Barry to give American citizens the middle-finger tomorrow ..
President Obama will announce Thursday that he will use his executive authority to expand temporary protections to millions of undocumented immigrants, according to several individuals who have been briefed on the decision. Obama will travel to Las Vegas on the heels of that announcement to rally support for his initiative on Friday. […]
The president is preparing to use his executive authority to expand temporary protections to millions of these individuals, as well as to broaden visa programs for highly-skilled technology workers and perhaps also stiffen security along the U.S.-Mexico border.
Whatever else is going on in the world, I want to pause here to lend my thoughts and prayers to Jeff and his family upon the death of his mother.
My family will be heading to Baltimore Sunday to visit my mother; we’ll be back just before Thanksgiving.
Thanks to all of you for your kind words and well wishes.
Also, thanks to Bobby U and SW for your donations. Very much appreciated!
update: received a call from family and the health care facility in which my mother is staying. Evidently she’s taken a turn for the worse and they want us to try to fly in earlier than Sunday. My wife is out of town right now but we’re going to try to find a flight out tomorrow evening.
If you’re so inclined, say a prayer or two for us.
update 2: So. Southwest Airlines doesn’t do bereavement rates or anything like that. To change our flights will cost us $4K, plus my wife will have to get a flight home early from her business trip. My brother is also going to pocket the $10K from the life insurance policy he holds on my mom and make me pay for the funeral. So here’s hoping she can hold on until the Sunday afternoon. As executor of Mom’s estate, I’m going to have to pay her bills and taxes, too — and she has nothing left that my brother hasn’t stolen, so I just can’t do everything. It’s not possible.
My Mom is off all medication except morphine at this point.
So. If anyone needs me, I’ll be by myself.
Oh. And fuck Southwest Airlines. Seriously. Fuck them. At least if she holds out until Friday, I can make the funeral.
update 3: With some help I was able to get a flight today. Thanks everyone.
If you believe Andrew McCarthy — and Obama uses his plenary pardon power to issue his immigration dictates — the answer is yes:
[…] here’s the problem: Obama has no more elections to worry about; and, other than impeachment, the rest of the arsenal designed by the Framers is impotent when it comes to most of his immigration scheme.
That scheme implicates three closely related but importantly distinct considerations: the lawless status of the aliens in question; non-enforcement of the immigration laws against them; and the conferral of legal status on them. On the first two, the president’s power to forgive law-breaking and refrain from law-enforcement is plenary. The abuse of these powers is essentially irresistible . . . except by impeachment. As for the third consideration, even though the president has no direct power to confer legal status or benefits (e.g., work permits) on aliens, that technical deficiency could be overcome by the abusive exploitation of the aforementioned powers he undeniably has.
I acknowledge in Faithless Execution that to refrain from invoking impeachment as the credible threat the Framers intended it to be is a rational political choice. My point is that it is a choice fraught with consequences. We have to face those consequences. We don’t get to avoid them by being reasonable, moderate people who recoil from the I-word. Nor, in the matter of illegal immigration, is there any funding cut or loopy congressional lawsuit that can dissuade this president. There is either a credible threat of impeachment or a transformational mass-amnesty. That’s it.
Executive Order Confusion
The public debate over Obama’s anticipated amnesty proclamation has wrongly focused on executive orders. So sullied has this term become that it is now a standard talking-point of Obama apologists that he has issued fewer such directives than his predecessors. It is a red herring.
There is nothing wrong in principle with an executive order — no more than there is with a statute. Congressional laws are problematic only when they exceed Congress’s powers in violation of the Constitution. Same with executive orders: The president’s powers are broad, the executive branch through which he exercises them is extensive, and there is consequently nothing improper in his issuance of executive orders to manage the conduct of legitimate executive functions — just as there is nothing invalid in Congress’s enactment of statutes consistent with its capacious constitutional authorities or a court’s issuing rulings within its proper jurisdiction.
Executive orders are offensive only when the president employs them to usurp the powers of the other branches — in particular, the legislative authority of Congress. If the president issued an executive order directing the IRS to collect taxes on a rate-schedule he unilaterally prescribed, that would be a serious violation of law. The fact that there was only one such executive order rather than, say, 500 would be quite beside the point.
With that backdrop, let’s go back to our three considerations in the immigration context.
1. Lawless Status of the Aliens.
The Constitution vests the president with “Power to grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offenses against the United States.” It is an awesome power — wholly unreviewable and nearly limitless — although one explicit limit is crucial, and we’ll get to it in due course.
