It would be super nice if the Conservative Political Action Conference would be conservative in ways many people care about, such as immigration, sovereignty and national security. Breitbart.com’s glowing description sounded swell, with lots of attention focused on grassroots interests and such. However, the actual CPAC appears to be the same old Conservatism Inc. package, and in some ways is worse — no Ann Coulter speech! She has been a consistent crowd favorite but is missing this year.
The establishment programming in earlier years brought revolts from the citizens.
In 2009, Pamela Geller organized a space near CPAC where Geert Wilders could speak and more than 500 hundred packed the room to hear the Dutch member of Parliament, famous for defending European freedom against Muslim authoritarians. The enthusiasm for the event showed how much interest there was for non-establishment subjects, like the danger posed by hostile Islam.
In the past two years, the Breitbart folks organized satellite meetings where non-establishment topics could be explored by expert speakers. In 2013, “The Uninvited” provided a forum for counter-jihad activists like Pamela Geller, Robert Spencer and Frank Gaffney, along with Rosemary Jenks speaking about illegal immigration (How to Get Uninvited to CPAC).
Author and conservative firebrand Ann Coulter was not invited to speak at this year’s Conservative Political Action Conference, marking the first time in several years that she was not scheduled to attend in an official capacity.
Coulter is usually a popular speaker at the annual conference — it’s the largest gathering of conservatives in the U.S. held this weekend just outside of Washington, D.C. — where she has delivered well-received speeches and signed her books for fans.
“I wasn’t invited,” Coulter confirmed in an email Thursday to the Washington Examiner media desk. “I might just show up anyway just to piss them off. I could be the Bibi Netanyahu of CPAC.” (The Netanyahu mention is a reference to a controversial invite from congressional Republicans to the Israeli prime minister to address Congress.)
Coulter, apparently confused by the snub from conference organizers, said she has been voted “best speaker” by attendees in previous years.
Lisa De Pasquale, who served as the conference director from 2006 to 2011, confirmed that attendees surveyed after the conference ended consistently chose Coulter as the most popular speaker. “You can definitely quote me on that,” said Pasquale.
Dave Hemsath sets up a booth selling books by conservative authors each year at the conference. He told the Examiner that her books tend to sell particularly well among attendees. “She’s my best seller,” he said. He also said he didn’t want to “speak out of turn” but that he’s “sorry” he won’t be able to sell as many of her books this year, as he didn’t bring as many as usual due to her absence from the speaker schedule.
Coulter’s strained relationship with conference organizers was also evident at last year’s event. She said at the time that she was not invited to speak until two weeks before the conference and that it was sprung on her that instead of a solo speaking slot, she was only offered time used to “debate” a liberal speaker.
Coulter suggested on Twitter that her exclusion might have something to do with immigration reform that includes a pathway to citizenship, a policy front Republicans have struggled with and that Coulter has been intensely critical of. “If I want to watch a bunch of rich white people suck up to Mexicans, I’ll watch the Oscars again,” Coulter tweeted.
The conference is a big draw for Republican voters and conservatives. Several potential GOP presidential candidates are at this year’s event to deliver speeches and answer questions, including Texas Gov. Rick Perry, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson.
Other conservative commentators are scheduled to speak at the conference, including Fox News’ Sean Hannity and conservative radio host Laura Ingraham, who both spoke on Thursday.
Two separate spokesmen for the conference did not return requests for comment.
Senator Jeff Sessions has a fine publishing operation in his office, demonstrated by his occasional fact sheets of well researched points regarding the failure of Washington to stem immigration anarchy.
Now Senator Sessions has presented the mother of all lists, scary in its length, that enumerates the instances of President Obama dismantling America’s immigration enforcement system. It was posted on Breitbart on Feb 16:
Timeline: How the Obama Administration Bypassed Congress to Dismantle Immigration Enforcement
In September 2011, President Obama said, “We live in a democracy. You have to pass bills through the legislature, and then I can sign it.” Yet, since that time, and indeed before then, he has systematically voided existing laws and unilaterally created new measures that Congress has refused to adopt under either Democratic or Republican control.
