It’s About Damned Time!

After decades of bringing a plastic toy bat to a gunfight, the GOP – that party with an uncanny record of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory – finally grew some gonads and “went nuclear” on the confirmation process for Judge Neil Gorsuch.

It’s about damned time!

The result is that Gorsuch has taken his rightful place on the bench at the US Supreme Court (SCOTUS).

We’ve all heard the incessant bleating from the left. “It’s a stolen seat! It should be Merrick Garland’s! Senate rules! Tradition!” Blah, blah, ad nauseum, ad infinitum.

I, for one, couldn’t care less about their whining. In fact, in all honesty, I’m absolutely reveling in it! Because the time finally came when they had to pay the piper, and they didn’t like it one little bit. They’re squealing like stuck pigs. Good!

For decades, for purely political purposes, they changed rules, and moved the goalposts, at will. They counted on the GOP to consider themselves to be above such “petty” political games when they were themselves in power, and for the most part they’ve been right… up to now. The GOP was indeed stupid enough to keep letting them get away with it while refusing to resort to the same tactics themselves.

This kind of cynical, manipulative behavior goes all the way back to FDR, who threatened to “pack” the Supreme Court with like-minded leftist judges who’d back his socialist programs, and when the GOP legislators chickened out and backed off, the stage was set.

When Reagan nominated Robert Bork, a superbly qualified originalist jurist, to SCOTUS the scurrilous attacks on his character, ironically led by Ted Kennedy – the “Lion of the Senate” who was apparently taking a break from molesting and drowning young interns at the time – were so outrageous that Bork ended up withdrawing from consideration. The episode was so shameful it even led to the coining of the term “borking” for subjecting nominees to irrational and unreasonable political attacks.

When Bush I nominated Clarence Thomas to SCOTUS Senate Dems tried, unsuccessfully, to “bork” him with the infamous Anita Hill slander. When Bush II nominated Samuel Alito Senate Dems tried unsuccessfully to filibuster his appointment. They did successfully block Bush II’s nominee to the DC Circuit, Miguel Estrada, using a filibuster.

Yet when the shoe has been on the other foot, Dem/socialist nominees have sailed through to an easy confirmation, in spite of their political bent, with little to no GOP opposition, die-hard doctrinaire leftist Ruth Bader Ginsburg being a classic example. A Carter appointment, she was confirmed in the Senate by a vote of 96 to 3. Breyer was confirmed 87 to 9; Kagan by 63 to 37; and Sotomayor by 67 to 29.

When Bush I was president then-Senator Joe Biden – who was at the time chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee – said he would block any Bush nominee to SCOTUS that may occur in an election year. So much for the “stolen seat” of Merrick Garland, since all the Senate GOPers did during the last year of Obama’s term was follow that very same “Biden Rule”.

And when Obama was president the ever-despicable Harry Reid, Senate Majority Leader at the time, used the so-called “nuclear option” to eliminate the filibuster option for all judicial appointments other than to SCOTUS, thereby ensuring that Obama was able to load the lower-level Circuit Court system with activist leftist jurists. The truth is in the numbers: at the end of Bush II’s term ten of thirteen circuit courts had majorities nominated by Republican presidents. But as of now, nine of them have majorities nominated by Democrat presidents. In other words, the situation reversed by almost 180 degrees during Obama’s time in office.

There’s nothing in the Constitution that requires anything other than a simple majority for the Senate to act. As it’s been used on judicial appointments, in reality it’s been a tyranny of the minority exploited by the Dem/socialists to pack the court system, right up to and including SCOTUS, with activists more concerned with advancing a “social justice” agenda than with ensuring that proper legal and constitutional principles are observed.

Thus the irony is so thick it can be cut with a knife when Mitch McConnell and the other Senate Republicans used the Democrats’ own traditional strategy, the “nuclear option”, to ensure Gorsuch’s ascension to a seat on SCOTUS. It’s why the wailing and bleating of the left is music to my ears.

Their own chickens have come home to roost.

 

 

©Brian Baker 2017

(Also published today in my local newspaper: The Signal)

Political Finger-Painting

On April 5th The Signal published a column by Gary Horton entitled “America Has A Complex Complex” which brought a memory to mind for me.

When my daughter was a little girl she’d do finger-paintings for me. She’d sit at the table and smear random colors all over a piece of paper, and then turn to me.

“Look, Daddy”, she’d say proudly. “A sunrise!”

Of course, all I could see was paint smeared randomly all over the page.

