What was supposed to be a 3-minute speech turned into 14 minutes of droning that even the other global warming nutbags in the room didn’t want to hear.
While giving a press conference in Paris, President Barack Obama told reporters that the mass shootings that plague the United States just never happen in other countries.
“With respect to Planned Parenthood, obviously, my heart goes out to the families of those impacted,” Obama said in response to a reporter’s question. “I mean, I say this every time we’ve got one of these mass shootings; this just doesn’t happen in other countries.”
For those living under a rock, the city of Paris itself was just hit with a series of simultaneous terrorist attacks. The majority of 130 deaths were in mass shooting attacks, where the ISIS-affiliated terrorists attacked public places with automatic rifles. Nearly one hundred people alone were killed in just one mass shooting at the Bataclan theater.
Earlier this year, Paris was also the victim of a terrorist attack targeting the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. The al-Qaeda-affiliated terrorists wielded assault rifles, killing 11 innocent people.
Obama, to his credit, seemed to realize what he had just said. After a deliberate pause, he suddenly pivoted to an explanation about how the United States was aiding France in the fight against terrorism:
“You know, we are rightly determined to prevent terrorist attacks wherever they occur, whether in the United States or with friends and allies like France. And we devote enormous resources… to rooting out networks and debilitating organizations like ISIL and maintaining the intelligence and improving the information sharing that can identify those who would try to kill innocent people.”
President Obama has appointed second-generation anti-Israel activist, and former Iran deal negotiator Robert O. (Rob) Malley as his ‘senior adviser on the counterinsurgency campaign against ISIL.’ Malley knows much about terrorism as his dad was close friends with Palestinian terrorist Yasser Arafat (they both were born and raised in Egypt and each was funded by the USSR).
While the sins of the father are not normally visited on the son, this son has chosen to follow in his dad’s footsteps.
CAMERA reported that Malley grew up in France, where his Egyptian-born father, Simon Malley, and New York raised mother, Barbara (Silverstein) Malley, were radical publishers of a controversial magazine about Africa and the so-called Third World. Malley’s parents were rabidly anti-Israel and counted Yasir Arafat as a personal friend. Indeed, Arafat was among those “leaders” (for want of a better word) who had intervened with the French government to readmit the Malley family to France after they had been expelled for their radical activities.
At the time Malley’s dad (whose work was funded by the Soviet Union, Romania, Libya, and Algeria) was expelled from France, the Associated Press wrote:
Some of his articles are a veritable incitement to the assassination of foreign chiefs of state. The French government cannot tolerate them,” [a French official said].
The bi-monthly magazine Afrique-Asie is published in Paris and regularly attacks Western policies in all parts of the world. It claims to be non-aligned, but has supported the Soviet military intervention in Afghanistan, the Cuban intervention in Angola and Ethiopia, the seizure of American hostages in Iran, the Algerian-backed guerrilla war in southern Morocco, and the Arab opposition to Israel and the Camp David agreements.
In an editorial, the magazine said Malley’s expulsion proved the French government’s collusion with “imperialist, neo-colonialist and racist forces seeking to destabilize and overthrow revolutionary regimes”
(…) The Algerian, Libyan and Angolan governments have publicly defended Malley and warned that his expulsion could damage their relations with France. Palestine Liberation Organization leader Yasser Arafat said it would undermine France’s prestige throughout the Arab world.
The younger Malley’s personal pedigree not only includes a host of anti-Israel articles, but the former aide to Bill Clinton is the only American privy to the Clinton peace efforts to blame Israel for their lack of success. Everyone else, including the former President, said that Yasser Arafat walked away from a “sweetheart” deal. Malley was also believed to be the chief source for an article by Deborah Sontag that whitewashed Arafat’s role in the collapse of the peace process, an article that has been widely criticized as riddled with errors and bias.
Malley appealed to candidate Obama because of his anti-Israel stance as demonstrated by some of his greatest hits:
* Making the Best of Hamas’ Victory: which called for international aid to be showered upon a Hamas-led government and for international engagement with Hamas (a group that makes clear in its Charter, its schools, and its violence its intent to destroy Israel). Malley also makes an absurd assertion: that Hamas’ policies and Israeli policies are mirror images of each other.
* Rebuilding a Damaged Palestine: which blames Israel’s security operations for weakening Palestinian security forces (absurd on its face: terrorists filled the ranks of so-called Palestinian security forces-which, in any case, never tried to prevent terrorism) and calls for international forces to restrain the Israelis.
* Avoiding Failure with Hamas: which again calls for aid to flow to a Hamas-led government and even goes so far as to suggest that failure to extend aid could cause an environmental or health catastrophe-such as a human strain of the avian flu virus!
* How to Curb the Tension in Gaza: which criticizes Israel’s for its actions to recover Gilad Shalit who was kidnapped and is being held hostage in the Gaza Strip. He and co-writer Gareth Evans call Israel’s actions ‘collective punishment” in “violation of international law.”
While a member of Obama’s campaign staff Malley was “supposedly” fired by the campaign for having secret meetings with Hamas, but he was a willing sacrificial lamb to make Obama look good. Until he rejoined Obama as part of his administration Malley served progressive puppet-master George Soros as he is currently Program Director for Middle East and North Africa at the International Crisis Group, an international think tank funded by the “dude of spooky” himself.
In 2011 Malley wrote a piece in the Washington Post pushing Hamas as an important peace partner where he showed himself to be an apologist for Palestinian terror.
Twice before the world has sought to prevent the Islamists from governing – after Hamas won the 2006 legislative elections and, a year later, when it formed a coalition with Fatah. Twice, the world made a mess of things. The balance sheet is unequivocal: Hamas remains entrenched in Gaza; Fatah is no stronger; and, without elections or genuine pluralistic political life, democratic institutions in the Palestinian territories have rusted.
Sometimes facts are just inconvenient things. What Malley refused to mention was it Hamas that threw out the “democratic institutions” with a military operation that threw Fatah out of Gaza. And the major reason Hamas and Fatah hadn’t reconciled (and still haven’t) was Hamas’ desire to perpetuate its violence against Israel – something it has done very well.
Malley’s continued protection of Hamas has paid off for the terrorist organization, one of the planks removed from the 2012 Democratic platform (and never put back), it read:
The United States and its Quartet partners should continue to isolate Hamas until it renounces terrorism, recognizes Israel’s right to exist, and abides by past agreements.
