Yes On Trade Promotion Authority… Which Does Not Mean Yes On The Trans Pacific Partnership (Andrew C. McCarthy)

Yes On Trade Promotion Authority… Which Does Not Mean Yes On The Trans Pacific Partnership – Andrew C. McCarthy

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TPA is “Trade Promotion Authority” legislation currently being considered by Congress. TPP is the “Trans-Pacific Partnership,” the pact the Obama administration is currently negotiating with several Asia Pacific nations. As the editors point out today, the two are not one and the same and they should not be conflated.

The rationale that, because President Obama abuses executive authority, he should be denied any tool that enhances executive authority is a worthy rule of thumb. But its premise is that executive authority is actually being enhanced in a manner that Congress cannot check. That, as our editorial explains, is simply not true when it comes to TPA.

The contention that TPA is unconstitutional is meritless. In our system, as Jefferson put it, “the transaction of business with foreign nations is executive altogether,” and “exceptions are to be strictly construed.” In the case of trade agreements, those exceptions include the Senate’s power over the approval of treaties and the powers of Congress over both foreign commerce and any legislation necessary to implement a trade agreement. TPA is not only fully compliant with, but reinforcing of, this constitutional arrangement.

Foreign countries should not be made to negotiate with both the president and Congress in striking a deal. It is enough for them to know (as Senator Tom Cotton outlined in connection with President Obama’s Iran deal) that any agreement the president makes is subject to congressional approval if it is to have the force of law. Since the point of a trade agreement is to structure a legal framework for international commerce, we must thus infer that the countries negotiating such a deal want a workable legal structure. Our constitutional division of authorities between the president and Congress gives foreign nations an incentive not to press for terms the president will not be able to sell at home – thus strengthening the president’s negotiating position.

Meanwhile, whether the international agreement in question is deemed a treaty or an agreement requiring implementing legislation, Congress gets the final say on whether the agreement is approved.

To claim that this deprives Congress of its ability to shape the deal is as specious as claiming that the president’s limited power to sign or veto legislation deprives him of the ability to shape congressional statutes. In our system, the president gets to negotiate deals with other nations; if Congress does not like the deal – if it concludes that the bad outweighs the good – lawmakers can and should vote “no,” sending the president back to the drawing board. That is how it is supposed to work.

To my mind, there is no more promiscuous practice in the formulation of multilateral agreements than the Senate’s addition of caveats and reservations to rationalize approving objectionable treaties. The way the international law game gets played, these caveats and reservations get marginalized and the “law” becomes the unadorned text of the treaty accepted by the signatory nations. That is, the treaty in effect becomes the agreement as signed by the president, not the ratified agreement the Senate thought it had successfully amended. We would be much better off if, instead of deluding itself with caveats and reservations, the Senate refused to ratify the treaty, forcing the president to either abandon the agreement or go back to the negotiating table and fight for acceptance of the Senate’s demands.

It is the same thing with multilateral agreements that are not regarded as treaties. There should be a clear international agreement that Congress can either approve or reject. To contort the agreement with legislative caveats injects ambiguity into the duties and benefits the negotiating nations believed they were agreeing to. Moreover, it probably won’t work: Within a short time, the international law professors will tell us that the text of the original agreement – not the agreement as Congress amended it – has transmogrified into binding international law… and the State Department will say we really have no choice but to accept the consensus of “the international community.”

Better to let the president make the agreements and let Congress say “yes” or “no” – and be ready to say “no,” not con itself into thinking it can materially improve a bad deal.

Finally, as the editorial elucidates, agreeing to TPA is not agreeing to TPP.

I confess to being troubled by reports about the secrecy in which TPP negotiations and drafts have been shrouded, although these reports may be overwrought – something I’ll address in a subsequent post. If there is, in fact, a lack of sufficient transparency on TPP, it makes perfect sense for lawmakers to condition support for TPA on better transparency. That kind of leveraging is a routine part of the legislative process. It is also especially appropriate when dealing with a president who has a long record of mendacity, lawlessness, and the exploitation of complex legal arrangements to reward cronies.

Nevertheless, if we assume for argument’s sake that TPP is a bad deal, that would be a good reason to vote down TPP. It would not be a good reason to oppose TPA.

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The Secrecy Complaints About TPP Are Also Meritless – Andrew C. McCarthy

In yesterday’s post, I argued – in agreement with NR’s editorial – that it is a mistake to conflate (a) the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade pact that the Obama administration is still negotiating with (b) Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) legislation that would grant the president the ability to seek an up-or-down vote from Congress on trade deals (including TPP) on a reasonably swift time frame. TPA is a good idea, is fully constitutional, and would not prevent Congress from rejecting a bad trade deal – which is exactly what Congress should do in the case of TPP if it turns out to be a bad deal. In a column on the homepage today, I examine another objection TPP opponents raise: the purported secrecy in which the agreement is shrouded. As readers will see, this objection is a red herring which confuses the draft agreement (the work in progress that the administration has made available to Congress under restrictive terms while it conducts the sensitive negotiations) with the final agreement (which will be available to both the public and Congress long before Congress is asked to vote on TPP legislation).

