Patterico's Pontifications

6/30/2014

Three Cheers for Obama’s “Unilateral” Action on Immigration

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 6:35 pm

Obama’s taking unilateral action to address the problem of illegal immigration. Good for him. The only question is: what took him so long?

Mr. Obama intends to direct Secretary of Homeland Security (DHS) Jeh Johnson and Attorney General Eric Holder to move “available and appropriate enforcement resources” from the interior of the country down to the southern border.

“Protecting public safety is and will remain a top priority, and we will continue to focus on removing those who have committed serious crimes from our interior, but we will redirect other resources to make sure we keep doing what it takes to keep our border secure,” the official said.

OK. Nobody is going to argue with beefing up border security. But, Obama, why did you wait to do this? You know you don’t need Congress to tell you to do something obvious like protect the border.

This is a desperate move, prompted by the flood of illegal children at the border — and Obama is trying to pretend like it has something to do with Republicans not giving illegals amnesty, or something. But in reality, he has no excuse for not having diverted resources to the border long ago.

This is “unilateral” action in the same sense that my deciding to scratch my nose when it itches is a “unilateral” action. There is no need to take a vote on it. It needs to be done, and only I can do it. Unilateral, unischmateral.

P.S. We know what this is actually all about, Obama: setting a precedent for “unilateral” action that is not within your constitutional authority — unlike redeploying enforcement resources, which clearly is. But while I applaud your finally doing something that you are authorized to do, I will advocate any lawful sanction available, up to and including impeachment, when you inevitably try to do something you have no authority to do.

This is not fantasy or conjecture, by the way. I have in mind this:

“I don’t know how much more time he thinks he needs, but I hope that Speaker Boehner will speak up today,” Durbin said. “And if he does not, the president will borrow the power that is needed to solve the problems of immigration.”

I know exactly what the word “borrow” means in this context. It means “steal.” Obama “borrowing” power is rather like his spendthrift federal government “borrowing” money by the trillions: it’s not a true debt, because it will never be repaid.

So let’s just do what it takes to prevent the theft to begin with, and damn the consequences.

But, you know, yay border security.

When You Have Run Out of Winning Arguments [Updated]

Filed under: Fiskings,General — JVW @ 6:10 pm

[guest post by JVW]

So if you are on Facebook and have liberal friends, you no doubt have seen the multitude of posts that would have us believe that the Supreme Court’s decision today in the Hobby Lobby case means an end to birth control usage throughout America. Perhaps you have seen a repost from Mother Jones’s blog purporting to be the eight best lines from the dissent written by the always laughably clueless Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. These assertions are so completely risible, so utterly insipid, that one cannot help but Fisk them. For your consideration, then, here are her eight tidbits, followed by my responses:

1. “[The court majority] in a decision of startling breadth, [would allow corporations to opt out of almost any law that they find] incompatible with their sincerely held religious beliefs.”

This is of course the standard left-wing narrative regarding this decision, yet commentators on the right seem to believe that Alito’s ruling was purposely drawn very narrowly. Ann Althouse, who I think could be generally categorized as a centrist, highlighted this passage in Justice Alito’s majority decision which seems designed to counter Justice Ginsburg’s claim:

We do not hold, as the principal dissent alleges, that for-profit corporations and other commercial enterprises can “opt out of any law (saving only tax laws) they judge incompatible with their sincerely held religious beliefs.” Post, at 1 (opinion of GINSBURG, J.). Nor do we hold, as the dissent implies, that such corporations have free rein to take steps that impose “disadvantages . . . on others” or that require “the general public [to] pick up the tab.” Post, at 1–2. And we certainly do not hold or suggest that “RFRA demands accommodation of a for-profit corporation’s religious beliefs no matter the impact that accommodation may have on . . . thousands of women employed by Hobby Lobby.” Post, at 2.1

2. “The exemption sought by Hobby Lobby and Conestoga would…deny legions of women who do not hold their employers’ beliefs access to contraceptive coverage.”