Malley officially joined the Obama administration in Feb 2014 as senior director of the National Security Council on Persian Gulf policy (where he helped to negotiate the anti-Israel Iran deal). He was promoted to Special Assistant to the President and White House Coordinator for the Middle East, North Africa and the Gulf Region, effective April 2015. And now the Hamas supporter is Obama’s ISIL Czar.
Malley get credit for one thing. In 2008 when he was an adviser to the Obama campaign, NY Times columnist Helene Cooper cited my criticism of Malley (along with that of Ed Lasky at American Thinker) as an example of right-wing bloggers lying about Obama’s dislike of Israel. I guess you really nailed that one down Helene.
Robert O. Malley has had a storied career as an anti-Israel, and pro-terrorism activist. And now he gets to advise Obama about the war on terrorism. I bet Uncle Yasser would be so proud.
The Obama administration pursued a policy in Libya back in 2011 that ultimately allowed guns to walk into the hands of jihadists linked to the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) and al-Qaeda (AQ) in Syria, according to a former CIA officer who co-authored a report on behalf of the Citizen’s Commission on Benghazi (CCB), detailing the gun running scheme.
In Congress, the then-bipartisan group known as the “Gang of Eight,” at a minimum, knew of the operation to aid and abet America’s jihadist enemies by providing them with material support. So says Clare Lopez, a former CIA officer and the primary author of CCB’s interim report, titled How America Switched Sides in the War on Terror, speaking with Breitbart News.
The ripple effects of the illegal policy to arm America’s enemies continue to be felt as the U.S. military is currently leading a war against ISIS and AQ terrorists in Iraq and Syria, according to Lopez.
In late October, Defense Secretary Ash Carter said that the U.S. would begin “direct action on the ground” against ISIS terrorists in Iraq and Syria who may have reaped the benefits from the gun-running scheme that started in Libya.
“The Obama administration effectively switched sides in what used to be called the Global War on Terror [GWOT] when it decided to overthrow the sovereign government of our Libyan ally, Muammar Qaddafi, who’d been helping in the fight against al-Qaeda, by actually teaming up with and facilitating gun-running to Libyan al-Qaeda and Muslim Brotherhood [MB] elements there in 2011,” explained Lopez. “This U.S. gun-running policy in 2011 during the Libyan revolution was directed by [then] Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and [the late Libya Ambassador] Christopher Stevens, who was her official envoy to the Libyan AQ rebels.”
To avoid having the funds tracked back to the Obama administration, the arms flow to Libya was financed thru the United Arab Emirates, while Qatar served as the logistical and shipping hub, she noted.
“In 2012, the gun-running into Libya turned around and began to flow outward, from Benghazi to the AQ-and-MB-dominated rebels in Syria,” Lopez added. “This time, it was the CIA Base of Operations that was in charge of collecting up and shipping out [surface-to-air missiles] SAMs from Libya on Libyan ships to Turkey for overland delivery to a variety of jihadist militias, some of whose members later coalesced into groups like Jabhat al-Nusra and ISIS [also known as IS].”
Jabhat al-Nusra is al-Qaeda’s Syrian affiliate.
“The downstream consequences of Obama White House decisions in the Syrian conflict are still playing out, but certainly the U.S. – and particularly CIA – support of identifiable jihadist groups associated with the Muslim Brotherhood, Jabhat al-Nusra, Ahrar al-Sham, the Islamic State and other [jihadists] has only exacerbated what was already a devastating situation,” declared Lopez.
Some of the other weapons that eventually ended up in Syria included thousands of MAN-Portable-Air-Defense-System (MANPADS) missile units, such as shoulder-launched SAMs, from late dictator Muammar Qaddafi’s extensive arms stockpiles that pose a threat to low-flying aircraft, especially helicopters.
“It’s been reported that President Obama signed an Executive Order on Syria in early 2012 [just as he had done for Libya in early 2011], that legally covered the CIA and other U.S. agencies that otherwise would have been in violation of aiding and abetting the enemy in time of war and providing material support to terrorism,” notes Lopez. “Still, such blatant disregard for U.S. national security can only be described as deeply corrosive of core American principles.”
Libya Amb. Stevens was killed by jihadists in Benghazi on September 11, 2012, along with three other Americans.
Echoing a Benghazi resident who provided a first-hand account of the incident, retired U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Dennis Haney, a CCB member, suggested to Breitbart News that Hillary Clinton’s State Department armed some of the al-Qaeda linked jihadists who may have killed the four Americans in Benghazi.
“The reason the U.S. government was operating in Libya is absolutely critical to this debacle because it reflects where America went off the tracks and literally switched sides in the GWOT,” points out Lopez. “This is about who we are as a country, as a people – where we are going with this Republic of ours.”
“There can be no greater treason than aiding and abetting the jihadist enemy in time of war – or providing material – weapons, funding, intel, NATO bombing – support to terrorism,” she continued. “The reason Benghazi is not the burning issue it ought to be is because so many at top levels of U.S. government were implicated in wrong-doing: White House, Pentagon, Intel Community-CIA, Gang of Eight, at a minimum, in Congress, the Department of State, etc.”
The State Department and the CIA did not respond to Breitbart News’ requests for comment.
The Democratic presidential frontrunner claimed she was not aware of any U.S. government efforts to arm jihadists in Libya and Syria.
Clinton did admit to being open to the idea of using private security experts to arm the Qaddafi opposition, which included al-Qaeda elements, but added that it was “not considered seriously.”
The 2011 “Gang of Eight” mentioned in this report was comprised of a bipartisan group of lawmakers from both chambers.
President Obama arrives Sunday in Paris to finalize a global climate-change pact that if completed would be a legacy-defining part of his presidency. But he awaits challenges at home and abroad, including questions about who will pay for the changes and whether terrorism is a more imminent concern.
On Capitol Hill, Senate Republicans suggested last week that the GOP-led chamber must approve the Paris deal, or it will withhold billions that the U.S. has pledged, as part of the pact, to help poor countries reduces their carbon output.
“Congress will not be forthcoming with these funds in the future without a vote in the Senate on any final agreement as required in the U.S. Constitution,” Oklahoma Sen. James Inhofe, chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, and 36 other GOP senators said in a letter to Obama.
They also made clear that any deal including taxpayer money and a binding timetable on emissions must have Senate approval. And they argue that Obama has already pledged $3 billion to the Green Climate Fund “without the consent of Congress.”
The United Nations talks will take place on the outskirts of Paris, where 130 people were killed roughly two weeks ago in terror attacks, which has also sparked concerns about whether world leaders should now be more focused on stopping terror groups.
Obama said Tuesday at a White House press conference with French President Francois Hollande that the summit will be a “powerful rebuke” to terrorists, including the Islamic State, which has claimed responsibility for the Paris attacks.
