Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Ted Cruz met with Jewish donors in NY City to uniformly positive reviews. Mort Zuckerman hosted lunch for Ted, Sheldon Adelson had 2 hr. private meeting with Ted-NY Observer, Kurson

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The biggest divide is not between Republicans and Democrats. The biggest divide is between career politicians in Washington of both parties and the American people.” Ted Cruz
 
11/24/14, "Sen. Ted Cruz, ’16 Presidential Hopeful, Woos New York Jewish Donors – UPDATED," NY Observer, Ken Kurson

"UPDATE: This story has been updated to reflect the correct location of the meeting between Mr. Cruz and Mr. Adelson, as well as a different characterization of the results of that meeting."

"Jewish life in New York is dominated by ritual. Holidays. A pastrami reuben on a hero at Katz’s. The reading of holy books in cycles that take a year (the Torah) or seven and a half years (the Talmud). And just as reliably, there’s the ritual of presidential candidates sniffing around for dough right after the midterm elections.

That last one got going in earnest yesterday and today, with Senator Ted Cruz of Texas making a whirlwind tour of power Jews in New York City.

Last night, Mort Klein’s Zionist Organization of America dinner featured Mr. Cruz, known for his steadfast and aggressive support of Israel, in a prominent speaking role. Attendees included Alan Dershowitz, Pastor John Hagee, and Home Depot founder Bernie Marcus. Those who made the scene at a fancy VIP pre-dinner buffet included billionaire Ira Rennert, Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann, former Westchester District Attorney Jeanine Pirro, Public Relations authority Ronn Torossian, Bernstein Global Wealth Management (and recent Observer subject) Jeff Wiesenfeld, plus Rabbis Avi Weiss and Shmuley Boteach. Reviews of Mr. Cruz were uniformly positive as many New York Jews got their first taste of the tea party darling and discovered, to the shock of some, that the Princeton-educated lawyer was rather well-spoken and engaging.

Today, there were some bigger surprises for the promising junior senator, who is widely understood to be considering a run for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016, including both the firepower and the political leanings of those from the Jewish community who made time for Mr. Cruz.


"The stop at Steinhardt Management CO capped a tour of influential Jewish donors."

The Observer can report that Mr. Cruz had a private two-hour meeting with the most highly sought-after donor of all. After sitting next to Sheldon Adelson, the billionaire owner of the Venetian casino who was the single largest donor to Republican causes in 2012, at Sunday night’s ZOA dinner, Mr. Cruz and Mr. Adelson met for two hours this morning at the St. Regis Hotel. While one source close to Mr. Adelson claimed the casino owner liked Mr. Cruz but found the senator “too right wing” and concluded he is a longshot to win the nomination, Mr. Adelson called the Observer after publication of this story to dispute that characterization of his reaction to Mr. Cruz. Mr. Adelson made clear to the Observer that he was the only person in the room with Mr. Cruz and thus the only one in a position to know how he felt about the Senator.

Another surprise is that Mort Zuckerman, the developer and owner of the New York Daily News who usually backs moderate Democrats, hosted Mr. Cruz for a lunch yesterday before the ZOA dinner.

And then a final surprise show of interest in a candidate who would perhaps have appeared outside the usual centrist spectrum of Jewish political giving. Michael Steinhardtthe investing legend and megaphilanthropist who chaired the same Democratic Leadership Council that catapulted Bill Clinton to the White Househosted Mr. Cruz at his investment firm’s office.

Jointly hosted by Mr. Boteach and Mr. Steinhardt, about a dozen heavy machers met for a private kosher lunch with the senator, including Perella Weinberg hedge fund manager Dan Arbess, NGN Capital’s Ken Abramowitz, and Edward Turen of Control Equity Group.

The Observer noted several attendees seemed to arrive with doubts similar to Mr. Adelson’s enthusiastically nodding assent as Mr. Cruz addressed questions on topics ranging from Israel to Harry Reid to his own electability in a possible 2016 presidential run.

Mr. Cruz poured himself a Diet Coke, removed his jacket, and jumped right in. “There are times in history that are inflections. Basic forks in the road that have far-reaching consequences. I think 2016 is going to be one of those elections.”

Mr. Boteach said, “You are arguably the strongest US Senator when it comes to Israel. But if you run, can you win? You’re seen as a champion of the tea party. And the media tends to caricature.”
Mr. Cruz replied, “Historically, the media has had two caricatures of Republicans. We are either stupid or evil.”

