the Democrats. Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson, typically an Obama ally, said that “at times he was patronizing, at other times he seemed annoyed and almost dismissive.”

“That’s not the tone you want to strike to the public, that’s not the tone you want to send to our allies and enemies,” said Democratic strategist Brad Bannon.

Obama saved his harshest criticism for Republicans, but focused most of his time fending off critics who say the Paris attacks show his counterterrorism strategy has been a failure. ISIS has continued to hold on to large swaths of territory — but its newly demonstrated ability to pull off a coordinated terror attack in a major European city should elicit from Obama some broader reevaluation of his strategy.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) said Monday that the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) isn’t contained to its territory in the Middle East, presenting a sharp contrast with President Obama’s remarks on his strategy to combat the group.

“I have never been more concerned,” Feinstein said during an appearance on MSNBC’s “Andrea Mitchell Reports,” calling for additional U.S. troops on the ground to combat the militants.

The media is, as usual, muddying up the situation. The “refugees, migrants, immigrants” usually described as “the Syrian refugees”are not all from Syria. Some intelligence sources say that 4 out of 5 refugees are not from Syria. They have apparently been told that they are welcome in Europe and will receive welfare and schooling and all sorts of benefits they can’t obtain at home. And once there, they are demanding, and particular, and ungrateful.

Who can possibly not have sympathy for those trying desperately to escape Bashar Assad’s barrel bombs and poison gas? FBI Director James Comey has said that it is impossible to vet the refugees, since there is no government in Syria to vet them with, as has Michael Rogers, NSA Director.  Attorney General Loretta Lynch claims they will screen them, how, she didn’t say.

Here are the top 15 countries of origin for refugees admitted to the U.S. in fiscal year 2015: Myanmar, Iraq, Somalia, Dem.Rep. of Congo, Bhutan, Iran, Syria, Eritrea, Sudan, Cuba, Ukraine, Burundi, Afghanistan, Ethiopia, and Colombia.

The New York Times has a map that shows where Syrian Refugees have so far been placed, and it includes states whose  governors have refused to accept refugees. It is an extremely difficult situation, and Mr. Obama seems unable to understand that it is not a matter of empathy — but of attempting to keep Americans safe from a massive attack, which is clearly coming.

Strangely, in this very strange time, the loose-knit online hacker group Anonymous “declared war‘ on ISIS this weekend, and reports that over 5,500 ISIS-affiliated accounts on Twitter have been exposed and taken down.

If you have not read The Atlantic article on “What ISIS Really Wants,” I would urge you to do so.  As the subhead says: “The Islamic State is no mere collection of psychopaths. It is a religious group with carefully considered beliefs, among them that it is a key agent of the coming apocalypse. Here’s what that means for its strategy — and for how to stop it.”

Trying to Make Sense in a Disordered World by The Elephant's Child

francejetPresident Francois Hollande pledged to wage “pitiless war”against ISIS in the wake of the multi-pronged military-style assault on civilians in Paris. This is not the last major attack on a western capital we will see. Within a few short days, ISIS has apparently brought down a civilian Russian airliner killing 224 people,and suicide bombings that killed at least 41 people in Beirut and 19 in Baghdad, and attacked the people of Paris. France still has a warrior tradition, and a military.

French fighter jets dropped 20 bombs on a command and control center, jihadi recruitment center, munitions depot and ISIS training camp in the Syrian city of Raqqa, ISIS headquarters.

At Commentary, Jonathan Tobin captured the moment:

In the last 36 hours, the world reeled from the horror and shock of the terror attacks that took the lives of at least 129 persons and wounded hundreds more. In response a lot of Americans responded to it in the way they instinctively react to everything these days. They changed their profile picture on Facebook.

Mark Steyn headlined his piece on Europe “The Barbarians are Inside, And There Are No Gates.” That was on Friday. He said on the radio apropos the latest campus ‘safe space’ nonsense: “This is what we”re going to be talking about when the mullahs nuke us.” And added:

When the Allahu Akbar boys opened fire, Paris was talking about the climate-change conference due to start later this month, when the world’s leaders will fly in to “solve” a “problem” that doesn’t exist rather than to address the one that does. But don’t worry: we already have a hashtag (#PrayForParis) and doubtless there’ll be another candlelight vigil of weepy tilty-headed wankers. Because as long as we all advertise how sad and sorrowful we are, who needs to do anything?