Any offense against federal law is subject to pardon, and the Supreme Court has held since the Civil War that pardons remove “any of the penalties and disabilities” that would flow from a conviction. In fact, nothing in the Constitution prevents a president from pardoning his own law-breaking. The pardon power does not apply prospectively — the president may not license future law-breaking. But once the law has been broken, the president can pardon the offense; there is no need for an investigation to have occurred, much less a prosecution or conviction.
Pardons, moreover, need neither be individualized nor actually sought by the person to be pardoned. As George Mason law professor James Pfiffner recounts in the Heritage Foundation’s excellent Guide to The Constitution, President Washington granted a blanket amnesty to collaborators in the Whiskey Rebellion; Presidents Lincoln and Johnson pardoned pro-Confederacy seditionists. On his first day in office in 1977, President Carter fulfilled a campaign promise by pardoning hundreds of thousands of Vietnam draft evaders.
It is occasionally claimed that illegal immigration is beyond the pardon power because it is “civil” wrong not a criminal offense. This contention is largely incorrect, and it rests on a dubious assumption. Illegal entry into the United States is a criminal offense, albeit a misdemeanor. Reentry after deportation is a felony. And illegal aliens often commit various crimes to sustain their unlawful presence in our country. It is certainly true that an alien’s being unlawfully present in the United States — for example, overstaying a visa or remaining here after illegally entering — is a civil violation, not a criminal one, but it is serious enough to render an alien deportable. The Constitution, in any event, enables a president to pardon federal “Offenses” — it does not say criminal offenses. While it is a reasonable deduction that the Framers’ use of the word “offense” was meant to imply crimes, not civil wrongs, why should we assume that federal courts now stacked with Obama-appointed judges would see it that way? Why should the word offense be any less “organic” than, say, the term equal protection of the laws? Besides, the point of a blanket pardon would not be to confer lawful status on the aliens, something the president has no power to do. The point, as we shall see, would be to pave the way for the courts to finish the job.
Thus, fully within his constitutional authority, President Obama could, right this minute and without any congressional approval, pardon every illegal alien in the United States — indeed, every illegal alien anywhere who has been deported after violating federal law. He could do it by executive order and, while outrageous and condemnable, it would indisputably be within his Article II power. (As I have been pointing out since before Obama’s 2008 election, his longtime friendship with former terrorist Bill Ayers is rooted in their shared radical notions about the American criminal-justice system — which Ayers, in a book Obama gushingly endorsed, condemned as the racist equivalent of Apartheid South Africa. If I were in Congress right now, I’d be asking the Justice Department a lot of questions about preparations for pardons in Obama’s last two years. If you’re a convict not named Dinesh D’Souza or Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, I imagine you’ve got a shot.)
2. Non-enforcement of the Immigration Laws
As I explain in Faithless Execution, while the Constitution grants much raw power to the president, it also constrains its exercise by placing limits on the legitimate uses of executive authority. A textbook example of illegitimate exercise of a legitimate power is Obama’s abuse of prosecutorial discretion.
Prosecution is an awesome executive power. The Framers realized that, throughout history, the joinder in a single official or governing body of the powers to make law and to prosecute was the road to tyranny. So they took pains to separate legislative and prosecutorial authority. The executive branch was given plenary authority over federal law-enforcement: It is entirely up to the president and his Justice Department subordinates to decide what offenses and offenders will be investigated and prosecuted. Congress can try to pressure and prod, but it has no ability to coerce the Justice Department to enforce laws. (It is worth noting that the just-described sweep of the pardon power similarly reflects the Framers’ purposes to divide law-making from law-enforcement and to check potential legislative overreach.)
Pre-Obama, prosecutorial discretion was understood as an unremarkable resource-allocation doctrine specific to the criminal law. Enforcement resources are finite. It is neither possible nor desirable to prosecute every single violation of law. Therefore, policymakers, prosecutors, and police must exercise judgment about which violations merit attention and which ones can be overlooked. Mind you, the overlooking does not excuse the law-breaking; it is simply a concession to reality — there are more pressing threats to society than pot-smoking, petty fraud, etc.
Obama, however, has contorted prosecutorial discretion into a license to ignore, “waive,” rewrite, and otherwise violate congressional statutes — including laws such as the Affordable Care Act that are far afield from criminal-law enforcement. In sum, “prosecutorial discretion” has become the camouflage for Obama’s usurpation of the powers to write and conclusively interpret the law — powers the Constitution vests in Congress and the courts.
Faithless Execution outlines a litany of Obama-administration directives that the immigration laws go unenforced. In combination, they already amount to a large-scale amnesty. This, like abuse of the pardon power, can rightly be described as outrageous and condemnable. But, once again, such executive orders are indisputably within the president’s Article II power in the sense that neither Congress nor the courts can compel him to enforce the law.
