Gun control in Chicago worked really well over the Independence Day holiday weekend as 82 people were shot and 14 were killed in multiple deadly gang rampages. More from the Chicago Tribune:
Five of the people were shot by police over 36 hours on Friday and Saturday, including two boys 14 and 16 who were killed when they allegedly refused to drop their guns.
Many of the long weekend's shootings were on the South Side, clustered in the Englewood, Roseland, Gresham and West Pullman neighborhoods that rank among the most violent in the city.
The victims ranged from the 14-year-boy shot by police in the Old Irving Park neighborhood to a 66-year-old woman grazed in the head as she walked up the steps of her porch on the Far South Side. Most victims were in their late teens and 20s.
Each night of the long holiday weekend, at least a dozen people were shot in the greatest burst of gun violence Chicago has seen this year.
Earlier this year, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy were accused of cooking the books on "plummeting" crime rates. In March, Emanuel proposed a series of new gun control laws, which include video recording every gun sale made at a dealership.
Under the leadership of Republican House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), the lower chamber is preparing to sue President Obama. The reason is simple: House Republicans are increasingly worried about what they consider to be an “imperial presidency.” That is, a chief executive who is trampling on the Constitution by re-writing (and refusing to enforce) laws duly passed by Congress. This lawsuit, they hope, will "compel President Obama to follow his oath."
From Speaker Boehner’s op-ed:
Every member of Congress swore an oath to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States. So did President Barack Obama.
But too often over the past five years, the President has circumvented the American people and their elected representatives through executive action, changing and creating his own laws, and excusing himself from enforcing statutes he is sworn to uphold -- at times even boasting about his willingness to do it, as if daring the American people to stop him.
That's why, later this month, we will bring legislation to the House floor that would authorize the House of Representatives to file suit in an effort to compel President Obama to follow his oath of office and faithfully execute the laws of our country.
Critics contend that suing the president is both a waste of time and money. They also argue that if one looks at the sheer number of executive actions the president has issued, he's actually exercised this right far fewer times than his predecessors. His actions therefore are hardly historical aberrations. But, not everyone finds this argument compelling.
Charles Krauthammer, for example, recently argued that the “breadth” and “scope” of the executive actions he’s issued far exceed his legal authority, and therefore a lawsuit is probably warranted:
“It's a completely irrelevant statistic. What matters is the breadth and the scope of each of these executive orders. Obama has essentially rewritten the laws on immigration, on drugs, and then he rewrites his own Affordable Care Act after it passes. You cannot do this.”
But is there any chance such legal action will be taken seriously? Doubtful. The New York Daily News published an op-ed last month explaining why, exactly, this kind of a lawsuit will almost certainly “go nowhere”:
The suit will go nowhere for three obvious reasons.
First, although the speaker has yet to name the actions he is challenging — itself a bad omen — the “faithful execution of the laws” is a more complicated matter than he suggests. Executing laws is not like following recipes. Those administrative initiatives that most rankle Republicans typically represent exercises of executive branch discretion that are at least arguably lawful under statutes Congress earlier enacted.
Second, Obama is the wrong defendant. Few of the initiatives about which Republicans complain are, legally speaking, presidential. The Affordable Care Act is implemented by the Departments of Health and Human Services and of the Treasury. The deferred deportation policy belongs to the Department of Homeland Security. And so on.
Third, and most glaring, is the problem of “standing.” Federal courts consider themselves constitutionally limited to resolving disputes on behalf of plaintiffs who have been injured — or who are threatened with some injury — in a particularized, concrete and personal way. They will not address what the Supreme Court calls “mere generalized grievances.”
Nevertheless, Republicans presumably anticipate this lawsuit will at least unite their party ahead of the 2014 midterm elections. We’ll see.
In the meantime, you can read the rest of Speaker Boehner’s op-ed here.
Richard G. Kopf is a federal judge in the U.S. District Court for the District of Nebraska. President George H. W. Bush nominated Kopf to the seat in 1992 and he served as chief judge from 1999-2004. While serving, Kopf has made headlines by often siding with "big abortion." It perhaps comes as no surprise, then, that this judge is disgusted with the Supreme Court's recent decision to grant Hobby Lobby its religious freedom.