Weasel Zippers reports that the Federal Bureau of Investigations has nearly 1,000 active probes connected to the Islamic State terrorist group inside the United States, law enforcement officials claimed in a letter to President Obama. The letter was from a group of elected sheriffs in Colorado blasting the president’s plan to transfer known terrorists held at the U.S. detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba to a mainland facility. There would seem to be something to the idea that we really don’t need more terrorists in the country.

Herb Meyer wrote last month that:

For seven years now, President Obama has been conducting what may well be one of history’s greatest political experiments. His revolutionary theory — which this Copernicus-from-Chicago articulates with such supreme confidence that he’s persuaded American voters to elect him twice to the presidency — is that the world would be a safer, less violent place if the United States played a smaller role on the global stage. At the core of this theory lies his hypothesis that American military power is more the problem than the solution; that our over-reliance on guns rather than brains had de-stabilized key parts of the world, such as the Mideast, that would otherwise have been more peaceful and prosperous.

We have an endless flow of statistics and polls, gossip, policies, campaign speeches and public relations which results in a bad case of information overload. How do we sort out the important from what is trivial? College students are demonstrating and screaming about racial slurs that may never have happened, and are outraged that the news media has turned its attention from Yale and the University of Missouri to Paris.

In Turkey, President Obama walked in late to a solemn moment of silence by heads of state there for a G7 conference. In reference to the Syrian refugee crisis, he remarked:  “Society has not passed this exam with good grades.”

Oh well, of course, “Society.” I really don’t think that Barack O’Blameless has any idea just what he has precipitated with his ideology. There are ideological experiments and there is the real world, where real human beings have a hard time getting along, but try to recognize reality when it strikes, right in front of us, and try to react with measured firmness.  If, as Smoky Bear says, you drown your campfire, turn it over and drown it again — maybe you won’t have the whole forest in flames.


Can We Have a Little Straight Talk, Please? by The Elephant's Child

Men College Leaving Safe Space

President Obama is slowly working up towards saying something more or less serious about ISIS. A few hours before the attack in Paris, Obama announced that ISIS was now “contained” and they were not “gaining strength,”which was supposed to reassure everyone. A little stronger than the dismissive “Jayvee team” a while back. But when it gets serious, he hauls out the grand terminology which has been so helpful for him. This was “an attack, not just on the people of France, but this is an attack on all of humanity and the universal values we share.” But that’s the problem. Humanity does not share universal values at all.  Mark Steyn put it well yesterday:

But that’s not true, is it? He’s right that it’s an attack not just on Paris or France. What it is is an attack on the west, on the civilization that built the modern world – an attack on one portion of “humanity” by those who claim to speak for another portion of “humanity”. And these are not “universal values” but values that spring from a relatively narrow segment of humanity. They were kinda sorta “universal” when the great powers were willing to enforce them around the world and the colonial subjects of ramshackle backwaters such as Aden, Sudan and the North-West Frontier Province were at least obliged to pay lip service to them. But the European empires retreated from the world, and those “universal values” are utterly alien to large parts of the map today.

And then Europe decided to invite millions of Muslims to settle in their countries.

Well, not to worry, the big Climate Conference in Paris will go on as scheduled, at the end of the month. The world will still be saved.

Organizers of a march to press for climate action planned for Paris on Nov. 29, the eve of the summit, said they would meet on Monday “to discuss ways forward”, said Alice Jay, director of the citizens’ campaign group Avaaz and one of the organizers. Organizers have been hoping to imitate a “People’s Climate March” in New York last year that attracted hundreds of thousands of people, the largest protest against global warming in history.

That’s the ticket, a march.

More Syrian refugees arrived in New Orleans almost two weeks ago eliciting a warning from the House Homeland Security Committee about the lack of current intelligence regarding the refugees who are in the U.S. and those who will arrive in the future.

