Sunday, November 23, 2014

Revenge of the Ditz Lord

By Clarice Feldman

Having been clobbered in the midterms, the president put on his cockiest face and strut, and in a carefully orchestrated setting designed to make him look imperial poked a thumb in the eye of the newly-elected Congress by announcing that he would not deport the people he was already not deporting. The next day the House of Representatives sued him for overreaching on ObamaCare, but despite a lot of understandably outraged yammering,  it is not likely to follow suit or at least succeed in similarly challenging on constitutional grounds his immigration executive order. 

True, at the heart of both of these is the president’s inability and unwillingness to respect the constitutional separation of powers in appropriating for himself the functions of both the legislative and executive branch, knowing full well the lengthy process involved in litigation to undo his outrageous behavior.

Democrats who rush to defend the indefensible would like you to forget that the president himself on over 20 occasions stated that the president lacked the power to significantly expand the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) order.
Roll Call took up Obama’s previous exegeses with White House higher-ups speaking on background: ‘As for Obama’s many statements that he did not have the authority to significantly expand DACA, the answer from the White House was muddled.’ Do tell! The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind.”
They would like to have you ignore the fact that this is largely a face-saving gesture with unknown consequences. The president’s action was designed to outrage the newly-elected Congress and his opponents, but unlike the ObamaCare overreaching, the action seems at first blush less vulnerable to constitutional challenge. For all Obama’s preening, the executive order is more constrained than it might appear, less popular among Latinos and but still subject to possible  constitutional  and other legal challenges.

Illegal immigrants here -- and they are here against the law and are not, as the left would have you believe, merely “undocumented”-- are not so enamored of the substance of the announcement as the White House may have wanted.
“It’s a small bandage for a large wound,” said Maria Reyes, 68, an illegal immigrant from Mexico who lives near Oakland, Calif. She was waiting outside the White House on Thursday evening after fasting there for several days. Although her two children were granted deportation relief through the 2012 “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals” program, they will not be able to confer legal status on her.
There were also several million illegal immigrants who never stood a chance of reprieve under Obama’s plan, especially adult men who left their families behind and came to work in the United States illegally. Some Central Americans obtained temporary protection as war refugees, but many could not convert that to permanent legal status, while Mexicans -- the great majority of undocumented immigrants -- had no such benefit.
Indeed, even among Latinos, the principal beneficiaries of this order, support was far from overwhelming on the president’s bypassing Congress:
A six-percentage-point margin of approval is far short of overwhelming. A higher number of Latinos, 56 percent, told pollsters they would support congressional action on the issue, and 69 percent supported the idea of a pathway to citizenship for those now here illegally. But a core of Latinos opposed those measures too: 32 percent opposed congressional action, and 30 percent opposed a pathway.
And even more oppose unilateral Obama action. It turns out Latino support for the president’s strategy, which doesn’t even amount to a majority, is not quite as decisive as some advocates hope.
As usual, Iowahawk most succinctly outlines the situation: “IowaHawk: “LOL at all those Latin American immigrants who came here to escape tinpot dictatorships.”

Perhaps they’ve had enough of tinpot dictators to know one when they see him, and prefer the same constitutional order that we do.

