According to House Minority Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the GOP has left President Obama no choice but to unilaterally mandate some sort of immigration reform. During a press briefing on Capitol Hill, Pelosi remarked:
“We want a bill. It’s over 500 days since the Senate passed a bill, and still no action by the House Republicans on anything — some small bill, some bigger bills, whatever. Nothing. Nothing. And, really, this is a dereliction of duty not to address the broken immigration system. We cannot have the public be misled by the fact that the president is acting as presidents do, because we are not acting as legislators do, to pass laws.”
Pelosi desperately tried to justify Obama’s action. “They[GOP] ran them [the principles] up the flagpole,” she said, “[and] their members chopped down the flagpole.” Pelosi also insisted the president has authority to generate laws: “The president has great authority in the law to take these actions and great precedent of so many presidents from Eisenhower on.”
Some Democrats have insisted Obama has the authority to make this kind of executive decision, citing actions of Ford, Reagan, Clinton and the first president Bush.
But others aren’t excited about Obama’s plans. “I wish he wouldn’t do it,” Democratic Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia said. “I think we ought to work through this process, and with the new elections and the results of the elections, we ought to try in January to see if we can find a pathway to get something accomplished.”
Senator Claire McCaskill of Missouri said she supported comprehensive immigration reform but was concerned by Obama’s plan. “I have to be honest, how this is coming about makes me uncomfortable, I think it probably makes most Missourians uncomfortable.”
“I would prefer the Congress acted, yes,” Jon Tester (D-MT) said. “I think it would be great to have the House take up the Senate-passed bill. … That would be a solution to the problem.”
Sen. Mary Landrieu pitched a Hail Mary up this week, when she tried to get the Harry Reid-controlled Senate to pass Keystone XL Pipeline approval.
A majority of the American people support building the pipeline. The Reid-controlled Senate had blocked a vote on that for years, mainly to save Obama from having to veto it, but let Landrieu have one in the lame-duck session in a last-ditch attempt to save her seat.
It failed, and with it, Landrieu’s alleged “clout” evaporated. Too bad, so sad.
Before it failed, the New York Times, alleged paper of record, was ready to roll with two different versions of the record that it saw fit to publish.
One version would go live if the vote succeeded, and that version praised Landrieu.
Another version would go live if the vote failed, and that version also praised Landrieu.
Either way, win or lose, the alleged paper of record was going to give Landrieu some good press.
Any media wondering why Americans’ trust of them is at an all-time low need look no further than this. But if they want to, they could look at the Grubergate blackout on the networks. Or they could look at the Texas media, which is so out of touch with Texas voters that they don’t even realize how out of touch they really are, and publicly mock their own state. But I digress.
In the world outside the media bubble, Landrieu is falling behind Rep. Bill Cassidy (R) — whose Keystone bill passed the House but she failed to get through the Senate, incidentally — by double digits. Unless there is some catastrophic change in the race at this point, Mary Landrieu will be ejected from the Senate in December and forced to make a meager multi-million dollar living as a Beltway lobbyist. Or perhaps a left-wing think tank will come to her aid.
But we can rest assured that whether Landrieu wins or loses, the New York Times is already drafting stories to praise her.
…by convincing a majority of Americans that it’s not the federal government’s duty to provide healthcare. Gallup finds that opinion has flipped since Obama’s first election to the presidency.
PRINCETON, N.J. — For the third consecutive year, a majority of Americans (52%) agree with the position that it is not the federal government’s responsibility to ensure that all Americans have healthcare coverage. Prior to the start of Barack Obama’s presidency in 2009, a majority of Americans consistently took the opposite view.
The most recent data were collected in Gallup’s annual Health and Healthcare poll, conducted Nov. 6-9. Gallup first asked this question in 2000, when 59% of Americans said it was the federal government’s responsibility to make sure all Americans have healthcare. This sentiment peaked at 69% in 2006. Americans’ attitudes began to shift in the 2008 poll, conducted just after Obama was elected, and became evenly divided after Obama took office in 2009. During this time, Republicans and independents became more likely to say universal healthcare was not the government’s responsibility, most probably in reaction to Obama’s campaign promise that he was going to attempt to do just that. This non-government-involvement view became more pronounced in 2012 and has been the majority opinion in the U.S. over the past three years.
The Obama administration’s pattern of dishonesty has surely helped spur the switch. For the latest on that, Bloomberg reports that the administration fudged the most recent Obamacare enrollment numbers.
The Obama administration included as many as 400,000 dental plans in a number it reported for enrollments under the Affordable Care Act, an unpublicized detail that helped surpass a goal for 7 million sign-ups.
Without the dental plans, the federal government would have had 6.97 million people with medical insurance under the law known as Obamacare, investigators for the House Oversight and Government Reform committee calculated, using data they obtained from the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
Federal officials said in September they had 7.3 million people enrolled in coverage through new government-run insurance exchanges. They didn’t distinguish between medical and dental plans, breaking from previous practice without notice.
It’s just lies and deceptions all the way down, from the “most transparent administration in American history.”
At this writing, Drudge Report has our contest photo front and center with the boldfaced headline:
“THAT’S AN ORDER!”
Drudge links to Reuters with the headline:
“Obama to act unilaterally on immigration, irking Republicans.”
Then, here at PJ Tatler, be sure to read Bryan Preston’s piece with all the background behind our beloved
king, emperor, dictator, fuhrer, president’s amnesty plan announcement with the potential to “launch another Civil War.” (This quote is from another Drudge link to World News Daily. We are all about sensationalism here at our PJ Media caption contests!)
Speaking of Obama causing a Civil War, be sure to read J. Christian Adams’ “Obama, Our Modern John C. Calhoun.”
But for now, your mission is to caption the photo and write “thought bubbles” for those sickly thin and weak-looking pet eagles that obviously belong to Pajama Boy. (Our king is too weak to lift REAL AMERICAN EAGLES.)
So while you are having some fun with all that, click to the next page for the winners of our last contest, “Koala Bear Clings to Obama Like Republicans Cling to Their Guns and Religion.” (My favorite caption contest title of all time.)
As predicted here yesterday, some vulnerable Democrats recognize that President Obama’s unilateral amnesty is likely to cost them their jobs. But they’re not quite ready yet to block him where it counts.
“I wish he wouldn’t do it,” Democratic Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia said. “I think we ought to work through this process, and with the new elections and the results of the elections, we ought to try in January to see if we can find a pathway to get something accomplished.”
Senator Claire McCaskill of Missouri said she supported comprehensive immigration reform but was concerned by Obama’s plan. “I have to be honest, how this is coming about makes me uncomfortable; I think it probably makes most Missourians uncomfortable.”
“I would prefer the Congress acted, yes,” Tester said. “I think it would be great to have the House take up the Senate-passed bill … That would be a solution to the problem.”
That’s not going to happen, and it’s one reason Obama is choosing to act now. The mid-terms finally killed off that Senate bill, which never did pass the House. Had it passed and the president signed it, Obama would have just scuttled the security provisions and granted legalization anyway. We would be more or less where we are now, just via a different route — and the GOP base would have been dispirited by its elected leaders’ betrayal.
If the new Senate were to take up immigration without the president having already poisoned the well first, any bill it passes is likely to look more like the House effort that the Obama White House interfered with and killed, for the simple reason that the Senate is now under Republican control and the likes of Chuck Schumer have been relegated to the bench. The Senate bill, which the Democrats and some in the corrupt media treat as sacrosanct despite the fact that it never passed the House, is the best deal that Obama and the Democrats know is the best they could get. But it has slipped away. The Congress will now be pre-occupied with finding ways to gut Obama’s power grab rather than work on any kind of “reform.” Which is perfectly fine with Barack Obama.
