Issue XCVI

21 OCT 2016

National

06/27/2014

Republicans Plan Frivolous Law Suit Against Barack Obama’s Use of Executive Power

OPINION

After over fifty votes to repeal the Affordable Care Act the Republicans are in the need for another gimmick. John Boehner believes he has come up with a new one in suing Barack Obama for doing what he supported when Bush was president. Republicans are giving up their claimed opposition to frivolous law suits to sue Barack Obama for issuing Executive Orders despite the fact that Obama has used issues far fewer executive orders and signing statements than other recent president such as George Bush. As Paul Waldman wrote:

It’s irresistible to charge Republicans with hypocrisy, especially given the fact that they were unconcerned when the Bush administration pushed so vigorously at the limits of presidential power. Bush and his staff regularly ignored laws they preferred not to follow, often with the thinnest of justifications, whether it was claiming executive privilege to ignore congressional subpoenas or issuing 1,200 signing statements declaring the president’s intention to disregard certain parts of duly passed laws. (They pushed the limits of vice presidential power, too—Dick Cheney famously argued that since the vice president is also president of the Senate, he was a member of both the executive and legislative branches, yet actually a member of neither and thus not subject to either’s legal constraints. Seriously, he actually believed that.)

It is certainly hypocritical for Republicans to object to abuse of executive power after they backed Dick Cheney and George Bush’s claims on the Unitary Executive with virtually unlimited power. It is also notable that the problem stems from Republican abuses in the Congress which are responsible for the current gridlock which necessitates executive action.

This flip flop on executive orders includes Speaker Boehner personally:

President Obama has issued about 180 executive orders — a power that has been utilized by every president since George Washington except for the brief-tenured William Henry Harrison — and taken other executive actions. A Boehner spokesman denounced these as “a clear record of ignoring the American people’s elected representatives and exceeding his constitutional authority, which has dangerous implications for both our system of government and our economy.”

But Boehner embraced the power of a Republican president to take action,...


The dictator in the White House

OPINION

Imiss George W. Bush (291 executive orders). Hell, Ireally miss Ronald Reagan (381 executive orders). If we’re really getting wishful, I could go for good ole’ Dwight D. Eisenhower (484 executive orders) back in the White House.

Wait, what? All three of them issued more executive orders than Obama? Must be some liberal misinformation going on there. Stupid mainstream media. Just trying to hide the dirty laundry of this administration while scaring us all about “global warming”and our impending doom.

The truth, for those of you who love to hate the president for an array of reasons, is simple. He has issued executive orders at a pace slower than any president in decades. Per term, he’s on track to issue fewer orders than President Clinton, Bush Jr. and Bush Sr.

You can say he’s coming to get your guns – and for the record, Imyself have a FOID card and own firearms - that he’s out to turn this nation into a bunch of sissified commies and that he’s probably not even a real American. But you’d be wrong.

Leaders – if you can really call them that – like Boehner, McConnell and others in the GOP need to start spending their time coming up with solutions to America’s problems instead of remaining hellbent on making the Obama presidency the worst in history.

In the meantime, it’s hard to blame the president for using what executive orders he has to this point. In a Congress where deciding on lunch would likely be a partisan issue, he can’t sit idly by as the country slows to a standstill.

But, hey. If you want to move on from the tyranny he represents in Washington, you can always go back to talking about Benghazi and how liberals don’t care about any of it.



06/21/2014

Christie: Democratic Party is 'intolerant'

Natl1

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) encouraged social conservatives to be “pro-life for the whole life” in an expansive address at the Faith and Freedom Coalition’s “Road to the Majority” conference Friday.

It was his first stop during a day that resembled the presidential campaign Christie’s considering for 2016, even as alleged criminal indictments threaten to snuff out his ambition.

The outspoken blue-state governor waded into a lion’s den of sorts at the faith-based gathering in Washington, giving a 20-minute speech touting his fiscal record and sharing his views on abortion and foreign policy.

He emphasized the need for social conservatives to consider life after birth, a theme he often uses to rationalize education and drug sentencing reform.

“I believe if you’re pro-life, as I am, you need to be pro-life for the whole life,” he said, admitting that “sometimes being pro-life then is messy.”

Christie also warned that America pulling back from its role as a global leader is causing “catastrophic effects across the globe,” and knocked President Obama, without naming him, for a failure of vision.

He also hammered Democrats as the party that is "intolerant,” arguing that while the GOP has had pro-abortion rights figures speak at its party conference, Democrats have never had anti-abortion speakers at its own.

“Theirs is the party that is intolerant,” he said, drawing strong applause from the crowd.

“It is the other party that excludes differing ideas and not the Republican Party that excludes differing ideas on this issue,” he added.