In any event once again the president ignores the impossible administrative and legal burdens of his action:
How exactly is that going to work? What if somebody has been using a fake Social Security number for five years while working in America? That’s identity theft. Are we not going to prosecute it?
Hugh Hewitt noted:
The people in the country illegally will know shortly that this stunt tonight does not help them and may in fact hurt them -- badly. The collision of what is in essence a letter of recommendation from the president to employers with their genuine worries about liabilities under state law and about their fiduciary duties to their customers is going to be instant, and not to the good of the illegal population. Employers are going to flee the president’s testimonial that, if he were king of the forest, not queen, not duke, not earl, he’d let this person have a green card. Because he’s not king, he cannot bless this person’s employment in the real world of tort liability and state law. He cannot solve the issue of Social Security and unemployment insurance withholding. What he can --and will do tonight -- is mark the illegal as someone not worth the trouble of hiring.
The president simply cannot bestow a green card.  Just a blessing.  An Obama blessing.
 The blessing of a cheater.
The president’s lawless act will have the apparently contradictory impact of both making life harder for “those in the shadows” by increasing the reluctance of employers to hire the obviously illegal, while at the same time attracting millions more north across the fenceless border.  Employers are simply going to be less willing to hire the obviously illegal because of a host of other laws the president cannot change.
And the Hayride added:
In other words, this doesn’t give any incentive for illegals to come out of the shadows and get right with the law. Not for a temporary reprieve. If they’ve managed to stick around and not get deported so far, either because they’re being employed off the books or because they’ve got a fake Social Security card, and Obama just said it’s not realistic for the government to find them and deport them, then why would they change anything based on this? Coming out of the shadows for a temporary blessing isn’t much of a deal.
The folks in Guadalajara and Tegucigalpa who want to come here probably look at this as an invitation to come here. The folks already here won’t see this as much of a change.
It is interesting to read the restrictions on the president’s power the Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) made on this executive order.
First, we learn that the President did not obtain an OLC memo for his 2012 DACA Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals] program. Rather, only oral advice was given
We also learn that OLC limited DACA, and explained that the deferred action could not be given as a class. Rather it must be given on a case-by-case basis.
Second, based on this initial device, the OLC memo makes a very strong effort at crafting a line between prosecutorial discretion and abuse of discretion. While there are many citations to Hackler v. Chaney, the argument boils down to this point: when deferrals must be made on a case-by-case basis, this does not amount to an abdication of enforcing the law, and a transformation into rewriting the law.
Third, the memo explains that deferring deportations of parents of U.S. Citizens or Lawfully Present Residents is permissible, because there is a path to citizenship for the parents, through the kids.
Fourth, the memo makes clear that the parents of the DACA recipients are not eligible for deferrals due to the very important reason I noted yesterday – they do not have a pathway to citizenship. Therefore, this would not be a temporary gap.
Fifth, the memo address whether size matters. In effect, addressing whether this unprecedented expansion of power is lawful. First, it concedes that the size of the program exceeds that of any previous deferred action.
I pause to note that this is a remarkable limitation imposed by OLC on the President’s power. I am very glad to see this actually exists. Though, it seems that DHS was okay with this authority.
Sixth, the memo repeats at several points a discussion of acquiescence. Congress has acquiesced to the President’s deferred action, and given the Executive a de facto license of sorts to proceed.
Seventh, in perhaps an indirect reference to attempts to defund the program, the memo notes that the action would be “borne almost entirely” by application fees–something Congress arguably cannot touch. I don’t think this point was inadvertent, as there are already debates about whether program can be defunded.
Eighth, as for the line-drawing issue, the memo seems to acknowledge that Youngstown controls, and that executive discretion cannot be absolute.
Immigration officials’ discretion in enforcing the laws is not, however, unlimited. Limits on enforcement discretion are both implicit in, and fundamental to, the Constitution’s allocation of governmental powers between the two political branches. See, e.g., Youngstown Sheet & Tube Co. v. Sawyer, 343 U.S. 579, 587– 88 (1952).
In sum, I think the speech was a bit of a bluff, designed to show he retains some relevance when, in fact, he has little. It is not a sure winner among the targeted class. It will leave Congress with opportunities to challenge it legally but only a small window (for example, the large number of people covered or blanket, rather than case by case, adjudications) within which to challenge the order on constitutional grounds. But there remain countless practical obstacles to making this order achieve what its detractors fear -- a wholesale backdoor grant of permanent residency and a path to citizenship. It will, nevertheless, encourage even more illegals to cross the border in the mistaken hope that they can receive legal status. It will create legal and administrative chaos.

Congress’ best moves include using its powers to tighten border security and enforcement of lawful deportation orders, rewriting the immigration laws along more rational and equitable lines, censuring the president, and in every possible way limiting his freedom to repeat such outrages. Push should lead to shove.

