American Elephants


Enough With the Tired Old Slogans. Let’s Talk About the Real Issues. by The Elephant's Child

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“This is the most important election of my lifetime,” unfortunately, that is a statement you hear in every election. But then, sometimes, it’s true.  So do we worry most about — ISIS? The plight of Europe as they can increasingly not cope with the flood of migrants, many of whom are ISIS fighters? Or do we worry about terrorist attacks in our own country? Is it the Zika Virus? Or is it the economy which after over seven and-a half long years has shown little sign of a real recovery. This is really not the new normal.

Republicans are more apt to recall what they learned in school about separation of powers and federalism. Democrats have decided that they are far more interested in controlling the peoople, and that is a problem.

President Obama has maintained a steady course of increasing new regulations, more spending on”infrastructure,” more spending on the chimera of global warming, and through his unconstitutional executive actions, he has backed federal mandates on business, closed a lot of small businesses, increased taxes and in the strange interest of making America just one among the many countries of the world, made America weak. And then there’s the Iran Deal.

The executive actions are a big problem. All presidents do some, but President Obama has carried it to an extreme, and Congress has found it hard to cope. This is the first time we have had a president, schooled by Saul Alinsky, determined to change the country to something that is more in line with his personal vision of social justice, and unconcerned with following custom or the rules.

Republicans are inclined to believe that there is no such thing as “social” justice — that justice is what is embodied in our courts, our body of laws, our Constitution and the constitutions of the several states.

Democrats have had a degree of success with “social justice” and the associated ideas of an unjust minimum wage, income inequality, racial injustice, “white privilege,” a War on Cops, excessive incarceration of black perpetrators, too many blacks in prison, thousands of Syrian “refugees” who cannot be vetted are put ahead of those who have waited patiently in line as legal immigrants, and of course “crumbling roads and bridges.” You will notice that most of these are rallying cries in the Democrat campaign.

I continually get the sense that Democrats operate with talking points handed down, and thus do not have to study issues, read, or think seriously about history or the world, or about whether their issues are right or workable or even make sense. Or maybe that’s just Hillary.

They seem to be fixated on an improved version of socialism that will be socially just, totally different from all those other socialisms, and will fix all the dreadful problems of America — as it is. They find the old buildings and their peeling paint and the antique cars in Havana charming, and can’t get it through their heads that it is “charming” because that’s all they have. They completely ignore the devastation in Venezuela where the people are dying from lack of the simplest medicines, and plain starvation. They broke into the zoo to kill a horse to eat, but the animals in the zoo are starving to death too.

Hillary wants to raise taxes on the rich, who already pay most of the taxes, and on corporations, capital gains, death taxes and stock transactions, without the slightest understanding that will simply deliver more stagnant growth, falling wages and declining productivity. But then, that’s what her economic plan promises. More of Obama’s “success.”

What makes economies grow and prosper are free markets and free people who can work to come up with new ideas and bring them to fruition in their garage or small town or big city. Freedom works small and big miracles every day. Tried and tested for 240 years.



Obama is Frustrated by The Separation of Powers by The Elephant's Child

It’s called the U.S. Constitution, and it’s the envy of the world. That old document that the Left finds so annoying. Nearly eight years in office, an oath twice taken:

I do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute
the office of the President of the United States,and will
to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend
the Constitution  of the United States.

And he still doesn’t get it.



Congress Can Sue Obama by The Elephant's Child

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Remember all the hoots and slanders from the White House when House Republicans sued President Obama for rewriting ObamaCare without proper legislative authority? A federal judge ruled on Wednesday that the House has legal standing to sue and pursue the case on its merits.

The Administration had sought to dismiss the lawsuit on grounds that this was a classic political debate between the elected branches. But Judge Rosemary Collyer ruled that the House claim that Mr. Obama had spent subsidy dollars without a clear appropriation may have created an injury that deserves a hearing. “When the appropriations process is itself circumvented, Congress finds itself deprived of its constitutional role,” the judge wrote.

Obama is a fierce competitor. We have never before had a President who is so focused on getting his own way, writing the laws himself, and who has so little respect for the Constitution and the separation of powers.

This has implications well beyond ObamaCare. More than any President in decades or longer, Mr. Obama has sought to rewrite legislation that guts Congress’s Article I spending power under the Constitution. If Judge Collyer rules for the House on the merits, expect the case to go all the way to the Supreme Court in what could be a historic ruling on the separation of powers.