“The world stands as one and shows that we will not be deterred from building a better future for our children,” Obama also said.
Still, Paris and the surrounding area will essentially be locked down for the 12-day summit. And climate-change activists have reportedly agreed to cancel a march Sunday, after an appeal from French leaders.
“I have to salute the responsibility of the organizations who would have liked to demonstrate but who understand that if they demonstrate in a public place there is a security risk, or even a risk of panic,” French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius told The Guardian.
About 150 heads of state are set to join Obama for talks on Monday and Tuesday as the deal nears the finish line. The goal is to secure worldwide cuts to emissions of heat-trapping gases to limit the rise of global temperatures to about another 2 degrees from now.
The concept behind a Paris pact is that the 170 or so nations already have filed their plans. They would then promise to fulfill their commitments in a separate arrangement to avoid the need for ratification by the U.S. Senate.
Such dual-level agreement could be considered part of a 1992 treaty already approved by the Senate, said Nigel Purvis, an environmental negotiator in the Clinton and George W. Bush administrations.
But it’s not just about whether or not to ratify.
Latin America countries attending the negotiations reportedly will demand that the wealthiest countries and those that pollute the most pay for the reduction of carbon emissions.
In the United States, the talks are entangled in the debate about whether humans really are contributing to climate change, and what, if anything, policymakers should do about it. Almost all Republicans, along with some Democrats, oppose the steps Obama has taken to curb greenhouse gas emissions, arguing they will hurt the economy, shutter coal plants and eliminate jobs in power-producing states.
Half the states are suing the administration to try to block Obama’s unprecedented regulations to cut power plant emissions by roughly one-third by 2030. The states say Obama has exceeded his authority and is misusing the decades-old Clean Air Act. If their lawsuit succeeds, Obama would be hard-pressed to deliver the 26 percent to 28 percent cut in overall U.S. emissions by 2030 that he has promised as America’s contribution.
Opponents also are trying to gut the power plant rules through a rarely used legislative maneuver that already has passed the Senate. A House vote is expected while international negotiators are in Paris.
And Republicans running for president are unanimous in their opposition to Obama’s power plant rules; many say that if elected, they immediately would rip up the rules.
The administration mostly has acted through executive power: proposing the carbon dioxide limits on power plants, which mostly affect coal-fired plants; putting limits on methane emissions; and ratcheting up fuel efficiency standards for cars and trucks, which also cuts down on carbon pollution.
The Obama administration released thousands of illegal immigrant children to sponsors with criminal records, including arrests on charges of child molestation, human trafficking and homicide, a top senator charged Tuesday.
If true, it would be a stunning black mark on President Obama’s immigration record, according to analysts, who said the first job of the government was to protect the children from dangerous situations – and it apparently failed.
At least 3,400 children were placed in homes where sponsors had criminal records, said Sen. Chuck Grassley, chairman of the Judiciary Committee, citing information from a whistleblower.
“Allegedly, proper screening is not taking place and children are paying the price,” the Iowa Republican said in a letter demanding answers about the procedural breakdown from Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson and Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell.
HHS didn’t deny the numbers but said it does try to prohibit those with “serious” criminal records from sponsoring children and does conduct some level of background checks on all sponsors.
The accusations were made just as the Border Patrol confirmed another surge of illegal immigrant children along the southwestern border, with nearly 5,000 unaccompanied minors and 6,000 more women and children traveling together streaming across in October.
Those are huge increases over last October, when 2,500 unaccompanied children and fewer than 2,200 family members traveling together were caught at the border.
Customs and Border Protection officials said they were “closely monitoring this situation” and blamed smugglers for enticing would-be migrants to make the perilous journey by promising they can earn “permisos,” or free passes, once they reach the U.S. The permisos are the court appearance documents that the Border Patrol issues before releasing them into the interior of the U.S., where they can easily disappear.
In the case of unaccompanied children, the Border Patrol turns them over to the Office of Refugee Resettlement, which is part of HHS. That office then houses the children in dormitories until sponsors can be found for them.
But the pressure to handle tens of thousands of children at a time overwhelmed the office last year. As a result, the office handed over children to sponsors who were not properly vetted, according to Mr. Grassley and other analysts.
“They were so overwhelmed with cases they were more interested in processing them quickly than in making sure it was done safely,” said Jessica Vaughan, policy studies director at the Center for Immigration Studies. “They seemed to be operating under this delusion these were harmless kids being reclaimed by well-meaning relatives and there was nothing to worry about. And that is truly delusional.”
She said conducting background checks has become routine even for youth sports coaches and library volunteers and it’s stunning that the Obama administration doesn’t require that for someone who is taking full custody of a child.
HHS spokeswoman Andrea Helling said the department does try to vet the people it allows to sponsor children.
“It is not the practice of the Office of Refugee Resettlement to place unaccompanied children with sponsors who have serious criminal convictions. The safety of the children is our primary concern, and any allegation of even potential harm is taken seriously and will be investigated,” she said.
Under the Obama administration’s interpretation of the law, children caught crossing the border illegally without parents are deemed “unaccompanied alien children,” or UACs. They are supposed to be processed quickly by the Border Patrol and then turned over to HHS, which puts them in juvenile homes until they can be reconnected with relatives or placed in foster families.
That often meant placing them with relatives who themselves were in the U.S. illegally.
HHS, faced with nearly 10,000 children a month at the peak last summer, cut corners, including no longer requiring that all sponsors go through fingerprint checks. Fingerprints are required if a sponsor is not a parent or legal guardian, and in cases in which a child is considered particularly vulnerable.
HHS does conduct a background check that includes running a sponsor’s name through criminal databases, and they listen to see whether a sponsor “self-reports” a criminal history during the vetting process.
As of August, HHS also now conducts follow-up visits 30 days after a child is released to a sponsor. In May, HHS began accepting calls to its hotline for children or their sponsors to report on disruptions, including conflicts that could endanger the safety of a child.
Immigrant rights advocates involved in monitoring the children’s cases could not be reached for comment Tuesday.
But last year, at the height of the surge, one nonprofit estimated that as many as 10 percent of the children were sent to live in unacceptable or dangerous conditions.
Mr. Grassley said Tuesday that the whistleblower, whom he did not identify, raised his concerns with the Obama administration in August, yet the children identified as having been put in jeopardy have not been removed from those homes.
The whistleblower saw information on just a subset of 29,000 children, and 12 percent of them were placed in homes where sponsors had records. Extrapolating across the nearly 110,000 unaccompanied children caught at the border over the past two years, that could mean nearly 13,000 children may have been placed in dangerous situations.