“Sometimes both!” volunteered one of the lunchers.

Mr. Cruz laughed and continued. “Reagan was stupid, according to the media. George W. Bush, Dan Quayle, stupid. Nixon was evil, Cheney was evil. I sort of take it as a backhanded compliment that they’ve invented a new caricature for me – crazy. At the end of the day, that caricature doesn’t trouble me because it’s fundamentally false. The American people have a history of making up their own minds.”

Mr. Cruz told the group that as groups who might be skeptical-like the one in this room-come to know him, doubts will be dispelled and stereotypes will be shattered.

And again, the Gipper comes up. “If you look back, in October of 1980, the American people were told Reagan was a wild-eyed cowboy who’s going to lead us into World War Three. People tuned in and watched the debate and said, ‘you know what? I agree with that guy.'”

As the crowd pressed, Mr. Cruz surprised at least some in the room with a proclamation.

“I don’t think I’m all that conservative. And it’s interesting. Reagan never once beat his chest and said ‘I’m the most conservative guy who ever lived.’ Reagan said, I’m defending common sense principles—small businesses, small towns.'”

Mr. Cruz addressed the sad state of politics in Washington with some eloquence. “The biggest divide is not between Republicans and Democrats. The biggest divide is between career politicians in Washington of both parties and the American people.”

When it came to Israel and the US, Mr. Steinhardt reflected the concern dominating the room. “On some levels, things are good. The U.S. Stock market at an all-time high, real estate in New York is near that, the art market is insane. But what is not wonderful is the mood. I’m not sure I have an answer. The two-state solution looks remote. And if that doesn’t happen, what is going to happen?”

The senator made his living litigating before the Supreme Court before heading to Washington. So he knew how to play to the room with appropriate outrage about the Obama administration’s perceived deficits on the Jewish state. For example, he cited a case in which a Jewish family wants to list “Jerusalem, Israel” on its son’s passport. Deploying a mindboggling analogy before the highest court, the Soliciter General likened Israel’s claim over Jerusalem to Russia’s claim on Crimea.

From the 34th Floor of Mr. Steinhardt’s 5th Avenue office, Mr. Cruz thundered, “That is a grotesque and offensive analogy. This administration has been the most antagonistic toward Israel in memory.” 

He also said, “Standing for Israel is a deep passion of mine. But it’s also a manifestation of a basic principle that if I say I’m with you I’m really with you.”

And then Mr. Cruz, whose parents were both mathematicians, gave the crowd what it wanted by delving into some “path to victory” stuff. And threw in a cheeky anecdote.

“Look at recent elections—2004, which is the last time Republicans won. Yes, demography matters. I got 40% of the Hispanic vote in Texas at the exact same time Romney was getting 27% nationwide. But the biggest difference are the millions of conservatives who showed up in ’04 and stayed home in ’08 and ’12. An awful lot of them are working-class voters who frankly are getting screwed. Blue-collar voters who are getting hammered. Last night at the hotel, I went up to my room with a buddy of mine, we ordered a couple glasses of wine from room service. The waiter came up, a Puerto Rican waiter in New york. He walked in and said, ‘Senator, I fricking love you, you gotta run in ’16.’ A Puerto Rican waiter in New York!”

Jerry Levin, past president of the UJA, revealed that he is not only a “born Texan” but a “born conservative.” He came right to the point: “How can you win? Can we help you? Is there a plan?”

“In this last election [the Democrats] chose between two traditional children of the Democratic party.

They chose between California environmentalist billionaires and the jobs of union members. We just had a vote on the Keystone pipeline, where Harry Reid threw Mary Landrieu under the bus, and said, ‘I’m happy to have you lose your seat ’cause I ain’t willing to give up the $100 million Tom Steyer is giving to Senate Democrats.’ You want to talk about millions of blue-collar workers who are getting screwed? Republicans should be the party fighting for the dignity of work. There’s incredible potential there.”

Lots of nodding, some note-taking, and then Mr. Cruz got specific.

