July 23, 2014
The Decider Decides Alone
He acts alone.
Yeah.... with nobody else.
'Cause you know when he acts alone
He prefers to be by himself.
Fortunately for the Multiverse, unilaterally bypassing our democratically elected Congress is *so* not an arrogant power grab by a deranged, power-mad autocrat bent on imposing his imperial will on the voters he promised to represent:
I asked University of Oregon political scientist Daniel Tichenor how extensive Obama's executive powers on immigration are. Tichenor's answer, via e-mail:In the absence of Congressional action/legislation, the White House has broad authority. This is especially true when presidents are responding to large-scale and uninvited entries into U.S. territory. Truman, Eisenhower, and JFK invoked parole powers to assist European refugees in the context of World War II displacement and later the Cold War. Asylum seekers and other migrants who enter U.S. territory for relief without prior authorization present a more immediate dilemma that our chief executives have considerable authority to address.
Precedents (noted in Tichenor's excellent book on the history of U.S. immigration politics) are plentiful. Harry Truman issued an executive order in 1945 extending relief to tens of thousands of refugees from war-torn Europe. Dwight Eisenhower used a loophole in the McCarran-Walter Act to admit 30,000 Hungarian refugees after the 1956 Soviet invasion of Hungary. When Lyndon Johnson signed a landmark 1965 immigration law, he said he would use his parole power to open the nation to refugees from Fidel Castro's Cuba. (Congress later passed legislation facilitating asylum for Cubans.) Likewise, Richard Nixon used executive power to enable more than 40,000 Czechs on travel permits to stay in the U.S. after the Soviets invaded Czechoslovakia. Additional Czech refugees were admitted from other countries.
None of these actions was on the scale that pro-immigration advocates are urging on Obama. Thousands are not millions. But the same principle of parole power could extend protection to, for example, the roughly 5 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S. with children or spouses who are either citizens or legal residents.
It's all about the principle, people. Please try to stay focused.
The crisis he created forces him to act boldly and unilaterally. Eggs. Omelets.
Update: Oh quit your sniveling. It could be so much worse. He could be out there spending your tax dollars to raise oodles of dark money (you know - the toxic stuff he's forever promising to remove from politics?) for the DNC:
President Obama’s fundraising swing through the Seattle area Tuesday will include a high-priced dinner event benefiting a Democratic super PAC.
The event is at the Hunts Point home of former Costco CEO Jim Sinegal and his wife, Jan, according to a copy of the invitation obtained by The Seattle Times.
The price tag for the event is $25,000 per person, with proceeds going to the Senate Majority PAC, a Democratic group that accepts unlimited donations.
As a candidate, Obama has railed against U.S. Supreme Court rulings that opened up a flood of unfettered political spending through nonprofits and super PACs.
But Obama has come to embrace super PACs on his side of the political divide, especially as he campaigns for Democrats in the 2014 midterms.
For those of you tempted to say this looks a bit hypocritical, just shut yo' moufs:
A letter accompanying the dinner invitation pleads for donors to help avert a Republican takeover of the Senate.
“A mere six seat shift would alter the makeup of the Senate, allowing the GOP to control everything from choice to federal judge confirmations and the Supreme Court. We cannot afford to let this happen, and we need your help,” the letter to donors for the Sinegal event reads.
However, in a feat of legalese probably designed to appease campaign-finance regulators, the letter says Obama would only be appearing as a special guest and is “not soliciting funds for this event or acknowledging your contribution at any point.”
Thank Gaia someone is looking out for the interests of the poor, the near-poor, and the middle class. At $25K a pop.
April 01, 2014
And the media wonder why the "global community" doesn't take American power seriously:
Today, a one-question Obamacare quiz:
Monday (a) is or (b) isn't the final day Americans can sign up for the first year of Obamacare coverage.
OK, that was too easy. The answer is, of course, (b). After a flurry of Obamacare delays (38 by The Wall Street Journal's count) and innumerable rules changes, Monday isn't the final day that Americans can sign up for Obamacare.
No matter what the law says.
No matter that Obama administration officials have vowed for months not to extend this deadline. Most notably: Not three weeks ago, on March 12, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius testified before a congressional committee that the administration absolutely, positively would not extend this deadline for people to sign up.
Uh-huh. Thus, the asterisk in our headline. The whole law should carry an asterisk.
This is one of the first things parents learn: if you're constantly issuing threats and edicts but never follow through on them, your kids learn that rules don't mean anything and stop listening to you.
Why should they? Everyone knows there will be no adverse consequences. You folks had better shape up, or Obama will put us all in Time Out. Or issue another sternly worded reprimand.
He really means it, this time.
March 13, 2014
L'Etat! C'est Moi!
The Obama administration has decided that the sequester's mandatory spending cuts no longer apply to part of Obamacare.
The health care law provides subsidies to help low-income people cover some of their out-of-pocket costs. Last year, the administration said those subsidies were taking a 7 percent cut because of the sequester, which imposed across-the-board reductions in federal spending.
But now, the White House has changed its mind. It removed the cost-sharing subsidies from its list of programs that are subject to the sequester, eliminating the 7 percent cut for 2015.
Zut alors! Je suis très confus.
Didn't we hire this guy to faithfully enforce the laws passed by Congress?
We are in the midst of a constitutional crisis with sweeping implications for our system of government. There has been a massive gravitational shift of authority to the Executive Branch that threatens the stability and functionality of our tripartite system. To be sure, this shift did not begin with President Obama. However, it has accelerated at an alarming rate under this Administration. These changes are occurring in a political environment with seemingly little oxygen for dialogue, let alone compromise. Indeed, the current
anaerobic conditions are breaking down the muscle of the constitutional system that protects us all. Of even greater concern is the fact that the other two branches appear passive, if not inert, as the Executive Branch has assumed such power.
As someone who voted for President Obama and agrees with many of his policies, it is often hard to separate the ends from the means of presidential action. Indeed, despite decades of thinking and writing about the separation of powers, I have had momentary lapses where I privately rejoiced in seeing actions on goals that I share, even though they were done in the circumvention of Congress. For example, when President Obama unilaterally acted on greenhouse gas pollutants, I was initially relieved. I agree entirely with the priority that he has given this issue. However, it takes an act of willful blindness to ignore that the greenhouse regulations were implemented only after Congress rejected such measures and that a new sweeping regulatory scheme is now being promulgated solely upon the authority of the President.2
We are often so committed to a course of action that we conveniently dismiss the means as a minor issue in light of the goals of the Administration. Many have embraced the notion that all is fair in love and politics. However, as I have said too many times before Congress, in our system it is often more important how we do something than what we do. Priorities and policies (and presidents)change.
What cannot change is the system upon which we all depend for our rights and representation.
Sacre bleu! Obama is a Uniter, after all.