Most recently, the President announced he would do what he once said only an “emperor” could do – grant unilateral amnesty, work permits, and access to government benefits to more than five million illegal immigrants. This unprecedented action, combined with new “enforcement priorities” for Department of Homeland Security personnel that exempt the vast majority of illegal immigrants from the threat of removal, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals directive, the “Morton” memos, and numerous other lesser-reported but far-reaching Executive actions, has threatened not only our constitutional system, but our national sovereignty. Indeed, the idea of national, sovereign borders is being daily eviscerated by the President’s determination to write his own immigration rules in defiance of Congress and the American people.
Below is a detailed timeline of how the Obama Administration systematically dismantled immigration enforcement, undermining the very rule of law upon which our nation was founded and upon which its greatness depends.
January 2009: Obama Administration Ends Worksite Enforcement Actions
In early 2009, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) executes a raid (initiated and planned under the Bush Administration) on an engine machine shop in Bellingham, Washington, detaining 28 illegal immigrants who were using fake Social Security numbers and identity documents. Shortly thereafter, pro-amnesty groups criticized the Administration for enforcing the law. An unnamed DHS official is quoted in the Washington Times as saying, “the Secretary is not happy about it and this is not her policy.” Instead of enforcing the law, the Secretary investigates the ICE agents for simply doing their duty. Esther Olavarria, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Homeland Security, says on a call with employers and pro-amnesty groups that “we’re not doing raids or audits under this administration.”
January 29, 2009: Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano Delays E-Verify Deadline
Former Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano delays the original deadlines for federal contractors to use the E-Verify system, from January 15, 2009, and February 20, 2009, to May 21, 2009. Continue reading this article
There are pieces of the hearing available through Congressmen’s website, but the whole thing is not, at least yet. Sometimes whole hearings show up on C-SPAN days later.
So here are a few hearing clips, starting with the opening statement of Judiciary Chair Bob Goodlatte. He posted a text version of his opening statement, which was a preview of the dreary facts to come. The President has used his imperial pen and phone very effectively to destroy immigration enforcement in this country, endangering both the citizens’ jobs and safety.
Chairman Goodlatte: When President Obama announced unilateral changes to our immigration laws with a wave of his “pen and cell phone” on November 20, 2014, he indicated that he would allow millions of unlawful and criminal aliens to evade immigration enforcement. He did this with the issuance of new so-called “priorities” for the apprehension, detention, and removal of aliens. Under the Obama Administration’s new enforcement priorities, broad categories of unlawful and criminal aliens will be immune from the law. This means that these removable aliens will be able to remain in the U.S. without the consequence of deportation. To make matters worse, even the most dangerous criminals and national security threats can cease being a “priority” for removal if there are undefined “compelling and exceptional factors.”
On the same date, President Obama effectively announced the end of Secure Communities. Despite the fact that the President claims he took action to prioritize immigration enforcement against criminal aliens, he is scrapping a tool that identifies criminal aliens booked in jails across the United States so that federal law enforcement officials can prioritize their removal. Secure Communities, created in 2008, is a simple and highly successful program to identify criminal aliens once arrested and jailed. It protects Americans from those who are a danger to their communities. (Continues)
I was pleased to hear a strong opening statement from Trey Gowdy, who at times has been rather squishy about illegal immigration. “A sovereign country should never apologize for having a secure border any more than this Congress or this capitol apologizes for having metal detectors at every single entrance,” he remarked — that’s what we want to hear from our elected representatives.
Congressman Lamar Smith was formerly the Judiciary Chair and knows the issue very well. A Jan. 30 press release emphasized protections for American workers.
Smith first questioned Sheriff Babeu and focused on the danger of releasing thousands of violent criminal aliens. The Sheriff specifically mentioned the Apolinar Altamirano case, where a previously arrested alien murdered a 21-year-old convenience store clerk, Grant Ronnebeck, in Mesa Arizona. The killer had kidnapped a woman and held her for a week, but the authorities allowed bond for a clearly dangerous foreigner and the result was a preventable death.
When Smith turned to Jessica Vaughan about the criminal recidivism, she responded, “What I’m told by ICE officials — and I’ve been told on a number of occasions — is that they believe, from their internal data, is there is a recidivism rate of about 50 percent of criminal aliens who are released by ICE.”
This is how much the administration cares about the safety of the American people.
Former Texas judge Louis Gohmert was particularly outraged about the idea of releasing criminals, 50 percent of whom will offend again, remarking, “As a judge when I was considering bail or bond that was a primary consideration, the likelihood of them returning and the public safety. I can’t imagine releasing somebody on a makeable bond if both sides agreed the defendant had a 50% chance of reoffending.”
