Evidently the harder path was just too hard
Michael Gerson writes: There are any number of marvelous things one might do as president, if Congress were not such a checked and balanced mess. But future presidents now have a new method at their disposal: Declare a long-running debate to be a national emergency. Challenge Congress, under threat of unilateral executive action, to legislate on the topic before your term runs out. And when lawmakers refuse, act with the most expansive definition of presidential power.
The supporting arguments for this approach come down to the claim that the American political system is broken — incapable of action on urgent matters because of obstructionism, bad faith and the abuse of legislative procedure. It is the political philosophy of “something must be done.”
“By crossing this particular Rubicon, Obama has given up on politics, which is, from one perspective, understandable. He doesn’t do it well.”
The arguments against this approach often come down to institutionalism. Major policy shifts, in this view, deserve legislative hearings and an open amendment process. The White House should make its views known and issue veto threats. There should be a negotiation between the House and Senate to reconcile a bill. There should be a presidential signature, or a veto and an override debate. The machinery is admittedly creaky, but it manufactures democratic legitimacy. Read the rest of this entry »
Disclaimer: The James Madison quote is 95% accurate.
Obama’s planned action perverts the meaning of the legal doctrine
“As you listen to the president try to explain himself tonight, you are going to hear a lot about how his plan is just a sensible exercise of prosecutorial discretion — how he is just using the sparse resources Congress gives him to enforce the law in more efficient ways. It will sound unobjectionable — even appealing.
But understand, it will be lawless and an invitation to waves of law-breaking. Obama is not merely prioritizing crimes; he is equating his non-enforcement of congressional statutes with the repeal of those statutes. He is not merely ignoring some lawbreakers so he can pursue others; he is declaring that categories of non-Americans of Obama’s unilateral choosing have a right to break our laws and be rewarded for it.”
Joe Concha reports; America loves streaks. For our parents and grandparents, it was witnessing (via radio or the morning paper) Joe DiMaggio‘s 56-game hitting streak in 1941, a record that will likely never be broken. For later generations, it was Cal Ripkenplaying in 2,632 consecutive games — another record that won’t be touched.
“ABC’s story rundowns have been particularly vexing for the past month. If you recall, David Muir‘s newscast also ignored the lead-up to the midterms, not doing one story on it for months until just a few days before the election. By contrast, when Republicans were about to be shellacked in the 2006 midterms, ABC did 36 stories leading up to that election.”
There are streaks in broadcasting as well. The most notable being broken two years ago after ABC’s Good Morning America finally beat NBC’s Today Show after an astounding 852 consecutive weeks at the top, a streak spanning over 16 years.
“Gallup’s latest poll (September) in the media’s ability to report ‘the news fully, accurately, and fairly’ is all-time low of 40%. That’s down 34 points from a Gallup poll taken post-Watergate, when the press actually held those in power accountable.”
But then there are dubious streaks as well, like the one we’re currently witnessing courtesy of those aforementioned big alphabet networks.
The comments of MIT professor Jonathan Gruber have been a big story for the past ten days. Regardless of how you voted or whether you’re team red or blue, an official who worked closely with President Obama and his team on crafting the Affordable Care Act (visiting the Oval Office 19 times to specifically discuss a strategy) and later revealing on multiple occasions that the law was predicated on misleading “stupid” American voters is a story worthy of national attention and scrutiny. Those who don’t believe this are willfully blind, or as stupid as even an MSNBC panel says the White House thinks we all are.
With that in mind, here’s one more streak to chew on: Over the past ten nights, ABC’s World News Tonight and NBC’s Nightly News haven’t just buried the story in some throwaway segment late in their respective programs; they haven’t mentioned Gruber or the controversy in any capacity. Some could argue the decision to omit has been made because the news cycle has been heavy on the breaking news front. Except that hasn’t remotely been the case. Read the rest of this entry »
“I’m the president of the United States, I’m not the emperor of the United States. My job is to execute laws that are passed.”
At The Corner, Brendan Bordelon writes: President Obama is planning to enact executive amnesty any day, despite a chorus of voices urging him to reconsider. House Speaker John Boehner warns that the White House will “poison the well,” while incoming Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell cautions against “waving a red flag in front of a bull.” Liberal law professor Jonathan Turley even laments that the move will “tear the very fabric of our Constitution.”
But perhaps the most convincing statements against the legalization of millions without congressional action? They’ve come from the president himself. Read the rest of this entry »
Crushed by Massive Congressional Election Losses, Enraged, Isolated President Moves Forward with Plan to Punish NationPosted: November 19, 2014
Paying taxes, obeying the law, and playing by the rules is for suckers. America deserves to be punished
President Obama will announce Thursday that he will use his executive authority to expand temporary protections to millions of undocumented immigrants, according to several individuals who have been briefed on the decision. Obama will travel to Las Vegas on the heels of that announcement to rally support for his initiative on Friday.