Reacting to the justices' decision in Hobby Lobby v. Burwell on his blog, Kopf suggested that the average person probably views the current Supreme Court as "misogynistic," and that their decision to exempt Hobby Lobby from offering abortion-inducing drugs to their employees "looked stupid and smelled worse":
Next term is the time for the Supreme Court to go quiescent–this term and several past terms has proven that the Court is now causing more harm (division) to our democracy than good by deciding hot button cases that the Court has the power to avoid. As the kids says, it is time for the Court to stfu.***
In the past several years, Kopf has proved his immovable dedication to abortion. In 2007, he struck down a ban on late-term abortions by writing a lengthy 474-page opinion. How on earth could one defend abortion for almost 500 pages? But that's not the first time Kopf spent so long defending this life-ending procedure. He wrote a 269 page opinion in 2004 claiming that late-term abortion is sometimes "medically necessary" and that a ban would impose an "undue burden on women":
September 8, 2004: Judge Kopf issues a 269 page opinion finding the federal abortion ban unconstitutional on the grounds that it fails to provide a health exception and because it imposes an undue burden on women seeking abortions by banning some D&E procedures. Carhart v. Ashcroft, 331 F. Supp. 2d 805 (D. Neb. 2004). In his opinion, Judge Kopf comprehensively reviews the Congressional record and the evidence presented at trial. He concludes that the congressional record itself "proves that key Congressional Findings are unreasonable."
Performing an abortion on an unborn child past 20 weeks - the point at which they feel pain - as well as requiring Christian business owners to violate their religious consciences apparently don't fall under Kopf's definition of "unreasonable." Let's just be happy he's blogging and not deciding on the highest cases in the nation.
President Obama may have described the waves of tens of thousands of migrant families flooding the southern border as a "humanitarian crisis," but it is a humanitarian crisis entirely of his own creation and one which he could end tomorrow if he wanted to. The Los Angeles Times reports:
President Obama and his aides have repeatedly sought to dispel the rumors driving thousands of children and teens from Central America to cross the U.S. border each month with the expectation they will be given a permiso and allowed to stay.
But under the Obama administration, those reports have proved increasingly true.
The number of immigrants under 18 who were deported or turned away at ports of entry fell from 8,143 in 2008, the last year of the George W. Bush administration, to 1,669 last year, according to Immigration and Customs Enforcement data released under a Freedom of Information Act request.
Similarly, about 600 minors were ordered deported each year from nonborder states a decade ago. Ninety-five were deported last year, records show, even as a flood of unaccompanied minors from Central America — five times more than two years earlier — began pouring across the Southwest border.
This drop in deportations is driven entirely by policy decisions made by Obama. From 2010 through today, the Obama administration has released a series of memos directing Immigrations and Customs Enforcement officials not to enforce our nation's immigration laws.
Obama's June 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (which also gave certain illegal immigrants the ability to obtain a work permit, get a Social Security number, and apply for a driver’s license) is just the most public and promoted of these efforts.
In each of these cases, Obama has said his inherent enforcement powers as president, coupled with a lack of resources, allows him to pick and choose which immigration laws will actually be enforced.
Enter the 2008 William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act which requires border officials to send child migrants to the Department of Health and Human Services for processing. These migrants are also allowed to seek an asylum hearing before an immigration judge which takes time. Till then, most of the migrants are simply released in the United States and never sent home.
But not all migrants are taken in for processing. Again, from The Los Angeles Times:
Most of the minors are being held in Border Patrol stations in Texas and Arizona, and in emergency facilities set up by the Department of Health and Human Services on military bases and other sites. About 11,000, however, were from Mexico and were swiftly bused back across the border, as the law allows.
So Obama does have the capability to bus migrants back across the border. His administration is currently doing exactly that for Mexican migrants who illegally cross the border. But Obama is choosing not to bus back migrants form countries other than Mexico.
Yes, current immigration law as written does require ICE to process OTM migrants. But current immigration law also requires ICE to deport illegal immigrants found inside the United States. If Obama can ignore current immigration law on deportations, he can also ignore the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act. In other words, if Obama's DACA program and other lax immigration enforcement policies are legal, then it is also legal for him to turn away those migraines flooding the border today.
But Obama does not want to solve the current border crisis. He wants the crisis to get bigger so he can use it to force the Republican Congress to negotiate on immigration. That is why he is asking for a change to the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act. Obama believes that if he can get House Republicans to change that law, then Democrats can tack on their much larger amnesty to the bill when it goes through the Senate.
Republicans can not play Obama's selective enforcement game. Obama unilaterally rewrote immigration law into this crisis, he can unilaterally rewrite himself out of it.
Former Obama campaign fundraiser and current Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson made an appearance on Meet the Press over the weekend to talk about the ongoing unaccompanied minor crisis on the southern border with Mexico as thousands of children continue to travel north from countries like Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.