As today’s column relates:

There is no requirement for the executive branch to show Congress anything that is preliminary. The only agreement that is going to be voted on is the final agreement – at least if Obama wants that agreement to have the force of American law.

Significantly, with respect to that final agreement – which, to repeat, does not exist yet – the transparency protocols are apparently extensive. According to AEI’s Claude Barfield, the legislation will provide that the actual text of the final TPP agreement must be available not just to Congress but to the public for 60 days before the president is permitted to sign it. After that, if he wants the agreement to have the force of American law, the president must formally submit the final agreement to Congress, which would then have 90 days to review and vote on it.

That is, the supposedly “secret” TPP may not be approved until the public and our representatives in Congress have five months to scrutinize it.

If Dr. Barfield is correct, and I have found nothing to suggest otherwise, then the complaints about a secret deal being rammed through Congress and foisted on an unsuspecting public – à la Obamacare – are risible.

The full column is here.

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*VIDEO* 2015 Defeat Jihad Summit: Center For Security Policy – Featuring Serious Adults (E.G. No Leftists)


Participants In Order Of Appearance:

* President Of The ‘Center For Security Policy’ Frank Gaffney
* Former U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey
* William Boykin (Lieutenant General – U.S. Army, Ret.)
* British Lord Malcolm Pearson
* Representative Scott Perry (Brigadier General – Pennsylvania Army National Guard)
* Former FBI Special Agent John Guandolo (Second Lieutenant – U.S. Marine Corps, Ret.)
* Former Westchester County Court Judge Jeanine Pirro
* Former Federal Prosecutor Andrew C. McCarthy
* Syndicated Columnist Diana West
* ‘Americans For Peace And Tolerance’ President Charles Jacobs
* Former Department Of Defense Inspector General Joseph Schmitz (Captain – U.S. Navy, Ret.)
* ‘American Freedom Law Center’ Co-Founder David Yerushalmi
* ‘Claremont Institute’ President Brian Kennedy
* Former Senior CIA Clandestine Operations Officer Clare Lopez
* Former Joint Chiefs Of Staff Intelligence Analyst Stephen Coughlin (Major – U.S. Army Reserves)
* ‘Institute Of World Politics’ Professor J. Michael Waller
* Pastor Rick Joyner
* Rabbi Jonathan Hausman
* James Lyons (Admiral – U.S. Navy, Ret.)
* Representative Mike Pompeo (Captain – U.S. Army, Ret.)
* Senator Ted Cruz
* Representative Steve King
* Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich
* ‘Center For Security Policy’ Director Of State Legislative Outreach Tommy Waller (Major – U.S Marine Corps Reserves)
* American Airlines Flight 77 Pilot Charles Burlingame’s Sister Debra Burlingame
* ‘Former Muslims United’ Director Nonie Darwish
* ‘American Islamic Forum’ President Zuhdi Jasser M.D. (Lieutenant Commander – U.S. Navy, Ret.)
* Dutch ‘Party For Freedom’ Founder Geert Wilders
* Australian Pastor Mark Durie
* Former Israeli Ambassador To The U.S. Yoram Ettinger
* ‘International Free Press Society’ President Lars Hedegaard
* ‘American Freedom Law Center’ Co-Founder Robert Muise (Major – U.S. Marine Corps, Ret.)
* Former CIA Analyst Frederick Fleitz
* ‘National Religious Broadcasters Association’ President Jerry Johnson
* 9/11 Survivor Deborah Weiss
* Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal
* Former House Intelligence Committee Chairman Pete Hoekstra

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ENTIRE EVENT

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Click HERE to visit the Center For Security Policy’s Defeat Jihad Summit page.

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The Khorosan Group Does Not Exist (Andrew C. McCarthy)

The Khorosan Group Does Not Exist – Andrew C. McCarthy

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We’re being had. Again.

For six years, President Obama has endeavored to will the country into accepting two pillars of his alternative national-security reality. First, he claims to have dealt decisively with the terrorist threat, rendering it a disparate series of ragtag jayvees. Second, he asserts that the threat is unrelated to Islam, which is innately peaceful, moderate, and opposed to the wanton “violent extremists” who purport to act in its name.

Now, the president has been compelled to act against a jihad that has neither ended nor been “decimated.” The jihad, in fact, has inevitably intensified under his counterfactual worldview, which holds that empowering Islamic supremacists is the path to security and stability. Yet even as war intensifies in Iraq and Syria – even as jihadists continue advancing, continue killing and capturing hapless opposition forces on the ground despite Obama’s futile air raids – the president won’t let go of the charade.

Hence, Obama gives us the Khorosan Group.

The who?

There is a reason that no one had heard of such a group until a nanosecond ago, when the “Khorosan Group” suddenly went from anonymity to the “imminent threat” that became the rationale for an emergency air war there was supposedly no time to ask Congress to authorize.

