Appeals Court Upholds Decision on Obama Amnesty Ploy

Editor’s Note – It’s the rule-of-law Mr. Obama! Okay, maybe not for the Obama and Clinton types who rule by fiat and expect you to take the punishment and just ask for another one.

Fortunately we have Texas, a state none-to-pleased with Obama’s unilateral executive orders, especially on illegal immigrants and numerous suits and attacks on that state’s government and a court system with a spine. They had Judge Andrew Hanen, a sober and sane judge who ordered Obama’s DHS to stop its unilateral deportation amnesty and support scheme.

In December, 2014, Texas and 25 other states, including North Carolina, filed a lawsuit in the  Southern District Court of Texas seeking to block both DAPA and expanded DACA. The main grounds for their suit were the costs of issuing driver’s licenses and other associated costs of giving the undocumented immigrants legal status. Other issues being considered included exceeding executive power, failure to adhere to rulemaking procedures, and standing — the right of the states to challenge federal immigration policies.

On February 16, 2015, Judge Andrew Hanen issued a temporary injunction blocking both programs from going into effect. Current DACA requirements and two-year terms were supposed to remain unchanged and DAPA has not been implemented. (Read more here at the National Law Review.)

And then the judge had to reprimand the DOJ lawyers:

A federal judge in Texas on Tuesday angrily denied the federal government’s request to allow President Obama’s immigration executive actions to proceed, even as an appeals court signaled that it might disagree with the judge when it takes up the issue next week.

Judge Andrew S. Hanen of Federal District Court for the Southern District of Texas, in Brownsville, refused late Tuesday night to lift the injunction he had placed in February on the president’s program, saying that to do so would cause irreparable harm. (Read more here.)

Then, that ruling was upheld by the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, so now what is Obama and his Department of Justice (for friends only, weaponized for enemies) want to appeal to the Supreme Court:

President Obama will ask the Supreme Court to clear the way for his long-delayed immigration overhaul, administration lawyers said Tuesday, setting up another high-stakes legal contest in the nation’s highest court over the fate of one of the president’s signature achievements.

The Department of Justice said in a statement that it will appeal a federal appeals court ruling that blocked Mr. Obama’s plan to provide work permits to as many as five million undocumented immigrants while shielding most of them from deportation.

“The Department of Justice remains committed to taking steps that will resolve the immigration litigation as quickly as possible in order to allow DHS to bring greater accountability to our immigration system by prioritizing the removal of the worst offenders, not people who have long ties to the United States and who are raising American children,” said Patrick Rodenbush, a spokesman for the Justice Department. “The Department disagrees with the Fifth Circuit’s adverse ruling and intends to seek further review from the Supreme Court of the United States.” (Read more here at the NY Times.)

We hate to break it to you Mr. Rodenbush, what your team is trying to do is anti-constitutional…but you really knew that already didn’t you? It’s called Article I, Section 8, Clause 4: Naturalization and was confirmed as follows in 1795:

Congress claimed exclusive authority over naturalization by establishing new conditions—”and not otherwise”—for aliens “to become a citizen of the United States, or any of them.” In Chirac v. Lessee of Chirac (1817), the Supreme Court affirmed that “the power of naturalization is exclusively in congress,” notwithstanding any state laws to the contrary. (Read extensive summary here at the Heritage Foundation.)

Once again, a co-equal branch of our federal government had to intervene and set the Obama administration straight. In fact, the appeals court used Obama’s very own words from the many times prior in which he said he could not do what he eventually did anyway – another end run around Congress. Read more here at Politico’s “Appeals court keeps block on Obama immigration actions.”

So much for the imperialism of this Presidency, welcome back rule-of-law! SCOTUS must continue to find for the constitution in this latest appeal as well.

Judges use Obama’s own words to halt deportation amnesty

A federal appeals court said President Obama’s own words claiming powers to “change the law” were part of the reason it struck down his deportation amnesty, in a ruling late Monday that reaffirmed the president must carry out laws and doesn’t have blanket powers to waive them.

ObamaFifthCircuit

The 2-1 ruling by the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals punctures Mr. Obama’s immigration plans and is the latest in a series of major court rulings putting limits on the president’s claims of expansive executive powers to enact his agenda without having to get congressional buy-in.

In an opinion freighted with meaning for the separation of powers battles, Judge Jerry E. Smith, writing for himself and Judge Jennifer Walker Elrod, singled out Mr. Obama’s own claim that he acted to rewrite the law because Congress wouldn’t pass the bill he wanted.

The key remark came in a speech in Chicago just days after his Nov. 20, 2014, announcement detailing his executive actions. Fed up with a heckler who was chiding him for boosting the number of deportations, Mr. Obama fired back, agreeing that he’d overseen a spike in deportations.

“But what you are not paying attention to is the fact that I just took an action to change the law,” the president said.

The two judges said the Justice Department failed to explain away Mr. Obama’s remarks.

