Archive for Congress

Pushing Obama to the Brink

Oh boy. Now Boehner’s really gone and done it:

House Speaker John Boehner invited Afghan President Ashraf Ghani on Friday to address a joint meeting of Congress when he visits Washington next month.

“Americans and Afghans have worked together for years on a shared mission of bringing peace and security to the region,” Boehner’s office said in a statement. “This joint address presents an important opportunity to hear from the newly-elected president on how the United States can continue to work together to promote our shared goals and reaffirms our commitment to the Afghan people.”

The speech is set for March 25. Ghani will be the second Afghan president to address Congress. Former President Hamid Karzai appeared before a joint meeting of Congress on June 15, 2004.

We know how batsh*t crazy Obama gets when Speaker Boehner invites foreign leaders to address his coequal branch of government.

Stand back! Krakatoa’s gonna blow!

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Here’s Your Kippah, What’s Your Hurry?

Boy, the Democrats are laying it on pretty thick with Netanyahu.

At least someone is making him feel welcome:

As Democrats have grown increasingly vocal in their opposition to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s visit to Washington next month, Senate Republicans are laying out the welcome mat.

As one of the chamber’s final acts before members recess for a week, Sen. John Cornyn on Thursday introduced a resolution welcoming Netanyahu to the United States. The resolution was signed by 51 of the chamber’s Republican members and, initially, not a single Democrat. Cornyn said he would circulate a Dear Colleague letter later Thursday urging all 100 senators to sign onto the resolution.

“During this time of such great instability and danger in the Middle East, the United States should be unequivocal about our commitment to one of our closest and most important allies,” Cornyn said in a statement. “I hope all my colleagues will join me in welcoming Prime Minister Netanyahu to Washington so we can continue to work together to advance our common security interests.”

The Republicans’ gesture comes as Democrats in the House and Senate have grown increasingly critical of Netanyahu’s visit, which comes at the invitation of House Speaker John Boehner and without consultation with the administration. Several Democrats, particularly Congressional Black Caucus members, have talked about boycotting the speech, and the White House announced that Vice President Biden will not be able to attend due to a trip to South America. The trip has also become a huge source of controversy in Israel, as Netanyahu’s visit will come just weeks before he is up for reelection.

Rep. Charlie Rangel, D-N.Y., has been particularly outspoken on the matter, even making jokes at Netanyahu’s expense during the National Press Club Foundation dinner last week that left some Republican members squirming in their seats. “I cannot think of any reason as to why someone who differs with my president should be coming to my country, my Congress in order to—especially, when it’s preceding an election in a foreign country, as friendly as she might be,” Rangel said this week.

They don’t even pretend anymore it’s about a breach of protocol. It’s outright hatred. And why it’s a race issue is way beyond me. The Speaker of the House—an equal branch of government—extended the offer, and the Obama forces went ballistic.

So, what did Rangel say that made Republicans squirm?

Harlem Congressman Charlie Rangel on Wednesday joked about Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s upcoming speech to Congress, in a pretend phone call with the Israeli prime minister.

“Yeah, Bibi, yes, no, I’m speaking at the Press Club. Yes indeed. No, I did meet with the president. We had lunch today. No, I’m afraid your name never came up,” Rangel said in his mock phone call conversation at the Washington Press Club Foundation’s 71st Congressional Dinner, where members of Congress roast the media and each other.

“I don’t know what AIPAC told you but, listen, most of us really love Israel … but the one thing that doesn’t happen is you don’t come to our country, and our house, and criticize our president,” he said. “And so I would advise you check before you come because you don’t want to have this problem.”

He ended the fake call by saying, “Shalom you too.”

It wasn’t “shalom” he was saying, you bigot, it was “eat s**t”.

PS: Maybe some of you don’t find that offensive. But I had to search pretty hard to find it. If it’s cool, where was the reporting?

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OUTRAGE!!!

What an insult to the president!!!