You haven’t heard of the Khorosan Group because there isn’t one. It is a name the administration came up with, calculating that Khorosan – the Iranian-​Afghan border region – had sufficient connection to jihadist lore that no one would call the president on it.

The “Khorosan Group” is al-Qaeda. It is simply a faction within the global terror network’s Syrian franchise, “Jabhat al-Nusra.” Its leader, Mushin al-Fadhli (believed to have been killed in this week’s U.S.-led air strikes), was an intimate of Ayman al-Zawahiri, the emir of al-Qaeda who dispatched him to the jihad in Syria. Except that if you listen to administration officials long enough, you come away thinking that Zawahiri is not really al-Qaeda, either. Instead, he’s something the administration is at pains to call “core al-Qaeda.”

“Core al-Qaeda,” you are to understand, is different from “Jabhat al-Nusra,” which in turn is distinct from “al-Qaeda in Iraq” (formerly “al-Qaeda in Mesopotamia,” now the “Islamic State” al-Qaeda spin-off that is, itself, formerly “al-Qaeda in Iraq and al-Sham” or “al-Qaeda in Iraq and the Levant”). That al-Qaeda, don’t you know, is a different outfit from al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula… which, of course, should never be mistaken for “al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb,” “Boko Haram,” “Ansar al-Sharia,” or the latest entry, “al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent.”

Coming soon, “al-Qaeda on Hollywood and Vine.” In fact, it wouldn’t surprise me if, come 2015, Obama issued an executive order decreeing twelve new jihad jayvees stretching from al-Qaeda in January through al-Qaeda in December.

Except you’ll hear only about the jayvees, not the jihad. You see, there is a purpose behind this dizzying proliferation of names assigned to what, in reality, is a global network with multiple tentacles and occasional internecine rivalries.

As these columns have long contended, Obama has not quelled our enemies; he has miniaturized them. The jihad and the sharia supremacism that fuels it form the glue that unites the parts into a whole – a worldwide, ideologically connected movement rooted in Islamic scripture that can project power on the scale of a nation-state and that seeks to conquer the West. The president does not want us to see the threat this way.

For a product of the radical Left like Obama, terrorism is a regrettable but understandable consequence of American arrogance. That it happens to involve Muslims is just the coincidental fallout of Western imperialism in the Middle East, not the doctrinal command of a belief system that perceives itself as engaged in an inter-civilizational conflict. For the Left, America has to be the culprit. Despite its inbred pathologies, which we had no role in cultivating, Islam must be the victim, not the cause. As you’ll hear from Obama’s Islamist allies, who often double as Democrat activists, the problem is “Islamophobia,” not Muslim terrorism.

This is a gross distortion of reality, so the Left has to do some very heavy lifting to pull it off. Since the Islamic-supremacist ideology that unites the jihadists won’t disappear, it has to be denied and purged. The “real” jihad becomes the “internal struggle to become a better person.” The scriptural and scholarly underpinnings of Islamic supremacism must be bleached out of the materials used to train our national-security agents, and the instructors who resist going along with the program must be ostracized. The global terror network must be atomized into discrete, disconnected cells moved to violence by parochial political or territorial disputes, with no overarching unity or hegemonic ambition. That way, they can be limned as a manageable law-enforcement problem fit for the courts to address, not a national-security challenge requiring the armed forces.

The president has been telling us for years that he handled al-Qaeda by killing bin Laden. He has been telling us for weeks that the Islamic State – an al-Qaeda renegade that will soon reconcile with the mother ship for the greater good of unity in the anti-American jihad – is a regional nuisance that posed no threat to the United States. In recent days, however, reality intruded on this fiction. Suddenly, tens of thousands of terrorists, armed to the teeth, were demolishing American-trained armies, beheading American journalists, and threatening American targets.

Obama is not the manner of man who can say, “I was wrong: It turns out that al-Qaeda is actually on the rise, its Islamic State faction is overwhelming the region, and American interests – perhaps even American territory – are profoundly threatened.” So instead… you got “the Khorosan Group.”

You also got a smiley-face story about five Arab states joining the United States in a coalition to confront the terrorists. Finally, the story goes, Sunni governments were acting decisively to take Islam back from the “un-Islamic” elements that falsely commit “violent extremism” under Islam’s banner.

Sounds uplifting… until you read the fine print. You’ve got to dig deep to find it. It begins, for example, 42 paragraphs into the Wall Street Journal’s report on the start of the bombing campaign. After the business about our glorious alliance with “moderate” allies like Saudi Arabia and Qatar who so despise terrorism, we learn:

Only the U.S. – not Arab allies – struck sites associated with the Khorasan group, officials said. Khorasan group members were in the final stages of preparations for an attack on U.S. and Western interests, a defense official said. Khorasan was planning an attack on international airliners, officials have said… Rebels and activists contacted inside Syria said they had never heard of Khorasan and that the U.S. struck several bases and an ammunition warehouse belonging to the main al Qaeda-linked group fighting in Syria, Nusra Front. While U.S. officials have drawn a distinction between the two groups, they acknowledge their membership is intertwined and their goals are similar.