This is such blatant balderdash that it can be dispensed with rather quickly. Neither the ruling nor Hobby Lobby’s policy prevents women from obtaining contraception or abortifacients (indeed, Hobby Lobby’s health plan apparently covers standard birth control pills, just not Plan B and other methods that prevent fertilized eggs from being implanted in the uterus), it just means that Hobby Lobby is no longer forced by law to pay for them. Any Hobby Lobby employee can walk into Planned Parenthood and obtain these anti-implantation methods without Hobby Lobby having any say in the matter. Justice Ginsburg is thoughtlessly repeating left-wing feminist talking points here.

3. “Religious organizations exist to foster the interests of persons subscribing to the same religious faith. Not so of for-profit corporations. Workers who sustain the operations of those corporations commonly are not drawn from one religious community.”

But of course, Hobby Lobby is a closely-held company run by a family of committed Christians, not some huge corporation with two dozen board members and a majority of stock held outside the family. Justice Ginsburg is aware of this, but nevertheless seems happy to use the force of government to compel them to behave in a manner consistent with how her side believes health care should be organized.

4. “Any decision to use contraceptives made by a woman covered under Hobby Lobby’s or Conestoga’s plan will not be propelled by the Government, it will be the woman’s autonomous choice, informed by the physician she consults.”

Great. But why in the world does that mean that Hobby Lobby should be forced to pick up the tab?

5. “It bears note in this regard that the cost of an IUD is nearly equivalent to a month’s full-time pay for workers earning the minimum wage.”

According to the abortion cheerleaders at Planned Parenthood, an IUD and its implementation costs between $500 and $1000, but then the device lasts up to 12 years. So even if we amortize over 10 years, we’re looking at $50-100 per year, or $4-$9 per month. Why doesn’t Planned Parenthood use all the money it raises to set up a lease program for IUDs, where users can pay them back over the duration of the device’s implementation?

6. “Would the exemption…extend to employers with religiously grounded objections to blood transfusions (Jehovah’s Witnesses); antidepressants (Scientologists); medications derived from pigs, including anesthesia, intravenous fluids, and pills coated with gelatin (certain Muslims, Jews, and Hindus); and vaccinations[?]…Not much help there for the lower courts bound by today’s decision.”

And these are the people who derided Justice Anton Scalia when he asked if the principles behind ObamaCare could compel government to mandate broccoli consumption?

7. “Approving some religious claims while deeming others unworthy of accommodation could be ‘perceived as favoring one religion over another,’ the very ‘risk the [Constitution's] Establishment Clause was designed to preclude.”

I wonder what Justice Ginsburg thinks about the Obama Administration’s well-known policy for exempting some favored groups from the law’s provisions. Isn’t the whole point of Big Government – which Justice Ginsburg seems to personally favor – that some groups get designated winners and others are designated losers?

8. “The court, I fear, has ventured into a minefield.”

Gosh, this has never happened before in our Constitutional history, has it? Either Justice Ginsburg is truly ignorant of Supreme Court history, or this was just filler in her opinion in order to reach some arbitrary word count that her law professors used to enforce.

Jonathan Keim at NRO’s Bench Memos has more on the vacuity of Ginsburg’s dissent. Feel free to read it and add your favorite Ginsburgisms below.

- JVW

Update: In a comment below, JD links to Hillary Rodham Clinton’s reaction, delivered from the rarified air of Aspen:

So to introduce this element into our society — look, we’re always going to argue about abortion. It’s a hard choice and it’s controversial and that’s why I’m pro-choice because I want people to make their own choices. And it is very troubling that a salesclerk at Hobby Lobby, who needs contraception, which is pretty expensive, is not going to get that service through her employer’s health care plan because her employer doesn’t think she should be using contraception.

She probably knows that Hobby Lobby provides 16 of the 20 different forms of contraception mandated by the ACA, but she is going to propagate the lie that Hobby Lobby is forcing the young cashier to have unprotected sex and get knocked up because some mean Christians won’t let her have The Pill. Hillary Rodham Clinton is a vile and contemptible woman.

- JVW

200 More

Filed under: General — Dana @ 5:38 pm

[guest post by Dana]

President Obama told Congress today that he is sending 200 more troops to Iraq:

“This force is deploying for the purpose of protecting U.S. citizens and property, if necessary, and is equipped for combat,” the president said in a letter to congressional leaders. “This force will remain in Iraq until the security situation becomes such that it is no longer needed.”

