Obama issues ‘executive orders by another name’

AP OBAMA IMMIGRATION A USA NV

By issuing his directives as “memoranda” rather than executive orders, Obama has downplayed the extent of his executive actions.

WASHINGTON — President Obama has issued a form of executive action known as the presidential memorandum more often than any other president in history — using it to take unilateral action even as he has signed fewer executive orders.

When these two forms of directives are taken together, Obama is on track to take more high-level executive actions than any president since Harry Truman battled the “Do Nothing Congress” almost seven decades ago, according to a USA TODAY review of presidential documents.

Obama has issued executive orders to give federal employees the day after Christmas off, to impose economic sanctions and to determine how national secrets are classified. He’s used presidential memoranda to make policy on gun control, immigration and labor regulations. Tuesday, he used a memorandum to declare Bristol Bay, Alaska, off-limits to oil and gas exploration.

Like executive orders, presidential memoranda don’t require action by Congress. They have the same force of law as executive orders and often have consequences just as far-reaching. And some of the most significant actions of the Obama presidency have come not by executive order but by presidential memoranda.

Obama has made prolific use of memoranda despite his own claims that he’s used his executive power less than other presidents. “The truth is, even with all the actions I’ve taken this year, I’m issuing executive orders at the lowest rate in more than 100 years,” Obama said in a speech in Austin last July. “So it’s not clear how it is that Republicans didn’t seem to mind when President Bush took more executive actions than I did.”

Obama has issued 195 executive orders as of Tuesday. Published alongside them in the Federal Register are 198 presidential memoranda — all of which carry the same legal force as executive orders.

He’s already signed 33% more presidential memoranda in less than six years than Bush did in eight. He’s also issued 45% more than the last Democratic president, Bill Clinton, who assertively used memoranda to signal what kinds of regulations he wanted federal agencies to adopt.

Obama is not the first president to use memoranda to accomplish policy aims. But at this point in his presidency, he’s the first to use them more often than executive orders.

“There’s been a lot of discussion about executive orders in his presidency, and of course by sheer numbers he’s had fewer than other presidents. So the White House and its defenders can say, ‘He can’t be abusing his executive authority; he’s hardly using any orders,” said Andrew Rudalevige, a presidency scholar at Bowdoin College. “But if you look at these other vehicles, he has been aggressive in his use of executive power.”

So even as he’s quietly used memoranda to signal policy changes to federal agencies, Obama and his allies have claimed he’s been more restrained in his use of that power.

In a Senate floor speech in July, Majority Leader Harry Reid said, “While Republicans accuse President Obama of executive overreach, they neglect the fact that he has issued far fewer executive orders than any two-term president in the last 50 years.”

The White House would not comment on how it uses memoranda and executive orders but has previously said Obama’s executive actions “advance an agenda that expands opportunity and rewards hard work and responsibility.”

“There is no question that this president has been judicious in his use of executive action, executive orders, and I think those numbers thus far have come in below what President George W. Bush and President Bill Clinton did,” said Jay Carney, then the White House press secretary, in February.

Carney, while critical of Bush’s executive actions, also said it wasn’t the number of executive actions that was important but rather “the quality and the type.”

“It is funny to hear Republicans get upset about the suggestion that the president might use legally available authorities to advance an agenda that expands opportunity and rewards hard work and responsibility, when obviously they supported a president who used executive authorities quite widely,” he said.

While executive orders have become a kind of Washington shorthand for unilateral presidential action, presidential memoranda have gone largely unexamined. And yet memoranda are often as significant to everyday Americans than executive orders. For example:

• In his State of the Union Address in January, Obama proposed a new retirement savings account for low-income workers called a MyRA. The next week, he issued a presidential memorandum to the Treasury Department instructing it to develop a pilot program.

• In April, Obama directed the Department of Labor to collect salary data from federal contractors and subcontractors to monitor whether they’re paying women and minorities fairly.

• In June, Obama told the Department of Education to allow certain borrowers to cap their student loan payments at 10% of income.

They can also be controversial.

AVOIDING ‘IMPERIAL OVERREACH’

Obama issued three presidential memoranda after the Sandy Hook school shooting two years ago. They ordered federal law enforcement agencies to trace any firearm that’s part of a federal investigation, expanded the data available to the national background check system, and instructed federal agencies to conduct research into the causes and possible solutions to gun violence.

Two more recent memos directed the administration to coordinate an overhaul of the nation’s immigration system — a move that congressional Republicans say exceeded his authority. Of the dozens of steps Obama announced as part of his immigration plan last month, none was accomplished by executive order.

Executive orders are numbered — the most recent, Executive Order 13683, modified three previous executive orders. Memoranda are not numbered, not indexed and, until recently, difficult to quantify.

Kenneth Lowande, a political science doctoral student at the University of Virginia, counted up memoranda published in the Code of Federal Regulations since 1945. In an article published in the December issue of Presidential Studies Quarterly, he found that memoranda appear to be replacing executive orders.

Indeed, many of Obama’s memoranda do the kinds of things previous presidents did by executive order.

• In 1970, President Nixon issued an executive order on unneeded federal properties. Forty years later, Obama issued a similar policy by memorandum.

• President George W. Bush established the Bob Hope American Patriot Award by executive order in 2003. Obama created the Richard C. Holbrooke Award for Diplomacy by memorandum in 2012.

• President Bush issued Executive Order 13392 in 2005, directing agencies to report on their compliance with the Freedom of Information Act. On his week in office, Obama directed the attorney general to revisit those reports — but did so in a memorandum.

“If you look at some of the titles of memoranda recently, they do look like and mirror executive orders,” Lowande said.

The difference may be one of political messaging, he said. An “executive order,” he said, “immediately evokes potentially damaging questions of ‘imperial overreach.'” Memorandum sounds less threatening.

Though they’re just getting attention from some presidential scholars, White House insiders have known about the power of memoranda for some time. In a footnote to her 1999 article in the Harvard Law Review, former Clinton associate White House counsel Elena Kagan — now an Obama appointee to the U.S. Supreme Court — said scholars focused too much on executive orders rather than presidential memoranda.

Kagan said Clinton considered memoranda “a central part of his governing strategy,” using them to spur agencies to write regulations restricting tobacco advertising to children, allowing unemployment insurance for paid family leave and requiring agencies to collect racial profiling data.

“The memoranda became, ever increasingly over the course of eight years, Clinton’s primary means, self-consciously undertaken, both of setting an administrative agenda that reflected and advanced his policy and political preferences and of ensuring the execution of this program,” Kagan wrote.

WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE?

Presidential scholar Phillip Cooper calls presidential memoranda “executive orders by another name, and yet unique.”

The law does not define the difference between an executive order and a memorandum, but it does say that the president should publish in the Federal Register executive orders and other documents that “have general applicability and legal effect.”

“Something that’s in a presidential memorandum in one administration might be captured in an executive order in another,” said Jim Hemphill, the special assistant to the director for the government’s legal notice publication. “There’s no guidance that says, ‘Mr. President, here’s what needs to be in an executive order.’ “

There are subtle differences. Executive orders are numbered; memoranda are not. Memoranda are always published in the Federal Register after proclamations and executive orders. And under Executive Order 11030, signed by President Kennedy in 1962, an executive order must contain a “citation of authority,” saying what law it’s based on. Memoranda have no such requirement.

Obama, like other presidents, has used memoranda for more routine operations of the executive branch, delegating certain mundane tasks to subordinates. About half of the memoranda published on the White House website are deemed so inconsequential that they’re not counted as memoranda in the Federal Register.

Sometimes, there are subtle differences. President Eisenhower signed Executive Order 10789 in 1958 giving emergency contracting authority to the Department of Defense and other Cabinet departments. President Bush added other departments in 2001 and 2003, but he and Obama both used memoranda to give temporary authority to the U.S. Agency for International Development to respond to crises in Iraq and western Africa.

When the president determines the order of succession in a Cabinet-level department — that is, who would take over in the case of the death or resignation of the secretary — he does so by executive order. For other agencies, he uses a memorandum.

Both executive orders and memoranda can vary in importance. One executive order this year changed the name of the National Security Staff to the National Security Council Staff. Both instruments have been used to delegate routine tasks to other federal officials.

‘THE FUNCTIONAL EQUIVALENT’

Whatever they’re called, those executive actions are binding on future administrations unless explicitly revoked by a future president, according to legal opinion from the Justice Department.

The Office of Legal Counsel — which is responsible for advising the president on executive orders and memoranda — says there’s no difference between the two. “It has been our consistent view that it is the substance of a presidential determination or directive that is controlling and not whether the document is styled in a particular manner,” said a 2000 memo from Acting Assistant Attorney General Randolph Moss to the Clinton White House. He cited a 1945 opinion that said a letter from President Franklin Roosevelt carried the same weight as an executive order.

The Office of Legal Counsel signs off on the legality of executive orders and memoranda. During the first year of Obama’s presidency, the Office of Legal Counsel asked Congress for a 14.5% budget increase, justifying its request in part by noting “the large number of executive orders and presidential memoranda that has been issued.”

Other classifications of presidential orders carry similar weight. Obama has issued at least 28 presidential policy directives in the area of national security. In a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit last year, a federal court ruled that these, too, are “the functional equivalent of an executive order.”

Even the White House sometimes gets tripped up on the distinction. Explaining Obama’s memoranda on immigration last month, Press Secretary Josh Earnest said the president would happily “tear up his own executive order” if Congress passes an immigration bill.

Obama had issued no such executive order. Earnest later corrected himself. “I must have misspoke. I meant executive actions. So I apologize,” he said.

Follow @gregorykorte on Twitter

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Federal Judge Rules Obama’s Amnesty Edict is Unconstitutional

Federal Judge Rules Obama's Immigration Edict Is Unconstitutional

A federal court judge in Pennsylvania on Tuesday ruled parts of President Barack Obama’s executive immigration orders unconstitutional, accusing him of bypassing Congress in granting deportation relief and work permits to as many as 6 million illegal immigrants.

The decision, by District Court Judge Arthur Schwab in Pittsburgh, dismisses the White House’s legal reasoning in granting the orders, which Obama announced in a prime-time speech on cable television on Nov. 20, The Washington Times reports.

In the first judicial opinion surrounding Obama’s orders, Schwab ruled that Obama went well beyond the scope of his authority by setting up a system that grants legal protections to large groups of individuals, the Times reports.

Obama, in essence, is writing laws — and that falls within the purview of Congress.
“President Obama’s unilateral legislative action violates the separation of powers provided for in the United States Constitution as well as the Take Care Clause, and therefore is unconstitutional,” Schwab wrote in his opinion.

He also ruled that the policy allows illegals “to obtain substantive rights.”

The decision resulted from a deportation case before Schwab, the Times reports, and it does not invalidate Obama’s orders. But it is a bad sign for the Obama administration, which is facing challenges to the president’s immigration policies on several fronts.

The administration late Monday urged dismissal of a lawsuit brought by Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio, who contends that Obama’s program serves as a magnet for more illegal entries into the U.S. Arpaio says the new arrivals will commit crimes and thus burden his law enforcement resources.

In a court filing late Monday, the Justice Department told U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell that the sheriff’s theory is speculative and unsubstantiated and that Arpaio has failed to show he will suffer any injury at all from the federal government’s program.
The sheriff’s challenge to the federal program is “meritless,” the Justice Department said in its court filing.

The Justice Department said the federal program “does not grant legal status to any alien. Rather, it authorizes a temporary exercise of prosecutorial discretion on a case-by-case basis for certain individuals who have been in the United States since 2010 and have deep ties to the community.”

Arpaio’s lawsuit was filed within hours of the Nov. 20 announcement of Obama’s immigration effort. Separately, 24 states have joined in a federal court challenge in Texas alleging that Obama violated constitutional limits on presidential power. The states’ lawsuit says the president’s action by executive order will exacerbate the humanitarian crisis along the southern border.

Tuesday’s ruling in Pennsylvania came as part of a deportation case brought before Judge Schwab.

In the executive orders Obama signed last month, illegals who are parents of U.S. citizens and residents already with green cards will be spared from deportation for three years. They must register with the federal government, pass a background check, and pay taxes.

They would receive work permits and Social Security numbers, though none of the illegals would be eligible for citizenship or green cards. They would, however, be guaranteed by the government that — unless they committed a serious crime — they would not be deported.

The orders also allowed Obama to expand the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program Obama created in 2012 for illegals who were brought to the United States as children by their parents.

The unilateral action also required Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson to issue new deportation guidelines on immigration enforcement the supercedes orders dating back as far as 2009.

The new DHS directives give immigration officials “prosecutorial discretion,” along with the ability to make “discretionary enforcement decisions” in deciding “whom to stop, question, and arrest; whom to detain or release; whether to settle, dismiss, appeal, or join in a motion on a case; and whether to grant deferred action, parole, or stay of removal instead of pursuing removal in a case.”

Because of the agency’s “limited resources,” the new guidelines also prioritize criminal illegals for deportation, with the greatest priority given to those who threaten national security or who have been convicted of being in a street gang or related offenses.

Those convicted of such “significant misdemeanors” as domestic violence, selling or trafficking drugs, and possession of illegal firearms are farther down the list, according to the document.

In his ruling, Schwab said that the guidelines established the new system for granting relief to illegals — which goes well beyond the Obama’s authority.

Source: http://www.newsmax.com/Newsfront/Obama-amnesty-federal-judge-unconstitutional/2014/12/16/id/613370/

 

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Pelosi ‘never objected’ to CIA techniques, ex-agency official says

Pelosi, Dems ‘fully aware’ of CIA interrogation techniques, says former agency official

Editors Note: In a last minute move to continue Obama’s scorched earth policy, democrats led by Sen. Dianne Feinstein released a controvercial report on the CIA’s “Enhanced Interrogation” program. The report was compiled completely by democrats with no input from republicans or interviews with members of the CIA. It was obvious that the democrats wanted to throw the CIA under the bus while they still had control of the Senate knowing the republicans would never endanger the country with operations that had happened years ago. How can you have a comprehensive report without interviewing the participants relying instead on suppositions. It was also timed to be released the same day Jonathon Gruber was testifying before a House Comity. Obama and the democrats will do anything no matter how damaging it is to America to get the spotlight off of the disastrous ObamaCare. Partisan politics as usual with the all to willing help of the liberal media. Obama and the democrats would do well to remember the words of Obama’s radical black activist preacher Rev. Jerimiah Wright because “Their chickens are about to come home and roost” when the republicans take control of all of Congress. [TS]

The man who oversaw the controversial CIA interrogation program defended the use of the techniques used on militants —  including waterboarding — and said members of Congress, including Rep. Nancy Pelosi, were “fully aware” of the methods used.

“She never objected to the techniques at all,” Jose Rodriguez, former director of the CIA’s National Clandestine Service, said on “Fox News Sunday.” “All of these techniques were approved by the lawyers.”

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., a former member of the Senate Select Committee on intelligence, and Karl Rove, a former White House adviser to President George W. Bush and a Fox News contributor, were also on the program.

The two were often at odds over whether the techniques described in the report constituted torture, whether the methods were effective and if the CIA misled the White House and Congress.

The CIA report dominated most of the Sunday talk shows.

Last week, former Vice President Dick Cheney called the controversial CIA interrogation report “full of crap,” during an interview with Fox News.

“I think it is a terrible report, deeply flawed,” Cheney said, in his first televised interview since the report’s release early last week. “It’s a classic example of where politicians get together and throw professionals under the bus.”

Cheney said he had not read the entire 6,000-page document, drafted by Democrats on the Senate Intelligence Committee, or the 500-page declassified and redacted executive summary made public.

Source: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2014/12/14/former-director-cia-interrogation-program-defends-interrogation-techniques-used/

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NOT WITHOUT A FIGHT: Senate GOP pushes back against budget bill

Senate likely to vote on spending bill Monday; holds rare Saturday session to take up Obama nominations

The Senate will convene in a rare Saturday session after making some progress toward passing a $1.1 trillion bill to fund the government Friday night. Despite the step forward, lawmakers failed to lock down a deal after two Republican senators demanded the bill be stripped of money that could be used to implement President Obama’s new immigration policy.

Senate GOP leaders pledged to fight Obama’s immigration plan next year when they take control of the upper chamber but Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, suggested they shouldn’t be entirely trusted to keep their pledge.