Oops. So it turns out that our moderate Islamist partners have no interest in fighting Syria’s al-Qaeda affiliate. Yes, they reluctantly, and to a very limited extent, joined U.S. forces in the strikes against the Islamic State renegades. But that’s not because the Islamic State is jihadist while they are moderate. It is because the Islamic State has made mincemeat of Iraq’s forces, is a realistic threat to topple Assad, and has our partners fretting that they are next on the menu.

Meantime, though, the Saudis and Qatar want no trouble with the rest of al-Qaeda, particularly with al-Nusra. After all, al-Qaeda’s Syrian branch is tightly allied with the “moderate opposition” that these “moderate” Gulf states have been funding, arming, and training for the jihad against Assad.

Oh, and what about those other “moderates” Obama has spent his presidency courting, the Muslim Brotherhood? It turns out they are not only all for al-Qaeda, they even condemn what one of their top sharia jurists, Wagdy Ghoneim, has labeled “the Crusader war against the Islamic State.”

“The Crusaders in America, Europe, and elsewhere are our enemies,” Ghoneim tells Muslims. For good measure he adds, “We shall never forget the terrorism of criminal America, which threw the body of the martyred heroic mujahid, Bin Laden, into the sea.”

Obama has his story and he’s sticking to it. But the same can be said for our enemies.

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The Islamic State Is Nothing New (Andrew C. McCarthy)

The Islamic State Is Nothing New – Andrew C. McCarthy

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The beheading of yet another Western journalist, Steven Sotloff, has ignited another round of commentary suggesting that the Islamic State is the worst terrorist network ever. There is value in this: The current jihadist threat to the United States and the West is more dire than the threat that existed just prior to the 9/11 attacks, so anything that increases pressure for a sea change in our Islamic-supremacist-enabling government’s policies helps. Nevertheless, the perception that the Islamic State is something new and different and aberrational compared with the Islamic-supremacist threat we’ve been living with for three decades is wrong, perhaps dangerously so.

Decapitation is not a new jihadist terror method, and it is far from unique to the Islamic State. Indeed, I noted here over the weekend that it has recently been used by Islamic-supremacist elements of the U.S.-backed Free Syrian Army against the Islamic State. It was only a few years ago that al-Qaeda beheaded Daniel Pearl and Nick Berg. Jihadists behead their victims (very much including other Muslims) all the time – as Tom Joscelyn notes at the indispensable Long War Journal, the al-Qaeda-tied Ansar al Jerusalem just beheaded four Egyptians suspected of spying for Israel.

Yet, the recent Islamic State beheadings, in addition to other cruelties, is fueling commentary portraying the Islamic State as more barbaric and threatening than al-Qaeda. This misses the point. The Islamic State is al-Qaeda. It is the evolution of the ruthless al-Qaeda division that grew up in Iraq under Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.

In order to make the Islamic State seem different from al-Qaeda – i.e., to make it seem like something that has spontaneously appeared, rather than something Obama ignored and empowered – some reporting claims there are “ideological” and “doctrinal” differences between the two. This is true in only the most technical sense, a sense that is essentially irrelevant vis à vis the West.

What is going on among the Islamic State, al-Qaeda, the Muslim Brotherhood (including Hamas), and other factions is a power struggle for leadership of the Sunni side of the global Islamic-supremacist movement. Because of the audience to which these actors play, some of their differences are framed as sharia-based. Muslim Brotherhood and al-Qaeda leaders (who are allied against Assad in Syria and were allied with the Islamic State until fairly recently) contend, for example, that the Islamic State’s unilateral declaration of a caliphate transgresses Islamic principles that call for consultation and consensus among sharia-adherent Muslims. They argue that Islamic-supremacist groups should work cooperatively in the formation of local or regional emirates, with an eye toward eventually assembling the global caliphate.

From our perspective, so what? Both sides regard the West as the enemy to be conquered. Their differences are germane only to the extent that sharia fidelity, in addition to sheer brute force, will determine who comes out on top in their intramural warfare. As we have been observing here for years with respect to al-Qaeda and the Brotherhood, their disputes are mostly tactical; their splits on the finer points of Islamic-supremacist ideology bear only on how they regard each other. When it comes to the West, both see us as the enemy – and they put aside their differences to attack us.

The same has also always been true of the ideological/doctrinal divide between Sunni and Shiite jihadists. For example, al-Qaeda has had cooperative and operational relations with Iran since the early 1990s. Iran collaborated with al-Qaeda in the 1996 Khobar Towers attack that killed 19 U.S. airmen; probably in the 9/11 attacks; certainly in the aftermath of 9/11; and in the Iraq and Afghan insurgencies. Al-Qaeda would not be what it is today without state sponsorship, particularly from Iran. The Islamic State might not exist at all.