That’s what we have with this Horton column: a little kid’s finger-painting of what’s wrong with America. It makes no sense to the person reading it. Only in the mind of the “artist” who created it do any of the shapes or colors coalesce into a meaningful whole, as they’re randomly selected and applied.

Horton’s painting of an “industrial-congressional-complex” makes as much sense as my daughter’s finger-painting of a “sunrise”, meaning none. It’s a very pretty picture, quite colorful, but not at all representative of anything in the real world.

He’s taken disparate elements of our society which he considers flaws or shortcomings in its fabric and tried to tie them together into a neat package of cause and effect. But the fatal mistake in this approach is that it ignores the benefits that derive from that very same system.

We live in a society unique in the world, with freedoms and liberty, guaranteed in our Constitution, that are unparalleled anywhere. We’ve also – whether willingly or not – been forced to assume the mantle of being the defender of those freedoms on a global scale, both for ourselves and our allies.

There are costs, both overt and hidden, that accrue to those kinds of benefits and responsibilities. That’s just the way the world works.

I know Horton, and those like him, have a utopian vision of how they think things should be. I’ve been active in politics for about five decades, and have been debating these issues for all of that time. But utopia doesn’t exist, and never will. That’s just a fact.

Any society with freedoms such as ours is going to be a messy place. Open debate, electoral politics, federalism, equal access of competing interests, free-market economics, free speech, property rights, individual responsibility, open competition… these are all concepts that, when put in practice, will naturally lead to uneven results.

Equality of outcome can only be assured by the imposition of tyranny.

So… which system would you prefer?

 

(Also published today in my local newspaper, The Signal)

 

Naked Judicial Activism and Overreach

On March 15th, for the second time, a federal district judge – this time in Hawaii – issued an injunction against President Trump’s executive order restricting immigration from several specific countries. U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson, in the case of State of Hawai’I and Ismail Elshikh v. Donald J. Trump, had the temerity to order that “Enforcement of these provisions in all places, including the United States, at all United States borders and ports of entry, and in the issuance of visas is prohibited, pending further orders from this Court.” In other words, this judge in the district of Hawaii issued a restraining order that supposedly has nationwide enforceability.

The only problem is, he has no authority to do so.

Article III of the US Constitution establishes the Judiciary, and defines its powers, authority and limitations. Section 2, Paragraph 2 clearly states that: “In all Cases affecting Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, and those in which a State shall be Party, the supreme Court shall have original Jurisdiction.”

What that means is that, barring a constitutional amendment, any case in which a state is a party must be heard by the Supreme Court, the only court with the authority and jurisdiction to hear such cases. Since one of the plaintiffs in the case at issue is the state of Hawaii, District Judge Watson had no jurisdiction, nor authority, to even hear the case. The same holds true for the several other District Courts that have heard and/or issued rulings on cases of like kind.

That paragraph goes on to state that: “In all the other Cases before mentioned (in Paragraph 1), the supreme Court shall have appellate Jurisdiction, both as to Law and Fact, with such Exceptions, and under such Regulations as the Congress shall make.” Under that authority Congress went on to enact the Judiciary Acts of 1789, 1801, 1865, and 1925. These various Acts established the judicial system we have today, consisting of nine Supreme Court Justices, the various Circuit Courts of Appeal, the various District Courts, and their various jurisdictions, responsibilities and powers.

Part of that structuring defined court power to establish that the only court with national jurisdiction is the Supreme Court. For example, any ruling handed down by the Ninth Circuit Court only has enforcement power within the geographical boundaries of that Circuit, which are the nine Western states, including California. That’s why it’s not unusual to see different Circuits hand down conflicting rulings on the same issue, with the Supreme Court then stepping in to address and resolve the conflict by issuing a determinate ruling with national authority, thereby assuring a consistent application and rule of law across the nation.

The geographical jurisdictional and enforcement power of a District court is even smaller, as it’s a subset of the Circuit Court. So, just as the authority of a ruling by a Circuit Court is constrained by its geographical boundaries, so is the authority of a District Court’s ruling constrained to its own.

From this it’s easy to see that, in addition to hearing a case over which he had no jurisdiction, District Judge Watson issued a ruling and restraining order that he unlawfully attempts to apply outside the geographical borders of his own limited authority.

This is beyond unacceptable; it’s a repugnant attempt to usurp and arrogate power.