“At oral argument, and despite being given several opportunities, the attorney for the United States was unable to reconcile that remark with the position that the government now takes,” Judge Smith wrote.

Whether Mr. Obama acted within the law is the crux of the case.

Texas and 25 other states, which sued to stop the amnesty, argue Mr. Obama went beyond the boundaries set in the Immigration and Nationality Act, which sets out specific instances where, on a case-by-case basis, the Homeland Security secretary can waive penalties and allow illegal immigrants to stay, granting them work permits which then entitle them to Social Security cards, tax credits and state driver’s licenses.

A federal district court in Texas agreed with the states, halting Mr. Obama’s policy, and now an appeals court has also sided with the states.

Writing in dissent on Monday, Judge Carolyn Dineen King dismissed Mr. Obama’s claim that he changed the law, saying presidents often use imprecise language when talking about laws. She said Mr. Obama wasn’t making a legal argument in his response to the heckler.

Mr. Obama’s plan, known officially as Deferred Action for Parental Arrivals, or DAPA, was intended to grant up to 5 million illegal immigrants a proactive three-year stay of deportation and to give them work permits, allowing them to come out of the shadows and join American society — though they were still considered to be in the country illegally. To qualify, illegal immigrants had to be parents of U.S. citizens or legal permanent resident children.

The president characterized his plan as a use of prosecutorial discretion, reasoning that he was never going to deport them anyway, so they should be granted some more firm status.

But the court ruled that he not only didn’t follow the usual rules in making a major policy change, but that his claims of power to grant tentative legal status to a massive class of people went beyond the waiver powers Congress granted him in the law.

Monday’s decision is already reverberating across the presidential debate, with Hispanic-rights activists insisting Mr. Obama file an immediate appeal to the Supreme Court, and vowing to make immigration an issue in the 2016 election.

Establishment GOP, throws in towel? "A sign of weakness!"

Editor’s Note – The ‘Establishment’ GOP throws in the towel without even putting up a fight? Does the ‘Ol’ Guard’, establishment GOP,  represent “We the People” or even those that put them into their offices?

The Senate GOP Plan to Surrender Debt Control to Obama

By Mike Flynn – Breitbart News

Senate Republicans, led by Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell, (R-KY), are reportedly planning legislation allowing President Barack Obama to lift the nation’s debt ceiling on his authority, according to sources on Capitol Hill.

Under the potential Senate Republican plan, Congress would merely retain the right to “disapprove” of the President’s action to lift the nation’s debt limit. But disapproving the action would require a hard-to-reach two-thirds vote of both chambers of Congress.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky, gestures during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Sept. 23, 2008, regarding the financial crisis. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

Political observers may recognize this move. It is similar to the Corker-Cardin legislation that allowed Obama to agree to the nuclear deal with Iran. The Corker legislation simply allowed Congress to disapprove the action, albeit with a vote threshold that was almost impossible to attain.

It conveniently allowed the Iran deal to come into force while enabling Republicans to vote against the treaty in everything but name.

Adopting the Corker framework for the debt ceiling does two things important to Sen. McConnell. It would allow the nation’s debt ceiling to increase, empowering the Treasury Department to continue borrowing funds.

It would also allow most Republicans to cast symbolic votes against lifting the debt ceiling. They could then campaign saying they were against raising the debt ceiling in the upcoming elections next Fall.

It’s a plan only a politician in Washington could love. It also goes a long way to explain the visceral disgust most voters feel towards Washington. On a more fundamental level, it explains the existential crisis gripping the Republican party.

The debt ceiling limits the amount of debt the federal government can accumulate, and is now set at $18,100 billion.

The federal government is borrowing additional funds for the expected 2016 budget, so it will hit that limit sometime after Nov. 3. Unless raised again, the ceiling would bar additional borrowing, and would force politically painful cuts in annual federal spending.

The Republican party in Washington is basically in the business of hiring hit-men, to ensure it has a solid alibi when a crime is committed.

The operational strategy of the Republican party now is to avoid any protracted political fight with Obama or the Democrats and hope to gain marginal political advantage in the next election. It presumably is working for a day when it control all levers of government by such a margin that it can enact its platform with zero political risk.

In the coming weeks, while most of the political world is consumed with the battle to replace

Rep. John Boehner (R-OH) as House Speaker, the Congressional calendar is chocked-full of measures that the Washington establishment thinks must be passed. A new spending bill must be authorized by early December.

The Treasury Department says the debt ceiling must be lifted in early November to avoid a potential default on the nation’s debt. There is a “need” to shore-up the Highway Trust Fund and a desperate push by corporate donors to reestablish the Export-Import Bank.

The pending Senate plan to give Obama the power to lift the debt ceiling is preview of how Republicans plan to navigate these waters. They would rather cede Congressional authority over the purse to Obama than have a debate or fight.