“In my view, Hillary will be the Democratic nominee. And I think Hillary is every bit as radical as Obama is. I don’t think Bill is, I think Bill is genuinely more moderate. But I think Hillary is. So how does a Republican win in 2016? Einstein famously said the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. If you look at the field in 2016, it’s going to be crowded field, there could be a dozen, there could be fifteen. There’s one bucket that, for lack of a better word, I’ll call the ‘moderate establishment’ bucket. It’ll be some combination of Chris Christie, Jeb Bush and Mitt Romney. My guess is two of the three will run. And my view is whoever’s in that bucket will raise tons of money. A lot of donors will rush to write them checks. 

And yet if the nominee comes from that bucket, the same voters who stayed home in 2008 and 2012 will stay home again and Hillary’s the winner.”

And then, one final invocation of Morning in America, and it was time for a roomful of very powerful men (and two or three women) to get back to work.

“Where we are today is very much like the late 1970s. The parallels between Obama and Carter are uncanny—same failed economic policy, same disastrous foreign policy. And I think ’16 will be like 1980. The way Reagan won was not by blurring the differences. He drew a line in the sand and with a positive, optimistic hopeful vision said we can get back to the principles that made America great. That’s how we win and that’s how we energize the people who are feeling dispirited.”

It was a whirlwind tour for a politician who has yet to turn 44. And somehow, Mr. Cruz wedged in time at the very end to meet with Elie Wiesel. One gets the sense that New York City has not seen the last of this ambitious Texas Republican."

image above from NY Observer

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Ed. note: The big white patch behind part of this post is vandalism by my longtime hackers. 





Demented New Yorker Magazine cover on Obama 2008 election whispers: 'We have our country back...safe and sound,' 'whispers to the tribe,' Time

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11/17/2008, Cover of New Yorker Magazine after Obama's election

Delusional Time.com notes:  "Why is the cover great? It doesn't do a victory dance. Rather, it whispers to the reader (the tribe): "Everything's okay now — we have our country back." 

It's set at night, a time when creepy things happen, but also a time 

when people sleep, safe and sound.  

It is beautifully rendered. Simply spectacular."  

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NY Times: Obama invited Ferguson protest leaders to White House on Wed., Nov. 5, day after midterms, urged them to "stay on course". The meeting didn't appear on Obama's White House schedule:

11/16/14, "In Ferguson, Tactics Set for Grand Jury Decision in Michael Brown Case," NY Times, John Eligon, Julie Bosman, Monica Davey
(5th parag. from end): "At times, there has been a split between national civil rights leaders and the younger leaders here, who see their efforts as more immediate, less passive than an older generation’s....

Some of the national leaders met with President Obama on Nov. 5 for a gathering that included a conversation about Ferguson.

According to the Rev. Al Sharpton, who has appeared frequently in St. Louis with the Brown family and delivered a speech at Mr. Brown’s funeral, Mr. Obama “was concerned 

about Ferguson staying on course  

in terms of pursuing what it was that he knew we were advocating. He said he hopes that we’re doing all we can to keep peace.”"...
 
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Rioters "staying on course:"

11/25/14, "Ferguson Update 2014: Riots Show Instability In US, Russian Diplomat Says," ibtimes, Maria Vultaggio










 














Above photos from Ferguson, Missouri, 11/24/14, by Reuters


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Obama historic CO2 partner is the last with whom a normal human being would choose to associate unless they had a death wish: 'China coal mines are among world's deadliest due to lax regulation, corruption, poor operating procedures, safety often neglected-AFP

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11/25/14, "Coal mine fire kills 24 in China: Xinhua," AFP via UK Daily Mail

"A fire at a Chinese coal mine killed 24 workers early Wednesday, state media reported, the latest fatal incident to hit the accident-prone industry.

The blaze at the mine in Liaoning province, in the northeast, also left 52 people injured, the official Xinhua news agency said, quoting the state-owned Fuxin Coal Corporation.

Initial investigation showed that coal dust in a shaft was ignited shortly after a weak earthquake with a magnitude of just 1.6 hit the mine, said the report.

Rescue operations had been completed, it added, and production had been suspended for safety checks.

The mine went into operation in 1987 and has an annual production capacity of 1.5 million tonnes, with a total of 4,660 employees, Xinhua said.

China's mines are among the world's deadliest because of lax regulation, corruption and poor operating procedures. Safety is often neglected by bosses seeking easy profits and accidents are common.

Last year, the country recorded 589 mining-related accidents, which left 1,049 people dead or missing, according to the government.


Both the number of accidents and fatalities were down more than 24 percent from 2012.