The House’s Obamacare repeals never passed the Democrat-controlled Senate. Why don’t they get the same reverence in the media as that Senate immigration bill that never passed the House?
We all know the answer to that.
Democrats such as the ones quoted above need to figure something out, and the sooner the better. That is, that Barack Obama couldn’t care less about them or whether remain in office or not. He couldn’t care less about the Democratic Party. He has presided over its gutting and is expanding his own power at their expense.
Rep. Raul Labrador (R-ID) appeared on MSNBC today and shot down the Obama White House’s effort to paint the House as an intransigent block to immigration reform.
Labrador told host Jose Diaz-Balart that the Republican-controlled House was working on a bill and was close to passage. But the closer the bill got to being passed, the more the Obama White House interfered to stop it.
According to Rep. Labrador, “[The House bill] was something that would be acceptable to the House, would include all of the areas of immigration we needed to do. It was going to include border security, interior security, and the more the White House heard about what the House was doing, the more they interfered. His chief of staff, the president’s chief of staff at the time, decided to call House Democrats and tell them that they needed to stop negotiating with House Republicans because they wanted the only vehicle for immigration reform, they want it to be the Senate bill. The president is in essence telling the American people it is only the Senate bill that is the only vehicle for immigration reform and that nothing else is acceptable.”
Other than executive action, which President Obama repeatedly rejected as illegal but now intends to impose.
Labrador went on to note that the major difference between the Senate bill and the one that the House was working on was the latter’s prioritization of security ahead of any legalization for those already in the country illegally.
Sure, let’s go with that, Champ.
A mobile billboard will began circling the seats of power in D.C. today to urge lawmakers to impose tougher sanctions on Iran.
The StandWithUs campaign is scheduled to run on two trucks though Nov. 24, the Obama administration’s deadline for a nuclear deal with Iran.
The roving messages to lawmakers, which are also designed to raise public awareness, will begin rolling each morning and take loops around the White House and Congress.
“This campaign raises awareness of the dangers of a nuclear Iran, gives the public action to take to help prevent it, and lets Congress know that the American public supports them legislating stricter sanctions,” said Roz Rothstein, CEO of StandWithUs. “Given the Middle East’s current instability, the rise of jihadist groups like ISIS, it is even more imperative that the American public and Congress do all they can to stop Iran from going nuclear.”
The billboards bear mushrooms clouds and phone numbers, with one saying, “Stop Iran from Going Nuclear: You can help. Call the White House, State Department, Foreign Relations Committee.” The one directed at Congress says, “Stop Iran from Going Nuclear: Impose Stronger Sanctions.”
The group said it fears the administration “may either make a weak agreement or extend the negotiations.”
“Since Iran insists that any agreement or extension include an easing or lifting of sanctions, the administration may use an executive order to accommodate its demands. Sanctions should not be eased, especially given the fact that the Iranian regime is deliberately obstructing international inspectors from learning about its installations and capabilities. If Iran secures an extension or the West negotiates a weak deal, Iran buys more time to pursue its nuclear ambitions,” the group said in a statement.
StandWithUs supports the Menendez-Kirk sanctions bill, which Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) kept from a vote at the insistence of the White House.
Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) and Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), whose legislation also includes strict guidance for the compliance necessary to ease sanctions, said in a joint statement last week that “a good deal will dismantle, not just stall, Iran’s illicit nuclear program and prevent Iran from ever becoming a threshold nuclear weapons state.”
“This will require stringent limits on nuclear-related research, development and procurement, coming clean on all possible military dimensions (PMD) issues and a robust inspection and verification regime for decades to prevent Iran from breaking-out or covertly sneaking-out,” Menendez and Kirk said.
“Gradual sanctions relaxation would only occur if Iran strictly complied with all parts of the agreement. If a potential deal does not achieve these goals, we will work with our colleagues in Congress to act decisively, as we have in the past.”
They have the veto-proof votes, in this Congress or the next.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) vowed on the floor of the upper chamber this morning that “if President Obama acts in defiance of the people and imposes his will on the country, Congress will act.”
“We’re considering a variety of options. But make no mistake. When the newly elected representatives of the people take their seats, they will act,” he said in reference to the GOP majority in the 114th Congress.
“Look, as the president has said, democracy is hard. Imposing his will unilaterally may seem tempting. It may serve him politically in the short term. But he knows that it will make an already-broken system even more broken. And he knows that this is not how democracy is supposed to work. Because he told us so himself.”
McConnell resurrected another past quote of Obama’s: “I know some… wish that I could just bypass Congress and change the law myself. But that’s not how democracy works.”
“Indeed, it isn’t,” McConnell said. “All of which makes the president’s planned executive action on immigration even more jarring.”
“If the president truly follows through on this attempt to impose his will unilaterally, he will have issued a rebuke to his own stated view of democracy. And he will have contradicted his past statements on this very issue.”
The senator argued that “we’ve already seen the consequences of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, his most recent action in this area. It was a factor in encouraging young people to risk their lives on a perilous journey some would never complete.”
“The effects of this action could be just as tragic… It isn’t about compassion. It seems to be about what a political party thinks would make for good politics. It seems to be about what a President thinks would be good for his legacy.”
Shivering under up to 6 feet of snow in its hardest-hit sections, Buffalo, New York, could see another 3 feet Thursday.
If the forecast holds, that’s more than a year’s worth of snow in just three days. In a typical year, Buffalo’s snowfall totals about 7 feet, according to the National Weather Service.
The extreme conditions have led to tragedy in and around Buffalo. Eight people have died, including four who suffered cardiac issues while they shoveled snow and one who died in a car accident, Erie County officials reported. A man in his 60s had a heart attack while he tried to move a snow plow or a snow blower, Erie County deputy executive Richard Tobe said Thursday.
While Buffalo may be getting hit the hardest, this pre-Thanksgiving early winter delivery from Mother Nature continues in many parts of the country.
Israelis and Palestinians expressed fear Wednesday that their decades-old conflict was moving beyond the traditional nationalist struggle between two peoples fighting for their homelands and spiraling into a raw and far-reaching religious confrontation between Jews and Muslims.
The threat — perhaps more accurately the dread — of an incipient but deadly “religious war” was expressed by Muslim clerics, Christian leaders and Jewish Israelis one day after a pair of Palestinian assailants, wielding meat cleavers and a gun, killed five Israelis, including a prominent American Israeli rabbi, in a Jerusalem synagogue.
The level of disconnect here is stunning. One does, however, have to give those participating in the “nationalist struggle” lie some grudging credit for the complete commitment to it.
The Palestinians don’t want Jews to move, they want them dead. Always have. The rational world knows that the origins of this conflict are religious, as is the fuel for keeping the fire going. Western terrorism enablers get some cover in Israel because they can frame it as dispute over territory, offering up the ridiculous “occupation” narratives. In the parts of the Middle East where there aren’t as many Jews, Christians are being slaughtered. As there are no easy tales of border wars to make up in those cases, the media largely ignores these atrocities.
The world is an increasingly dangerous place because clueless moral equivalence mongers in the West won’t acknowledge the lone, very obvious motivation for terrorism that plagues the 21st Century. The monumental effort involved in continually ignoring the common thread must exhaust them.
“I swore an oath to uphold the laws on the books. . . . Now, I know some people want me to bypass Congress and change the laws on my own. Believe me, the idea of doing things on my own is very tempting. I promise you. Not just on immigration reform. But that’s not how our system works. That’s not how our democracy functions. That’s not how our Constitution is written.”
–President Barack Obama, 7/25/11
Nearly half of Americans disapprove of President Barack Obama’s expected plan to take executive action that would potentially allow millions of undocumented immigrants to stay legally in the United States, according to a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll.