Sheriff Clarke has become a popular guest on Fox News recently, presumably because of his plain-spoken voice for police issues and a ground-level view of law enforcement. At the hearing he critiqued the Holder Justice Department for its “almost hostility toward local law enforcement” both in “public statements made about the profession and policy decisions that treat police officers as adversaries instead of allies in the pursuit of justice.”
Senator Ted Cruz discussed prosecutorial discretion (Obama’s excuse for amnesties for five million) with legal scholar Turley, who thought any law could be shut down entirely under such a principle.
Senator Jeff Sessions spoke up for the separation of powers which means Congress must grow a spine and defend its rights from the President who would be King.
SESSIONS: I believe Congress has a duty to defend its legitimate constitutional power. It has several powers of its own. One of them is the power of the purse. One of them is the power of confirmations. I don’t see any need for this Congress to confirm somebody, be it the chief law enforcement officer of this nation who is at that table insisting that she intends to execute a policy that’s contrary to law and to what Congress desires and to what the American people desire, and says that someone here unlawfully is as much entitled to a job in this country as somebody who’s here lawfully is just beyond my comprehension. Are we through the looking glass? …
The real question is fundamental: What are we going to do to defend our Constitutional heritage? What will this Congress be able to say to subsequent Congresses if we acquiesce to these kind of activities? I think it has permanent ramifications for the relationship of the branches of government.
Regarding the confirmation of Loretta Lynch — who thinks “everyone in this country” has the right ro work “regardless of how they came here” — that process will take a little time. Judiciary Chair Charles Grassley appeared on C-SPAN this morning and said she would have to answer written questions over the next week or thereabouts, meaning there is no hurry to vote on her immediately.
So there is time to phone your Senators and mention that you think immigration should be legal, controlled and reduced.
Investigative reporter Sharyl Attkisson appeared on Fox News’ Media Buzz program on Sunday and had some interesting remarks about how the ebola epidemic is being reported — or rather suppressed by the government.
ATTKISSON: I called CDC not long ago and said how many active cases are being monitored in the United States of ebola and they said 1,400. I said, ‘Where is that on your website, these updates?‘ They said we’re not putting it on the web, so I think there an effort to control the message and to tamp it down. This is public information we have a right to and I think the media should not hype it, but should cover it.
I would be interested in more details, such as how many of the 1400 persons are visitors or immigrants from west Africa. Did Attkisson inquire about that? The President has the power to stop travel from infected nations to the US, but he would never block Africans to protect Americans from disease carriers like Ebola Tom (pictured).
As it happens, Sharyl Attkisson will be appearing live on C-SPAN’s viewer call-in program Washington Journal tomorrow morning (Tuesday). Perhaps some interested citizen will inquire further about the borders and sovereignty component of the ebola issue. (Contact info: email@example.com and @cspanwj)
I happened to catch the tail end of Yale’s November 14 “Conference on James Burnham’s Suicide of the West” on BookTV Sunday and was impressed by the speech of anti-jihad writer Ibn Warraq. His brief remarks managed to include a lot of insight about the nature of hostile Islam and its interplay with American foreign policy.
You can watch C-SPAN’s three-hour video of the conference online here. In the video below of one panel of speakers, Warraq begins speaking at 29 minutes in:
Following is the text version of the speech. In it, Warraq noted the similarity of Islam to communism in terms of its world-conquering ambition and the slow response of the West. He also emphasized that the behavior of hostile Muslims is based upon the Koran and other foundational scriptures, which is why the writings are frequently quoted by Muslims to justify their violent actions. (One example is Michael Adebolajo, the beheader of British soldier Lee Rigby, who named the Koran as grounds to murder non-Muslims.)
First, I should like to thank The William F. Buckley, Jr. Program at Yale for inviting me. I should also like to thank my friends and colleagues whose ideas have profoundly influenced what I am going to say today: Sebastian Gorka, Katherine Gorka, Robert Reilly, and Hugh Fitzgerald.