While the courts have blocked President Obama’s sweeping executive amnesty programs, other aspects of Obama’s immigration edicts have served to shield more than 80 percent of the illegal immigrant population from deportation, the Washington Times reports.
According to reporting by Stephan Dinan, the implementation of other executive actions on immigration announced exactly a year ago Friday – specifically the administration’s changes to “priorities” for enforcement – has essentially served to order “agents not to bother deporting nearly all illegal immigrants.”
The changes saw the Department of Homeland Security revamp the immigrants it prioritizes for enforcement to include mainly just serious criminal aliens, gang members, national security threats and recent border crossers. As Dinan reports:
The changes are already having a major effect. Deportations, which peaked at nearly 410,000 in fiscal year 2012, dropped to about 230,000 in fiscal year 2015, which ended Sept. 30. But Mr. Johnson said more of those being deported are the serious criminals and safety threats he wants his agents to worry about.
Indeed, if agents adhere strictly to his priorities, some 9.6 million of the estimated 11.5 million illegal immigrants in the country have no real danger of being deported, according to an estimate this year by the Migration Policy Institute.
Dinan notes that the changes to enforcement priorities were not the only actions that have made life easier for immigrants in the U.S. and those seeking admission.
The actions – often mislabeled by the press as executive orders – also included changes to the legal immigration system, such as making it easier for spouses of guest workers to also find jobs; allowing foreigners who study science and technology at U.S. universities to remain and work in the country longer; pushing legal immigrants to apply for citizenship; and waiving the penalty on illegal immigrant spouses or children of legal permanent residents so they no longer have to go to their home countries to await legal status.
As I argued in Faithless Execution, the principal constitutional duty of the chief executive is to execute the laws faithfully. President Obama, by contrast, sees his principal task as imposing his post-American “progressive” preferences, regardless of what the laws mandate.
In his latest harangue against Senator Ted Cruz (R., Texas) and other Americans opposed to his insistence on continuing to import thousands of Muslim refugees from Syria and other parts of the jihad-ravaged Middle East, Obama declaimed:
When I hear political leaders suggesting that there would be a religious test for which a person who’s fleeing from a war-torn country is admitted… that’s shameful… That’s not American. That’s not who we are. We don’t have religious tests to our compassion.
Really? Under federal law, the executive branch is expressly required to take religion into account in determining who is granted asylum. Under the provision governing asylum (section 1158 of Title 8, U.S. Code), an alien applying for admission
must establish that… religion [among other things]… was or will be at least one central reason for persecuting the applicant.
Moreover, to qualify for asylum in the United States, the applicant must be a “refugee” as defined by federal law. That definition (set forth in Section 1101(a)(42)(A) of Title , U.S. Code) also requires the executive branch to take account of the alien’s religion:
The term “refugee” means (A) any person who is outside any country of such person’s nationality… and who is unable or unwilling to return to… that country because of persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution on account of… religion [among other things]… [.]
The law requires a “religious test.” And the reason for that is obvious. Asylum law is not a reflection of the incumbent president’s personal (and rather eccentric) sense of compassion. Asylum is a discretionary national act of compassion that is directed, by law not whim, to address persecution.
There is no right to emigrate to the United States. And the fact that one comes from a country or territory ravaged by war does not, by itself, make one an asylum candidate. War, regrettably, is a staple of the human condition. Civil wars are generally about power. That often makes them violent and, for many, tragic; but it does not necessarily make them wars in which one side is persecuting the other side.
In the case of this war, the Islamic State is undeniably persecuting Christians. It is doing so, moreover, as a matter of doctrine. Even those Christians the Islamic State does not kill, it otherwise persecutes as called for by its construction of sharia (observe, for example, the ongoing rape jihad and sexual slavery).’
To the contrary, the Islamic State seeks to rule Muslims, not kill or persecute them. Obama prefers not to dwell on the distinction between the jihadist treatment of Muslims, on the one hand, and of Christians, Jews and other religions, on the other hand, because he – like much of Washington – inhabits a world in which jihadists are not Islamic and, therefore, have no common ground with other Muslims… notwithstanding that jihadists emerge whenever and wherever a population of sharia-adherent Muslims reaches critical mass. But this is sheer fantasy. While there is no question that ISIS will kill and persecute Muslims whom it regards as apostates for refusing to adhere to its construction of Islam, it is abject idiocy to suggest that Muslims are facing the same ubiquity and intensity of persecution as Christians.
And it is downright dishonest to claim that taking such religious distinctions into account is “not American,” let alone “shameful.” How can something American law requires be “not American”? And how can a national expression of compassion expressly aimed at alleviating persecution be “shameful”?
H/T Media Research Center
President Obama’s effort to grant up to 5 million illegal immigrants work permits and amnesty from deportation suffered a major blow late Monday when a federal appeals court ruled it was likely illegal, in yet another move by the courts to set limits on this White House’s efforts to stretch presidential powers.
The 2-1 decision by the Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, sitting in New Orleans, instantly forces the issue to the fore of the presidential campaigns, where all three top Democratic candidates had insisted Mr. Obama’s actions were not only legal, but vowed to go beyond them and try to expand the amnesty to still more illegal immigrants. Republican candidates, meanwhile, had vowed to undo the moves.
The decision is a huge win for Texas and 25 other states who had sued a year ago to stop the president after he declared he was done waiting for Congress and announced he was acting to “change the law” on his own.
Writing for the majority, Judge Jerry E. Smith said that statement by Mr. Obama weighed heavily against him, since only Congress has the power to rewrite the Immigration and Nationality Act.
“The INA flatly does not permit the reclassification of millions of illegal aliens as lawfully present and thereby make them newly eligible for a host of federal and state benefits, including work authorization,” Judge Smith wrote.
The ruling does not mean those illegal immigrants will be deported – indeed, the judges affirmed that the administration has a lot of leeway to decide who does get kicked out on a case-by-case basis. But the decision means that while leaving them alone, the Homeland Security secretary cannot proactively go ahead and grant them work permits, Social Security numbers and a prospective grant of non-deportation for three years into the future.
The ruling also does not alter Mr. Obama’s 2012 policy granting a similar deportation amnesty to so-called Dreamers, or young adult illegal immigrants who came to the U.S. as children. Texas did not challenge that policy.
But the decision does halt the 2014 expansion Mr. Obama announced, which would have lifted the age limit on the 2012 policy so it applied to all Dreamers, and would have extended the grant of amnesty to illegal immigrant parents of U.S. citizens and legal permanent resident children. Estimates have placed the number of people who would have qualified at up to 5 million.