American Thinker

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Former Muslim sounding the alarm

By Thomas Lifson 
November 13, 2014

Bosch Fawstin, a former Muslim raised in America, was recently interviewed (18 min) by Jamie Glazov.  Fawstin spoke the hard truth about Islam, which he describes this way:

Islam is submission. Islam is death and destruction. Islam is here to control. Islam is here to make life on earth hell.
In this interview, as well as an interview (7 min) last month on a program called The Flipside, Fawstin spoke of how he was raised in a so-called “moderate” Muslim family – a family where Hitler was greatly admired.
Fawstin spoke of Islam’s hatred toward women and how commonplace physical abuse was in his immediate and extended family.  He spoke of arranged marriages, of tears shed when babies were born who were girls, and of girls being told to expect physical violence after they are married.
He spoke of vile Jew-hatred that is endemic in Islamic culture.
He spoke of how his journey away from Islam was a process, noting several pivotal experiences such as observing how non-Muslim friends lived in households that did not embrace violence.  He was also deeply affected by Ayn Rand.
By 9/11, Fawstin had abandoned his religion and says that after the jihadist attack he was in a “flat-out rage,” not only because of seeing fellow Americans jumping out of the towers, but because of our “pathetic response” to what happened:

Our government’s job it seems post 9/11 was to protect Islam, not us. Defend Islam. Defend Islam. From George Bush to Obama.
Asked whether there is such a thing as moderate Islam, Fawstin said: “No. There is only Islam. Islam is immoderate by nature.”
Fawstin spoke of how very few leaders speak the truth about Islam.  In fact, essentially no leaders, as he pointed out that even Allen West has softened his language and that while Ted Cruz uses the word “jihad,” he never speaks about “Islam.”  Fawstin tweeted this last month:

Islam doesn't make our Islamic enemy believe they're going to win, Islamophilic Western politicians make them believe they're going to win.
Fawstin seems to be on a mission to educate others about the threat that Islam poses to all of civilization.  His primary tool of communication is through the creation of a comic-book superhero – Pigman – who battles jihadists.  Fawstin talks about how Muslims dread contact with anything related to pigs, noting that if he had an airline he would have all the seats covered with pigskin leather, making it the safest airline flying.
He is also outspoken on other matters, as when he created a bold, graphic image featured on his blogspot that reads:

Ebolatarianism: Barack Obama’s refusal to do what’s necessary to protect Americans from a deadly disease.
Fawstin is a serious man talking about the most serious matters of our time.
His comics can be found at comixology, here.  His blog can be found here.

American Thinker

Monday, October 20, 2014

HOROWITZ: The Blood on Obama’s Hands

David Horowitz 

 When conservatives consider the casualties of Obama’s national security policies, their attention is drawn quite naturally to Benghazi. In this shameful episode, the Obama Administration sacrificed an ambassador and three American heroes to protect a deceptive presidential campaign message in which Obama claimed that the war against al-Qaeda was over and won (“Osama bin Laden is dead, and al-Qaeda is on the run”). The facts are these: Ambassador Chris Stevens and three American heroes were sent into an al-Qaeda stomping ground that the British and other diplomatic consulates had already evacuated; they were denied the security they had requested; they were then left to die during a seven hour fire fight when their compound was attacked, and finally betrayed in death, when Obama and his representatives lied to the world about what had taken place and when he failed to bring their killers to justice as he had mendaciously promised he would.

Benghazi can be seen as the collateral damage caused by presidential lies – and worse – presidential denial that there is in fact a war that Islamists have declared on America. Instead Obama insists – in the official language he authorized and that is still in place – that America’s responses to acts of Islamic terror should be described as “overseas contingency operations.” If Islamic murders and beheadings take place in the homeland, Obama calls them “workplace violence.” Benghazi is also the most shameful presidential abandonment of Americans in the field in our history – a disgrace compounded when Obama justified his trade of five Taliban Generals for one American deserter by saying Americans don’t leave their countrymen on the battlefield, which is precisely what he did in Benghazi. All of which justifies the conservative focus on this terrible event.

