Judge Declares Obama Amnesty Unconstitutional + More – Daily Digest

Posted on Wed 12/17/2014 by

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THE FOUNDATION

“It behooves you, therefore, to think and act for yourself and your people. The great principles of right and wrong are legible to every reader; to pursue them requires not the aid of many counselors. The whole art of government consists in the art of being honest. Only aim to do your duty, and mankind will give you credit where you fail.” –Thomas Jefferson, A Summary View of the Rights of British America, 1775

TOP 5 RIGHT HOOKS

Judge Declares Obama Amnesty Unconstitutional

Judge Arthur J. Schwab, nominated by George W. Bush, found parts of Barack Obama’s amnesty action unconstitutional Tuesday, writing that the president not only exceeded his own authority but usurped congressional power. “President Obama’s unilateral legislative action violates the separation of powers provided for in the United States Constitution as well as the Take Care Clause, and therefore is unconstitutional,” Judge Schwab said, though his opinion isn’t legally binding, as the case was simply one immigrant’s deportation hearing. Schwab also found Obama’s action goes far beyond prosecutorial discretion because it “provides for a systematic and rigid process by which a broad group of individuals will be treated differently than others based on arbitrary classifications, rather than case-by-case examinations.” Furthermore, Schwab wrote, it grants “substantive rights” to these individuals. It’s also important to note that there is no actual executive order – only a series of memos. Perhaps Obama knew an order wouldn’t survive a legal challenge and instead buried his mandate. Will higher courts do what congressional Republicans so far seem unwilling to do? More…

Obama Marks End of Afghanistan Combat

Barack Obama addressed U.S. troops at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst (a.k.a. Fort Dix) in New Jersey, saying, “Our combat mission in Afghanistan will be over this month, and our war in Afghanistan will come to a responsible end.” Except it won’t. Thousands of U.S. troops will remain in Afghanistan to continue operations against al-Qaida and the Taliban. Obama talked tough on al-Qaida, promising, “[M]ake no mistake, our coalition isn’t just going to degrade this barbaric terrorist organization – we’re going to destroy it.” But he also wants you to remember his success in “decimating al-Qaida’s core” by killing Osama bin Laden. The best we can say is leaving a contingent of U.S. forces in Afghanistan shows he perhaps learned a little something after abandoning Iraq to the Islamic State. On a final note, it’s worth remembering that Fort Dix was the target of the radical Weather Underground terrorists, who in 1970 planned to detonate a bomb at a dance for non-commissioned officers. Fortunately, the bomb detonated while they were constructing it, killing only three members of the group. Obama began his political career in the living room of two other members of the Weathermen: Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn. He didn’t mention that in his speech.

NASA’s Monumental Waste

NASA once put a man on the moon just seven years after setting out to do so. The space agency enjoyed glorious triumphs and persevered through tragic disasters over the years, but we’ve never seen anything quite like this. The Washington Post reports, “In June, NASA finished work on a huge construction project here in Mississippi: a $349 million laboratory tower, designed to test a new rocket engine in a chamber that mimicked the vacuum of space. Then, NASA did something odd. As soon as the work was done, it shut the tower down. The project was officially ‘mothballed’ – closed up and left empty – without ever being used. … The reason for the shutdown: The new tower – called the A-3 test stand – was useless. Just as expected. The rocket program it was designed for had been canceled in 2010.” So how did this happen? “[A]t first, cautious NASA bureaucrats didn’t want to stop the construction on their own authority. And then Congress – at the urging of a senator from Mississippi – swooped in and ordered the agency to finish the tower, no matter what. The result was that NASA spent four more years building something it didn’t need. Now, the agency will spend about $700,000 a year to maintain it in disuse.” A grossly over-budget monument to nothing now stands in Mississippi as a sad reminder that money without proper vision is a terrible waste. More…