Mr. Obama had repeatedly insisted he was within the law, and pointed to smaller grants of “deferred action” taken by previous presidents.
The majority of the court, however, said this waiver went far beyond that scope, with Mr. Obama attempting to convert major classifications of illegal status.
Mr. Obama had argued his move, known officially as “Deferred Action for Parental Arrivals,” or DAPA, was not a major new policy, but rather a setting of priorities. He argued that Congress doesn’t give him enough money to deport all illegal immigrants, so he is within his rights to use discretion about whom to deport – and then to grant limited benefits to others who might eventually have a claim to legal status under existing laws.
Judge Carolyn Dineen King, who dissented, agreed with the president’s reasoning.
“Denying DHS’s ability to grant deferred action on a ‘class-wide basis’… as the majority does, severely constrains the agency,” she wrote.
She also agreed with Mr. Obama that the courts had no business even getting involved in the case, saying that the president alone has discretion to make deportation decisions and judges are not allowed to second-guess that.
The judges heard oral arguments in the case in July, calling it an expedited appeal because of the seriousness of the matter. That made the three months it took to issue the ruling all the more striking – and Judge King chided her colleagues for taking so long.
“There is no justification for that delay,” she said.
Courts have not been kind to Mr. Obama, a former constitutional law scholar at the University of Chicago. His move to expand recess appointment powers in 2012 was swatted down by a unanimous Supreme Court, while several environmental moves have also been blocked.
And a federal court in Washington, D.C., has ruled the House of Representatives has standing to sue over the president’s moves to try to spend money on Obamacare that Congress specifically withheld.
The immigration ruling joins those rulings as yet another instance where conservatives have turned to the courts to referee a dispute over Mr. Obama’s claims of executive power.
Immigrant-advocacy groups had been anxiously watching the case, and were devastated by the ruling.
“This is a huge setback,” said Voto Latino President Maria Teresa Kumar. “There is a shortage of justice as families live in constant fear of being torn apart from their loved ones and uprooted from their communities.”
She said she was “confident” the Supreme Court will overturn the ruling, if the case gets there.
Mr. Obama announced the amnesty as part of a series of steps last Nov. 20 designed to work around Congress, where House Republicans had balked at passing a legalization bill.
The president said that if they wouldn’t cooperate with him, he was going to take unilateral action to streamline legal immigration and to halt deportations for as many as 9 million of the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants in the country. Those steps all remain in place.
But he also wanted to go beyond that and grant some tentative legal status and benefits to about half of those illegal immigrants – chiefly by giving them work permits, which allows them to come out of the shadows, hold jobs and pay taxes above board.
Granting work permits also entitled the illegal immigrants to driver’s licenses in every state in the county, and to Social Security numbers – which meant they were even able to start collecting tax credits. In addition, some states granted them in-state tuition for public colleges.
But the money states would have to spend on issuing driver’s licenses proved to be the plan’s downfall. Texas argued that meant it would lose money under the plan, which meant it had standing to sue.
Once the judges decided that, they turned to whether Mr. Obama followed the law in making the changes. The majority concluded that he because he never sought public review and comment, which is standard for major changes of policy made by agencies, he broke the Administrative Procedures Act.
Immigrant-rights advocates demanded the Obama administration fight to the Supreme Court, but also said they’ll force the issue into the political realm as well.
Ben Monterroso, executive director of Mi Familia Vota, called on Hispanics and other voters to punish Republicans at the ballot box over the lawsuit, saying “anti-immigrant conservative politicians… are to blame.”
“We cannot control the courts, but we will have a say in political outcomes. It is now up to us – Latino voters and groups like ours that are working every day to grow our vote in the 2016 national election – to elect candidates who respect our communities and will commit to working on our issues and treating us fairly,” he said.
About half of Obamacare’s Consumer Operated and Oriented Plans, or co-ops, have imploded, leaving nearly half-a-million Americans looking for new health coverage.
And instead of addressing the problem, the Obama administration is pretending it doesn’t exist.
That’s the assessment of Rep. Adrian Smith, R-Neb., a member of the House Ways and Means Committee who recently wrote about the spate of failures in the Wall Street Journal.
“When it passed Congress in 2010, the Affordable Care Act offered substantial financial support to create nonprofit health-insurance plans. Today 11 of the 23 such regional Consumer Operated and Oriented Plans have failed – seven since the beginning of October,” Smith wrote.
“They’ve collapsed despite federal startup loans totaling more than $1.1 billion. These loans will likely never be fully repaid, while insurers and consumers will be on the hook for any unpaid claims left behind by failed insurers,” he added.
The congressman estimates 400,00-500,000 Americans lost their coverage in those 11 failed co-ops.
In an interview with Radio America, Smith says the co-ops were doomed from the start.
“I think they were improperly structured. They were allowed to charge too low a premium, not reflecting the actual costs. They thought the original subsidies – or loans if you will, but let’s face it, they’re subsidies, especially since they’re so unlikely to be repaid. That wasn’t enough,” said Smith, who is fuming more as he learns how these collapses transpired.
“The more I am learning about this entire situation, the more offensive it is, and this is just one part of Obamacare,” Smith said.
The congressman said what galls him most is that the government forced many people out of coverage they liked and then left those same people out in the cold.
“The thing that bothers me the most is when a good, upstanding citizen is doing everything they’re supposed to do to be a responsible individual,” Smith said. “Yet they are faced with canceled coverage, or they’re faced with a penalty for taking care of themselves.”
Adding to Smith’s frustrations is what he believes is utter indifference to the problem from the Obama administration.
“We had a hearing earlier this week, and the chief of staff from [the Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services] was our witness,” Smith said. “[Dr. Mandy Cohen] sent the message that everything is just fine in the Obamacare co-op arena.”
He said it’s quite obvious that co-ops are not “just fine.”
“It’s not a win,” Smith said. “Nearly half of the co-ops have collapsed and that’s from New York to Nevada. Ours, with Nebraska and Iowa together, we were the first to collapse a year ago. Now we see them collapsing at a much quicker pace.”
How can the Department of Health and Human Services, or HHS, say all is well when almost half the co-ops have failed?
“In a very dismissive manner, I have to say, and it’s disappointing,” Smith said. “I started asking questions almost a year ago and HHS is not offering any answers.”
Not only is the government doing little to help, in some circumstances it is actually pushing co-ops to their deaths.