But the casualties of Obama’s reign in Benghazi are dwarfed by the hundreds of thousands of deaths his policies have led to in Syria and Iraq, and the millions of Iraqis, Syrians and Lybians that those same policies have caused to flee their homes and become homeless in Turkey, Tunisia and other places of refuge. Obama’s legacy is defined by his ideological aversion to American power, his rule as the most anti-military president in our history, and his deeds as an “anti-war” activist, opposed to the “war on terror” because he believes that America’s (and Israel’s) policies are the cause of terrorism and the hatred that Islamic fanatics direct against our country.

Because of his ideological opposition to American power, Obama deliberately and openly surrendered America’s gains in Iraq, which had been won through the sacrifice of thousands of American lives and tens of thousands of American casualties. By deliberately handing over America’s massive military base in Iraq – a country that borders Syria, Afghanistan and Iran –

Obama turned that country over to the terrorists and Iran, as his generals and intelligence chief and secretary of defense warned it would. Obama disregarded the warnings from his national security advisers – as no other American president would have – because he regarded America rather than the terrorists as the threat. In abandoning Iraq and deliberately losing the peace, he betrayed every American and every Iraqi who gave their lives to keep Iraq out of the hands of the terrorists and the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Obama’s stubborn refusal to use America’s military might – ground forces backed by air power – when Assad crossed the “red line” Obama had drawn in Syria created a second power vacuum that the terrorists filled, thus leading to the emergence of ISIS or ISIL – the Islamic State in Syria and the Levant. Defenders of Obama will claim that the American public would not have supported a military intervention in Syria even if Obama had ordered one. But why is that? It is because for eleven years, beginning with their assault on “Bush’s war” in Iraq, the Democrats have sabotaged the war on terror, claiming that America’s use of power for anything but “humanitarian” purposes is illegitimate, dangerous and the root cause of the terrorist problem.

Because it was “humanitarian” Obama felt justified in conducting an unauthorized, illegal intervention in Libya to overthrow an anti-al Qaeda dictator, saying it was to prevent an invisible threat to civilians there. The result? Al-Qaeda is now a dominant force in Libya, and 1.8 million Libyans – a third of the population – have fled to Tunisia. Another brutal Obama legacy. Yet, how firm is Obama’s commitment to humanitarian interventions? In Iraq he stood by while more than half a million Christians were either slaughtered or driven into exile by ISIS murderers on their mission to cleanse the earth of infidels. This was the oldest Christian community in the world, going back to the time of Christ, and Obama let it be systematically destroyed before bad press and pressure from his own party caused him to intervene to save Yazvidis and a Christian remnant trapped on a mountain top.

The Obama presidency has been an unmitigated disaster for Iraqis, Syrians, and Libyans. Now that ISIS is in control of territory the size of a state, has access to hundreds of millions of petrol dollars and advanced U.S. ordnance, not to mention chemical weapons that Saddam left behind, it is an impending disaster for the American homeland as well.

David Horowitz is the author of the recently published book Take No Prisoners: The Battle Plan For Defeating the Left (Regnery 2014)

Truth Revolt

This Lesbian's Daughter Has Had Enough

October 20, 2014
By Rivka Edelman

My name is Rivka Edelman, and I am the product of same-sex parenting.

Recently I published an essay on Public Discourse about the ruthless misogyny that pervades LBGT culture.  I pointed out it that it can and will victimize women and children with impunity and then, in America’s narcissistic fugue, get hailed as brave and heroic.

Since my essay was published, there have been hundreds, maybe thousands, of posts calling me a liar or trying to shame, discredit, intimidate, and threaten me.  Read this for details.  People I do not know have gone directly after my family and my job.  They have posted information, mis-information, accusations, and threats against me.  A vicious abusive “activist” well-known for his unhinged misogynistic cyber-stalking and violent threats, Scott Rose, sent blast e-mails to the university where I teach, describing himself as a “human right activist and an investigative journalist.”