“We will learn soon enough if those statements are genuine and sincere,” Cruz said, in a clear reference to Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker John Boehner.

Still, current leaders from both parties say the bill remains on track for a Monday vote.

On Friday, the House passed a second stopgap measure Friday afternoon, buying the Senate additional time to discuss and vote on a $1.1 trillion government-wide spending bill.

The House vote provides a pad to make certain the government doesn’t shut down at midnight Saturday when current funding authority runs out.

It’s still unknown whether the House measure, passed by a voice vote while the chamber was virtually empty, will be needed. Senate leaders say they hope to wrap up action on the omnibus budget bill by Friday night but say that goal is looking less attainable.

Washington woke up to “Fallout Friday,” with liberal Democrats openly outraged at Obama and conservative Republicans disgusted with Boehner after both did enough wheeling, dealing and arm twisting to push through a spending bill three hours shy of the midnight deadline.

The surprise beneficiary in this latest political conundrum could be Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., a relative newcomer to the Senate but looking more and more like the liberal Democratic answer to who might challenge Hillary Clinton for the party’s 2016 presidential nomination.

The House narrowly approved a sweeping spending bill Thursday night despite deep misgivings among liberals and conservatives alike, sending the measure to the Senate as lawmakers averted a partial government shutdown.

The bill passed on a 219-206 vote, following an intense lobbying effort by House Republican leaders and the White House.

Source: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2014/12/13/senate-likely-to-vote-on-spending-bill-to-monday-hold-rare-saturday-session-to/

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Hillary Clinton Got The Benghazi Talking Points BEFORE Rest Of Obama Administration

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton answers questions from the audience at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington January 31, 2013. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS) - RTR3D7A7

Then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton knew the Obama White House’s Benghazi talking points BEFORE the White House even sent them around to administration officials.

Hillary Clinton used the administration’s exact talking point blaming the attack on a YouTube video before Obama’s White House speechwriter Ben Rhodes drafted it to prepare Susan Rice for Sunday morning talk shows days later.

As Rhodes prepares to leave the White House before he can be called to testify in front of Rep. Trey Gowdy’s select committee on the attack, a new timeline emerges that puts the video in Secretary Clinton’s hands.

We know now that Benghazi was an al-Qaeda attack, not just a spontaneous response to filmmaker Nakoula Nakoula Bassely’s obscure film “Innocence of Muslims.”

Hillary Clinton said the following on the morning of September 13 in her remarks at the U.S.-Morocco Strategic Dialogue:

“I also want to take a moment to address the video circulating on the Internet that has led to these protests in a number of countries. Let me state very clearly – and I hope it is obvious – that the United States Government had absolutely nothing to do with this video. We absolutely reject its content and message…To us, to me personally, this video is disgusting and reprehensible. It appears to have a deeply cynical purpose: to denigrate a great religion and to provoke rage. But as I said yesterday, there is no justification, none at all, for responding to this video with violence.”

Obama speechwriter Ben Rhodes circulated the administration’s video talking points for television appearances by Susan Rice and others. Here’s what Rhodes said  in his all-important first memo on the afternoon of September 14, more than a day after Clinton first came up with the YouTube video.

“We’ve made our views on the video crystal clear. The United States Government had nothing to do with it. We reject its message and its content. We find it disgusting and reprehensible. But there is no justification at all for responding to this movie with violence.”

Source: http://dailycaller.com/2014/12/10/hillary-clinton-got-the-benghazi-talking-points-before-rest-of-obama-administration/

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Senate panel releases scathing report on CIA interrogation amid warnings of backlash

A Democrat-led Senate panel released a scathing report Tuesday on CIA interrogation practices amid warnings from lawmakers and some within the Obama administration that the findings could “endanger the lives of Americans” all over the world.

The report, from the Senate intelligence committee, claimed the interrogation techniques used were “brutal and far worse” than the CIA represented to lawmakers. Further, the report claimed the tactics were not effective and the spy agency gave “inaccurate” information about it to Congress and the White House. The report called the CIA management of the program “deeply flawed” — though agency officials have staunchly defended the program and credited it with helping track down Usama bin Laden and other terror leaders.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., the head of the intelligence panel who ordered the release of the report, alleged on the Senate floor on Tuesday that the CIA techniques in some cases amounted to “torture.” 

“History will judge us by our commitment to a just society governed by law and the willingness to face an ugly truth and say ‘never again’,” she said on the floor. “There may never be the right time to release this report. … But this report is too important to shelve indefinitely.” 

The White House and President Obama backed the decision to release the report, despite warnings from lawmakers and some inside the administration that it could lead to a backlash against Americans.

Sens. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and Jim Risch, R-Idaho, in a statement late Monday, called the move a “partisan effort” by Democrats on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. They said the report is not “serious or constructive.” 

“We are concerned that this release could endanger the lives of Americans overseas, jeopardize U.S. relations with foreign partners, potentially incite violence, create political problems for our allies, and be used as a recruitment tool for our enemies,” the senators said. “Simply put, this release is reckless and irresponsible.” 

The roughly 500-page report, a summary of a still-classified 6,000 page study, amounts to the first public accounting of the CIA’s alleged use of torture on suspected Al Qaeda detainees held in secret facilities in Europe and Asia in the years after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

A former CIA officer told Fox News on Monday that the agency’s techniques led to helpful intelligence. The former officer noted that once accused Sept. 11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed’s will was broken, he generated more than 2,000 intelligence reports.

In addition, three former CIA officers from the program told Fox News that they believe the Senate report seeks to minimize intelligence that led the U.S. to Abu Ahmed al-Kuwaiti– Usama bin Laden’s trusted courier.

Another former officer told Fox News that the CIA was encouraged by lawmakers “to do whatever it takes” to prevent another attack on the scale of Sept. 2001.  The former officer said that Hill leadership was briefed more than three dozen times before the program was shuttered.

The White House on Monday reiterated its support for the report’s release, despite the warnings it could provoke violence. Press Secretary Josh Earnest said the administration has been preparing “for months” for the report’s release.

However, Secretary of State John Kerry last week asked the Senate Intelligence Committee to “consider” the timing of the release.

The administration’s stance was criticized by GOP Sen. Richard Burr, the prospective new chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee. Burr, R-N.C., said that Kerry’s suggestion that the report be delayed didn’t jibe with Earnest’s comments.

“It’s dumbfounding they can call and ask for it to be delayed and then say they want it out. You can’t have it both ways,” Burr told Fox News.

U.S. officials have confirmed to Fox News that an advisory has been sent urging U.S. personnel overseas to reassess security measures in anticipation of the release. The message directs all overseas posts, including those used by CIA personnel, to “review their security posture” for a “range of reactions that might occur.” 

A similar statement was being sent to military combatant commands to assess their readiness.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said Tuesday he’s ordered all combatant commanders to be on “high alert.” 

Source: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2014/12/09/senate-panel-releases-scathing-report-on-cia-interrogation-amid-warnings/

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Federal Lawsuit Could Stop Obama’s Amnesty Before It Starts

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott (R) filed a motion in federal court Friday which could allow a federal court to stop President Obama’s executive amnesty before it starts.

The motion filed by Abbott, who is also the governor-elect of Texas, asks the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas, to issue a preliminary injunction halting the new immigration program Obama announced on November 20, 2014.

“The President has turned the Constitution on its head by suggesting that he has legislative powers and that Congress has veto powers that must be exercised to thwart his executive actions,” the motion reads. “This is not how our system works. The constitutional separation of powers requires Congress to pass a law and the President to execute it; the President can no more pass his own laws (or “execute” nonexistent ones) than Congress can exercise the veto or pardon powers.”

Preliminary Burdens
To prevail on a motion for preliminary injunction, a plaintiff must establish four things: 1) that he is likely to succeed on the merits; 2) that he is likely to suffer irreparable harm without preliminary relief; 3) that the balance of equities or in his favor; and 4) that an injunction is in the public interest.

The full motion can be read here, and relies heavily on Obama’s own statements, as well as statements from his political allies, to show that the plaintiffs meet all four criteria. Specifically,  the motion notes that not only did Obama previously say his new deferred action program was beyond his powers, but even after he announced it he admitted his plan was “an action to change the law.”

Plaintiffs also note it will be “difficult or impossible to undo the President’s lawlessness after the Defendants start granting deferred action” since Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) has promised to “have hundreds of thousands, if not millions [of people] with their documents, ready to submit them” as soon as the program is open.

Democratic mayors from across the country are also coordinating with the White House to make sure as many illegal immigrants as possible are ready to claim amnesty as soon as Obama’s program is up and running. “The mayors, city and federal officials are expected to brainstorm best practices on informing immigrant populations that they may be eligible to receive the new benefits, and notifying them of the types of paperwork needed throughout the application process,” MSNBC reports.

Democrats have plenty of time to organize illegal immigrants before Obama’s amnesty opens for business. According to the United States Citizen and Immigration Services website, the agency charged with implementing the new program, applications for amnesty will not be accepted until “approximately 180 days following the President’s November 20, 2014, announcement.”

That means a court has until about June 1st of 2015 to issue an order blocking the new amnesty. The motion asks for a hearing before the court before December 31, 2014.

“Likely To Succeed On The Merits Of Their Claim”
In 2012, Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers sued to try and stop Obama’s first executive amnesty, the 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. While the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas later found that the border agents “were likely to succeed on the merits of their claim,” the court ultimately determined that the plaintiffs did not have standing to sue DHS since the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978 already established an administrative process for resolving disputes between federal employees and their employer.

But the plaintiffs in this new suit, more than 15 states, are claiming a completely different set of harms. Not only do they now have a DHS commissioned study admitting that Obama’s DACA program helped cause a humanitarian crisis at the border, but multiple reports show that said crisis also strained state budgets nationwide.

“The states’ make a strong argument for a preliminary injunction to stop the administration from implementing Obama’s immigration amnesty,” Heritage Foundation legal scholar Hans von Spakovsky told Townhall. “DHS is already hiring 1,000 new employees for a massive new operational center to process applications and hand out millions of work permits. Without an injunction while this case is being heard, it will be almost impossible for the court to reverse what the administration does if it eventually rules in favor of the states.”

Source: http://townhall.com/tipsheet/conncarroll/2014/12/08/state-challenge-could-stop-obamas-amnesty-before-it-starts-n1928994

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Harvard Law Professor: EPA Climate Rule Is Unconstitutional

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator   arrives to sign a proposal under the Clean Air Act to cut carbon pollution from existing power plants during a news conference in Washington June 2, 2014. The U.S. power sector must cut carbon dioxide emissions 30 percent by 2030 from 2005 levels, according to federal regulations unveiled on Monday that form the centerpiece of the Obama administration

The Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed rule to cut carbon dioxide emissions from power plants is unconstitutional because it violates the Tenth Amendment and the Fifth Amendment, according to a noted liberal Harvard law professor.

“In short, coal has been a bedrock component of our economy and energy policy for decades,” writes constitutional law professor Laurence Tribe. “The [EPA’s rule] demonstrates the risk of allowing an unaccountable administrative agency to ‘make’ law and attempt to impose the burden of global climate change on an unlucky and unfortunate few.”

“EPA’s singling out of a mere handful of emitters and limiting (or curtailing) their property is exactly the type of overreaching the Fifth Amendment seeks to prevent,” Tribe, who is on retainer for the coal company Peabody Energy, wrote in his comments to the EPA.

Tribe’s argument that the EPA rule is unconstitutional is one of the strongest charges made against the agency’s Clean Power Plan to date.

The Clean Power Plan “violates principles of federalism and seeks to commandeer state governments in violation of the Tenth Amendment,” Tribe argues. “It raises serious questions under the Fifth Amendment as well, because it retroactively abrogates the federal government’s policy of promoting coal as an energy source. Private companies — and whole communities — reasonably relied on the federal government’s commitment to the support of coal.”

States have challenged the EPA’s authority to regulate carbon dioxide emissions from power plants under the Clean Air Act, arguing the agency is overreaching and intruding on states’ rights to set their own environmental goals.

“[T]he Proposed Rule would usurp the energy producing states’ authority to ‘establish’ performance standards by dictating what the standards must be,” reads a letter from high-ranking from 12 states, led by North Dakota’s chief environmental officer at the Department of Health.

The EPA’s plan aims to cut power plant emissions 30 percent by 2030. The rule has sparked a massive pushback as states worry they will be forced to shutter more coal-fired power plants to comply with EPA mandates.

The EPA itself estimates its plan will increase electricity retail prices 6.5 percent by 2020 and force 19 percent of U.S. coal-fired capacity to shutdown.

A lot of the controversy surrounding the EPA’s Clean Power Plan centers on “goals” the agency has proposed for each state depending on certain factors. But emissions reductions targets vary widely between states. For example, Washington state has a proposed emission reduction goal of 72 percent by 2030 while Texas only needs to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 38 percent.

But Tribe not only argues the EPA’s power plant rule exceeds its authority under the Clean Air Act, he says it flat out violates the U.S. Constitution.

“The Fifth Amendment’s Due Process and Takings Clauses aim ‘to prevent the government from forcing some people alone to bear public burdens which, in all fairness and justice, should be borne by the public as a whole,’” Tribe writes. “But this is precisely the purpose of the Proposed Rule: forcing the United States’ power plants and energy industry to bear the global burden of lessening CO2 emissions.”

Basically the EPA is putting the burden of paying for fighting global warming on a select few industries — utilities, coal producers and such. But the thing about global warming is just that, it’s global. Any actions to reduce emissions on the part of the U.S. would ostensibly benefit the whole world.

“It forces a select set of victims — including coal-reliant consumers, communities, regions, businesses and utilities — to bear a substantial share of the economic burden for a worldwide public policy objective,” Tribe writes, adding that the impact of reducing U.S. emissions on global warming would be negligible.

The EPA, however, disagrees with Tribe’s claims of unconstitutionality and argues that the agency has a history of writing rulers that “stand up in court.”

“[T]he Supreme Court made clear in 2007, and affirmed recently that EPA has an obligation to limit carbon pollution because it’s a harm to human health,” an EPA spokeswoman told The Daily Caller News Foundation.

“We appreciate the high level of interest in taking action on climate change demonstrated by the millions of comments received,” the agency spokeswoman said. “As with other rulemakings, EPA will review all the comments we’ve received and consider them before finalizing a common-sense, affordable Clean Power Plan that will move the nation significantly forward in addressing climate change and protecting public health.”

Source: http://dailycaller.com/2014/12/05/harvard-law-professor-epa-climate-rule-is-unconstitutional/

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SYMPATHY FOR THE ENEMY? Hillary urges US to show ‘respect’ for foes

Clinton says America should ‘empathize’ with its enemies

Editors Note: Remember the emphasis Hillary made in a political add talking about asking the question “It’s 3 a.m., and your children are safe and asleep, But there’s a phone in the White House, and it’s ringing.Who do you want answering the phone?” That is a very good and important question to ask yourself considering Hillary is considered the front runner for the Democratic nomination for President in 2016. Do you really want someone answering that phone who thinks we should “empathize” and “respect” our enemies? How much respect and empathy does ISIS, Al ‘qaeda, Iran, China and Russia deserve? We have seen through the totally failed Obama Foreign  Policy that appeasement and indecision only emboldens Americas enemies and encourages them in their desire to destroy America. Many Hillary pundits will say her statements were merely saying we should continually talk with our enemies but these were telling statements about her basic beliefs that like Obama America is undeserving of its position in world standings. These weren’t off the cuff statements made where she may have gotten confused, she was reading from her prepared notes and meant every word she uttered. Electing Hillary in 2016 will only continue and escalate Obama’s policies of  punishing America and her allies and rewarding her enemies. [TS]

Hillary Clinton is taking heat for saying America should “empathize” and show “respect” for its enemies.

The former secretary of State, who is considered a likely 2016 Democratic presidential candidate, made the remarks during a speech Wednesday at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.

Touting an approach she calls “smart power,” Clinton urged America to use “every possible tool and partner” to advance peace.

This, she said, includes “leaving no one on the sidelines, showing respect even for one’s enemies, trying to understand and insofar as psychologically possible, empathize with their perspective and point of view.” 