Were I Trump I’d instruct the State Department and other involved agencies to ignore these illegal rulings by this, and other, District judges who have far overstepped their legal authority. If these tin pot local judges want to set up a confrontation between the Judiciary and the Executive branches, then let’s bring it on.

Thomas Jefferson expressed his concern that the federal judiciary was potentially “the most dangerous branch” of government because, once seated, judges were installed for life and not accountable to the electorate. Unfortunately, particularly in recent decades, we’ve been seeing those fears realized as arrogant activist judges have taken to regularly exceeding their authority in order to facilitate their own political agendas, as facilitated by the cynical practice of “judge shopping” by litigants eager to promote and achieve their own political ends, goals they generally can’t achieve through the regular political process.

This must come to a halt, even if that has to be done through a constitutional confrontation.

 

 

 

©Brian Baker 2017

(Also published today in my local newspaper, The Signal)

FLHHC

FLHHC? What the heck is Baker babbling about now, right?

Well, my friends, that’s an acronym. It stands for:

Facts,

Logic,

History,

Human nature, and the

Constitution.

Those are the five things non-conservatives – of any party – have to be able to ignore in order to advance their arguments.

In my experience, any argument on any political topic that observes those five precepts will end up, by definition, being truly “conservative” in nature. In contrast, any argument advanced by leftists to support their position on a topic will by necessity have to ignore at least one, and generally several (if not all), of those elements.

Try it out for yourself. Have some fun with it. I think you’ll find it’s a very accurate litmus test, and once you do you can use it when you’re debating your not-so-conservative friends to hopefully show them the error of their ways.

Remember: FLHHC.

 

 

©Brian Baker 2017

 

 

Hey, “Climate Change” Nazis! Here I Am. Arrest Me.

climate change hysteria

You may or may not have read that recently sixteen state attorneys-general, including Commiefornia’s own Kamala Harris, as well as US Attorney-General Loretta Lynch, have threatened to prosecute those who “deny” the “climate change” hysteria that’s become gospel to the radical Left.

Well, let me make it perfectly clear: I absolutely reject the “climate change” hysteria and dogma that these fanatics are trying to foist on the entire planet. This planet’s been around for about 4.5 billion years; the climate’s been “changing” for every one of those years; and absolutely nothing that mankind can do will stop that from continuing… ever!

In fact, if the climate ever WERE to stop changing, life on the planet would never evolve. That change is the driver of evolution; it’s one of the reasons why dinosaurs aren’t the prevalent life forms here, and why we’re not dodging woolly mammoths and saber-toothed cats on our daily commute (though most likely we’d have never even developed). As I’ve written before, 10,000 years ago, a blink of the eye in geological time, the North American continent was completely covered with permanent pack ice over a thousand feet thick all the way down to what is now Central California.

On top of all that, even if it were possible to “stop” the climate from changing, which it’s not, why would that necessarily be a GOOD thing? Who’s to say that NOW is the “perfect” climate? Why wouldn’t the changed climate a few hundred years from now be even better, if that were to happen? Do those hysterics have some kind of crystal ball or something? So exactly who are the REAL “deniers” on this subject?

So there. That’s my “denial”. Come on and arrest me. I dare you.

But here’s the most disturbing aspect of this whole initiative. Unable to enact their radical marching commiesBig Government agenda legitimately in this country, these jack-booted thugs want to ignore the First Amendment and criminalize free speech and legitimate dissent by prosecuting those who disagree with them under RICO and various other statutes.

This reminds me of the fate of Galileo. In the late 16th Century, the “official” science of the time, as promulgated by the Catholic Church, held that the Earth was the center of the Universe. However, Galileo published works promoting the Copernican view that this planet revolved around the Sun. Ultimately, for promoting what turned out to be the correct scientific fact of the matter, Galileo was tried by the Church and convicted of heresy.

Sound familiar?

Now here we are, in the 21st Century, and history is repeating itself. As Yogi Berra noted, it’s like déjà vu all over again.

This is beyond outrageous. It’s beyond being un-American. This is flat-out tyranny.

green nazisT

 

©Brian Baker 2016

(This column was also published today in my local newspaper: http://www.signalscv.com/section/35/article/151491/)

 

Scalia’s Replacement and the Election

supreme court

Of course, the big news this past week or so is the very sad passing of a legal giant, Antonin Scalia, Justice on the Supreme Court (SCOTUS).

