Friday Potpourri

Today, I’d like to showcase some of the most ridiculous happenings lately, both inside government and out. How about starting with that highly effective federal agency known as the EPA? If you ever had any tendency to believe there are good reasons for every one of those environmental regulations thrust upon us, here’s a true story that might shake your confidence in the wisdom of the bureaucracy:

No, I didn’t make that up.

Then there’s the Obama administration’s ongoing war with Arizona. I think you would have to go back to the Civil War to find a time when the federal government perceived a state to be a threat to the union. The big difference, of course, is that there was a genuine threat back then. All Arizona has done is pass a law to enforce what is already supposed to be federal law with respect to illegal immigration. Today, the federal government has decided not to work with Arizona at all to stop the flow of illegals, thereby ignoring its constitutional obligations to carry out federal laws and protect states from invasions. If Obama has his way, this might be the result:

Meanwhile, on the education front, more dismal scores have been reported. Compared to other countries, we keep dropping in the rankings. But don’t let that upset you; we do lead in some areas:

At least we’ve made our choices for what is most important to us.

Then there’s always the wonderful [and I mean that in its most basic sense—that which fills with wonder] hypocrisy on display by those on the Left who are in a perpetual state of indignation over success. Sometimes, the hypocrisy is easily highlighted:

Something tells me he’s not going to be all that willing to “share.”

D-Day–The New Version

As I write this, we are less than three hours away from the Supreme Court decision on Obamacare. Most of you reading this will already know what was decided. I’ll examine what transpires today and offer some thoughts on it tomorrow. This is probably one of the most anticipated and historic Supreme Court decisions in my lifetime, aside from all the bad decisions on abortion. If Obamacare is allowed to stand, it will go down as the worst decision since Roe v. Wade. A decision to uphold this unconstitutional nightmare will follow in the infamous footsteps of the Dred Scott decision before the Civil War that declared no black person was a citizen and the Plessy v. Ferguson segregation ruling of 1896.

Well, that lets you know where I stand.

The other big event of the day will be the House vote on the contempt of Congress charges against Eric Holder. There’s not nearly the suspense for that one. Even some Democrats are going to vote for those charges, especially those who represent Republican-leaning districts in the upcoming election. So much is at stake in this as well: immigration policy, border security enforcement, states’ rights, possible misuse of executive privilege. If these charges pass, will the courts then do their job and force the attorney general to do his? I wish I had more confidence in the public’s grasp of the importance of the issues in this case. Well, at least some of the cartoonists have a good handle on it:

For me, seeing cartoons like this on a daily basis provides hope that rational thought and common sense may yet prevail. November will tell if my hope is illusory or if we still have a future as a nation.

Punishing Arizona

The media naturally focused on the Supreme Court’s decision on the Arizona illegal immigration law, but apparently it’s missing the other story: the abandonment of Arizona by the federal government. From what I’ve read, none of the network morning programs—not Today or Good Morning America, or whatever CBS has currently—even mentioned the astounding change announced by the Department of Homeland Security. I haven’t yet heard a report on how the evening news shows handled it, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they downplayed it as well. It’s what they do.

Consider: the federal government no longer will work with state and local law enforcement in Arizona on the illegal immigrant problem. If state or local law enforcement wants to check on the immigration status of someone being held for any other crime, the federal government will not respond to their request for information. As I said yesterday, it’s as if Arizona is the criminal in the eyes of the Obama administration. Of course, that should not startle anyone familiar with this administration’s approach to enforcing laws it doesn’t like:

It’s kind of like this:

They say immigration enforcement is a federal job, not that of the states, yet they don’t help the states being overwhelmed by a flood of illegal immigration. How can they have it both ways? Oh, that’s right, lawyers are in charge:

Given the attitude displayed by Obama’s DOJ and DHS, they might as well act as tour guides:

At least then they might be doing something useful.