If Senate Republicans go through with a Corker-type bill granting Obama the power to lift the debt ceiling, as seems likely, it raises the question not only of why we have Republicans, but why we have a Senate.

Dem Lies, Memes, Bush and WMD to Fit Lack of ME Policy

Editor’s Note – As we see Obama spin and twist the story about Russia entering the war in Syria as a sign of Russian weakness, he deflects by calling his detractors’ ideas as “half-baked” and “mumbo jumbo”, and apparently he forgot about Hillary Clinton’s idea for a “no-fly” zone.

Major Garret posed that question to him yesterday and his answer called for a quick two-step and then referred to the fact that she being a candidate and being President were two different things.

“Hillary Clinton is not half-baked in terms of her approach to these problems,” Obama said carefully, reminding reporters she served in his administration as Secretary of State. But Obama pointed out that Clinton’s rhetoric on Syria is merely campaign rhetoric.

“I also think that there’s a difference between running for president and being president,” he said carefully, pointing out that he was having specific discussions with his military advisors about the right way forward in Syria. “If and when she’s president, then she’ll make those judgments and she’s been there enough that she knows that, you know, these are tough calls,” he said. (Read more here at Breitbart.)

Classic Obama deflection, or twist in the wind like he has done on almost everything Iraq related, including sticking to old lies and societal memes that have long since been disproved as bunk. But it is not just Obama dancing fast and loose with the facts, it seems every single Democrat is as well. Victor Davis Hanson shows us the proof below and reminds us of the stunning flips and flops, lies and half-truths, and stark regularity you can bank on at a Reno Casino in all likelihood.

The Left would rather forget its old slogan, “Bush lied, thousands died.”

By Victor Davis Hanson – National Review

The very mention of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and Iraq was toxic for Republicans by 2005. They wanted to forget about the supposed absence of recently manufactured WMD in great quantities in Iraq; Democrats saw Republican defensiveness as key to their recovery in 2006.

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By the time Obama was elected, the issue had been demagogued to death, was no longer of any political utility, and so vanished.

So why all of a sudden is the New York Times strangely focused on old WMD stockpiles showing up in Iraq? Is the subtext perhaps that the rise of ISIS poses an existential threat in such a dangerous landscape (and by extension offers an explanation for the current bombing)?

Or are we to be reminded that Bush stirred up a WMD hornets’ nest that Obama was forced to deal with? Or is the sudden interest intended to preempt the story now before we learn that ISIS routinely employs WMD against the Kurds? How strange that Iraq, WMD, bombing, and preemption reappear in the news, but now without the hysteria of the Bush era.

Indeed, for the last two years, reports of WMD of some sort have popped up weekly in Kurds and Iraq. Bashar Assad has used them, apparently with strategic profit, both in deterring his enemies and in embarrassing the red lines of Barack Obama, who had threatened to bomb him if he dared use them.

ISIS is rumored to have attempted to use mustard gas against the Kurds. Iraqi depots are periodically found, even as they are often dismissed as ossified beyond the point of easy use, or as already calibrated and rendered inert by either U.N. inspectors or U.S. occupation forces. But where did all the WMD come from, and why the sudden fright now about these stockpiles’ being deployed?

For much of the Bush administration we heard from the Left the refrain, “Bush lied, thousands died,” as if the president had cooked intelligence reports to conjure up a nonexistent threat from Saddam Hussein’s stockpiles of WMD — stockpiles that Bill Clinton had insisted until his last days in office posed an existential threat to the United States.

Apparently if a horde of gas shells of 20th-century vintage was found, it was then deemed irrelevant — as if WMD in Iraq could only be defined as huge Iraqi plants turning out 21st-century stockpiles weeks before the invasion.

The smear of Bush was the bookend of another popular canard, the anti-Bush slogan “No blood for oil.” Once the fact that the U.S. did not want Iraqi oil was indisputable, that slander metamorphosed. Almost immediately the Left pivoted and charged that we were not so much oil sinister as oil stupid.

If the Iraqi oil ministry, for the first time in its history, was both acting transparently and selling oil concessions to almost anyone except American companies, it was now cast as typically ungracious in not appreciating the huge American expenditure of blood and treasure that had allowed it such latitude.

Was the Iraq War then a stupid war that helped Russia and the Chinese? Poor Bush ended up not so much sinister as a naïf.

Although we don’t hear much any more about “No blood for oil,” the lie about “Bush lied, thousands died” has never been put to rest.

What was odd about the untruth was not just that Michael Moore, Cindy Sheehan, and the anti-war street crowd become popular icons through spreading such lies, but that the Democratic party — whose kingpins (Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton, John Kerry, Harry Reid, et al.) had all given fiery speeches in favor of invading Iraq — refined the slur into an effective 2006 talking point.