At a time when the U.S. military is launching airstrikes against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, some called the comments out of place.

Former Marine Lt. Col. Oliver North, a Fox News host, said the comments are “irrational.”

“I can’t think of a presidential candidate who would have said those kinds of things,” he said. “Think about December 7, 1941 and then FDR going to the Congress of the United States the next day saying, ‘We need to have more empathy for Japan.’”

North added: “If you’re going to run for president of the United States, you cannot talk that way about the people who intend to kill us. Who are dying to kill us. … This is capitulation.”

Karl Rove, former George W. Bush adviser and Fox News analyst, called Clinton’s remarks the “wrong language.” 

Source: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2014/12/05/clinton-says-america-should-empathize-with-its-enemies/

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Conservatives scoff at Boehner deal

Sen. Jeff Sessions is pictured. | Getty

Hardliners are again ready to cause leaders problems.

The “Hell No” caucus is once again causing headaches for Republican leadership.

A cadre of the House’s most conservative members will meet Wednesday morning at the Capitol Hill Club for Rep. Steve King’s regular breakfast to discuss lame duck legislation. Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz, who often serves as a de facto spokesman for congressional hardliners, is expected to attend.

These hard-line Republicans are already expressing their dissatisfaction with the plan outlined by Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) during a closed door meeting Tuesday morning. Instead of a spending bill that keeps the government funded through September with a chance to review the the Department of Homeland Security’s funding in March, the lawmakers want to pass a much shorter resolution.

“I think a lot of us, in discussion, we don’t see the purpose of having a long CR. Why not do it the first day we’re in session?” said Rep. John Fleming (R-La.) “I’m not sure it’s going to pass the way they are proposing it. I think it’s likely they are going to have to improve it if they want it to pass.”

These conservatives estimate the number of Republican “no” votes to be near 30 to 40 — enough to derail a vote on the government funding bill if Democrats oppose the measure.

Senate conservatives are beginning to badger House leaders over their plan to fund the government and symbolically disapprove of the president’s immigration action. GOP Sens. Jeff Sessions of Alabama, David Vitter of Louisiana and Mike Lee of Utah all began to blast the House GOP leadership’s plan on Tuesday afternoon, arguing that the House needs to block funding for implementation of Obama’s executive action now, not later.

Lee laid out a detailed road map to taking on the executive action in a statement to Breitbart News, arguing for a short-term continuing resolution that blocks funding for the executive action — the opposite of what Republican leaders in both chambers want.

“The House needs to do the right thing and send over the short term bill with the defund language,” said Lee spokesman Brian Phillips.

It may not have helped matters in conservative circles that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) gave a tepid endorsement of the House leadership’s plan on Tuesday, calling it “unfortunate” that DHS money won’t be included in omnibus but concluding that it would be a “big accomplishment if we can get a bill over here that would fund all the appropriation subcommittees except one.”

Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has largely deferred to the House, declining to say what they should do and emphasizing twice on Tuesday that there will be no shutdown and that he’s likely to support whatever Boehner can pass.

Senate GOP hard-liners, though, think it won’t work.

Asked specifically about the House plan, Sessions replied: “I’m worried that it’s not going to be effective.”

“You just can’t be bobbing and weaving on this,” Sessions told reporters. “This is not a matter to be discussed at some point. It’s just unacceptable aggrandizement of power that Congress has an institutional duty to reject.”

Added Vitter: “Make no mistake, sending a bill to the Senate without first making an attempt to include defund language is telling the American people that you support Obama’s executive amnesty. That would be a slap in the face to the voters who sent a message last month by electing Republican majorities in Congress.”

Missing from this drama, for now, is Cruz, who was central to the movement to defund Obamacare in October 2013, which eventually led to a lengthy government shutdown. On Tuesday, Cruz twice declined to speak about the House’s bill and referred a reporter to his press office, which did not respond to questions.

And across the Rotunda, House conservatives are beginning to converge around the idea that a shorter-term CR that strictly limited funds to the Department of Homeland Security — the agency tasked with implementing Obama’s immigration executive actions.

“For me, something that is shorter term allows us to hopefully deal with a Senate that is more negotiable. I’m probably leaning no [on the current House plan],” said Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.). “I think in terms of the CR omnibus, without a limitation language, there are not enough votes. I’m not on the whip team but listening to a number of my colleagues, there is more than enough concern.”

The atmosphere could be better for Republicans in January. The Senate will then be controlled by the GOP, increasingly the likelihood that any long-term spending legislation passed in the House could be put to a vote in the Senate. Plans floated by conservatives include passing a CR that keeps the government open just until the first week of the next Congress in January.

Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), a leading conservative in the House, said on Tuesday that “the cavalry is coming” and that he preferred to deal with the larger funding issues next year. And outspoken Rep. Tim Huelskamp, who has built a reputation around opposing Republican leadership, also backed a proposal that would only temporarily extend government funding.

“For me, it’s generally in appropriations the shorter the better,” the Kansas Republican said.

Source: http://www.politico.com/story/2014/12/conservatives-scoff-at-boehner-deal-113280.html#ixzz3KqHFRKWp

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Obama: Fund My Amnesty Or I’ll Shut Down The Government

President Barack Obama speaks at a news conference at the conclusion of the G20 Summit in Brisbane Nov. 16, 2014. (REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque)

White House spokesman Josh Earnest said Monday that President Barack Obama will block a government budget bill if the GOP denies him the funds needed to provide amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants.

“Yes,” Earnest said when asked by ABC News reporter Jonathan Karl if Obama would veto a government-wide budget that defunded the amnesty program.

If Obama blocks the budget to help the illegals, large sections of the federal government would shut down on Dec. 12.

But Earnest equivocated when he was asked if Obama would shut down the government if the GOP denies amnesty just for the immigration agency.

“I don’t believe that members of Congress or the majority of members of Congress, will go along with efforts to shut down the govern in protest over the president’s executive actions on immigration,” he said.

Any veto would be a high-risk step by Obama, because it would brand the Democratic Party as willing to shut down the government to aid several million illegal immigrants.

That could help make immigration a central issue in the 2016 election and aid the GOP candidate in critical Midwestern states, where the economy has not fully recovered from the 2008 crash.

Since 2012, public opinion has shifted sharply against Obama’s immigration policies.

GOP legislators have drafted an appropriations rider that would temporarily block spending by one agency to implement the $2 trillion amnesty.

The rider would also shield Republicans from media-magnified Democratic claims that they’re willing to shut down the government.

The rider would be added to the 12-month appropriations bill, and would prevent any expenditures needed to implement the amnesty, which largely ends immigration enforcement, grants work-permits to four million illegals and boosts the inflow of university-trained guest workers.

Another option, backed by Rep. Tom Cotton, would only approve a few months of spending by immigration agencies. The short-term funding plan would allow the new House and Senate majority to block Obama’s amnesty early 2015.

Republican legislators will meet Tuesday to hear the strategy preferred by House Speaker John Boehner, Majority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy and Whip Steve Scalise.

At least 60 GOP legislators — including Rep. Matt Salmon and Rep. Tom Price — want to block the amnesty, and they’re being backed up by many outside conservative groups that oppose Obama’s amnesty decision.

But many business-backed GOP legislators, and members of the powerful House appropriations committee, either back the amnesty or don’t want to fight against it, despite many polls showing significant public concerns.

The draft rider is modeled on routine language added to the year spending bills.

For example, the 2013 budget bill included a rider that limited federal spending of money taken in via fees paid by would-be immigrants to the Customs and Immigration Service agency.

“Notwithstanding section 1356(n) of title 8, United States Code, of the funds deposited into the Immigration Examinations Fee Account, $7,500,000 may be allocated by United States Citizenship and Immigration Services in fiscal year 2014 for the purpose of providing an immigrant integration grants program,” the rider said.

Here is the draft language.

“Notwithstanding any other provision of law, no part of any appropriation contained in this or any other Act, including funds or fees collected or otherwise made available for expenditure, may be used by any agency to implement, administer, enforce or carry out any of the policy changes set forth in (1) the memorandum from the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security titled Southern Border andApproaches Campaign dated November 20, 2014, (2) the memorandum from the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security titled Policies for the Apprehension, Detention and Removal of Undocumented Immigrants dated November 20, 2014, (3) the memorandum from the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security titled Secure Communities dated November 20, 2014, (4) the memorandum from the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security titled Personnel Reform for

Immigration and Customs Enforcement Officers dated November 20, 2014, (5) the memorandum from the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security titled Exercising Prosecutorial Discretion with Respect to Individuals Who Came to the United States as Children and with Respect to Certain Individuals Who Are the Parents of U.S. Citizens or Permanent Residents dated November 20, 2014, (6) the memorandum from the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security titled Expansion of the Provisional Waiver Program dated November 20, 2014, (7) the memorandum from the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security titled Policies Supporting U.S. High‐Skilled Businesses and Workers dated November 20, 2014, (8) the memorandum from the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security titled Families of U.S. Armed Forces Members and Enlistees dated November 20, 2014, (9) the

memorandum from the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security titled Directive to Provide Consistency Regarding Advance Parole dated November 20, 2014, (10) the memorandum from the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security titled Policies to Promote and Increase Access to U.S. Citizenship dated November 20, 2014; (11) the memorandum from the President titled Modernizing and Streamlining the U.S. Immigrant Visa System for the 21st Century dated November 21, 2014; (12) the memorandum from the President titled Creating Welcoming Communities and Fully Integrating Immigrants and Refugees dated November 21, 2014, or any substantially similar memoranda issued after these dates.”

Source: http://dailycaller.com/2014/12/01/obama-fund-my-amnesty-or-ill-shut-down-the-government/

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In Ferguson, Witness Intimidation, Lying by ‘Community of Color’

On Monday night, after the release of the grand jury verdict rejecting indictment of Officer Darren Wilson in the Ferguson, Missouri shooting of 18-year-old black man Michael Brown, President Obama took to the microphones. “We need to recognize that this is not just an issue for Ferguson, this is an issue for America,” he said. “[T]here are still problems and communities of color aren’t just making these problems up.”

Obama was wrong, at least in the case of Darren Wilson. In viewing thousands of pages of FBI interviews and grand jury testimony, it becomes eminently clear that many members of the local community did make up the story about Michael Brown being executed by Wilson – and pressured others to lie to police or keep silent.

According to the St. Louis County Police Investigative Report, the mob mentality took root almost immediately after the shooting. By the time detectives arrived at the scene of the incident, there was “a large crowd of bystanders and a large uniformed police presence at the scene when detectives arrived.” That crowd included both Brown’s mother and his stepfather, according to witness testimony. The police report states, “Many individuals were clearly upset and were expressing their frustration, by at times yelling obscenities and threats, and attempting to encroach on the crime scene itself.”

It got worse:

As the scene investigation continued, there were several large groups of hostile individuals around the perimeter of the crime scene. The investigation of the scene was interrupted several times by death threats directed toward police officers and gunshots being fired by an unknown persons around the crime scene.

According to the police report, a bevy of witnesses described intimidation from the local community, as well as falsification of testimony. One witness initially told police she didn’t want to “get involved for fear of retaliation.” She said, “I don’t know these people. I have to live here.”

Another female witness told police, “I don’t know nothin’.”

An adult male near the scene “commented to detectives as they walked by that he witnessed the incident and the officer was ‘in the right’ and ‘did what he had to do.’ He added the statements being made by bystanders in the complex were inaccurate. The detectives momentarily stopped to speak with the male who was clearly uncomfortable speaking with detectives. The male indicated he was not making any further comments or identifying himself.”

Two more witnesses, one male and one female, “said they were afraid to speak about what they witnessed. Both said they were worried about retaliation from people who live in the area.” One “began crying and said she could not talk about it.” The male said that he saw Brown inside the vehicle. He turned away, and when he turned back, “the male began moving quickly toward the officer and he heard several more gunshots.” Both witnesses refused to provide recorded statements.

One witness told police that “she had been speaking to her neighbors about the incident, and her neighbors were getting upset at what they believed happened. Their beliefs were inconsistent with what she witnessed.”

Yet the witness told police “that although present during the incident, and seeing the entirety of what happened, he would not be speaking to police for fear of retaliation from neighborhood residents. He also stated the information being broadcast by the news outlets was not accurate information and there were ‘blatant lies from those giving accounts of what they saw.’ He said there were multiple people present when the shooting occurred and even those people, when interviewed by the media, were giving false statements.”

Still another witness told police he had “already told investigators from Saint Louis County Police Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation that he was not willing to formally discussed the incident, but he was willing to discuss his fears.” He said “threats… had been made to the residents of Canfield Green Apartment Complex. He said notes had been posted on various apartment buildings threatening people not to talk to the police, and gunshots were still being fired every night.” He said “there were at least 10 other people who were outside and saw exactly what happened. He was not willing to provide names of any of those individuals.” He said Wilson told Brown “no less than 10 times to get down” while they were both on the street. He said Brown never had hands raised.

In FBI interviews, witnesses repeated such accusations. Witness 10, whose account backed Wilson’s story, said, “I just wanted to come forward and just tell it how I seen it. Because I feel like it’s very rare that somebody’s gonna come forward and tell actually what happened.” Witness 14, who initially said Brown was shot from behind before changing his story to accord with the facts, stated:

You have to understand the mentality of some of these young guys they have nothing to do. When they can latch on the something they embellish it because they want something to do. This is something they giving the okay now we got something we can get into… The majority of them do not work. They all they do is sit around and get high all day… two people never seen these people before in my life in the whole time I have been out there and I sit out there a lot. Came up threatenin’, hey y’all better not say nothing, ah, you’ll snitching and all.

Witness 14 added that within one minute of the shooting, there were 70 or 80 people “saying things that didn’t happen,” and they “started embellishing it when the stepfather showed up.” They lied, he said, when they said the officer “ran up behind him shot him in the back.” They lied, he said, when they said he had “his hands straight up in the air.” They lied, he said, when they stated that Brown was shot while down. “They had it in they mindset of what happened,” he continued. “They are set they are looking for a reason to explode, that’s what they, ‘cause they don’t have anything to do… They got nothing else to do they running all day they’re drinking and-and getting high all day we see this all the time.”

And indeed, witness testimony showed that witnesses routinely embellished their accounts, changed them to fit autopsy results as those results broke in the media, and even lied about seeing the events at all.

After Dorian Johnson, Brown’s alleged accomplice in robbing a local convenience store, went on television and told his false story about Brown having been shot from behind and raising his hands before being killed, witnesses began shifting their own testimony to match. Multiple witnesses said they knew Johnson, and one said she had spoken with him before talking to the FBI. Two witnesses brought handwritten notes to police matching in wording and other respects.

At least 12 witnesses claimed that Brown was shot from behind, which was factually false. At least 16 witnesses said Brown’s hands were up when he was shot, which was factually false. One witness said Wilson used a Taser, then a gun: false. Another said she witnessed the events, but admitted she was blocks away when the events occurred. Still another witness said there were two officers involved in the shooting, and admitted she couldn’t tell what she’d seen and what she’d read about the case. One witness admitted in testimony to changing his story to “coincide with what really happened.” Another witness said that he was friends with Brown, and that Brown was shot while on his knees. When informed that such a story contradicted all physical evidence, the man admitted that he had not seen the shooting and then asked if he could leave because he was “uncomfortable.”

The looting and rioting and protesting are all secondary to the astroturfed case against Officer Darren Wilson in the first place. At least in Ferguson, one “community of color” did make this problem up. The media went along with it, ignoring the intimidation and the witness’ lying. And an innocent man, by all available physical evidence and a vast majority of the reliable witness testimony, could have gone to prison or death row because of it.

Source: http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Government/2014/11/28/IN-FERGUSON-WITNESS-INTIMIDATION-LYING-BY-COMMUNITY-OF-COLOR

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Illegal immigrants to be eligible for Social Security, Medicare

Illegal immigrants who apply for work permits in the U.S. under President Obama’s new executive actions will be eligible for Social Security and Medicare, the White House says.

Under the sweeping actions, immigrants who are spared deportation could obtain work permits and a Social Security number, which would allow them to pay into the Social Security system through payroll taxes.