Mr. Obama added that his action is “consistent with my responsibility to protect U.S. citizens both at home and abroad.”

The White House maintains that U.S. forces will not re-enter combat in Iraq, even as the jihadist group the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant continues to wreak havoc across the country.

Pentagon spokesman Rear Adm. John Kirby said Monday that the new troops were being dispatched along with a detachment of helicopters and drones.

This announcement now brings the total of U.S. forces in Iraq to nearly 800. According to the administration, U.S. forces are in Iraq to train local forces, secure the embassy and protect American interests.

–Dana

UPDATE: It should be noted that this deployment is a bit different from the previous ones in that these troops are “equipped for combat.”

He Has No Choice, People!

Filed under: General — Dana @ 12:51 pm

[guest post by Dana]

Today, as anticipated, the president addressed immigration and executive action. Due to a standstill in Congress (i.e. obstructionist Republicans), the president, seeing himself with no other choice, plans to take executive action to address immigration issues. But he wishes he didn’t have to.

“I don’t prefer taking administrative action,” he said in the Rose Garden on Monday. “I would greatly prefer Congress actually do something.”

“I take executive action only when we have a serious problem, a serious issue, and Congress chooses to do nothing,” the president continued. He chastised House Republicans for failing to “pass a darn bill.”

His staff, per his request, will provide a list of executive actions he can take regarding immigration before the end of this summer.

Those darn Republicans.

–Dana

UPDATE: I’m going to throw this update in with this post. Tomorrow, the first 140 detainees from Texas are expected to arrive at the U.S.Border Patrol Station in Murrieta, CA.

Groups of families with children are scheduled to arrive in Murrieta every 72 hours from south Texas, where a massive influx of Central Americans crossing the border has created what President Barack Obama has described as a “humanitarian crisis.” Many of the migrants are unaccompanied children.

The groups will arrive on commercial flights in San Diego, then be taken by bus to Murrieta, according to police and Border Patrol union officials.

The flights have already been postponed twice, but apparently, this time they are a-go. Not everyone is happy about this, of course, but to further illustrate the mess it is, some will be dropped off at a bus station. According to Murrita Police Chief Sean Hadden:

Border Patrol officials notified him that the detainees would be flown to San Diego then bussed to the Murrieta Border Patrol Station. After processing, they will be dropped off in smaller groups at bus stations in Perris, Riverside and San Bernardino. He was told the groups would continue to arrive every 72 hours.

Notice of this has generated 200+ comments in the local regional newspaper of note – and upon a quick perusal, none very few appear to be in favor of this move.

The White House Responds

Filed under: General — Dana @ 10:39 am

[guest post by Dana]

Not surprisingly, in response to the Supreme Court decision which Patterico posted about this morning, the White House is planning to push for congressional action to provide contraception coverage:

“We will work with Congress to make sure any women affect by this decision are not denied access to contraceptive services,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest said.

“There is a problem being exposed that a group of women of an indeterminate size no longer have access to free contraception because of religious views, not their own religious views, but their bosses religious views,” Earnest said. “We disagree and the constitutional lawyer in the oval office disagrees.”

Earnest emphasized that the president supports religious liberty and provided exemptions for churches and religious nonprofits.

Of course the ruling is driving feminists a bit nuts:

You can also check out #NotMyBossBusiness

–Dana

Hobby Lobby Wins

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:27 am

The other day, I predicted the Hobby Lobby case would be a 5-4 win on narrow grounds for religious freedom, with Chief Justice Roberts writing the opinion.

I was wrong. Justice Alito wrote the opinion. Per SCOTUSBlog’s live blog, the holding is: “Closely held corporations cannot be required to provide contraception coverage.”

I had Alito pegged for the decision on public unions. I guess that will be Roberts, then.

UPDATE: Nope, Alito wrote both. In the union case, the Court recognizes a limited category of “partial public employees” who do not have to contribute to unions. This will require further study.