But labour rights groups have said the actual death toll is likely to be much higher than official data, partly due to under-reporting of accidents as mine bosses seek to limit their economic losses and avoid punishment.

Authorities have sought to shut down small mines, a major source of accidents, in an effort to consolidate the industry.

The government plans to close more than 2,000 small coal mines by the end of next year, Xinhua reported in July.


Fuxin Coal is large miner owned by the state, where safety measures are meant to be more strictly implemented, but has seen incidents in the past.

In a major accident in February 2005, 214 people were killed and another 30 injured in a gas explosion at another of the company's mines.

Last year, eight workers died in a gas leak at a separate facility. Multiple coal mine accidents have been reported this year.

In June 22 people were killed in an accident at a coal mine in the southwestern city of Chongqing.

And 20 people died in April when a coal mine in southwest Yunnan province suddenly flooded, leaving miners trapped.

China is the world's biggest consumer of coal, relying on the fossil fuel for 65.7 percent of its energy needs last year, Xinhua reported previously."





Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Democrat Senator Chuck Schumer says Democrats made a mistake passing ObamaCare in 2010. Put all focus on wrong problem amid recession, should've focused on helping middle class. Spoke at Nat. Press Club-Bloomberg

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11/25/14, "Schumer Says Democrats Erred by Passing Health Care in 2010," Bloomberg, Kathleen Hunter

"Democrats made a mistake by passing President Barack Obama’s health-care law in 2010 instead of focusing more directly on helping the middle class, third-ranking U.S. Senate Democrat Charles Schumer said today.

Unfortunately, Democrats blew the opportunity the American people gave them” in electing Obama and a Democratic Congress in 2008 amid a recession, “We took their mandate and put all our focus on the wrong problem -- health care reform.” Schumer of New York said in a speech in Washington. 

Schumer said Democrats should have addressed issues aiding the middle class to build confidence among voters before turning to revamping the health-care system. He said he opposed the timing of the health-care vote and was overruled by other party members. 

“The plight of uninsured Americans and the hardships created by unfair insurance company practices certainly needed to be addressed,” the senator said. But it wasn’t the change we were hired to make” in the 2008 election

Schumer’s comments represent an unusual public intra-party critique of the way Obama’s signature legislative achievement was enacted. The senator spoke at the National Press Club to analyze the results of this month’s election, when Republicans took control of the Senate and increased their majority in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Democrats’ pro-government posture “has the natural high political ground” when the middle class is frustrated as voters were before this month’s congressional election, Schumer said. At the same time, he said, Republicans were encouraging distrust toward government. 

“That doesn’t mean we always win,” he cautioned. “When we don’t present a coherent, believable pro-government plan and message -- when we allow government to mess up--we can easily lose.”
To win in 2016, “Democrats must embrace government, not run away from it,” Schumer said. Voter discontent will continue until one of the political parties convinces middle-class Americans that it has an agenda for helping them, he said." via Free Rep.





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TV anchors met secretly with Ferguson officer who shot Michael Brown, Darren Wilson's reps. decided to arrange off the record meetings with '60 Minutes' and others-CNN, Stelter

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"The police officer's representatives decided to arrange meetings with people from "60 Minutes" and people from several other networks."...
 
11/23/14, "Exclusive: Why TV anchors met secretly with Ferguson officer who shot Michael Brown," CNN,

Practically every journalist covering the death of Michael Brown would like to interview Darren Wilson, the police officer who shot and killed Brown.

In the pursuit of that interview, several high-profile television anchors have secretly met with Wilson, according to sources at several TV networks. All of the meetings were off the record, meaning the anchors could not describe what was said.

These meetings are a normal part of the TV guest booking process, but they're significant in this case because Wilson has not been seen in public since Brown's death in Ferguson, Missouri on August 9. 

Among the anchors who have met with Wilson are Matt Lauer of NBC, George Stephanopoulos of ABC, Scott Pelley of CBS, and Anderson Cooper and Don Lemon of CNN. 

It is unclear if Wilson, through his representatives, has agreed to be interviewed by any of the journalists. 

Shortly after I named the anchors on my CNN media program "Reliable Sources" on Sunday morning, something happened that I was not expecting: Cooper and Lemon confirmed on Twitter that the meetings had taken place. 

"For the record, I met briefly with Darren Wilson a few days ago to see if he wanted to do an interview with me. That's standard procedure," Cooper wrote on Twitter. 