Pope Francis will address a joint meeting of the House and Senate on Sept. 24, becoming the first pontiff to do so, House Speaker John Boehner said Thursday.

“We’re humbled that the Holy Father has accepted our invitation and certainly look forward to receiving his message on behalf of the American people,” Boehner, R-Ohio, told reporters.

When will the Democrats announce their boycott of this brazen breach of protocol?

Dozens of House Democrats are privately threatening to skip Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s March 3 speech to Congress, in which he will address ongoing negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program.

Boehner extended the invite to Netanyahu without first consulting the White House, something that has rubbed many lawmakers the wrong way.

It would be more accurate to say that it has rubbed the Obama regime the wrong way. But you go ahead and stay away in droves, Dems. It’s going to take a superhuman effort to so alienate American Jews that they would vote Republican, but I have faith that you are just the guys to do it!

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Vocab Lesson

Aggie and I employ our own lexicon on Obama, using words like doofus, dumbass, jug-eared fool, and a few that need **s.

But “peevish and callow potentate”—must look that one up!

Relations between Israel and the U.S. have been in crisis nearly from the moment President Obama stepped into office. Democratic support for Israel has been eroding for decades. It was the U.S. president, not the Israeli prime minister, who picked this fight.

The president collects hard favors from allies and repays them with neglect and derision. He is eager to accommodate the political needs of authoritarian leaders like Iran’s Hasan Rouhani but has no use for the political needs of elected leaders like Mr. Netanyahu. He believes that it is for other statesmen to stake their political lives and risk their national future for the sake of a moral principle—at least as Mr. Obama defines that principle. As for him, the only thing sacred is his own political convenience.

This is the mentality of a peevish and callow potentate. Not the least of the reasons Mr. Netanyahu must not give in to pressure to cancel his speech is that he could expect to get nothing out of it from the administration, while humiliating Mr. Boehner in the bargain.

Mr. Netanyahu also needs to speak because Congress deserves an unvarnished account of the choice to which Mr. Obama proposes to put Israel: either accede to continued diplomacy with Iran, and therefore its de facto nuclearization; or strike Iran militarily in defiance of the U.S. and Mr. Obama’s concordat with Tehran. A congressional vote in favor of Kirk-Menendez would at least make good on Mr. Obama’s unmet promise not to use talks as “an excuse for inaction.”

Above all, Mr. Netanyahu needs to speak because Israel cannot expect indefinite support from the U.S. if it acts like a fretful and obedient client to a cavalier American patron. The margin of Israel’s security is measured not by anyone’s love but by the respect of friends and enemies alike. By giving this speech, Mr. Netanyahu is demanding that respect. Irritating the president is a small price to pay for doing so.

Say it, Bret Stevens. Irritating the president is worth it all by itself. Israel’s security is a very happy byproduct.

PS: Obama is favored in this fight because he is—for worse—president of the United States. But I wouldn’t take Bibi for granted, sir.

And you’re lucky his brother ain’t around anymore to back him up.

So go ahead and play the badass, Mr. President. As long as it’s play.

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Bullsh**ter-in-Chief Calls Chickens**t. Again.

The Speaker of the House invites Bibi to address Congress—a great honor.

What’s it got to do with the First Narcissist?

The White House’s outrage over Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s plan to speak before Congress in March — a move he failed to coordinate with the administration — began to seep through the diplomatic cracks on Friday, with officials telling Haaretz the Israeli leader had “spat” in President Barack Obama’s face.

“We thought we’ve seen everything,” the newspaper quoted an unnamed senior US official as saying. “But Bibi managed to surprise even us.

“There are things you simply don’t do. He spat in our face publicly and that’s no way to behave. Netanyahu ought to remember that President Obama has a year and a half left to his presidency, and that there will be a price,” he said.

Officials in Washington said that the “chickenshit” epithet — with which an anonymous administration official branded Netanyahu several months ago — was mild compared to the language used in the White House when news of Netanyahu’s planned speech came in.

We apologize to our readers for the indecorous language spewing from the White House. We regret it more than you can ever know.

