Wednesday, 12 March 2014

White House Boasts of Obama Power Grabs as Congress Funds Them

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As Americans recoiled in horror while U.S. lawmakers sheepishly complained and supposedly worked to rein in the Obama administration’s increasingly outrageous usurpation of Congress’ constitutional legislative authority, the White House was releasing a video again boasting of the president’s ongoing unconstitutional plots to bypass the legislature and rule by decree. Even some of the staunchest Obama apparatchiks have expressed alarm over the growing lawlessness and the accelerating destruction of the separation of powers. Lawmakers, though, despite being openly mocked, are essentially doing nothing to stop it.

Under heavy pressure, members of Congress have responded to the lawless “executive action” abuses with harsh words and multiple bills — all of which will almost certainly be vetoed by Obama should they make it through the Democrat-controlled Senate. Despite the rhetoric and complaining, however, the GOP-controlled House of Representatives has refused to use the one constitutional and pragmatic tool at its disposal to stop the usurpation: Cutting off all funding for it. Instead, perhaps under the impression that voters do not know any better, Republicans continue to fund Obama’s anti-constitutional antics.

Faced with a Congress that will no longer fully cooperate with his radical agenda — at least not openly, where constituents might find out — Obama has increasingly turned to imposing his will on America by fiat and decree. Indeed, in recent years, the administration has bypassed Congress on everything from gun control, education, and war to “global warming” and immigration. Rather than proceed quietly, however, this year, Obama is brazenly trumpeting his plans to keep behaving more like a Third World dictator than a U.S. President sworn to uphold the Constitution and faithfully execute the laws.     

On January 14, for example, Obama announced that he was “not just going to be waiting for a legislation [sic]” to impose his unconstitutional agenda to “fundamentally transform” America. Instead, in remarks about making 2014 a “year of action,” Obama declared that his administration would expand its rule-by-decree machinations through the use of even more anti-constitutional “executive orders” and “executive actions.” “I’ve got a pen and I’ve got a phone — and I can use that pen to sign executive orders and take executive actions and administrative actions that move the ball forward,” he claimed.

The “pen and phone” remark prompted an immediate, nationwide outcry. Obama responded by doubling down, dispatching legions of aides, spokespersons, and minions to emphasize that the president was deadly serious about imposing his will on America without Congress. “If Congress doesn’t act, the president will,” White House senior advisor Dan Pfeiffer threatened in late January. White House spokesman Jay Carney made similar threats during a separate TV interview, saying Obama planned “to bypass Congress where necessary.”

Then, Obama stood before Congress and the American people during his State of the Union speech and once again threatened to trample the Constitution and ignore lawmakers — mocking them to their face. Outlining a vision for what essentially amounts to dictatorial fascism, properly defined, Obama boldly told Congress that he would use “executive actions” to impose his will regardless of what they thought. In a bizarre twist, lawmakers — presumably mostly Democrats — stood up and clapped after the president threatened to make them virtually irrelevant if they did not promptly submit to his extreme and unconstitutional demands.  

At least among non-establishment Republicans in Congress, the outrage came fast and furious. Multiple GOP congressmen and senators said the “lawless” and “imperial presidency” of Obama must be restrained. Other legislators said the president was behaving like a “king” or even a “socialistic dictator” — and that the pledge to violate his oath of office and rule by decree needed to be urgently addressed. Talk of impeachment and other extraordinary measures to stop the lawlessness grew louder than ever. Several pieces of legislation were introduced, too.

So, to cap it all off and rub it in, the White House responded by releasing a video last month that almost seemed more like the work of a constitutionalist organization seeking to expose Obama’s unprecedented arrogance and erratic, anti-constitutional behavior. “America does not stand still; and neither will I,” Obama boasted in his State of the Union speech, which was also featured as the opening segment of the bizarre pro-tyranny video. “So wherever and whenever I can take steps without legislation to expand opportunity for more American families, that’s what I’m gonna do.”

The video theme — apparently set to serve as the theme for the rest of Obama’s presidency, or at least for 2014 — is: “A Year of Action: Pursuing Opportunity for All.” The production touts, among other “executive actions,” Obama’s January 29 “Executive Action on Retirement Savings,” the January 30 “Executive Action Improving Federal Job Training,” and the “Executive Action Helping The Long-Term Unemployed” from January 31. The video also includes a reference to “what’s next” on February 12, when Obama signed an executive order mandating a $10.10 minimum wage for employees of federal contractors.   