The VA’s ‘Misleading’ Report

The report Veterans Affairs released to Congress in April is flawed, yes, even downright misleading, a new report issued by the VA’s inspector general shows. At that time, the VA told Congress it examined the unresolved consults with veterans that remained open for more than 90 days going back to 1999. In that report, the VA said only 23 veterans died from delayed care. But now the IG questions the report’s accuracy, saying the way the VA conducted the review made the report “misleading or incorrect.” Chair of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Jeff Miller (R-FL) said, “VA’s statistics regarding the number of veterans harmed by department delays in care are almost certainly wildly inaccurate, and we may never know the actual number of veterans affected by gaps in the VA system that existed for years.” Around this time last year, VA bureaucrats were collecting fat bonuses while veterans languished. After congressional investigation, it appears that the VA resisted reform and the same thing could happen this year. More…

Cruz Explains Weekend Turmoil

Senate Republicans are upset at Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) for keeping them on Capitol Hill last weekend to vote on the constitutionality of Barack Obama’s executive amnesty when they wanted to veg for the holidays. They also say Cruz is the reason why Democrats were able to ram through Obama’s bureaucratic nominees. But here’s how Cruz explained what happened behind closed doors over the weekend: “Within hours [of the House passed the spending bill], I joined a handful of other senators in going to leadership and affirmatively offering to cooperate to facilitate a quick vote on the CRomnibus – that very evening, we suggested – in exchange for a simple up or down vote on defunding executive amnesty. Republican leadership told us we would likely get our vote. All day Friday, they told us the same thing. Then, late Friday night, Harry Reid apparently changed his mind, and we were told there would be no vote on amnesty. At that point, I supported an objection to delaying the CRomnibus vote any further. We used the leverage we have under the rules to try to force our vote. Harry Reid responded in anger. He forced the Senate to come back Saturday and spend the entire day casting procedural votes to move forward a series of Obama nominations.” Reid would have gotten those nominations to help Obama with or without Cruz’s actions. More…

For more, visit Right Hooks.

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RIGHT ANALYSIS

‘We’ve Had Enough Bushes’

Ready for one more?

Some guys never learn to listen to Mom.

Case in point, the matriarch of the powerful Bush family says she doesn’t miss “one darn thing” about life in Washington. Furthermore, Barbara Bush said of her son, Jeb, “I don’t think he’ll run.” Why? “He’ll get all our enemies, half our friends.”

But despite Mom’s wishes, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush posted on Facebook Tuesday his intention to explore a run for president in 2016.

In the post, he said that over Thanksgiving weekend his family discussed America’s future at length. “As a result of these conversations and thoughtful consideration of the kind of strong leadership I think America needs,” he wrote, “I have decided to actively explore the possibility of running for President of the United States.” He plans to create a political action committee to “facilitate conversations with citizens across America.” The Facebook post was likely designed to make him look tech-savvy – all the cool people are on Facebook – and separate him from the media’s Republican caricature.

But again, we remember the words of his mother: “I think it’s a great country, there are a lot of great families, and it’s not just four families or whatever. There are other people out there that are very qualified, and we’ve had enough Bushes.”

We couldn’t agree more. Rule by dynasty is one of the reasons we separated from Britain. Jeb would be the third Bush candidate, but the family already has enough children and grandchildren to last through the 2100 election.

Few these days would call Jeb Bush a genuine conservative, though he was a successful and popular governor in Florida, cutting taxes several times and pushing school choice. Yet many would argue he cedes any claim to the moniker “conservative” because he supports a “path to citizenship” for illegal aliens, as well as Barack Obama’s Common Core curriculum that will have the next generation capable only of communicating through Instagram.

And the Bushes’ close-knit family friendship with the Clintons is bothersome. While Bill Clinton is infamously known to conservatives as “Slick Willy,” Jeb and his brothers refer to Bill as a “brother by another mother” and to Hillary as a sister-in-law. A Jeb Bush vs. Hillary Clinton race would be little more than a family reunion.

Jeb’s longtime advisers, Sally Bradshaw and Mike Murphy, will likely serve again in his campaign, though, notably, he hasn’t run for office since 2002. Bradshaw served as Mitt Romney’s senior adviser in his 2008 presidential bid, advised him during his 1998 gubernatorial campaign, and advised John McCain on his presidential bids. Murphy has also advised such nationally prominent Republicans as John McCain, Christie Whitman, Lamar Alexander, Arnold Schwarzenegger. Not a conservative in the bunch.