The Court, Arizona, & the Constitution: The Obama Response

The Supreme Court yesterday, in a much-anticipated ruling, upheld the central feature of the Arizona illegal immigration law that has been the center of controversy for the last few years. Yes, the Court did strike down other features of the law, but they were minor in comparison to the provision that allows police to check the immigration status of citizens who happen to be stopped under suspicion of breaking a law. Although the Obama administration, spearheaded by Eric Holder of the Department of Justice [it still has the name, but not the substance of the name] has branded the law racist, the phoniness of that charge was laid bare in this decision. Why? The Court ruled unanimously in favor of that so-called controversial provision—both liberals and conservatives on the Court declared it valid, which, in a sane world, would put to rest the idea that racism was behind the law.

In my view, the entire law should have been upheld, and Justice Scalia wrote a stinging dissent making that very point. He stated that the law didn’t create anything new, but simply mirrored federal laws that were not being carried out by the federal government, thereby forcing the state of Arizona to try to make up the difference. States have a right to defend themselves. The three most conservative justices all agreed on this.

So what did the Obama administration do immediately upon hearing of the Court’s decision? The Department of Homeland Security [another agency that is quickly becoming an oxymoron] suspended its cooperative agreement with Arizona for border security. In effect, it has said the state is now on its own in protecting its borders and dealing with illegal immigration. Further, it has published a phone number for Arizona citizens to call to report on police attempting to do their duty. Obama and his people have decided that Arizona is the criminal and must be punished. The federal government will do even less of its job in the future. It will refuse to execute the law of the land.

This is almost breathtaking, if you really stop to consider what’s happening at the highest levels of our government. In a series of actions and/or inactions, the president has trampled the entire concept of separation of powers and has taken it upon himself to be the government, purposely ignoring the constitutional limitations of his office and relegating the legislative and judicial branches to irrelevance. Here are examples of what he has done lately:

  • He has adamantly refused to enforce the Defense of Marriage Act, duly passed by Congress, and has declared his approval of same-sex marriage.
  • He has unilaterally suspended the rules on how to handle illegal immigrants aged 16-30 and substituted his own agenda, again without any congressional act to authorize it.
  • He has misused the right of executive privilege to shield himself and his attorney general from potentially embarrassing information in documents needed by a congressional committee investigating Fast and Furious.
  • Fast and Furious itself was an out-of-control operation by the Justice Department that led to hundreds of deaths with guns deliberately passed to organized crime in Mexico.
  • Now, with the denial of help for Arizona in policing illegal immigration, the president once again has violated his own oath of office, which says that he pledges to uphold, protect, and defend the Constitution and the laws passed under its authority.

And it’s all politics. Hispanics, on the whole, seem to be in favor of his “new” rules for illegal immigrants, despite the damage this does to the rule of law. He has solidified their votes for November. His “evolving” view on same-sex marriage mollified a segment of society that has money to burn in the upcoming election. He now has greater access to those funds.

With this man, everything is political. But why should anyone be surprised? He was weaned on corrupt Chicago politics. He never was a genuine hope and change kind of guy; it was all political theater that worked amazingly well in the wake of a disillusioned electorate that, without thinking rationally, just wanted to take out its angst on Republicans. Few listened to the voices that were warning of the true nature of the candidate. I only hope eyes have now been opened and ears are more willing to hear.

America doesn’t crown monarchs, and when a president tries to act like one, the voters can let him know they won’t abide such arrogance. At least the voters who aren’t on the public dole won’t abide it. Are there still enough of those to make a difference?

The Rule of Law: The Beginning of the End?

Reaction to the president’s usurpation of the legislative power of Congress continues. I wrote about this on Monday: the unilateral decision to alter illegal immigration enforcement and the political reason for doing so. The cartoonists are beginning to weigh in on this now, and they’re doing a pretty good job of identifying the underlying philosophy and reasoning of the president. For instance:

There have been other, less publicized uses of executive orders to accomplish what Obama wants, but what we see with this latest one is how he would govern in a second term with a completely Republican Congress. He would simply ignore Congress and do whatever he wants. His rationale would be that it “needs” to be done, Congress is delinquent in doing its job, and therefore he is justified in acting alone. This is disturbing; that is not supposed to happen in a constitutional republic.

In his announcement Monday, he concentrated on that very special word that all progressives use: fairness. Next to racism, it probably has the best results for stirring emotions. But what does he really mean by it?