That Democrats from Nancy Pelosi to Harry Reid had looked at the same intelligence from CIA Director (and Clinton appointee) George “slam-dunk” Tenet (who authored a self-serving memoir ankle-biting George W. Bush while still in office), and had agreed with Tenet’s assessments, at least until the insurgency destroyed public support for the war, was conveniently forgotten.

The Bush administration did not help much. It never replied to its critics that fear of stockpiled WMD had originally been a Clinton-administration fear, a congressional fear, an international fear — and a legitimate fear.

I suppose that the Bush people wanted the issue of WMD to just go away, given the insurgency raging in Iraq and the effective Democratic campaign to reinvent fear of WMD as a sinister Bush conspiracy. (Do we remember Colin Powell’s U.N. testimony and the years that followed — cf. the Valerie Plame/Richard Armitage fiasco — in which he licked his wounds while harboring anger at his former associates for his own career-ending presentation?)

In sum, the Bush White House certainly did not remind the country that most of the Clinton-era liberal politicians in the 1990s had warned us about Iraqi WMD (do we even remember the 1998 Iraq Liberation Act?).

Nor were we reminded that foreign leaders like Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak had predicted mass death for any invaders who challenged Saddam’s WMD arsenal. (“General Franks, you must be very, very careful.

We have spoken with Saddam Hussein. He is a madman. He has WMD — biologicals, actually — and he will use them on your troops.”) Was part of the Bush administration’s WMD conspiracy forcing tens of thousands of U.S. troops to lug about chemical suits and masks in the desert?

No one, of course, noted that the initial success in Iraq also helped shut down Moammar Qaddafi’s WMD program in Libya and pressured the Pakistanis to arrest (for a while) the father of their bomb, Dr. A. Q. Khan. The latter nations apparently feared that the U.S. was considering removing dictators who that they knew had stockpiled WMD.

The current The Iran-Iraq War by Williamson Murray and Kevin Woods is a frightening reminder of how Saddam massacred the Kurds (perhaps well over 150,000 killed), often with gas, and how habitual was Saddam’s use of WMD against the Iranians in that medieval war.

Nor do we remember that James Clapper, in one of his earlier careerist contortions as a Bush-era intelligence officer, along with top-ranking officials in both the Iraqi and Syrian air forces, all warned us that WMD were stealthily transferred to Syria on the eve of the invasion of Iraq.

The dutifully toadyish Clapper added the intensifier adverb “unquestionably” to emphasize his certainty. Clapper, remember, went on to become Obama’s director of national intelligence and a key adviser on much of the current Obama Middle East decision-making, including the near bombing of Syria.*

So there were stocks of at least older WMD throughout Iraq when we arrived in 2003, and it was plausible that many of the newer and more deployable versions somehow found their way into Syria.

So worried was Barack Obama about the likelihood of Syrian WMD that he almost started a preemptive war against Bashar Assad, but without authorization of Congress and with no attempt to go to the U.N., as Bush had done. (Indeed, we are now preemptively bombing Iraq on the basis of the 2002 authorizations that state legislator and memoirist Barack Obama derided at the time.)

There were all sorts of untold amnesias about Iraq. No one remembers the 23 writs that were part of the 2002 authorizations that apparently Obama believes are still in effect.

They included genocide, bounties for suicide bombers, an attempt to kill a former U.S. president, the harboring of terrorists (among them one of the 1993 World Trade Center bombers), and a whole litany of charges that transcended WMD and were utterly unaffected by the latter controversy.

How surreal is it that Obama is preemptively bombing Iraq on twelve-year-old congressional authorizations that he opposed as trumped up and now may be relevant in relationship to dealing with Syrian and Iraqi stockpiles of WMD?

We forget too how Harry Reid declared the surge a failure and the war lost even as it was being won. Or how Barack Obama predicted that the surge would make things worse, before scrubbing such editorializing from his website when the surge worked.

Do we remember those days of General Betray Us (the ad hominem ad that the New York Times, which supposedly will not allow purchased ad hominem ads, granted at a huge discount), and the charges from Hillary Clinton that Petraeus was lying (“suspension of disbelief”)?

As Obama megaphones call for national unity in damning Leon Panetta’s critiques during the present bombing, do we remember the glee with which the Left greeted the tell-all revelations of Paul O’Neill, George Tenet, and Scott McClellan during the tenure of George W. Bush, or how they disparaged the surge when Americans were dying to implement it?

It is hard to recall now the fantasy climate that surrounded “Bush lied, thousands died.” Cindy Sheehan is now utterly forgotten. So mostly is the buffoonish propagandist Michael Moore, except for an occasion tidbit about a nasty divorce and cat fights over his man-of-the-people sizable portfolio — and occasional attacks on Barack Obama’s supposed racial tokenism.

Hillary’s shrill outbursts about Iraq evolved into “What difference, at this point, does it make?” Barack Obama rode his anti-war distortions to the presidency only to adopt his own anti-terrorism protocols and preemptive wars using the Bush-era justifications, but without the candor and congressional authorizations.

