More Justice – Obama Style! – Reason #72

Only 83 Days Remaining!

EPA Threatens Couple with $75,000 per day fine

President Obama has been very clear about “inheriting” problems from the Bush Administration and has been very vocal about undoing Bush policies with which he disagrees.  When it comes to the EPA however, it appears that the Obama Administration has in some cases, put their stamp of approval on existing EPA authority, regulations and policies, or – in other cases – doubled down to give it a life of its own.

In 2007, the EPA issued a “Compliance Order” to Chantell and Michael Sackett.  This became one of the cases which the Obama Administration decided to press.

Mr. and Mrs. Sackett reportedly purchased a residential lot in a residential subdivision, where other homes were being built.  They started grading the property, when suddenly they were confronted by the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers, advising them they were building on a “wetland” and with a “Compliance Order,” telling them they “…must stop all building…restore the land to its natural state…replace and plant trees…place a fence around the land and maintain the property in a pristine condition.”[i] “The Department of Justice, on behalf of the EPA, argues that under the law there is no right to challenge “compliance orders” until they are enforced.” [ii]

As the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments on the case in January, 2012, Justice Samuel Alito, Jr. recapped the situation, noting that the Sackett “…lot was ‘found to have a little drainage problem,’”[iii] that they were told “you have wetlands.”  “You have to let us on your premises,” “You face $75,000 in penalties” each day, you cannot challenge this in court and that if a court case does become necessary, it will not occur “until we choose.”  Justice Alito reportedly observed that the scenario described by the EPA Attorney (U.S. Solicitor General Malcolm L. Stewart) was something that would be viewed by most American homeowners as “…something that ‘can’t happen in the United States.’” [iv]

But, as we now know, anything can happen in a country where the rules are being made and enforced by the Obama Administration.   Does this provide a little peek into the future with Agenda 21?


[i] Peter Bella, (Jan. 9, 2012), The Washington Times Communities web-site, Sackett v. EPA : Supreme Court will decide property rights case, retrieved January 11, 2012 from http://communities.washingtontimes.com/neighborhood/middle-class-guy/2012/jan/9/sackett-v-epa/

[ii] Ibid

[iii] Lyle Denniston, (Jan. 9, 2012), SCOTUS Blog, A Weak Defense of EPA, retrieved January 11, 2012 from http://www.scotusblog.com/2012/01/a-weak-defense-of-epa/

[iv] Ibid

 

Justice Department? (LOL) – Reason #71

Only 84 Days Remaining!

Holder Ducks Responsibility for “Fast and Furious”

On December 14, 2010, U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was killed in Nogales, Arizona.  Found at the crime scene were two assault rifles linked to an ATF operation in which gun dealers along the Southwest Border were encouraged by ATF agents to sell quantities of firearms “to suspected traffickers for Mexican Drug Cartels.”  The operation – called “Fast and Furious” – had begun in September, 2009, continued over the concern of agents and at least one gun dealer,[i] and had resulted in the delivery of at least 2,000 firearms to Mexican drug cartels.[ii]  A Congressional investigation into “Fast and Furious” was launched by Senator Grassley (R-IA) in Jan., 2011 and on March 3, 2011, ATF agent John Dodson exposed the operation to CBS News, saying “Now you have a name on it. You have a face to put with it.  Here I am.  Someone now tell me it didn’t happen.”[iii]

In a March 27, 2011 response on Univision, President Obama denied that he, or Attorney General Eric Holder had any knowledge of the operation.  He went on to say that:

“There may be a situation here in which a serious mistake was made and if that’s the case then we’ll find out and we’ll hold somebody accountable.” [iv]

On May 3, 2011, Attorney General Holder told Congress that he had only heard about the gun walking operation “over the last few weeks.”  But, on Oct. 3, 2011, CBS news reported on Justice Department memos to Holder mentioning the operation as early as July, 2010 – 5 months prior to the killing of Agent Terry.  While Holder did not admit this, he amended his earlier testimony during a Nov. 8, 2011 appearance on the Hill. [v]

Holder indicated during the Nov. 8 hearing that a letter from the Justice Dept. sent to Congress in February, 2011 and denying that “Fast and Furious” was a gun walking operation was inaccurate.  He also admitted that his initial testimony in May, that he had only known about the operation “over the last few weeks,” was erroneous and that he “probably could have said ‘a couple of months.’”  He was quick to add however, that trying to pinpoint the timeframe was a “distraction.”  “Distraction” is a term that has been used several times  by Obama to ward off uncomfortable questions.