There’s a political knife fight brewing over replacing him, with Senate Republicans led by Mitch McConnell at this point vowing to block any Obama nomination because he has so little time left in office, while Obama and his minions – including a sycophantic mainstream media – are clamoring that to do so is to subvert the intent expressed in the Advise and Consent Clause of the Constitution.

Indisputably, the Republicans have the authority by virtue of their control of the Senate to proceed however they wish, including blocking Obama’s nominees from confirmation. It’s borkalso indisputable that the Dem/socialists’ ginned up “outrage” is laughably hypocritical. After all,  when Ronald Reagan nominated Judge Robert Bork to SCOTUS, his confirmation was blocked on purely political grounds by a Senate Dem/socialist lynch mob led by Ted Kennedy, and they thought that was just perfectly fine. In fact, they took great pride in it.

Even more hypocritical is that when Bush 2 nominated Sam Alito to SCOTUS back in 2006, a little known Senator from Illinois, one Barrack Hussein Obama, participated in a filibuster attempt to block the nomination. It sure seems to me that what’s good for the goose is good for the gander.

At issue is the fact that SCOTUS has been pretty evenly divided ideologically for quite some time, with many cases being decided by a 5 – 4 vote, Kennedy being a “wobbler” who vacillates between originalist (“conservative”) and living constitutionalist (“liberal”) positions. Scalia has always been a fervent originalist. In his absence the Court is evenly divided between the two camps (always with the caveat that Kennedy’s something of a wild card, and there’s the occasional Roberts hiccup, too).

So, the argument goes, in a year in which the presidential election is so contentious, particularly on divisive fundamental philosophy, and we’re so close to the actual election, any SCOTUS appointment should be delayed until the newly-elected President can make his or her own choice.

I think there’s merit to that argument, but frankly I don’t really care about it. As far as I’m concerned, the Constitution gives the approval power to the Senate, the GOP controls thecongress control Senate, and they don’t need any rationalization to block Obama’s appointments if that’s what they want to do. There’s plenty of precedent, as I’ve already pointed out, and there’s no way such a rabid leftist zealot as Obama is going to make any nomination that’s going to be any good for this country. Period.

But there’s another aspect I don’t hear anyone talking about when considering the upcoming election and SCOTUS nominations.

Scalia was 79 when he died. But Ginsburg, a hard-Left zealot, is 82. For that matter Breyer, another doctrinaire Leftist, is 77. It’s quite conceivable that either or both could retire or die during the first term of the next President. At 79, Kennedy could very well be in play, too.

That means, assuming that Obama can’t successfully replace Scalia, that the next President could very well be able to appoint four SCOTUS Justices. So let’s do some math and see how this could play out.

Let’s assume that over the next President’s first term three more SCOTUS seats open up, for a total of four. The current ideological split, in Scalia’s absence, is essentially 4 – 4. If the Dem/socialists win, they can appoint 4 leftists, giving them a 6 – 3 (Roberts, Thomas, and Alito) majority. If the GOP wins, they might also get to appoint 4 conservatives, giving them a 7 – 2 (Kagan and Sotomayor) majority.

Anybody have any questions about how important this election is? It’s way past time for the GOP to get its act together, stop screwing around, and – for once – get it right.

 

 

©Brian Baker 2016

(Published in my local newspaper, The Signal, on 2/26/2016: http://www.signalscv.com/section/33/article/149114/)

 

 

Sacrificed On The Altar of Political Demagoguery

Last week saw the worst Islamic terrorist attack on US soil since the Twin Towers went down on 9/11, and it creates a confluence of political issues of immense proportions: the national gun control debate and Obama’s foreign policy failures.

San Berdoo terrsTwo Islamic jihadists stormed a social services center in San Bernardino, California, at which the employees were throwing a holiday party, and opened fire with a variety of guns, both long guns and handguns, killing 14 people and wounding 21 others. They were also armed with pipe bombs, and when the police finally searched their house they found many more pipe bombs as well as a “pipe bomb factory”. The pair had acquired their guns legally; the long guns had been illegally altered.

Syed Rizwan Farook, the male, was a native-born citizen of the US of Pakistani extraction, and a Muslim. He had visited Saudi Arabia several times, as late as 2013. His wife, Tashfeen Malik, was a Pakistani citizen, in the country on a fiancée visa, and also a Muslim, with ties to terrorist organizations. Her visa application to enter this country listed a non-existent Pakistan address.

Those are the facts. Now to the issues.