Cooper apparently decided to tweet about it because some viewers who saw my "Reliable Sources" segment thought the meetings were inappropriate and said so on Twitter. Some commenters even suggested -- conspiratorially -- that the meetings revealed bias on the part of the anchors. 

Cooper pointed out that he'd repeatedly interviewed Brown's family members and their attorneys. 

"I'd also like to interview the grand jury," Cooper wrote. "There is no conspiracy here. Reporters want to interview people and sometimes you have to meet them first." 

He added that Wilson had chosen "not to do an interview with me." 

Separately, Lemon wrote on Twitter that his meeting with Wilson was "not out of the ordinary," and that "We've interviewed the Brown family, Dorian Johnson and all witnesses. Of course we'd want to interview Wilson." 

None of the other anchors have commented. Representatives for NBC, ABC and CBS declined to comment. 

Two of my network sources -- who spoke on condition of anonymity -- said that the CBS newsmagazine "60 Minutes" has been in especially hot pursuit of an interview with Wilson. 

The police officer's representatives decided to arrange meetings with people from "60 Minutes" and people from several other networks. 

None of the sources would say where or when the meetings took place. 

In the meetings, according to the sources, the anchors did most of the talking. The purpose was the same with Wilson as with any high-profile interview subject: to establish trust and comfort. 

Cooper, on Twitter, drew a comparison to another man in the news that many journalists wanted to interview earlier this year: disgraced Los Angeles Clippers team owner Donald Sterling. 

"Prior to interviewing Donald Sterling, for example, I also met with him to ask him to do an interview. That's how you ask for an interview," Cooper wrote. 

It's worth keeping in mind that Wilson could choose not to be interviewed by anyone

"Inside Edition" chief correspondent Jim Moret, my guest on "Reliable Sources," said "the perception of the network, the perception of the venue and the perception of the interviewer all come into play" when subjects are thinking about breaking their silence."



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In Ferguson we're witnessing The Left's War on Civil Society-Mark Levin

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11/25/14, "Ferguson," Mark Levin Facebook

"Ferguson burns and violence has been unleashed thanks to the reckless liberal media, the lawless administration (especially Eric Holder) exploiting the shooting to smear police departments across the nation, phony civil rights demagogues, race-baiting politicians, and radical hate groups. 

The lies about why and how Officer Darrin Wilson shot Michael Brown started on day one and never ended. The indisputable facts are that Brown was shot because he assaulted a police officer, attempted to take the officer's pistol resulting in two close range gun shots in the police cruiser, and then turned around and charged the officer as he was being pursued. The entire event was precipitated by Brown earlier stealing cigars from a local store and assaulting the owner. 

What we are witnessing now is the left's war on the civil societyIt's time to speak out in defense of law enforcement and others trying to protect the community and uphold the rule law." via Free Rep.
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Among Free Republic comments to above: Why did they announce this at night?

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"To: Biggirl

Why didn't the governor order the National Guard to do something instead of sitting there and watching Ferguson burn through the night?
It was a horrible mistake to wait until the dark of night to announce the decision instead of doing so when there was still delight. Horrible.

10 posted on 11/25/2014, 10:02:25 AM by john mirse


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Darren Wilson met secretly with TV anchors:

11/23/14, "Exclusive: Why TV anchors met secretly with Ferguson officer who shot Michael Brown," CNN,





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GOP House leadership seeks to misinform and convince the public that defunding anything Obama proposes will lead to a gov. shutdown and default for which they'll be blamed-Corbin and Parks

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11/24/14, "It’s Time To Exercise the Legislative “Veto”," David Corbin and Matt Parks, The Federalist 

"In our day of pseudo-law executive orders and claims of prosecutorial discretion, pseudo-treaty executive agreements, and a dormant Congressional power to declare war, presidents have seized the initiative in almost every area of policy-making. As a result, Congress must consciously and publicly reconceive its appropriation (and correlative defunding) power as not only policy-making, but policy-stopping.

