Thursday, June 26, 2014

Boehner to sue Obama in executive authority dispute

Susan Davis / USA Today

WASHINGTON — House Speaker John Boehner confirmed Wednesday that he intends to sue President Obama in the long-running dispute between the administration and congressional Republicans over the scope of the administration's executive authority to enforce laws.

"I am," Boehner told reporters, when asked if he was going to initiate a lawsuit. "The Constitution makes it clear that a president's job is to faithfully execute the laws. In my view, the president has not faithfully executed the laws."

Boehner added: "Congress has its job to do and so does the president. And when there's conflicts like this between the legislative branch and the administrative branch, it's in my view our responsibility to stand up for this institution in which we serve."

Boehner can use his authority as speaker to convene the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group, a five-member legal panel appointed by GOP and Democratic House leaders, but weighted towards the majority. BLAG has authority to direct the U.S. House Office of General Counsel, to participate in litigation and represent the U.S. House itself.

The House is expected to vote to move forward with a lawsuit next month.

The impending lawsuit has the potential to test the constitutional balance between the legislative and executive branches. Republicans have long maintained that the White House has overstepped its legal authority by subverting laws approved by Congress on a number of matters.

It is unclear which executive actions Boehner would challenge, but in recent years Republicans have protested executive actions halting the deportations of immigrants illegally residing in the United States, delaying enactment of certain provisions of the Affordable Care Act and raising the minimum wage for federal contractors, as well as executive actions to expand gay rights and close the gender pay gap.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest said Obama would prefer to work with Congress, but "where necessary, he is willing to take action on his own using the executive authority that's vested in the presidency."

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., called the effort "subterfuge" because Republicans need "some aura of activity" in a log-jammed Congress. "There really needs to be an adult in that room of the Republican caucus," Pelosi said.

Earnest also questioned the cost. "The fact that they are considering a taxpayer funded lawsuit against the president of the United States for doing his job, I think is the kind of step that most Americans wouldn't support," he said.

It is unclear what the cost of suit against the president would be, but a recent, unsuccessful effort by BLAG to defend a gay marriage law cost $2.3 million.

Democrats also say the lawsuit is a political maneuver to appease the conservative base, which has called for impeachment proceedings against Obama for any number of offenses. Boehner dismissed that Wednesday, and said the lawsuit was not a step in that direction.

"This is not about impeachment," he said. "This is about his faithfully executing the laws of our country."

See video here:

Contributing: David Jackson
1) In 2011, President Barack Obama pronounced Iraq "self-reliant and democratic," and "a country in which people from different religious sects and ethnicities can resolve their differences peacefully through the democratic process." In 2010, Vice President Joe Biden called Iraq "one of the great achievements of this administration." Obama ignored pleas by top generals who advised against pulling out without leaving a residual force. 
2) Nearly everybody assumed Saddam Hussein possessed stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction. Of the newspaper editorials that opposed the war, not one challenged the assumption that Iraq possessed stockpiles of WMD.

President George W. Bush relied on the same intelligence -- and on the same CIA director -- as did President Bill Clinton. Kenneth Pollack, Clinton's Persian Gulf adviser, said not one government intelligence analyst disagreed with the assumption that Iraq possessed stockpiles of WMD.

"The intelligence community," said Pollack, "convinced me and the rest of the Clinton Administration that Saddam had reconstituted his WMD programs following the withdrawal of the U.N. inspectors in 1998, and was only a matter of years away from having a nuclear weapon. ... The U.S. intelligence community's belief that Saddam was aggressively pursuing weapons of mass destruction predated Bush's inauguration, and therefore cannot be attributed to political pressure. ... Germany ... Israel, Russia, Britain, China and even France held positions similar to that of the United States. ... In sum, no one doubted that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction."

3) Saddam Hussein did possess stockpiles of WMD. James Clapper, the current director of National Intelligence, said in 2003 that materials for WMD had "unquestionably" been moved out of Iraq, to Syria or perhaps other countries, in an effort to "destroy and disperse" evidence just before the war began.

One of Saddam's top generals, Georges Sada, in his book called "Saddam's Secrets," said truck convoys and 56 airplane flights moved tons of WMD into Syria.

Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, in December, 2002, said, "Chemical and biological weapons which Saddam is endeavoring to conceal have been moved from Iraq to Syria."

4) Had we not invaded, Saddam Hussein would have soon restarted his chemical and biological program -- and resumed his pursuit for a nuclear capability. After the war started, Bush sent David Kay, a weapons hunter, to locate the assumed stockpiles of WMD. Kay found no stockpiles, but he did find that Saddam had the intent and the ability to restart his WMD program as soon as the heat was off.