James Burnham’s book Suicide of the West is full of insights on US Foreign Policy, which I find relevant to this day. In fact one has only to substitute “Islam” for “communism” in many of his observations to realise their continuing pertinence. I shall limit myself to one of his observations from Chapter XII, Dialectic of Liberalism:
“The communists divide the world into “the zone of peace” and “the zone of war”. The zone of peace means the region that is already subject to communist rule; and the label signifies that within their region the communists will not permit any political tendency, violent or non-violent, whether purely internal or assisted from without, to challenge their rule. The “zone of war” is the region where communist rule is not yet, but in due course will be established; and within the zone of war the communists promote, assist and where possible lead political tendencies, violent or non-violent, democratic or revolutionary, that operate against non-communist rule. Clear enough, these definitions. You smash the Hungarian Freedom Fighters, and support Fidel Castro; you know where you are going.” Pp.227-228. The above could easily have been a dictionary definition of the Islamic doctrine of Jihad, and its notions of “Dar al-Islam” –the Zone of Peace, and Dar-al Harb –Zone of War”
Now onto my main points:
Our foreign policy should be guided by understanding and admitting the following realities:
1 We are engaged in a war of ideas, with our principal enemy: an ideology. An ideology that will not collapse out of economic incompetence.
2 The ideology of the terrorists is religiously based and derived from Islam and its founding texts, the Koran, hadith, and the sunna, and the history of the early caliphate.
3 One, but not the only, way we know this is because they tell us so. First , if you want to understand the enemy “Read what they say”. They constantly justify their acts with accurate and apt citations from the Koran and Hadith. They also refer to, among others, Sayyid Qutb’s work Milestones, Abdullah Azzam’s Defense of the Muslim Lands, S. K. Malik’s The Quranic Concept of Power, and Ayman Al-Zawahiri’s Knights Under the Prophet’s Banner. Some of the latter have doctorates from recognized Islamic universities, and to hear John Kerry trying to tell them their ideas have nothing to do with Islam is comical.
4 Islamic terrorism is not caused by “poverty, lack of education, sexual deprivation, psychological problems, or lack of economic opportunity..”, Western Imperialism, or Western decadence, or the Arab-Israeli conflict.
5 There are two kinds of Jihad: terrorism, and slow penetration of Western institutions subverting Western laws and customs from within.
6 Ignorance, naivety, arrogance, political correctness , sheer laziness, sentimentality, and Saudi, Qatari and Iranian money have led to Islamist successes in penetrating Western institutions, from the Voice of America, The Pentagon, CIA, FBI, DHS, PBS, to the universities and colleges where Islamic propaganda is shamelessly and openly disseminated.
7 While groups such as ISIS, al-Qaeda, and others are non-state actors, they are funded by states such as Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Iran. These three countries, for example, also provide the necessary Islamic support, framework, and propaganda that spews forth anti-Western and and anti-American hatred. They should be warned or face the consequences.
8 It is also important to point out that it is not something we have done that is impelling the Islamists. Constantly apologising, Mr President, is pointless; they will not like or respect you the more.
9 We must learn the lessons of the cold war, for there are striking similarities between the Islamist ideology and that of Soviet Russia [Cf B.Russell, Jules Monnerot, Maxime Rodinson]
10 Speak out in support of the Christians who are being persecuted, and being killed almost every day in Islamic countries. Profound importance of this act of solidarity not realised by many in West.
11 In order to succeed we need urgently to recover our civilizational self-confidence.
12 One way we can fight jihadist ideology is to undermine their certainties, and one can accomplish this with Koranic Criticism. In the West, Spinoza hastened the Enlightenment by his Biblical Criticism. Continue reading this article
Economic globalization has done terrible damage to this country in its twin manifestations: Outsourcing has removed entire industries to overseas havens of cheap labor, and immigration has lowered wages for businesses that couldn’t be shipped abroad.
We see the long-term effects particularly among the lower classes. A couple generations back, a young person with average skills could go directly from high school graduation to a job at a local manufacturing plant and have a nice life.
That’s nearly all gone, because of factories sent overseas with the government’s help via bogus trade deals like NAFTA that promised no job loss for the US. Later came the assurances that outsourced jobs would be replaced by tech occupations, but those have been largely globalized away as well.
In 2012, Pat Buchanan wrote, “the United States since 2000 has lost 6 million manufacturing jobs and 55,000 factories.”