To inactivate or deactivate programs and agencies with the power of the purse is legislative activity fully within its Constitutional authority.
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In quiet ways, of course, this is already done. As The Federalist’s Sean Davis writes:
Congress adds riders and prohibitions to appropriations bills all the time. Why? Because it can [“Article 1, Section 9 of the U.S. Constitution”]:
‘No money shall be drawn from the treasury, but in consequence of appropriations made by law[.]‘
And from that power of the purse come the most powerful words in federal law:
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“Notwithstanding any other provision of law, no funds shall be appropriated or otherwise made available for ______.”
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What has yet to happen, however, is for Congress to make the political case, in any kind of systematic or persuasive way, that defunding parts of the federal bureaucracy is not a precursor to a Congress-initiated government shutdown and default, the two horsemen of the Progressive fiscal apocalypse (see Prof. Epps), but a defensive mechanism needed to protect Congress from the “depredations” of the president.
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Congressional Republicans, in other words, would improve their ability to respond to the president’s assaults if they spent more time talking about the need for a Constitutional course correction and less time making idle and often insincere threats
When the crisis point in the game of chicken comes, it is too late for a previously chest-thumping Congress, with all the rhetorical disadvantages of diffuse leadership and political division (not to mention a hostile press), to win the sympathy of the general public.

Unfortunately, the lesson Republicans have learned from their previous encounters with President Obama is that a “shutdown” must be avoided at all costs. But if not satisfying the president’s fiscal demands is tantamount to causing a shutdown, we’re back where we started on the immigration question: heads the president win; tails Republicans lose.

Madison wrote in Federalist 48: “It will not be denied, that power is of an encroaching nature, and that it ought to be effectually restrained from passing the limits assigned to it.” This is the state of affairs that President Obama has furthered and taken advantage of in his personal appropriation of legislative power on a host of issues. The One Hundred Fourteenth United States Congress would go down as the one of the finest and most dutifully active and vigilant if it were to employ its power of the purse to ensure that constitutional government of, by, and for the American people did not perish on its watch."
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"David Corbin is a Professor of Politics and Matthew Parks an Assistant Professor of Politics at The King’s College, New York City." via Levin twitter

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11/21/14, "Will Boehner's House Unilaterally Nullify Its Power of the Purse?" CNS News, Terence P. Jeffrey

"The Constitution is unambiguous about which branch of the federal government has the authority to make laws governing immigration and control all money spent from the Treasury. It is Congress.

Article 1, Section 8, Clause 4 gives Congress the power to "establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization."

Article 1, Section 9, Clause 7 says: "No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law."

For President Obama to succeed in carrying out his plan to unilaterally change the status of illegal immigrants, two things must happen: 

1) He must usurp the constitutional authority of Congress to make immigration laws, and 

2) Congress must decline to use its constitutional power of the purse to stop him.

Now a third thing could happen: The Republican-controlled House, led by Speaker John Boehner, may not only decline to use its power of the purse to stop Obama from usurping authority over immigration laws, it may also try persuade the nation it does not actually have that power when it comes to immigration laws.

On Thursday, a New York Times blog published a statement from the House Appropriations Committee that suggested Congress had no control over the funding of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and that therefore the agency could "expand operations as under a new executive order" no matter what Congress said in a continuing resolution to fund the government.

I contacted the committee via email to confirm the statement published by the Times and to ask if the committee believes that Article 1, Section 9, Clause 7 of the Constitution applies to CIS.

The committee sent me verbatim exactly the same statement that had been published by the Times. It said:

"The primary agency for implementing the president's new immigration executive order is the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). This agency is entirely self-funded through the fees it collects on various immigration applications. Congress does not appropriate funds for any of its operations, including the issuance of immigration status or work permits, with the exception of the 'E-Verify' program. Therefore, the appropriations process cannot be used to 'de-fund' the agency. The agency has the ability to continue to collect and use fees to continue current operations, and to expand operations as under a new Executive Order, without needing legislative approval by the Appropriations Committee or the Congress, even under a continuing resolution or a government shutdown."

Responding on background, an Appropriations Committee aide said in an email: "You could 'defund' the CIS, but it would take an authorization/change to underlying statute that impacts their use of fees. This is an authorization issue, not an appropriations issue."

"Even if such an authorization change were to be attached to an omnibus bill via a rider, the president would veto the bill, and the government would shut down," said the aide. "At that point, the CIS would still not be defunded and would continue to operate, given that it is fee-funded."

I followed up by sending the staffer a passage from Justice Joseph Story's "Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States." Story was named to the court by President James Madison, a leading Framer of the Constitution.

