Archive for Congress

TRAITORS!

Well, aren’t they?

That’s what Republicans were called when they sounded off about the Obama regime’s secret deal with Iran:

A letter to President Obama signed by 367 members of Congress warns that lawmakers must be satisfied that any Iranian nuclear agreement must “foreclose any pathway to a bomb” before they lift sanctions against Tehran.

The letter, which was drafted in early March but released on Monday, warns Obama that “permanent sanctions relief from congressionally-mandated sanctions would require new legislation” from Congress.

“Congress must be convinced that its terms foreclose any pathway to a bomb, and only then will Congress be able to consider permanent sanctions relief,” reads the letter, led by Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-Calif.) and ranking member Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.).

Oh, so they’re not traitors because there are some Democrats among them.

Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) and 46 other senators sent a letter to Iran on March 9 warning it that Congress needed to have a role in approving any deal. White House officials blasted that letter, and have threatened to veto any legislation that comes before the talks are set to conclude on June 30.

Senators, however, appear poised to pounce on legislation after they return from recess, which runs between March 30 and April 10.

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) announced on Friday he would schedule a committee vote April 14 on a bill that would allow Congress 60 days to review any deal before its implementation.

Although the House letter does not mention specific legislation, it said, “we are prepared to evaluate any agreement to determine its long-term impact on the United States and our allies.”

“We remain hopeful that a diplomatic solution preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon may yet be reached, and we want to work with you to assure such a result,” it said.

The bomb that Netanyahu detonated in his speech before Congress is still claiming casualties. And then he has the nerve to win his election and form a government even more to the right than his previous one. The more Obama hates him, the better it seems to go for Bibi. Oh, when will golf season arrive?!

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Can Not! Can Too! Can Not!

I forgot one name on the list of people willing to stand up to Obama and give him what for: Tom Cotton.

BOB SCHIEFFER, FACE THE NATION: You heard what the secretary said, unprecedented, inappropriate, unthought-out, unconstitutionally wrong.

What were you trying to accomplish, Senator?

SEN. TOM COTTON (R-AR): Bob, I and 46 other senators are focused on stopping Iran from getting a nuclear weapon.

And we wanted to be crystal clear that Iran’s leaders got the message that, in our constitutional system, while the president negotiates deals, Congress has to approve them for them to be lasting and binding. And I have to say, I’m surprised by the secretary’s comments this morning, because just a few days ago, he testified before the Senate to say that any deal would not be legally binding.

And now he says that future Congresses can’t change a mere executive agreement if we disagree with them or if a future president disagrees with them? That’s not the way our constitutional system works. And it’s certainly not the way we should be negotiating with Iran.

But John Kerry’s got his fingers in his ears:

MARGARET BRENNAN, CBS NEWS: So, how do you clear the air? Are you going to apologize for this letter?

SECRETARY OF STATE JOHN KERRY: Not on your life. I’m not going to apologize for the — for an unconstitutional and unthought-out action by somebody who has been in the United States Senate for 60-some days.

That’s just inappropriate. I will explain very clearly that Congress does not have the right to change an executive agreement. Another president may have a different view about it. But, if we do our job correctly, all of these nations, they all have an interest in making sure this is in fact a proven peaceful program.

And it would be derelict if we allow some gaping hole in this program that doesn’t do so. But let’s see what it is first. And I think this applies to everybody, incidentally, who has been trying to judge this before, in fact, the deal, if it can be sealed, is sealed.

Executive agreement? Executive action? Obama can relieve himself in the Oval Office urinal, and that’s an executive action. Since when is a treaty with a hostile foreign power an “executive agreement”?

Can we get a little help here?

It is no secret that Barack Obama does not have much use for the United States Constitution. It is a governing plan for a free, self-determining people. Hence, it is littered with roadblocks against schemes to rule the people against their will. When it comes to our imperious president’s scheme to enable our enemy, Iran, to become a nuclear-weapons power — a scheme that falls somewhere between delusional and despicable, depending on your sense of Obama’s good faith — the salient barrier is that only Congress can make real law.

“Real law”, as opposed to the kind Obama makes up to suit his fanatical fancies.

This week, 47 perspicuous Republican senators suspected that the subject of congressional power just might have gotten short shrift in Team Obama’s negotiations with the mullahs. So they penned a letter on the subject to the regime in Tehran. The effort was led by Senator Tom Cotton (R., Ark.), who, after Harvard Law School, passed up community organizing for the life of a Bronze Star–awarded combat commander. As one might imagine, Cotton and Obama don’t see this Iran thing quite the same way.

Cheap shot. I thoroughly approve.

Evidently, writing the letter was not as noble as, say, Ted Kennedy’s canoodling with the Soviets, Nancy Pelosi’s dalliance with Assad, the Democratic party’s Bush-deranged jihad against the war in Iraq, or Senator Barack Obama’s own back-channel outreach to Iran during the 2008 campaign. Gone, like a deleted e-mail, were the good old days when dissent was patriotic.