3. Conferral of Legal Status
Under the Constitution, the power to determine the qualifications for American citizenship is legislative. Obviously, Congress’s prescriptions must be signed by the president to become law (unless lawmakers have the numbers to override a veto). The president, however, has absolutely no authority to confer legal status or positive benefits (e.g., work permits) on aliens who are in the United States illegally. If the president attempts to do this by executive order — and, as Faithless Execution recounts, Obama has already done it, albeit on smaller scales than what is now being contemplated — that would patently exceed his authority, in violation of both the Constitution and statutory law.
But it is never that simple, is it? Let’s say Obama pardoned some millions of illegal aliens. The effect of a pardon is to expunge a violation of the law and its attendant effects. In the eyes of the law, it is as if the offense never happened.
Well, the legal and moral case against conferring legal status on illegal aliens is that doing so would excuse their law-breaking, encourage more law-breaking, and give the lawbreakers an unfair preference over aliens who have tried to immigrate lawfully. But a pardon would thrust us into a legal fiction in which we’d have to pretend that the aliens had never broken our immigration laws in the first place. What, then, would remain of the rationale for complaining about the preference given law-breakers over law-abiding aliens? Or for continuing to saddle the aliens with illegal status? Anyone want to bet me on how the nearly 400 judges Obama will have put on the federal bench by 2017 would come out on those questions?
If the president refuses to enforce the immigration laws and grants something close to a blanket amnesty, we will be on an inexorable course toward citizenship — and, crucially, voting rights — for millions of illegal aliens, also known as Democrats waiting to happen. It is the Left’s dream of a permanent, unassimilated, post-American governing majority.
Is that where we are headed?
Abuse of Power and Impeachment
As we noted earlier, the president’s pardon power is nearly limitless. There is a single exception, explicit in the Constitution’s Article II, Section 2: “Cases of Impeachment.”
The president can prevent incarceration and other legal punishments for any unlawful acts; but he cannot prevent impeachment — his own or any other official’s — based on the abuses of power that flow from those acts. Impeachment is a political remedy, not a legal one. It is about the removal of political power because of breaches of the public trust, not legal prosecution and punishment. Indeed, the Framers considered narrowing the pardon power to prevent the president from granting amnesty for his own lawlessness; they opted against it precisely because they believed the specter of impeachment would be sufficient disincentive.
As we’ve seen, the president’s pardon and prosecutorial powers are formidable. They do not, however, exist in a vacuum. They exist in a constitutional framework wherein the president’s core duties are to execute the laws faithfully and preserve our system of government. The fact that an act is within a president’s vast lawful power does not make it a faithful, constitutionally legitimate use of that power. As Faithless Execution elaborates, an act need not be criminal or indictable in order to be impeachable. There is far more to fiduciary responsibility than acting within the margins of technical legality.
To offer an analogy, a judge who sentenced a defendant to 20 years’ imprisonment for handing someone a single marijuana cigarette would be imposing a legal sentence (i.e., within the governing statute) but would demonstrate himself unfit to be a judge. Likewise, lawmakers have the power to impose a 100 percent tax on income, but doing so would be an intolerable abuse of power. Similarly, a president who uses the pardon power and prosecutorial discretion as pretexts for usurping Congress’s power to make immigration law, for encouraging law-breaking, and for remaking the country in a manner that imperils the economic and security interests of American citizens, commits grievous impeachable offenses.
To be blunt, there is no real power-of-the-purse check on the president’s pardon power. Congress could threaten to withhold funds necessary for other Obama agenda items in an effort to discourage a blanket amnesty — although it would not be a very credible threat with the soon-to-be Senate majority leader having already pledged to refrain from using Congress’s control of the purse-strings as leverage. But let’s face it: While many of his abuses of power cannot happen without congressional funding, the president doesn’t need a dime to pardon people. He doesn’t even need his phone — just his pen.
The only real check on the pardon power is impeachment.
At this point, would a credible threat of impeachment be much of a check on this president’s designs? I’m not sure. Obama’s stated goal is fundamental transformation of the nation, and a blanket amnesty would accomplish that. From his standpoint, it might be worth the risk. Plus, even if the amnesty suddenly ignited public sentiment for the president’s removal from office (a dubious supposition), nothing in Washington happens quickly. Obama would still have many months if not most of the rest of his term to abuse his awesome powers (including by issuing additional pardons) in transformational ways.