Gun Control

Literally before the bodies had even cooled Obama was swooping down on this event, like some deranged vulture, to exploit it for political purposes, in this case to advance his agenda for further restrictive gun control laws. He was immediately and enthusiastically joined by his Dem/socialist comrades in Congress, as well here in California by the Dem/socialists who run the state legislature.  It’s been a morbid and disgusting display of cynical political manipulation, an attempt to exploit the nation’s natural revulsion to this horrific event in the hope of severely restricting gun rights.

But the policies Obama & Company have proposed – such as expanded background checks – are already in place in California where this event took place; in fact, California has the most restrictive gun laws in the nation, and is often held up by Dem/socialists as the example to which the nation as a whole should aspire.

pipe bombOn top of that, Farook and Malik were also using pipe bombs, which are completely banned under Federal law.

So how would any new restrictions have prevented an attack like this? The plain and simple fact is they won’t, just as logic and common sense tells us, and just as this attack proves, as it took place in the state that has enacted the Dem/socialists’ wish list of gun restrictions, and included destructive devices already completely banned under Federal law.

This event simply proved the old maxim that criminals, by definition, don’t obey laws. Therefore further restrictive gun laws are only going to affect law-abiding citizens. Have drug laws kept drugs out of the hands of illicit users, or immigration laws kept illegal aliens out of the country? Of course not. Why would anyone with an ounce of sense think things would be any different with guns?

There’s another maxim that applies: the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.

But laws that deprive the good guys of the tools they need to stop the bad guys are obviously only going to make the situation even worse. I know that if I’m at a party and some nut comes in shooting, I’d sure like something in my hand more suitable for defending myself than a Dixie cup full of beer.

There’s one law that would be effective in addressing the dangers of these attacks: a law that makes it mandatory that any law-abiding citizen who applies for a permit to carry a concealed weapon be issued that permit.

The plain fact of the matter is that the police aren’t bodyguards. Theychalk outline respond to crimes after they’ve already taken place. It’s up to each of us as individuals to protect and defend ourselves as well as we can until the cops show up. The cops are the ones who draw the chalk lines around the bodies; it’s up to us to determine whether it’s us or the other guy who gets outlined.

Will an armed citizenry absolutely prevent these occurrences in the future? Probably not all of them, but have you noticed that these things always take place in venues at which everyone is unarmed? Have you ever heard of a mass shooting at a gun range, or gun shop, where a lot of people are armed? Of course not.

And even if such an event does take place, I’m sure we could anticipate much lower body counts; fewer casualties. If only one or two of the people in San Bernardino had been carrying guns, and able to deploy them, the rampage would have been very quickly curtailed, either by the shooters’ retreat or deaths.

Foreign Policy and “Refugees”

From the Arab Spring to Benghazi to the rise of ISIS, Obama’s foreign policy in the Middle East has been an unmitigated disaster. He seems to have absolutely no grasp of the issues or players involved, nor understand the consequences of his actions, or failures to act when appropriate.

He’s declared al Qaida as being “on the run”, and just recently characterized ISIS as the “JV team”. The reality is far different.

ISIS territoryNot only are both still active, but there are many splinter groups of both scattered around the world. ISIS alone has captured and consolidated enough geographical territory to qualify as a minor nation-state, though a rogue one. They’ve developed an economic infrastructure that revolves around oil exports as well as agricultural production. Contrary to Obama’s blind assurances, they’re developing into a regional power able to export their terrorism to the world stage.

For years there’s been a steady emigration from the region, primarily into Turkey, Lebanon, Egypt, and Europe. But the recent intensification of the conflict with ISIS, primarily in Syria and Iraq, has led to sudden surge in the number of people—again primarily from Syria – seeking to relocate, and has been labeled by the media as a “refugee crisis”. There’s no estimated number of how many people are seeking to relocate, as it’s an ongoing situation. Several countries have pledged to take in varied numbers of these refugees, and interestingly enough several countries in the region have decided not to take in any: Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, UAE, Qatar, and Oman.

Obama has pledged to import 85,000 of these refugees, with 10,000 of them to be admitted this fiscal year. In all his grand pomposity, he’s lashed out at those opposing his scheme, using terms such as “offensive” and “hysterical”. The problem for Obama is that there’s plenty to oppose in bringing those people into this country, particularly in such large numbers, and so quickly.

First, the usual screening time for approval of an entry visa is anywhere from 18 to 24 months, on an individual basis. And as we can see from Malik’s successful entry into the country, even then it’s not a foolproof system (to say the least). But what happens when the system is suddenly jammed up with tens of thousands of applicants from the same region all being entered into the system at the same time?