No such “lawfully present” immigrant, however, would be immediately entitled to the benefits because like all Social Security and Medicare recipients they would have to work 10 years to become eligible for retirement payments and health care. To remain qualified, either Congress or future administrations would have to extend Obama’s actions so that those immigrants would still be considered lawfully present in the country.

None of the immigrants who would be spared deportation under Obama’s executive actions would be able to receive federal assistance such as welfare or food stamps, or other income-based aid. They also would not be eligible to purchase health insurance in federal exchanges set up by the new health care law and they would not be able to apply for tax credits that would lower the cost of their health insurance.

Benefits for illegal immigrants steps into murky waters. The White House has said it will not grant federal assistance to the 5 million affected by Obama’s executive actions. The Obama administration first denied younger immigrants who entered the U.S. illegally as children access to health care exchanges and tax credits in 2012, especially disappointing immigrant advocates.

“They were specifically carved out of that, which is deeply unfortunate because it cuts directly against the spirit” of the health care law, said Avideh Moussavian, an attorney at the National Immigration Law Center. “They should have had the opportunity to buy health insurance just like anybody else.”

Any immigrant who is lawfully present in the country with a Social Security number would be entitled to Social Security and Medicare upon retirement because they would have paid into the system, one official said.

Stephen Miller, a spokesman for Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama, a leading Republican opponent of Obama’s executive actions, said making immigrants illegally in the U.S. eligible for Social Security and Medicare “is an attack on working families.”

“The amnestied illegal immigrants are largely older, lower-wage and lower-skilled and will draw billions more in benefits than they will pay in,” he said.

Those seeking benefits would have needed to work for at least 10 years and be of retirement age. Immigrants would also be eligible for survivor benefits if the deceased worker had worked for 10 years and disability insurance if they had worked 5-20 years.

A report by the White House Council of Economic Advisers this week concluded that Obama’s executive actions would expand the U.S. tax base because about two-thirds of immigrants illegally working in the United States don’t pay taxes.

But many immigrants currently working illegally still pay into the Social Security system because they have obtained an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number. Moussavian said the number has declined because the Internal Revenue Service has made it harder to apply for the identification number.

The Social Security Administration estimates that out of about 11 immigrants who either entered the U.S. illegally or have overstayed their visas slightly more than 3 million paid payroll taxes of about $6.5 billion in 2010, with their employers contributing another $6.5 billion.

“It’s one of many reasons why they would want to come forward,” Moussavian said. “Many immigrants have contributed enormously through payroll taxes and income taxes and they go to programs that they can’t currently access.”

Source: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2014/11/27/illegal-immigrants-to-be-eligible-for-social-security-medicare/

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‘A different world': Riot-scarred Ferguson warily awaits nightfall

Ferguson hoping for peace, bracing for worst

Fergusonbeautyshop.jpg

Editors Note: The Governor of Missouri is Jay Nixon a Democrat who held the National Guard in reserve instead of deploying them to stem the violent rioting, looting and as it turned out business being set ablaze. Political move? How would it look politically for all Democrats to have the Missouri National Guard marching down the streets of Ferguson in battle dress forcibly moving both demonstrators and rioters out of the way. I am sure the business owners of ALL races would have preferred that then have their business torched and looted. Then to have Obama inject himself in a local state matter made things even worse. As Obama’s former Pastor Reverend Jeremiah Wright once preached ” America’s chickens are coming home to roost” only this time it is Obama’s Chickens that have come home to roost with his and his Attorney General Eric Holder preaching and spreading racial divide. Instead of being the Uniter he promised when he was campaigning for President he has been a Divider of Race, Income and Gender. [TS]

A mix of weary unease, fear and hope has set in on Ferguson, Mo., after a night of rioting followed the announcement that a grand jury had declined to indict a police officer who shot an 18-year-old black man dead in a case that exposed a deep racial divide and left parts of the town in ruins.

Mass rioting and looting, the torching of police cars and arrests of at least 60 people left part of the city looking like “a different world,” in the words of one local pastor. And before the city can begin to recover, residents and merchants must know the rioting is over.

“We’re expecting it to flare up again, especially when it gets dark,” said the Rev. Dusty Thompson, of Ferguson Church of the Nazarene. “There’s definitely some trepidation for tonight, but we are just praying that peace will be pursued and that our community will come together.”

“I’m the only one that didn’t burn,” said Dan McMullen, who has owned an insurance company in the Ferguson area for 20 years. “The buildings to the right and left of me burned down. The beauty shop to the left of me is totally flat. It’s a 60-year old building made out of concrete and metal.”

“I never thought they would burn the place down,” said McMullen, adding he fears the violence may continue — perhaps escalate — Tuesday night.

“I never thought they would burn the place down.”- Dan McMullen, Ferguson insurance broker

“I went to get pictures today from my office in case they try to burn it down tonight,” McMullen, a former policeman and Vietnam veteran, told FoxNews.com. “My wife just sat there and cried.”

Ferguson Mayor James Knowles on Tuesday said the National Guard was not deployed fast enough to protect all businesses, which he said was deeply concerning. He called on Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon to deploy all resources possible to prevent “further destruction of property” and ensure “the preservation of life.”

Knowles was joined at an afternoon press conference Tuesday with Ferguson business owners, residents and clergy members, one of whom addressed the violent protestors directly, saying, “This is not the answer to continue to destroy us.”

Thompson said surveying the damage in the hardest hit part of the city was troubling.

“I was just up there, and at times you can feel like you’re in a different world,” he said. “But even in the midst of that damage, there is hope for Ferguson.”

Thompson said the shooting and the ensuing fallout has exposed divisions, but also sparked positive conversation.

“It is causing people to talk, and maybe some of that racial divide is being crossed,” Thompson said. “It’s causing us to look at some of these situations and issues, and, while you wish it would be more peaceful, it is forcing some of these conversations and maybe some reconciliation.”

An aide to St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch defended the timing of the grand jury announcement in a statement to FoxNews.com.

“We coordinated with law enforcement, gave schools time to get the children home and in a safe place, gave businesses time to make decisions concerning the safety of their employees, gave media time to set up, prepared our statement, and then made the announcement,” McCulloch spokesman Ed Magee said in an e-mail.

McCulloch held a news conference at 8 p.m. Monday to announce the decision — and some questioned whether the nighttime announcement fed the unrest. Former two-term Ferguson Mayor Brian Fletcher said it should have been announced early in the day to give police more time to prepare for any nighttime unrest.

The potential for more violence has expanded well beyond Ferguson. Police in U.S. cities from Los Angeles to New York are prepared for another day of demonstrations after thousands flooded the streets, some in peaceful protest and others in riotous anger over the grand jury’s decision not to indict Officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Michael Brown.

Renewed plans for marches and rallies came as officials in cities such as Oakland, California, were still cleaning up after scores of people hurled bottles, broke windows, set small fires and vandalized a police car.

In Seattle, police responded with pepper spray and flash-bang grenades after demonstrators threw canned food, bottles and rocks. Protesters also briefly shut down part of an interstate. Five were arrested.

In New York, a man was arrested for throwing red paint that struck Police Commissioner William Bratton and his security detail.

Elsewhere nationwide, demonstrators were mostly law-abiding Monday night, leading marches, waving signs and shouting chants of “hands up, don’t shoot,” a refrain that has become a rallying cry in protests over police killings across the country.

The racially charged case in Ferguson has inflamed tensions and reignited debates over police-community relations even in cities hundreds of miles from the predominantly black St. Louis suburb.

Rallies were planned Tuesday in many Newark, New Jersey; Portland, Maine; Baltimore; Washington, D.C.; and elsewhere. In the nation’s capital, one group lay on the ground to stage a “die-in” in front of Metro police headquarters. The group plans to occupy various buildings in the district over 28 hours.

“Mike Brown is an emblem (of a movement). This country is at its boiling point,” said Ethan Jury, a protester in Philadelphia, where hundreds marched. “How many people need to die? How many black people need to die?”

Protests could continue Tuesday in California, including in Oakland, where marchers took over Interstate 580.

In Los Angeles, demonstrations remained mostly small and peaceful, but about 200 people marching toward downtown briefly shut down Interstate 110, City News Service reported.

After midnight, officers wearing riot gear fired hard-foam projectiles into the ground to disperse about 50 protesters downtown, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Police Chief Charlie Beck said Tuesday there were no injuries and no property damage during hours-long demonstrations across LA. Three people were arrested.

Source: http://www.foxnews.com/us/2014/11/25/ferguson-hoping-for-peace-bracing-for-worst/

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Ugly ouster: ‘Frustrated’ Hagel faces unfair sniping on way out, says McCain

Editors Note: This comes as no surprise what so ever because the only reason Obama picked Hagel to begin with was that he was a Republican and when the time came that Obama’s Foreign Policy self destructed Hagel could be thrown under the bus and blamed for everything. A White House Official has already started the mud throwing by saying  “This is why you don’t send a sergeant to do a secretary’s job.” The same could also be said of Obama “You don’t send a Community Organizer to do a President’s job”.  This is also typical of the Obama Administration leaking  “The president felt he had to fire someone. He fired the only Republican in his cabinet. Who is that going to piss off that he cares about?” Obama is a little man in a job to big for him to fill and has made a mockery of the Presidency and the job of Commander in Chief. Those around the world who hailed his election are now seeing the light in that the only people of the world Obama is helping are the Muslim Terrorists and turning his back on trusted allies. The egotistical narcissist can’t accept the verdict of the last election where his policies were roundly rejected by the American people. Obama is a failed President in charge of a failed Administration that has caused absolute chaos around the entire world and unless the Republicans stand up to and stop him, Obama has (2) more years to further destroy not only America but the world as a whole. [TS]

Ousted Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel had become “very, very frustrated” in the post before President Obama sought his resignation, according to a key lawmaker, who blasted the White House for a whispering campaign that accompanied the Pentagon boss’ abrupt ouster Monday morning.

“I thank Chuck Hagel for his service, and I know that he was very, very frustrated,” Sen. John McCain, the Arizona Republican who is expected to take control of the Senate Armed Services Committee in January, said in a radio interview with KFYI.

McCain spoke following a Rose Garden press conference at which Hagel stood stiffly while Obama announced he would be stepping down. Although McCain, who served in the Senate with Hagel from 1996-2008, opposed his fellow Vietnam veteran’s appointment to defense secretary, he said administration sources were wrong to assail Hagel on his way out the door.

“Already White House people are leaking, ‘Well, he wasn’t up to the job,’” McCain said. “Well, believe me, he was up to the job. It was the job he was given, where he really was never really brought into that real tight circle inside the White House that makes all the decisions which has put us into the incredible debacle that we’re in today throughout the world.”

McCain noted that Hagel characterized the Islamic State as the greatest threat in the Middle East, while Obama was calling them the jayvee (junior varsity) team less than a year ago. He also criticized Obama for failing in areas like the Middle East, Ukraine, and responding to a newly aggressive China.

“We’ve had our disagreements but Chuck Hagel is an honorable man,” McCain added.

At the news conference, Obama said Hagel concluded it’s an “appropriate time” for him to complete his service. Hagel has had a rocky tenure of nearly two years in which he’s struggled to break through the White House’s insular foreign policy team. He stepped down under pressure amid multiple foreign policy crises, including the rise of the Islamic State group.

But in remarks at the White House, Obama praised Hagel as “an exemplary defense secretary” and steady hand for strategy and budget. Obama said he’ll always be grateful that Hagel has always “given it to me straight.”

The Vietnam veteran and former Republican senator took office less than two years ago, and was charged with overseeing the winding down of decade-long wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Hagel, 68, also steered the military during sweeping changes involving gays and women in the military. But in recent months, the Pentagon has taken on new challenges, including fighting Islamic State in Syria and Iraq and deploying military personnel to Africa to fight Ebola.

Sources told FoxNews.com that Obama’s dissatisfaction with Hagel, as well as a desire to shake up the cabinet following the devastating midterm elections, played a role in the president seeking Hagel’s ouster.

“Make no mistake, Secretary Hagel was fired,” a senior U.S. official with close knowledge of the situation told Fox News.

“Make no mistake, Secretary Hagel was fired.”- Senior U.S. official

This same official discounted Pentagon claims it was a mutual decision claiming President Obama has lost confidence in Hagel and that the White House had been planning to announce his exit for weeks.

“The president felt he had to fire someone. He fired the only Republican in his cabinet. Who is that going to piss off that he cares about?”

In a swipe at the resume of Hagel, who served as U.S. Army sergeant in Vietnam and received two Purple Hearts, the official added, “This is why you don’t send a sergeant to do a secretary’s job.”

Hagel took office Feb. 27, 2013, five years after retiring from the Senate. Prior to his political career, Hagel co-founded Vanguard Cellular, worked for an investment banking firm and ran American Information Systems, a company that makes computerized voting machines. He also taught at Georgetown University after stepping down from the Senate.

A senior defense official said that Hagel submitted his resignation letter to Obama Monday morning and that the president accepted it. Hagel agreed to remain in office until his successor is confirmed by the Senate, the official said.

The president is not expected to nominate a new Pentagon chief Monday, according to one official.

The officials insisted on anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter by name ahead of Obama’s official announcement.

Hagel, the only Republican on Obama’s cabinet, served as senator from Nebraska for two terms, beginning in 1996, and became a critic of U.S. involvement in Iraq. Obama nominated him to succeed Leon Panetta as Defense Secretary in his second term.

Recent questions about Hagel’s future at the Pentagon were prompted in part by his decision to postpone a long-planned trip this month to Vietnam. At the time, officials said he needed to remain in Washington for congressional consultations, but that did not stop speculation that the White House might be looking for a replacement for the final two years of Obama’s term.

Just last week, Hagel was asked about the speculation during an interview on the Charlie Rose show. He was asked whether he’s concerned by the speculation.

“No. First of all, I serve at the pleasure of the president,” Hagel said. “I’m immensely grateful for the opportunity I’ve had the last two years to work every day for the country and for the men and women who serve this country. I don’t get up in the morning and worry about my job. It`s not unusual by the way, to change teams at different times.”

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Obama to announce executive action on immigration Thursday in primetime speech

Editors Note: Obama is about to commit a impeachable act by bypassing Congress and in essence creating a new law that he in not authorized to do. Obama AND the Democrats are rushing this illegal Immigration action before the newly elected Republican majority can  take over. Sen. Harry Reed and Rep. Nancy Pelosi have given their stamps of approval and set the stage for a Constitutional crisis. Now it is time for the Republicans to live up to their pre-election retoric and stop this illegal act from taking place. If they don’t so everything with in their legal power then America shoud toss them out of office like they did the Democrats that lost to them. America is in Crisis and partisanship is not acceptable, bloviating will achieve absolutely nothing. Action and immediate action is the only thing to stop this travesty from being implemented. Now is the time to contact your elected officials and DEMAND that they stop Obama from his promised action. [TS]

President Obama, following through on his vow to sidestep Congress, will announce in a prime-time TV speech Thursday the executive actions he will take to change U.S. immigration law.

Obama will make his announcement, expected to protect roughly 5 million illegal immigrants from deportation, from the White House at 8 p.m. EST.

The president will go ahead with his plan despite widespread opposition from Capitol Hill Republicans, who have asked him to wait until next year when the GOP controls the House and Senate to try to reform the country’s broken immigration system.

Obama is also under intense pressure from Hispanics and much of his liberal base to act now, after promising to act by September, then disappointing them by waiting until after the midterms.

House Speaker John Boehner has warned Obama that taking such action before January would be tantamount to “playing with fire.”

And on Wednesday before the announcement, Boehner aide Michael Steel referred to the president and attempt to govern alone as “Emperor Obama.”

The Democrat-controlled Senate last year passed bipartisan, comprehensive immigration-reform legislation. However, the GOP-controlled House has not passed such a bill.

“We’ve been waiting for a year for House Republicans to come to a vote,” White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said Wednesday. “We’re confident it would pass with bipartisan support.”

He also said the president chose to act because the House has indicated it will not address immigration reform in the next Congress.

Congressional Republicans are already working on a strategy to stop Obama from using executive action, including a plan to submit a temporary spending bill that would cut any funding for related efforts like issuing Social Security cards for those to be protected under the Obama change.

The federal government technically runs out of money by December 11. So the president and Congress failing to promptly reach a budget deal could result in a partial government shutdown. However, Republicans have said they do not intend to submit a budget that Obama would veto and result in a shutdown.