But I do know this: Absent a credible threat of impeachment, President Obama cannot and will not be stopped from granting amnesty to millions of illegal aliens, who will in short order be awarded citizenship and voting rights. […]
— And it turns out many in the GOP establishment don’t much care, and in fact are likely hoping Obama does issue dictates — amounting to pardoning the crimes of illegality and identity theft — so that they can run against amnesty in 2016, having gotten the very amnesty many of their closest cronies have pushed them to adopt in the first place.
That is, they benefit politically and with respect to their cronies, who are demanding cheaper labor. And like Jonathan Gruber, they believe us too stupid to see what’s going on.
Taking the shutting down of government off the table, working on an omnibus spending bill that will further entrench ObamaCare (another political bonus for the establishment GOP, who will run against ObamaCare yet again in 2016), and eschewing any talk of impeachment as immature, etc., is part and parcel of a modern-day GOP that will put politics and special interests ahead of the people who put them in power.
This is not representative government.
And it’s time to take back that representative component of the federal government by way of reining them in through the constitutional powers granted to the states. The article V convention movement must pick up quickly, however, or a permanent voting majority — based around creating a burgeoning welfare constituency — will fall to the Democrats, who have every intention to complete and institutionalize their project of fundamental transformation.
Even federal politicians from the minority party grow fat and powerful under an expansive centralized Leviathan. Through corporate welfare and cronyism do both parties now run, and sadly, the GOP would rather see the expansion of progressivism than the grass-roots swell of constitutional conservatism.
One has only look at the smug, dissembling face of John McCain or Mitch McConnell to see the future of the GOP.
… when even Agriculture Department has undercover agents
WASHINGTON — The federal government has significantly expanded undercover operations in recent years, with officers from at least 40 agencies posing as business people, welfare recipients, political protesters and even doctors or ministers to ferret out wrongdoing, records and interviews show.
At the Supreme Court, small teams of undercover officers dress as students at large demonstrations outside the courthouse and join the protests to look for suspicious activity, according to officials familiar with the practice.
At the Internal Revenue Service, dozens of undercover agents chase suspected tax evaders worldwide, by posing as tax preparers, accountants drug dealers or yacht buyers and more, court records show.
At the Agriculture Department, more than 100 undercover agents pose as food stamp recipients at thousands of neighborhood stores to spot suspicious vendors and fraud, officials said.
Undercover work, inherently invasive and sometimes dangerous, was once largely the domain of the F.B.I. and a few other law enforcement agencies at the federal level. But outside public view, changes in policies and tactics over the last decade have resulted in undercover teams run by agencies in virtually every corner of the federal government, according to officials, former agents and documents.
Some agency officials say such operations give them a powerful new tool to gather evidence in ways that standard law enforcement methods do not offer, leading to more prosecutions. But the broadened scope of undercover work, which can target specific individuals or categories of possible suspects, also raises concerns about civil liberties abuses and entrapment of unwitting targets. It has also resulted in hidden problems, with money gone missing, investigations compromised and agents sometimes left largely on their own for months.
So how are things going for feminism? Well, last week, some feminists took one of the great achievements of human history — landing a probe from Earth on a comet hundreds of millions of miles away — and made it all about the clothes.
Yes, that’s right. After years of effort, the European Space Agency’s lander Philaelanded on a comet 300 million miles away. At first, people were excited. Then some women noticed that one of the space scientists, Matt Taylor, was wearing a shirt, made for him by a female “close pal,” featuring comic-book depictions of semi-naked women. And suddenly, the triumph of the comet landing was drowned out by shouts of feminist outrage about … what people were wearing. It was one small shirt for a man, one giant leap backward for womankind.
The Atlantic’s Rose Eveleth tweeted, “No no women are toooootally welcome in our community, just ask the dude in this shirt.” Astrophysicist Katie Mack commented: “I don’t care what scientists wear. But a shirt featuring women in lingerie isn’t appropriate for a broadcast if you care about women in STEM.” And from there, the online feminist lynch mob took off until Taylor was forced to deliver a tearful apology on camera.
It seems to me that if you care about women in STEM, maybe you shouldn’t want to communicate the notion that they’re so delicate that they can’t handle pictures of comic-book women. Will we stock our Mars spacecraft with fainting couches?
No, Glenn, we can forgo the fainting couches as long as we keep these puerile females out of places were adults are working.
the shameful incident this week, in which the despicable Rose Eveleth at the Atlantic bullied Dr. Matt Taylor into apologizing, in tears, for wearing a shirt with women with rayguns on it.
Rose Eveleth is the fluffer who wrote the piece about Lekie and science fiction starting to give awards to women in SF again, in response to which I wrote this. […]
Why a woman who can’t even do her own research for her own articles should be allowed to bully a man who as part of a team (incidentally led by a woman) landed on a comet is beyond me. Or rather it isn’t. It’s a symptom of the sickness in our society.