Despite multiple interviews with illegal immigrants revealing they were sent here knowing they wouldn't be turned away by the Obama administration and that if they had a relative already in the United States they'd be able to stay thanks to President Obama's executive action, Johnson tried to keep the Obama administration far away from taking responsibility for the problem.
"There are no free passes once you get here. DACA [Obama's deferred action program] is not available for these children," Johnson said.
When asked by host David Gregory how many illegal immigrants will have poured over the border by the end of 2014, Johnson refused to answer and said he believes they will "stem the tide." Further, Johnson refused to say whether unaccompanied children or small families here illegally will be deported.
"Are they going to be deported or not?" Gregory asked. "Will most of these children we see in this desperate situation stay in America or will they be returned to their homes in Central America?"
"There is a deportation proceeding that is commenced against illegal migrants, including children. We are looking at ways to create additional options for dealing with the children in particular," Johnson said.
Johnson also said the border is not open to illegal migration, but nothing has been done to bolster border security as a result of this crisis. In fact, the border is less secure now thanks to Border Patrol agents being tasked with paper work and babysitting instead of patrol.
Our nation, this generation, will lift the dark threat of violence from our people and our future. We will rally the world to this cause by our efforts, by our courage. We will not tire, we will not falter and we will not fail. - George W. Bush Sept. 20, 2001.
Today is George W. Bush's 68th birthday. A man who, according to his father, "faced the greatest challenge of any president since Abraham Lincoln.”
His presidency will be forever scarred by the Sept. 11 terrorist attack and the Iraq War. The media loved to label the Texan as uncouth and uneducated. There is even a Wikipedia page called "Bushism," which is dedicated to his unique use of the English language.
Just last week, however, Americans began to realize Bush might not have been all that bad. A Quinnipiac University National Poll found that more people now dislike President Obama than Bush.
President Barack Obama is the worst president since World War II, 33 percent of American voters say in a Quinnipiac University National Poll released today. Another 28 percent pick President George W. Bush.
Obama has been a better president than George W. Bush, 39 percent of voters say, while 40 percent say he is worse. Men say 43 - 36 percent that Obama is worse than Bush while women say 42 - 38 percent he is better. Obama is worse, Republicans say 79 - 7 percent and independent voters say 41 - 31 percent. Democrats say 78 - 4 percent that he is better.
The results must come as somewhat of a surprise to Bush — and Obama as well. Happy Birthday, George W.
While the Bureau of Labor Statistics' jobs report this week contained mostly good news, our economic statistics have been shaky over the past few months. A major downward revision to economic gowth has a report showing that the economy contracted by almost 3% last quarter.
It's possible that Obamacare is holding back the economy. Jared Meyer, policy analyst at Economics 21, wrote about how Obamacare's hurting economic growth:
The Employer Mandate. The Act originally required businesses with over 49 full-time equivalent employees to offer insurance that met government requirements by January 1, 2014, but President Obama has delayed the mandate. Once implemented, if employers decide not to offer coverage, they will face fines of $2,000 per worker (the first 30 workers are exempt). This penalty is effectively over $3,000 since it is not tax deductible. Going from 49 to 50 workers will cost a business an additional $60,000.
Disincentives to Work. Because of the maze of subsidies and penalties under Obamacare, University of Chicago economist Casey Mulligan finds up to 11 million low- and middle-income Americans lose money by taking a job or working more. These penalties and losses of subsidies act as effective taxes on full-time employment.
Declining Labor Force Participation. In February, CBO released a report that projected Obamacare will reduce U.S. employment by 2 million full-time workers by 2017. This number is expected to increase 2.5 million by 2024. Supporters of the law touted this decrease as beneficial but, as Charles Blahous pointed out on Economics21, this is terrible news for the economy.
This last point is backed up by this week's mostly-good jobs report: despite strong job growth, the labor force participation rate was mostly unchanged - and still very far off where we were before the 2008 recession. Obamacare disincentivizes work.
It’s no surprise that Democrats are using the Supreme Court’s decision to grant Hobby Lobby and their Christian owners exemption from Obamacare’s contraception mandate as political bait. “No more birth control!” War on women!” liberals cry, hoping this fear mongering will drive more single women to the polls. There's just one problem: This demographic doesn’t care about midterm elections.
In the NY Times’s own words:
But the challenge for Democrats is that many single women do not vote, especially in nonpresidential election years like this one. While voting declines across all group in midterm contests for Congress and lower offices, the drop-off is steepest for minorities and unmarried women. The result is a turnout that is older, whiter and more conservative than in presidential years.