“If ‘Emperor Obama’ ignores the American people and announces an amnesty plan that he himself has said over and over again exceeds his Constitutional authority, he will cement his legacy of lawlessness and ruin the chances for Congressional action on this issue – and many others.”
– Michael Steel
Congress will receive official details on the move Thursday, according to a senior Democratic Party official.
Even before final confirmation of the president’s plans, outside advocates began readying events to promote the administration’s immigration policy.
“We hear there will be a prime time Thursday evening announcement (to preview) and full unveiling in Vegas on Friday,” immigration advocate Dawn Le wrote in an email to other activists, which was later inadvertently sent to a group of reporters Wednesday morning. “Can folks begin to work and plan watch parties for Thursday and/or Friday? Unclear whether Thursday night content will be what is “celebratory”, but Friday will be where we need a lot of energy guaranteed.”
So, just asking, what happens if Ferguson Grand Jury announces during Obama’s amnesty speech?
— Jonah Goldberg (@JonahNRO) November 19, 2014
Obama launched his push for immigration reform in January 2013 in Las Vegas, outlining a plan that would allow many of the nation’s 11 million undocumented immigrants to earn citizenship.
The president’s decision to speak at the city’s Del Sol High School highlights the administration’s intensified push to convince Latinos that the Democratic Party is committed to addressing the dilemma of millions of undocumented immigrants. The president is preparing to use his executive authority to expand temporary protections to millions of these individuals, as well as to broaden visa programs for highly-skilled technology workers and perhaps also stiffen security along the U.S.-Mexico border.
Fake Cellphone Towers on Planes Used to Target Criminals, but Also Sift Through Thousands of Other Phones
WASHINGTON—Devlin Barrett reports: The Justice Department is scooping up data from thousands of cellphones through fake communications towers deployed on airplanes, a high-tech hunt for criminal suspects that is snagging a large number of innocent Americans, according to people familiar with the operations.
“The program cuts out phone companies as an intermediary in searching for suspects. Rather than asking a company for cell-tower information to help locate a suspect, which law enforcement has criticized as slow and inaccurate, the government can now get that information itself.”
The U.S. Marshals Service program, which became fully functional around 2007, operates Cessna aircraft from at least five metropolitan-area airports, with a flying range covering most of the U.S. population, according to people familiar with the program.
“Similar devices are used by U.S. military and intelligence officials operating in other countries, including in war zones, where they are sometimes used to locate terrorist suspects, according to people familiar with the work. In the U.S., these people said, the technology has been effective in catching suspected drug dealers and killers. They wouldn’t say which suspects were caught through this method.”
Planes are equipped with devices—some known as “dirtboxes” to law-enforcement officials because of the initials of the Boeing Co. unit that produces them—which mimic cell towers of large telecommunications firms and trick cellphones into reporting their unique registration information. Read the rest of this entry »
THE HAMMER: to Bret Baier on Special Report
“The reason Obama has waited is because, according to his own words which he has said repeatedly for six years, he is not allowed under the constitution to do what he’s now proposing to do. He has said this over and over again. He’s said I’d like to do all these things, but under the constitution, I do not write the laws. If any of this is true, this is a wholesale canceling of a law passed by Congress. If it is to be canceled, if it is to be reformed, it has to be done.”
“This is a constitutionally odious proposal. He knows it and he admitted it himself. As a matter of policy, I think it’s a terrible idea. I’m not against legalization, but I am against legalization before you’ve done anything serious about controlling the border. Otherwise this is an advertisement to the whole world, particularly Latin America where it’s easy to get across the border, that you come into America illegally. It’s up to you, we do not control our borders. And then if you wait long enough and you make strong enough case and there’s enough pressure, we will legalize you.”
“He’s waited [to do this] because it’s illegal. If they were a Republican who is in the White House and says I waited and waited, I demanded abolition of the capital gains tax and the Congress wouldn’t do it, so i’m ordering the IRS: no collection of capital gains. If congress wants to pass a law to override that, I invite that. You would be up here as everybody would and say this is unconstitutional, it is an impeachable offense. That’s what he’s doing. He himself has admitted that year after year up till now, with two years left, all the elections behind him. He doesn’t care.”
“I know there are some folks who wish I could just bypass Congress. I can’t.”
LA Times reports: A federal appeals court decided Wednesday that California has no legal right to challenge a ruling that prevents counties from imposing strict requirements on carrying concealed weapons in public.