Forty-eight percent oppose Obama taking executive action on immigration — which could come as soon as later this week — while 38 percent support it; another 14 percent have no opinion or are unsure.
After his party’s historic losses, [Obama] refused to even acknowledge the thrashing. Instead, he said the real lesson from that day was that Americans want everyone in Washington to “work together.”
Yet behind the scenes, the president was busy directing his team of lawyers to find real or perceived loopholes in the law — even the Constitution — in order to wave his royal scepter and instantaneously turn as many as 12 million illegal aliens into America citizens. Already he had quietly ordered the federal government to stop deporting aliens and unilaterally allowed some 60,000 “unaccompanied minors” to enter the U.S.
So he never had any intention of “working together” with Republicans, who in six weeks will control both chambers of Congress. Instead, he set off to circumvent Congress by granting amnesty to millions. Throughout, he knew that he would be, as GOP leaders said, “poisoning the well” and “waving a red flag in front of a bull.”
University of Virginia law professor David Martin is a Democrat and a supporter of comprehensive immigration reform who served as principal deputy general counsel of the Department of Homeland Security during the Obama administration’s first two years.
“For Democrats, it’s a dangerous precedent,” he told me. “You’re opening the possibility for a Republican president to say, I’m not going to go forward with enforcement in a number of areas.”
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch is reporting that arrests were made late Wednesday night, as protestors gathered in front of Ferguson police headquarters. “Several dozen demonstrators chanted and at times closed South Florissant Road in front of the police department to traffic.” The reason for the arrests was not clear.
KMOV reported that at least six people were arrested in front of the police headquarters. Law enforcement say those arrested were from out of town and one was from the Webster Groves.
The grand jury is expected to deliver a decision any day now about whether white Officer Darren Wilson will face charges for shooting black, unarmed Michael Brown.
Local gun dealers are reporting a surge in first-time gun purchases in anticipation of what sort of chaos could break out once the decision is announced. “We’re selling everything that’s not nailed down,” owner of Metro Shooting Supplies Steven King said. “Police aren’t going to be able to protect every single individual. If you don’t prepare yourself and get ready for the worst, you have no one to blame but yourself.” Conceal and carry classes and private training classes are booked into 2015.
Call it woman power, call it feminism, and you’d be right. Turns out that old story about the mother who is able to lift a car to save her trapped baby has a new application. Now we can tell the story of the Dutch mother, who goes only by the name “Monique,” who blew past the authorities and went straight into the heart of hell to rescue her daughter Aicha from the grip of Islamic terror.
“Sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do,” the brave mother said. “This is what I think is right.”
At 18, Aicha converted to Islam and married a notorious Dutch jihadi named Omar Yilmaz, the Telegraph reports.
The young woman had fallen in love with the Islamic State militant and his lifestyle after seeing him interviewed on television. But as time passed, Aicha felt she had made a huge mistake.
“She wanted to go home, but could not leave Raqqa without help,” Monique said.
Authorities in the Netherlands urged the mom to stay home because it was too risky to try and get her back personally.
But once Aicha reached out to her mother last month for help, Monique decided to take off for Syria.
Donning a black burka to blend in, she made her way through Turkey and into the ISIS stronghold, where she met her daughter after coordinating a rendezvous through Facebook.
The pair crossed back over the Syrian border into Turkey, but since Aicha did not have a passport, she was promptly arrested along with her mother, according to the Telegraph.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Turkey is now mediating their return home and expects that the two will be back in the Netherlands within the week.
Okay Hollywood, where’s the movie deal? Better yet, let a counterculture conservative get their hands on the story and “let their right brain run free.” While Emma Watson trolls UN podiums and Beyonce flails around in front of flashy signs, Monique the Mom single-handedly changed the face of Western feminism in the way only a parent could. Not only did she dismiss every argument against motherhood with a wave of her hand, she bravely confronted what contemporary feminists seemingly cannot: The fact that radical Islam abuses women.
A Republican supporter of immigration reform in the House said he thinks President Obama will be “kind of spoiling the party” with his executive order scheduled to be announced tonight.
Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) told CNN on Wednesday that he’s “critical of the process” Obama will be using.
“I mean, look, I’m a supporter of immigration reform. And, frankly, a lot in my party are supporters of immigration reform. And it’s something that, you know, is going to take a lot of time to talk about. We all know that there are people with different views, even within my own party on it. And so, these to have a process where we have debates. We bring forward bills. See what the new Congress does,” Kinzinger said.
“I think the president, frankly, is going to be kind of spoiling the party with this. He’s going to tick a lot of people off, you know, basically saying, look, I gave Congress time but they didn’t do what I wanted, therefore, I’m going to do it on my own. And I think that’s one of the big concerns. It’s not so even so much the issue of what he’s doing, although we think he’s overstepping his power.”
The congressman said lawmakers “have a lot more issues on immigration we have to deal with from border security to high-skilled visas to the other 10 million people that aren’t going to be affected by this.”
“And I think this is going to stall that discussion. And one of the things I’m concerned about is, as your previous guest said, the politics of it,” he said. “The president may be looking at the politics of this versus actually solving it long term because I think we have a real opportunity to solve it. But this isn’t going to help.”
Kinzinger said the new GOP majority in the 114th Congress should allow the party ”to get something that we can put on the president’s desk” on immigration. “Do a little back and forth and ultimately come to something that both sides can maybe hold their nose on certain parts of but agree to in a broader package,” he said.
“But when the president’s concerned, he doesn’t get to pick Congress. He doesn’t get to just make laws if Congress doesn’t go along with it. We exist for a reason out here. And, you know, you may not like everything that goes on in the sausage making of Washington, D.C. and behind the doors and, you know, watching what’s going on on the floor, but that doesn’t mean you can just say, I don’t like that, therefore, I’m going to just do it anyway.”
He said Obama should come out in his primetime address and give the GOP until March to pass a bill before taking unilateral action.
“But I’m just afraid, as a supporter of reform, that what’s going to happen over the next few days, this whole situation is going to collapse,” Kinzinger said. “And I’m going to tell you, when the president’s out in two years, I mean, his executive orders don’t necessarily follow with him.”
The House delivered a bipartisan jab at Iran on Wednesday just days away from the Nov. 24 nuclear negotiations deadline imposed by the administration.
Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-Calif.) and Ranking Member Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.) introduced just last Friday a bill condemning the Islamic Republic on its human-rights record. It was fast-tracked onto the floor, where it passed by voice vote.
That means no roll call votes were recorded, but Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) spoke out against the timing of the resolution.
“The expansion of human rights for all Iranians is more likely to happen if current negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program are successful. Diplomacy with Iran empowers human rights leaders in Tehran because it weakens the claim that Iran is under constant threat which justifies the police state,” Ellison said. “Diplomacy empowers advocates to push for rights like freedom of speech and religion. If Congress wants to help improve human rights in Iran, we must engage and support the P5+1 nuclear talks.”
Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) said she hoped the resolution “is not used to undermine diplomatic efforts to reduce and provide for inspections of Iran’s nuclear program.”
The bill condemned myriad abuses, “in particular, the recent cruel execution of Reyhaneh Jabbari, an Iranian woman convicted of killing a man she said she stabbed in self-defense during a sexual assault.”
It “deplores the Government of Iran’s mistreatment of its religious minorities, including through the deprivation of life, liberty, and property” and notes “that the Administration has designated only one Iranian person for the commission of serious human rights abuses under the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act, as amended, since May 30, 2013.”
It also “condemns the undemocratic elections process that denies Iranians the ability to freely choose their own government.”
Engel said on the floor that any hopes that President Hassan Rouhani would be a moderate have evaporated. “In fact, on so many fronts, things have gotten worse.”