Holder went on to deny seeing two memos regarding “Fast and Furious” addressed to him in July and November, 2010 – prior to Agent Terry’s murder.  He pointed out that his Dept. has more than 150,000 employees and that – at least by his standard: [vi]

“I cannot be expected to know the details of operations in the Justice Department on a day-to-day basis.” [vii]

Apparently, not even cases that involve cross border operations, international laws and treaties, intergovernmental relationships and the murder of a U.S. Border Patrol Agent.

As a result of this apparent stone walling, Eric Holder became the first U.S. Attorney General in history to be censored by Congress and now a special investigation is underway.  Meantime, Brian Terry – one of the good guys – is still dead, and our Country’s highest law enforcement officer is still thumbing his nose at Congress and by doing so – at the American people.


[i] Sharyl Attkisson, (Dec. 7, 2011), CBS News web-site, CBS Investigates, Documents: ATF used “Fast and Furious” to make the case for gun regulations, retrieved February 26, 2012 from http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-31727_162-57338546-10391695/documents-atf-used-fast-and-furious-to-make-the-case-for-gun-regulations/ and hyperlinked to article CBS News Staff, CBS web-site, “Gun walking” Scandal Timeline, retrieved February 26, 2012 from http://www.cbsnews.com/2300-31727_162-10009697.html?tag=contentMain;contentBody

[ii] Fred Lucas, (Nov. 8, 2011), CNS news web-site, No Apology: Holder Says ‘Not Fair’ to Assume Fast and Furious ‘Directly’ Led to Border Agent’s Death, retrieved February 26, 2012 from http://cnsnews.com/news/article/no-apology-holder-says-not-fair-assume-fast-and-furious-directly-led-border-agent-s

[iii] Sharyl Attkisson, (Dec. 7, 2011), CBS News web-site, CBS Investigates, Documents: ATF used “Fast and Furious” to make the case for gun regulations, retrieved February 26, 2012 from http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-31727_162-57338546-10391695/documents-atf-used-fast-and-furious-to-make-the-case-for-gun-regulations/ and hyperlinked to article CBS News Staff, CBS web-site, “Gun walking” Scandal Timeline, retrieved February 26, 2012 from http://www.cbsnews.com/2300-31727_162-10009697.html?tag=contentMain;contentBody

[iv] Ibid

[v] Fred Lucas, (Nov. 8, 2011), CNS news web-site, No Apology: Holder Says ‘Not Fair’ to Assume Fast and Furious ‘Directly’ Led to Border Agent’s Death, retrieved February 26, 2012 from http://cnsnews.com/news/article/no-apology-holder-says-not-fair-assume-fast-and-furious-directly-led-border-agent-s

[vi] Ibid

 

[vii] Ibid

 

Obama Keeping Promise? – Reason #70

Only 85 Days Remaining!

Obama Keeps Promise to Circumvent Congress

President Obama, a man who taught the Constitution for ten years and who has clearly articulated the systems of checks and balances designed by our nation’s Founders, seems to have expanded his own view of Presidential power since taking that office.  His new line of reasoning says:

“But when Congress refuses to act, and as a result, hurts our economy and puts our people at risk, then I have an obligation as President to do what I can without them. (Applause.) I’ve got an obligation to act on behalf of the American people.”[i]

Citing this “obligation,” President Obama effected the so-called “Recess Appointment” of Richard Cordray on January 4, 2012, as the first Director of the newly formed Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.  The reality however – according to the Heritage Foundation – was that the Senate was not in “Recess,” but in a “Pro Forma” session, as proven by the fact that during the “Pro Forma” session, they had successfully passed the President’s two month extension of the payroll tax cut.[ii]   In effect, Obama was usurping the authority of the legislative branch in order to avoid the requirement of Cordray’s Senate confirmation.

Is this activity consistent with our image of American Democracy?