Yes, There Were Flyers and Robocalls That Accused the Tea Party of Racism

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 12:00 am

John Fund asked if this was the flyer that got Thad Cochran elected:

Screen Shot 2014-06-29 at 11.48.43 AM

That flyer is just some of the evidence of disgusting tactics revealed by Charles C. Johnson on his Twitter account in recent days. [Charles C. Johnson is the good guy, not the Little Green Footballs nutcase.] In addition to the racial appeals in this flyer, Charles has also published YouTubes of robocalls appealing to racism, evidence of school districts sending out pro-Cochran emails to teachers, and a host of other evidence of distasteful tactics by pro-Cochran forces.

But it turns out that there are some folks on Twitter who are demonstrating skepticism, not just about where these race-based appeals came from, but about whether the race-based appeals even happened. For example:

The purpose of this post is to provide corroboration that the race-based smears actually happened.

Let’s start with the flyer. Contrary to popular belief, the image reproduced by John Fund wasn’t published first by Charles C. Johnson. It was published on the Facebook page of a Mississippi voter named Pam Pittman Davis:

Screen Shot 2014-06-29 at 11.59.22 AM

[UPDATE 6-20-14 6:38 am: Upon further review, it looks like Charles got the image on Twitter before Ms. Davis put it on her Facebook. But Ms. Davis is the one who originally took the photo.]

I spoke to Ms. Davis this weekend. She told me that she was in the parking lot outside her workplace, which is located in a small shopping center, and she saw a young black girl putting the flyers on car windshields. The woman distributing them said: “Don’t forget to vote!” Ms. Davis looked at the flyer and crumpled it up and threw it on the ground in disgust. Then she decided to retrieve the flyer, and took another uncrumpled flyer from the windshield of her friend’s car. (Ms. Davis told me she had voted for Cochran in the past as the lesser of two evils, but is a McDaniel supporter because she believes he would actually stand up for the principles the Republican party claims to support.) She took a picture of the uncrumpled flyer and posted it on Facebook. She took pictures of both sides of the flyer and gave the original to a friend of hers, who gave that to yet another friend, who sent it to Charles. But the image has been on Ms. Davis’s Facebook page since June 25, the day after the runoff election.

I asked Ms. Davis to send me the image of the other side of the flyer. It contains a newspaper article included to show the Tea Party’s attempt to influence the election, as claimed on the reverse side of the flyer:

Screen Shot 2014-06-29 at 1.54.02 PM

If you look closely, you can see the ghost of the reverse of the original image.

Another person who saw the flyer was Adrienne Hamby. She has a hard copy, but the newspaper article on the reverse side was missing. She got it from her husband David. I spoke to David and he said that he had received it second-hand and could not remember who he got it from.

ROBOCALL: The following robocall was sent to Charles by a woman who refused to be identified because “they’ll come get my husband’s business.” However, Ms. Hamby told me that she had heard this robocall:

Hello, neighbors. The time has come to make a stand and say “no” to the Tea Party. “No” to their obstruction. “No” to their disrespectful treatment of the first African American president. Next Tuesday, June 24, Tea Party candidate Chris McDaniel is in a runoff against Senator Thad Cochran. If we do nothing, Tea Party candidate Chris McDaniel wins, and causes even more problems for President Obama, and pushes the damaging cuts in funding to our public education system. With your help, we can stop this. Please commit to voting against Tea Party candidate Chris McDaniel next Tuesday. Say “no” to the Tea Party.

Ms. Hamby could not specifically remember where she first heard the call. She did say that she and her husband had received a number of similar robocalls, but had deleted them.

I spoke with another lady who wishes to remain anonymous, but who gave me her name. This lady lives in Hinds County and heard several robocalls that warned voters that if McDaniel were elected, they would lose food stamps and the like. She could not confirm that she had heard this particular robocall, but the content of it is very similar to other calls she had heard. Like most of the people I talked to, she was a McDaniel supporter. She said that she had never been very involved with politics before this race. But she met McDaniel, and liked him. She saw him as an “honest Christian” who believed in “common sense, Jesus, and the Constitution.” This lady is the one who sent the image of the flyer to Charles C. Johnson. She had received it from a friend.

Look: I’m a hobbyist who has a ton of day-job work to do this weekend, and who is located thousands of miles away from these people. But a truly interested reporter who is on the scene could clearly find a lot more. I don’t think it’s possible to credibly doubt that this stuff occurred.