“The Supreme Leader, Khamenei, is the one who really makes all those decisions. So while we can hope for certain things, I think we have to deal with things, unfortunately, as they are, and not as we wish they were,” Engel said. “So for example, Iranian authorities have dramatically escalated the number of executions of Iranian citizens. This is from the so-called moderate Rouhani regime. According to the U.N., there were 852 executions between July 2013 and June 2014.”
“The United States has helped to shine a light to Iran’s human rights violations. We pushed the U.N. Human Rights Council to continue the work of the Special Rapporteur on Iran. Now, I have been one of the strongest critics of the Human Rights Council and its outrageous bias against Israel. But this Rapporteur has done important work to reveal the scale of human rights abuses in Iran.”
Even as negotiations continue, Engel stressed, “We cannot, must not turn a blind eye to the horrific abuses taking place in Iran every single day.”
“Under the reign of Cyrus the Great, the world’s first human rights document was issued with its tolerance for all cultures and religions,” Royce said.
“While Iran pursues its nuclear ambitions with relentless determination, it continues to repress millions of Iranians yearning for basic freedoms. Today’s resolution stands for the principle that U.S. foreign policy can and must pursue strategic objectives, like the dismantling of Iran’s nuclear program, while promoting democracy and human rights.”
The House honored late Czech President Vaclav Havel on Wednesday with the unveiling of a bust in Statuary Hall — and ZZ Top.
The ceremony was timed to also mark the 25th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution.
Havel, a playwright, poet and foe of communism, was the first president of the newly liberated Czechoslovakia and then the Czech Republic after the fall of the Soviet Union.
“It is a poetic but also paradoxical honor for a man who, in his own words, lived ‘a paradoxical life.’ Here was a writer who exposed the communists using one weapon they could not match: the truth. For this, he received three stays in prison, countless interrogations, and constant surveillance,” House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said at the ceremony.
“But he kept on writing, hiding pages of his manuscripts throughout his home. Offered a chance to flee to the West, he’d refuse, saying, ‘I’m simply a Czech bumpkin through and through.’ Treated like a hero wherever he went, he’d beg off, saying, ‘I’m simply a playwright and it’s irrelevant whether I’m a dissident.’ When one of his friends joked that one day he’d lead a revolution and become president, he responded, ‘That would be the worst thing that could happen to me.’”
Boehner mused that one can “imagine what Havel would have said if told his bust would not only stand in the United States Capitol, but go right alongside the likes of Lincoln, Churchill, and Washington.”
He was also a fan of the blues, hence the performance from ZZ Top bandleader Billy Gibbons.
“Today we celebrate the struggle on the part of Havel and so many others in his time. In Poland, an electrician who climbed up on a crate in a shipyard, said to his fellow workers ‘you know me,’ and the Solidarity movement was born. And in East Germany, there was a priest who opened the doors of his 800-year old church every Monday for meetings that started out with no more than a dozen people and turned into the epicenter of a national protest,” Boehner said.
“It takes guts to do these things. Especially when you don’t know how long it will take or how it will end. These men and women proved that the thirst for liberty never dies and that, with drive and sacrifice, it can transform the fortunes of a whole continent.”
Obama speaks on immigration via Univision in 2012.
President Barack Obama will finally make public tomorrow night his plan to overhaul immigration. However, while his primetime speech will postpone part of Univision’s 15th annual Latin Grammys, it will not be covered by the Big 4.
…Although Obama’s speech will be seen on cable news siblings Fox News and MSNBC, Fox and NBC are not carrying it live on their broadcast networks; CNN will show it live. A CBS News division spokesperson says the network will also not be showing Obama’s approximately 15-minute address on Thursday night. (UPDATE, 2:34 PM: An ABC spokesman “ABC is not carrying the president’s address on the television network — it will be carried on all our ABC News digital platforms, including Apple TV, and radio.” Which means it is still Shondaland on ABC on Thursday.)
In the biz that’s called “target marketing.” In politics, it’s called playing to your demographic. In America, it’s called race-baiting.
Keep it classy, B.O.
The Massachusetts town considering a ban on all tobacco sales has decided against moving forward with its freedom curbing rule. The town of Westminster, MA achieved 15 minutes of fame when its nanny state town government made national headlines over the intended ban. Freedom-killing do gooders were greeted with the cold fist of freedom when the town residents showed up to give their comments at a town meeting last week. Yesterday the Board of Health had a meeting and killed the proposal.
At the board’s regularly scheduled meeting on Wednesday evening, members voted 2-1 in favor of removing from consideration a regulation that would prohibit all tobacco sales in town. At the beginning of the meeting, during a period designated for discussion of board member concerns, member Ed Simoncini moved to remove the regulation from consideration. Member Peter Munro seconded his motion.
“The town is not in favor of the proposal, and therefore I am not in favor of the proposal,” Simoncini said.
The public comment town meeting was shut down after a mere 25 minutes by Andrea Cates, the lone dissenter in the vote. Simoncini said about the meeting. “The whole idea was to get everybody’s input, and we messed up,” he said. “Somehow the hearing got away from us.”
After the motion passed, Simoncini thanked residents for their participation in the decision process.
“You made the difference,” he said. “It didn’t go as smoothly as we would have liked, but thank you.”
Meeting attendees applauded after he spoke, and shook his hand as they left.
Town businesses celebrated the victory. “Less than 30 minutes after the meeting ended, there was already a sign outside Westminster Pharmacy reading ‘we won!’”
A petition to recall two of the three Board of Health Members was issued yesterday to a town resident. The third member, Andrea Cates, is not eligible for recall as her term ends in the spring. The petition was issued prior to the decision but town members plan to move forward anyway. “What I’m receiving as feedback from customers is that they’d still want to go ahead with it,” Vincent’s Country Store owner Brian Vincent said. “The board made the decision that they wanted to ban tobacco at one point, and pursued it for six months, and I think a lot of people have a problem with that thought process.”
Ladies and Gentlemen, this is how it’s done.
The White House is exasperated with the major broadcast networks – ABC, CBS and NBC — for skipping out on President Barack Obama’s Thursday primetime address on his executive actions on immigration.
“In 2006, Bush gave a 17 minute speech that was televised by all three networks that was about deploying 6000 national guard troops to the border. Obama is making a 10 minute speech that will have a vastly greater impact on the issue. And none of the networks are doing it. We can’t believe they were aggrieved that we announced this on Facebook,” a senior administration official told POLITICO.
When the president wants to make a primetime address, White House officials will reach out to the big networks like ABC, NBC, and CBS, to gauge whether they would consider running the speech live before putting in a formal request for airtime.
But on Wednesday morning, with plans underway for a Thursday night address on Obama’s plans to issue executive actions on some of the most sweeping immigration reform in decades, those feelers came back with a negative report. None of the major networks wanted to take time away from their primetime programming for Obama’s 8p.m. speech. So the administration did not send out a formal request to the networks and took to Facebook to publicize the speech with a special video message from Obama along with a link to the livestream.
It’s delicious to see that even the some of the lapdogs are weary of the Team Lightbringer shtick. President Obama is flexing his ego with this ill-advised move. The only transparency that this administration has ever been able to muster is that surrounding the president’s petulance when he lashes out.
For a man who only wanted the celebrity that goes with the presidency and none of the responsibility, it has to sting when he’s being ignored by the very people who put him in office.
It is easy to understand the networks’ decision. They’re not only bored with President Obama, they have to rest up to make Hillary Clinton seem likable for two years.
Find out ….
“I was a big arrogant,” Perry told The Washington Post during an interview at the Republican Governors Association in Florida. Perry said he believed at the time that his experience running one of the country’s most populous states prepared him. “I was mistaken,” he admitted.
