Obama administration

Today in Liberty: Get ready for a post-election regulatory onslaught, Audit the Fed may be moving closer to a vote in the House

“America started with a concept of limited government, designed to protect and improve the life, liberty and property of citizens, and has ended with a concept of unlimited government, capable of restricting our life, liberty and property in the name of protecting us from ourselves. America started with a concept of residual individual sovereignty, designed to respect the autonomy and equality of citizens, and has ended with a concept of limited liberty, presumptively unavailable and parsed out reluctantly by an all-powerful sovereign. America started with a concept of federalism, designed to better protect individual liberty, and has ended with a concept of nationalism, exercised vigorously to stifle controversial liberties recognized by the state. We have done all of this, experienced these foundational changes, without the benefit of a constitutional amendment. We have allowed mere legislative majorities, often motivated by morality, passion, and prejudice, to take away our most precious liberties. We should be ashamed.” Elizabeth Price Foley

The Obama White House’s whining doesn’t change the fact that the IRS illegally tried to rewrite Obamacare

The White House may not like the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals’ panel decision in Halbig v. Burwell, but President Barack Obama need only look to his own administration for what is yet another smackdown by the judicial branch.

Judge Thomas B. Griffith realized the impact the decision could have on the availability of Obamacare subsidies for consumers who purchased plans on the federal Exchange. He was mindful, however, of the role the judicial branch plays in interpreting statues. And, in this instance, the Internal Revenue Service acted without authority by authorizing subsidies to consumers in states that refused to participate in Obamacare.

The Affordable Care Act, in §1311, makes it very clear that subsidies were limited to states with established Exchanges. Claims that Congress intended to apply the subsidies broadly, including to the federal Exchange, rang hollow. “The fact is that the legislative record provides little indication one way or the other of congressional intent,” Griffith wrote, “but the statutory text does.”

Rather than illegally promulgating guidance to dole out subsidies, the Obama administration should have gone to Congress to seek a legislative remedy to fix the problem. That’s something President Obama just wasn’t willing to do, whether it was pride holding him back or the prospect of having to try to forge a compromise with House Republicans on the law.

Ex-NY Times editor: Yeah, the Obama administration is pretty much the worst when it comes to transparency

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest probably isn’t having a great day. Over the weekend, the newly installed chief spokesman for the administration told ABC News’ This Week that President Barack Obama is “absolutely” the most transparent president in history.

Former New York Times editor Jill Abramson, however, disagrees. She appeared on Fox News with Greta Van Susteren and gave a scathing critique of the Obama administration’s record on transparency.

“I have never dealt with an administration where more officials — some of whom are actually paid to be the spokesmen for various federal agencies — demand that everything be off the record,” said Abramson. “So that’s secretive and not transparent.”

“But the most serious thing is the Obama administration has launched eight criminal leak investigations against sources and whistleblowers. And they have tried to sweep in journalists, including — it’s almost the one-year anniversary exactly that your colleague, James Rosen, had his record secretly looked at by the government in a leak investigation,” she added.

This isn’t the first time Abramson has criticized the administration on transparency. In January, she said that the Obama White House is “the most secretive” that she’s ever covered in her 22-year career, which dates back to President Ronald Reagan.

Barack Obama is a terrible president who pushes bad policies, and the First Amendment protects your right to express that

Obama float

You may have heard that the Justice Department has gotten involved in the kerfluffle over an anti-Obama float that was included in a Nebraska town’s Independence Day parade because its of allegedly racial overtones. Yes, seriously, because the Justice Department doesn’t have anything better to do.

The float featured a zombie and an outhouse labeled “Obama Presidential Library.” The guy who sponsored the tasteless float denies that he was trying to send a racial message, though he has acknowledged that he isn’t a fan of President Obama.

To put it bluntly, this is the dumbest of mind-numbingly dumb controversies. But it has sparked some discussion about the apparent sensitivities of the Obama administration and its response to criticism. And as Charles C. W. Cooke explains, mocking our elected officials — including presidents — is sort of in our blood:

Arrogant Obama White House refuses committee subpoena seeking testimony from official over violations of federal law

The Hatch Act explicitly states that federal officials cannot use government (i.e. taxpayer-funded) offices to engage in partisan political activity. But the White House may have violated this federal law earlier this year when it reopened the Office of Political Affairs under the name “White House Office of Political Strategy and Outreach.”

The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee has pointed to a January 2014 New York Times article which made note of the motives for reviving the Office of Political Affairs, which had been dormant for three years, quoting White House officials on background (emphasis added):

[W]ith Mr. Obama in his second term and crucial midterm elections ahead, the White House seems eager to send a new message: that it is serious about defending Democratic control of the Senate and taking back the House from Republicans. White House officials said it makes more sense to have a political office during a congressional election year to focus attention on candidate needs, including fund-raising.

Democrats on Capitol Hill have criticized Mr. Obama’s White House for not being attuned to their political concerns. The problem-plagued rollout of the HealthCare.gov website last year was the latest example of the lawmakers’ frustration over the impact of White House actions on their election-year prospects.