The media went from “No blood for oil” and “Bush lied, thousands died” to noting strange discoveries of WMD and trumpeting near energy independence.

The U.S. is now nonchalantly referred to as the world’s largest oil producer, but largely because the Bush administration green-lighted fracking and horizontal drilling, which the present administration opposes and yet cites as one of its singular achievements in terms of lowering gas prices — the one bright spot in an otherwise dismal economic record.

So we live in an era of lies about everything from Benghazi and Obamacare to the alphabet soup of scandal and incompetence at the IRS, ICE, VA, USSS (Secret Service), NSA, GSA, and even the CDC.

But before we can correct the present lies, we should first address the greatest untruth in this collection: “Bush lied, thousands died” was an abject lie.


NRO contributor Victor Davis Hanson is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and the author, most recently, of The Savior Generals.


* Here is an excerpt from the October 2003 New York Times story:

The director of a top American spy agency said Tuesday that he believed that material from Iraq’s illicit weapons program had been transported into Syria and perhaps other countries as part of an effort by the Iraqis to disperse and destroy evidence immediately before the recent war.

The official, James R. Clapper Jr., a retired lieutenant general, said satellite imagery showing a heavy flow of traffic from Iraq into Syria, just before the American invasion in March, led him to believe that illicit weapons material “unquestionably” had been moved out of Iraq.

“I think people below the Saddam Hussein-and-his-sons level saw what was coming and decided the best thing to do was to destroy and disperse,” General Clapper, who leads the National Imagery and Mapping Agency, said at a breakfast with reporters.

Left Now Calls For Hillary to Come Clean or Get Out

Editor’s Note – Last night we heard that the FBI was able to recover emails from Hillary Clinton’s server and now some on the left are calling for her head and noted columnist and talking head Ron Fournier lists the reason below.

In addition, even the State Department is challenging Hillary’s many excuses, most notably on the chain of events leading to her turning over the so-called non-private ones. Her story is so frought with lies and distractions it makes the head spin:

Hillary Rodham Clinton has described her decision last year to turn over thousands of work-related e-mails as a response to a routine-sounding records request.

“When we were asked to help the State Department make sure they had everything from other secretaries of state, not just me, I’m the one who said, ‘Okay, great, I will go through them again,’ ” Clinton said Sunday on CBS’s “Face the Nation.” “And we provided all of them.”

But State Department officials provided new information Tuesday that undercuts Clinton’s characterization. They said the request was not simply about general rec­ord-keeping but was prompted entirely by the discovery that Clinton had exclusively used a private e-mail system. They also said they first contacted her in the summer of 2014, at least three months before the agency asked Clinton and three of her predecessors to provide their e-mails.

It’s not just why and when they were turned over, it is also how. Remember, she had them printed out, thus hiding the meta-data and slowing down the search process. In any other criminal case, that is clearly obstruction of justice – 30,000 times. But we want to take Ron Fournier’s article one step further, like prison further.

Please read on as the left is learning and be sure to check on Ron’s 19 question for Hillary from September 9th, and then read here:

Hillary Clinton: Come Clean or Get Out

The email scandal is a distraction from the important work of the Democratic Party.

By Ron Fournier – National Journal

If the Demo­crat­ic Party cares to sal­vage a sliv­er of mor­al au­thor­ity, its lead­ers and early state voters need to send Hil­lary Rod­ham Clin­ton an ur­gent mes­sage: Come clean or get out. Stop ly­ing and de­flect­ing about how and why you stashed State De­part­ment email on a secret serv­er—or stop run­ning.email-scandal-ron-fournier-has-19-questions-for-hillary_1

Tell her: We can’t have an­oth­er day like this:

Story 1: The State De­part­ment con­firmed that Clin­ton turned over her email only after Con­gress dis­covered that she had ex­clus­ively used a private email sys­tem. Ac­cord­ing to The Wash­ing­ton Post, the de­part­ment first con­tac­ted her in the sum­mer of 2014, at least three months be­fore the agency asked Clin­ton and three of her pre­de­cessors to provide their emails.

The story un­der­cuts Clin­ton’s claim that her de­cision to turn over self-se­lec­ted email was a re­sponse to a routine-sound­ing re­cords re­quest. She hasn’t been telling the truth.

Story 2: A fed­er­al court has helped un­cov­er more emails re­lated to the Benghazi raid that were with­held from con­gres­sion­al in­vest­ig­at­ors. Clin­ton has in­sisted she turned over all her work-re­lated email and com­plied with con­gres­sion­al sub­poen­as.

Again, she hasn’t been telling the truth.

Story 3: The FBI has re­covered per­son­al and work-re­lated e-mails from her private serv­er, rais­ing the pos­sib­il­ity that the de­leted in­form­a­tion be­comes pub­lic. “The FBI is in­vest­ig­at­ing how and why clas­si­fied in­form­a­tion ended up on Clin­ton’s serv­er,” Bloomberg re­por­ted.