The decision was another victory for gun rights advocates, but it may not be the last word. The state can appeal. If the state and other groups ultimately lose, counties throughout California will be required to issue permits for concealed weapons to residents who meet background checks and want the weapons for self protection.
In a 2-1 ruling, the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals denied an attempt by Atty. Gen. Kamala D. Harris, a gun control group and law enforcement associations to intervene in a case that struck down San Diego County’s policy of tightly restricting the carrying of concealed guns.
The panel that issued Wednesday’s decision was the same one that ruled 2-1 in February in favor of gun owners. Read the rest of this entry »
Why, then, is Government Enforcement Suddenly Necessary to Maintain the Status Quo?
At The Corner, Ian Tuttle writes:
….Writing at National Review Online in July, Tennessee congresswoman Marsha Blackburn and FCC commissioner Michael O’Rielly noted that “on the issue of net neutrality, the [FCC] has already conceded that there is no current harm to consumers . . . [and] bragged that the rules would be ‘prophylactic.’”
I am all for planning ahead, but basing sweeping government action on the argument that “while there is no problem currently, there could be in the future” is hardly persuasive. What couldn’t one justify by that logic?
Now, it may eventually be the case that the complex Internet economy falls prey to quasi-monopolistic forces who abuse consumers, requiring some 21st-century trust-busting. But what is certainly the case is that the Internet has thrived in no small part because of the lack of regulation. A comparatively uninhibited market has tempered the excesses to which large companies may be inclined. Net-neutrality rules would substitute bureaucratic rigmarole for market forces, making those innovators about which the president is so enthusiastic beholden not to consumers, but to a five-person board of commissioners (and its bureaucratic labyrinth) and to the courts. Moreover, there is ample reason to believe that net-neutrality rules — like so much other government regulation — would have sprawling unforeseen consequences. What reason is there at this point to risk that?
Moreover, what government regulation of the Internet does exist is already proving to be a stranglehold on innovation. Writing in the July 15, 2013, issue of National Review, Hudson Institute scholar Christopher DeMuth pointed out the ill effects of the FCC’s allocation of wireless broadband:
The shortage of wireless broadband spectrum is certainly a severe problem. It is needlessly raising the costs and retarding the speed and quality of personal communications (Onionheadline: “Internet Collapses Under Sheer Weight of Baby Pictures”). Wireless providers such as Verizon and AT&T have been obliged to raise prices and reduce speeds selectively for heavy users of video and data applications, leading to charges of “discrimination” that the FCC has taken seriously. Read the rest of this entry »
Tired of listening to Progressives tell you that the Second Amendment only allows people in militias to keep and bear arms? Or that the Founders would have never intended the Second Amendment to apply to modern weapons? In his latest FIREWALL, Bill recounts a remarkable conversation about the precise wording of the Second Amendment, and sums up why the document says what it means and means what it says.
From pot to crony capitalism, here are suggestions for the Republican-controlled Congress.
So Republicans have taken back the Senate and in January will control both houses of Congress. That brings them to the question posed by a famous political book: You won — Now what?
[Glenn Reynolds‘ book “The New School: How the Information Age Will Save American Education from Itself“ is available at Amazon]
The problem for Republicans is that because they do not have a veto-proof majority, they can pass bills but can’t get them past President Obama. It doesn’t mean that they’re doomed to futility. They can pass three kinds of bills: those Obama will want to sign; those he won’t want to sign but will have to; and those he’ll veto, but where a veto is unpopular. With that in mind, I have six suggestions for the new GOP-controlled Congress:
1. End the federally imposed 21-year-old drinking age. The limit was dreamed up in the 1980s as a bit of political posturing by then-secretary of Transportation Elizabeth Dole. It has been a disaster. College drinking hasn’t been reduced; it has just moved out of bars and into dorm rooms, fraternities/sororities and house parties. The result has been a boom in alcohol problems on campus. While drunken driving has declined, it was declining before the age was raised and has declined just as fast in Canada, where the drinking age is 18 or 19 depending on the province.
As John McCardell, vice chancellor of the University of the South in Sewanee, Tenn., writes, “If you infantilize someone, do not be surprised when infantile behavior — like binge drinking — results.” Easing pressure on states to raise their own drinking ages is consistent with GOP ideals. Obama hasn’t been hot on lowering the drinking age, but it’s hard to imagine him vetoing this.
2. Decriminalize marijuana at the federal level. Many states have legalized marijuana, but it remains illegal under federal law. That’s bound to change sooner or later — and the GOP might as well get ahead of it. Would Obama veto it? Doubtful. Read the rest of this entry »