Patterico's Pontifications


Obama Breaks the Law: His Deal With the Taliban Directly Violates Statute

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 11:58 pm

Another lawless act from a lawless president:

Among other complications, there was a potential legal obstacle: Congress has imposed statutory restrictions on the transfer of detainees from Guantánamo Bay. The statutes say the secretary of defense must determine that a transfer is in the interest of national security, that steps have been taken to substantially mitigate a future threat by a released detainee, and that the secretary notify Congress 30 days before any transfer of his determination.

In this case, the secretary, Chuck Hagel, acknowledged in a statement that he did not notify Congress ahead of time. When Mr. Obama signed a bill containing the latest version of the transfer restrictions into law, he issued a signing statement claiming that he could lawfully override them under his executive powers.

“The executive branch must have the flexibility, among other things, to act swiftly in conducting negotiations with foreign countries regarding the circumstances of detainee transfers,” he wrote in the signing statement, adding that if the restrictions “operate in a manner that violates constitutional separation of powers principles, my administration will implement them in a manner that avoids the constitutional conflict.”

An administration official said the circumstances of a fast-moving exchange deal made it appropriate to act outside the statutory framework for transfers.

“Acting outside the statutory framework” is their new code for breaking the law.

As for the notion that the signing statement makes this violation of law OK? Flashback to Barack Obama as a candidate in 2008:

“Congress’ job is to pass legislation,” Obama explained. “The president can veto it or he can sign it. But what George Bush has been trying to do as part of his effort to accumulate more power in the presidency. … He’s been saying, well I can basically change what Congress passed by attaching a letter saying ‘I don’t agree with this part or I don’t agree with that part, I’m going to choose to interpret it this way or that way.’”

“That’s not part of his power, but this is part of the whole theory of George Bush that he can make laws as he goes along,” he went on to say. “I disagree with that. I taught the Constitution for 10 years. I believe in the Constitution and I will obey the Constitution of the United States. We’re not going to use signing statements as a way of doing an end-run around Congress.

You just did.

That promise went the way of Obama’s 2009 pledge to reform the VA, and to reject multi-billion dollar helicopters. It is, as the phrase goes, an inoperative statement.


Thanks to Dana.

Maya Angelou’s Decision

Filed under: General — Dana @ 4:26 pm

[guest post by Dana]

Earlier this week, noted author Maya Angelou passed away at 86. I read an interesting essay she wrote about her decision to keep her baby when she found out she was pregnant at age 16. Poking around the web, I found the essay also linked at Ricochet and was struck by the wide range of a few comments left by readers.

–One more comment on this post because it quite honestly, infuriated me. I don’t for one minute disapprove of pre-marital sex yet I certainly don’t approve of using abortion as a method of birth control. What I approve of is making responsible choices about one’s personal life that do not incur “procedures” or single motherhood or the ruination of inner city neighborhoods.

–It didn’t endorse but in my humble opinion, it glamorized; most teenagers do not grow up to be Maya Angelou. More realistic examples should have been provided from the single black mothers who contribute to a 75% illegitimacy rate and are responsible for the statistics that one in three black men can expect to go to prison in their lifetime.

–Wow, what an amazing story.

–Grrreat message to send to young unmarried women.

–God bless. These are stories that need to be shouted from the rooftops.

Focusing on the decision made as a 16 year old, was it a selfless, noble choice or was it a pre-cursor to the growing crisis within the black community which began in the 1940’s, (around the very time Angelou made the decision)?

Here is the essay in its entirety:

The Decision That Changed My Life:
Keeping My Baby
by Maya Angelou

When I was 16, a boy in high school evinced interest in me, so I had sex with him — just once. And after I came out of that room, I thought, Is that all there is to it? My goodness, I’ll never do that again! Then, when I found out I was pregnant, I went to the boy and asked him for help, but he said it wasn’t his baby and he didn’t want any part of it.

I was scared to pieces. Back then, if you had money, there were some girls who got abortions, but I couldn’t deal with that idea. Oh, no. No. I knew there was somebody inside me. So I decided to keep the baby.

My older brother, Bailey, my confidant, told me not to tell my mother or she’d take me out of school. So I hid it the whole time with big blouses! Finally, three weeks before I was due, I left a note on my stepfather’s pillow telling him I was pregnant. He told my mother, and when she came home, she calmly asked me to run her bath.

I’ll never forget what she said: “Now tell me this — do you love the boy?” I said no. “Does he love you?” I said no. “Then there’s no point in ruining three lives. We are going to have our baby!”