The sickness can be defined as this: we are trying to remake women into men, and in the process we castrate men and we release profoundly wounded women out into society, who think they should be what they cannot be and therefore lash out at all and sundry from a core of hatred inside them. And society aids and abets them, due to the bizarre idea that men and women should be exactly alike and equally represented in all endeavors or society is “sexist.”
I’m going to say it once and for all – men and women are different. They were subjected to different evolutionary pressures.
Note I didn’t say one is better and the other worse. That is where we’ve gone all batty, because the feminists say women are better and prove this by trying to make women like men.
CNN’s Jake Tapper
Washington (CNN) — In a 2011 conversation about the Affordable Care Act, MIT economist Jonathan Gruber, one of the architects of the law more commonly known as Obamacare, talked about how the bill would get rid of all tax credits for employer-based health insurance through “mislabeling” what the tax is and who it would hit.
In recent days, the past comments of Gruber — who in a 2010 speech noted that he “helped write the federal bill” and “was a paid consultant to the Obama administration to help develop the technical details as well” — have been given renewed attention.
In previously posted but only recently noticed speeches, Gruber discusses how those pushing the bill took part in an “exploitation of the lack of economic understanding of the American voter,” taking advantage of voters’ “stupidity” to create a law that would ultimately be good for them.
The issue at hand in this sixth video is known as the “Cadillac tax,” which was represented as a tax on employers’ expensive health insurance plans. While employers do not currently have to pay taxes on health insurance plans they provide employees, starting in 2018, companies that provide health insurance that costs more than $10,200 for an individual or $27,500 for a family will have to pay a 40 percent tax.
“Economists have called for 40 years to get rid of the regressive, inefficient and expensive tax subsidy provided for employer provider health insurance,” Gruber said at the Pioneer Institute for public policy research in Boston. The subsidy is “terrible policy,” Gruber said.
“It turns out politically it’s really hard to get rid of,” Gruber said. “And the only way we could get rid of it was first by mislabeling it, calling it a tax on insurance plans rather than a tax on people when we all know it’s a tax on people who hold those insurance plans.”
Ok. So my mother is out of the hospital and in a rehab / nursing home facility that is far more private and amenable to her longterm needs than the assisted living facility she was in before. The only problem is, because the deed to her house was in her name, Maryland — and the new facility — are showing her to be in the black to the tune of over $150K. Therefore, though she’s penniless, she’s not eligible for financial assistance; which is to say, because my brother had legal power of attorney at the time of the sale, any money he took is considered a “gift” to him from my mother — at least in the eyes of the state.
I’ve sent the facility copies of the legal paperwork and put them in touch with both the Detective working the case on the Baltimore end, the lawyer I retained in FL, and have sent them documentation showing that my mother was not at the house closing and that my brother had the money wired to a joint account he’d set up for he and my mother (which she didn’t know of) that is still active, though my mother’s name has been removed from the account, making it impossible for us to close it or even know what exactly is in it. So they are reviewing all that and hopefully will work with us.
I note this here knowing that my brother — who followed me on Twitter (he still keeps the risible and embarrassing “goldie” in his name) — is likely to find out what exactly is going on. He’s been calling my mother trying to get her to sign documents refusing to press charges; problem is, if she feels sorry for him and does as he asks — he’s clearly beginning to understand that I’m not fucking around — she won’t be eligible for any financial assistance and will have to move out of the new facility, which she really likes and needs.
On the law enforcement end subpoenas for financial records are in the works. On the civil end, constructive trust and lien applications have been filed.
I’ll be heading back to Baltimore with the wife and kids to visit my mother later this month, from the 23rd-26th. I’d like to send out a special thanks to JR, who was able to help us out with some frequent flyer points, which takes some of the financial stress off of us (tickets around Thanksgiving are expensive, but that’s the only time Satch is out of school).
Thanks, also, to RI Red for his recent contribution.
Beyond that, we’re just taking it day by day. I’m still coaching wrestling — I leave in about an hour or so for practice, and our second tournament of the year is this Saturday, which we have to leave for at 6:30 am — and I look forward to it as a distraction, even though my own health hasn’t been great recently.
Oh. And Satchel took first place in the first tournament of the year last weekend at our home gym, going 5-0 with 2 pins, wrestling up to 62 at 54.3 lbs. So he got to go to grab a nice chicken sandwich at the southern chain of homo hate.
Which was nice.
updated update to the updated update: Thanks nr and Daniel K for your contributions!
I said long before the election that the GOP would win an accidental and undeserved victory.