5) George Bush did not "rush" America into the war. He obtained a consensus -- a resolution from the House, a resolution from the Senate and a resolution from the United Nations. There was a 15-month run-up before the war, during which time Saddam could have declared what he did or did not do with the WMD.

6) Americans supported the Iraq War, overwhelmingly at least at first. Gallup found 76 percent of Americans supported the Iraq War when the military action began, about the same percentage that supported the first Persian Gulf War.

7) Obama wanted out of Iraq, and ran in 2008 with a promise to do just that. A year after the troop pullout, during a 2012 debate, Mitt Romney said he wanted a residual force to remain. Obama pointedly disagreed, saying that leaving "10,000 troops in Iraq ... would tie us down."

Incredibly, Obama now blames the Iraqis for his refusal to leave any troops. Obama says he wanted legal protection for the soldiers left behind and that Iraq's parliament would not provide it. So Obama happily walked away, blaming it on "a decision made by the Iraqi government" to reject the offer of "a modest residual force." Obama sure had no difficulty in quickly working out an agreement -- via diplomatic notes, without the approval of Iraq's parliament -- for the recently promised 300 "advisers."

8) We were greeted as liberators in Iraq. The New York Times Iraq reporter John Burns said: "The American troops were greeted as liberators. We saw it." In April, 2003, the New York Daily News reported, "Jubilant crowds chanted, 'Thank you, Bush' and showered troops with yellow and pink flowers, exactly as administration hawks had promised."

9). There were legitimate, good-faith reasons why we sent "too few troops." The Times' Burns said, "I think that to be fair to the United States, when I speak as a citizen of the United Kingdom, I think that the instincts that led to much that went wrong were good American instincts: the desire not to have too heavy of a footprint, the desire to empower Iraqis."

10) The men and women who served in Iraq deserve better. They achieved great things under harsh and unforgiving circumstances. That the succeeding commander-in-chief did not preserve their hard-fought gains ought not devalue what they accomplished. Perhaps the returning soldiers might more readily adjust to civilian life if Americans truly understood and appreciated what they achieved in Iraq. They did their jobs -- and their mission was just, important and noble.
It's an off-year election, and the White House is securely in the Democratic camp for two more years. That means the focus is turning instead to down-ballot races.

In the House of Representatives, all 435 members are up for reelection. The current split is 233 Republicans, 199 Democrats and three vacancies, and the House is projected to remain a Republican stronghold. While there might be some momentary excitement on the individual race level (i.e., the recent primary defeat of Rep. Eric Cantor in Virginia), the real excitement concerns the Senate, where power could shift.

Of the 100 Senate seats, 36 seats are up for election, 21 of them Democratic and 15 Republican.

Eight of them -- Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana and North Carolina -- are tossups. According to Real Clear Politics, Georgia and Iowa are open seats, i.e., no incumbent is running, and they were previously held by a Republican and a Democrat respectively.

The other states, with the exception of Kentucky, where the seat is held by Republican Minority leader Mitch McConnell, are held by Democrats. With the Senate currently split 53 Democratic, 45 Republican and two independents, a shift to a majority Republican Senate became more probable after this week's primary.

What is at stake is less about local or state politics and more about the national stage.

Three primaries held this week shed light on the national mood. In Mississippi, six-term Republican Sen. Thad Cochran ran against State Sen. Chris McDaniel, who was championed by the tea party.

McDaniel had received 1,418 more votes than Cochran in the primary and was attempting to vilify the incumbent as an establishment insider. In the past few days, a number of national figures have joined the fray, endorsing one or the other candidate: Former Sen. Rick Santorum campaigned for McDaniel and Sen. John McCain campaigned for Cochran. While McDaniel focused on the right, Cochran focused on the middle -- independents and crossover Democrats.

Cochran won the runoff 51 percent versus 49 percent. This kept the state in the likely GOP column. A win by McDaniel would have left space for the Democratic nominee, former Rep. Travis Childers, to appeal to the middle and potentially capture the seat.

In Oklahoma, two candidates were competing in the primary to replace Sen. Tom Coburn; a Republican who is retiring: Rep. James Lankford; and former state House Speaker T.W. Shannon.

Shannon, part Native American and part African-American, was backed by the tea party and championed by Ted Cruz, the junior senator from Texas.

Lankford, who has served two terms in the House, rapidly rose in the House leadership and is the fifth-ranking House Republican. While this provided an opportunity for Shannon to cry "Establishment!" and "Insider!," Langford's background as a Baptist minister, his ability to inspire and call people to action gave him the edge.

As Nathan Gonzalez, deputy editor of the nonpartisan Rothenberg Political Report, told CNN, "The Oklahoma primary doesn't fit neatly into the establishment versus anti-establishment box. It's very different than some of the other high-profile races, where you had a challenger taking on an incumbent. The political insider in Washington may not look like the political insider in Oklahoma."

