Tuesday, March 11, 2014

The United States is at "a constitutional tipping point" and "in the midst of a constitutional crisis." Has President Barack Obama unilaterally overturned the constitutional framework of three branches that is the basis of our unique and successful system of self-government?

That question is not just partisan bickering by Republicans and tea party activists. It was spoken in all seriousness in testimony before the House Judiciary Committee by a distinguished constitutional law professor who voted for Obama.

Jonathan Turley of George Washington University said that the "massive gravitational shift of authority to the executive branch" is unconstitutional and threatens the stability of our separation of powers and checks and balances. We can point to a few moves in that direction under previous presidents, but the current shift of power is proceeding at "an alarming rate," while (and just as ominous) the other branches (Congress and the courts) are "mute and passive" in the face of Obama's unprecedented expansion of executive branch power.

Our separation of powers was designed to serve as the primary protection of individual rights because it is supposed to prevent the concentration of power in any one branch. Turley warned that Obama has become "the very danger that separation of powers was designed to avoid," and we should not "take from future generations a system that has safeguarded our freedoms for over 250 years."

Our Constitution gives the power to declare war exclusively to Congress, but Obama thinks he can make a "unilateral commitment of our country to war." Turley explained that Obama "funded an entire military campaign (in Libya) by shifting billions in money and equipment without asking Congress for a dollar." He just transferred the money from another account, boasting that he "alone would define what is a war."

Obama is eager to get federal mitts on school curriculum so the screws can be tightened on what kids learn and (just as important) what they do not learn. The previous law to attempt to control education, No Child Left Behind, didn't fit into his plan, so he just nullified it by a series of unilateral waivers and is now welcoming nationalization of curriculum by Common Core.

When Obama, in his State of the Union address, announced he would take unilateral action "with or without Congress," Turley expected "an outcry" from his congressional audience, but that didn't happen. Where was Joe "You Lie" Wilson when we needed him to call out "you are unconstitutional"?

It is clear Obama is trying to rule the country from the executive branch only. As Turley pointed out, "Congress is becoming marginalized" by "hundreds of thousands of regulations that are promulgated without direct congressional action and outside the system created by the framers."

Spelling out the problem further, Turley said, "a fourth branch has emerged in our tripartite system ... The vast majority of 'laws' ... are not passed by Congress." This "has accelerated at an alarming rate" and caused "a massive gravitational shift."

The heart of Obamacare, which Obama's appointees kept reminding us we must obey because it is "the law of the land," was a set of minimum requirements for insurance plans. When millions of nonconforming plans were canceled, Obama unilaterally created one exemption or change after another without any statutory authority, and changed the dates for compliance by employers that had been legislated by Congress.

Congress refused to pass the Dream Act, but Obama ordered the same provisions by regulation. Congress refused to pass the cap-and-trade plan, so Obama just created the new national regulations of greenhouse gases that he wanted.

Obama ordered all U.S. attorneys to stop prosecuting nonviolent drug crime defendants, which negated sentencing provisions set by Congress. Obama changed the meaning of the Wire Act, which had prohibited internet gambling.

The Constitution makes it the prime duty of the president to "take care that the laws be faithfully executed," but Obama refused to faithfully execute the Defense of Marriage Act, which had been overwhelmingly passed by Congress and signed by former President Bill Clinton. Obama instructed Attorney General Eric Holder not to defend DOMA in court, and then Holder told all the state attorneys general not to defend the marriage laws in their own states.

Thank you, Professor Turley for your courage and forthrightness in explaining to the House Judiciary Committee how Obama "has knowingly and repeatedly violated the Constitution."
How I pray we don't get so numb to the endless nightmarish stories of Obamacare that we become fatalistic and resigned to its continued existence. As an antidote to that, I submit another update.

First, Unite Here -- a major union for the hotel, gaming, food service, manufacturing, textile, distribution, laundry and airport industries -- has issued a report concluding that Obamacare will result in wages being reduced by up to $5 an hour, reduce worker hours and exacerbate income inequality. The report, titled "The Irony of ObamaCare: Making Inequality Worse," states: "Ironically, the Administration's own signature healthcare victory poses one of the most immediate challenges to redressing inequality. ... We take seriously the promise that 'if you like your health plan, you can keep it. Period.' UNITE HERE members like their health plans."