Yet, as John Yoo observes, the Cotton letter was more akin to mailing Ayatollah Khamenei a copy of the Constitution. The senators explained that our Constitution requires congressional assent for international agreements to be legally binding. Thus, any “executive agreement” on nukes that they manage to strike with the appeaser-in-chief is unenforceable and likely to be revoked when he leaves office in 22 months.

By appealing to the Constitution, Cotton and the 46 other Republicans guaranteed that Obama and the ayatollahs would be united in opposition. Very clever, and prescient. Oh yes, add one more spoke to the Axis of Evil:

Clearly, Obama and the mullahs figure they can run the following stunt: We do not need another treaty approved by Congress because the United States has already ratified the U.N. charter and thus agreed to honor Security Council resolutions. We do not need new statutes because the Congress, in enacting Iran-sanctions legislation, explicitly gave the president the power to waive those sanctions. All we need is to have the Security Council issue a resolution that codifies Congress’s existing sanctions laws with Obama’s waiver. Other countries involved in the negotiations — including Germany, Russia, and China, which have increasingly lucrative trade with Iran — will then very publicly rely on the completed deal. The U.N. and its army of transnational-progressive bureaucrats and lawyers will deduce from this reliance a level of global consensus that incorporates the agreement into the hocus-pocus corpus of customary law. Maybe they’ll even get Justice Ginsburg to cite it glowingly in a Supreme Court ruling. Voila, we have a binding agreement — without any congressional input — that the United States is powerless to alter under international law.

The United States Senate is the bush leagues, the New York-Penn League of deliberative bodies, compared to the United Nations—which we do not elect, which no one elects (even the most criminal of states is an equal member). No wonder Obama appeals to them, and they to him.

His rampant lawlessness would be funny if it were just about naming the national songbird or changing the national anthem to “Never Going to Give You Up”. But it’s about stuff that matters: nationalized health care; betraying Israel; amnesty, work permits, and welfare benefits for illegal immigrants; and Article II, Section 2, Clause 2 of the United States Constitution. We need heroes like Cotton and Netanyahu to do their duties to their various constituencies.

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Skipping School

This is a list of the 53 democrats who won’t attend Netanyahu’s speech.

SENATE – 8 members

Sen. Al Franken (Minn.)

Sen. Martin Heinrich (N.M.)

Sen. Tim Kaine (Va.)

Sen. Patrick Leahy (Vt.)

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.)

Sen. Brian Schatz (Hawaii)

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.)

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (R.I.)

HOUSE – 45 members

Rep. Earl Blumenauer (Ore.)

Rep. Corrine Brown (Fla.)

Rep. G.K. Butterfield (N.C.)

Rep. Andre Carson (Ind.)

Rep. Joaquin Castro (Texas)

Rep. Katherine Clark (Mass.)

Rep. William Lacy Clay (Mo.)

Rep. James Clyburn (S.C.)

Rep. Steve Cohen (Tenn.)

Rep. John Conyers (Mich.)

Rep. Danny Davis (Ill.)

Rep. Peter DeFazio (Ore.)

Rep. Diana DeGette (Colo.)

Rep. Lloyd Doggett (Texas)

Rep. Donna Edwards (Md.)

Rep. Keith Ellison (Minn.)

Rep. Marcia Fudge (Ohio)

Rep. Raúl Grijalva (Ariz.)

Rep. Luis Gutiérrez (Ill.)

Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D.C.)

Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (Texas)

Rep. Marcy Kaptur (Ohio)

Rep. Barbara Lee (Calif.)

Rep. John Lewis (Ga.)

Rep. Dave Loebsack (Iowa)

Rep. Zoe Lofgren (Calif.)

Rep. Betty McCollum (Minn.)

Rep. Jim McDermott (Wash.)

Rep. Jim McGovern (Mass.)

Rep. Jerry McNerney (Calif.)

Rep. Gregory Meeks (N.Y.)

Rep. Glen Moore (Wis.)

Rep. Beto O’Rourke (Texas)

Rep. Donald Payne (N.J.)

Rep. Chellie Pingree (Maine)

Rep. David Price (N.C.)

Rep. Charles Rangel (N.Y.)

Rep. Cedric Richmond (La.)

Rep. Jan Schakowsky (Ill.)

Rep. Adam Smith (Wash.)

Rep. Bennie Thompson (Miss.)

Rep. Mike Thompson (Calif.)

Rep. John Yarmuth (Ky.)

Rep. Karen Bass (Calif.)

Rep. Chaka Fattah (Pa.)

It is a handy vote-against guide. I’m interested in the fact that Ed Markey is not on the list; Elizabeth Warren is. That probably means she will be our next President. Sorry, BTL, but it wouldn’t surprise me.

– Aggie

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Collateral Damage

I say Obama started it; maybe you say Bibi. Or Boeher.

Regardless, the casualty list is growing:

Untitled

A wall-to-wall array of Jewish groups condemned an ad accusing National Security Adviser Susan Rice of turning a blind eye to genocide.