Now for something a little more civil:

“The Prime Minister is expected to arrive in the US at the beginning of March and will also participate in the AIPAC conference,” read a statement from the PMO. “The speech in front of both houses of Congress will give the prime minister the opportunity to thank President Barack Obama, Congress, and the American people for their support of Israel.

“I look forward to the opportunity to express before the joint session Israel’s vision for a joint effort to deal with [Islamist terrorism and Iran’s nuclear program], and to emphasize Israel’s commitment to the special bond between our two democracies,” Netanyahu said, according to the statement.

At least there’s one adult.

Meanwhile, back at the kids’ table:

US President Barack Obama will not meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu when he travels to Washington in early March.

The State Department said later Thursday that Secretary of State John Kerry would also not meet with Netanyahu during the trip.

They say it’s because of the Israeli elections. Fine.

It’s just that:

Leftist sources in Israel have decried Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s acceptance of an invitation extended by the US Congress and changing the date to two weeks before March 17 elections; likewise US President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry refused to meet Netanyahu, claiming a policy of not meeting foreign leaders close to elections.

However, just 19 years ago then-Prime Minister Shimon Peres visited the US to meet then-President Bill Clinton – a mere month before elections.

Peres’s visit at the time came on the background of his government’s inability to stop Arab terrorism, and Netanyahu was the head of the opposition then, accusing Peres of “manipulating” his close relations with Clinton to help his chances in the elections.

America’s most recent election was a thorough rejection of Obama and his politics. Not over Israel, primarily, but I think Netanyahu is smart to go over and around Obama.

Who was busy anyway:

Someone in there is the leader of the free world. I think it’s the broad with the green lipstick.

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Lost and Found

Lost: One Republic, 238 yrs old, fixer-upper; red, white, and blue; friendly, but do not abuse; answers to “America”.

Found: 30,000 emails (see above):

Up to 30,000 missing emails sent by former Internal Revenue Service official Lois Lerner have been recovered by the IRS inspector general, five months after they were deemed lost forever.

The U.S. Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) informed congressional staffers from several committees on Friday that the emails were found among hundreds of “disaster recovery tapes” that were used to back up the IRS email system.

“They just said it took them several weeks and some forensic effort to get these emails off these tapes,” a congressional aide told the Washington Examiner.

Just “weeks” and “effort”, huh? That’s all it took to recover the irrecoverable? On a Friday, the Friday before Thanksgiving week, no less? And they accuse us of cynicism!

The missing emails extend from 2009 to 2011, a period when Lerner headed the IRS’s exempt-organizations division. The emails were lost when Lerner’s computer crashed, IRS officials said earlier this year.

In June Koskinen told Congress the emails were probably lost for good because the disaster recovery tape holds onto the data for only six months. He said even if the IRS had sought the emails within the six-month period, it would have been a complicated and difficult process to produce them from the tapes.

The IRS also lost the emails of several other employees who worked under Lerner during that period.

Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., said the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee he chairs will be one of the committees that will examine the emails.

“Though it is unclear whether TIGTA has found all of the missing Lois Lerner e-mails, there may be significant information in this discovery,” Issa told the Examiner. “The Oversight Committee will be looking for information about her mindset and who she was communicating with outside the IRS during a critical period of time when the IRS was targeting conservative groups. This discovery also underscores the lack of cooperation Congress has received from the IRS. The agency first failed to disclose the loss to Congress and then tried to declare Lerner’s e-mails gone and lost forever. Once again it appears the IRS hasn’t been straight with Congress and the American people.”

I said the other day that Putin is to Obama as Obama is to Congress. Putin flouts the law, abuses norms, lies, justifies, and laughs in the face of argument or protest. Oh, did I write “Putin”? That’s Obama. Putin doesn’t even bother prevaricating; he just takes. It’s time for Ukraine—and Congress—to fight back. Edmund Burke: “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

In lieu of good men, we’ll just have to hope for the best from the Republicans—i.e. we’re hosed.