While the Demo­crat­ic front-run­ner still in­sists there was no clas­si­fied in­form­a­tion on the un­se­cured serv­er, the FBI has moved bey­ond wheth­er U.S. secrets were in­volved to how and why. In the lan­guage of law en­force­ment, the FBI is in­vest­ig­at­ing her motive.

ron-fournier-360x220On Sunday, Clin­ton told Face the Na­tion host John Dick­er­son: “What I did was al­lowed. It was fully above board,” and “I tried to be fully trans­par­ent.” Both claims are ob­ject­ively and in­dis­put­ably false.

From the mo­ment this story broke in March, seni­or Demo­crats told me they were wor­ried about where the ques­tions would lead. Sev­er­al said they feared what the emails might show about the in­ter­sec­tion of Clin­ton’s work at the State De­part­ment and the fam­ily’s private found­a­tion.

One Clin­ton loy­al­ist, a cred­ible source who I’ve known for years, told me, “The emails are a re­lated but sec­ond­ary scan­dal. Fol­low the found­a­tion money.”

That is still spec­u­la­tion. But months of dis­hon­esty and de­cep­tion took their toll: A ma­jor­ity of Amer­ic­ans don’t trust her, and the Demo­crat­ic nom­in­a­tion fight has shif­ted from a coron­a­tion to a com­pet­i­tion. A poll re­leased today by Bloomberg shows Clin­ton barely lead­ing so­cial­ist Bernie Sanders and Vice Pres­id­ent Joe Biden, who’s not even in the race.

For Demo­crats, this is an op­por­tun­ity wasted. A crowded GOP field has been taken host­age by a celebrity bil­lion­aire with a his­tory of bank­ruptcies, sex­ist be­ha­vi­or, and ra­cially of­fens­ive state­ments. Lack­ing a firm grip on policy or the truth, Don­ald Trump is the GOP front-run­ner.

His closest com­pet­i­tion, Dr. Ben Car­son, said Sunday he didn’t think a Muslim should be pres­id­ent, and his ef­forts to clean up the con­tro­versy have been as ham-handed as they are dis­hon­est.

Which brings me back to Clin­ton. Loy­al­ists ar­gue that her policy agenda speaks to Amer­ica’s new demo­graphy and ad­dresses 21st-cen­tury chal­lenges. Even if they’re right, the Clin­ton team has un­der­es­tim­ated the value that voters place on a can­did­ate’s char­ac­ter. One top Clin­ton ad­viser told me in the spring, “Trust doesn’t mat­ter.”

Hillary.Fournier

 

Oft-burned Amer­ic­ans un­der­stand that a policy agenda is a col­lec­tion of prom­ises. If they can’t count on Clin­ton to be hon­est, they can’t count on her to keep her word about in­come in­equal­ity, jobs, health care, and the en­vir­on­ment.

She an­nounced a plan Tues­day to re­duce pre­scrip­tion-drug costs, prom­ising to cap monthly out-of-pock­et ex­penses at $250 without curb­ing profits that fund re­search in­to life-sav­ing drugs. Can you be­lieve her?

Over­shad­ow­ing that news was her long-awaited de­cision on the Key­stone pipeline: Clin­ton now op­poses a pro­ject she was once in­clined to sup­port at the State De­part­ment, a flip-flop that she jus­ti­fied with a rhet­or­ic­al wave of the hand. “I think it is im­per­at­ive that we look at the Key­stone pipeline as what I be­lieve it is—a dis­trac­tion from the im­port­ant work we have to do to com­bat cli­mate change.”

A dis­trac­tion from the im­port­ant work. That could be her cam­paign slo­gan.

And You Think Trump Is Going To Destroy The Republican Party?

Editor’s Note – It’s a bizarre thing existing in a Netherworld where you neither support nor despise Republican frontrunner Donald Trump.

The benefits of this new media world of ours, this awe-inspiring world of social media and instant online publishing, far outweigh the negatives.

One obvious negative is that our politics are becoming a bit more shrill, sometimes to the point where if you haven’t yet taken a side, one will be assigned to you.

An Open Letter To Jonah Goldberg – RE: The GOP and Donald Trump

By Sundance – The Last Refuge

A few days ago I took the time to read your expressed concerns about the support you see for Donald Trump and the state of current conservative opinion.  Toward that end I have also noted additional media present a similar argument, and I took the time to consider.

goldberg-headshot

While we are of far lesser significance and influence, I hope you will consider this retort with the same level of consideration afforded toward your position.

The challenging aspect to your expressed opinion, and perhaps why there is a chasm between us, is you appear to stand in defense of a Washington DC conservatism that no longer exists.

I hope you will indulge these considerations and correct me where I’m wrong.

On December 23rd 2009 Harry Reid passed a version of Obamacare through forced vote at 1:30am.