PBS Newshour had a decent report August 20 (transcript):
NPR had a lengthier report which investigated some of the negotiations that went on between furniture executive John Bassett III and the US Commerce Dept because the Chinese furniture makers were dumping their products in the US, which is prohibited by the WTO: Continue reading this article
On April 15, 2013, two bombs went off near the finish line of the Boston Marathon, killing three and seriously injuring 264 including 14 persons losing limbs. It’s likely the casualty list would have been longer if not for the many medically trained people at the race finish who provided excellent first aid to the injured in the early minutes.
Another casualty was young MIT police officer Sean Collier, who was murdered later by Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev when the brothers were trying to escape.
We found that several red flags and warnings were missed. We found that Tamerlan was on the radar of the FBI and somehow dropped off. We found that Tamerlan travelled to Dagestan, known for its Chechen terrorists. This is precisely what the Russian letter warned our Intelligence Community and FBI about. He came back even more radicalized. We also found that unfortunately Customs, FBI, and the IC somehow missed it. Arrogantly, some US officials said “It would not have made a difference” if they had known about his overseas travel. We now know that a check of his public social media would have shown indicators such as Jihadists video postings. His Mosque had seen escalating behavior as well. It likely would have been clear that he was becoming more and more of a threat to the community.
Which takes me to me to my last point: State and Local police have a strong role in Counter Terrorism. They know the streets better than anybody and they know the local threats. The Boston Police Department should have been given more information throughout the entire process. They must know the terror threats in their own backyards. This process in my judgment has to change.
Meanwhile, the administration does not like the “T” word applied to its watch. Monday’s Statement by the President referred to the attack as a “tragedy” and emphasized the heroic response of Bostonians.
Robert Spencer reviewed the event and focused on FBI dereliction — even though the government allowing Muslim immigration to continue is the worst failure:
With the first anniversary of the Boston Marathon jihad bombings now here (April 15), the New York Times made yet another attempt to exonerate the Obama Administration of responsibility for one of its manifest failures, claiming that an inspector general’s report on the bombings was an “exoneration of the F.B.I.,” as it showed that “the Russian government declined to provide the F.B.I. with information about one of the Boston Marathon bombing suspects that would most likely have led to more extensive scrutiny of him at least two years before the attack.”
See? The bombing was all the fault of that scoundrel Putin. It had nothing to do with the FBI, because of fecklessness and political correctness, failing to act properly on information the Russians gave them.
Full disclosure: I used to give FBI agents and other law enforcement and military personnel training on the teachings of Islam about jihad warfare against and subjugation of non-Muslims, so that they would understand the motives and goals of those who have vowed to destroy the United States as a free society, and be better equipped to counter them. I provided this training free of charge, out of a sense of patriotic duty, and it was well received: I received certificates of appreciation from the United States Central Command and the Army’s Asymmetric Warfare Group.
But as I explain in detail in my book Arab Winter Comes to America, all that ended on October 19, 2011, when Islamic supremacist advocacy groups, many with ties to Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood, demanded that FBI counter-terror trainers (including me) and training materials that referred to Islam and jihad in connection with terrorism be discarded, and agents educated by them be retrained. John Brennan, then the U.S. Homeland Security Advisor and now the director of the CIA, readily agreed in a response that was written on White House stationery – thereby emphasizing how seriously the Obama Administration took this demand. Continue reading this article
On Saturday, BookTV broadcast a discussion from James Barrat, the author of “Our Final Invention.” (Watch.) He listed a few job categories that can now be done by a smart machine: sport writers, pharmacists, postal workers, bank tellers, travel agents, manufacturing and clerical workers. Barrat noted several occupations that will soon face machine competition, including medical diagnosis, driving, piloting airplanes, space exploration and software development.
Google Chairman Eric Schmidt spoke about Google’s bevy of recent robot acquisitions at the Oasis: The Montgomery Summit conference in Santa Monica, California, on Tuesday. “We’re experimenting with what automation will lead to. Robots will become omnipresent in our lives in a good way,” Schmidt said, according to a report from Bloomberg.
Schmidt went on to say that he thinks automated technology will “replace a lot of the repetitive behavior in our lives.” Robotics and artificial intelligence are two arenas that Google has been heavily investing in to stay ahead of the next big technological advancements.
“The biggest thing will be artificial intelligence,” Schmidt said, per Bloomberg. “Technology is evolving from asking a question to making a relevant recommendation. It will figure out things you care about and make recommendations. That’s possible with today’s technology.”