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Ripe for Impeachment

I’m not saying it’ll happen: impeachment is more a political act than a legal one.

But Andy McCarthy makes the case:

I drew on Faithless Execution in last weekend’s column and in a follow-up Corner post, positing that, short of credibly threatening impeachment, Congress and the courts can neither compel a president to enforce the laws nor stop him from using his plenary pardon authority to grant a sweeping amnesty. That gets Obama two-thirds of the prize he is pursuing — namely, several million aliens whose illegal status has been purged, put on the path to inevitable voting rights that will give Democrats an invincible electoral majority.

By calling on Congress to pass a bill to his liking, Obama has admitted he doesn’t have the authority to do this on his own. He has said exactly that several times over the years, as captured in a video we posted yesterday. By issuing this fiat, therefore, he will exceed his authority—by his own admission and reasoning. Either the proposed amnesty will have no validity; or, if he attempts to enforce it, he will be violating the Constitution. Again, he says so.

That may seem like a political impossibility—I am far from prepared to issue one of my Thirstradamus predictions—but it may become more possible over time:

Congress could, in theory, block the president from granting illegal immigrants legal status and other positive benefits (such as work permits) without impeaching him. To do this in reality, though, Congress would have to use its power of the purse. Translation: It would take the credible threat of a government shutdown to check the president’s lawless conferral of benefits.

Alas, that constitutional parry has already been disavowed by GOP congressional leadership.

Against this backdrop, I am gratified that Fox News’s Megyn Kelly and Charles Krauthammer have just given the topic of impeachment in the immigration context more of the serious consideration it deserves. Appearing on The Kelly File Thursday, Dr. Krauthammer asserted that the president’s anticipated amnesty decree for millions of illegal aliens “is an impeachable offense.”

He is plainly correct. As Faithless Execution elaborates, “high crimes and misdemeanors,” the Constitution’s trigger for impeachment, is a term of art for abuses of power that violate the president’s fiduciary obligations to the American people he serves, the constitutional system he takes an oath to preserve, and the laws whose faithful execution is his core duty. High crimes and misdemeanors are not — or at least, not necessarily — the same as “crimes” and “misdemeanors” prosecutable in the courts. Impeachment is a political remedy (i.e., the removal of political authority), not a legal one (i.e., the removal of liberty after criminal indictment and conviction).

A sweeping amnesty for millions of unrepentant lawbreakers that punishes American workers, imposes crushing burdens on the states, and betrays law-abiding aliens who comply with our immigration rules is not an indictable offense. Yet it is obviously an impeachable one. So is the failure to enforce the immigration laws. And the effort to award by executive decree benefits that only Congress has the power to grant is patently lawless and thus just as clearly impeachable.

Exactly. And, not to be tiresome, but Obama, the ex-Senior Lecturer in Constitutional Law, has said so himself, repeatedly.

The argument goes on, but let me peel off here to discuss the politics. Impeachment requires a majority vote in the House, one I believe would pass easily. The case then is handed over to the Senate for “trial”. To convict, two-thirds (67) of the Senators need to vote in favor. When the new Congress is seated, there will be 54 Republicans, all of whom (let’s say) will vote for impeachment. Can they convince 13 Democrats to go against the party (and the country) to join them? Almost certainly not.

Obama’s proposed decree is politically unpopular, as is he, and a few Dems will vote to impeach. But not enough. As McCarthy says, impeachment is a political act more than a legal one. And there are more than enough political hacks among the Democrats in the Senate to spare The Nation’s First African American President™ from the humiliation of impeachment.

So, is it worth it to proceed? Democrat pollster Pat Caddell described Obama as a “raging narcissist”. Such people do not slink away with their tails between their legs. He’s not bluffing. He doesn’t have to: he can do the math as well as I can (both of us having gone to the same university). I’m not sure I see the point in pursuing a strategy that has almost no chance of success at the end, will leave the offending act unchanged, and may be political overkill.