Next time, however, things will be different. “I’m comfortable I’m substantially more prepared to run for the presidency,” he said. “I know the challenges. And so, again, I’m not ready to pull the trigger and say I’m in, but I’m comfortable that the process I’ve put in place here is a proper, timely and thoughtful process.”
Perry may be the only candidate from 2012 worth recycling. There was so much enthusiasm for his entry into the race and he was never able to take any of that and use it to his advantage, for a variety of reasons. He’s healthier now, and if he doesn’t make the mistake of hitting the 2016 primary season with his exact same 2012 team, he could have quite an impact. He would certainly be a more palatable option than Romney 3.0 or Jeb Bush Ever.0
How “stupid,” to use Jonathan Gruber’s word for Obamacare supporters, are Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid?
Both of them were among the most powerful people in America not too long ago. Pelosi was the first woman Speaker of the United States House of Representatives. Reid is still the Senate Majority Leader, for now.
President Barack Obama’s handling of the office of the presidency has cost both Pelosi and Reid most of their power. After January, both will be the leaders of a rump, largely regional party that holds fewer seats now than at any other time since the Hoover administration. Sharper minds would notice that Obama is to blame. They might even reject his entreaties.
Yet the two partisan dullards are set to have dinner with Obama tonight, a dinner that Obama will conduct under the romantic lighting of watching the Constitution burn. The dinner comes on the eve of Obama’s unilateral and unprecedented amnesty executive order.
Obama has invited Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.), House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and the leaders of the congressional Asian, Black and Hispanic caucuses, said the aides, who were not authorized to speak publicly about the plans.
No Republicans allowed, of course. Republicans hold the majority of power in the country thanks in part to Obama, but he has not summoned any of them into his presence.
Maryland’s ridiculous “rain tax” is among the reasons that the voters there rejected Gov. Martin O’Malley’s handpicked successor and elected Republican Larry Hogan. Hogan promises to get rid of the tax, but of course the state’s overwhelmingly Democrat assembly stands in his way. They’re the reason that the Free State is really the fee state.
Prince George’s County wants preachers there to get with the program anyway. It’s offering pastors in the county a deal: preach green and we’ll cut the “rain tax.”
To their everlasting and total disgrace, several pastors have accepted the county’s offer, according to the Washington Post.
The news was as welcome to the group of Prince George’s County pastors as a plague of locusts: Maryland’s controversial “stormwater remediation fee” applied to all property owners, including houses of worship. Depending on the acreage, churches faced a tax of hundreds, even thousands of dollars.
The Rev. Nathaniel B. Thomas of Forestville New Redeemer Baptist Church and his colleagues figured there had to be a better way. “We challenged the fee,” Thomas said. “Once Uncle Sam finds a way to take your money, he doesn’t stop.”
After months of negotiation with county environmental director Adam Ortiz, the pastors emerged with a rebate deal that will significantly cut the fees if churches adopt programs and equipment that will curb runoff, lessen pollution and help bolster the environment.
So far, about 30 churches have applied. Forestville Redeemer was the first. They are planning to install rain barrels, build rain gardens, plant trees and, perhaps, replace their blacktop with permeable pavement. The government will cover most of the cost. In return, a fee that was estimated at $744 a year will be reduced to “virtually nothing,” Ortiz said.
Thomas and other pastors also have agreed to start “green” ministries to maintain the improvements at their churches, and to preach environmentally focused sermons to educate their congregations. (emphasis added)
So much for the so-called separation of church and state.
h/t Weasel Zippers.
Elizabeth Warren, in her first major public speech since being elevated to the Democratic leadership in the Senate, slammed Republicans on education, job creation and other economic policies, warning Wednesday that “the American Dream is slipping out of reach.”
“We must fight back with everything we have,” Warren told a gathering hosted by the Center for American Progress in Washington. “The game is rigged but we know how to fix it. We know what to do. We tested the Republican ideas and they failed. They failed spectacularly there’s no denying that fact.”
As a science fiction fan, I have always hoped that evidence of parallel dimensions would show up during my lifetime and it would appear that the Democrats have been giving it to me for the last couple of weeks. They don’t seem to understand just how overwhelming their defeat was in this last election and that it was a rejection of their ideas, which are the ones that have been tested in this universe.
Warren even managed to tie taxpayer spending on high speed rail to the American Dream, which couldn’t possibly have involved any sort of thought process.
There isn’t an American alive who wakes up hoping for a better life through direct or indirect taxation, that’s the “Progressive Dream” and only the fevered fringes of American politics are having it.
For those who think she isn’t running for 2016, this is pretty much boilerplate Democrat presidential rhetoric. There’s always a lot of “fight” and “dream” talk, as well as scary stories about what the Republicans are doing to the middle class. In the politically diseased minds of progressives, the middle class will get better if it spends a lot more on health care premiums and pays for high speed rail to get to the poor house.
Scratch the parallel dimension idea, maybe they’re merely concussed.
I’m sure many illegal aliens are excited about tomorrow’s announcement by President Obama that 5 million of them will become legal by the stroke of his pen.
But have you given a thought to how many of those border scofflaws stole someone’s Social Security numbers, or other identity documents in order to work in the United States?
And what of those American citizens whose identities were used fraudulently? In tens of thousands of cases, their lives were turned upside down, their credit ruined, their privacy egregiously violated.
As Michelle Malkin points out at NRO, President Obama’s executive amnesty is a slap in the face to those people:
Center for Immigration Studies analyst Jon Feere reported at the time that ethnic lobbyists and open-borders businesses lobbied the Obama administration hard “to keep American victims of ID theft in the dark while shielding unscrupulous businesses from enforcement.” As an Obama official told the New York Times, DHS employees are “not interested in using this as a way to identify one-off cases where some individual may have violated some federal law in an employment relationship.”
Translation: See no identity theft. Hear no identity theft. Speak no identity theft.
A high-profile immigration attorney crowed: “Good news for deferred-action applicants: If you used a false Social Security card, you need not reveal the number on your deferred-action application forms. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has clarified that when the forms ask for an applicant’s Social Security number, it refers to Social Security numbers issued to the applicant. If you used a friend’s number, a made-up number or a stolen number, you should answer N/A for ‘not applicable’ where it asks for the number.”
Since then, more than 500,000 DACA applications have been approved with abysmal oversight, little public disclosure, and total absolution for identity-rip-off artists. The latest planned administrative amnesty will dwarf that ongoing fiasco.
Victimless crimes? Tell that to those who have been harmed by the estimated 75 percent of working-age illegal aliens who have fraudulently used Social Security cards to obtain employment. Tell it to victims in border states with the highest percentages of illegal aliens, where job-related identity theft is rampant.
Tell it to hardworking Americans like Wisconsinite Robert Guenterberg, whose Social Security number was exploited by illegal aliens for years to buy homes and cars — while the IRS refused to tell the victims about the fraud to protect the thieves’ privacy rights.
Tell it to U.S. Air Force veteran Marcos Miranda, whose name and Social Security card were filched by an illegal alien to work at a pork slaughterhouse. He was even thrown in jail for unpaid traffic tickets racked up by his identity thief. “Even though I am Hispanic, I am against illegal immigration,” Miranda told the Associated Press. “Even though a lot of them come to work, there are always bad apples. (Identity theft) has really made my perspective . . . negative about immigration.”
The Supreme Court ruled in 2009 that prosecutors could not charge illegal aliens who “unknowingly” used someone’s Social Security number to get a job. The ruling robbed prosecutors of a valuable tool in prosecuting illegals.
But recent actions by the Obama administration in dealing with illegals who steal other people’s identities go beyond refusing to prosecute.