[i] President Barack Obama, (Jan. 4, 2012), White House web-site, Speeches & Remarks, Remarks by the President on the Economy, retrieved January 6, 2012 from http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2012/01/04/remarks-president-economy

[ii] Andrew Grossman (Jan. 5, 2012), Heritage web-site, The Foundry, Even Obama Agrees that the Senate was not in Recess, retrieved January 7, 2012 from http://blog.heritage.org/2012/01/05/even-obama-agrees-that-the-senate-was-not-in-recess/

Congress Now Optional? – Reason #69

Only 86 Days Remaining!

Obama Sees Congress as Optional

According to a recent New York Times article by Peter Baker, the President has now signed into law, a bill that gives him the right to immediately appoint scores of presidential appointees without Senate confirmation.  While many would agree that this bipartisan bill further erodes our system of checks and balances, few should be surprised.  We might even argue that the new law merely gives legitimacy to a practice already implemented by Obama – a practice exemplified by his appointment of Richard Cordray.

While Obama seems to have manufactured a “Recess Appointment” scenario in order to appoint Richard Cordray as the first Director of the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the problem appears much worse than a single abusive action to avoid Senate Confirmation hearings on one appointee.  Indeed, in an interview with Rob Quirk, of KOAA, Colorado Springs, Colorado, the President commented easily on what has become his increasingly familiar position:

“Well, what we’re going to have to do is continue to make progress on the economy over the next several months. And where Congress is not willing to act, we’re going to go ahead and do it ourselves. But it would be nice if we could get a little bit of help from Capitol Hill.”[i]

While this may seem very action oriented, it also provides a clear distinction between the prerogatives of a President and the prerogatives of a Monarch.  If every President had the prerogative to decide when and why to circumvent congressional authority, our Democracy would soon be a historical footnote.  A vote for Obama in 2012 will take us one step closer to that day.


[i] President Barack Obama, (2011), Real Clear Politics web-site, Obama: “Where Congress Is Not Willing To Act, We’re Going To Go Ahead And Do It Ourselves”, retrieved January 7, 2012 from http://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2011/12/14/obama_where_congress_is_not_willing_to_act_were_going_to_go_ahead_and_do_it_ourselves.html

Obama – Promises to Disregard Law – Reason #68

Only 87 Days Remaining!

Obama – Promises to Disregard Law

During his campaign for the Presidency in 2008, then Senator Obama was asked by a member of the audience:  “When Congress offers you a bill, do you promise not to use Presidential Signage to get your way?”  His one word answer was “Yes.”  His follow-up explanation however, drove the point home, that this was an unconstitutional and reprehensible act for any President.  In his own words:

“We’ve got a government designed by the Founders so that there would be checks and balances.  You don’t want a President that’s too powerful, or a Congress that’s too powerful, or Courts that are too powerful.  Everybody’s got their own role.  Congress’ job is to pass legislation.  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’s going along.  I disagree with that.  I taught the Constitution for ten 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.  All right?”[i]

Very strong language indeed for a President who boasts an ability and intention to go around Congress, and who noted in signing into law the National Defense Authorization Act, that he disagreed with 14 sections of the bill, saying:

“…should any application of these provisions conflict with my constitutional authorities, I will treat the provisions as non-binding.”[ii]

In still another of the 19 signing statements issued by President Obama thru the end of 2011, Obama blocked the defunding of four of his “Czar” positions, stating that:

“Legislative efforts that significantly impede the President’s ability to exercise his supervisory and coordinating authorities or to obtain the views of the appropriate senior advisers violate the separation of powers by undermining the President’s ability to exercise his constitutional responsibilities and take care that the laws be faithfully executed. Therefore, the executive branch will construe section 2262 not to abrogate these Presidential prerogatives.”[iii]

Which of the campaign promises Obama makes in the run-up to the 2012 Presidential election will be as solid as his assurances against “Signing Statements”?  Which other Constitutional principles will he defend with equal respect and passion?


[i] Senator Barack Obama, (2008), Doug Powers (Oct. 28, 2011), Michelle Malkin web-site, Charles Rangel: Obama Working Around Congress is Okay Because of the Gridlock, video in article posted by “brianamburgey”, Obama on Presidential Signing Statements, retrieved January 6, 2012, from http://michellemalkin.com/2011/10/28/charles-rangel-gridlock/

[ii] President Barack Obama, (Dec. 31, 2011) White House web-site, Statements & Releases, Statement by the President on H.R. 1540, retrieved January 6, 2012 from http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2011/12/31/statement-president-hr-1540

[iii] President Barack Obama, (April 15, 2011), White House web-site, Statements & Releases, Statement by the President on H.R. 1473, retrieved January 6, 2012 from http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2011/04/15/statement-president-hr-1473

Obama Denies He’s a King – Disregards Congress – Reason #67

Only 88 Days Remaining!