The Senators could not leave, and for the two weeks previous were kept in a prolonged legislative session barred returning to their home-state constituencies.

It was, by all measures and reality, a vicious display of forced ideological manipulation of the upper chamber.

I share this reminder only to set the stage for what was to follow.

Riddled with anxiety we watched the Machiavellian manipulations unfold, seemingly unable to stop the visible usurpation.

Desperate for a tool to stop the construct we found Scott Brown and rallied to deliver $7 million in funding, and a “Kennedy Seat” victory on January 19th 2010.

Unfortunately, the trickery of Majority Leader Harry Reid would not be deterred.  Upon legislative return he stripped a House Budgetary bill, and replaced it with the Democrat Senate version of Obamacare through a process of “reconciliation”.

Thereby avoiding the 3/5ths vote rule (60) and instead using only a simple majority, 51 votes.

Angered, we rallied to the next election (November 2010) and handed the usurping Democrats the single largest electoral defeat in the prior 100 years.  The House returned to Republican control, and one-half of the needed Senate seats reversed.

Within the next two election cycles (’12 and ’14) we again removed the Democrats from control of the Senate.

Within each of those three elections we were told Repealing Obamacare would be job #1.  It was not an optional part of our representative agreement to do otherwise.

From your own writing:

[…]  If you want a really good sense of the damage Donald Trump is doing to conservatism, consider the fact that for the last five years no issue has united the Right more than opposition to Obamacare. Opposition to socialized medicine in general has been a core tenet of American conservatism from Day One. Yet, when Republicans were told that Donald Trump favors single-payer health care, support for single-payer health care jumped from 16 percent to 44 percent.  (link)

With control of the House and Senate did Majority Leader Mitch McConnell or House Speaker John Boehner use the same level of severity expressed by Harry Reid to put a repeal bill on the desk of Obama for veto?  Simply, NO.

Why not? According to you it’s the “core tenet of American conservatism”.

If for nothing but to accept and follow the will of the people.  Despite the probability of an Obama veto, this was not a matter of option.  While the method might have been “symbolic”, due to the almost guaranteed veto, it would have stood as a promise fulfilled.

Yet you speak of “core tenets” and question our “trust” of Donald Trump?

We are not blind to the maneuverings of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and President Tom Donohue.  We are fully aware the repeal vote did not take place because the U.S. CoC demanded the retention of Obamacare.

Leader McConnell followed the legislative priority of Tom Donohue as opposed to the will of the people.   This was again exemplified with the passage of TPPA, another Republican construct which insured the Trans-Pacific Trade Deal could pass the Senate with 51 votes instead of 3/5ths.

We are not blind to the reality that when McConnell chooses to change the required voting threshold he is apt to do so.  Not coincidentally, the TPP trade deal is another legislative priority of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Yet you question the “trustworthiness” of Donald Trump’s conservatism?

Another bill, the Iran “agreement”, reportedly and conveniently not considered a “treaty”, again we are not blind.

Nor are we blind to Republican Bob Corker’s amendment (Corker/Cardin Amendment) changing ratification to a 67-vote-threshold for denial, as opposed to a customary 67 vote threshold for passage.  A profound difference.

Yet you question the “ideological conservative principle” of Donald Trump?

Perhaps your emphasis is on the wrong syllable.  Perhaps you should be questioning the “ideological conservative principle” of Mitch McConnell, or Bob Corker; both of whom apparently working to deny the will of the electorate within the party they are supposed to represent.

Of course, this would force you to face some uncomfortable empirical realities.  I digress.

Another example – How “conservative” is Lisa Murkowski?  A senator who can lose her Republican primary bid, yet run as a write-in candidate, and return to the Senate with full seniority and committee responsibilities?

Did Reince Preibus, or a republican member of leadership meet the returning Murkowski and demand a Pledge of Allegiance to the principles within the Republican party?

Yet you question the “allegiances” of Donald Trump?

Perhaps within your purity testing you need to forget minority leader Mitch McConnell working to re-elect Senator Thad Cochran, fundraising on his behalf in the spring/summer of 2014, even after Cochran lost the first Mississippi primary?

Perhaps you forget the NRSC spending money on racist attack ads?  Perhaps you forget the GOP paying Democrats to vote in the second primary to defeat Republican Chris McDaniel.  The “R” in NRSC is “Republican”.

Perhaps you forget.  We do not.

Yet you question the “principle” of those who have had enough, and are willing to support candidate Donald Trump.

You describe yourself as filled with anxiety because such supporters do not pass some qualified “principle” test?

Tell that to the majority of Republicans who supported Chris McDaniel and found their own party actively working against them.

Principle?  You claim “character matters” as part of this consideration.  Where is the “character” in the fact-based exhibitions outlined above?

Remember Virginia 2012, 2013?  When the conservative principle-driven electorate changed the method of candidate selection to a convention and removed the party stranglehold on their “chosen candidates”.  Remember that?  We do.