Next, let's look at some very interesting -- and compelling -- "hard data" from Forbes on the difficulties people will have finding doctors under this exasperating law. Forbes obtained its data from Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield "because it is regarded to offer higher quality plans in both the commercial market and on the exchanges."

The report looks at nine states and compares the number of specialists in the various fields of practice -- cardiology, oncology, orthopedics, dermatology, gastroenterology, obstetrics and gynecology -- who are available in private health plans with those in the Obamacare plans in the same markets. The numbers are astounding and cannot be dismissed by cynics as anecdotal.

Let's look at the cardiologists. In Connecticut, there are 400 practitioners in private plans and 177 fewer (223) in the Obamacare plans. In Kentucky, 376 are in private plans, and there are 182 fewer in Obama plans. In New Hampshire, it's 84 and 13 fewer. Colorado, 71 and 34 fewer. Indiana, 1,055 and 981 fewer. Maine, 71 and 23 fewer. Nevada, 324 and 225 fewer. Ohio, 511 and 244 fewer. Wisconsin, 286 and 187 fewer. Just running through these quickly, it looks as though the available choices under the Obamacare plans in many of these specialties are less than half or worse.

The comparative numbers for the remainder of the specialties look to be about as dismal for the Obamacare plans. How could anyone argue that this is not a significant blow to access and quality of care?

The Washington Examiner reports that health insurers participating in Obamacare are "very worried" about the announcement by the Department of Health and Human Services that plans that were supposed to be canceled this year can now be renewed for another two years. Health insurance industry consultant Robert Laszewski said, "The fundamental problem here is that the administration is just not signing up enough people to make anyone confident this program is sustainable." Indeed, though HHS reports that some 4 million have signed up for plans under the new exchanges, the real number is closer to 3 million when you factor in people who haven't paid their premiums on time or at all. As a result, they haven't developed a "sustainable risk pool" in which young and healthy enrollees will offset the cost of covering sick and older people who are guaranteed coverage through Obama's personal beneficence.

Next, Reason reports that the federal government spent more on broken state-run exchanges than it did on its own miserable system. Seven of the 14 state-run exchanges "remain dysfunctional, disabled, or severely underperforming." These failed exchanges were "funded heavily by the federal government" via grants that totaled more than $1.2 billion -- almost twice the $677 million spent to develop the federal exchange. But hey, what's a wasted couple of billion here and there? Based on Obama's reaction to similar failures in his green energy debacles, this is just another day at the office for them. Besides, surely most of that money came from rich taxpayers -- who are little better than serial felons, in the left's estimation. So no harm (to anyone who matters), no foul.

Next, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said she opposes a proposal by Rep. Peter Roskam, R-Ill., to create a special inspector general to oversee Obamacare. Roskam said it's needed because "the public has been kept in the dark about a law that puts the federal government in charge of one-sixth of the economy and is wreaking havoc on America's personal health care decisions." Even though Democrats and the administration have stonewalled congressional oversight of Obamacare, Pelosi insists no additional oversight is needed, because each of the government agencies that are implementing the law has its own inspector general. That is not quite the position Pelosi took in the past concerning special inspectors general -- for the Troubled Asset Relief Program, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Hurricane Katrina, and intelligence.

On top of all this, columnist John Hayward informs us that Obamacare's ultimate failure is that the uninsured aren't buying. New studies show that these uninsured are just uninterested.

It's the socialist way. Don't you see? Cite a horrendous alleged inequity and a desperate need in order to commandeer control over business and industry even though there was little evidence of such a demand in the first place.

All I'm asking is that we don't ever allow this unconscionable law to slip to the back burner of American politics. Repeal now and repeal always.

IRS currently employing convicted associate of jihad terrorist

  / Jihad Watch
 
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This is insane, but it is also completely consistent with the way that the Obama Administration has operated from the beginning. It purged counter-terror trainers who spoke honestly about jihad terror (including me) from counter-terror training programs, while turning a blind eye to the unsavory connections of people like Mohammed Elibiary and Arif Alikhan.