“What I’m going to be laying out is the things that I can do with my lawful authority as president to make the system better, even as I continue to work with Congress and encourage them to get a bipartisan, comprehensive bill that can solve the entire problem,” Obama said via Facebook on Wednesday.

At least some of the estimated 5 million illegal immigrants who would be spared from deportation are also expected to be made eligible for work permits. But the eligible immigrants would not be entitled to federal benefits — including health care tax credits — under the plan, administration officials said Wednesday.

The president in 2012 used executive action to delay deportation for some of the millions of young people brought the U.S. illegally by their parents.

Obama is scheduled to host a White House dinner before the speech for 18 congressional Democrats to talk about immigration and other second-term priorities, then travel to Las Vegas to tout his changes.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is expected to join the president in his home state of Nevada.

Reid said Tuesday that Obama should take executive action as quickly as possible, a shift from last week when he said the president should wait to act until Congress had completed work on the must-pass spending legislation.

“I believe that when the president decides to do his executive order, he should go big, as big as he can,” Reid said, adding that he had spoken with Obama on Monday. “I said he should do something as quickly as he can.”

However, other Democrats still want Obama to wait on unilateral action for fear such a move will poison spending-bill negotiations.

“I wish he would let the process work for a few months before he did this,” said Sen. Jon Tester, D-Montana.

Source: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2014/11/19/obama-to-announce-executive-action-on-immigration-thursday-in-primetime-speech/

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Obama’s Amnesty Assault

Judicial Watch • Obama’s Amnesty Assault

Unrestrained, unaccountable, and unhinged …

That’s the best way to describe President Obama’s approach toward immigration policy in the aftermath of the election giving Republicans control of both houses of Congress. As early as next week, the president is expected to announce a substantial and far-reaching overhaul of the nation’s immigration enforcement system that would allow up to five million illegal immigrants to remain in the U.S. free from the threat of deportation. The plan would also provide illicit work visas to millions of illegal immigrants. In reality, this is but the latest in a series of Obama maneuvers aimed at granting amnesty at the expense of the public interest, national sovereignty – and the law of the land.  I told Fox News yesterday, that “if experience is any guide, [Obama’s latest plans] will lead to one of the greatest mass migrations in history” into our country.

There’s a largely unreported element of this story that deserves greater attention and scrutiny as it provides insight into the administration’s aims and ambitions–and reveals the backroom conniving and outright duplicity inherent in the entire Obama amnesty scenario.

On January 29, 2014, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) division of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) posted a “Request for Information (RFI)/Sources Sought: Escort Services for Unaccompanied Alien Children” seeking a contractor to provide the following services:

The Contractor shall provide unarmed escort staff, including management, supervision, manpower, training, certifications, licenses, drug testing, equipment, and supplies necessary to provide on-demand escort services for non-criminal/non-delinquent unaccompanied alien children ages infant to 17 years of age, seven (7) days a week, 365 days a year. Transport will be required for either category of UAC [Unaccompanied Alien Children] or individual juveniles, to include both male and female juveniles. There will be approximately 65,000 UAC in total: 25% local ground transport, 25% via ICE charter and 50% via commercial air. Escort services include, but are not limited to, assisting with: transferring physical custody of UAC from DHS to Health and Human Services (HHS) care via ground or air methods of transportation (charter or commercial carrier), property inventory, providing juveniles with meals, drafting reports, generating transport documents, maintaining/stocking daily supplies, providing and issuing clothing as needed, coordinating with DHS and HHS staff, travel coordination, limited stationary guard services to accommodate for trip disruptions due to inclement weather, faulty equipment, or other exigent circumstances.

In January, the Obama administration put out a call saying there would be “approximately 65,000 UAC in total.” And in June, 52,000 UACs illegally crossed the U.S. border. A mere coincidence? Perhaps. But very likely not. Now, remember that that ICE RFI was posted in January 2014. And it was not until June 2014–some six months later–that the U.S. news media began reporting what the New York Post described as a “‘Katrina’ of illegal immigrants flooding into border states daily.” On July 3, 2014, the New York Times reported that “240,000 migrants and 52,000 unaccompanied minors…crossed the border illegally in recent months.”

To get to the truth, Judicial Watch filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against DHS seeking “any and all records” relating to the ICE plan to handle the deluge caused by Obama’s lawlessness.

And yet, there’s more…

As President Obama readies a post-election immigration power play to provide amnesty for millions of illegals, his immigration czar said recently that the border is bracing for another surge of undocumented children, raising this year’s wave across the southern border to some 130,000. Leon Rodriguez, the new director of U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services, said that the federal government is already working to “prepare for another potential surge” across the border.

Make no mistake about it: There’s a direct connection between President Obama’s nullifying of our nation’s immigration laws and the breakdown of security along the border. Public safety, health, national security, transparency and the rule of law are all afterthoughts in this administration’s reckless abandonment of immigration enforcement. Obama’s actions run counter to the clear convictions of the electorate.

In fact, a Judicial Watch-Breitbart poll on the night of the recent historic election showed that voters oppose Obama’s lawless approach to immigration:

  • A majority of voters (58 percent) believe “We should enforce current laws that require illegal immigrants to return to their home countries.” And half of all Americans (50 percent) believe the United States should change current immigration law to slow the rate of legal immigration.
  •  Among minorities, 57 percent of Blacks and only 53 percent of Hispanics agree with the statement, “We should change immigration law to provide legal status to illegal immigrants present in the United States.” Only 25 percent of white respondents agree with that statement.
  •  When asked, “Do you agree or disagree that President Obama should through executive action allow illegal immigrants to remain in the United States, 63 percent disagree (53 percent “strongly,” 10 percent “somewhat”). Only 30 percent agree. Among minorities, 52 percent of Blacks and 60 percent of Hispanics agree that Obama should allow illegal immigrants to remain through executive action.

In short, just as he has done repeatedly since taking office, Obama is ignoring, in a lawless and unconstitutional way, the will of the American people–including a substantial number of the minority populations Obama and his media enablers pretend are fully behind his lawless amnesty actions. And this time, with his leaked executive “action” granting blanket amnesty coming within days after the “wave” election, there is no glossing over Obama’s unbridled contempt not only for the Constitution but for the views of Americans who expect that he obey and uphold the law.

And just as we go to press today, there have been some new developments…

We announced just yesterday the filing of another FOIA lawsuit against DHS seeking “all records” concerning a February 25-27 Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) Field Office Juvenile Coordination meeting.

ERO is the division of ICE that, according to the government website, has the responsibility, “To identify, arrest, and remove aliens who present a danger to national security or are a risk to public safety, as well as those who enter the United States illegally….” Juvenile Coordinators have the responsibility for enforcing ERO directives nationwide with regard to UACs.

Quite clearly, neither agency has been doing its job. In the summer of 2014, they let down their guard altogether. And we need to know why.

Perhaps we were given a hint shortly after the February ERO Field Office Juvenile Coordination Washington meeting when, in March 2014, the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) issued a National Center for Border Security and Immigration “Unaccompanied Alien Children Report.” In its interviews with ICE and ERO agents, it found that they were then blaming the “lack of deterrence” for the substantial increase in UAC border crossings. According to the UTEP report:

Both Border Patrol and ICE ERO officers agreed that the lack of deterrence for crossing the US-Mexican border has impacted the rate at which they apprehend UACs. Officers are certain that UACs are aware of the relative lack of consequences they will receive when apprehended at the U.S. border. UTEP was informed that smugglers of family members of UACs understand that once a UAC is apprehended for illegal entry into the United States, the individual will be re-united with a U.S. based family member pending the disposition of the immigration hearing. This process appears to be exploited by illegal alien smugglers and family members in the United States who wish to reunite with separated children.

What JW intends to find out now is whether the ICE and ERO officers raised the same concerns at their February Washington meeting as they did at UTEP. If not, why not? Were they intimidated–or, perhaps, even instructed not to do so? And if they did raise those same concerns, why didn’t the Obama administration clamp down on the borders instead of allowing the ongoing “Katrina” of illegal aliens that has now overwhelmed our country? These are questions that need to be answered.

Let’s cut right to it: the Obama administration is trying to cover up the truth about the border crisis caused by President Obama’s lawless amnesty. I have little doubt that the Obama administration knew from its own immigration enforcement personnel that its refusal to enforce immigration law was going to cause a border crisis. Yet, rather than secure the border and follow the law, the Obama administration aided and abetted the human trafficking operations that planted hundreds of thousands of illegal aliens all over the nation–overwhelming our schools and putting the health and safety of Americans at risk. And now President Obama wants to grant illicit amnesty to those who rushed here this summer thanks to his previous lawless amnesty! The DHS is breaking immigration law on orders from this president and is now engaging in illegal secrecy to cover it up so Obama can do another round of immigration law-breaking.

Obama’s future plans are a menace, but our lawsuits show that his lawless amnesty is already here. The new Congress may act with lawsuits and funding cut-offs. Republicans are afraid of impeachment, so I doubt that they will stand fast on refusing to provide funding, the only other “constitutional option” to rein in Obama. I had some advice for Republicans grappling with Obama’s lawlessness:

“If the new Republican leadership in the Senate is only talking about what they can’t do, that’s going to be very demoralizing,” said Thomas J. Fitton, president of Judicial Watch, a conservative advocacy group that convenes a regular gathering called Groundswell. Any sense of triumph at its meeting last week was fleeting.

“I think the members of the leadership need to decide what they’re willing to shut down the government over,” Mr. Fitton said.

This statement appeared on the front page of the New York Times, so I hope it gets the attention of Republicans and Democrats who have decided that throwing out the Constitution isn’t worth the mess of pottage that is political power.

Though I must say, even if impeachment and funding cut-offs were to begin tomorrow, Obama would not be impressed. Self-government, elections, laws, and other essential aspects of our constitutional system seem of little concern to the corrupt leader of this gangster administration. Judicial Watch will continue to take the lead in exposing and stopping this lawlessness. Your Judicial Watch is considering major litigation to stop Obama’s dictatorial amnesty agenda. We will keep moving forward toward accountability, and won’t wait for Congress and the rest of Washington to catch up.

Source: http://www.judicialwatch.org/press-room/weekly-updates/obamas-amnesty-assault/

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Obama Makes Surprise Climate Deal with China After Secret Negotiations

Editors Note: The President of the United States was taken to the “Chinese” cleaners by agreeing to cut American emissions by 26% to 28% there by forcing energy producers using American coal to spend enormous amounts of capital to comply with new rules planned and enforced by the EPA. China on the other hand has only agreed to start trying to reduce their carbon emissions by about 2030. Vague language that can at a later date be interpreted in a way that lets China off of the hook. While China increases its energy production using coal America will be paying increased energy cost while loosing jobs.

Once again Obama has put his obsession with green energy ahead of the welfare of the American people. Obama will now at his most dangerous  because of the loss of democratic control of Congress and will use his infamous pen and phone to bypass Congress to further his rejected agenda. It is now up to a republican controlled Congress to put on their “Big Boy Pants” and do their job of enforcing the Constitution. [TS]

President Barack Obama pledged deeper U.S. cuts in greenhouse-gas emissions and China will for the first time set a target for capping carbon emissions under an agreement between the world’s two biggest economies.

Culminating months of quiet negotiations between U.S. and Chinese officials, Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping outlined the accord, which they said would help push other nations to seriously negotiate a global pact next year in Paris.

“This is a major milestone in the U.S.-China relationship,” Obama said at a news conference with Xi in Beijing. The two nations, which account for more than a third of greenhouse-gas emissions, have a “special responsibility” to lead efforts to address climate change, he said.

The climate deal capped two days of meetings and announcements of deals that Obama and Xi said marked a high point for U.S.-China cooperation. Officials from both countries also negotiated a breakthrough in talks to eliminate tariffs on communications and technology products from printer cartridges to magnetic-resonance imaging machines, vowed greater military- to-military coordination and extended the validity of visas for tourists and business travelers.

Obama is setting a new target for the U.S., agreeing to cut greenhouse gas emissions at 26 to 28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025. The current U.S. target is to reach a level of 17 percent below 2005 emissions by 2020.

China’s Commitments

Xi committed China to begin reducing its carbon dioxide emissions, which have risen steadily, by about 2030, with the intention of trying to reach the goal sooner, according to a statement released by the White House.

China, the world’s largest greenhouse-gas emitter, also agreed to increase its non-fossil fuel share of energy production to about 20 percent by 2030, according to the White House.

Obama called the plan “an ambitious but an achievable goal.” [But at what cost to America” TS]

The agreement by two countries that are often at odds on other issues is a boost for international negotiators in advance of the 2015 United Nations climate conference in Paris.

“These are big emitters, and these are very aggressive targets,” Martijn Wilder, head of global environmental markets at law firm Baker & McKenzie, said today by phone from Sydney. “This makes it very difficult for other countries to say we’re not going to do anything.”

Big Impact

Jake Schmidt, director of international programs for the Natural Resources Defense Council, a Washington-based environmental group, said no other countries can have as big an impact on the climate debate as the U.S. and China.

“They shape how the market invests,” he said. “They’ve also been two of the most difficult players in the history of the climate negotiations so the fact that they are coming out and saying they are going to take deep commitments will be a powerful signal to the rest of the world.”

Obama, and Xi were personally involved in the discussions. Obama sent Xi a letter on the matter this year, according to administration officials, and the topic was a central theme during the more than five hours of meetings last night in Beijing. Obama is in China for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit.

Acting Now

Obama, at a UN-sponsored climate meeting in New York in September, called on the more than 120 officials present to take action “not this year, or the year after, but right now, because no nation can meet this global threat alone.”

Chinese officials signaled at the same summit that the country would act on a carbon-dioxide cap soon. China has been taking steps to cut emissions, saying in September it plans to start a national carbon-trading market by 2016. China selected seven cities and provinces, including Shanghai, Beijing and Guangdong, to set regional caps and institute pilot programs for trading rights as part of its initiative to cut the intensity of emissions by as much as 45 percent before 2020 from 2005 levels.

China has domestic political reasons to pursue emissions cuts. Pollution in Beijing reached hazardous levels for at least 10 days in October. To cut the haze while leaders from APEC nations were in Beijing, the government put limits on the number of cars on the roads and restricted industrial production and construction.

Obama has made climate change a central issue for his final two years in office, though his agenda is under attack by Republicans, who are set to take control of both chambers of Congress at the start of next year.

The administration officials, who briefed reporters before the announcement on condition of anonymity, said the new targets can be implemented without congressional action.

Republicans, who won control of the U.S. Senate in midterm elections on Nov. 4, are threatening to fight the administration’s efforts to cut greenhouse-gas emissions from U.S. power plants and his pledge to raise $100 billion to help poor nations combat climate change.

Source: http://www.newsmax.com/Newsfront/climate-treaty-china-obama/2014/11/12/id/606807/

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Finally: Department of Veterans Affairs Ousting People in Wake of Scandal

Finally: Department of Veterans Affairs Ousting People in Wake of Scandal

Editors Note: The operational rules for firing Federal Employes needs to be changed to reflect and follow those of non governmental employees. Federal Unions like AFGE (American Federation of Government Employees), NTEU (National Treasury Employees Union), NFEE (National Federation of Federal Employees), FWA (Federal Workers Alliance) should be monitored and restricted in their power. TS

The Department of Veterans Affairs is about to face the largest reconstruction of its life, VA Secretary Robert McDonald announced Monday.

The new VA Secretary claimed he will fire some 1,000 workers who have violated the company’s values. The Department will also hire an additional 28,000 medical professions to better address the demand of treating the nation’s 22 million veterans.

According to McDonald’s letter to his employees, the VA intends to:

  • Establish a new VA-wide customer service organization to ensure we provide top-level customer service to Veterans.
  • Establishing a single regional framework that will simplify internal coordination, facilitate partnering and enhance customer service.
  • Work with our partners to establish a national network of Community Veteran Advisory Councils to coordinate better service delivery with local, state and community partners.
  • Identify opportunities for VA to realign its internal business processes into a shared services model in which organizations across VA leverage the same support services, to improve efficiency, reduce costs and increase productivity across VA.
 

The overhaul is long overdue.