The Obama administration is looking to increase the number of Syrian refugees who may be admitted into the U.S. as well as speed up the process. The administration plans to do this, Reuters reports, by opening new screening outposts in Iraq and Lebanon. As of now, the administration promised to accept as many as 100,000 refugees each year by the end of 2017. The present annual cap is at 70,000.

ISIS told us earlier that there would be jihadists in the flow of “Syrian refugees” to Europe. They have also said that jihadists have been inserted into America. We are stuck, however, with an administration that will not talk straight about the problem, or act straight. All is pretense. We cannot utter the words ‘Islamic terrorism’ for fear of ‘offending,’ and then we wonder why the kids on campus blather on about “safe spaces.” We claim that global warming is a more dramatic security threat than ISIS or al Qaeda. EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy said “if you go up to anybody in the military who’s been paying attention,” they would say climate change is a major national security threat. Really?

So there you go. Over the last century, the globe has warmed almost a degree C. The only worrisome warming exists exclusively in the computer programs of the IPCC with which they have tried to predict the future — an impossibility. The Paris climate pact will reduce the temperature increase by the end of the century by a whopping 0.05° C.

Further Reading:

  • “Waging the War on ‘Terror,” Vichy-style” Victor Davis Hanson
  • War is Interested in You” Noah Rothman
  • How France Became an Inviting Target of the Jihad” Andrew C. McCarthy
  • “Syria refugee crisis: U.S. opens centres to speed vetting” CBC, Canada

153 or More Dead in Paris Terrorist Attacks. Numbers May Grow. by The Elephant's Child

RefugeesFor a Friday the 13th, this was a particularly bad day. In Paris, seven attacks, 140  153 dead, hostages, and the numbers may be higher. Clearly pure terrorist or ISIS attacks — Kalashnikovs, just killing as many people at random as they could. France has closed its border, a little too late, and is cracking down. President Obama said appropriate words about our oldest ally, but without understanding.

The invasion of Europe began at the end of August, when Angela Merkel spoke welcoming Syrian refugees to Germany. What Europe got was not a modest number escaping Bashar Assad’s chemical weapons and the terror of ISIS, but refugees/migrants from all over, Russia, Somalia, Ghana, ISIS, traffickers seized on the opportunity to make money, and boats of all sorts transported hundreds of people across the Mediterranean, many drowning in the process. Refugees broke out of a camp near Serbia and started walking toward Germany and Sweden.

The initial impetus seemed to be misplaced guilt — Germans atoning for World War II.  Others guilty for their comfortable lives, who knows, but they welcomed the ‘refugees’ with food and bottled water, clothing. The refugees turned out to be mostly young men who claim to have left their families behind until they get settled and can send for them.

Hungary put up a razor-wire fence to keep the migrants out, Austria sneered at Hungary, then soon opted for razor wire fences themselves. They may be migrating to Europe, but they don’t seem to be refugees fleeing in terror, grateful for any help — but demanding, expecting generous welfare, food that meets their taste, suitable entertainment, and nice housing. They leave incredible messes behind them, the camps are cesspools of rape, even small children are being raped.

In some quarters the U.S. is being blamed because of the War in Iraq, others recognize that ISIS arose when Obama pulled our troops out. The European Union is being petitioned to boycott goods produced in Israel. This makes sense just how?

One bright spot, Jihadi John, the British ISIS adherent who specialized in chopping off heads, was killed in an American drone strike.

As President Obama said when he pulled the American troops out of Iraq; “We are leaving behind a sovereign, stable and self-reliant Iraq.” Now, a year before his term ends, he has sent in 50 special forces as advisors. The Ayatollah Khomeinei has said that he has no intention of signing a deal with the Americans, and events seem to indicate that he meant it.

Obama appeared on ABC’s “Good Morning America” this morning, to downplay the threat of ISIS.  Nice timing, Mr. President. He said:

I don’t think they’re gaining strength,” Obama responded. “What is true is that from the start, our goal has been first to contain and we have contained them. They have not gained ground in Iraq, and in Syria they’ll come in, they’ll leave, but you don’t see this systemic march by ISIL across the terrain.”