Above all, though, this was a calculated political strategy aimed at reversing his poor polling numbers. In that respect, he may be successful; he certainly will energize that part of his base that desires this policy. And of course he hopes to sabotage Romney in the process:

Commentators have also noted this preemptive strike curbed Marco Rubio’s proposed legislation to deal with the same issue. For Obama, it’s a two-fer: keep the Latino vote from switching to Romney and undercut a Republican Cuban-American rising star. For someone who operates as an ideological progressive with no concern for constitutional authority, this was a no-brainer. It had to be done—his philosophy of life and politics demanded it.

Meanwhile, the media, that celebrated watchdog of liberty, continues to act as an arm of the Obama reelection campaign:

Americans who still believe in constitutionalism and responsible liberty—not license to do whatever one wants—must stand up and be counted this time around. If not, we will witness the beginning of the end of the rule of law and genuine liberty.

The Real Problems with the Change in Immigration Policy

Forget for just a moment the substance of the new illegal immigration policy President Obama announced on Friday. I’m not going to deal with that today. Instead, let’s concentrate on the constitutional and political angles. Last September, speaking to a Latino audience that wanted to know why he hadn’t done anything on the illegal immigration issue, Obama accurately noted that as president, he didn’t have the authority to unilaterally change immigration policy. He correctly stated that any policy change had to come from Congress. This was a remarkable statement from a man who normally couldn’t care less about the limits imposed on his office by the Constitution. But in this case, he was right.

Speed ahead to June 2012 and we now have a different story. Without any legislation, without any constitutional authority at all, the president has signed an executive order to alter how illegal immigration is handled. This move was a one-man show. It manifested blatant disregard for any constitutional restraint. He bypassed Congress entirely and simply announced that the policy was going to be different.

Frankly, this is how tyrants operate, outside the rule of law.

Not that there’s anything new about this. Consider one of Obama’s heroes, FDR. In the midst of the Great Depression, Roosevelt decided that every person in the country had to turn in all gold and currency backed by gold to the government. Just like Obama’s pronouncement last week, FDR simply signed an executive order—actually, a number of them—infamously ignoring the role of Congress in legislating, and forced everyone to turn over their gold. It all became government property. In exchange, citizens got federal reserve notes. FDR didn’t have to worry about congressional reaction; he owned Congress at that point. He set himself up as a petty dictator.

What will the current Congress do about Obama’s power play? We’ll have to wait and see if backbone still exists.

Why did he choose to do this at this time? That’s the political angle. Seeing how he is dropping in the polls, he saw this move as a way to shore up his Hispanic vote. In other words, he chose to shred the Constitution for his own political gain. I predict this is only the beginning of his pandering. He will offer goodies to other segments of the population in the coming weeks in an attempt to regain their support.

The real tragedy of this episode is that most Americans won’t even think about the unconstitutional nature of his action, and those groups he seeks to reward will gladly take the bribes without any regard to the rule of law or moral propriety. They will want what they consider to be “theirs.” As this dependent mentality spreads, we become less and less a nation with a moral foundation.

Can this descent into self-centered moral turpitude be arrested? Only if those of us who believe in moral foundations take a stand and continue to speak out and work for a reversal of the spiritual decline that has fed this destructive fever. Now is the time to show we still have spines.

Obama, Illegal Immigration, & the Court

The Obama administration has had quite an innovative approach to the problem of illegal immigration. Whenever a state decides to enforce the federal laws that already exist, such as in Arizona where the law they passed was merely a reaffirmation of what the federal government should be doing, they get a rather strange reaction from Washington:

The Obama Justice Department is so outraged by states trying to help that it has taken this all the way to the Supreme Court. Arguments were held last week, and if you haven’t heard much about it, it might be because it didn’t go too well for the administration. The same lawyer who tried to defend Obamacare was back, once again attempting to defend the indefensible. His case was so weak, reports indicate even some of the liberal justices may have to jump the ideological ship on this one:

So now we have insight into the administration’s strategy—make sure the economy stays so bad that no one in their right minds would ever want to cross the border illegally:

The president himself is so perturbed with the Court that he’s been trying to pressure it to see things his way, but he’s meeting with some resistance:

Take a moment today and thank God for the checks and balances set up in the Constitution. Sometimes they actually can work.