Scott Rose has made threats of violence against Ryan T. Anderson, the editor who published my piece on October 2, 2014:

"The only good anti-LGBT bigot is a dead anti-LGBT bigot."
And menacing threats against me:

As with other adults who have come forward to criticize their childhood with gay parents, I am framed as a bigot or a liar or in some other way “unreliable.”  In this flip-flop, a children’s rights activist and feminist is called “anti-gay” and a “bigot.”

Jeremy Hooper, Mr. Rose, and a gang of the allies who congregate and exchange information on Hooper’s blog, “Good As You,” are concerned about an amicus curiae brief I wrote in the Texas case regarding same-sex marriage (Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals).  Along with three other adults who were raised by same-sex couples, I came forward to push back against the assertion that children have no disadvantages when raised by same-sex couples. 

 Our arguments are not so easy to dismiss.

On Jeremy Hooper’s blog, activists have dug through all my past to make it public.  They have also discussed contacting my ex-husband to get him to lie about me for them.

The Texas case is still pending.  To date, the voices of adult children of the LBGT community have been stifled, but by some miracle four briefs were accepted in Texas against the objections of the pro-gay lobby side, which invoked procedural technicalities to try to get the four briefs thrown out.  Three of the four amici curiae have published commentary on same-sex parenting here.

Once “activists” connected my Public Discourse piece of October 2, to the Texas brief, they went full throttle. 

 Jeremy Hooper, the blogger at Good as You, uses his blog as a platform to harass, bully, and silence with impunity.  Hooper published comments from his readers and thereby shared our home address and my daughter’s private information.  They contacted other family members looking for information.  They are not picky; true or made up assertions work for them equally.

To my ex husband, Rose wrote:
We can conclude with reasonable certainty that significant details of her young life were left out of her brief[.]
Mr. Rose wants my ex-husband to fill in the blanks.  He was told never to contact my ex again.  He has harassed me with the e-mail version of drunken dialing.  And as the outrage against Mr. Hooper grows wider, he says he has no control over the comments.  He says he never even met Rose.  He cites law for polish.  Hooper is careful and deliberate to say that sometimes he does not agree with Rose’s tactics.

I do not believe Mr. Hooper.  He indeed allows commenters to leave violent threats against me.  Under Hooper’s editorial review, my work information, along with my child’s name and people’s addresses, circulated freely.

Here Mr. Rose, human rights activist (is that a day job?), threatened my career with much bravado:
She thought she was going to get away with demonizing gay people behind pseudonyms “Ryvka Edelman” … et cetera, but my message to the gay-bashing bigot is YOU’LL NEVER EAT LUNCH IN THIS TOWN AGAIN.
She can forget that one.
And now that editors and English Department Chairs know that [Rivka Edelman] is a vicious anti-LGBT bigot, they have more information for their publishing and hiring decisions.
P.S. to Rivka – Rots a Ruck getting your work published in any non-religious, non-bigot publication, now that the world knows that [Rivka] is a malicious, lying, anti-LGBT bigot.
The police have his name now.

Perhaps they see us, the adult children of gay homes, as a threat, so we are attacked and our families threatened.  

They posted on Craigslist looking for information about me.

Good God.  Maybe I’m on Grindr, too.

Next they deploy “activist” “Straight Grandmother.”  She is the one who floats the idea of contacting my ex in the first place.

She states in an e-mail to my ex-husband:
 ... Her Amicus Brief to our Federal Court Judges in the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals ... The only thing they have going is their personal narrative, which makes it very difficult to discredit ... how much if their personal narrative is made up just to further their Hate Agenda. The only way we have to discern the truth is to delve into their personal narrative.
They savage, bully, and threaten adults who grew up with gay parents in order to force a false narrative of happiness on them.  More Orwellian logic.
Straight Grandmother goes on explaining the ins and outs:
It invades people's personal privacy. But then on the other hand, they are the ones themselves who are offering up their personal lives as reasons to deny gays Civil Rights. See how this puts gay rights advocates between a rock and a hard place? They kind of force us to do something distasteful, but if we don't then their lies stand.
They admit a pattern to invade people’s privacy – the new McCarthyism.
SGM says: 
This is why I am contacting you and what I would like to know about XXXX, well specifically XXXX's mother ... if you are able to get an actual affirmation or rejection from the brother[.]
Here they are looking for more family.  I can’t help but feel that whatever organization pays these men should be investigated.