The Obama administration told federal immigration lawyers to release illegal immigrants with “old” drunken-driving convictions and those found guilty of stealing other people’s identities, according to a lawsuit filed by one of the lawyers at the center of the operation.
Patricia M. Vroom, a top attorney for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in Arizona, filed a 67-page discrimination complaint that details repeated battles with agency higher-ups who told her to close cases and not deport people whom President Obama deemed low-priority.
Federal officials were particularly dismissive of identity theft convictions from Arizona, arguing that the state’s laws were too strict and stealing an ID to get a job wasn’t a serious enough offense to get kicked out of the country.
“This was a very significant development, as generally, criminal aliens, particularly convicted felons, are, under the [prosecutorial discretion] memos, ‘priority’ cases that should be aggressively pursued,” Ms. Vroom said in her complaint.
But she said her superiors deemed the identity theft felons low-level offenders “since the typical alien defendant convicted under these provisions of Arizona criminal law had simply been using a fake I.D. to get and keep employment.”
No, they were not “simply using a fake ID” to get work. They were using that ID, in many cases, to obtain credit and loans, open bank accounts, run up debt, and generally sully the good names and reputations — not to mention invading the privacy — of decent, hard working, law abiding Americans.
And the victims of ID theft are going to get another kick in the teeth from Obama tomorrow.
Over the past few years, as illegal immigration activists questioned why President Obama was not taking unilateral action to grant amnesty to some who are here illegally, he declared that he cannot because he is not “emperor.”
Apparently, even that statement has now expired and Barack Obama now likes that word. White House spokesman Josh Earnest brought it up and then declared that the president wears it now “as a badge of honor.” The fact that Earnest brought it up indicates that it was in his prepared talking points.
Watch Earnest all but crown Obama here.
Earnest: “We heard rhetoric for some time. Their most recent statement referred to ‘Emperor Obama. The fact is the president is somebody who is willing to examine the law, review the law and use every element of that law to make progress for the American people and that’s a criticism the president wears with badge of honor.”
The Democrats have rolled out a couple of dishonest talking points in support of Obama’s executive order amnesty. One is that Presidents Reagan and Bush 41 both used executive orders on immigration. What that ignores is that both were cleaning up a law duly passed by Congress. In this case, Obama is explicitly acting because Congress won’t bend to his royal will.
The new talking point, trotted out here by Rep. James Clyburn (D-SC) is that this executive order is just like Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, and that Obama should do it and then just let the courts decide whether his act is legal or not. Rob a bank — see if you get caught!
Seriously, that’s pretty much what he told MSNBC today. Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has reportedly made similar remarks.
This is just more Democrat trolling of the American people.
Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation was a wartime move made in order to preserve the union, a large part of which was in a state of military rebellion at the time. The Democrats started that war and sustained it, by the way.
As Lincoln wrote to New York Tribune editor Horace Greeley in 1862, his paramount goal was preserving the Union.
I would save the Union. I would save it the shortest way under the Constitution. The sooner the national authority can be restored; the nearer the Union will be “the Union as it was.” If there be those who would not save the Union, unless they could at the same time save slavery, I do not agree with them. If there be those who would not save the Union unless they could at the same time destroy slavery, I do not agree with them. My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or to destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that.
Lincoln was resolutely and publicly against slavery. The Republican Party was founded to destroy slavery. But Abraham Lincoln recognized that as vile as slavery was, his paramount duty as president was to preserve the Union, and restore it once the war was over.
After the war, Lincoln was so concerned that the Emancipation Proclamation stood that he had it codified into the Constitution as the 13th Amendment. That took an act of Congress and ratification by the states. The Democrats fought emancipation and equality for more than a century.
Suffice it to say, the Emancipation Proclamation is not even close to what Barack Obama is doing. He is intentionally bypassing Congress to favor non-citizens who have violated the law, and his interest is far from preserving the country. He fully intends to divide the country and provoke outrage. His Democratic Party is to some extent reprising its historic role as a nasty, bitter and divisive force in American politics.
Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson described President Obama’s forthcoming executive action on immigration as “comprehensive.”
“I do not want and will not get out ahead of the president and the announcement that he will make in the coming days,” Johnson said at the Washington think tank New Democrat Network.
“Legislative action is always preferable, but we’ve waited now for years to get Congress to act, and Congress has not acted.”
This is sort of an odd thing to say since the Congress is responsible for passing the laws in this country. If they don’t pass the laws the president wants, that’s the breaks. Nothing in the Constitution says the president can take over legislative duties if the Congress isn’t acting desirably.
Johnson said he believed Obama’s policy moves would fall within “a fairly wide latitude within existing executive authority to fix the system.”
“They will address a number of things, including border security,” Johnson said. The “comprehensive reforms are all within our existing legal authority to fix the broken immigration system.”
Lawmakers are alarmed at Obama’s impending actions. The Hill writes, “The Republican chairmen of the House Homeland Security and Judiciary committees on Wednesday said they are ‘disappointed’ in Obama’s decision to move forward, calling it a ‘slap in the face to the American people and the Constitution.’ ”
“The Constitution is clear that it is Congress’ duty to write our laws and, once they are enacted, it is the president’s responsibility to enforce them. Something as important as changing our immigration laws cannot be forced by unilateral action by the president,” Reps. Michael McCaul (R-Texas) and Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) wrote in a letter to Obama.
Johnson also explained he was “disheartened and disappointed” by how “volatile” the immigration debate had become. Johnson and Obama are completely out-of-touch with how much the American people don’t like having unwanted rules shoved down their throat by a king. We set up a Constitution to remedy that kind of problem.
House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) has helpfully cataloged all 22 times that President Barack Obama admitted that tomorrow’s illegal immigration executive is illegal.
The president’s statements go back as far as 2008 and are as recent as this year. They repeat similar themes, so there is no Gruberesque “speak-o” here. It’s just Barack Obama saying things that he now intends to pretend he did not say, but which clearly show that he knows that what is doing is illegal.
Here is the full list.