“The administrators of the Nebraska-Iowa plan saw a larger number of people sign up for their plan than they originally anticipated,” Smith said. “So they requested permission from HHS to suspend enrollment, to basically cap that at a number they figured was more manageable. They were prohibited by HHS from capping the number of enrollees.”
The congressman said that hastened the demise of the Nebraska-Iowa co-op. He said HHS did give permission for the Tennessee co-op to cap enrollment, but it collapsed anyway.
In the meantime, Smith is sponsoring legislation that would protect those who lost coverage with the failure of the co-ops from being fined by the IRS for not having coverage as mandated by federal law.
He believes all of Obamacare will eventually crater, but he hopes too many people aren’t hurt in the process.
“Ultimately, I think it collapses under its own weight,” he said. “I just want to do everything I can to minimize the damage in the ensuing time. That’s what weighs heavy on my mind is that the heavy hand of the federal government is actually hurting the very people Barack Obama was saying he was wanting to help.”
It took President Barack Obama only 2,604 days to reject the permit application for the Keystone XL pipeline.
In a statement today, Obama said the pipeline “would not serve the national interest of the United States.”
“America is now a global leader when it comes to taking serious action to fight climate change,” Obama added. “And frankly, approving this project would have undercut that global leadership.”
Former Obama administration Secretary of Energy Stephen Chu hit the nail on the head: “The decision on whether the construction should happen was a political one and not a scientific one.”
Here are the top nine reasons Obama is wrong on Keystone XL.
1.) Jobs and economic growth. Opponents will minimize the job numbers, saying that the pipeline will create only “a handful” of permanent jobs – and that’s correct. In his speech Obama said, “So if Congress is serious about wanting to create jobs, this was not the way to do it.” But here’s what that argument misses: the tens of thousands of construction jobs that the pipeline project will create. In fact, simply building the southern portion – which didn’t need Obama’s approval – has already created 4,000 construction jobs. And if opponents are dismissive of Keystone XL, they should be dismissive of all construction projects, as they’re all temporary – because they’re construction jobs. Further, Keystone XL would add economic value, transport an important energy resource efficiently, and result in billions of dollars of tax revenue for states it runs through.
2.) Stable supply of oil from an important trading partner that will lower gas prices. The pipeline would carry up to 830,000 barrels of oil from Canada to the Gulf Coast, where U.S. refineries are already equipped to handle heavier crudes. The pipeline will efficiently provide supply from a secure source and a friendly and important trading partner. Contra Obama’s claim today that “the pipeline would not lower gas prices for American consumers,” increased oil supplies will lower gas prices, though the impact may be small.
3.) Safest mode of getting oil and gas to Americans. Many in the United States live near a pipeline without even knowing about it. America has more than 500,000 miles of crude oil, petroleum, and natural gas pipelines and another 2 million miles of natural gas distribution pipelines. When it comes to accidents, injuries, and fatalities, pipelines are the safest mode of transporting oil and gas.
4.) Should be a business decision, not a government one. In concluding with Secretary of State John Kerry’s assessment that the project would not be in the national interest, Obama said, “The pipeline would not make a meaningful long-term contribution to our economy.” It is not the role of the federal government to make that determination. The federal government shouldn’t make that determination with the construction of a new restaurant or boutique shop. And it shouldn’t make that determination with a pipeline. After the State Department concluded that the pipeline was environmentally safe, the decision to build Keystone XL should have been a business decision – not a government one.
5.) We’ve done this before. The Keystone XL Pipeline is just a portion of the larger Keystone Pipeline System. You can view a map of the entire system here. Unbeknownst to many is the fact that the U.S. has already granted one of those presidential permits for the Keystone Pipeline System. For phase I of the Keystone Pipeline System, TransCanada filed an application with the Department of State (DOS) in April 2006, and the department began an environmental review in September 2006. TransCanada received its presidential permit for phase I in March 2008. From beginning to end, the process took 23 months. It has taken 86 months for Obama to say no.
6.) Environmentally safe. It was Albert Einstein who said the definition of insanity is “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” The State Department must be teetering on the edge of insanity, because after multiple environmental reviews concluding that Keystone XL poses minimal environmental risk to soil, wetlands, water resources, vegetation, fish, and wildlife, the Obama administration still rejected the permit application.
7.) Negligible climate impact. In a speech in June 2013, Obama said the climate effects of Keystone XL would have a major impact on the administration’s decision. These effects, however, would be minimal. The State Department’s final environmental impact statement concludes that the Canadian oil is coming out of the ground whether Keystone XL is built or not, so the difference in greenhouse gas emissions is minuscule. No matter your position on climate change, Keystone XL won’t make a difference.
8.) Can be built without the help of the taxpayer. Building and operating Keystone XL will result in real private-sector jobs that will grow the U.S. economy. This is very different from the president’s taxpayer-funded green jobs plan that merely siphons resources out of the market and forces pricier energy on the American public.
9.) The people want it. Lots of people want it. A CNN poll in the beginning of the year found that 57 percent of Americans support the project, while just 28 percent oppose it. Many unions want it. Former Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar called the project a “win-win.” Congress sent a bill to Obama’s desk, demonstrating their will to approve the project. Sadly, the Obama administration is catering to the small group of radical environmental activists who don’t want the pipeline.
Last April, the Washington Post slammed the Obama administration’s continued delay of a Keystone XL decision, calling it “absurd” and “embarrassing.” Rejecting the permit application is even more absurd and more embarrassing.
The latest Quinnipiac poll, arriving one year before Election Day, shows all of the top Republican candidates except Donald Trump running ahead of Hillary Clinton.
Dr. Ben Carson, who is effectively tied with Trump as the GOP front-runner in the poll, wallops Clinton by 10 points, 50 percent to 40 percent. Sen. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) beats Clinton 46 percent to 41 percent, as does GOv. Chris Christie. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) beats her 46 percent to 43 percent.
But Clinton has a 3-point edge over Donald Trump in the poll, 46 percent to 43 percent.
Interestingly, the second tier among primary voters is also a virtual tie between Senators Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz. No other Republican candidate was able to score over 3 percent, and quite a few of them fell below 1 percent to become asterisks.
Qunnipiac finds the Republican contenders lined up as follows:
Trump at 24 percent and Carson at 23 percent.
Rubio at 14 percent and Cruz at 13 percent
Jeb Bush 4 percent, Chris Christie 3 percent, Carly Fiorina 3 percent, John Kasich 3 percent, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) 2 percent, Mike Huckabee 1 percent and Rick Santorum 1 percent.
No other candidate scored high enough to be counted at 1 percent in the poll.