Aside from scattered applause during his ruminations on defending life, attendees were more subdued for Christie than they had been for other conservative stars and potential presidential hopefuls that spoke before him, such as Sen. Ted Cruz (Texas) on Thursday and Rand Paul (Ky.) a half hour earlier.

Christie left the conference to do some work in his capacity as chairman of the Republican Governors’ Association, heading to to the first-in-the-nation primary state of New Hampshire to campaign and raise money for GOP gubernatorial candidate Walt Havenstein.

But he’ll be traveling under a cloud of scandal. Esquire magazine reported Friday that U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman is closing in on criminal indictments for four Christie associates tied to lane closures on the George Washington Bridge, a scandal that has dogged Christie for months and crippled his presidential prospects.

The magazine reports that former Port Authority of New York and New Jersey official David Wildstein, former Port Authority Deputy...


Chris Christie Falsely Claims Democrats Barred Anti-Abortion Speakers From Conventions

Natl2

WASHINGTON -- New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) introduced himself to a gathering of social conservatives Friday, making his first appearance at the Faith & Freedom Coalition's annual conference.

"I believe that every life is a gift of God that is precious and must be protected," he said, touting his anti-abortion position to the anti-abortion crowd at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, D.C.

But Christie misfired when he tried to portray the Democratic Party as the party of intolerance on the issue of abortion. He claimed that the Democratic National Committee has never allowed an anti-abortion Democrat to speak at the party's convention since the Supreme Court's 1973 Roe v. Wade decision:

Names like Colin Powell, Condoleezza Rice, Tom Ridge -- all Republicans who are pro-choice Republicans that have spoken at Republican National Conventions.

I said to a number of different reporters who have asked me this: Name me the one pro-life Democrat who has ever been able and allowed to speak at a Democratic National Convention since Roe v. Wade. Don't strain yourself, because there's never been one. Theirs is the party that's intolerant ...

We should no longer sit around and allow ourselves to be punching bags and have those phrases used about us when it is the other party that excludes different ideas and not the Republican Party that's excluding different ideas on this issue.

What Christie said is completely false. Not only is it not true, but he's been called out for using this talking point before. Christie made similar remarks in March at the Conservative Political Action Conference.

Democratic conventions have consistently had anti-abortion speakers. From a 2005 Media Matters article:

Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley, Sens. John Breaux (D-LA) and Howell Heflin (D-AL), and five other governors who opposed abortion rights did address the convention in 1992, as detailed in a September 16, 1996, article in The New Republic on the Casey myth. In addition, anti-abortion speakers have spoken at every Democratic convention since 1992, including Breaux in 1996 and 2000, former House Democratic Whip David Bonior (D-MI) in 1996 and 2000, and Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) in 2000 and 2004.

As FactCheck.org noted after Christie's CPAC remarks, Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.) -- whom The New York Times has called "the country's most prominent 'pro-life' Democrat"...



06/14/2014

Tea Party’s whiny tantrum: How a small group’s rage explains Eric Cantor’s demise

Natl1

Pundits are searching and stretching to divine meaning from Cantor's downfall — but the real explanation is simple

Last Tuesday was not supposed to be one of the most important days of Eric Cantor’s life. Defeating an amateur politician like David Brat — a professor of economics at Randolph-Macon College and an Ayn Rand enthusiast — in a low-turnout primary election is not usually the kind of thing a seasoned veteran like Cantor makes a point to remember. He was the House majority leader, after all, and he was relatively young and healthy to boot. Barring some unforeseeable catastrophe, his chances of becoming the first-ever Jewish speaker of the House were pretty darn good. For much of the past few months, worrying about Brat was probably not at the top of his list.

But then the results started coming in, and before anyone could even transition from shock to disbelief, the Associated Press had called it. David Brat had pulled off one of the biggest upsets in recent political history, and Eric Cantor’s political career was done. He announced his plan to resign as majority leader one day later.

In the rush of speculation and conjecture that followed Cantor’s defeat, pundits and politicos struggled to be the first to offer the definitive explanation for the surprise result. Surely it could not have been just another random phenomenon in a universe comprised of nothing but. There had to be a reason. And that reason’s profundity had to be roughly equivalent to the unexpectedness of the outcome itself. So Cantor lost because he wasn’t a libertarian; or because he was too libertarian; or because he was too much a politician; or because he wasn’t a politician enough. No matter the answer, its implications were universal, and its consequences were sweeping.

What was lost in the hubbub was the importance of a single number, one that is impressive at first but is rather tiny when placed in the proper context: 36,110. The number of voters who marked their ballot or pulled that lever for David Bart, the total group of people from which pundits in a land of well more than 300 million are trying to divine some revelatory socio-political secret. That’s less than 40,000 — around .01 percent of the entire U.S. population. A smaller figure than what used to be the norm for motor vehicle accident fatalities every year.