The department’s morose dereliction of duty left veterans dying as they waited for proper health care. Since the VA scandal, almost no one has been held accountable for the death of our nation’s servicemen. In fact, two senior executives suspected of wrongdoing quickly resigned in order to retire with their cushy pensions intact. [They should still be investigated and if found guilty of wrong doing have their pensions reflect that whether by reducing the amount of loosing it altogether if their actions resulted in the death of a single Veteran TS]

In order for the initiative to succeed, the department must follow-through on firing the individuals who have caused mistrust, Florida Rep. Jeff Miller (Chairman of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs) explained Monday.

“So far VA hasn’t done that – as evidenced by the fact that the majority of those who caused the VA scandal are still on the department payroll,” he said.

Source: http://townhall.com/tipsheet/sarahjeanseman/2014/11/11/draft-n1916854

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Obamacare Architect Says Lack of Transparency Was a Big Political Advantage

Editors Note: Those who knowingly and willingly participated in this massive lie to the American people need to be brought to justice, up to and including the President. Every Democrat who supported this hoax on Americas citizenry need to be investigated as to their prior knowledge of the falsehoods. Harry Reed and Nancy Pelosi who were in the loop need to be brought before a Federal Court and questioned under oath about their knowledge of the fraud that was being perpetrated on the American people. Simply speaking the Democrats have proven they do not have the integrity to lead the country when lying to the American people to pass controversial Bills is the preferable way of doing business.

In a recently uncovered video taken at an event in October 2013, Obamacare architect Jonathan Gruber says that lack of transparency was a key advantage in helping get the law passed.

“This bill was written in a tortured way to make sure CBO did not score the mandate as taxes,” Gruber stated. “Lack of transparency is a huge political advantage,” he explained adding, “Basically, call it the stupidity of the American voter or whatever, but basically that was really critical to getting the thing to pass.” Given a choice between honestly informing the public and passing the bill, Gruber says he’d rather have the bill.

Gruber has been one of the most high profile defenders of the Affordable Care Act. He wrote a comic book style explanation of the law. He also, at one point, accepted money from the government for his consulting work and failed to disclose he was being paid even as he promoted the bill.

This is not the only instance in which Gruber has revealed an element of Obamacare was intentionally misleading. In a January 2012 speech, Gruber admitted that the public option was considered a way to move the country toward single-payer, something the Obama administration explicitly denied at the time.

Gruber has also been at the center of a legal dispute over subsidies in the ACA. He had argued that the case brought by plaintiffs was “crazy.” Then two recordings were uncovered of Gruber making the same argument in early 2012. Until the clips were discovered, Gruber had been cited in nearly every government court filing. Since then he has apparently been dropped.

Source: http://www.breitbart.com/InstaBlog/2014/11/10/Obamacare-Architect-Says-Lack-of-Transparency-Was-a-Big-Political-Advantage

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The Obama Whisperer No one has understood Valerie Jarrett’s role, until now

Even at this late date in the Obama presidency, there is no surer way to elicit paranoid whispers or armchair psychoanalysis from Democrats than to mention the name Valerie Jarrett. Party operatives, administration officialsthey are shocked by her sheer longevity and marvel at her influence. When I asked a longtime source who left the Obama White House years ago for his impressions of Jarrett, he confessed that he was too fearful to speak with me, even off the record.

This is not as irrational as it sounds. Obama has said he consults Jarrett on every major decision, something current and former aides corroborate. “Her role since she has been at the White House is one of the broadest and most expansive roles that I think has ever existed in the West Wing,” says Anita Dunn, Obama’s former communications director. Broader, even, than the role of running the West Wing. This summer, the call to send Attorney General Eric Holder on a risky visit to Ferguson, Missouri, was made by exactly three people: Holder himself, the president, and Jarrett, who were vacationing together on Martha’s Vineyard. When I asked Holder if Denis McDonough, the chief of staff, was part of the conversation, he thought for a moment and said, “He was not there.” (Holder hastened to add that “someone had spoken to him.”)

Jarrett holds a key vote on Cabinet picks (she opposed Larry Summers at Treasury and was among the first Obama aides to come around on Hillary Clinton at State) and has an outsize say on ambassadorships and judgeships. She helps determine who gets invited to the First Lady’s Box for the State of the Union, who attends state dinners and bill-signing ceremonies, and who sits where at any of the above. She has placed friends and former employees in important positions across the administration“you can be my person over there,” is a common refrain.

And Jarrett has been known to enjoy the perks of high office herself. When administration aides plan “bilats,” the term of art for meetings of two countries’ top officials, they realize that whatever size meeting they negotiatenine by nine, eight by eight, etc.our side will typically include one less foreign policy hand, because Jarrett has a standing seat at any table that includes the president.

Not surprisingly, all this influence has won Jarrett legions of detractors. They complain that she has too much control over who sees the president. That she skews his decision-making with her after-hours visits. That she is an incorrigible yes-woman. That she has, in effect, become the chief architect of his very prominent and occasionally suffocating bubble.

There is an element of truth to this critique. While aboard Air Force One at the end of the 2012 campaign, Jarrett turned to Obama and told him, “Mr. President, I don’t understand how you’re not getting eighty-five percent of the vote.” The other Obama aides in the cabin looked around in disbelief before concluding that she’d been earnest.

Still, Jarrett’s role is far more textured than this narrative would suggest. She has served as a teller of hard truths, urging Obama to clean up his initial remarks about Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates’s arrest in 2009, which, she worried, sounded disrespectful to police. She is an all-wise interpreter of the president’s thoughts. When the White House began taking flak for its man-cave sensibilities, senior officials consulted Jarrett to figure out where Obama stood. “The White House counsel Greg Craig stopped by,” recalls a former Jarrett aide. “He was like, ‘Hey, is the president worried about this?’” (He was.) Jarrett even plays the role of advance dining scout for the Obamas, locating restaurants discreet and exacting enough to serve the first family. (Fiola Mare in Georgetown has become a standby.)

So adept is Jarrett at catering to the president’s needs that Michelle Obama has, at least on one occasion, chafed at the portrayal of their relationship. Late in the 2008 campaign, Vogue published a long profile of Jarrett titled “Barack’s Rock.” According to a senior campaign aide, Michelle sniffed about the magazine bestowing a title that she considered hers.

Jarrett’s job may be nothing less than to reflect the most authentic version of Barack Obama back at himself. “My speculation has always been, when you are any president or Democratic nominee, at the pinnacle of American political power, you are necessarily surrounded by layer and layer of bureaucracy,” says a former White House aide. “You’re completely disconnected. For someone to come to you and say, ‘I am going to be the person who is your connection to the real you’ … is very attractive.”

And Jarrett is, in turn, our connection to the real Barack Obama. A decade after his ascent, there is still a basic unknowability about him, a puzzling gap between his talents and the public’s enthusiasm for his years in office. No wonder Jarrett inspires such fevered theorizing. She is the closest we have to a human decoder ringthe only person who can solve the mystery of why this president has left so many feeling so unfulfilled.

The Clinton alumni Obama initially hired to run his White House and hash out his economic policy were flamboyantly centrist, fanatical about winning over financial markets and moderate voters. In their view, a Democratic president could make no bigger mistake than becoming a captive of the left. And they acted as if they owned the place.

They certainly didn’t view Jarrett as much of a threat. She had enjoyed real clout on the campaign, but the way she used itencouraging Obama to give his famous race speech, and bringing Latinos, blacks, gays, and women into the heart of the operation at a time when the post-racial rhetoric had gotten thickdidn’t win her much respect. Even after Obama made Jarrett a senior adviser and put her in charge of outreach to constituency groups, her lack of Washington experience made her easy to dismiss. “Larry Summers’s office was literally across the floor [from ours],” says a former Jarrett aide of the president’s top economic adviser. “It was amazing how little he looked at her, talked to her. It was so clear he kind of wanted … nothing to do with her.”

That was a mistake. Jarrett was a beloved figure among the fresh-faced Obama-hands who flocked to Washington. She shepherded their careers, clucked about their health, and turned up unexpectedly at weddings and maternity wards. And though she had been a confidant of Barack and Michelle Obama’s since the early ’90s, the three became even closer after the election. It gradually became clear that she had the president’s blessing to challenge his top brass and better align his White House with the outsider ethos of his candidacy.

In the spring of 2009, Obama called in Summers, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, and other members of the economic team to discuss their plan for reforming the financial system. The president was generally pleased with the product, but concerned that it wasn’t aggressive enough. “I want you to go think about, if we were going to do something more in three or four areas, what would they be?” Obama told them, according to a former administration official. “Bring me a proposal.”

A few weeks later, the economic team presented their ideas to other White House staffers, but not the president. They’d tacked on only the most marginal of changes. “No, we were right the first time. We shouldn’t do anything else,” is how the official sums up their basic message. Although Jarrett said she didn’t think they’d done what Obama had instructed them to do, they brought the proposal to him anyway. The president responded as though he’d been primed against it. “He comes in and says, ‘This is not what I asked for,’” says the official. “You can be sure she talked to the president first.”

Jarrett’s inescapable presence made her an object of fear and scorn. “It’s pretty toxic,” says another former administration official. “She went to whatever meeting she wanted to go tobasically all of themand then would go and whisper to the president. Or at least everyone believed she did. … People don’t trust the process. They think she’s a spy.”

But Jarrett’s involvement clearly served the president well. Over the next several months, Jarrett set up meetings between Obama and more hawkish reformers like former Fed Chairman Paul Volcker and former Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Bill Donaldson. Eventually, Obama took up Volcker’s idea of blocking taxpayer-backed banks from making speculative bets, which both Summers and Geithner had resisted.

Jarrett also made her influence felt among the men who plotted Obama’s political strategy. In the spring of 2010, Donna Brazile, a New Orleans native and Democratic elder who ran Al Gore’s presidential campaign, watched with horror as the administration slow-played its response to the BP oil spill. After weeks of back-channeling to White House political director Patrick Gaspard, Brazile finally took her frustration public. “One of the problems I have with the administration is that they’re not tough enough,” she said on ABC. “They are waiting for BP to say, ‘Oh, we’ve got a new plan to stop the oil leak.’ They need to stop it, contain it, clean it up.”

This set off a debate within the White House over whether the president should call Brazile, until, according to a former aide, chief of staff Rahm Emanuel shut it down in favor of his longstanding view that “the worst thing you could possibly do is reward bad behavior.” Jarrett did not consider the matter settled, however. She waited until she and Gaspard were safely away from Emanuel and inside the Oval Office, at which point she asked Gaspard a leading question about the utility of a call. “Sounds good, get her on the phone,” the president replied. Jarrett called Brazile and handed her cell phone to Obama.

The move validated every one of her rivals’ fears. And, as with Summers, personal grievances may have explained it. Emanuel had objected to Jarrett’s portfolio at the start of the administration and questioned the secret-service detail she maneuvered to receive a few months later. In return, Jarrett seemed keen to undermine him.

At one point, Obama personally ordered Emanuel to rein in his habit of screaming at subordinates. Emanuel soon lost his cool at a subsequent meeting and received another talking-to from the president. He was convinced that Jarrett had ratted him out. It was the sort of tradecraft Emanuel himself might have admired had he not been on the receiving end. As a former White House official told me: “In the wild, they would have been natural allies. In captivity, they became natural enemies.”

Whatever the case, calling Brazile was unquestionably the right approach. A few months later, the administration pressured an African American Department of Agriculture employee named Shirley Sherrod to resign after right-wing journalists circulated a video of her appearing to denigrate poor whites. Within a few days, it became apparent that the clip was egregiously out of context and that the ouster of Sherrod, whose husband had been a prominent civil rights leader, was unfair. Critics were furious at the trigger-happy White HouseJim Clyburn, the House’s third-ranking Democrat, told The New York Times he didn’t think a “single black person was consulted before Shirley Sherrod was fired.” For her part, Brazile limited her kvetching to private phone calls and struck her best “we’re all in this together” posture on television.

Jarrett’s work behind the scenes served the president well so long as people like Larry Summers, Rahm Emanuel, and Robert Gibbs (the former press secretary, with whom Jarrett also clashed) remained inside the building. She diversified the views he received without stifling internal debate. But then, one by one, the big personalities left. After two years, Summers and Gibbs had been replaced by far more amenable actors; Emanuel’s strong-willed successor, Bill Daley, lasted less than a year before being replaced by a relative cipher, too.1

Today, Obama’s top economic adviser is Jeff Zients, a former management consultant and Jarrett pal who had no experience in government before joining the administration. The senior adviser seat that David Axelrod once occupied now belongs to Dan Pfeiffer, and the chief of staff is Denis McDonough. Both joined Obama in 2007 and have long since made their peace with Jarrett’s influence. “My sense is Denis does his best to not turn that into a reckoning kind of relationship,” one former White House official told me. “He doesn’t want to test it.”

As Jarrett has outlasted her rivals, it has increasingly fallen on her to do more than simply protect Obama from those who might undermine his presidency. She must nudge him when he becomes self-satisfied and rein in his worst political impulses. It is a position for which she is uniquely unqualified.

 

Valerie Jarrett is not above keeping a shit listor as hers was titled, a “least constructive” list. One progressive activist recalls Jarrett holding the document during a meeting and noticing her own name on it, along with the names of others in the room. “It was kind of an honor,” the activist told me. This was not out of character for Jarrett. The woman who once resisted Emanuel’s commandment against rewarding bad behavior has often gone out of her way to suppress dissent among ideological allies and others who question the president. (A White House official says the document was prepared by a staffer acting without orders and that it is not a common practice.)

Consider her interactions with the LGBT community when they agitated for an executive order banning discrimination by federal contractors. Jarrett had been one of the Obama team’s biggest supporters of gay rights since the campaign (long before Obama himself “evolved” on the marriage question). She had even authored a memo advising the president to sign the executive order. But when Obama decided against it in 2012, he dispatched Jarrett to deliver the news to four or five groups active on the issue.

The meeting was a minor fiasco. A BuzzFeed reporter had broken word of the gathering just before it began, prompting Jarrett to lecture everyone in the room for several minutes about speaking to the press. She fumed that the reporter was outside “writing stories,” and told the activists that “we can’t have White House meetings if you do this kind of thing.”

Then, after ticking off the administration’s good deeds on behalf of gays, Jarrett offered no rationale for why Obama was shelving the executive order. She held out the possibility of a study to gauge the order’s effect on business, even though the question had been studied to death. About halfway through the meeting, Jarrett finally produced an explanation: a likely legal challenge. But the legal precedent was clear thanks to executive orders banning other forms of discrimination.

Had Jarrett leveled with the activistsconceding that the decision was political, probably intended to avoid a backlash among businessnone of the groups would have been pleased, but many probably would have accepted the verdict and kept details out of the press. The previous fall, the Human Rights Campaign had commissioned a poll showing overwhelming, bipartisan support for the executive order, but declined to make it public for months so as not to embarrass the administration. The Center for American Progress, another group in attendance, had encouraged the LGBT community to abide by a moratorium on public pressure to allow for negotiation.

Instead, the reaction to the meeting was woeful, epitomized by a scathing Washington Post piece quoting the activists. “There was a blowup,” says one longtime advocate. “People were withholding money. … Straight donors, gay donors were like, ‘What is this?’”

When the president made Jarrett his ambassador to the world outside the White House, he did so with a specific purpose in mind: to communicate how important he considered these relationships. “You know she’s speaking for the president, more so than anyone else on the staff,” says a trade association leader who’s met with Jarrett multiple times.

But Jarrett’s obsessiveness about control, and her response to even good-faith criticism, are often self-defeating. “She just cuts off. It’s stone cold,” says one person who received this treatment. “It couldn’t be a conversation.” A former administration official recalls publicly registering a gentle, offhand criticism of the White House, only to draw a one-line e-mail from Jarrett: “Why didn’t you call me first?” Even Jarrett’s most benevolent comments“I want you to be my best friend,” she likes to sayimplicitly threaten an abrupt loss of favor.

With the LGBT community, the agita subsided thanks to the president’s unplanned turnabout on gay marriage the following month. (Obama finally signed the executive order this July.) But on other issues, her heavy-handedness has been more costly. Earlier this year, after House Republicans rejected John Boehner’s overtures on immigration reform, a number of activist groups turned their attention away from Congress and toward the White House. They wanted Obama to sign an executive order protecting illegal immigrants from deportation over the next few years, the way he had back in 2012 for those brought to the country as minors.

