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.