With that in mind, I’d say a little skepticism in response to anyone drawing overarching conclusions from Cantor’s defeat...


Emboldened House Conservatives Planning Next Steps

Conservatives emboldened by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor's astonishing loss to a tea party-backed upstart are pledging to capitalize on their newfound political strength.

That is setting up election-year struggles over Congress' most basic legislative responsibilities and erasing already slim hopes for ambitious bills on immigration and voting rights.

Cantor's presence in the leadership ranks had raised expectations of some congressional action this year on a GOP alternative to President Barack Obama's health care law, a business-friendly reauthorization of the Export-Import bank, a bipartisan voting rights measure and even some version of an immigration overhaul.

The Virginia Republican's primary defeat last Tuesday at the hands of immigration foe Dave Brat and his decision to step down as majority leader July 31 dashed any dimming prospects for far-reaching legislation. With control of Congress at stake in November, conservatives read the election results as a repudiation of any measure that might divide Republican ranks.

Establishment Republicans who have engaged in a struggle with tea party factions the past five years dismissed the crowing over Cantor's loss, arguing that he was the conservative's conservative in the leadership. Several Republicans insisted the internal party fights will continue.

If the GOP seizes control of the House and Senate in November, conservatives have high expectations for bold action and challenges to the lame-duck president in the year ahead of the 2016 White House race.

For now, with just 36 legislative days left in the House, lawmakers plan to do the bare minimum.

"The agenda's pretty well set — we've got to get a budget done before the 1st of October, appropriations bills, maybe some other VA legislation done, that's about all," said Rep. Phil Roe, R-Tenn.

With a Republican House that deeply distrusts Obama and a Democratic Senate, Congress has produced very little in a year and a half. Just 121 bills have become law. The previous two years produced a remarkably low 283 laws.

"I don't think the problem here is recalcitrant Republicans, I think it's actually recalcitrant Democrats and a president who's not very good at legislative dealmaking," said Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla.

In the chaotic aftermath of Cantor's loss, conservatives and more established Republicans scrambled for the sudden openings in the leadership ranks.

California Rep....



06/06/2014

Religious freedom law a focus in Milwaukee archdiocese's bankruptcy

Natl

CHICAGO (AP) — A lawsuit tied to the Archdiocese of Milwaukee's bankruptcy will go before the federal appeals court in Chicago on Monday, with judges hearing arguments in a case that experts say could make millions of dollars held in trust available to victims of clergy sexual abuse and impact other cases involving gay marriage, health care and religion.

Attorneys representing clergy sexual abuse victims have asked the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to reinstate a lawsuit seeking to have about $55 million in a cemetery trust fund made available to compensate their clients.

The trust fund has been a focal point of the Milwaukee archdiocese's increasingly bitter and contentious bankruptcy case. Sexual abuse victims believe New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan created the fund to hide money from them when he was archbishop of Milwaukee. Church leaders maintain creation of the trust was a mere formality because the money was donated to care for the archdiocese's cemeteries and always used for that purpose.

Hundreds of sexual abuse victims have filed bankruptcy claims against the archdiocese, and without the trust money, it has relatively few assets. A proposed bankruptcy reorganization plan would provide about $4 million to compensate about 125 victims, but it would give nothing to many more.

The Milwaukee case is unusual among church bankruptcies because of the large number of victims, as well as its length and a lack of insurance coverage, which has made it more difficult to settle, said John Manly, a California attorney who has represented clergy sexual abuse victims in other cases.

The archdiocese filed for bankruptcy in 2011, saying it would not have enough money if victims' lawsuits went against it. Dolan wrote a letter to the Vatican in 2007, recommending a trust as a way to provide "an improved protection of these funds from any legal claim and liability." The year before, the Milwaukee archdiocese had agreed to pay more than $16 million to settle with 10 California residents abused by two of its priests while they lived there.

Many other U.S. dioceses also have money in trust, but in most church bankruptcy cases, victims have been able to gain some access to that money, Manly said.


Should the dead get precedence over abuse victims?

OPINION

The dead in Milwaukee’s Catholic cemeteries rest in peace as they await Christ’s second coming. The living are less content. Hundreds of sexual abuse victims want the city’s bankrupt archdiocese to pay for their pain.

This Monday, a battle between the Milwaukee Archdiocese and victims filing bankruptcy claims reached the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago. Attorneys for the abuse victims demand money from the archdiocese’s $55 million cemetery trust fund. Archdiocese officials say that money belongs only to the buried.

New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan created the trust fund in 2007 while serving as Milwaukee’s archbishop. Sexual abuse victims filed claims to the fund last year, but U.S. District Judge Rudolph Randa dismissed the lawsuit in bankruptcy court.



Login