The pressure mounted when Janet Murguía, president of the National Council of La Raza, one of the largest and most established Latino rights groups, gave a speech in March calling out both Boehner for having “pulled the plug on legislation” and Obama for denying he had “the authority to act on [his] own.” Echoing a line that was circulating on the left, she dubbed Obama “the deporter-in-chief.”

A week and a half later, the president and Jarrett summoned representatives from 15 to 20 reform groups to the White House for a meeting. Unlike the gay rights meeting two years earlier, there was no directive about keeping the discussion out of the press. But the activists were later told that the success of the meeting would be judged by the media coverage. “Even if you think that, it was like, ‘Eeeewww,’” says one of the reformers who attended. “I was embarrassed by the meeting.”

The president was in a foul mood, spending most of the next two hours lecturing the activists. You guys are turning on me, Obama said, according to several attendees. That’s what Republicans want, you’re taking the pressure off Boehner. If I was a GOP strategist, I’d be thrilled by what you’re doing. When some of the activists pointed out that the situation in the House was hopeless, Obama would interrupt and talk over them. (Administration officials say Boehner had assured them he would take another shot at the legislation.)

Finally, when it was Murguía’s turn to speak, she tried to put her earlier remarks in context. She explained that, while she’d been critical of the administration, she had also criticized Republicans and had urged her community to elect a more amenable Congress. “It took him what felt like ten minutesit was probably thirty secondsto compose himself. You could just feel the tension,” says one activist in the room. Whereupon Obama fell into an extended monologue: You’ve been around this town. You know the press will only report criticism of me. The La Raza president looked on the edge of tears as he spoke. Meanwhile, “Valerie was sitting next to him, staring, giving Murguía stink eye,” says the activist.

Relations with groups that had been critical only grew worse from there. Some were scrubbed from White House e-mail lists, not invited to subsequent meetings, or both. Another activist recalls not hearing from the White House for months, only to get a passive-aggressive e-mail after leveling a harsh critique of the president. “I don’t work for you,” the activist wrote back.

In late June, the president reversed course and effectively promised to sign the sought-after executive order by the end of the summer. Some of the critics had been rehabilitated, but not Murguía, who was left out of the Rose Garden event where the president announced his decision. “It was such a shitty thing to do,” says one of the activists of Murguía’s treatment. In any case, the president soon changed his mind yet again. In September, he announced that he wouldn’t consider the order until after the election. Suddenly, all the bad will that had built up throughout the year came pouring forth. “Where we have demanded leadership and courage from both Democrats and the president, we’ve received nothing but broken promises and a lack of political backbone,” the head of a prominent pro-immigration group told the Post.

Jarrett’s highly disciplined outreach effort had been a tactical mess. While the White House held some two-dozen meetings to take the pulse of activists throughout the summer, there was rarely a meaningful back-and-forth on strategy, especially in the run-up to the big announcements. “It does make it hard for dissenting voices to be raised,” says another activist who deals with the administration on the issue. “Almost everything is raised to the level of personal loyalty.”

The Clinton White House was porous and chaotic, with numerous staffers working numerous angles at any given moment. But it made advocates feel like part of the process. “People protected them more with the press,” says one of the activists. “No one protects Obama. Part of being hermetically sealed is, if you don’t want shit to leak, the higher the premium is on leaks, which gives advocates more of an incentive to leak.” In fact, it’s precisely because the activists don’t feel listened to that they speak to the press. And when the White House complains, it exposes itself even further. “They show you where they’re vulnerable,” says the activist. “If you’re worth your salt as an activist, that’s where you hit them. See: ‘deporter-in-chief.’”

Jarrett isn’t always standoffish when outsiders are critical. After business leaders complained about the president’s occasional populist flourishmost notably his late 2009 comment that “I did not run for office to be helping out a bunch of fat-cat bankers”Jarrett began pressing Axelrod and the speech-writing team to strip potentially inflammatory lines from his public statements. “Valerie viewed Wall Street and the business community as a constituency and was generally uncomfortable with expressions of chastisement toward Wall Street,” Axelrod told me by e-mail.

On one level, it was Jarrett’s job to soothe the fragile egos of corporate executives. The relationship between the White House and business is one of the many relationships that Jarrett’s Office of Public Engagement formally oversees. But on a deeper level, Jarrett fundamentally empathized with the concerns of business in ways she sometimes didn’t with other groups. “You could tell she felt at home with private-sector business leaders,” says a former aide. “Even health careit was a presidential priority, the entire White House was involved. But I’d never seen her animated until it was CEOs talking about health care.”

This may seem at odds with Jarrett’s first-term role as Obama’s liberal id. But back then she was largely acting in opposition to the Clintonites around Obama. In terms of who she believes has the power to make or break the presidency, and therefore who needs access to the highest levels of the White House, Jarrett is not so different from her nemeses.

Jarrett was groomed from birth to be a thoroughly establishment figureher family’s roots in Chicago go back several generationsand she accepted her destiny gracefully. She worked as a corporate lawyer and later ran Mayor Richard Daley’s housing and transit authorities. When Harvard Law Professor David Wilkins conducted a study of the Chicago legal world in the late ’90s, he found that most of the city’s lawyers were acquainted with Jarrett. “Valerie is the liaison between the white North Shore elites and the black South Sides elites,” he told David Remnick in The Bridge, a biography of Obama. Upon accepting the White House job, Jarrett resigned from no fewer than seven corporate and nonprofit boards.

Any casual follower of Jarrett’s West Wing comings and goings these days will notice a distinct fondness for big shots, corporate or otherwise. It’s not just that Jarrett is a fixture at the standard A-list eventsparachuting into New York for Time magazine’s 100 Most Influential People Gala, popping into a birthday party for Britain’s Prince George. Jarrett also inhabits a much more rarefied plane than the standard Washington eminence. She attends the highest-profile arguments at the Supreme Court and often accompanies the president on fund-raising trips to New York, Hollywood, and Silicon Valley. She recently made a cameo on “The Good Wife” and appeared in a Billie Jean King documentary.

“She went to whatever meeting she wanted to go tobasically all of themand then would go and whisper to the president,” says a former White House official. “People don’t trust the process. They think she’s a spy.”

“Valerie’s probably best known as the go-to person for the real opinion leaders in business and in the celebrity world,” says a former administration official. By contrast, she can come across as bored when meeting with the political world’s grayer operators. One leader of an influential but relatively anonymous advocacy group recalls arranging a meeting with Jarrett to explain how his team was advancing a cause dear to the president. “I felt like she was looking at her watch. She was annoyed that I even felt it was reasonable for me to meet with her,” says this person. “How dare I take up her time?”

In some cases, this outlook has served the administration well. Jarrett made an ally of Rupert Murdoch on immigration reform and soothed Silicon Valley in the tense moments after the NSA revelations. “She has very strong relationships with Facebook and Google,” says her fellow senior adviser, John Podesta.

Jarrett also helped mastermind the public-relations campaign to enroll seven million Americans in Obamacare prior to this March’s deadline. She spent months fine-tuning a plan to reach the uninsured “where they are,” by which she meant enlisting the figures they look to for guidance: community leaders, DJs, pop-culture icons. “I can remember dozens of times going back to her with plans, having this x’d out and that crossed out. This person is a bad idea for this, not that,” recalls an aide. Jarrett excelled at making the biggest asks personally. “When it came to getting other major people involvedyou know, Zach Galifianakis, an LL Cool J tweet in the Grammies, Katy Perrywe were like, ‘We need to have Valerie make this call, sit in on this meeting,’” says Anton Gunn, one of the administration officials in charge of the enrollment push.

But in other cases, Jarrett’s establishmentarianism has simply reinforced the administration’s blind spots. There is, for example, Jarrett’s underappreciated influence in an area like budget policy. After Republicans took control of the House in 2011, Obama had to decide whether to stick with his efforts to boost the fragile economy or join in the deficit-cutting that Republicans were demanding. He opted for the latter, agreeing to slice billions from the 2011 budget. While some administration economic officials argued for staring down the House GOP, the approach never had a chance. “That wasn’t a huge debate because [former adviser David] Plouffe and Bill [Daley] and Valerie agreed,” a senior White House official told me later that year.

The White House believed that avoiding a fight was better for the economy and would help the two sides reach an even bigger deal later onone that raised taxes and cut trillions in spending over ten years. This was flawed in two ways. First, notwithstanding the enthusiasm for deficit-cutting on the set of “Morning Joe” (where Jarrett is an occasional guest), it was a perverse priority at a time when the country still faced an unemployment crisis. Second, the White House completely misunderstood the psychology of House Republicans, who took Obama’s concessions as a vindication of their anti-spending mania and repeatedly balked at tax increases. Inexplicably, the White House continued to pursue a deal for years after the GOP showed its bad faith, efforts that Jarrett supported as well.

It wasn’t the only time she got burned by assuming good intentions. In 2010, Jarrett met with members of the Business Roundtable, a group representing the largest corporations in the country. She was proud that she had dialed back the president’s occasional verbal salvos and hoped it might win him some support in exchange. “She was like, ‘Last time I was here, you guys told us the key thing was the rhetoric,’” recalls a former colleague. “ ‘Look at the president’s speeches. They’re very different in tone based on your input.’”

The group’s chairman took this all in, then offered the all-too-predictable response. “Yes, yes, we noted that,” he said, according to the colleague. “We have five other objections.”

The Obama era has been deeply disorienting for the left. Eight years ago, progressives would have delighted at the idea of a president who withdrew from Iraq, remade the rules for Wall Street, slowed the proliferation of greenhouse gases, brought the country within spitting distance of universal health care, and multiplied the rights of gays and lesbians. And yet it’s hard to be a self-respecting progressive these days and not feel a frustration that borders on disillusionment. The victories have been muddled, the errors unforced, the ambitions preemptively scaled back.

How could these two legacies coexist in one presidency? They emanate from the worldview that Jarrett and Obama sharecall it “boardroom liberalism.” It’s a worldview that’s steeped in social progressivism, in the values of tolerance and diversity. It takes as a given that government has a role to play in building infrastructure, regulating business, training workers, smoothing out the boom-bust cycles of the economy, providing for the poor and disadvantaged. But it is a view from on highone that presumes a dominant role for large institutions like corporations and a wisdom on the part of elites. It believes that the world works best when these elites use their power magnanimously, not when they’re forced to share it. The picture of the boardroom liberal is a corporate CEO handing a refrigerator-sized check to the head of a charity at a celebrity golf tournament. All the better if they’re surrounded by minority children and struggling moms.

Notwithstanding his early career as a community organizer, Obama, like Jarrett, is fundamentally a man of the inside. It’s why he put a former Citigroup executive and Robert Rubin chief of staff named Michael Froman in charge of assembling his economic team in 2008, why he avoided a deep restructuring of Wall Street, why he abruptly junked the public option during the health care debate, why he so ruthlessly pursues leakers and the journalists who cultivate them. It explains why so many of his policy ideasfrom jobs for the long-term unemployed to mentoring minority youthrely on the largesse of corporations.

It’s the boardroom liberal in Obama who gets bent out of shape over criticism from outsiders, despite having once urged progressives to press him the way civil rights activists like A. Philip Randolph pressured Franklin Roosevelt. He is a president profoundly uncomfortable with populist rhetoric. He prefers to negotiate behind closed doors, as he did on the stimulus, health care, and deficit reduction, rather than wage a state-by-state political campaign to force concessions. Except for a handful of moments over the last six yearslike when the administration tried to pass a second stimulus bill known as the American Jobs ActObama has rarely tried to mobilize public opinion in any sustained fashion. He has been consistently slow and half-hearted about taking unilateral action.

Bill Clinton was in many ways more conservative than Obama, whom you couldn’t imagine signing a draconian welfare law, or an anti-gay-marriage law, or, for that matter, de-regulating Wall Street. But Clinton was not above riling up voters for partisan gain. By August of 1995, the year Republicans took over Congress, Clinton and his surrogates were flogging them daily over “Medicare, Medicaid, education, and the environment.” When Republicans retook the House in 2011, Obama spent most of the year shunning partisan taunts in hopes of consummating a grand bargain. And Jarrett was there at his side, amplifying those sensibilities. “The context for that is that it’s consistent with who the president is,” Jarrett’s first-term chief of staff, Michael Strautmanis, told me. “She has only one agenda. And it is the president’s agendaeither from conversations he’s had with her, what she’s heard him say, or based upon their history together.”

As it happens, the way the White House runs these days does even less to check Obama’s inclinations. According to a former high-level aide, there is no longer a daily meeting between the president and his top advisers. Under the old system, if the president waved off one adviser’s objection to his preferred plan of action, another could step in to vouch for the objection’s merit. The advice Obama gets now, though, comes more regularly through one-off interactions with the likes of Jarrett and Denis McDonough, who don’t have anyone else to back them up. In the second term, observes the former aide, “Maybe the president says, more often than in the past, ‘We’re doing it.’”

The result is that Obama has become even more persuaded of his righteousness as the years have gone on. His belief that he can win over opponents is unshaken. Unfortunately, these opponents include a party in the throes of radicalism and a self- interested class of ultra-rich that increasingly calls to mind plutocracynot people whose better instincts you can appeal to. Obama and Jarrett should know this. Any time they have made preemptive concessions to the GOP or business leaders, their negotiating partners have simply pocketed the concessions and asked for more. From the budget battles to immigration reform, they have consistently overestimated the ability of Republican elites to reason with their rank and file. As recently as early this year, the official White House position was that it preferred Congress to ban workplace discrimination against gays. Congress!

Perhaps no episode illustrates this mind-set better than the fate of the consumer agency that the Dodd-Frank financial reform bill created. In 2010, Jarrett and two other advisers persuaded Obama to install a genuine populist in the person of Elizabeth Warren to set up the agency. But they never intended for her to actually run it, a promotion Warren aggressively sought. “Having Warren in the short-term role was their elegant solution,” says a former administration official. “It was the best way to appease the left while preserving [Obama’s] reasonableness to business. That’s what drives him: Do they look reasonable? … That’s what Valerie’s all about.”

It’s no surprise that Barack Obama and Valerie Jarrett would govern as reasonable people. It’s who they are. The tragedy is that we live in surpassingly unreasonable times.

Source: http://www.newrepublic.com/article/120170/valerie-jarrett-obama-whisperer

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Veterans Day: Discounts and Freebies

2014 Veterans Day Restaurant Offerings:

The following is a list of Veterans Day discounts on restaurants, goods, services and events for 2014. Please check back frequently as the list is updated daily.

All of the following discounts have been confirmed for 2014, either through press release or direct communication with the company.

 

Keep in mind that most businesses require proof of military service, which can include a VA Universal Access Card, Military I.D., DD-214 (Discharge Papers), Veterans Service Organization Card (VSO’s include groups like the VFW, DAV, AmVets, MOAA, FRA, and the American Legion), or in some cases businesses will accept a picture of the veteran in uniform.

Note: Not all franchise locations participate in their national chain’s Veterans Day programs — be sure contact your nearest establishment to make sure they are participating.

Make sure to visit the Military.com Discounts Center for more discounts and articles. And sign up for the Military Deals and Discounts Newsletter to get even more discounts and information in your inbox on how Military Families can save big.

 

54th Street Grill — Veterans and active duty military get a free meal (up to $12) on Tuesday, November 11.

Applebee’s — Veterans and active duty military receive a free meal from a limited menu, on Veterans Day, Tuesday, November 11.

Bakers Square– Veterans and active duty military get a free breakfast on November 11.

Bar Louie – On Monday, November 10 and Tuesday, November 11, veterans and active military personnel get a free meal up to a $12 value.

Bob Evans — Veterans and active military personnel receive free all-you-can-eat hotcakes on Tuesday, November 11.

California Pizza Kitchen – Veterans and active military receive a complimentary entrée from a special menu on Tuesday, November 11.

*NEW* Carlo’s Bakery — Veterans and active service members get a free large cannoli on November 11.

Carrabba’s – All active and retired veterans get a free appetizer November 8 through 11.

Cattlemens – Active, inactive, and retired military personnel get a free Small Sirloin Steak Dinner on Tuesday, November 11.