Lankford won the primary by a huge margin -- 57 percent to 34 percent. While this race would not have changed national results at the Senate level, it reminds us that it's about turnout and votes in the end.

In Colorado, former Rep. Tom Tancredo was running for the Republican nomination for governor in a field of four. They were all vying for the right to run against Gov. John Hickenlooper.

What is fascinating about this race is that there was less concern about who would run against Hickenlooper than there was about the potential impact on the Senate race in Colorado, where the Republican nominee, Cory Gardner, has pulled within two points of Democratic incumbent Mark Udall.

Left-leaning groups were running advertisements in support of Tancredo in the apparent hope that he would win the primary and that his hard stance on immigration would serve as a lightning rod to attract Democratic voters to the polls in November to vote against him and, at the same time, for Udall.

The win over Tancredo by Bob Beauprez means Republicans are more likely to gain a Senate seat this fall in Colorado.

This year, it's all Senate -- all the time.

“Middle East security analyst”: rise of global jihad “has nothing to do with Islam”

  / Jihad Watch
AndreasKreigHow could a “radical interpretation of Islam” have “nothing to do with the religion”? How is it that these groups that uniformly explain and justify their actions on the basis of Islam have nothing to do with Islam? How is it that a group that calls itself the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant and another that calls itself the Congregation of the People of the Sunnah for Dawah and Jihad have nothing to do with Islam? Why is it that study after study has shown that jihadis are actually generally wealthier than their peers, and yet Kreig asserts that the jihadis are “disillusioned by austerity” and thus turn to Islam?

Why is it that this palpable nonsense gets printed in the mainstream media without a murmur of dissent? Why is only Kreig quoted and no one who looks at the available evidence and says that the rise of the global jihad has everything to do with Islam? Why does the ever-witless Daily Mail not ask Kreig to give anything more than the barest explanation for his counterfactual claims? Why does the mainstream media always rush to exonerate Islam of all responsibility for the ever-mounting number of atrocities done in its name and inspired by its texts and teachings, instead of confronting the ideology that jihadis say motivates and inspires them and formulating positive and effective ways to limit its power to incite to violence?

I’d love to debate Andreas Kreig about this question. But I am sure that he would refuse to do so.

“From Syria to Iraq, Kenya to Malaysia: How new era of Islamic fundamentalism is spreading fear and chaos around the world,” by Simon Tomlinson, Daily Mail, June 25, 2014 (thanks to Adam):
Andreas Kreig, a Middle East security analyst at King’s College London in Qatar, said he had noticed a rise in extremism in recent weeks and months, but said Islam wasn’t to blame.
He told MailOnline: ‘All the empirical evidence shows that it is on the rise. You’re seeing it in all the headlines, then you’re looking at Iraq, you’re looking at Syria, you’re looking at Nigeria.
‘But in all three cases this has nothing to do with Islam. I think people in the West may think it is because they feel alienated by Islam. There is alot [sic] of Islamaphobia.’
Mr Kreig said more and more communities – often disillusioned by austerity or other grievances – have turned to religious groups as an alternative to secular regimes in recent years.
He said: ‘When communities become disenfranchised – and lot of them are muslim – they use Islam to further their particular cause.
‘They adhere to a radical interpretation of Islam, but it has nothing to do with the religion.’
Intel Official: American Muslims Have Joined Jihad Group ISIS

Pamela Geller / Atlas Shrugs

The Obama administration says they were “caught off guard”. John Kerry has repeatedly said “no one expected” what happened in Iraq. So they got Syria wrong. They got Libya wrong, They got Egypt wrong. They got the Hamas-Fatah unity government wrong. They got Afghanistan wrong. They got Boko Haram wrong.

And it’s safe to say the Obama administration  got it wrong in the homeland especially when they scrubbed jihad and Islam from counter terror training material. And Obama’s DoJ refused to prosecute Muslim Brotherhood groups (like CAIR, ISNA, ICNA, MSA etc) named as co-conspirators in the largest terrorist funding trial in our nation’s history.

So it’s safe to say the Obama administration got it wrong importing whole Muslim communities from jihad countries. Importing jihad. Importing hostile invaders.

Last week, I reported here at Atlas that NYPD terror chief John Miller said that he is very worried about American jihadists from “Chicago, Minnesota, Portland, you name it.”

“If their mindset is to return to America and to engage in terrorist activities, they’re likely going to end up in New York anyway,” Miller said.

Moderate Muslims until …. they’re not. Like Abdirahmaan Muhumed, a 29-year-old dad from Minneapolis who personifies “Jihad Cool” and who is in Syria and maybe now Iraq to kill the kufar or 22-year-old Moner Mohammad Abu-Salha, a Floridian who was photographed petting a kitty shortly before he died in a suicide attack on Syrian troops in May.