The point is that al-Qaeda has never been anything close to the totality of the jihadist threat. Nor, now, is the Islamic State. The challenge has always been Islamic supremacism: the ideology, the jihadists that are the point of the spear, and the state sponsors that enable jihadists to project power. The challenge cannot be met effectively by focusing on one element to the exclusion of others.

Have a look, for instance, at Bill Roggio’s report today (also in the Long War Journal): In helping Iraqi forces wrest Amerli from the Islamic State, the U.S. Air Force colluded with Iran-backed Shiite terrorist groups, including the League of the Righteous, responsible for the killing of hundreds of American soldiers in Iraq. The switch in dominion over territory from anti-American Sunni jihadists to anti-American Shiite jihadists is a setback for the Islamic State, but it does not advance American national security. In fact, it would become a real negative for American national security if it contributed to a revival of the dangerous fantasy that Iran has a helpful, “stabilizing” role to play in rolling back the terrorist threat – a fantasy to which the Obama administration is far from unique in subscribing.

I opined at the start of this piece that the threat to the United States is more dire now than it was before 9/11. How could it be otherwise? What jihadists need to attack the United States is safe haven and state sponsorship, which enable them to plan and train; financial and weapons resources; and lax immigration enforcement. On every one of those scores, the Islamic State, al-Qaeda, and other violent Islamic supremacists are in a better position than they were circa 1998-2001. The Islamic State, to take the most prominent example, controls a country-size swath of territory; has seized riches and advanced weaponry during its rampage; has enjoyed support from several countries; and targets an America in which border security is a joke, no effort is made to police visa overstays, and the federal government has actually discouraged and prevented state and federal agents from enforcing immigration laws.

The threat is worse, and worsening. But it is not confined to the Islamic State, and we cannot protect ourselves from it – cannot even grasp that it is a threat to us rather than simply to a faraway region – unless we understand the totality of it.

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Via twitter

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Jamie Dupree
@jamiedupree

Secretary of State Kerry: “the face of Islam is not the butchers who killed Steven Sotloff – that’s ISIL”

7:26 AM – 3 Sep 2014
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H/T Weasel Zippers

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Hey Barack, go fuck yourself.
And while you’re at it, fuck Allah too!

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Obama’s Massive Fraud (Andrew C. McCarthy)

Obama’s Massive Fraud – Andrew C. McCarthy

If you like your health-care plan, you will be able to keep your health-care plan. Period.” How serious was this lie, repeated by Barack Obama with such beguiling regularity? Well, how would the Justice Department be dealing with it if it had been uttered by, say, the president of an insurance company rather than the president of the United States?

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Fraud is a serious federal felony, usually punishable by up to 20 years’ imprisonment – with every repetition of a fraudulent communication chargeable as a separate crime. In computing sentences, federal sentencing guidelines factor in such considerations as the dollar value of the fraud, the number of victims, and the degree to which the offender’s treachery breaches any special fiduciary duties he owes. Cases of multi-million-dollar corporate frauds – to say nothing of multi-billion-dollar, Bernie Madoff–level scams that nevertheless pale beside Obamacare’s dimensions – often result in terms amounting to decades in the slammer.

Justice Department guidelines, set forth in the U.S. Attorneys Manual, recommend prosecution for fraud in situations involving “any scheme which in its nature is directed to defrauding a class of persons, or the general public, with a substantial pattern of conduct.” So, for example, if a schemer were intentionally to deceive all Americans, or a class of Americans (e.g., people who had health insurance purchased on the individual market), by repeating numerous times – over the airwaves, in mailings, and in electronic announcements – an assertion the schemer knew to be false and misleading, that would constitute an actionable fraud – particularly if the statements induced the victims to take action to their detriment, or lulled the victims into a false sense of security.

For a fraud prosecution to be valid, the fraudulent scheme need not have been successful. Nor is there any requirement that the schemer enrich himself personally. The prosecution must simply prove that some harm to the victim was contemplated by the schemer. If the victim actually was harmed, that is usually the best evidence that harm was what the schemer intended.

To be more illustrative, let’s say our schemer is the president of a health-insurance company, and that it was clearly foreseeable to him that his company’s clients would lose their current insurance plans if the company adopted his proposal of a complex new health-insurance framework. In fact, let’s assume that the schemer not only had analyses showing that clients would lose their plans but that he also had a history of openly favoring a “single-payer” insurance system – i.e., an unconcealed desire to move everyone from private to government-managed insurance arrangements.

Now, suppose the schemer nevertheless vowed to the company’s clients, to whom he bore fiduciary obligations, that they needn’t fear his proposed new insurance framework; under it, he promised time after time after time, if they liked their current plans, they would be able to keep those plans. And let’s say that, on the basis of that repeated vow, the clients supported the schemer’s reappointment as president and his proposed new framework. On these facts, the clients’ subsequent loss of their current insurance plans helps prove the schemer’s fraudulent intent. The schemer has committed not just a fraud but a carefully thought-out, fully successful fraud, replete with suffering victims.