Holding positions that the party’s base would reject out of hand leaves us wondering how Bush expects to get anywhere in his campaign. A recent McClatchy-Marist poll has Bush at 17%, two points behind Romney. But the poll has 15 candidates, and nearly two-thirds of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents said they favored a candidate who will stand for conservative principles. And a poll nearly two years out doesn’t mean much except to excite hopeful contenders.

Clearly, a significant philosophical difference divides the Republican Party. The leadership, the elites and the donor class want the party to “modernize.” They argue that as national demographics change, the “outworn thinking” – especially what they consider the radical Christian element – will ultimately marginalize the party for most segments of society.

Republican elite also fear Tea Party-esque Republican “radicals” will cause another Barry Goldwater-like landslide loss. They point to Baby Boomers who will demand more benefits as they age, and to Millennials who gave Obama 66% of their votes in 2008 and 60% in 2012, making them the most government-friendly generation since FDR.

Jeb Bush is just the kind of candidate these elites want – one who can keep a Republican Congress in check, keep ObamaCare with some reforms, grant amnesty (an essentially open-borders policy that warms their hearts and protects their wallets with cheap labor), and generally acquiesce to the Left’s social agenda.

But grassroots conservatives are furious with the Republican establishment. During the Bush years, voters gave Republicans control of Congress and the presidency for more time than in any period in nearly a century. In return, Republicans gave us grossly inflated spending, a new entitlement (Medicare Part D) and a new federal behemoth bureaucracy (DHS).

Last month, after six difficult years under an imperial presidency, voters gave Republicans another bite at the apple with solid majorities in both houses of Congress. Naturally, then, party leaders helped pass the CRomnibus and hindered conservatives’ ability to stop Obama’s most loathed plans.

Given this sordid history, it’s not overstating the case to say that the party’s next choice for its presidential candidate could have long-lasting consequences with its base.

Will Putin Lose His Shirt Again?

The stores in Russia were jammed Tuesday with people snatching TVs, cooking equipment and appliances. Lines of shoppers piled up and shelves were stripped bare. While the pictures resembled Black Friday in America, Russians rushed to the stores on Black Tuesday not to snag holiday deals but to convert their savings into something more stable than rubles.

Russia’s currency started its nosedive Monday. The Russian central bank tried to entice investors to keep the ruble. In a 1 a.m. meeting, it cranked the interest rate from 10.5% to 17% to encourage people to keep using the currency. But the Russian government faced a lose-lose situation. Increasing interest rates to save the ruble hurts the everyday Russian family by hobbling the Great Bear’s economy. But doing what was best for the average Russian would doom the country’s large industries, which make money in rubles but owe debts in dollars. The ruble lost 17% against the dollar Monday and Tuesday (and 50% since June), and it continued fluctuating wildly Wednesday.

The U.S. is largely responsible for Russia’s misfortune, as our fracking revolution sent oil prices plummeting below $60 a barrel. It’s great for America’s economy, its national security and your wallet, but disastrous for Russia. As Matt O’Brian writes, “It’s only a small simplification, you see, to say that Russia doesn’t so much have an economy as it has an oil exporting business that subsidizes everything else.”

On top of this, America is poised to hit Russia with a third round of economic sanctions this week. The first round came after Russia plucked Crimea from Ukraine in March, and the second round hit Russia after its missiles were used in July to shoot down civilian flight MH17.

The White House sees Russia’s imploding economy as a sign that its strategy is working – that “history is against them,” to borrow Barack Obama’s formulation. Jason Furman, who chairs the president’s Council of Economic Advisers, said, “I think they are facing a very serious economic situation, and it’s a serious economic situation that is largely of their own making and largely reflects the consequences of not following a set of international rules.”

The remaining question is how Russian President Vladimir Putin, who has been playing Eastern Europe like a chess board, will respond now that his queen has been captured.

Ed Morrissey at Hot Air wonders if the ruble’s collapse could turn Russia’s oligarchs – its oil tycoon mafia types – against Putin, possibly paving the way for his removal. But other pundits fear Putin will only be more dangerous. “There is nothing more dangerous than a wounded animal,” writes Jake Novak at CNBC. “Vladimir Putin is wounded – and he’s not known for holding back. His entire adventure in Ukraine this year is an example of just how destructive and unpredictable Putin can be, and that all happened when oil was still trading at $100 a barrel.”