CentraArchy Restaurants – Veterans and active duty service members get a free entrée and 25% off to their accompanied family and friends on Tuesday, November 11 at participating restaurants.

Cheeseburger in Paradise — Active and retired military personnel receive a complimentary All-American Burger with fries on Tuesday, November 11.

Chuck E. Cheese’s – Veterans and active duty military get 20 free tokens from November 9 through November 15.

City Barbeque – All veterans get a free sandwich platter on Tuesday, November 11.

Claim Jumper — On Monday, November 10, all Claim Jumper locations will provide veterans with a complimentary meal from a special menu.

*NEW* Coffee Beanery — Veterans and active duty military get a free tall cup of coffee on November 11 at participating locations.

*NEW* Cracker Barrel — Veterans get a complimentary Double Chocolate Fudge Coca-Cola Cake dessert during lunch and dinner on November 11.

Denny’s — Active, inactive and retired military personnel get a free Build Your Own Grand Slam on Tuesday, November 11, from 5 a.m. to noon at participating locations.

East Coast Wings & Grill — Veterans get a free appetizer or a free dessert on Tuesday, November 11. Offer good with a minimum purchase of $10.

Famous Dave’s — On November 11, former and active military receive a free One Meat Salute at participating locations from 11:00 am to 4:30 pm.

Figaro’s Pizza — Veterans and active duty service members get a complimentary medium 1-topping pizza on November 11.

*NEW* Fire and Ice – Veterans, active duty and their families get a free lunch or dinner on November 11.

Friendly’s – Friendly’s is treating veterans and active military to a free breakfast, lunch or dinner from a limited menu on Veterans Day, Tuesday, November 11.

Golden Corral — Golden Corral Restaurants’ Military Appreciation Monday free dinner will be available on Monday, November 17, from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Military retirees, veterans, active duty, National Guard and Reserves are all welcome.

Greene Turtle — Veterans and active duty military receive a free meal from a select menu on Tuesday, November 11 at participating locations.

Handel’s Homemade Ice Cream — Veterans and active duty military get a free single scoop ice cream cone on Tuesday, November 11 at participating locations.

Hooters – Veterans and active duty military get a free meal up to $10.99 in value with a drink purchase at participating locations on Tuesday, November 11.

IHOP — On Tuesday, November 11, participating IHOP Restaurants offer veterans and active duty military free Red, White and Blue pancakes from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

JJ’s Red Hots – Veterans and active duty military get with an unlimited free meal on Tuesday, November 11.

Krispy Kreme – Krispy Kreme is offering a free doughnut and small coffee to all veterans on Tuesday, November 11 at participating locations.

Krystal — Active and retired military receive a free Krystal Sausage Biscuit from 6 AM to 10:30 AM on Tuesday, November 11.

Lone Star Steakhouse — On Tuesday, November 11, active duty, reserve and retired service members get a free appetizer.

LongHorn Steakhouse – Veterans and current service members receive a complimentary Texas Tonion appetizer and non-alcoholic beverage from a select menu on Tuesday, November 11.

Max & Erma’s – On Tuesday, November 11, participating Max & Erma’s locations are offering veterans and active military personnel a free Best Cheeseburger in America Combo meal.

McCormick & Schmick’s Seafood Restaurants — On Sunday, November 9, participating McCormick & Schmick’s Seafood Restaurants will offer a complimentary entree to veterans from a special menu.

Menchi’s —  All veterans and active duty will receive a free 6 oz. frozen yogurt on Tuesday, November 11.

MOD Pizza — Veterans and active duty military get a free individual, artisan-style pizza or hand-tossed salad on Tuesday, November 11.

Olive Garden – On Tuesday, November 11, all veterans and current service members get a free meal from a limited menu.

On the Border — Veterans and active duty military can enjoy a free meal from the “Create Your Own Combo menu” on Tuesday, November  11.

Orange Leaf — Retired and active duty military get a free cup of froyo on November 11.

Outback Steakhouse – All active and former service members receive a free Bloomin’ Onion and a beverage on November 11. Outback is also offering active and former service members 15% off their meals Nov. 12 through Dec. 31.

*NEW* Petro Stopping Centers — On November 11, all CDL drivers who are military veterans eat free at participating full-service restaurants.

Pie Five Pizza — Active duty, reserve and retired service members get a free customized pizza on Tuesday, November 11.

Pinnacle Entertainment — Veterans and active duty military get a free meal at select casinos on Tuesday, November 11.

Pizza Factory — Veterans get a free lunch special or a free lunch buffet on Tuesday, November 11.

Red Hot & Blue — Veterans receive a free entrée with the purchase of a second entrée on November 10, 11 and 12. Coupon required.

Red Lobster — Veterans, retired and active-duty military personnel receive a complimentary appetizer from a limited menu from Monday, November 10 to Thursday, November 13.

Red Robin – Veterans and active duty military get a free Red’s Tavern Double Burger with Bottomless Steak Fries on Tuesday, November 11.

Ruby Tuesday — Veterans, active duty and reserve service members get a free appetizer on November 11.

Shoney’s — Shoney’s will be offering a free All-American Burger to veterans and active duty service members on Tuesday, November 11.

Sizzler — Sizzler offers active duty and veteran military members a free lunch from a limited menu on Tuesday, November 11 until 4 p.m.

Smokey Bones Bar & Fire Grill — Veterans and active duty get a free meal from a select menu on November 11.

Spaghetti Warehouse – On Tuesday, November 11, buy one entrée and get the second entrée free. Coupon required.

Starbucks — Veterans, active duty service members and spouses get a free tall coffee on Tuesday, November 11 at participating locations.

Texas Land & Cattle — On Tuesday, November 11, active duty, reserve and retired service members get a free appetizer.

Texas Roadhouse — Texas Roadhouse locations nationwide will offer veterans a free lunch on Tuesday, November 11 from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Offer is good for active duty, retired or former U.S. military.

TGIFridays — Veterans and active duty military get a free lunch from a select menu on Tuesday, November 11 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Tim Hortons Café & Bake Shop – Active duty military and veterans receive a free donut all day long on Tuesday, November 11.

Travel Centers of America — On Tuesday, November 11, all CDL drivers who are military veterans eat free at participating full-service restaurants.

Tubby’s — Veterans and active duty military members get a free small Grilled Steak N’ Cheese or Tubby’s Famous Sub on Tuesday, November 11.

Village Inn — Veterans and active military personnel receive a free breakfast on Tuesday, November 11 from a select menu at participating locations.

Wayback Burgers – Veterans and active duty military get a free Wayback Classic Cheeseburger with purchase of any side and any drink on November 11.

Zoes Kitchen – Active duty military and veterans get a free entrée, and family members get 10% off on November 11.

Source: http://www.military.com/veterans-day/veterans-day-military-discounts.html?ESRC=vetday.se#2014_Veterans_Day_Restaurant_Offerings

 

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Supreme Court to hear new ObamaCare challenge

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The Supreme Court agreed Friday to hear a new challenge to ObamaCare, bringing the law back before the court after it survived a brush with death in 2012.

At issue in this case is the legality of subsidies offered to help millions of low- and middle-income people buy health insurance. Opponents argue that most of the subsidies are illegal.

A federal appeals court upheld Internal Revenue Service regulations that allow health-insurance tax credits under the Affordable Care Act for consumers in all 50 states.

But opponents of the subsidies argued the Supreme Court should resolve the issue now because it involves billions of dollars in public money. At least four justices, needed to grant review, apparently agreed with the challengers that the issue is important enough to decide now.

The case is likely to be heard in the spring of 2015.

“The plain language of the law makes it clear that subsidies are only to be provided for the purchase of health coverage through exchanges setup by the states,” Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga., said in a statement. “Nevertheless, the Obama administration and others are asking the courts to disregard the letter of the law and instead rule based on bureaucratic rewrites and revisions.” 

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said the congressional intent behind the law is for eligible customers regardless of where they live to receive assistance from the government to subsidize the purchase of health care. He promised a vigorous defense before the high court.

“The ACA is working. These lawsuits won’t stand in the way of the Affordable Care Act and the millions of Americans who can now afford health insurance because of it,” he said in a statement, calling the lawsuit “just another partisan attempt to undermine the Affordable Care Act and to strip millions of American families of tax credits that Congress intended for them to have.” 

The justices upheld the heart of the law in a 5-4 decision in 2012 in which Chief Justice John Roberts provided the decisive vote, preserving the law’s individual mandate to buy insurance.

This past June, the court again ruled on ObamaCare, this time siding with companies that had religious objections over the law’s requirement to provide contraceptive coverage. The ruling forced the administration to adjust the regulations, but did not seriously disrupt the health law.

The case over insurance subsidies, though, puts more at stake for the administration. The insurance subsidies are a key plank of the law’s system for ensuring that the people required to buy insurance can actually afford to pay for it. Foes have challenged the legality of providing them in states that do not have their own insurance exchanges — in other words, those using HealthCare.gov.

In July, a Richmond, Virginia-based appeals court upheld Internal Revenue Service regulations that allow health-insurance tax credits under the Affordable Care Act for consumers in all 50 states.

On that same July day, a panel of appellate judges in Washington, District of Columbia, sided with the challengers in striking down the IRS regulations. The Washington court held that under the law, financial aid can be provided only in states that have set up their own insurance markets, known as exchanges.

The administration said in court papers that the federal government is running the exchanges in 34 states and that nearly 5 million people receive subsidies that allow them to purchase health insurance through those exchanges.

For those federal exchange consumers, the subsidies cover 76 percent of their premiums, on average. Customers now pay an average of $82 on total monthly premiums averaging $346. The federal subsidy of $264 a month makes up the difference.

But in October, the entire Washington appeals court voted to rehear the case and threw out the panel’s ruling, eliminating the so-called circuit split. The appeals argument has been scheduled for December 17, but that case now recedes in importance with the Supreme Court’s action to step in.

The court rarely steps into a case when there is no disagreement among federal appellate courts, unless a law or regulation has been ruled invalid.

Source: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2014/11/07/supreme-court-justices-to-hear-health-law-subsidies-challenge/

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‘Historic night’: GOP makes record gains at state level, on top of Senate wins

Republicans had a big night — that much was clear. But the full scope of the GOP’s victories came sharply into focus Wednesday, as party leaders touted not only their newly claimed Senate majority but historic gains in the House and state legislative races.

While Republicans’ capture of at least seven seats in the U.S. Senate grabbed the headlines, the party had even greater success at the state level. Party leaders said Wednesday they will hit an “all-time high” for the number of legislative chambers and seats in Republican control.

“It was a historic night at every single level,” Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus said Wednesday.

With post-game analysis hardly in short supply, GOP leaders offered their own take on how the party pulled it off. They attributed their victories to carefully vetted and trained candidates (perhaps in contrast to 2012); to an improved ground game and intensive effort to target “low-propensity voters;” and to what they tried to make the No. 1 issue throughout the campaign – President Obama’s unpopularity.

“This was all about a direct rejection of the Obama agenda,” Priebus said.

Whether congressional Republicans and Obama can work together in the remaining two years of his term remains to be seen.

But at the state level, Republicans are poised to more aggressively advance their legislative agenda, particularly with several Republicans winning close gubernatorial elections Tuesday night – including in the heavily Democratic states of Maryland, Illinois and Massachusetts.

Luis Fortuno, former Puerto Rico governor and board member of the Republican State Leadership Committee, broke down the legislative numbers.

He said the party is on course to hold between 67 and 69 legislative chambers – up from the previous high of 64. He said they also are on track to eclipse the prior GOP high of 4,001 state legislative seats (held in 1928).

Among the chambers picked up were the Nevada Senate and Assembly; New Mexico House; New Hampshire House; and Colorado Senate.

And on the U.S. House side, Fox News projected that Republicans are expected to win at least 12 net seats to expand their majority beyond their post-World War II record of 246 seats set in the 1946 election.

But Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore., chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, said when all results are in, “It may be a 100-year majority.”

“It was a huge night, historic night,” he said.

Meanwhile, Republicans so far have gained seven U.S. Senate seats, giving them a 52-seat majority – three races are still outstanding, in Louisiana, Alaska and Virginia.

Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, chalked up the success of Senate candidates to a careful training program. The New York Times reported that this involved sending “fake” campaign trackers to trail GOP candidates – and forcing them to watch cringe-worthy moments from failed Republican campaigns of 2012.

On the other side of the aisle, Democratic strategists gave a mixed picture of the night.

“I won’t sugarcoat it – we always knew tonight would be a challenging night, and it was for Democrats at every level,” Rep. Steve Israel, D-N.Y., chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, said Tuesday. “But as tough as tonight was, we did everything in our control to narrow the Republicans’ pick-up opportunities and limit their chance to take advantage of the wave.”

He said the party was able to prevent Republicans from hitting the 29-seat gain “typically won in a second-term midterm.”

He added: “As a Mets fan, I’ve learned to look on the bright side – and we have a strong Democratic Caucus who will come to Congress next year focused on strengthening the middle class and working together on commonsense solutions.”

Source: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2014/11/05/historic-night-gop-makes-record-gains-at-state-level-on-top-senate-wins/

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BOMBSHELL MEMO: Jeanne Shaheen Conspired With White House Insider On IRS Targeting Scandal

PHOTO: Twitter

Democratic New Hampshire Sen. Jeanne Shaheen was principally involved in a plot with Lois Lerner and President Barack Obama’s political appointee at the IRS to lead a program of harassment against conservative nonprofit groups during the 2012 election, according to letters exclusively obtained by The Daily Caller.

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) did not want to publicly release 2012 correspondences exchanged between the IRS and Jeanne Shaheen at her personal Washington office: the agency delayed releasing the information to a major conservative super PAC multiple times, even threatening to see the super PAC in court, according to emails. (RELATED: Lois Lerner And Fellow IRS Official Announced Targeting At 2010 Conference Before Both Of Their Emails Went Missing)

“The IRS is aware of the current public interest in this issue,” IRS chief counsel William J. Wilkins, a White House visitor described by insiders as “The President’s Man at the IRS,” personally wrote in a hand-stamped memo to “Senator Shaheen” on official Department of the Treasury letterhead on April 25, 2012.

The memo, obtained by TheDC, briefed the Democratic senator about a coordinated IRS-Treasury Department plot to target political activity by nonprofit 501(c)(4) groups. The plot was operating out of Lois Lerner’s Tax Exempt Government Entities Division. (RELATED: Liens Filed Against Dem Senator Jeanne Shaheen And Her Husband For Failure To Pay Creditors)

“These regulations have been in place since 1959,” Wilkins wrote. “We will consider proposed changes in this area as we work with Tax-Exempt and Government Entities and the Treasury Department’s Office of Tax Policy to identify tax issues that should be addressed” in designing new regulations and “guidance.”

“I hope this information is helpful,” Wilkins wrote. “I am sending a similar response to your colleagues. If you have questions, please contact me or have your staff contact Cathy Barre at (202) 622-3720.”

Shaheen got the inside info from the IRS, making it clear she was the point person in a group composed of six close Democratic colleagues including Chuck Schumer and Al Franken, who joined with Shaheen in quietly writing a letter to then-IRS commissioner Doug Shulman expressing their concern about new nonprofit groups engaging in political activity in 2012.

The Democratic senators’ publicly available March 9, 2012 letter asked the IRS to “immediately change the administrative framework for enforcement of the tax code as it applies to groups designated as ‘social welfare’ organizations” by introducing a new “bright line test” for how much a tax-exempt group can invest in political activity and by setting a new rule that at least 51 percent of a group’s activity must non-political. The senators called for more elaborate disclosures about finances and “undertakings” in groups’ form 990 submissions and sought new rules about how much donors could write off as business expenses. (RELATED: New Poll: Brown Leads Shaheen By A Point And A Half With One Week To Go)

A Freedom of Information Act request from a major conservative super PAC specifically identified “Jeanne Shaheen” as its Freedom of Information Act search term on the IRS scandal (and in Washington, folks, if YOUR NAME is the search term that the conservative super PAC uses in its bid to get public information, then you just might be involved in something).

Source: http://dailycaller.com/2014/11/03/bombshell-memo-jeanne-shaheen-conspired-with-white-house-insider-on-irs-targeting-scandal/

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