"The object is apparent upon the slightest examination," Story wrote about the Article 1, Section 9 power of the purse. "It is to secure regularity, punctuality, and fidelity, in the disbursements of the public money. As all the taxes raised from the people, as well as the revenues arising from other sources, are to be applied to the discharge of the expenses, and debts, and other engagements of the government, it is highly proper, that congress should possess the power to decide, how and when any money should be applied for these purposes. If it were otherwise, the executive would possess an unbounded power over the public purse of the nation; and might apply all its monied resources at his pleasure."

I asked: "Is it not a different thing to say the president would veto it than to say the committee does not have the power to stop the expenditure of funds on this? Also, does the committee reject Joseph Story's interpretation of Article 1, Section 9, Clause 7 when he said that it applied to "all the taxes raised from the people, as well as the revenues arising from other sources"? ... Does the committee believe that fees collected by a federal agency and then drawn from the Treasury and spent are not covered by its power under Article I, Section 9, Clause 7?"

Speaking again on background, the committee aide responded via email: "As per the underlying statute, CIS is funded outside of appropriations. The fees are collected and spent according to the underlying authorization (The Immigration and Nationality Act), and are not subject to the appropriations process. Congress can indeed change CIS's ability to collect and spend fees, but it would require a change in the authorization."

Three observations:

1) If Obama spends "fees" collected into the Treasury by CIS to implement unilateral executive actions he is not acting on the "underlying authorization," he is defying it.

2) It does not matter whether the government brings money into the Treasury through a tax, a fee or selling debt to the People's Republic of China, the Constitution says: "No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law."

3) It appears that Republican congressional leaders do not want to take any effective action to protect either the constitutional authority of Congress to make the immigration laws or the power of the purse that protects Americans against a president spending money from the Treasury "at his pleasure.""

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Rep. Dave Brat, R-Richmond, the economist who defeated Eric Cantor, supports power of the purse to defund Obama executive order:

"Brat acknowledged that the agency is self-funded through immigration application fees, but that the appropriations committee voted in August to determine how the agency spends those fees."...

11/21/14, "Brat: 'Not one thin dime' for Obama's immigration plan," Richmond Times-Dispatch, by Allison Brophy Champion Culpeper Star-Exponent

"The 7th District's newly elected Congressman vowed via Twitter Thursday night that he supports, "Not one thin dime," to fund the proposed actions outlined by President Barack Obama to deal with the broken immigration system.

"I support using the power of the purse to defund Obama's amnesty," tweeted Rep. Dave Brat, R-Richmond, the economist, replacing Eric Cantor, who recently took office in Washington....

Brat said he would not vote to fund a program "that subverts the law or encourages tens of thousands more people to risk their lives illegally crossing our border." He said the U.S. House should "use its power of the purse" to defund in the current budget bill "Obama's illegal executive action."

"We must fund the rest of government with a short-term bill while, in a separate bill, defund the appropriations for the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services programs that the president intends to use to carry out this act," Brat said.

The newly elected 7th District representative called the presidential action an "attempt to give amnesty to five million illegal aliens," saying it was unfair to others "waiting in line to become citizens the right way." Brat said the president's actions would encourage more children to attempt to illegally enter the U.S.

"In addition, crony insiders will now get the amnesty they lobbied for to provide a cheap supply of labor while millions of Americans remain unemployed," he said.

A statement Thursday from the House Appropriations Committee indicated that Congress could not use the budget appropriations process to cut funding for the president's proposed actions through U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. Brat acknowledged that the agency is self-funded through immigration application fees, but that the appropriations committee voted in August to determine how the agency spends those fees.

The committee said in its statement Thursday that the immigration services agency could continue to collect its fees, operate and expand operations under the president's new executive order "without needing legislative approval by the Appropriations Committee or the Congress, even under a continuing resolution or a government shutdown.""...


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The Forgotten Americans: What if a candidate said there were too many lawyers and it was time to stop all state and fed. subsidies to universities?-Victor Davis Hanson

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11/25/14, "The Forgotten Americans," Victor Davis Hanson, NRO
  
"Obama’s coalition is held together only by his personal mythography."

"When President Obama promised to all but end the use of coal and to send electric rates soaring, would his own friends and associates be affected? What if a candidate from an Appalachian state had argued there that were too many lawyers like Obama and that it was well past time to stop all state and federal subsidies to universities that keep turning out redundant subsidized graduates? Or if he had argued that affirmative action should be based on class rather than racial considerations?