Gridlock, that’s what. Even the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has admitted that this is going to be very problematic. And I think we can easily assume that if these “refugees” are being rushed through the system in order to meet Obama’s political agenda, that screening will be haphazard at best.

Further, the myth that radical Muslims are a very small minority is just that: a myth. Sources vary, but the percentage of Muslims who support radical Islam is anywhere from 10% to 80% depending on locale, with the worldwide average estimated as 10% – 15%: (Breitbart) and (Answers.com).

Using an even more conservative figure of 2% to represent those who would actively participate in, or actively provide support to, terrorist acts at some point, means that for every 10,000 “refugees” we let into the country, we’re also importing 200 jihadists. Obama’s complete plan for importing 85,000 of them means we’ll be bringing in 1,700 jihadists and spreading them all around the country, a very bad idea. It strikes me as being akin to playing Russian Roulette with a fully loaded revolver.

There are those, starting right at the top with Obama, who call keeping those people out of the country “inhumane” and “racist” and “xenophobic”. Do those terms also apply to the six countries – Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, UAE, Qatar, and Oman – that are in the region and of the same religion that are also keeping them out? Or do they know something that Obama et al are simply failing to acknowledge?

Further, our legal immigration system has always used one primary guideline as the basis for admittance into this country: the prospective immigrant has to be able to positively contribute to our society. In whatCAIR way will these “refugees” do that? Since when did this country become a dumping ground for the planet’s dispossessed? Don’t we have enough balkanization at home already, with CAIR and #BlackLivesMatter and MALDEF other special interest groups raising a ruckus all the time at the drop of a hat? And what about the United Nations, that idol of the Left? Why aren’t they setting up some kind of “safe zone” for those people over there, in the region? Yet more proof of why they’ve earned the sobriquet “Useless Nations”.

Further, we as a country have to stop denying that Muslims as a group present a potential for violent activity unprecedented in our history. We have to face reality, and adapt to that reality. Muslims who are already in this country enjoy constitutional protections, and rightly so. Even then, as illustrated by the actions of Farook specifically, we already have a problem on our hands. The writing has been on the wall for quite a while; all one had to do was look at what was happening in Europe to see what was in store for us.

But why import even more in a large group that’s virtually impossible to screen properly? Does that make any sense whatsoever? Because once we let them into our country, they, too, enjoy constitutional protections. Better to keep them out as a preventive measure.

In Conclusion

It’s clear to me that the safety and security of this country and its people are under a concerted two-pronged attack by Obama and the Dem/socialist establishment. Whether it’s intentional or the result of sheer, willful blindness to reality I’ll leave for others to determine.

But for this country to be importing tens of thousands of people, among whom, without doubt, there will be Islamic fanatics intent on doing harm to us and our country, while at the same time crippling our ability to adequately defend ourselves, is a national disgrace.

 

©Brian Baker 2015

 

The Witless, Gutless GOP

If you keep up with the political scene, you know that in the wake of the political massacre the Dem/socialists suffered in this year’s mid-term elections Obama has vowed to take unilateral action on Obama dictatorseveral issues, most notably illegal immigration, by granting illegal aliens de facto amnesty through Executive Order.

In spite of the fact that such an action is clearly illegal and exceeds a President’s constitutional authority – as noted by no less an authority than Professor Jonathan Turley, noted legal scholar and self-proclaimed “social liberal” (Newsmax article) – Obama seems determined to again ignore and bypass Congress on this (and several other) issues.

As I’ve discussed previously,  impeachment – though warranted – is impractical at this point. Obama’s in his last two years of office; it would be politically counter-productive in the extreme; and the net result, even if successful, would be at best a Pyrrhic victory, leaving Crazy Uncle Joe Biden in the Oval Office. It makes no sense to jump from the frying pan into the fire.

However, as a result of the mid-terms the GOP has taken control of the Senate, securing two of the three levers (House, Senate, President) of legislative control. Now that Harry Reid has been removed from the equation as the Despot Of The Senate, they can easily pass a budget that prevents Obama from spending any funds whatsoever to advance his unilateral actions. They completely control the power of the purse strings.

So, in light of this undeniable mandate given to them by the American people, what’s been their response, along with their bobble-head sycophants in the Establishment GOP?

scared childIt reminds me of a little kid scared of the Bogeyman and other monsters hiding under his bed.

Both Mitch McConnell, the new Senate Majority Leader, and John Boehner, the incumbent House Speaker, have already stated that they won’t allow a government shutdown in a budget war with Obama.