- “I take the Constitution very seriously. The biggest problems that we’re facing right now have to do with [the president] trying to bring more and more power into the executive branch and not go through Congress at all. And that’s what I intend to reverse when I’m President of the United States of America.” (3/31/08)
- “We’ve got a government designed by the Founders so that there’d be checks and balances. You don’t want a president who’s too powerful or a Congress that’s too powerful or a court that’s too powerful. Everybody’s got their own role. Congress’s job is to pass legislation. The president can veto it or he can sign it. … I believe in the Constitution and I will obey the Constitution of the United States. We’re not going to use signing statements as a way of doing an end-run around Congress.” (5/19/08)
- “Comprehensive reform, that’s how we’re going to solve this problem. … Anybody who tells you it’s going to be easy or that I can wave a magic wand and make it happen hasn’t been paying attention to how this town works.” (5/5/10)
- “[T]here are those in the immigrants’ rights community who have argued passionately that we should simply provide those who are [here] illegally with legal status, or at least ignore the laws on the books and put an end to deportation until we have better laws. … I believe such an indiscriminate approach would be both unwise and unfair. It would suggest to those thinking about coming here illegally that there will be no repercussions for such a decision. And this could lead to a surge in more illegal immigration. And it would also ignore the millions of people around the world who are waiting in line to come here legally. Ultimately, our nation, like all nations, has the right and obligation to control its borders and set laws for residency and citizenship. And no matter how decent they are, no matter their reasons, the 11 million who broke these laws should be held accountable.” (7/1/10)
- “I do have an obligation to make sure that I am following some of the rules. I can’t simply ignore laws that are out there. I’ve got to work to make sure that they are changed.” (10/14/10)
- “I am president, I am not king. I can’t do these things just by myself. We have a system of government that requires the Congress to work with the Executive Branch to make it happen. I’m committed to making it happen, but I’ve got to have some partners to do it. … The main thing we have to do to stop deportations is to change the laws. … [T]he most important thing that we can do is to change the law because the way the system works – again, I just want to repeat, I’m president, I’m not king. If Congress has laws on the books that says that people who are here who are not documented have to be deported, then I can exercise some flexibility in terms of where we deploy our resources, to focus on people who are really causing problems as a opposed to families who are just trying to work and support themselves. But there’s a limit to the discretion that I can show because I am obliged to execute the law. That’s what the Executive Branch means. I can’t just make the laws up by myself. So the most important thing that we can do is focus on changing the underlying laws.” (10/25/10)
- “America is a nation of laws, which means I, as the President, am obligated to enforce the law. I don’t have a choice about that. That’s part of my job. But I can advocate for changes in the law so that we have a country that is both respectful of the law but also continues to be a great nation of immigrants. … With respect to the notion that I can just suspend deportations through executive order, that’s just not the case, because there are laws on the books that Congress has passed …. [W]e’ve got three branches of government. Congress passes the law. The executive branch’s job is to enforce and implement those laws. And then the judiciary has to interpret the laws. There are enough laws on the books by Congress that are very clear in terms of how we have to enforce our immigration system that for me to simply through executive order ignore those congressional mandates would not conform with my appropriate role as President.” (3/28/11)
- “I can’t solve this problem by myself. … [W]e’re going to have to have bipartisan support in order to make it happen. … I can’t do it by myself. We’re going to have to change the laws in Congress, but I’m confident we can make it happen.” (4/20/11)
- “I know some here wish that I could just bypass Congress and change the law myself. But that’s not how democracy works. See, democracy is hard. But it’s right. Changing our laws means doing the hard work of changing minds and changing votes, one by one.” (4/29/11)
- “Sometimes when I talk to immigration advocates, they wish I could just bypass Congress and change the law myself. But that’s not how a democracy works. What we really need to do is to keep up the fight to pass genuine, comprehensive reform. That is the ultimate solution to this problem. That’s what I’m committed to doing.” (5/10/11)
- “I swore an oath to uphold the laws on the books …. Now, I know some people want me to bypass Congress and change the laws on my own. Believe me, the idea of doing things on my own is very tempting. I promise you. Not just on immigration reform. But that’s not how our system works. That’s not how our democracy functions. That’s not how our Constitution is written.” (7/25/11)
- “So what we’ve tried to do is within the constraints of the laws on the books, we’ve tried to be as fair, humane, just as we can, recognizing, though, that the laws themselves need to be changed. … The most important thing for your viewers and listeners and readers to understand is that in order to change our laws, we’ve got to get it through the House of Representatives, which is currently controlled by Republicans, and we’ve got to get 60 votes in the Senate. … Administratively, we can’t ignore the law. … I just have to continue to say this notion that somehow I can just change the laws unilaterally is just not true. We are doing everything we can administratively. But the fact of the matter is there are laws on the books that I have to enforce. And I think there’s been a great disservice done to the cause of getting the DREAM Act passed and getting comprehensive immigration passed by perpetrating the notion that somehow, by myself, I can go and do these things. It’s just not true. … We live in a democracy. You have to pass bills through the legislature, and then I can sign it. And if all the attention is focused away from the legislative process, then that is going to lead to a constant dead-end. We have to recognize how the system works, and then apply pressure to those places where votes can be gotten and, ultimately, we can get this thing solved.” (9/28/11)
Activists are cheering for NSA leaker Edward Snowden, from Senator Rand Paul and WND publisher Joseph Farah on the right, to Katrina vanden Heuvel of The Nation magazine on the left. Yet a close analysis of his disclosures and the actions he took to protect himself point to a premeditated act of willful treason, not that of a whistleblower. This was the conclusion drawn at a National Press Club conference held on Monday held by Cliff Kincaid of America’s Survival.
Snowden’s disclosures, argues Kincaid, have put America and its allies in danger of further Russian aggression, Islamic terrorism, and Chinese cyber-warfare. He called for immediate hearings in Congress, arguing that Snowden’s disclosures:
- Provided highly classified intelligence information to Russia and China
- Have helped ISIS evade NSA surveillance
- Were designed to undermine the U.S.-Israeli intelligence-sharing relationship
- Made Israel more vulnerable to terrorist attacks
- Undermined the U.S. ability to monitor any nuclear deal Obama may make with Iran
Kincaid, a veteran media analyst and journalist, also argued for Congressional scrutiny of a suspected swap of foreign agents or spies, with convicted Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout going back to Russia, in exchange for Snowden returning to the U.S. to face minor charges and arranging a plea deal to stay out of prison. Bout, who made a weapons deal with undercover DEA agents posing as communist terrorists, is serving a 25-year sentence in a U.S. federal prison. Attorney General Eric Holder has assured Snowden he won’t get the death penalty for violating the Espionage Act.
Kincaid, who just published the book, Back From the Dead: The Return of the Evil Empire, about a resurgent Russia, announced a forthcoming book entitled Blood on His Hands: The True Story of Edward Snowden. He said it is designed to counteract a slew of pro-Snowden books and movies being planned by the likes of Oliver Stone and others.
Lt. Gen. Ion Mihai Pacepa, the highest-ranking official ever to have defected from the former Soviet bloc, provided a statement for the news conference, comparing Snowden to NSA defectors Bernon Mitchell, William Martin and Victor Norris Hamilton.
All three had unsuccessfully asked to leave Russia soon after their defection. After the Soviet Union collapsed, Hamilton surfaced in a Russian mental hospital. He had been missing for more than 20 years, but no one in the whole world noticed his disappearance. Let’s hope that Snowden, who also damaged the security of our country, will have the same fate.
Kincaid said the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the rise of ISIS, and increased cyber-attacks from China can all be traced back to Snowden’s disclosures. Meanwhile, media coverage in the U.S. has been focused on the NSA’s alleged interest in what ordinary Americans are saying and doing on the Internet.
Although the NSA programs are a subject of dispute in the courts, a bipartisan panel reviewed the Snowden revelations earlier this year and found that the NSA programs did not violate the Constitution. Furthermore, NSA advocates argue that its surveillance efforts were effective in thwarting terrorism. Kincaid noted that it was the NSA which carried out the successful Venona project, identifying Soviet agents in the U.S. Government during World War II. We need such an agency, he argued, at a time when infiltration of Western governments, including our own, is an obvious concern.
Snowden himself admitted that he took his job specifically to gain access to the secrets of the NSA spying program, which he then planned to share with the world. As quoted in the South China Morning Post shortly after he fled to China, he said, “My position with Booz Allen Hamilton granted me access to lists of machines all over the world the NSA hacked… That is why I accepted that position about three months ago.”
NSA surveillance of foreign leaders also raised eyebrows, but as Bernard Kouchner, the former French foreign minister, said at the time: “Let’s be honest, we eavesdrop, too. Everyone is listening to everyone else. But we don’t have the same means as the United States, which makes us jealous.”
Leaders and/or governments frequently mentioned as NSA targets by Snowden’s main media mouthpiece, Glenn Greenwald, are Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff and German Chancellor Angela Merkel. There may be good reasons to listen in on their conversations. Rousseff is a former communist guerrilla with direct ties to Cuba and Fidel Castro. Her government has sought closer relations with Iran and communist China and is a member of the BRICS alliance that includes Russia. Meanwhile, Iranian-backed Hezbollah terrorists have established bases in the tri-border region of Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina.
This happened during today’s White House press briefing. Note Josh Earnest’s sarcasm as he tells the pliant media that they’re “welcome to ask” for a cost number that the White House will not supply.