False: White House press secretary says Obama is the most transparent president ever

The White House isn’t just downplaying the letter from a group of journalists blasted the Obama administration’s “politically-drive suppression of the news.” White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest, in an interview on CNN, claimed that Barack Obama is the Most Transparent President™ ever:

President Obama is “absolutely” the most transparent president in history, White House press secretary Josh Earnest said Sunday after the White House received a letter from signed by a dozen top journalists’ groups complaining about the administration’s policies toward the media.

“There are a number of steps that we’ve taken to give people greater insight into what’s happening at the White House,” Earnest said in an interview with CNN’s “Reliable Sources.”
[…]
Earnest noted that previous administrations had “gone to the Supreme Court” to prevent the release of White House visitor information, but that the Obama administration “releases it voluntarily on the Internet on a quarterly basis.”

“Reporters for years clamored to get access to fundraisers the president hosted or attended that were hosted in private homes,” Earnest continued. “Reporters now have access to those when this president goes to a private home.”

Arrogant Obama asks cabinet members to come up with even more “creative” ways to get around the Constitution

President Barack Obama is doubling down on his use of executive power. He met with his cabinet yesterday and asked them to come up with “creative” ways to get around Congress to enact the administration’s agenda:

“You’ve already seen the power of some of our executive actions making a real difference for ordinary families,” Obama said at a White House meting. “We’re going to have to be creative about how we can make real progress.”

The president is increasingly relying on executive orders and regulatory moves to move his agenda, despite opposition from House Republicans, who have threatened to sue him over his executive actions, and the Supreme Court, which ruled last week that Obama’s recess appointments were unconstitutional.
[…]
He cast his actions as a response to voters who elected him in 2012.

“The people who sent us here, they just don’t feel as if anybody is fighting for them or working them,” he said. “We’re not always going to be able to get things through Congress … but we sure as heck can make sure that the folks back home know that we are pushing their agenda and that we’re working hard on their behalf.”

And there it is. That last point. President Obama seems to believe that he was the only person on the ballot in 2012 and, because he beat Mitt Romney, deserves anything and everything he wants. Nevermind that voters also elected a Republican majority in the House of Representatives, thereby endorsing a divided government.

Barack Obama is throwing a temper tantrum with serious constitutional implications

Barack Obama

Organizing for Action, the grassroots group formed out of President Barack Obama’s presidential campaign, is flaunting the complete disregard the White House and administration have for the Constitution.

The organization, which was caught selling access to administration officials in exchange for donations, tweeted this out yesterday from @BarackObama, President Obama’s official Twitter account:

Talk about an Orwellian message.

The link in the tweet sends you to a page that mentions the lawsuit Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) plans to file against the White House and features video of President Obama telling ABC News that he’s “not going to apologize for trying to do something while they’re doing nothing.” OFA calls it a “mic drop” and asks visitors to the page to “make a donation of $5 or more.”

Ground the drones: Obama’s secret strikes could put the United States on a path to perpetual war

The scriptural adage that there is nothing new under the sun may not actually apply to war, particularly in an age dominated by rapid-fire advancements in technology that make the remote killing of enemies no more morally problematic than pushing a button.

The New York Times offered an analysis on a report released Thursday that clarifies some of the misconceptions about drone use in war — that many are unmanned for example, and are used primarily for surveillance — but also warns of the implications of remote killing:

The Obama administration’s embrace of targeted killings using armed drones risks putting the United States on a “slippery slope” into perpetual war and sets a dangerous precedent for lethal operations that other countries might adopt in the future, according to a report by a bipartisan panel that includes several former senior intelligence and military officials.

The group found that more than a decade into the era of armed drones, the American government has yet to carry out a thorough analysis of whether the costs of routine secret killing operations outweigh the benefits. The report urges the administration to conduct such an analysis and to give a public accounting of both militants and civilians killed in drone strikes.

Hey, neocons, Dick Cheney is irrelevant — maybe it’s time to find someone new

It has been entertaining to watch former Vice President Dick Cheney. He’s become a “thing” again as neoconservatives raise hell about the resurgence of the Islamic militants in Iraq as the latest failure of President Barack Obama’s foreign policy.

Cheney appeared on Fox News last week and was grilled by host Megyn Kelly over an op-ed he and his daughter, Liz, had written in the Wall Street Journal.

“[T]ime and time again, history has proven that you got it wrong as well in Iraq, sir,” Kelly told Cheney. “You said there were no doubts Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. You said we would be greeted as liberators. You said the Iraq insurgency was in the last throes back in 2005. And you said that after our intervention, extremists would have to, quote, ‘rethink their strategy of Jihad.’”

“Now with almost a trillion dollars spent there with 4,500 American lives lost there,” she continued, “what do you say to those who say, you were so wrong about so much at the expense of so many?”

Cheney, of course, didn’t back down. He defended the now-debunked intelligence showing that that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction and claimed that “[i]t would have been irresponsible for us not to act” and that the Bush administration “did do the right thing” by toppling Saddam Hussein’s regime.


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