The writer continues:
I don't know if you will provide the true answer to my question or not. I hope you will. And actually you don't even have to respond to me. You can respond to Jeremy Hooper ( with the truth. Jeremy WILL protect you, but if you are brave you could have the fact attributed to yourself.
That promise to “protect” seems to confirm that Mr. Hooper knows this commenter and that they have planned to contact my ex-husband to get information.

This e-mail ends:
Remember Federal Judges are reading the Life Story of XXXX as told by her. Her story as written by her, may influence a Judges ruling.
To cover himself Mr. Hooper says that some activists':

Now that I have established the ins and outs of Jeremy Hooper’s blog, I can say I recognize these abusive behaviors as part of the culture I grew up in.  Notice the lack of accountability, the deflections. 

We the adult children are currently in the process of getting our stories ready for publication.  And as gay marriage becomes the law of the land, we have expectations moving forward.  We demand that the HRC publically honor and acknowledge our experience and issue apologies in print and online for all the attacks against all of us.  And rectify immediately all that we have suffered by activists connected to the HRC or GLAAD.

This cautionary tale should travel far and wide: a family threatened, people’s privacy invaded, harassment, threats, bullying, unwanted contact, abusive mischaracterization, incurred financial hardship.

These men may have revealed much more about themselves and the movement than they realize and damaged their credibility.  I would not want to be Mr. Hooper or Rose when they realize that nobody will ever trust them again – no, not really, and not ever.  They are like the writer who gets caught plagiarizing or a researcher who fakes results. 

 There will always be “that” question in the back of people’s minds.

Let’s make a name for these guys – the one they have earned.  Send this on to others.

American Thinker

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Making Harding Look Good

Many have described the Obama departure from the 70-year-old bipartisan postwar foreign policy of the United States as reminiscent of Jimmy Carter’s failed 1977–81 tenure. There is certainly the same messianic sense of self, the same naïveté, and the same boasts of changing the nature of America, as each of these presidents was defining himself as against supposedly unpopular predecessors. But the proper Obama comparison is not Carter, but rather Warren G. Harding. By that I mean not that Obama’s scandals have matched Harding’s, but rather that by any fair standard they have now far exceeded them and done far more lasting damage — and without Obama’s offering achievements commensurate with those that occasionally characterized Harding’s brief, failed presidency.

The lasting legacy of Obama will be that he has largely discredited the idea of big government, of which he was so passionate an advocate. Almost every major agency of the federal government, many of them with a hallowed tradition of bipartisan competence, have now been rendered either dysfunctional or politicized — or both — largely because of politically driven appointments of unqualified people, or ideological agendas that were incompatible with the agency’s mission.The list of scandals is quite staggering. In aggregate, it makes Harding’s Teapot Dome mess seem minor in comparison.

There is now no Border Patrol, at least as Americans have understood the agency whose job was enforcing federal immigration statutes. It died as an enforcement bureau sometime in 2013, not long after the reelection of Barack Obama, in a way that it could not have before the election. Instead, in Orwellian fashion, at a time of plague and terrorism abroad, it is now the Border-Crossing Enabling Service, whose chief task is facilitating the illegal entry of thousands from Latin America and Mexico, largely to further the political agenda of the Obama administration, contrary to the law, the will of Congress, and the wishes of the majority of the American people. Mention the phrase “immigration law” or “Border Patrol,” and Americans sigh that neither any longer exists. Yet such a perversion of the mission of a federal agency for political purposes has become thematic of this administration. Perhaps the end of border enforcement is emblemized best by Obama’s own uncle and late aunt, who in open defiance broke federal immigration law and did so with impunity, resided illegally in the United States, broke various state laws, and ended up either on public assistance or mired in the U.S. judicial system.