I hope that the next time I’m in the market for a new car my salesman has the negotiating skills of Boehner car dealershipand McConnell. I’ll end up owning the dealership.

They’re scared that any government “shutdown” will be blamed on them, and they’ll suffer politically in the next election. Well, first of all, we just HAD an election about Obama’s policies – as he himself stated – and it turned out GREAT for the GOP.

Secondly, who even worries about any such “shutdown”? Did anyone even notice the last time it happened? Thirdly, it takes two to tango, and any such impasse in negotiations is just as much – if not more so – Obama’s fault as it is the GOP’s… which after all, and again, controls two of the three levers of legislative power. Can’t the GOP find ANYONE who can clearly state that simple fact (other than me, and I’m not even a Republican)?

On top of everything else, we just had an election on these issues; it’s TWO YEARS until the next one; and no one’s even going to remember a “shutdown” that happens now when that time rolls around.

If these gutless GOPers aren’t going to stand up for what they were elected to do, what’s the point in even ever voting for them? How can they ever claim any justification for their very existence, if all they’re ever going to do is play patty-cake with Obama, and let him control the agenda and negotiations on his own terms?

After all, as Obama himself stated, “elections have consequences”.

Someone should alert the GOP to that, and send them a memo.

 

 

©Brian Baker 2014

Obama Caesar: The Runaway Presidency

ripcon 4

 

In my last essay I discussed the arrogance and lawlessness of the Obama administration and its bureaucrats, practiced on a scale unprecedented in American history. Now I’d like to address the ramifications, and what they might mean for the country.

Speaker of the House John Boehner is spearheading an effort by that chamber of Congress to sue Obama in federal court for exceeding his constitutional authority as President. Some – notably Sarah Palin – are calling for Obama’s impeachment. I think both approaches are doomed to failure at this point in time.

Both approaches require lengthy legal processes, and we’re less than four months away from the mid-term elections. As such, I believe they’re distractions that are red meat for parts of the “base”, but will prove ultimately futile, and may even be politically counterproductive in the GOP’s efforts to secure a majority in the Senate.

Any impeachment process that starts now would go nowhere, as when the current 113th Congress is replaced by the 114th in January, if Obama hasn’t already been convicted by the Senate – an impossibility as the Senate is currently controlled by loyal Democrats – the process wouldn’t carry over to the new Congress, and would have to start all over again.

A similar problem attaches to any lawsuit, in addition to which the courts are very leery of getting involved in matters of separation of powers jurisdictional issues. Further, the House may have a major problem establishing “standing”, or defining an actual tort damage, as they retain the power to address Obama’s excesses through their exclusive constitutional power of the governmental purse strings, whether or not they want to use it.

Let’s assume for this discussion that the GOP retains the House and takes control of the Senate. Then what?

At that point Obama would be the lamest of ducks, and there would be nothing at all to restrain him from indulging his imperial proclivities to their fullest extent; Obama Caesar.Obama Caesar If he’s ignored the Congress and the Constitution up to this point – and he has, blatantly – there would be no reason for him to hold back at all anymore.

Impeachment then does become a distinct possibility. But we should never forget about Obama’s anti-impeachment insurance policy: Joe Biden. Can you imagine HIM as President? Talk about hopping from the frying pan into the fire!

But there are also other avenues to explore. Attorney-General Holder is still under a contempt citation; he should be impeached. Lois Lerner of IRS scandal fame can and should be prosecuted. The Benghazi scandal should be aggressively pursued. Heads should roll over the scandalous and corrupt actions that have taken place within the Veterans Administration resulting in the deaths of vets. A GOP-controlled Congress can use the power of the purse strings to defund the EPA’s excesses (and they should).

Obama should be so mired in his scandals that his already dismal approval ratings plummet even further. Public opinion is the one sure way, at least at this point in history, to hobble a runaway presidency and will have the added benefit of tarring the Dem/socialist candidate hoping to succeed him in the 2016 presidential election.

A GOP-controlled Senate will also then have the power to prevent Obama from appointing activist leftist judges to the federal court system, maybe one of the most important reasons for the GOP to take the Senate in November.

What happens if the Dem/socialists retain a Senate majority, you ask?

Buckle up, because we’re looking at a potential catastrophe for the next two years as that lamest of ducks will have no restraints at all to keep him from indulging himself to the fullest extent, free from worrying about suffering any real repercussions at all, because his Dem/socialist abettors and enablers in the Senate will continue to insulate him from the consequences of his actions, just as they’ve already been doing for years.