In early June, 2010, in a dramatic moment during the Gulf oil spill operations, Obama made the unexpected admission that his powers were “not limitless.”[i]  A few months later, in October, 2010, he told radio personality Eddie “Piolin” Sotelo, that:

“…I am president, I am not king. I can’t do these things just by myself. We have a system of government that requires the Congress to work with the executive branch to make it happen.” [ii]

A few nights later he told supporters at a Democratic Dinner that Healthcare Reform took time, because this is:

“…not a monarchy we live in. This is a democracy.”[iii]

On February 22, 2012, back with Univision’s Los Angeles based Sotelo show, Obama again lamented the powerlessness of his Presidency under Constitutional restraints, saying:

“Piolin, I would only have broken my promise [on comprehensive immigration reform] if I hadn’t tried. But ultimately, I’m one man. You know, we live in a democracy. We don’t live in a monarchy. I’m not the king. I’m the president. And so, I can only implement those laws that are passed through Congress.”[iv]

All of this, of course, is his “Go To” rhetoric when explaining away his failure to achieve bipartisan consensus and legislation.  Still, it’s interesting that he seems so consistently focused on monarchies and kingships, because while he claims we’re not a monarchy and that he’s not a king, he seems to have no problem playing the role.

At a Las Vegas campaign event on Oct. 24, 2011, President Obama told his audience that:

 “…I’ve told my administration to keep looking every single day for actions we can take without Congress.”[v]

On Oct. 26, 2011, at still another campaign opportunity at the University of Colorado, President Obama declared:

“We can’t wait for Congress to do its job. So where they won’t act, I will.

“…And I’ve told my administration we’re going to look every single day to figure out what we can do without Congress.”[vi]

On Nov. 2, 2011, in a speech at Georgetown Waterfront Park, Obama told prospective 2012 voters:

“We can’t wait for Congress to do its job. If they won’t act, I will.”[vii]

On January 4, 2012, during a speech at Shaker Heights High School in Shaker Heights, Ohio, President Obama told a large Democrat audience:

“When Congress refuses to act, and as a result, hurts our economy and puts our people at risk, then I have an obligation as President to do what I can without them.”[viii]

On Feb. 21, 2012, Obama said:

“Now, whenever Congress refuses to act, Joe [Biden] and I, we’re going to act.”[ix]

On Feb. 23, 2012, at another campaign event at the University of Miami, President Obama again stated – and both unbelievably and hypocritically, given the subject of energy independence – that:

“With or without this Congress, I will continue to do whatever I can to develop every source of American energy so our future isn’t controlled by events on the other side of the world.”[x]

Yet, in his restrictions on drilling and his disapproval of a much needed pipeline, he all but guarantees the control of our future by “events on the other side of the world.”

Meanwhile, President Obama had no problem bypassing the U.S. Senate and using the pretext of “recess appointments” to install Richard Cordray as head of his new Financial Protection Bureau, or to appoint three new members to the National Labor Relations Board.[xi]

He had no problem taking the country to war against Libya without Congressional approval[xii] – and his Communication Director warns us that our problems require:

“‘bold, bipartisan action in Congress’ but that Mr. Obama ‘believes we cannot wait, so he will act where they won’t.’”[xiii]

Let’s see…Democracy…Constitution…eliminating the role of congress…Might this be the equivalent of a Monarchy?

Perhaps he does think himself a king.


[i] Sunlen Miller, (June 11, 2010), ABC News.com Political Punch by Jake Tapper, Obama: “I Can’t Suck it up with a Straw”, retrieved September 29, 2010 from http://blogs.abcnews.com/politicalpunch/2010/06/obama-i-cant-suck-it-up-with-a-straw-.html

[ii] President Barack Obama, (Oct. 26, 2010), FoxNews web-site, quoting President from his interview with Eddie “Piolin” Sotelo, Obama: “I am not King,” retrieved February 25, 2012 from http://nation.foxnews.com/president-obama/2010/10/25/obama-i-am-not-king