Tim Mallow, Qunnipiac’s assistant director described Carson’s lead over Clinton as a contest of character. “Clinton gets crushed on character issues, pounded by Carson and closely challenged by Sen. Ted Cruz, Donald Trump and Sen. Marco Rubio,” he said.
Also noteworthy is that Carson is effectively tied with Clinton among women. Women were split 45 percent to 44 percent for Carson versus Clinton.
As with other recent polls, Quinnipiac found Clinton’s approval rating underwater with registered voters, 42 percent favorable to 52 percent unfavorable. She scores especially badly on the “honesty” metric, 36 percent to 60 percent.
Conversely, Carson has a tremendous favorable rating, 49 percent to 25 percent, with a sizable 25 percent saying they haven’t heard enough about him to form an opinion. His plus-24 approval spread is the best in the field, followed by plus-14 for Rubio and plus-10 for Fiorina.
Carson’s biggest weakness, unsurprisingly, comes from voters who worry that he “does not have the right kind of experience to be President.”
That seems like a much easier problem for his campaign to address than Clinton’s baked-in honesty deficit, especially since honesty and trustworthiness were rated as the most important attributes overall. Carson also scores best among all candidates in the “cares about my needs and problems” category, which is scored as the second most important attribute this time around, and was seen as perhaps the most important in the 2012 election. Clinton is underwater on this metric as well, at 44 percent to 53 percent.
The lowest approval rating among candidates in the Q-poll was held by Jeb Bush, whose 25 percent to 58 percent score gave him a Titanic-like minus-33 rating.
In this week’s broadcast of his weekly program on TheBlaze radio network, Sheriff David Clarke had a few choice words for the occupier of the White House and his conduct in the orchestration of and response to violence against police officers in America.
Clarke points out that instead of investigating the human rights abuse of black on black crime, the Department of Justice is going after police, making the targeting of them “job one.”
He addresses the murder of officer Randolph Holder in New York, with 96 officers killed last year and another 48,518 assaulted in the line of duty, saying, “That’s the brutality. Many of those suspects were black, in the commission of crimes, threatening a law enforcement officer or failing to abide by their lawful commands, resisting arrest. How about black criminal abuse, black criminal brutality?”
Clarke doesn’t put much value in the apology of Judge Patricia Nunez, the one who released the inmate who would later murder Officer Holder, calling her a criminal coddling, criminal advocating, empathy for the criminal, despicable human being.
He notes, “By the way we still have not heard from ‘president’ Obama, that heartless, soulless bastard, who wastes no time taking to the microphone to stick up for a criminal creep like Mike Brown, like Eric Garner, like Freddie Gray, like Trayvon Martin, in communicating empathy for those goons and yet he has to be prodded, he has to be prodded to say something when a law enforcement officer is killed in the line of duty.”
Just as detractors of President Barack Obama’s healthcare power grab predicted in the midst of Democrat lawmakers shoving their unread law down the throats of the American people, the finished product is living up to expectations: it is filled with deceit, waste, misconduct, and “a big bowl of fraud,” according to several attorneys and investigators who spoke with the ConservativeBase.com’s editor.
Although non-profit, conservative watchdog groups have frequently reported corruption, misconduct, malfeasance and deception within the Obama administration’s signature program known as Obamacare, the Democrats and their news media partners found it relatively easy to dismiss the watchdogs’ reports by claiming a right-wing conspiracy.
However, when the Government Accountability Office (GAO) officials – who report to the U.S. Congress and are reputed to be nonpartisan at least when their reports prove the Democrats’ point of view – released their latest “indictment” of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) on Friday, the majority of denizens in American newsrooms ignored the GAO’s disturbing report describing its undercover operation.
The PPACA requires the health-insurance marketplace to review application information to verify applicants’ eligibility for enrollment and to review eligibility for income-based subsidies or Medicaid for those claiming such entitlements. The verification process includes reviewing and validating information about an applicant’s Social Security number, if one is provided; citizenship, status as a national or lawful presence; and household income and family size.
GAO investigators reported that they tested application and enrollment controls for obtaining subsidized health plans available through the federal Health Insurance Marketplace (Marketplace) (for New Jersey and North Dakota) and two selected state marketplaces (California and Kentucky). Although 8 of these 10 fictitious applications failed the initial identity-checking process, all 10 were subsequently approved by the federal Marketplace or the selected state marketplaces.
According to GAO officials: “To perform our undercover testing of the federal and selected state eligibility and enrollment processes for the 2015 coverage year, we created 18 fictitious identities for the purpose of making applications for health-care coverage by telephone and online.18 The undercover results, while illustrative, cannot be generalized to the full population of enrollees. For all 18 applications, we used publicly available information to construct our scenarios.
“We also used publicly available hardware, software, and materials to produce counterfeit or fictitious documents, which we submitted, as appropriate for our testing, when instructed to do so. We then observed the outcomes of the document submissions, such as any approvals received or requests to provide additional supporting documentation.”
Four applications used Social Security numbers that, according to the Social Security Administration (SSA), have never been issued, such as numbers starting with “000.” Other applicants had duplicate enrollment or claimed their employer did not provide insurance that meets minimum essential coverage. For 8 additional fictitious applicants, GAO tested enrollment into Medicaid through the same federal Marketplace and the two selected state marketplaces, and was able to obtain either Medicaid or alternative subsidized coverage for 7 of the 8 applicants:
* Three were approved for Medicaid, which was the health-care program for which GAO originally sought approval. In each case, GAO provided identity information that would not have matched SSA records. For two applications, the marketplace directed the fictitious applicants to submit supporting documents, which GAO did (such as a fake immigration card), and the applications were approved. For the third, the marketplace did not seek supporting documentation, and the application was approved by phone.
* For four, GAO did not obtain approval for Medicaid; however, GAO was subsequently able to gain approval of subsidized health plans based on the inability to obtain Medicaid coverage. In 1 case, GAO falsely claimed that it was denied Medicaid in order to obtain the subsidized health plan when in fact no Medicaid determination had been made by the state at that time.
* For one, GAO was unable to enroll into Medicaid, in California, because GAO declined to provide a Social Security number. According to California officials, the state marketplace requires a Social Security number or taxpayer-identification number to process applications.
According to officials from the Centers for Medicaid & Medicare Services (CMS), California, Kentucky, and North Dakota, the marketplaces and Medicaid offices only inspect for “supporting documentation that has obviously been altered. So if the documentation submitted doesn’t show such signs, it wouldn’t be questioned for authenticity.