“What we have not yet been able to do is to completely decapitate their command and control structures,” he admitted. “We’ve made some progress in trying to reduce the flow of foreign fighters and part our goal has to be to recruit more effective Sunni partners in Iraq to really go on offense rather than simply engage in defense.”

There have been accusations that the administration is not allowing accurate reports of ISIS advances, Oh well, never mind. Climate Change is a much greater threat, and the White House is preparing for the climate talks. John Kerry argues that the U.N. Global Warming Treaty will be legally binding, but won’t need such mundane things as Senate approval, so here we go again.

Here is a video summarizing the migrant invasion of Europe, which has gone viral. It is clearly an Anti-Immigrant video, 20 minutes long, and so intended, so you need to view it with a critical eye.  I can’t embed it here, it is available from Breitbart. We can expect this here. Obama wants to welcome 70,000 ‘Syrian Refugees,” and some religious organizations are plumping for 100,000. Scary.

Is This the Start of Something Big? by The Elephant's Child

—Knoxville, Iowa:  The town had placed a temporary memorial to fallen soldiers in their city park. It was a silhouette display of a kneeling soldier with a white cross, meant to help the town raise the soldier-memorial-knoxville-IA-WHO-HD-640x480money for a permanent memorial. A citizen, an atheist citizen, complained demanding that it be removed because of the Christian cross, claiming that it violated the separation of church and state. The city council promptly folded in fear of a court fight. In response some 2,000 small white crosses were planted in front yards all over town. The voters promptly voted out the town council.

—In the three states where the proportion of residents without health insurance declined the most, Arkansas, Kentucky and West Virginia, all elected Republican Senate candidates who oppose the Affordable Care Act. Control of the West Virginia House of Delegates flipped from Democrats to Republicans. Arkansas elected Republican supermajorities to both house and senate along with a Republican governor.

— Croatia’s conservative opposition won the country’s first election since it joined the European Union in 2013 in response to the migrant issue, seeking stricter border controls to manage the flow of people crossing the small Adriatic state of 4.4 million. This follows a landmark victory by opposition conservatives in Poland last month. The Polish Law and Justice party pledges to oppose mandatory quotas for relocation of migrants in the EU.

—Violence erupted in the streets of Berlin as thousands of 2E343CFA00000578-0-image-a-88_1446926053681anti-immigration protesters took to the streets to protest against Chancellor Angela Merkel’s open-door refugee policy. Refugees have turned out to be quite demanding, rejecting food not to their taste, and expecting full welfare benefits.

— Washington State voters have approved an initiative to cut the state sales tax if lawmakers don’t allow a vote on a constitutional amendment requiring a two-thirds majority for a tax increase. Voters in this left coast state have made it clear that they want the authority to amend their state constitution to require a supermajority to approve a tax increase. Voters have repeatedly approved ballot measures requiring a two-thirds majority for any tax hike.  The initiative specifies it will lower the state sales tax from 6.5% to 5.5% if the legislature does not follow through.

—Last November, President Obama expanded eligibility for a program the president set up in 2012 to allow immigrants who entered the U.S. illegally as children to get “deferred action” status and be eligible to work legally. The new effort also included a new initiative to grant the same status to illegal immigrants who are the parents of U.S. citizens or green card holders. Up to 5 million people were estimated to be eligible. Republicans objected, claiming the president was exceeding his authority under the Constitution.  Judge Andrew Hanen blocked the effort nationwide, saying that the changes to immigration were so significant that the administration needed to put them out for official notice and comment before moving forward. Obama appealed. The 5th Circuit praised Hanen’s ruling, calling it “impressive and thorough.” The Appeals court said — you can’t do that. The Fifth Circuit asserted that the separation of powers remains the law of the land, and the president must follow the rule of law, just like everybody else.

—Perhaps this is just a hungering for people to stand up and say, as the Court did to President Obama — You can’t do that! Europeans are beginning to stand up to the EU and to their governments who have gone too far. College administrators seem frightened by students behaving badly, and at a loss to know what to do. I’ve been nattering on about one example or another for quite a while. Are these examples signs of something or other, or is it just wishful thinking?


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