Google has been steadily collecting robotics and artificial intelligence companies over the past several months, leading the tech press to speculate widely about a dystopian future occupied by Google-designed robots. In December, Google purchased the robotics company Boston Dynamics, which has long been a Pentagon contractor and is known for building creepily animal-like robots. Boston Dynamics was the eighth robotics company Google purchased in the past six months. Continue reading this article
Young jihadist fellows can learn combat and bombing techniques when they volunteer to kill for Allah on the Syrian front. It’s not a bad thing when hostile Muslims are energetically blasting each other, but the survivors from Europe and the United States will have deadly new skills to employ when they return home.
Has anyone noticed yet that Muslim immigration in the name of total diversity has been a really bad idea? Not every Muslim is a murderous Soldier of Allah, but some are, so why admit any?
Fox News’ Greg Palkot reported on Tuesday that the number of fighters in Syria from America is estimated to be 70, but that’s nothing compared to the nearly 2,000 trained jihad killers who may head back to Europe after Syria is done.
One of the reasons this subject has come up has been intelligence hearings in the House and Senate in recent days. You can watch Tuesday’s House Intelligence Committee hearing Global Threats to the U.S. on C-SPAN that includes the new FBI Director Comey, as well as CIA Director Brennan and DNI Director Clapper.
For the second time in a week, the nation’s top intelligence chiefs Tuesday issued a scathing assessment of the global threats facing the United States, warning that Syria is becoming a base from which extremist, Al Qaeda-linked groups could attack the U.S.
“We are concerned about the use of Syrian territory by the Al Qaeda organization to recruit individuals and develop the capability to be able not just to carry out attacks inside of Syria, but also to use Syria as a launching pad,” said CIA Director John Brennan at a hearing before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.
“There are camps inside of both Iraq and Syria that are used by Al Qaeda to develop capabilities that are applicable, both in the theater, as well as beyond.”
Director of National Intelligence James Clapper put the threat assessment in stark terms: “Looking back over my more than half a century in intelligence, I have not experienced a time when we’ve been beset by more crises and threats around the globe,” he said. Continue reading this article
In the nation’s capital, hypocrisy is the universal sport, played enthusiastically by both parties in the Congress. However there are times when the craven political lies are so extreme as to make eyes roll back and heads explode from the shamelessness demonstrated.
One such was Thursday’s all-Democrat “hearing” to promote an extension of emergency unemployment benefits for American workers about to lose their checks. The purpose was to smack Republicans who want to end crazed overspending, and the Dems presented a theatrical tableau consisting of teary-eyed citizens telling their hard-luck stories.
At the same time, the Democrat loudmouths leading the “hearing” are the biggest advocates for amnesty for millions and a doubling of legal immigration — the worst policy imaginable for citizen employment. Far from being the friend of American workers, Democrats are their worst enemies. One example: ALL Senate Democrats voted for the loophole-ridden S.744 amnesty bill. That bill would be clearly harmful to US workers, since it would reduce average wages in America for 12 years and increase unemployment for 7 years, according to a CBO report.
The House Democrats ran true to form, and were more concerned with government benefits being spread around rather than improving the job-creation climate in the current economy, in which growth is tepid at best.
You can watch the entire presentation online through C-SPAN, although it is 90 minutes long with much headache-inducing political posturing: Long-Term Unemployment Benefits.
For a shorter sample, you can watch Nevada Congressman Stephen Horsford as he made a general statement about unemployment in his state, then addressed out-of-work electrician Stan Osnowitz:
“Stan, I want to ask you a specific question, because one sector that has been hardest hit in my state is the construction sector. And I have building trade workers and unions, like IBEW, and a lot of other trades that have been unemployed now for more than a year. And there really are no jobs in that sector coming back anytime soon in my community because of the sustained recession. The construction industry was our number two sector behind gaming. So it’s been hardest hit. So it is good to hear a union perspective. So I want to ask you, as a building trades worker, what about the quality of the job that you’re looking for? I mean you come from a sector with good, livable wages, good benefits with pension, and apprenticeship to come back and retrain. What happens to you if the jobs that they are trying to put you in don’t really provide for family-sustaining wages for you and your family?”