The latest survey by Rasmussen Polling shows that only 32% of likely voters believe the government should require every American to buy or obtain health insurance. Most voters (56%) continue to oppose Obamacare’s insurance requirement, and this is the highest level of opposition in nearly two years. Twelve percent (12%) remain undecided.
Obamacare premium costs will soar 20.3 percent on average in 2016 instead of the 7.5 percent increase claimed by federal officials, according to an analysis by The Daily Caller News Foundation.
The discrepancy is because the government excluded price data for three of the four Obamacare health insurance plans when the officials issued their recent forecast claiming enrollees would face only a 7.5 percent average rate increase in 2016.
When data for all four plans are included, premium costs will actually rise on average 20.3 percent next year. The 2015 Obamacare price hike was 20.3 percent.
The Obamacare program’s federal exchange operates in 37 states where officials declined to set up state-run exchanges. Officials in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Center for Medicare Services, which manages Obamacare, only calculated price changes for the health insurance program’s Silver plan, thus ignoring data for the Bronze, Gold and Platinum plans.
The CMS officials said they did so because the IRS uses the Silver plan as a “benchmark” for tax purposes. That approach, however, gave consumers an incomplete picture of what is happening in the health insurance marketplace through the Obamacare program.
The DCNF analysis reviewed price data for all four plans obtained from CMS, insurance companies, state insurance regulators and the nonpartisan National Conference of State Legislatures.
The 20.3 percent figure is the average for all plans. Premium increases in some states will be much higher. In Utah, for example, some enrollees in an individual plan will face a 45 percent price jump. In Illinois, the highest price hikes for individuals in the federal exchange will be 42.4 percent. Some insurers in Tennessee will experience a 36.3 percent price rise.
Wayne Winegarden, a senior fellow in business and economics at the Pacific Research Institute, told TheDCNF that CMS 7.5 percent forecast number is “misleading and a meaningless statistic” that “isn’t actually relevant to any individual in any state. If you go across the four different metals, what happened in the Gold plan, what happened in the Platinum plan, what happened to the Bronze plan?”
Charles Gaba, a data analyst who tracks Obamacare trends and is an Obamacare supporter, reported earlier this year that Obamacare consumers in all 50 states will experience an average 14.4 percent increase. His analysis can be found on his web site, acasignups.net.
“I was hoping they would include all of the rates,” Gaba told TheDCNF. “I would love it ideally if they had all the medal levels.”
Gaba called the CMS price analysis, “fairly representative, but there’s the Gold, the Platinum, the Bronze, the catastrophic plan even, and there’s also a variety of Silver plans. So there are a bunch of different ones in addition to the benchmarks which they did not include.”
The difference between premium cost projections based only on the Silver plan and those that result from using all four plans can be dramatic. Silver enrollees in Pennsylvania, for example, will experience a 10.6 percent increase. Using all four plans, the average price hike for Obamacare enrollees is 20.3. Time Insurance Co. pulled out of Obamacare after state officials rejected its 61 percent increase request.
South Dakotans using Silver will pay 24.7 percent more this year. But among all exchange users in the state, the average increase will be 39 percent. Dakota Care hiked its Obamacare exchange prices 63 percent for 2016, while Blue Cross Blue Shield raised its rates by 43 percent.
In South Carolina, the Silver increase will be 10.8 percent, compared to 23.4 percent when all four plans are considering.
Some worrisome trends appear when specific Silver plan offerings are measured against other medal levels. The National Conference of State Legislators has begun tracking Obamacare price hikes by levels.
In Colorado, for example, Silver customers will see a 12.94 percent price hike. But Gold users will face a 20.33 rate increase and Platinum enrollees will see a 29.80 percent price rise, according to NCSL data.
Idaho Silver customers will have an 8.69 percent increase. But Bronze customers will face 11.03 percent rise and Gold will face 15.9 percent, according to NCSL. Idaho did not offer Platinum coverage for 2016.
The mainstream media was quick to embrace the 7.5 percent number, claiming it reflected the real- world experience of most Obamacare customers. The Washington Post’s Amy Goldstein reported in a story filed last Saturday that “the [CMS] analysis includes all plans being sold in the 37 states that will continue to rely on the federal exchange next year.”
In fact, Platinum, Gold and Bronze price changes were excluded from the federal analysis.
Thomas Miller a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, told TheDCNF that CMS is “always trying to put the best face on things going forward.” But, he said, “you got your initial press release. Only a few people catch up with what might be the final results.”
What is the Obama administration exceptionally good at? Meddling and playing favorites.
Sure, there’s a long list of other things they have become known for, but they seem to actually enjoy those two. They especially enjoy playing favorites when it involves one of their special-interest darlings.
Too often, this administration has been caught using government resources, or agencies to reward their friends, and punish their enemies. Of course, this habit paints a lovely backdrop for the following:
There was an application for a building permit in Pittsfield Township, Michigan (Population, 35,000). In 2011, the elected officials weighed this against their Zoning master plan, and unanimously rejected the request. The land was zoned “Residential” and only small-scale schools were within the scope of the zoning plan. All of these reasons for denial were consistent with the will of the people who elected those officials.
So, they get the pressure groups involved. Michigan Islamic Academy (that was the school) goes to CAIR, who pledged to get the DOJ involved.
But wait… there’s more.
Earlier this month, the DOJ inserted itself into another municipal case. This one involved Des Plaines Illinois (a Chicago suburb). Here it was a request to convert an office building in a manufacturing district into a temple. The request was denied.
In both of those cases, the DOJ inserted itself to overturn the rulings of legally elected officials.
Duly-elected officials in a small town are responsible for – among other things – zoning decisions. They, rather than someone else, are elected to this specific purpose. They live in the area, are affected by decisions made there, and know the issues and people involved at a personal level.
The Federal Government was none of those things.
The DOJ frames this as advocating for religious rights of a group being violated.
(We’ve seen enough evidence of the this administration’s track record on Religious Freedom to call B.S. – the Romeike family; Hobby Lobby; and the Supreme Court unanimously ruling against their infringement of the Establishment Clause come to mind.)
No. CAIR swings a lot of weight in such cases. It portrays itself as a human rights group. But their practice seems to be that of bullies who, whenever rulings go against them, will initiate legal action as an end run to get the courts to do for them what elected officials will not. The strategy has even been given a name. It’s called “Lawfare Jihad”.
CAIR, while it hypes itself as a human-rights type organization, has a dubious history. (Something about its connections, including Hamas, are laid out here.)
Do we really want Federal Officials usurping local officials’ authority, invoking “compelling government interest”, just to appease special interest groups whose motivations are somewhat less than transparent, and probably not in the public interest?