For rulers like Putin, the number one priority is to keep power, period. For Putin and his Machiavellian tactics, that includes smothering freedom of speech, bullying neighboring countries and offing a few political enemies via the KGB. But as Niccolo Machiavelli himself argued in “The Prince,” any ruler must nurture the favor of the people. “I shall conclude only that for a price it is necessary to have his people as a friend, otherwise, in adversities, he has no remedy,” Machiavelli wrote. The Prince of Despots also noted rulers keep power based on the loyalty of the governors underneath him. In Putin’s case, those are Russia’s oligarchs.

Even the Clintons know the way to keep the subjects happy is to keep the economy humming. For what it’s worth, Russians just named Putin man of the year for the 15th time in a row, showing how “popular” he is. But how long will his popularity last, as Russian army veterans worry if the government will stop paying out pensions and inflation threatens to climb into double digits? Russia imports much of its food. And winter is coming.

Putin could always divert from the economic issues to the war in Ukraine or a chilly conflict with the West. He’s framed Russia’s involvement in the past as concern over native Russians in Ukraine yearning to join the motherland. It’s not a stretch to imagine Putin whipping up the drums of war to distract from the lack of bread.

But this is not the first time Russia’s economy suddenly fell. Yegor Gaidar, who was Russia’s acting prime minister, minister of economy and first deputy prime minister between 1991 and 1994, recalled in a speech to the American Enterprise Institute, “In 1985 the idea that the Soviet Union would begin bargaining for money in exchange for political concessions would have sounded absolutely preposterous to the Soviet leadership. In 1989 it became a reality, and Gorbachev understood the need for at least $100 billion from the West to prop up the oil-dependent Soviet economy.”

Last time oil prices and sanctions crippled Russia’s economy, a totalitarian government fell. The chance for the next generation is coming.

For more, visit Right Analysis.

TOP 5 RIGHT OPINION COLUMNS

For more, visit Right Opinion.

OPINION IN BRIEF

Author Eric Hoffer (1902-1983): “To the frustrated, freedom from responsibility is more attractive than freedom from restraint. They are eager to barter their independence for relief from the burdens of willing, deciding and being responsible for inevitable failure. They willingly abdicate the directing of their lives to those who want to plan, command and shoulder all responsibility.”

Columnist Walter E. Williams: “Imagine a chief of police in a city where there has been a rash of automobile hubcap thefts and he’s trying to capture the culprits. Should he have his officers stake out and investigate residents of senior citizen homes? What about spending resources investigating men and women 40 or older? I would imagine that he would have greater success in capturing the culprits by focusing most of his resources on younger people – and particularly on young men. Doing so would more likely lead to the capture of the culprits because hubcap theft is a young man’s game. My question to you is whether you’d bring charges against the police chief because he used age and sex profiling – and didn’t investigate seniors and middle-aged adults. … God would never do profiling of any sort, because God is omniscient. We humans lack that quality and must depend upon sometimes-crude substitutes for finding out things. By the way, my attempting to explain profiling doesn’t require one to take a position for or against it any more than the attempt to explain gravity requires one to be for or against gravity.”

Columnist Ben Shapiro: “On Monday, Australian police stormed the Lindt Chocolate Cafe in Sydney, where an Islamist terrorist named Man Haron Monis had taken dozens of hostages and held them for 17 hours. … Australians all over the country took action: They tweeted with the hashtag #illridewithyou. This hashtag came from the mind of one Rachel Jacobs, who witnessed a Muslim woman removing her hijab on the local train after the news of the hostage situation broke. Jacobs tweeted, ‘I ran after her at the train station. I said “put it back on. I’ll walk with u.” She started to cry and hugged me for about a minute – then walked off alone.’ … Here’s the problem: Islamists don’t care about hashtags when they can take hostages and earn the sympathetic hashtags of others. … [T]]o slander the West with a sort of communal guilt for an Original Sin, even as the West is under fire from those who would seek to destroy its civilizational foundations, is nothing less than barbaric.“

Comedian Conan O’Brien: ”[Monday] in Washington, DC, several government buildings were left without power. Of course, the White House will be without power for two more years.“

Semper Vigilo, Fortis, Paratus et Fidelis!

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