“As you sit out of work, you start questioning your ability to do a job. Your worth drops, your self-confidence drops, and it takes quite a bit to build it back up. It’s hard to be unemployed. I feel myself as a craftsman. I build. I enjoy building. I like to look back on what I built and say I did that. That’s my pride. When I don’t have that, when I don’t have a job, you feel worthless. It’s a feeling I don’t like. I’ve been in the trade 43 years. I have worked everything from bridges, to steel mills, to car plants, and I’ve always given the top, best job I could, and the quality is what my pride is and that’s what I try to give. To do anything else is unfulfilling. It doesn’t give you a feeling of worth. It doesn’t make you feel good. It’s hard to do something else, not after all of these years and all the training: the continuous training that we go under.”
As it happens, Nevada has had a huge influx of illegal alien labor into the construction industry. In 2003, house framer William Ennis described how his career was ruined: “I started out making $800 to $1,200 a week here for a 40-hour week. It got to where I was having to work seven days a week, 12 hours a day, just to make $600 a week. And that’s just in the past three or four years.”
In another screaming hypocrisy, Father Larry Snyder, the President of Catholic Charities USA, spoke at the hearing, remarking, “Our Catholic tradition teaches us that society acting through the government has a special obligation to consider first the needs of the poor and the vulnerable.”
Tuesday’s House hearing, The President’s Constitutional Duty to Faithfully Execute the Laws, was more gripping than a wonky examination of law might suggest. Constitutionalist Tea Party Republicans were in attendance, while the Democrat side of the dais was somewhat empty. Perhaps members of the President’s party didn’t want to be seen defending him, now that Obamacare has become the disaster without end.
The House is the branch of government most damaged by the “imperial President” (a phrase used by liberal Prof. Jonathan Turley in his testimony).
The opening statement of Chairman Bob Goodlatte was straightforward and specific.
Chairman Goodlatte: Today’s hearing is about the President’s role in our constitutional system.
Our system of government is a tripartite one, with each branch having certain defined functions delegated to it by the Constitution. The President is charged with executing the laws; the Congress with writing the laws; and the Judiciary with interpreting them.
The Obama Administration, however, has ignored the Constitution’s carefully balanced separation of powers and unilaterally granted itself the extra-constitutional authority to amend the laws and to waive or suspend their enforcement. [. . .]
From Obamacare to immigration, the current administration is picking and choosing which laws to enforce. But the Constitution does not confer upon the President the “executive authority” to disregard the separation of powers by unilaterally waiving, suspending, or revising the laws. It is a bedrock principle of constitutional law that the President must “faithfully execute” Acts of Congress. The President cannot refuse to enforce a law simply because he dislikes it. [. . .]
In place of the checks and balances established by the Constitution, President Obama has proclaimed that “I refuse to take ‘no’ for an answer” and that “where [Congress] won’t act, I will.” Throughout the Obama presidency we have seen a pattern: President Obama circumvents Congress when he doesn’t get his way.
For instance, while Congress is currently debating how to reform our immigration laws, the President effectively enacted the DREAM Act himself by ordering immigration officials to stop enforcing the immigration laws against certain unlawful immigrants. [. . .]
Also noteworthy was Congressman Trey Gowdy, the former prosecutor, who asked witnesses on the panel of lawyers, “If you can suspend mandatory minimum and immigration laws, why not election laws?” referring to the President.
Professor Turley expressed his deep concern with the slow-moving Constitutional crisis and its harm done to the House of Representatives:
TURLEY (starting 6.45): The great concern I have for this body is that it is not only being circumvented, but it is also being denied the ability to enforce its inherent powers. Many of these questions are not close in my view; the President is outside the line. But it has to go in front of a court and that court has to grant review, and that’s where we have the most serious Constitutional crisis I view in my lifetime. And that is, this body is becoming less and less relevant.
Iowa Congressman Steve King is not a lawyer, but he is well read on the Constitution. His questioning of Prof Turley brought another statement of concern about how this President is destroying the brilliant system created by the framers:
TURLEY (starting at 5.28): I have great trepidation of where we are headed, because we are creating a new system here – something that is not what was designed. We have a rising fourth branch in a system that was tripartite. The center of gravity is shifting and that makes it unstable. And ithin that system, you have the rise of an Uber-Presidency. There could be no greater danger for individual liberty. I really think that the Framers would be horrified by that shift, because everything they dedicated themselves to was creating political balance – and we’ve lost it.
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