The concept of fraudulent deception, like the concept of perjury and other forms of actionable false statement, often entails not only affirmative lies – e.g., the general manager who tells a baseball player, “I will not trade you if you sign the contract,” and then proceeds to trade the player after he signs; the concept also commonly involves the omission of material facts (what’s called “material omission”) – e.g., the general manager who tells the player, “I will not trade you if you sign the contract,” under circumstances where, unbeknownst to the player, the general manager has already made arrangements to trade him.

A material omission is the intentional failure to state any fact the communication of which would be necessary to ensure that statements already made are not misleading. The concept of material omission is a staple of fraud prosecutions. A good example is the Obama Justice Department’s ongoing and transparently political effort to portray financial institutions – as opposed to government policies – as the proximate cause of the mortgage-industry collapse that resulted in our national economic meltdown.

Attorney General Eric Holder’s minions have recently sued Bank of America and UBS. The complaints filed in court by prosecutors allege that these financial institutions defrauded investors in the sale of mortgage-backed securities by failing to disclose important facts about the underlying mortgages. Indeed, prosecutors asserted that financial institutions’ statements about these securities were both lies and, even where arguably true, material omissions. That’s because the statements withheld from investors the fact that the institutions well knew, based on internal analyses, that many of the mortgages backing the securities would go into default.

Recall that President Obama knew three years ago, based on internal analyses, that because of his administration’s own regulation-writing, millions of Americans would lose the health plans he nonetheless continued to promise they could keep. The president hid the data… just as did those financial institutions that his trusty attorney general has sued. Comparatively speaking, though, the financial institutions defrauded significantly fewer victims. Thus it is noteworthy that Holder is now demanding that the institutions pay hundreds of millions of dollars for their fraudulent misrepresentations.

Even that is not good enough for some prominent Democrats. Senator Carl Levin, for example, blasted the Justice Department for not pursuing a criminal fraud case against Goldman Sachs. Goldman had not made false statements in marketing the securities in dispute; but it did fail to disclose that it had shorted the same securities – i.e., it was quietly betting against the same securities it was selling. (I wrote sympathetically toward Goldman here, and Nicole Gelinas posted a characteristically smart rebuttal here.) Senator Levin railed at Holder’s decision not to file criminal charges, portraying it as an abdication in the face of behavior that was “deceptive and immoral.” Of course, if you want to talk about “deceptive and immoral,” Obama was snowing ordinary Americans, not savvy investors; and he was not just betting against the insurance plans he was promising to preserve; he was personally working to wipe them out.

The Justice Department is notoriously aggressive when it comes to material omissions by public corporations. Any public statement – not just in a required SEC filing but in any public context – may be deemed actionable if its purpose is to deceive the general public about a company’s condition. For example, as I’ve noted before, the Justice Department indicted Martha Stewart for fraud over press statements that did not disclose damaging information about her company.

Ms. Stewart, naturally, was fearful that truthful statements would send the stock price plummeting. Obama, by comparison, was not lying merely to prevent a company from losing value. His fraud was, first, to induce passage of a plan designed gradually to destroy the private health-insurance market – a plan that barely passed and never would have been enacted if he’d been honest. And later, his fraud was to procure his reelection and the guaranteed implementation of Obamacare; had he been honest, he would have been defeated and Obamacare forestalled.

Barack Obama is guilty of fraud – serial fraud – that is orders of magnitude more serious than frauds the Justice Department routinely prosecutes, and that courts punish harshly. The victims will be out billions of dollars, quite apart from other anxiety and disruption that will befall them.

The president will not be prosecuted, of course, but that is immaterial. As discussed here before, the remedy for profound presidential corruption is political, not legal. It is impeachment and removal. “High crimes and misdemeanors” – the Constitution’s predicate for impeachment – need not be indictable offenses under the criminal code. “They relate chiefly,” Hamilton explained in Federalist No. 65, “to injuries done immediately to the society itself.” They involve scandalous breaches of the public trust by officials in whom solemn fiduciary duties are reposed – like a president who looks Americans in the eye and declares, repeatedly, that they can keep their health insurance plans… even as he studiously orchestrates the regulatory termination of those plans; even as he shifts blame to the insurance companies for his malfeasance – just as he shifted blame to a hapless video producer for his shocking dereliction of duty during the Benghazi massacre.

It is highly unlikely that Barack Obama will ever be impeached. It is certain that he will never again be trusted. Republicans and sensible Democrats take heed: The nation may not have the stomach to remove a charlatan, but the nation knows he is a charlatan. The American people will not think twice about taking out their frustration and mounting anger on those who collaborate in his schemes.

Click HERE For Rest Of Story

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2010 Video: Obama Admits Millions ‘Might Have To Change Their Coverage’ – Big Government

Last night on Fox News’ “Special Report” and CNN’s “The Lead with Jake Tapper,” video aired of President Obama admitting that due to ObamaCare, “8 to 9 million people… might have to change their coverage.” The key words there are “have to.”