And I’d vote to impeach him faster than you can say “undocumented citizens”.

But I wonder if wielding the power of the purse might not be a better option, even if it does lead to a shutdown. The GOP feels it took the brunt of criticism for the last “shutdown” (slowdown, barely), yet it just won an historic election. Unlike impeachment, cutting off funds is, as this administration likes to say, a “time-limited, scope-limited” action. A specific remedy to an unpopular act.

I’d also take my chances in the Supreme Court, however this issue might come before them. Even there, the issue would be as much political as it would be legal. But I think a majority of Roberts, Alito, Scalia, Thomas, and Kennedy would rule that the Constitution is not the president’s napkin at a barbecue joint, to be soiled, wadded up, and thrown away whenever it suited him. On that, I would give my Thirstradamus guarantee.

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Lieawatha Up For Promotion

Deputy Assistant Chief, but it’s a tight race:

Senate Democratic leaders are considering adding Sen. Elizabeth Warren to their leadership team, according to a source familiar with the discussions.

The source wouldn’t say which position the Massachusetts liberal is under consideration for, but the four top leadership jobs are expected to be held by the senators currently holding them: Sen. Harry Reid of Nevada, Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois, Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York and Sen. Patty Murray of Washington.

One possible post would be the head of the steering committee, which helps dole out committee assignments to Democrats. That position is currently held by Sen. Mark Begich of Alaska, who lost his re-election bid, although he told reporters Wednesday night he won’t formally concede until every vote is counted.

It’s not like she hasn’t climbed to her prominent height over the bodies of the fallen—Ted Kennedy, the Cherokee Nation. What’s one dead Eskimo?

And how perfect that Exalted Cheekbones will be in a leadership position for the minority party. Today, the wigwam; tomorrow, the White House!

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Noli Me Tangere

At least somebody gets news from MSNBC!

Morning Joe host Joe Scarborough and Meet the Press moderator Chuck Todd appear to have a much better relationship with senior Democratic leaders than President Obama does.

“I actually had a senator–and it happens quite a few times where senators will call us saying, what are you hearing over at the White House? What are they thinking on this bill?” Scarborough said. “I’ll go, are you kidding me?”

“I’ve had those conversations…” Todd said.

The distance between the president and senior Democratic leaders on the Hill is not a recent development, Scarborough said.

“One of the things that we’ve all heard from so many people–and it wasn’t like six years in–it was like two months in from the most senior Democrats–senators, on the Hill–‘He never calls; he never talks to us,’” Scarborough said.

To be fair to the big-eared galoot, you didn’t want him anywhere near you the past six months. Now it’s all “he never writes, he never calls”. He’s your goddamn president, you told us how dreamy he was! You don’t like him, vote to impeach. Then we’ll know you’re serious. Otherwise, shut up.

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Who Ordered the Egg Salad?

Remember all the stories about how Obama never mixed with members of Congress? He didn’t schmooze or gladhand? He even avoided his cabinet, preferring the company of intimate insiders like Valerie Jarrett and…Valerie Jarrett.

This has got to be hard for him to swallow:

Obama invited the top four House and Senate leaders to each bring along their top three deputies to the lunch in the White House Old Family Dining Room.


That’s right, sir. You take a big ol’ bite out of that s**t sandwich.

Republican aides said before the lunch that House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) and Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who is in line to become Senate majority leader, would press Obama and Democratic leaders to support dozens of House-passed bills that they believe could be quickly approved next year when the new Congress convenes and could help jump-start the economy.

Boehner and McConnell were also expected to remind Obama — as they did in public this week — that he runs the risk of spoiling any attempt at bipartisan cooperation if he takes steps to overhaul the nation’s immigration laws by using his presidential executive authorities, aides said.

“Finding common ground is going to be hard work, but it will be even harder if the president isn’t willing to work with us,” Boehner told reporters Thursday at his post-election news conference. “I’ve told the president before, he needs to put politics aside and rebuild trust.”

