Links for 2-28-2015

Links for 2-27-2015

  • Ben Domenech on the Eric Cartman presidency:

    Barack Obama is basically operating now without any congressional checks and balances whatsoever. There is the Judiciary and nothing else preventing him from doing anything he wants. And there is no reason to believe he will abide by court rulings. Federal law is such a thicket now, and litigation so complicated, that for every door the Courts choose to close, there are dozens of cracked-open windows the Executive can try to pry open. It’s a game of constitutional whack-a-mole, and by the time the court rulings come down, you have to deal with the consequences of the illegal steps the president has taken in the meantime.

    Imagine this scenario: what would happen if, tomorrow, President Obama seized control of the Internet, imposed a cap-and-trade scheme, opened the Southern borders, raised the minimum wage, and imposed ENDA through executive fiat? The country might lose its mind – temporarily, until the media assured everyone it was no big deal. But what would Congress do? What could it do? They’ve proven they won’t defund down the relevant agencies. They won’t impeach him. They probably would block Executive and lower-court nominations – though not to the degree of SCOTUS. All that would really happen is that private and state actors would sue him, and Republican leaders would do no more than hope the American people punish Democrats at the polls.

    There is a description for such a leader, but it is not a president: it is a monarch, a king who is unchecked by any legislature or bound by any commitment to the rule of law, divorced completely from constitutional limited government. What the Republican Party doesn’t grasp is that Obama is not an outlier – he is the fulfillment of what his backers want. On every assertion of extra-constitutional executive authority, the Democratic Party is on board with what the president is doing. And that is the real danger for the future.

  • An outspoken critic of Vladimir Putin, Boris Nemtsov, was murdered outside the Kremlin. Odd how that happens so frequently in Russia.

  • An American blogger named Avijit Roy was murdered by machete-wielding Islamists in Bangladesh. Roy was a vocal atheist, which earned him many death threats; the group that claimed responsibility for the attack said he was targeted because he was an American. His wife, Rafida Ahmed, was also attacked but survived.

  • The IRS inspector general is conducting a criminal investigation into how Lois Lerner's emails disappeared. People working for the inspector general have located hundreds of backup tapes with Lerner's emails on them. The people who work at the tape depository told the inspector general's representatives that no one from the IRS had asked for backup tapes containing Lerner's emails, which suggests the IRS knowingly lied when they told Congress that all of Lerner's emails were destroyed when her hard drive crashed — they hadn't bothered to look for them.

  • A Freedom of Information Act request filed by Judicial Watch turned up documents showing that then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was advised immediately that the Benghazi attack was a terrorist act. Less than two hours after the attack started, Clinton was advised that al Qaeda's local affiliate, Ansar al-Sharia, had claimed responsibility.

  • Henry Scanlon wrote an excellent description of what net neutrality really means:

    Make no mistake: the benign term “net neutrality” is camouflage for a far less innocent meaning: Government regulation of the Internet. (No, you don’t need to know the intricacies of Title II and all that, you just need to know that government will be assuming the power to run things.) You might think that’s a good thing, or you might think it’s a bad thing, or you might even think the government won’t screw around even when it has the power to do so, but before we can move on we need to be honest in calling it what it is: Essentially a governmental putsch of the Internet. Once we know what it is, you can decide whether you like it or not.

  • Under net neutrality rules, all carriers and content providers are supposed to be treated equally, but Google is more equal than others – they had the opportunity to shape the FCC's rules at the last minute. Meanwhile the public still hasn't seen the draft rules, let alone the final version.

  • Fox News profiled a Kurdish gunsmith in Irbil, who's extremely busy.

  • Mexican authorities captured the head of the Knights Templar Cartel, Servando “La Tuta” Gomez.

Links for 2-26-2015

Links for 2-25-2015

Links for 2-24-2015

Links for 2-23-2015

  • The Department of Justice appealed the district court injunction against President Obama’s amnesty by memo. In addition to the appeal filed with the Fifth Circuit, the DOJ asked the district court judge, Andrew Hanen, to stay his injunction while the appeal is considered. The logic behind the request to stay the injunction is completely disconnected from reality:

    The memorandum also contains two odd affidavits, one from Sarah Saldana, the director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and one from Gil Kerlikowske, the commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, that show what a Twilight Zone Obama’s top political appointees live in.

    Saldana bizarrely asserts that the order preventing the deferred action program from being implemented “interferes with the Federal Government’s comprehensive strategy for enforcing our immigration laws.” But as we all know, Obama’s “comprehensive strategy” is the exact opposite of “enforcing our immigration laws.” Judge Hanen agreed with the claims of the states in this case that “the Government has abandoned its duty to enforce the law. This assertion cannot be disputed.”

    Kerlikowske’s affidavit is also at odds with reality, given that he claims the injunction will impair the border patrol’s “ability to ensure that its limited enforcement resources are spent in the most effective and efficient way to safeguard national security, border security and public safety.” But Hanen pointed out that Kerlikowske’s agency has already entirely failed to secure the border, a failure that has “exacerbated illegal immigration into this country. In fact, it is information about the benefits of the president’s amnesty program that is leading to even more illegal immigrants being ”encouraged to come to the United States."

  • Eli Lake argues that the American military and the Iraqi government are setting themselves up to repeat past mistakes as they plan to retake Mosul from ISIS:

    So the situation is this: U.S. military leaders are openly talking about an imminent offensive on a city of more than a million residents who are widely distrustful of the Baghdad government; it’s unclear whether the projected front-line troops for the invasion are up to the task; there seems to be no comprehensive plan for what happens after the fighting stops. It’s enough to make one think the uncertainty over the time table isn’t the worst thing, if indeed a delay might help clarify some of these issues.

  • Kathryn Jean Lopez interviewed the author of a book on Coptic Christians, Samuel Tadros:

    LOPEZ: What can we learn from the witness of the Copts in Egypt — and these 21 who were murdered?

    TADROS: The last words from the mouths of the martyrs were “Jesus Christ.” We often read stories about early martyrs of the Church. We produce movies depicting their stories and lives, but nothing can capture it like the scene of men dying for their faith in their Savior and Redeemer. Sometimes we think of martyrs as being above human, as legendary figures who lived extraordinary lives, but these men were ordinary. They were men who lived normal lives, poor men who traveled to Libya to feed their families. Yet at the critical moment, they did not deny their Savior or run away from him. Pushed on their knees to be killed, they stood taller than their murderers. They stood tall for the whole world to watch what Christianity is all about.

  • A Manhattan jury found the Palestinian Authority and the PLO liable for supporting six terrorist attacks in Israel that killed 33 people and injured more than 450. The plaintiffs won $655.5 million in damages, which they plan to collect by seizing the Palestinian groups’ assets. The groups say they’ll appeal.

  • The Center for Immigration Studies revised upward its estimate of the number of “shadow” work permits the Obama administration has issued above and beyond what’s authorized by law. The approval rate for these work permits is off the charts – for example, 90% of illegal border crossers who applied were approved.

  • Secretary of State John Kerry appointed the first American “special envoy for the human rights of LGBT persons,” Randy Berry. Berry is currently consul general at the U.S. embassy in the Netherlands.

  • Russian media admitted that regular Russian troops, not “pro-Russian separatists,” defeated the Ukrainian army in Debaltseve. I’m starting to read more references to these camouflaged troops and proxies as “little green men.”

  • Jack Straw and Sir Malcolm Rifkind were caught in an influence peddling sting in the U.K. After the next election, Straw will be taking a job with one of the companies on whose behalf he lobbied.

Links for 2-22-2015