[iii] President Barack Obama, (Oct. 26, 2010), White House web-site, Speeches & Remarks, Remarks by the President at a DCCC Dinner, retrieved February 25, 2012 from http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2010/10/26/remarks-president-a-dccc-dinner

[iv] President Barack Obama (Feb. 22, 2012), transcript from Univision interview on Eddie “Piolin” Sotelo radio show, provided by FoxNation web-site (Feb. 24, 2012), President Obama: ‘My Presidency Is Not Over. I’ve Got Another Five Years’, retrieved February 25, 2012 from http://nation.foxnews.com/president-obama/2012/02/23/president-obama-my-presidency-not-over-i-ve-got-another-five-years

[v] President Barack Obama (Oct. 24, 2011), White House web-site, Speeches & Remarks, Remarks by the President on the Economy and Housing, retrieved February 26, 2012 from http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2011/10/24/remarks-president-economy-and-housing

[vi] President Barack Obama, (Oct. 26, 2011), White House web-site, Speeches & Remarks, Remarks by the President on College Affordability, retrieved February 26, 2012 from http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2011/10/26/remarks-president-college-affordability

[vii] President Barack Obama, (Nov. 2, 2011), White House web-site, Speeches & Remarks, Remarks by the President Urging Congress to Pass the Infrastructure Piece of the American Jobs Act, retrieved February 26, 2012 from http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2011/11/02/remarks-president-urging-congress-pass-infrastructure-piece-american-job

[viii] President Barack Obama, (Jan. 4, 2012), White House web-site blog, President Obama Discusses Richard Cordray in Shaker Heights, retrieved February 26, 2012 from http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2012/01/04/president-obama-discusses-richard-cordray-shaker-heights

[ix] President Barack Obama, (Feb. 21, 2012), White House web-site, Remarks by the President on the Payroll Tax Cut, retrieved February 26, 2012 from http://www.whitehouse.gov/photos-and-video/video/2012/02/21/president-obama-payroll-tax-cut-extension#transcript

[x] President Barack Obama, (Feb. 23, 2012), White House web-site, Speeches & Remarks, Remarks by the President on Energy, retrieved February 26, 2012 from http://www.whitehouse.gov/photos-and-video/video/2012/02/23/president-obama-university-miami#transcript

[xi] Dave Clarke and Matt Spetalnick, (Jan. 4, 2012), Reuters web-site, Obama Defies Republicans with Consumer Agency Pick, retrieved February 26, 2012 from http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/01/04/us-financial-regulation-cordray-idUSTRE80312J20120104

[xii] President Barack Obama, (Mar. 21, 2011), White House web-site, Presidential Memoranda, Letter from the President regarding the commencement of operations in Libya, retrieved February 26, 2012 from http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2011/03/21/letter-president-regarding-commencement-operations-libya

Did Obama Describe an American Gestapo? – Reason #66

Only 89 Days Remaining!

 

Did Obama Describe an American Gestapo?

On July 2, 2008, during a rally in Colorado Springs, then Senator Obama made one of the most startling statements ever heard from a Presidential candidate.  Obama told the American public:

“We cannot continue to rely only on our military in order to achieve the national security objectives that we’ve set.  We’ve got to have a Civilian National Security Force that’s just as powerful – just as strong – just as well funded.” [i]

FactCheck.org soundly ridiculed Rep. Paul Broun (R-GA), after Broun responded to Obama’s comment, saying “It may sound a bit crazy and off base, but the thing is, he’s [Obama’s] the one who proposed this national security force. … That’s exactly what Hitler did in Nazi Germany and it’s exactly what the Soviet Union did.”[ii]

How does any person, news, or other organization of any kind justify ridiculing anyone questioning such a bizarre announcement from a sitting Senator and would-be President of the United States?  The ridiculing of Rep. Broun was no less dangerous than the Obama statement itself.


            [i] Brooks Jackson, (November 11, 2008), FactCheck.org website, Is Obama planning a Gestapo-like “civilian national security force”? retrieved February 17, 2011 from http://www.factcheck.org/askfactcheck/is_obama_planning_a_gestapo-like_civilian_national.html

            [ii] Brooks Jackson, (November 11, 2008), FactCheck.org website, Is Obama planning a Gestapo-like “civilian national security force”? retrieved February 17, 2011 from http://www.factcheck.org/askfactcheck/is_obama_planning_a_gestapo-like_civilian_national.html