The setting is the February of 2010 health care summit with Republicans. Minority Whip Eric Cantor is addressing the president directly on the issue of people losing their insurance due to the Affordable Care Act:

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CANTOR: …Because I don’t think you can answer the question in the positive to say that people will be able to maintain their coverage, people will be able to see the doctors they want, in the kind of bill that you are proposing:

OBAMA: Since you asked me a question, let me respond. The 8 to 9 million people you refer to that might have to change their coverage – keep in mind out of the 300 million Americans that we are talking about – would be folks who the CBO, the Congressional Budget Office, estimates would find the deal in the exchange better – would be a better deal. So, yes, they would change coverage because they got more choice and competition.

So even though the president knew that 8 to 9 million people “might have to change their overage” way back in February of 2010, afterwards, for three-plus years – especially while running for reelection – Obama continued to reassure the American people that if you like your health care plan, you can keep it. Period. End of story.

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The question of what the president knew and when he knew it is now answered.

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Daily Benefactor Columnists – The $4 Billion Obamacare Slush Fund For Progressives (Michelle Malkin) – More Op-Eds

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The $4 Billion Obamacare Slush Fund For Progressives – Michelle Malkin

If you like how the Obama administration’s multibillion-dollar “investments” in bankrupt solar companies have turned out, you’ll love the latest federal loan program to nowhere. It’s the Obamacare loyalty rewards program for progressives.

To appease liberal Democrats pushing for the so-called “public option” (the full frontal government takeover of our health care system), the White House settled for the creation of a $6 billion network of nonprofit “CO-OPs” that will “compete” with private insurers. It’s socialized medicine through the side door. House Republicans sliced about $2 billion from the slush fund in last spring’s budget deal and proclaimed the program dead. Hardly.

On Wednesday, the White House trumpeted the release of nearly $700 million in taxpayer-funded low-interest loans for seven CO-OPs in eight states. Administered by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the fund will pour more money into CO-OP plans nationwide throughout the next year. In 2014, according to Washington bureaucrats, the plans will be offered on the federally approved and federally monitored state health exchange “marketplace.”

Some marketplace. Given how Team Obama has dispensed special Obamacare waivers to scores of campaign donors, it’s a sure bet the CO-OP/exchange mechanism will be brazenly rigged against non-subsidized, for-profit insurers. And against taxpayers. Obama health officials assure us that there will be an “early warning system” in place before loan recipients get into financial trouble. But we know from the half-billion-dollar Solyndra scam that when this administration sees red flags, it’s full speed ahead.

In fact, the Obamacare CO-OP overseers already predict a nearly 40 percent default rate for the loans, according to Kaiser Health. Welcome to the Chicago-on-the-Potomac reverse rule of holes: When you’re in one, keep digging.

So, who are the lucky winners of the Obamacare slush fund lottery? Freelancers CO-OP of New Jersey, New Mexico Health Connections, Midwest Members Health in Iowa and Nebraska, Common Ground Healthcare Cooperative in Wisconsin, Freelancers CO-OP of Oregon, Montana Health Cooperative, and Freelancers Health Service Corporation in New York.

You won’t be surprised to learn that the Freelancers Union – the largest CO-OP loan beneficiary to date, with a total $341 million subsidy – is a left-wing outfit founded by a self-described “labor entrepreneur” and MacArthur “genius.” Sara Horowitz has already snagged countless grants from the city and state of New York, the liberal Ford Foundation, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and the Rockefeller Foundation.

Horowitz and Obama served together, along with former green jobs czar Van Jones, as advisers for the progressive think tank Demos – which in turn partnered with fraud-ridden community organizers ACORN and Project Vote. She also runs a political action committee called “Working Today” that crusades for an expanded government safety net. Crowing about the CO-OP loan from her fellow progressive warrior, Horowitz exulted: “It’s like venture capital for health care.” Or more accurately, to borrow South Carolina GOP Sen. Jim DeMint’s phrase, venture socialism.

While Horowitz plots to rope in 200,000 new clients, existing customers protested in The New York Times over lousy customer service and abrupt changes that resulted in “higher premiums, higher deductibles and more holes than their current plans.” Horowitz is more preoccupied with ensuring that the “social-purpose company” meets social and environmental justice goals than with customer needs.

Another of the Obamacare slush fund winners, Common Ground Healthcare Cooperative in Wisconsin, scooped up a $56.4 million federal loan. The group describes itself as a “coalition of religious groups and other organizations.” Its pedigree is much more radical than that. As the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel noted, Common Ground “is the Milwaukee affiliate of the Industrial Areas Foundation, founded in 1940 by Saul Alinsky, a famed community organizer and author of ‘Rules for Radicals.’ The organization, based in Chicago, bills itself as the oldest and largest community organizing network.”