Moreover, I think the question has been rendered moot by the work done at the Daily Mail — which leads us to the important question:

WHO DID IT? My independent research goes merely to the question of whether these robocalls really happened, and whether the flyer was actually distributed. Now that we have shown that all this really did happen, the natural question is: who is behind these flyers and robocalls? According to the Daily Mail, the answer is: Democrat operatives tied to the Haley Barbour super-PAC.

THE ROBOCALL: Let’s start with the robocall we just saw. The Daily Mail says:

MailOnline has learned that ‘Citizens for Progress’ is tied to a longtime Democratic political operative who was paid $44,000 to run racially explosive ‘robocalls’ in the same race.

A political action committee founded by former Republican National Committee chair and former Republican Gov. Haley Barbour made those payments.

. . . .

The political ‘super PAC’ that paid her to run the robocalls is called Mississippi Conservatives, according to National Review.

Haley Barbour, the former governor, founded the PAC, which is now run by Henry Barbour, his nephew.

. . . .

Barbour denied any knowledge of the three radio ads, but acknowledged to MailOnline that his organization had paid Bickers for the phone call campaign.

‘We hired Mitzi Bickers to do paid phones,’ he said Friday via email. ‘If she had something to do with radio ads, I am unaware of it and was not involved with radio ads in Canton.’

‘It’s time to take a stand and say no to the tea party, the call’s script read. ‘No to their obstruction, no to their disrespectful treatment of the first African-American president.’

Bickers did not respond to repeated phone calls seeking comment.

Please process what you just read. An establishment Republican super-PAC paid a Democrat operative to send out a robocall that complained about the Tea Party’s “disrespectful treatment of the first African American president.” This Republican-funded robocall also said that a victory by Tea Party candidate Chris McDaniel “causes even more problems for President Obama, and pushes the damaging cuts in funding to our public education system.”

Once again: Republicans paid for those arguments to be made to voters.

THE FLYER: I recently presented circumstantial evidence of a possible connection to the Haley and Henry Barbour super-PAC. Since then, the Daily Mail has shown that this flyer was put out by a group working with another Democrat operative, who has said he was also working with the Barbour super-PAC:

James ‘Scooby Doo’ Warren, a longtime Democratic political operative, told the Jackson, Mississippi Clarion-Ledger on June 17 that he was directing a ‘get-out-the-vote’ plan that included the robocalls.

He was working, Warren said, with Mississippi Conservatives, the same Haley Barbour-related PAC that funded Mitzi Bickers to produce the racially explosive robocalls. It’s not clear whether he was involved with the radio ads.

Warren also said he was working closely with Bishop Ronnie Crudup Sr., a clergyman whose church created a separate political action committee called ‘All Citizens for Mississippi.’

That group paid to produce and distribute pro-Cochran fliers in African-American neighborhoods, including one that claimed ‘the tea party intends to prevent you from voting.’

Please note that Warren’s admission of working with the Barbour super-PAC was not uncovered by the Daily Mail but rather by the Clarion-Ledger, a newspaper in Jackson, Mississippi, back on June 17.

So while the flyer was not necessarily paid for by the super-PAC (although the possibility cannot be discounted), we do know that the producers of the flyer were working with Warren, a Democrat operative who was by his own admission working with the Barbour super-PAC.

I’ve seen enough. Establishment Republicans were working with Democrat operatives to get Democrats to the polls — using racial scare tactics, and attacking a Republican for not supporting huge expenditures of federal dollars.

There is a sickness in the establishment of the Republican party. I’m not entirely sure what the cure is, but it calls for some kind of strong medicine. Let the debate begin about what that medicine should be.

6/28/2014

Time to Vote for the Democrat in Mississippi to Teach the Establishment GOP a Lesson?

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 1:40 pm

The primary election in Mississippi may turn out to be a watershed moment for the Republican party. Evidence? Even a self-proclaimed “candy-ass RINO” like Allahpundit at Hot Air is talking up the virtues of voting for the Democrat to teach the Republican establishment a lesson:

If Cochran trounces Childers in the general election, the lesson learned by Republican incumbents will be that there’s no cost to beating conservative challengers by any means necessary. You guys will always turn out for them in November on the theory that the Democrat is worse, no matter how nasty to you they are in the primary, so they might as well be as nasty as they like. The question is, is the Democrat worse this time? He may be worse than Cochran on policy, but is he worse than the filthy patronage system that supports Cochran and which he supports in turn? That’s what you’re voting for, whether you like it or not, if you vote for Thad.