What a knockout she was as a mother of teens. Very loving. Very accepting. Not one minute of recrimination. And I never felt any shame.

I’m telling you that the best decision I ever made was keeping that baby! Yes, absolutely. Guy was a delight from the start — so good, so bright, and I can’t imagine my life without him.

At 17 I got a job as a cook and later as a nightclub waitress. I found a room with cooking privileges, because I was a woman with a baby and needed my own place. My mother, who had a 14-room house, looked at me as if I was crazy! She said, “Remember this: You can always come home.” She kept that door open. And every time life kicked me in the belly, I would go home for a few weeks.

I struggled, sure. We lived hand-to-mouth, but it was really heart-to-hand. Guy had love and laughter and a lot of good reading and poetry as a child. Having my son brought out the best in me and enlarged my life. Whatever he missed, he himself is a great father today. He was once asked what it was like growing up in Maya Angelou’s shadow, and he said, “I always thought I was in her light.”

Years later, when I was married, I wanted to have more children, but I couldn’t conceive. Isn’t it wonderful that I had a child at 16? Praise God!


L.A. Times Celebrates Trade of Five Taliban GTMO Detainees for U.S. Soldier — Without Telling You Who Those Detainees Are

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 3:41 pm

This is on the L.A. Times main site right now:

Screen Shot 2014-05-31 at 3.21.32 PM

Here is the beginning of the story:

Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, a captive of the Taliban for nearly five years, has been released to the U.S. military in Afghanistan in exchange for the release of five Afghan prisoners held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Bergdahl, an Idaho native, was 23 went he went missing in June 30, 2009, in the eastern Afghan province of Paktika, near the border with Pakistan.

President Obama says U.S. Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl has been released.

“On behalf of the American people, I was honored to call his parents to express our joy that they can expect his safe return, mindful of their courage and sacrifice throughout this ordeal,” President Obama said in a statement released by the White House. Obama is now scheduled to speak from the White House at 3:15 p.m.

Robert Bergdahl, the soldier’s father, tweeted his thanks Saturday afternoon.

“To every single person who worked so hard to make this recovery possible, WE LOVE YOU! GOD IS GREAT AND HIS MERCY ENDURES FOREVER!” wrote @bobbergdahl.

You can keep reading the article for details about the “five Afghan prisoners held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba” — but you will not find those details. The released Afghans are mentioned only one more time in the story:

Bergdahl, now 28, was released to American custody Saturday evening, local time, in Afghanistan. The transfers happened after a week of intense negotiations mediated by the gover nment of Qatar, which will take custody of the Afghans. Several dozen U.S. special forces were involved in the exchange, which took place in eastern Afghanistan, near the Pakistani border.

There is absolutely nothing in the article about who these detainees are. Are they dangerous? Do they pose a risk to the U.S.? The L.A. Times seems remarkably incurious about the answers to these rather obvious questions. The reporter is far too busy telling us how wonderful it is that Bergdahl is home.

The answers can be found, though — of all places, at the Daily Beast (!). The article is titled Here are the Taliban Terrorists Obama Released to Free POW Bowe Bergdahl. The Beast deserves your click to read the whole thing, but I’ll give you a teaser:

The five Guantanamo detainees released by the Obama administration in exchange for America’s last prisoner of war in Afghanistan, Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, are bad guys. They are top Taliban commanders the group has tried to free for more than a decade.

According to a 2008 Pentagon dossier on Guantanamo Bay inmates, all five men released were considered to be a high risk to launch attacks against the United States and its allies if they were liberated. The exchange shows that the Obama administration was willing to pay a steep price, indeed, for Bergdahl’s freedom. The administration says they will be transferred to Qatar, which played a key role in the negotiations.

. . . .

While not as well known as Guantanamo inmates like 9-11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the Taliban 5 were some of the worst outlaws in the U.S. war on terror. And their release will end up replenishing the diminished leadership ranks of the Afghan Taliban at a moment when the United States is winding down the war there.

“They are undoubtedly among the most dangerous Taliban commanders held at Guantanamo,” said Thomas Joscelyn, a senior editor at the Long War Journal who keeps a close watch on developments concerning the detainees left at the Guantanamo Bay prison.

Nobody can deny that it’s wonderful news to have a captive soldier home. But a publication needs to be honest about the tradeoffs.

Are you surprised to find that the Los Angeles Times has not been honest?

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