No one quite knows how to deal with the deadly threat of the Ebola virus. We can assume, however, that the Obama administration’s policy will be predicated foremost on some sort of predetermined ideological concern. Unlike many European countries, the United States still allows foreign nationals from countries with pandemics of Ebola to enter the country freely. What the administration has so far told us about Ebola — that a case here was unlikely, and then, after it happened, that probably only a handful of people had been exposed — was almost immediately proven false.

If this seems a harsh judgment, consider the policy of restricting flights to and from foreign countries because of national-security concerns. During the controversial Gaza War, the FAA ordered U.S. airlines to suspend flights to Ben Gurion Airport — the best protected airport in the world — supposedly because of a rocket that exploded in the general proximity of the facility. Hamas claimed the step as a psychological victory and proof of the efficacy of its strategy of targeting Israeli civilian centers, and as further evidence of growing U.S. anger at Israeli war conduct. In contrast, the FAA has not shut down flights to and from African countries in which Ebola has reached pandemic status.

Which threat — a deadly virus or a stray rocket — posed the greatest danger to the American public? Perhaps if infected Liberian nationals send their child to Sidwell Friends, radical changes in FAA policy will follow; or, in contrast, if Israel had been gripped by an Ebola pandemic, then Americans might have been allowed to fly in and out of Ben Gurion.

The combination of Lois Lerner’s taking the Fifth Amendment and Barack Obama’s characterizing the IRS’s partisan targeting of conservatives as involving not a “smidgen” of corruption sum up the current status of the tax agency. So far no one has been held accountable for the corruption. Most Americans now assume that any high-profile political activity or contribution deemed inimical to the Obama administration will earn an audit or at least additional IRS scrutiny — a Machiavellian gambit that has discouraged contributions to conservative candidates. The agency that relies on voluntary tax compliance now holds taxpayers to standards of transparency, record-keeping, and honesty that it cannot itself meet. That too will be a lasting legacy of the Obama administration.

Eric Holder has politicized the Justice Department in a way not seen since the scandals of Nixon appointee John Mitchell. Holder’s prior ethical lapses – notably, as deputy attorney general in the Clinton administration, the disreputable eleventh-hour pardon for fugitive (and Democratic contributor) Marc Rich — were well known. But in less than six years, he has managed to trump them. Holder was held in contempt by Congress for withholding subpoenaed documents about the Fast and Furious scandal, and he editorialized on pending criminal cases, such as the Trayvon Martin and the Ferguson cases. He arbitrarily chose not to enforce existing laws, whether elements of Obamacare or immigration statutes. He was forced to pay back the government for using a Gulfstream to junket to the Belmont Stakes with family and friends. He sought to try terrorists in civilian courts, and he demonized the idea of Guantanamo, which earlier, when it was politically expedient, he had praised. He caricatured his critics and made race essential rather than incidental to his tenure (e.g., “my people,” “nation of cowards,” and the false charges of racism against critics of the administration) in a way that would have gotten anyone else fired. Had any other attorney general monitored reporters’ communications as Holder did those of AP reporters, and, even more so, James Rosen, he would also have been summarily dismissed. Even the media will not be able to prevent Holder’s legacy from being seen as one of the Justice Department’s no longer enforcing the law without prejudice, but instead choosing haphazard compliance in order to advance partisan ideas of social justice.

The Secret Service used to be unimpeachable. Not now. Agents have been caught patronizing prostitutes while on assignment in Latin America. They have allowed an armed former felon to enter an elevator with the president. They had no clue that gunshots may well have hit the White House.