. . . .

The counterargument is simple, though: If not now, when? The GOP might do well enough in the fall to retake the Senate even if they lose Mississippi. If they don’t retake it, that’s not a disaster — this is, by Nate Silver’s estimate, the “least important election in years” because control of the upper chamber matters so little. The GOP will have more leverage over Court confirmations if they have a majority, but who knows if there’ll even be a vacancy on the Court? And gridlock on legislation is a fait accompli given Obama’s standoff with the Republican House regardless of what the Senate does. If you’re unwilling to risk a protest vote for a Democrat after the grotesque spectacle of a group of GOP cronies using liberal votes to prop up an elderly man whose heart isn’t in it anymore, you’ll never be willing. And if you’re unwilling, maybe it’s time to stop complaining about Cochran and cronyism and the rest of it and accept that this is who we are and who we’re going to be.

I know many of you see this as playing into the Democrats’ hands. But at this point, people who believe in limited government have no recourse to the Republican party. What have they done for us lately? Nothing. So we have to flex our muscles. The GOP has essentially declared war on us. If we have to respond, rather than roll over, then that’s what we’ll do. What practical difference does it really make if the Senate remains in Democrat hands from 2014 to 2016 anyway? Is the genteel wing of the GOP going to block an Obama nominee to the Supreme Court? Nope. So the answer is: it makes no difference.

I am disgusted by the tactics used by Cochran supporters in this election, and I want to know who is behind it. I have already posted circumstantial evidence suggesting a possible connection to the Barbour super-PAC. As some have pointed out, that evidence is not a smoking gun. The anonymous flyer appealing to black people on the basis of race was not necessarily put out by the super-PAC; there are other reasonable theories for the similarities between that flier and the super-PAC fliers. (Maybe somebody copied the super-PAC arguments, for example.) I put up that post because I want reporters asking questions. And I know some are.

I’m going to continue to work on this story. Some have even doubted whether the racist flyer was actually distributed. That much, I know happened — and I will be doing a post about it. Stay tuned.

6/27/2014

Friday Amusement, Part II

Filed under: General — Dana @ 7:10 pm

[guest post by Dana]

I love JD’s Friday Amusement post. It’s the end of the week, time for a relaxing weekend and what better way to start to unwind than with something absurd? Or hilariously absurd. Preferably both.

With that, I wanted to post another Friday amusement…

Guess who may be considering a run for governor of California??

Untitled-1

That’s right. People Magazine’s Sexiest Man Alive George Clooney!

According to the Mirror, Clooney, a friend of President Obama’s and an advocate for a range of high-profile issues, was being courted by the commander-in-chief to make a run for California’s highest office, likely in 2018.

Clooney is supposedly considering a career shift to politics partly due to his recent engagement toAmal Alamuddin, a British human rights lawyer, according to the Mirror.

The truthfulness of the rumors is questionable, but if Clooney were to run and win, he would follow in the footsteps of actors Ronald Reagan and Arnold Schwarzenegger, who traded the silver screen for Sacramento.

Now, for those of you rolling your eyes and disparaging him even before you hit the keyboard, given our current crackerjack politicians’ stranglehold on the state, Clooney would, at the least, be a sight for sore eyes. Glam up Sacramento, too. Further, given our desperate state of affairs, anything that might bring relief to the state would be a good thing. And that just might be a pretty face.

What? You doubt me?

Look again.

Untitled-2

Keep in mind, with 51% of California’s population female, there is a very good chance Clooney would be elected on his charm and good looks, alone. Why ruin things by bringing his politics into it?

Friday Amusement

Filed under: General — JD @ 4:31 pm

[guest post by JD]

Simply reading this will make you dummerer.

At first I thought it was a circumcision smegma rant, but I was sadly mistaken.

Some things simply cannot be made up. Tell us if you can make it all the way to the end, and if you could do so without laughing out loud.

—JD

Next Page »

Powered by WordPress.

Page loaded in: 0.2413 secs.