What did McConnell, the RNC and the GOP do in response with Ken Cuccinelli, they actively spited him and removed funding from his campaign.   To teach us a lesson?  Well it worked, we learned that lesson.

Representative David Brat was part of that lesson learned and answer delivered. Donald Trump is part of that lesson learned and answer forthcoming – yet you speak of “character”.

You speak of being concerned about Donald Trump’s hinted tax proposals.

Well, who cut the tax rates on lower margins by 50% thereby removing any tax liability from the bottom 20% wage earners? While simultaneously expanding the role of government dependency programs?

That would be the GOP (“Bush Tax Cuts”)

What? How dare you argue against tax cuts, you say.  The “Bush Tax Cuts” removed tax liability from the bottom 20 to 40% of income earners completely. Leaving the entirety of tax burden on the upper 60% wage earners. Currently, thanks to those cuts, 49% of tax filers pay ZERO federal income tax.

But long term it’s much worse. The “Bush Tax Cuts” were, in essence, created to stop the post 9/11/01 recession – and they contained a “sunset provision” which ended ten years later specifically because the tax cuts were unsustainable.

evil obama

The expiration of the lower margin tax cuts then became an argument in the election cycle of 2012. And as usual, the GOP, McConnell and Boehner were insufferably inept during this process.

The GOP (2002) removed tax liability from the lower income levels, and President Obama then (2009) lowered the income threshold for economic subsidy (welfare, food stamps, ebt, medicaid, etc) this was brutally predictable.

This lower revenue higher spending approach means – lower tax revenues and increased pressure on the top tax rates (wage earners)  with the increased demand for tax spending created within the welfare programs.

Republicans focus on the “spending” without ever admitting they, not the Democrats, lowered rates and set themselves up to be played with the increased need for social program spending, simultaneously.

Is this reality/outcome not ultimately a “tax the rich” program?

As a consequence what’s the difference between the Republicans and Democrats on taxes?   All of a sudden Republicans are arguing to “broaden the tax base”.

Meaning, reverse the tax cuts they created on the lower income filers?  This is a conservative position now?  A need to “tax the poor”?  Nice of the Republicans to insure the Democrats have an atomic sledgehammer to use against them.

This is a winning strategy?  This is the “conservatism” you are defending because you are worried about Donald Trump’s principles, character or trustworthiness.

Here’s a list of those modern conservative “small(er) government” principles:

• Did the GOP secure the border with control of the White House and Congress? NO.
• Did the GOP balance the budget with control of the White House and Congress? NO.

• Who gave us the TSA? The GOP
• Who gave us the Patriot Act? The GOP
• Who expanded Medicare to include prescription drug coverage? The GOP
• Who created the precursor of “Common Core” in “Race To the Top”? The GOP

• Who played the race card in Mississippi to re-elect Thad Cochran? The GOP
• Who paid Democrats to vote in the Mississippi primary? The GOP
• Who refused to support Ken Cuccinnelli in Virginia? The GOP

• Who supported Charlie Crist? The GOP
• Who supported Arlen Spector? The GOP
• Who supported Bob Bennett? The GOP

• Who worked against Marco Rubio? The GOP
• Who worked against Rand Paul? The GOP
• Who worked against Ted Cruz? The GOP
• Who worked against Mike Lee? The GOP
• Who worked against Jim DeMint? The GOP
• Who worked against Ronald Reagan? The GOP

• Who said “I think we are going to crush [the Tea Party] everywhere.”? The GOP (McConnell)

mcconnell-and-boehner

 

And, you wonder why we’re frustrated, desperate for a person who can actually articulate some kind of push-back? Mitch McConnell and John Boehner are what the GOP give us? SERIOUSLY?

Which leads to the next of your GOP talking points. Where you opine on Fox:

“Politics is a game where you don’t get everything you want”

Fair enough. But considering we of questionable judgment have simply been demanding common sense, ie. fiscal discipline, a BUDGET would be nice.

The last federal budget was passed in September of 2007, and EVERY FLIPPING INSUFFERABLE YEAR we have to go through the predictable fiasco of a Government Shutdown Standoff and/or a Debt Ceiling increase specifically because there is NO BUDGET!

That’s a strategy?

That’s the GOP strategy?  Essentially:  Lets plan for an annual battle against articulate Democrats and Presidential charm, using a creepy guy who cries and another old mumbling fool who dodders, knowing full well the MSM is on the side of the other guy to begin with?

THAT’S YOUR GOP STRATEGY?

Don’t tell me it’s not, because if it wasn’t there’d be something else being done – there isn’t.

And don’t think we don’t know the 2009 “stimulus” became embedded in the baseline of the federal spending, and absent of an actual budget it just gets spent and added to the deficit each year, every year.  Yet this is somehow smaller fiscal government?

….And you’re worried about what Donald Trump might do?

Seriously?