When Justice Sonya Sotomayor talked of a “wise Latina,” it may have sounded chic to those who believe in identity politics, but for millions of Americans it raised disturbing questions. If there were “wise Latinas,” were there logically also “wise white people” or “unwise Latinas”? When Eric Holder talked of “my people,” was the logical corollary that other Americans for Holder were not “my people”? Are we now a nation of my people, by your people, and for their people?

Once one goes down the road of racial chauvinism, the contradictions of prejudice only magnify. Al Sharpton may have his own cable news show and be courted by politicians, but many forgotten Americans remember that he is a serial tax cheat and a veritable racist. When Dinesh D’Souza is convicted and sentenced for an improper campaign donation, how exactly did Sharpton with impunity refuse for decades to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in back state and federal taxes? Why was he never indicted? When Sharpton charges America with racism, the forgotten Americans instead remember Sharpton’s own history of gay-baiting, anti-Semitism, and cheap anti-white demagoguery — and wonder how he weaseled his way into being an Obama adviser.

Fairly or not, the Democratic party is now associated with European-style redistribution. It is seen as being 

opposed to the creation of blue-collar jobs in industries like mining, oil and gas production, timber, and irrigated agriculture, 

being shrill on issues like abortion and gay marriage, and 

being more worried about undocumented immigrants than about Americans who pay the additional costs or foreigners who play by the immigration-law rules. 

Any one or two of these issues might have been massaged or downplayed, but in toto they send a message to the middle class and working class that they are irrelevant or, worse, despised rather than just ignored. Their livelihoods are seen as unimportant while their culture is written off; they do not receive the empathy accorded the poor or the deference shown the refined tastes of the wealthy.

For six years, the Democratic party had boasted openly about its new constituency in contrast to a played-out, old, white, male — and shrinking — Republican electorate. Herein it committed two terrible blunders well beyond the serial and gratuitous smears. One, its coalition was predicated on the landmark candidacy of Barack Obama and his unprecedented personal popularity among minority groups and young singles. These groups were interested in Obama as the first black president, and not so much because of his liberal social agenda. So, when he is on the ballot, young people and minorities turn out to vote for the iconic, cool person, but they are not necessarily as enamored of his policies. When Obama is not on the ballot, his new base of identity-politics voters stays home, and the ballyhooed coalition dissipates.

Second, each time the progressive coalition panders to an identity group and uses the rhetoric of “my people” or “punish our enemies,” it turns off one voter for each one it energizes. Few have written of the astounding ability of Obamites — Joe Biden, John Brennan, Steven Chu, James Clapper, Hillary Clinton, Rahm Emanuel, Eric Holder, Jonathan Gruber, Lisa Jackson, Van Jones, Lois Lerner, Susan Rice, Kathleen Sebelius, and a host of others — to insult the intelligence of Americans on grounds of their supposed naïveté or illiberality or both.

In crude terms, the percentage of white and middle-class voters who support progressive Democrats is shrinking at a rapid clip at the very time when astronomical rates of participation by new minority and young voters are needed — groups that thus far show no predictable record of maintaining their historic turnouts when Obama is not on the ballot.  Hope and change was about Barack Hussein Obama’s youth, charisma, rhetorical skills,* race, nontraditional background, and multicultural-sounding tripartite name, but not about an otherwise reactionary liberal agenda.

So the progressives won small and lost big: They got Obama elected twice and have nearly ruined his party in the process."
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"— NRO contributor Victor Davis Hanson is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution"...


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*Comment: "Rhetorical skills?" He can read words put in front of him. He has a deep voice. Neither of these things necessarily define "rhetorical skills."

Merriam Webster definition of "rhetorical:"

"Of, relating to, or concerned with the art of speaking or writing formally and effectively especially as a way to persuade or influence people."

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Remember, Tom Brokaw and Charlie Rose, shortly before the Nov. 2008 election, thrilled that Obama was going to win, freely admitted they knew nothing about him except that "he went to Harvard Law School.

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Also: Rhetoric concerns writing as well as speaking. The first of two books attributed to Obama, "Dreams of my father" is written in a style unlike anything else that exists under his name. This has been documented in detail. Meaning the actual writing of the book, the rhetoric, couldn't possibly have been Obama's. 

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P.S. It must be said that the GOP E favors the same things democrats do from European style redistribution, to open borders, on down the list.