“(EXCLUSIVE) IRS Currently Employing Convicted Terrorist Associate,” by Patrick Poole for PJ Media, March 6 (thanks to Jerk Chicken):
While IRS officials were targeting Tea Party groups for special scrutiny of their 501(c)3 tax exempt applications, the IRS also hired a policeman who had been prosecuted by the Justice Department — and convicted in federal court — of using his access to the FBI’s NCIC system to tip off a terror suspect about the bureau’s surveillance. The leak wrecked a major terror investigation.
He is still at the IRS.
Weiss Russell (he has changed his name from “Weiss Rasool,” the name under which he was convicted), is currently employed as a financial management analyst in the IRS Deputy Chief Financial Officer’s Office.
In 2008, Russell/Rasool was prosecuted for his role in tipping off Abdullah Alnoshan, a close associate of al-Qaeda cleric Anwar al-Awlaki and a friend of Russell’s from their mosque. According to the Justice Department’s Statement of Facts filed at the time of Russell’s indictment, Alnoshan provided license plate numbers to Russell for cars he believed were conducting surveillance on him. Russell then checked those plate numbers in the FBI’s NCIC database, which came back to a leasing company which federal prosecutors claimed would have tipped off Russell to the bureau’s surveillance.
He left a phone message for Alnoshan that the FBI intercepted.
Prosecutors also claimed that on more than a dozen instances, Russell checked his name, the names of relatives, and other friends to see if they were listed on the Violent Crime and Terrorist Offender File on NCIC without an authorized reason for doing so.
According to the Washington Post, Russell’s tip-off to Alnoshan actively obstructed their investigation:
The target was arrested in November 2005, then convicted and deported, according to court filings in Rasool’s case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeanine Linehan said that the target and his family were already dressed and destroying evidence at 6 a.m. when agents arrived to make the arrest, indicating that they had been tipped off.
Alnoshan was deported to Saudi Arabia in December 2005. Russell was indicted in January 2008, and pleaded guilty in April 2008.
While prosecutors had requested jail time for Russell after he failed a polygraph just a week before sentencing, the judge sentenced him to two years of probation. He continued on the Fairfax County police force while an internal affairs investigation was conducted.
Reportedly, he was eventually given the choice to resign or be fired. He resigned in August 2008.
Chris Farrell, director of investigations at Judicial Watch, told PJ Media:
Somebody like Russell who betrayed his oath as a police officer and was convicted in court essentially for aiding and abetting the subject of an open terror investigation has absolutely no business with any position of trust and responsibility with the government.
If as reported he holds a top financial analyst position within the IRS, it’s not just a disgrace to a discredited agency but an insult to the American public.
Russell has already betrayed his country and shown that he can do enormous damage and abuse his authority and powers, which he is now free to do within the IRS….


Obama increases American taxpayer-funded aid to the Palestinians, slashes funding for Israel’s defense shield
Bare Naked Islam

 
Barack Hussein Obama’s fiscal year 2015 budget cuts the Israeli Defense Programs from $200 million to $96.8 million. The Program includes Arrow II, Arrow III, and Iron Dome missile defense systems. Obama will, however, keep pumping more aid to the Palestinians, ensuring they can shoot even more missiles into Israel.

Palestine BillionsIndependent Sentinel  Last March, President Obama released $500 million in “humanitarian” aid to the Palestinian Authority (PA) and was seeking another $200 million. In November 2013, Secretary of State John Kerry announced an additional $75 million in aid to create Palestinian jobs and help them improve roads, schools and other infrastructure. Israel National News reported that the U.S. plans to give $440 million to the PA in 2014.

 

When we give money to Palestinians, whether it be for humanitarian aid or roads, it gives them the freedom to develop weapons they can use against Israel. At the same time, the president is attempting to slash our defense budget and cut our army to the size of Turkey’s, actually smaller.

 

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Republican lawmakers are opposed to the cuts to Israel and to our military. Defense systems are a priority for Israel to counter the frequent rocket attacks from Gaza and other areas.

 

If you will remember, in November 2012, Hillary Clinton and Mohammed Morsi allegedly brokered a deal for peace between Gaza and Israel when they were close to war. In actuality, Morsi fashioned nothing. He wanted to destroy Israel at the time.

 

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Gaza never stopped shooting missiles over the border. In January alone, 30 rockets were fired according to the Israeli Defense Forces. This cut to Israel defense is a repetition of last year when Obama recommended the same cuts which were rejected by congressional appropriators.

 

Even Israell’s Iron Dome is slated to receive less funding. The Dome was critical to saving Israel when Gaza was lobbing those missiles. The Arrow systems which face the most cuts destroy ballistic missiles while they are in the air and have also been crucial in saving Israelis.

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