Thursday, July 31, 2014

Last Call For Rescue 9/11

Meanwhile, my local member of Congress (and Junior Rand Paul Fan Club President) GOP Rep. Thomas Massie has been using his powers of "I'm a Congressman, dammit!" to look over classified documents pertaining to the 9/11 attacks, and apparently he really wants to share.

U.S. Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Ky. on the Glenn Beck Program Tuesday said there will be "anger, frustration and embarrassment" if a classified 28-pages of an intelligence report on the 9/11 terrorist attacks are released to the public.

Massie, however, thinks the American public should be allowed to read the redacted 28-pages of the "Joint Inquiry into Intelligence Community Activities Before and After the Terrorist Attacks of September 11, 2001." 
Massie has co-sponsored a bill authored by Reps. Walter Jones, R-N.C., and Stephen Lynch, D-Mass., that would declassify the redacted pages. 
Massie has read the documents but can't reveal what's in them, he said in a press conference earlier this month. He said he was shepherded in a soundproof room to read the material and couldn't take notes. 
"It is sort of shocking when you read it," Massie said in the press conference. "As I read it, we all had our own experience, I had to stop every couple of pages and absorb and try to re-arrange my understanding of history for the past 13 years and the years leading up to that. It challenges you to re-think everything."

Well, or you could have paid attention to America's foreign policy before 9/11, and to the ridiculous failures of the Bush administration that preceded the attack.  It sounds like those 28 pages would deal primarily with the latter.

Amazingly enough, this is the least damaging thing Massie has done so far in representing myself and my fellow northern Kentuckians in Congress, and I'd like to see this legislation pass.  Challenging Americans to re-think everything since 9/11 seems like a very good plan.

Having said that, I'm supporting Massie's Democratic opponent in November, Peter Newberry.  Even though Newberry is pretty much a Tea Party Democrat, he's still a D, especially if he's willing to term limit himself out of a job so a real Democrat can run.

Border Line Sociopaths

Republicans have managed to get themselves trapped in their own "clever trap" for President Obama. America overwhelmingly wants the flood of kids from Central America coming over the border with Mexico to be treated as refugees and not as criminals, and as Greg Sargent points out, the GOP can't help but look like a pack of cartoon villains with their proposed House border fix bill, which would drastically cut the President's $3.7 billion request to help these kids into a mere $700 million.

Yet it’s unclear whether even this bill can pass the House, because conservatives such as Ted Cruz, Steve King, and Jeff Sessions are demanding that the measure include language blocking Obama’s program to defer deportation of the DREAMers. The Heritage Foundation has come out against the GOP proposal for the same reason, further dimming chances of passage. 
GOP leaders are resisting the inclusion of such language. But it needs to be stated once again that Cruz, King, and Sessions are not outliers in this debate. Broadly speaking, their position on this crisis — and on immigration in general – is the GOP position writ large

So there's a very good chance that the GOP will once again wreck their own bill, and sure enough Boehner wasn't able to pass it.

Republican leaders don’t want to include any measure against Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals in the current border plan because the politics are terrible. That would entail responding to a crisis involving migrating minors not just by expediting deportations (which the current GOP bill would do), but also by calling for still more deportations from the interior. But the GOP leadership’s position is only that they don’t want any anti-DACA language in their current response to the crisis. The GOP position writ large is still that we should deport all the DREAMers, block Obama from any further executive action to ease deportations, and not act in any way to legalize the 11 million. 
Remember: The House GOP already voted last year to end DACA. Meanwhile, Republicans are preparing to cast any future Obama action to ease deportations, no matter what it is, as out-of-control lawlessness and executive overreach, which is functionally equivalent to calling for maximum deportations from the interior. And they are heaping outright derision on the mere suggestion by Democrats that perhaps this crisis should be an occasion to revisit broader reform — yet another reminder that they won’t act to legalize the 11 million under any circumstances. So how, exactly, is this collection of positions, broadly speaking, any different from those of Cruz, King, Sessions, et. al.?

It's not.  If they pass the bill, they look like total scumbags.  If they don't pass the bill, they look like ineffective buffoons.  (Hint: they're both.)  We'll see how they get stuck in their own rhetoric this time, but no matter what the GOP does at this point, they've already lost the fight.

The GOP Has Already Lost The Lawsuit Battle

Wednesday, House Republicans voted along party lines to allow House Speaker John Boehner to sue President Obama.  Now they have to explain why they took this unprecedented step to stop a "runaway" President, while maintaining that impeachment is somehow a step too far.

The lawsuit gives Republicans the chance to go on offense and gin up their base by highlighting what they see as executive overreach. But that strategy is becoming more complicated as Democrats and White House officials argue the lawsuit is merely the first step in a broader battle against Obama that could result in impeachment proceedings.

“Republicans have a history of doing this. They shut down the government under [former Speaker Newt] Gingrich and then impeached the president. Now they’ve already done half of that,” Maryland Rep. Steny Hoyer, the minority whip, said this week. “The speaker has said things weren’t going to happen, and then days later they did happen and he changed his position.”

Republicans dismiss the impeachment talk, but the party is now in the awkward position of arguing that Obama is improperly exerting executive authority — but not in such a dramatic way that would warrant his removal from office.

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said on Wednesday that Obama’s executive orders do “not rise to the high crimes and misdemeanor level” to warrant impeachment proceedings. Boehner (R-Ohio) has dismissed the impeachment talk as a “scam” by Democrats to gin up their base ahead of the midterm elections.

So President Obama is somehow overstepping his Constitutional authority (which of course never happened during Bush's term, and would be the definition of a high crime in the Constitution as the President's oath of office is to swear to uphold it) but the Constitutional remedy that already exists for the legislative branch, impeachment, is not applicable.

This means the House has to in fact make up a brand new check/balance system by leaving the President open to a lawsuit, one authorized solely by one half of Congress, without giving the Senate any say in the matter.

Sure.  That sounds totally legit.

At what point does the Supreme Court realize that if this is allowed to continue, Presidents will be sued over every bill that passes that the opposition party dislikes?

Who knows.  But the GOP has seriously lost this entire battle.


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