The Industrial Areas Foundation was funded largely by the Gamaliel Foundation, which employed Obama in Chicago. As I first reported in 2009, Gamaliel’s Gregory Galluzzo wrote that he “met with Barack on a regular basis,” that Obama “acknowledged publicly that he had been the director of a Gamaliel affiliate,” and that “we are honored and blessed by the connection between Barack and Gamaliel.” No kidding. As Americans for Limited Government President Bill Wilson put it: “These grants/loans reek of political payola.”

Cronies reap. Taxpayers weep.

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Why Apologize To Afghanistan? – Andrew C. McCarthy

We have officially lost our minds.

The New York Times reports that President Obama has sent a formal letter of apology to Afghanistan’s ingrate president, Hamid Karzai, for the burning of Korans at a U.S. military base. The only upside of the apology is that it appears (based on the Times account) to be couched as coming personally from our blindly Islamophilic president – “I wish to express my deep regret for the reported incident… I extend to you and the Afghani people my sincere apologies.” It is not couched as an apology from the American people, whose frame of mind will be outrage, not contrition, as the facts become more widely known.

The facts are that the Korans were seized at a jail because jihadists imprisoned there were using them not for prayer but to communicate incendiary messages.

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The Perversion Of Rights – Mark Steyn

CNN’s John King did his best the other night, producing a question from one of his viewers:

“Since birth control is the latest hot topic, which candidate believes in birth control, and if not, why?”

To their credit, no Republican candidate was inclined to accept the premise of the question. King might have done better to put the issue to Danica Patrick. For some reason, Michelle Fields of the Daily Caller sought the views of the NASCAR driver and Sports Illustrated swimwear model about “the Obama administration’s dictate that religious employers provide health-care plans that cover contraceptives.” Miss Patrick, a practicing Catholic, gave the perfect citizen’s response for the Age of Obama:

“I leave it up to the government to make good decisions for Americans.”

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The ‘Fairness’ Fraud – Thomas Sowell

During a recent Fox News Channel debate about the Obama administration’s tax policies, Democrat Bob Beckel raised the issue of “fairness.”

He pointed out that a child born to a poor woman in the Bronx enters the world with far worse prospects than a child born to an affluent couple in Connecticut.

No one can deny that. The relevant question, however, is: How does allowing politicians to take more money in taxes from successful people, to squander in ways that will improve their own reelection prospects, make anything more “fair” for others?

Even if additional tax revenue all went to poor single mothers – which it will not – the multiple problems of children raised by poor single mothers would not be cured by throwing money at them.

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Algae, European Gas Prices, And Born In The U.S.A. – Victor Davis Hanson

As gas nears $5-a-gallon out west, the president, who has cancelled a key pipeline and frozen federal leases from Alaska to the East Coast, teaches us about American algae potential, in the way he used to emphasize the importance of tire pressure and “tune-ups.” He castigates the opposition for making political hay out of bad news, in the way he routinely did as a senator in compiling the most partisan voting record in the Senate. Energy Secretary Chu cannot and will not say a word about soaring gas prices, since he is on record not so long ago hoping that they might double – that is, get to $8- to 10-a-gallon as they are in Europe. The Energy Department can do almost everything Americans don’t want, but not the single thing they do want.

The more Afghans kill Americans, the more the president seems to apologize for our troops disposing of confiscated Korans, desecrated by Muslim-terrorist detainees. Would that Obama talk so deferentially to Americans instead of serially emphasizing their laziness, their nativism, and their past transgressions in the Middle East.

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I Tried To Open A Lemonade Stand – John Stossel

Want to open a business in America? It isn’t easy.

In Midway, Ga., a 14-year-old girl and her 10-year-old sister sold lemonade from their front yard. Two police officers bought some. But the next day, different officers ordered them to close their stand.

Their father went to city hall to try to find out why. The clerk laughed and said she didn’t know. Eventually, Police Chief Kelly Morningstar explained, “We were not aware of how the lemonade was made, who made the lemonade and of what the lemonade was made with.”

Give me a break. If she doesn’t know, so what? But kids trying their first experiment with entrepreneurship are being shut down all over America. Officials in Hazelwood, Ill., ordered little girls to stop selling Girl Scout cookies.

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Math Matters – Walter Williams

If one manages to graduate from high school without the rudiments of algebra, geometry and trigonometry, there are certain relatively high-paying careers probably off-limits for life – such as careers in architecture, chemistry, computer programming, engineering, medicine and certain technical fields. For example, one might meet all of the physical requirements to be a fighter pilot, but he’s grounded if he doesn’t have enough math to understand physics, aerodynamics and navigation. Mathematical ability helps provide the disciplined structure that helps people to think, speak and write more clearly. In general, mathematics is an excellent foundation and prerequisite for study in all areas of science and engineering. So where do U.S. youngsters stand in math?

Drs. Eric Hanushek and Paul Peterson, senior fellows at the Hoover Institution, looked at the performance of our youngsters compared with their counterparts in other nations, in their Newsweek article, “Why Can’t American Students Compete?” (Aug. 28, 2011), reprinted under the title “Math Matters” in the Hoover Digest (2012).

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