I suspect that more than any other thing, the American people are troubled by President Obama’s efforts to use every trick he can find to advance his personal agenda. Americans are not at all sure that America should be a nation just like any other, not exceptional, not a leader of the free world, but just another European socialist state. We thought we left that behind in 1776.

Our Constitution was written to slow things down. That’s why we have three separate but equal branches of government, each with some  powers that are exclusively theirs. The Judiciary decides what is Constitutional and what is not. The president doesn’t get to override that. The House of Representatives has spending power. Obama has just announced that Congress had better not try to cut his spending, or he will veto the budget. Inside every Leftist is a tyrant trying to get out.

The federal debt now totals more than $13 trillion, or about $107,000 for every household in the nation. The accumulated federal debt has doubled over the past seven years, and it will keep growing unless policymakers enact major reforms. It harms the economy. It would help if the president had some basic familiarity with economics.

A lot of Republicans jeered when Speaker John Boehner resisted criticism of his tactics, but he deserves some congratulations, and also David Rivkin who came up with the legal argument. The Constitution also requires that the separate branches defend their own powers.

 



There is a Growing Crisis in Our System: A Shifting In the Balance of Power. by The Elephant's Child

Jonathan Turley is socially liberal, but a very independent thinker and constitutional scholar.  He is a professor at the George Washington University Law School. Here he  is testifying before the House Judiciary Committee about the GOP lawsuit against the President. He believes it should go forward, and that it is important for it to do so.

“It is important to remember that people misconstrue the separation of powers regularly. It is not there to protect the institutional rights of the branches. It is there to protect individual liberty. It was created by the framers to prevent any branch from abrogating enough power to be a danger to liberty. It is not about you; it is about the people you represent.”

The video is fairly short and very worth your time.



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.

 



Obama Threatens to Veto Any Bill That Requires Him to Follow the Law! by The Elephant's Child

On Wednesday, the House of Representatives passed the “Enforce the Law Act,” a bill designed to push back against the numerous unilateral moves the Obama administration has used to circumvent the law. There are several different bills directed at the same problem.

H.R. 4138 sponsored by Rep.Trey Gowdy (R-SC) would authorize the House or Senate to sue the executive branch for failing to enforce laws, and provide an expedited process for moving through federal district courts. The bill is one of several the House GOP is pushing to combat “the imperial presidency.”

Five Democrats joined Republicans to pass the bill by a 223 to 181 vote.

President Obama has altered ObamaCare at least 20 times so far. As he said, he has a pen and a phone, and if Congress won’t do what he wants he’ll just go around them. Most recently millions of people have been exempted from the individual mandate due to a convenient change in the rules.

The administration also has announced that individuals would be able to keep their so-called “substandard” health insurance plans that do not comply with ObamaCare until October 2017!

When Congress refused to pass the Dream Act, Obama unilaterally instituted it by creating a “deferred action” program for  young illegal immigrants.

Democrats, for the most part, leaped to the defense of the President, ignoring the separation of powers and the Constitutional law-making function of Congress and the law-enforcing function of the executive.

Liberal law professor Jonathan Turley testified at a House hearing last month that America is at a “Constitutional tipping point.”

“The fact that I happen to think the president is right on many of these policies does not alter the fact that I believe the means he is doing [it] is wrong, and that this can be a dangerous change in our system,” the liberal law professor said. “And our system is changing in a very fundamental way. And it’s changing without a whimper of regret or opposition.”

I think there’s quite a bit of regret and opposition. The problem is that Congress does not have “standing” before the court to sue the president, and force him to enforce the laws as written, passed and signed.

Obama, on the other hand, threatens to veto any Republican bills that require him to follow the law.

The administration strongly opposes H.R. 4138 because it violates the separation of powers by purporting to permit the Congress to challenge in court the exercise by the President of one of his core constitutional functions — taking care that Federal laws are faithfully executed.

In other words Congress is violating the separation of powers by trying to make Obama stop violating the separation of powers. He’s arguing that because Article II leaves it to the president to faithfully execute the law, only Obama gets to decide whether he’s “faithfully executing the law” by selectively ignoring portions of it that benefit him politically.

The bill will, of course, die in the Senate. But the threat of a veto gives conservatives another reason to get their base excited about voting in November, and Obama once again made himself look silly.



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




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