“Let’s make this a year of action,” Obama continues in the brief White House video as cheery music plays in the background amid smiling faces. “I’m going to sign a presidential memorandum to create a new way for working Americans to start their own retirement savings. And we’re calling it MyRA. Signed!” The “MyRA” scheme, also unveiled during the State of the Union address, sounded to analysts suspiciously like another massive Ponzi scam to rip off Americans and prop up Big Government with their retirement savings.

The White House video focused heavily on the “jobs” motif, too. “There are a lot of folks who do not have time to wait for Congress,” Obama says in one of the boldest statements of criminal intent to ever emanate from a presidential administration. “They need to learn new skills right now to get a new job right now. So, I’m making it official. Vice President Biden is gonna lead an across-the-board review of America’s training programs. Let’s find what programs are working best, and let’s duplicate ‘em, and expand ‘em.”

“Folks who have been unemployed the longest often the toughest time getting back to work, it’s a cruel Catch 22 — the longer you’re unemployed, the more unemployable you may seem,” Obama continues as multiple speeches are spliced and put together in the video, which must have cost taxpayers a small fortune. “So today I am directing every federal agency to make sure we are evaluating candidates on the level, without regard to their employment history, because every job applicant deserves a fair shot.”

On education, where the administration’s radical Common Core nationalization of K-12 school standards is facing surging levels of resistance, Obama also boasted of his decrees. “Last year I launched something I called ConnectEd, a new initiative to close the technology gap in our schools and connect 99 percent of America’s students to high-speed broadband internet within five years,” he said. “So the FCC is announcing a down-payment of $2 billion to connect more than 15,000 schools and 20 million students to high-speech broadband over the next two years.”

Critics of the video and the power grabs, however, were not amused with the boasting. “If we strip away the fluffy, feel-good rhetoric, we are left with a blatant, public endorsement of a dictatorship,” observed the liberty-minded Capitalism Institute in response to the president “bragging” about his abuse of executive power, even as the public and lawmakers were expressing shock and horror over the lawlessness. “Obama believes that rampant executive action is ‘what most Americans want.’ Unfortunately for the president, reality doesn’t agree with him. Americans don’t want a king.”

Indeed, aside from being wildly and obviously unconstitutional, polls released shortly after Obama’s State of the Union speech revealed that the overwhelming majority of Americans do not want the president to bypass Congress. With lawmakers feeling the heat, several bills currently in Congress would seek to restrain the executive branch. The Faithful Execution of the Law Act, for example, would force the attorney general to inform Congress when federal officials refuse to follow laws or court rulings. Another bill, the ENFORCE the Law Act, would create a process for legal action against the executive branch when it refuses to faithfully execute the laws. 

“Unfortunately for the nation, Obama on several occasions intentionally or unintentionally neglected his sworn duty to enforce laws passed by majorities in the House and Senate,” read a joint statement by a coalition of Republican lawmakers behind some of the anti-overreach bills. “These are laws with which he disagrees or opposes and at the same time he has expanded his authority to put in place policies Congress has refused to enact. While President Obama is not the first to stretch presidential powers beyond their constitutional limits, executive overreach has accelerated at an alarming rate under his Administration.”

Three of the bills have already made it through the House Judiciary Committee, where Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) has also offered harsh words. “Our Constitution is clear: Congress writes our laws and the President enforces them,” he correctly observed. “But for the past five years, President Obama repeatedly has waived, amended, or ignored our laws by issuing executive decrees from the Oval Office rather than working with Americans’ representatives in Congress... This pattern of executive overreach undermines the rule of law and threatens the individual liberty that our system of separated powers is designed to protect.”

While the GOP lawmakers may be well intentioned, Obama has already made it abundantly clear that he has no intention of obeying the law or the Constitution — much less signing legislation to limit the imagined powers of his own office that are already limited by the Supreme Law of the Land. After all, he has not even complied with ObamaCare, his signature achievement demanded from Congress; lawlessly re-writing, delaying, and scrapping over a dozen major provisions without any lawful or constitutional authority to do so. Debating bills that have no chance of being signed or obeyed, then, would seem to be an exercise in futility — or deception. 

That leaves members of Congress with two real choices if they hope to stop the abuse, fulfill their constitutional obligations, maintain the separation of powers, protect the American people, and uphold their oath of office. Option one would be to simply impeach the president. However, despite public support and a strong case having been outlined and delivered to every lawmaker, that appears to be off the table for now, especially with Democrats in control of the Senate until at least next year. The other solution — at this point, probably the best and the only one — is for the House to cut off all funding for executive abuses in the upcoming budget. Lawmakers have the power to end the abuse. Whether they have the courage remains to be seen.

 

Alex Newman is a correspondent for The New American, covering economics, politics, and more. He can be reached at

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Follow him on Twitter @ALEXNEWMAN_JOU.

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