I’m not overstating when I say that I’m not sure the country can survive that eventuality. I hope we don’t have to find out.

 

 

©Brian Baker 2014

 

(This column was also published in my local newspaper today. http://www.signalscv.com/section/33/article/124472/)

Arrogance, Personified

Take a look at this man’s face.

koskinen

Is this Monte Burns from “The Simpsons”?

 

This is John Koskinen, the Commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), arguably the most powerful and feared bureaucracy in the Federal Government.

Who does he remind you of? Doesn’t he bring to mind the character of Mr. Burns in the long-running TV series The Simpsons? Sure does to me. And like that character, he has the ability to destroy people’s lives through the wanton exercise of raw, sheer power, in his case via his agency’s ability to direct the force of government against individuals and organizations.

The only check against such naked power is the Congress.

We all know about the scandal surrounding the IRS’s illegal targeting of conservative organizations for harassment, and the efforts by the House of Representatives to get to the bottom of that mess. And those acts took place before Koskinen’s assumption of the reins of that agency.

But when he took over the agency six months ago he vowed to be proactive “in restoring public trust” to that institution (businessweek.com/news/2014-01-07).

So… how’s he doing?

I think the latest development sums it up pretty well. It seems the IRS has “lost” several years’ worth of emails that Lois Lerner – the miscreant at the center of this whole fiasco – sent out to her minions, emails that anyone with half a brain realizes could prove to be very incriminating, not only to her but to others farther up the political food chain. Quite possibly as high as the Oval Office itself.

Bear in mind, this is the exact same agency that won’t accept YOUR excuse that you lost your receipts for some tax deduction you claimed.

And how has Koskinen reacted when asked about these “lost” emails by Darryl Issa’s House committee members?

With absolutely smug sanctimony, contempt, arrogance, and a rigid refusal to even offer any kind of apology for the malfeasance of his agency. Way to go in “restoring public trust” in the IRS, John-Boy!

This, my friends, is what the face of arrogance looks like.

When Nixon was President the Watergate scandal took center stage. Members of the House from both parties set aside partisanship to ensure the rule of law prevailed. Nixon resigned, and several members of his staff – including Attorney-General John Mitchell – went to prison for acts that were utterly benign compared to the level of outright corruption we’re seeing from this administration.

The ongoing IRS mess; Operation Fast & Furious; the Benghazi affair; the NSA spying on civilians; the illegal “rewriting” of laws, such as all the Obamacare extensions and exceptions; the imperial imposition of “rules”, such as through the EPA, that far exceed presidential authority; the failure of the Justice Department and the FBI to pursue action based on political considerations; the outright refusal to enforce immigration law and border security; the Veterans’ Administration letting vets die on secret “waiting lists”; the list goes on and on and on. This President and his minions have absolutely no regard for the rule of law that I can see. The level of corruption in this administration is simply staggering and unprecedented.

Koskinen’s is only the latest face in a Rogue’s Gallery of arrogance, personified.

Further, this corruption of our system is being willfully abetted by the Democrat members of Congress who are facilitating the destruction by not only standing idle, but actively supporting the administration’s efforts. I’m talking about people like Harry Reid, Elijah Cummings, Nancy Pelosi, and far too many others to name.

Jonathan Turley is a well-known professor of law at George Washington University Law School with a self-described “socially liberal agenda”, often seen on various news shows as a commentator and expert analyst, and has had many of his works published. On his own blog he’s written a couple of essays that are well on point. In one, “How Nixon Won Watergate”, which was also published in USA Today (how-nixon-won-Watergate) he states, “…the painful fact is that Barack Obama is the president that Nixon always wanted to be”. He expands on that topic in his essay “A Question of Power: The Imperial Presidency”, which was also published last month in American Legion Magazine (the imperial presidency), in which he writes, “The shift of power to the presidency certainly did not start with President Barack Obama. To the contrary, this trend has been gaining ground for decades. But it has accelerated under Obama, who has succeeded to a degree that would have made Richard Nixon blush.”

If Nixon would be blushing, Obama and his acolytes have exceeded all bounds. The scandals pile up so fast you need wings to stay above them. It’s absolutely dizzying.

 

©Brian Baker 2014

 

(6/30/2014: My local newspaper published an edited version of this essay today:  http://www.signalscv.com/section/33/article/122832/)