This graphic better outlines the Democrat Party’s major issue:
So, why the consistently low turnout? Here's what Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi thinks,
“A lot of these are single moms, they’re young, and young people don’t know when there’s an election. It’ isn’t any lack of civic-mindedness. They’re just living their lives in a different way than, say, seniors are.”
Whatever the reason, this lack of political motivation among single women may mean a lack of Democrats in the Senate:
Single women, Democrats say, will determine whether they keep Senate seats in states including Alaska, Colorado, Iowa, Michigan and North Carolina — and with them, their Senate majority — and seize governorships in Florida, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, among other states.
So, cue the panic and cue the desperate “war on women” strategizing:
The party is using advanced data-gathering techniques to identify unmarried women, especially those who have voted in presidential elections but skipped midterms. By mail, online, phone and personal contact, Democrats and their allies are spreading the word about Republicans’ opposition in Washington — and state capitals like Raleigh — to pay equity, minimum wage and college-affordability legislation; abortion and contraception rights; Planned Parenthood; and education spending.
Unsurprisingly, Big Abortion has already thrown its hat in the political ring, especially in the state of North Carolina:
Emily’s List and Planned Parenthood’s action fund are heavily engaged, and they will spend $3 million each on their top priority: Ms. Hagan’s race here against the Republican Thom Tillis.
Democratic candidate Kay Hagan described her mobilization strategy as, “Heels on the ground.”
Isn't that considered...sexist? Equating girls with shoes? We know what happened in DC when those politically incorrect ads emerged on the metro.
But, desperate Democrats don’t care about hypocrisy and they don’t care about the truth, choosing instead to push their false narratives:
“The policy issues that unmarried women care about are legitimately under attack,” said Kelly Ward, executive director of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
No wonder so many single females are staying home instead of voting. Hopefully more women will choose to reject this nonsense.
On July 26, the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) is due to open the long-delayed Silver Line, which extends metro train service from DC to Reston, Va. As a result of this new (and controversial) line, service on the Blue Line will be reduced from seven trains an hour to only five--one train every 12 minutes. Dissatisfied Blue Line riders, having dealt with numerous fare increases and service cuts, have launched a petition urging the White House to do something to prevent this service cut.
"Thousands of riders take the Blue Line to and from work every day, but Metro is cutting their service to have just one train every 12 minutes," the petition reads. "This will cause a major inconvenience for the many people who rely on the Metro for their daily commute, while only providing minimal additional benefits to other riders in the system.
"After this change the Blue Line will be the only line in the DC Metro system without enhanced rush hour service," the petition continued. "We request that Metro respect the needs of the many Blue Line riders and stop the planned service cuts."
The Silver Line was built with $900 million from the federal government, in addition to money from other sources. It was scheduled to open in late 2013, but has experienced numerous delays.
A twitter account called @SaveTheBlueLine was launched recently to highlight the disparity between WMATA's treatment of the other five metro lines compared to the blue line. Blue Line riders will also have to pay "peak fare" prices during rush hour, despite no actual increase in service.
As someone who commutes using the Blue Line, I'm not thrilled about the planned service cuts. While I'll admit it's unlikely the White House will step in, it would be nice for something to be done to make my daily commute less of a hassle.
The illegal immigration problem at the Southwest border is worse than it has ever been—tens of thousands of unaccompanied minors are coming into the U.S. at unprecedented rates. Border Patrol is overwhelmed and lacking adequate resources to handle the influx, and the administration’s proposed solutions to stem the tide are underwhelming to say the least.
But the illegal immigration problem isn't new, of course. For the past several years we've been working on ways to fix the problem. The Senate passed a sweeping immigration reform bill last year, and now, Democrats, including Obama, are warning House Republicans that if they don't act soon, the president will act unilaterally.
Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly had Charles Krauthammer on the show this week to discuss immigration reform, and when asked how he would secure the border, Krauthammer had a simple solution: a fence.
Transcript via RCP:
BILL O'REILLY: How do you secure the border, Charles?
CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER: Alright, here's what I've been on for years. You start with a fence. It's very simple. People say, 'Oh, fences don't work. You make a ladder.' Well, then you build two fences, triple strand fences. San Diego did that in the mid 90's and within a decade, the illegal immigration rate at that point was reduced by 90% and people ended up going through other places like Arizona.
If fences don't work, why is there one around the White House? If they don't work, why is it that the Israeli fence which separate Israel from the West Bank has cut down terror attacks within Israel by 99%. Fences work. Yes, there are parts of the border where you can't have a fence, fine. So you don't have it in those areas and you do heavy patrols. But there is no reason why a rich country like us cannot put a fence across -- a double fence, a triple fence and patrol it all the time. That would have a tremendous impact.