“Susan Rice has a blind spot: Genocide,” said the ad appearing in Saturday’s New York Times, touting a talk on Iran this week in Washington hosted by Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, the New Jersey-based author and pro-Israel advocate.

As soon as the Sabbath ended, Jewish groups rushed to condemn the ad. The American Jewish Committee called it “revolting,” the Anti-Defamation League called it “spurious and perverse”, the Jewish Federations of North America called it “outrageous” and Josh Block, the president of The Israel Project, said it was “entirely inappropriate.”

Marshall Wittmann, the spokesman for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, which will host Rice on Monday at its annual conference, said, “Ad hominem attacks should have no place in our discourse.”

I get why they’re trying to distance themselves from the ad, even if I think the ad is valid. History teaches that Jews take the hit in time of conflict; these guys are ducking for cover. But this time is no different. Iran is frantically working toward an arsenal of nuclear weapons. The United States and Israel stand opposed (as does every Arab state, and most other nations in the world). Yet it is Israel and America who are fighting it out in the news.

I would say this is entirely how Iran intended it, and that would be true—but it would be less than half the story. This is how Obama intends it. This is his doing, and Susan Rice or Samantha Power or John Kerry are only his instruments. To his way of thinking, Israel and the US share one too many traits, colonialism most prominently. For the son of a Kenyan Marxist (and philanderer and alcoholic), that is unpardonable.

Dinesh D’Souza:

The climax of Obama’s narrative is when he goes to Kenya and weeps at his father’s grave. It is riveting: “When my tears were finally spent,” he writes, “I felt a calmness wash over me. I felt the circle finally close. I realized that who I was, what I cared about, was no longer just a matter of intellect or obligation, no longer a construct of words. I saw that my life in America–the black life, the white life, the sense of abandonment I’d felt as a boy, the frustration and hope I’d witnessed in Chicago–all of it was connected with this small piece of earth an ocean away, connected by more than the accident of a name or the color of my skin. The pain that I felt was my father’s pain.”

In an eerie conclusion, Obama writes that “I sat at my father’s grave and spoke to him through Africa’s red soil.” In a sense, through the earth itself, he communes with his father and receives his father’s spirit. Obama takes on his father’s struggle, not by recovering his body but by embracing his cause. He decides that where Obama Sr. failed, he will succeed. Obama Sr.’s hatred of the colonial system becomes Obama Jr.’s hatred; his botched attempt to set the world right defines his son’s objective. Through a kind of sacramental rite at the family tomb, the father’s struggle becomes the son’s birthright.

Colonialism today is a dead issue. No one cares about it except the man in the White House. He is the last anticolonial.

Obama may not want to “wipe Israel off the map”, as Iran does, but he would like to see it cut down to size. The era of European outposts in indigenous lands (as he sees the Zionist entity) is over. It is past time that the post-colonial powers redress the “legitimate grievances” (a phrase Obama even when talking about ISIS!) of those oppressed by the past, be they African or Arab, Sunni or Shiite. The so-called Palestinians may be an invented identity, squatting in historically Jewish lands, but in Obama’s eyes they are perfectly cast in the role of oppressed minority. He’s not alone in that way of thinking, of course—even Condoleezza Rice likened the so-called Palestinians to the civil rights strugglers of her youth.

Who is this upstart, then, to speak against his dearest held beliefs? This foreigner who speaks English almost as well as His Articulateness? (Better, I would argue, as Netanyahu’s rhetoric is grounded in military and political battle, while Obama has been handed every success, including the presidency, based on an invented autobiography written by Bill Ayers.) Obama may hate Netanyahu—he sure seems to—but this mess is more than about private beefs. It’s a profound dispute over civilization.

If Early Obama was about getting high, and Middle Obama was about getting elected, Late Obama is about getting even. We have seen his recent determination in domestic politics by legally questionable executive orders and actions that bypass Congress, rewriting legislation (often more than once) to fit his fancy. And we see it in matters of state by this fight he and he alone has picked with Netanyahu. Everyone else—Rice, Kerry, Power, Psaki, the CBC, everybody—merely projects Obama’s thoughts.

Again, while the enmity is personal and deep, it is also philosophical. Netanyahu speaks as leader of a country with religious, cultural, and historic ties to its land. Obama sees it as an anachronism. Netanyahu sees the mullahs and ayatollahs of Iran through the eyes of a people who have seen popes, emperors, cossacks, czars and obergrüppenführers sworn to their extinction. Obama sees their “legitimate grievances”.

Worse yet, Netanyahu will speak directly to the people. Obama is most successful when his guard-dog media savages anyone who rises against him. Netanyahu is his worst nightmare: someone who will have direct access to Americans, and speak to them in their own language. (Indeed, his Wikipedia article notes he still speaks English with the Philly accent he learned as a teenager.) And he will speak from the heart—not only his own, but his nation’s and his people’s.

America elected Obama, twice, and Jews make up barely 2% of the population. But America loves Israel anyway, more than Obama knows. Or maybe he does know, and that’s why he’s so scared.

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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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