Which president does he mean? Fillmore? Not this one, surely. The first words out of his mouth to Republicans after the inauguration were “I won.” He has ignored Congressional intent, abused his office, and conspired with fellow Democrats in Congress to ruin the traditions and rules of the legislative body. Rebuild trust? Work with you? If you bring a knife, John Boehner, he’s bringing a gun.

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BTL’s I-Told-You-So Moment

Remember October 6th?

Sure you do:

My point is that the pall of Obama is so long and dark (dog whistle!), any race (dog whistle!) in which a Republican is within four points (maybe five) is statistically tied. If I’m right, the GOP will pick up as many as 9 out of ten seats, and hold a 54-46 edge in the Senate.

As of this moment, the GOP has 52 seats, with three seats—Alaska, Louisiana, and Virginia—still in contention. Give me Alaska and Louisiana (the latter in a runoff), and I’ll take my victory lap. And if Jeanne Shaheen’s disgraceful, repugnant siccing of the IRS on American conservatives had been known for even 24 hours longer than the 12 hours it was, the GOP would have won another seat in New Hampshire.

But then my prediction would have suffered. Sorry, Scott Brown, but I’ll save a glass of champers for you.

PS: As the race seemed to tilt rightward in the last few weeks, Rush wondered how much of that was actually happening compared to how much was the polling agencies finally acknowledging what was the case all along. No one wants to be wrong, polling agencies least of all, and after serving Democrat interests for most of the campaign (by making the races appear close), they have to shift closer to the truth to save their reputations. Rush, right again.

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Benghazi Blues

Over at NRO, something is bothering Andy McCarthy’s mind—and mine:

Why Won’t Republicans Get to the Bottom of Benghazi?
It’s not just Democrats who don’t want a full public airing.

In the midst of Libya’s civil war, the United States government decided to switch sides — we went from support for the Qaddafi regime that had been regarded as a key counterterrorism ally to support for “rebels” who very much included the anti-American jihadists Qaddafi had been helping us track. That was not just an Obama-administration policy preference; it had strong support from prominent senior Republicans in Congress. The toppling of Qaddafi that resulted enabled jihadists to raid the regime’s arsenal. That has greatly benefitted both al-Qaeda and the Islamic State terrorists currently rampaging in Iraq, Syria, Libya, and much of northern Africa.

Meanwhile, the Obama administration, again with significant Republican support, decided to aid and abet Syrian “rebels” who, as in Libya, very much included anti-American jihadists. There is colorable suspicion that this assistance included the gathering up of arms in Libya for shipment to Syrian “rebels.” Abdelhakim Belhadj, the al-Qaeda operative who was Ambassador Stevens’s “rebel” point-man in Benghazi, was clearly involved in at least one major shipment of weapons that went to Syrian “rebels” — including to some of the jihadist groups the United States is now bombing. That shipment was coordinated by Turkey, a country with which Ambassador Stevens, Secretary Clinton, and President Obama worked closely — a country whose ambassador was the last diplomat Stevens met with in Benghazi before being killed.

There will be no accountability for the Benghazi massacre absent a full public airing of what the United States government was doing in that most dangerous of places: Setting up shop among anti-American jihadists and staying there like sitting ducks even as other countries and international organizations pulled out. What was the benefit? Trying to limit the damage caused by switching sides in Libya? Fueling a new jihadist threat in Syria and Iraq — the very one we are now struggling to quell?

In Washington, there seem to be a lot of people resistant to a full public airing of the policy. They may not all be Democrats.

Libya, Syria, Turkey, Obama, Clinton, Stevens…and Republicans?

I’m as partisan as the next man—more, much more—and I love to see Clinton twisting in the wind, but if that’s all Benghazi is to Republicans in Congress, shame on them. If Stevens was part of some shady, dirty operation, maybe he knew what he was in for. Maybe Sean Smith did too. But Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty died trying to save them. I’d say their sacrifice deserves a little more than cheap point-scoring, regardless of where the story leads.

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