Reporter Alexis Simendinger: “When we get briefed, or we get information, will there be budgetary numbers attached to it? Will we be able to understand more what the projected cost or what the budgetary effect will be?”
White House spokesman Josh Earnest: “Well, I don’t know if those numbers will be produced, but you are certainly welcome to ask about them. We’ll see if we can get you some answers.”
The Obama White House’s trolling of America continues…
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) has moved quickly to offer Republicans a plan to fight President Obama’s unilateral immigration amnesty.
Writing for Politico, Cruz says that “the dispute over executive amnesty is not between President Obama and Republicans in Congress; it is a dispute between President Obama and the American People. The Democrats suffered historic losses in the midterm elections largely over the prospect of the President’s executive amnesty.” Sen. Cruz notes that “Our founders repeatedly warned about the dangers of unlimited power within the executive branch; Congress should heed those words as the President threatens to grant amnesty to millions of people who have come to our country illegally.”
The question is, what can Congress do about it?
Cruz has an idea.
If the President announces executive amnesty, the new Senate Majority Leader who takes over in January should announce that the 114th Congress will not confirm a single nominee–executive or judicial–outside of vital national security positions, so long as the illegal amnesty persists.
This is a potent tool given to Congress by the Constitution explicitly to act as a check on executive power. It is a constitutional power of the Majority Leader alone, and it would serve as a significant deterrent to a lawless President.
Additionally, the new Congress should exercise the power of the purse by passing individual appropriations bills authorizing critical functions of government and attaching riders to strip the authority from the president to grant amnesty.
Sen. Cruz warns that Obama will threaten to shut the government down over any funding measures that Congress takes, but by working on the funding piecemeal, responsibility for any shutdowns would rest with the president.
Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX), Chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, and Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, responded today to denounce President Barack Obama’s executive order on immigration. The president will announce his plan in prime time Thursday, and then head out to Vegas to campaign for it, mimicking his ghastly behavior after the deadly disaster in Benghazi on September 11, 2012.
The two chairmen have sent a letter to the White House in which they express “our disappointment in your continued efforts to bypass Congressional authority.”
He is less “bypassing” than he is just flat out ignoring congressional authority. Obama is also ignoring this month’s elections, in which the Democrats were reduced to regional party status.
The chairmen write that the recent mid-term elections serve as evidence that the American people have rejected Obama’s policies, which he said were on the ballot. They attempt to remind the president that Congress’ duties including writing laws, while presidents are charged with faithfully executing laws. In the letter, they also note that illegal immigration surges whenever there is a promise of amnesty in the air in Washington.
Obama is surely not only aware of that, he is banking on it.
The letter implores Obama to work with Congress, despite the fact that he has already rejected that possibility and will formally reject it Thursday evening. The letter calls on Obama to “respect the Constitution and abandon any unconstitutional, unilateral executive actions on immigration. Let’s secure the border, enforce our immigration laws in the interior of the United States, and build a broad consensus for immigration reform. Otherwise, as the chairmen of the committees with oversight over border security and our nation’s immigration laws, we will be forced to use the tools afforded to Congress by the Constitution to stop your administration from successfully carrying out your plan.”
Read Reps. McCaul and Goodlatte’s entire warning letter here.
As I began my daily perusal of the news for blog fodder today I was immediately presented with three different stories about a potential government shutdown and what it means, or does not mean, for the newly empowered Republicans. Another fourteen or so seconds of effort brought me to all the dire warning stories that were written yesterday.
Almost every one of these articles begin with the premise that last year’s shutdown was a disaster.
Top Republicans say two things are clear: Last year’s government shutdown hurt the party. And Republicans must not let the president’s pending immigration action bait them into a repeat.
Even if they get around to presenting some opposing views, that is the seed that is first planted. The New York Times kicked off a piece by letting its readers know that the even nefarious Koch brothers don’t want another shutdown.
Matt Lewis at The Daily Caller weighed in from the right-ish side of the aisle to say that just because the Republicans had a big election night this year doesn’t mean that the shutdown didn’t hurt them last year.
The latter seems absurd. And I also reject the former. Suggesting the GOP’s success in November of 2014 means that they weren’t in danger in October of 2013 strikes me as a bit of revisionist history. Think about all the many scandals and controversies that have happened since the shutdown. As I implied above, the botched Obamacare website rollout wasn’t even realized/appreciated until after shutdown ended. Think about what we were talking about in the days and weeks leading up to the midterms — Ebola and ISIS.
The fact that the patient survived 13 months after the virus does not indicate that the patient wasn’t incredibly ill at the time. The expectation that anything would dog Republicans for more than a year seems a pretty high bar. With the pace of today’s news cycle, the notion that any one story would dominate 13 months later would always be highly unlikely.
Lewis was one of a very small number of people (I can’t even recall any others at the moment) who claimed last year that the shutdown could hurt the Republican brand and they could still win the Senate. Most warnings from inside the GOP were of the “sky is falling and it will cost us next year” variety.
When measured against the most common warnings that it would prevent the GOP from retaking the Senate, the shutdown was a paper cut on the Republican brand.
We’ll save the discussion about exactly what shape the Republican brand is in and whether it can be “damaged” more in the eyes of the leftist media hacks for another day.
As for the current rush of hysteria about the potential of another shutdown there is only one thing anybody needs to focus on: whenever the media is expressing concern for the GOP on any issue, it certainly isn’t because they are afraid it will be detrimental. The opposite is usually true.
The MSM Obama sycophants aren’t afraid of a shutdown threat because it will be bad for Republicans, they’re afraid of slowing down The Idiot King’s executive order fetish.
Because that’s all they have left to impose their will and there isn’t any time to waste .
On 22 separate occasions, President Barack Obama told various audiences that he lacks the legal authority under the Constitution to move unilaterally on immigration. Barack Obama frequently railed against what he characterized as President George W. Bush’s executive power overreaches.
All of those statements, like so many of this president’s previous statements, are set to expire on November 20, 2014. Barack Obama’s word is utterly worthless. Tomorrow, Obama will go rogue and grant legal status to as many as 5,000,000 illegal aliens. He will make the announcement and then do one of the few things that he really knows how to do — campaign. He will go to Vegas and speak at a high school in front of a cheering, hand-picked audience of supporters to tout the plan that nearly two-dozen times he called illegal. He will either ignore or insult critics and skeptics.
Obama and his allies claim that his move is similar to ones made in years past by Presidents Reagan and Bush. Like nearly everything else that Obama and his allies say, this is a lie. Reagan and Bush were working within a law passed by Congress in 1986. Obama is explicitly acting because Congress will not meet his demands and pass a law that he wants. Obama is not even giving the new Congress time to act. It was elected this month and will not be sworn in until January. Obama is acting now expressly to pick fights and provoke, not to solve any actual problem that the bulk of the American people want solved.
Obama intends for this move to divide Republicans and unite Democrats. In reality, it’s likely to divide both, though not very neatly. It also endangers the Constitution. That’s a feature of Obama’s plan, not a bug.
On the Democratic side, there remain enough red state and border state Democrats who will be rendered even more vulnerable by the president’s move, coming as it does in the face of public opposition to it. Democrats have taken a bludgeoning at the state and local level thanks in no small part to Obama’s actions and policies. More will be forced to distance themselves from him, or lose.
On the Republican side, the business interests that rely on cheap (and often illegal) labor will be supportive of Obama’s action, while the GOP’s security-minded base will be inflamed. Obama is banking on the latter to react angrily and toss up heated rhetoric that he and the media will undoubtedly use to cast opposition as “racist.” As always, Obama is counting on the corrupt national media to help him out. There is little reason for him to expect anything else.