Stay on top of what’s really happening. Follow me on Twitter here. Like me on Facebook here.

Intel Official: Americans Have Joined Militant Group ISIS,” CBS News, June 25, 2014

ERBIL, Iraq (CBS News/CBSDC/AP) —The Sunni militant group in Iraq is a force roughly 3,000 strong and includes some Americans, a senior intelligence official told CBS News on Tuesday.

The majority of fighters in the group, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, are of Iraqi and Syrian origin.

In all, up to 10,000 are fighting with the group, 3,000 in Iraq and another 7,000 in Syria, the intelligence official said. Between 3,000 and 5,000 are foreigners, though how many of those are in Iraq is difficult to assess.

The fighters view Syria and Iraq as one battlefield and have been able to move swiftly inside Iraq with the help of local Sunnis, ties the intelligence official described as more of a “relationship of convenience” than a formal alliance.

The official said the group, also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, was well-positioned to keep the territory that it has captured but would be stretched thin if it tried to push south into Baghdad. It has intentions to target U.S. interests, the official said.

Impeaching Obama: Imagine That

by   / Personal Liberty Digest
Impeaching Obama: Imagine That
Imagine, if you will, the President of the United States — having already established an arrogant disregard for not only the laws of the land, but his own oath of office — engaged in political subterfuge so craven that it literally boggled the mind of the people he purports to represent. In our fun little hypothetical, let’s say he not only attempted to deploy the Internal Revenue Service as a weapon against his own constituents, but either directly participated in or willingly ignored illegal conduct by his own accomplices as they attempted to hide their malfeasance from the American people. Let’s further imagine that this hypothetical Commander in Chief had been repeatedly caught blatantly lying to the people about other nefarious activities that he and his Administration had undertaken and that, when pressed for answers by duly sworn representatives of the people, this President both refused to cooperate with investigators and attempted — or allowed his subordinates to attempt — to destroy vital evidence of the crimes in question. I wonder what end result might be produced by such scandalously duplicitous behavior?

Wait; what’s that you say? Such a disgraceful episode has already occurred? So how did our duly sworn representatives respond to such executive depravity? (Author’s aside: Generally, quoting enormous blocks of text is frowned upon, mostly because some people — and I won’t mention any names here [*cough* Vice President Joe Biden *cough*] — lack compunction. However, sometimes it’s unavoidable. The following certainly qualifies.)
The means used to implement this course of conduct or plan included one or more of the following:
• making false or misleading statements to lawfully authorized investigative officers and employees of the United States;
• withholding relevant and material evidence or information from lawfully authorized investigative officers and employees of the United States;
• approving, condoning, acquiescing in, and counselling witnesses with respect to the giving of false or misleading statements to lawfully authorized investigative officers and employees of the United States and false or misleading testimony in duly instituted judicial and congressional proceedings….
• making or causing to be made false or misleading public statements for the purpose of deceiving the people of the United States into believing that a thorough and complete investigation had been conducted with respect to allegations of misconduct on the part of personnel of the executive branch of the United States…
(I)n violation of his constitutional oath faithfully to execute the office of President of the United States and, to the best of his ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States, and in disregard of his constitutional duty to take care that the laws be faithfully executed, has repeatedly engaged in conduct violating the constitutional rights of citizens, impairing the due and proper administration of justice and the conduct of lawful inquiries, or contravening the laws governing agencies of the executive branch and the purposed of these agencies…
“This conduct has included one or more of the following:
• He has, acting personally and through his subordinates and agents, endeavoured to obtain from the Internal Revenue Service, in violation of the constitutional rights of citizens, confidential information contained in income tax returns for purposed not authorized by law, and to cause, in violation of the constitutional rights of citizens, income tax audits or other income tax investigations to be intitiated or conducted in a discriminatory manner.
• He misused… executive personnel, in violation or disregard of the constitutional rights of citizens, by directing or authorizing such agencies or personnel to conduct or continue electronic surveillance or other investigations for purposes unrelated to national security, the enforcement of laws, or any other lawful function of his office; he did direct, authorize, or permit the use of information obtained thereby for purposes unrelated to national security, the enforcement of laws, or any other lawful function of his office; and he did direct the concealment of certain records made by the Federal Bureau of Investigation of electronic surveillance.
Does any of that sound familiar? If you’ve escaped the indoctrination of government-run “schools” and teachers’ union thugs, you might recognize the heavy parts of the articles of impeachment prepared by Congress — with full support of the Democratic members — against President Richard Nixon in 1974. Other than some really unfortunate style choices, what was the major difference between then and now? Nixon was a Republican. Imagine that.