They allowed an unhinged and armed intruder to not just enter the White House grounds, but make his way into the White House itself — and the agency then tried to cover up its laxity. Its reputation is now in shreds. One day a confused White House expresses full confidence in the Secret Service’s incompetent director, and the next gladly accepts her resignation.
Then there is the unfortunate alphabet soup of scandals. The GSA junketeering is now the stuff of caricature, but the sad thing about the agency’s fraud was the utter contempt for the taxpayers shown by its vacationing grandees, who are supposedly watchdogs of the public infrastructure. Former VA director Eric Shinseki, appointed largely for his banner opposition to the Iraq war, proved inept. The VA has shown itself to be not just incompetent but lethally so: It has allowed dozens of veterans to die for lack of adequate treatment. Like other Obama administration agencies such as the IRS and the Secret Service, the VA sought to cover up its near-criminal negligence. No one knows quite what the NSA is doing or should be doing, but most agree that it should not be tapping the private cell phones of allied foreign leaders. Nor should the director of national intelligence, James Clapper, lie before Congress that the government does not track the communications of ordinary Americans.Obama recently scapegoated the intelligence agencies for his own laxity in addressing the Islamic State in its early ascendance. True, his appointees may well be incompetent, but if so, it is in a way that reflects the president’s own politically driven narratives. Thus Clapper assured us that Qaddafi would not fall and that the Muslim Brotherhood was largely secular. John Brennan, head of the CIA, once offered a rant about the innocuous nature of jihad that was delusional, as was his characterization of the radical Islamic agenda of forming a worldwide caliphate “absurd.” Would that Brennan had been as up on the circumstances of the arrest of would-be underwear bomber Umar Abdulmutallab as he is on the nuances of jihad. Do we even remember now how the secretary of homeland security, Janet Napolitano, helped usher in the euphemisms that became the stuff of ridicule (from overseas contingency operations and man-caused disasters to workplace violence). Under her directorship, we were told that right-wingers and returning veterans were greater threats to our security than radical Islamists.

The State Department has been even more tarnished. No one was held to account for serial untruths about the Benghazi killings, even though no one now defends the yarn of a video causing spontaneous riots or denies that the consulate was sorely unprotected. U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton assiduously peddled demonstrable falsehoods, massaging the truth to fit within reelection parameters. The president bragged about pulling troops out of Iraq when it was convenient for his reelection campaign, and then blamed others when that foolish move proved one of the most disastrous decisions in the last decade. Add in reset with Russia, leading from behind in Libya, constant contextualizing of American sins, and pseudo red lines, step-over lines, and deadlines, and you see that our foreign policy has become a serious embarrassment abroad. Indeed, Obama suffers from the paradox of the Cretan Liar (who assured everyone he spoke with that all Cretans lie): He seeks to bask in adulation abroad as U.S. head of state even as he tells his worshipers that the U.S. is culpable and by implication thus does not deserve such adulation.

Then there are the departed Cabinet secretaries. No one really knew exactly what Labor Secretary Hilda Solis was doing other than that she abruptly departed the administration and was quickly mired in all sorts of post-tenure financial scandals. Ditto EPA Director Lisa Jackson, who mysteriously drifted out of office once it was learned that she had created a false e-mail identity to pound her own drum. No one has ever explained why NASA Administrator Charles Bolden believed that the primary mission of the space agency should be Muslim outreach, and everyone still is puzzled about why the nation that reached the moon first is now dependent on Vladimir Putin for sending its astronauts into space. Kathleen Sebelius left the Department of Health and Human Services under a cloud of suspicions, after serially misleading the public about Obamacare. Her chief defense is that she was merely parroting the untruths of the President of the United States (you can keep your health plan and your doctors, and premiums and deductibles will go down, along with the deficit). Does anyone remember Secretary of Energy Steven Chu, now infamous for his quirky ideas about wanting gasoline prices to rise to European levels (e.g., $9 a gallon), and for hoping to shut down coal-fired electricity generation — along with approving crony-capitalist loans to the green lobbyists who gave us a subsidized and bankrupt Solyndra.

Obama has set the standard that the purpose of government is to facilitate his version of social change, regardless of protocols, laws, or traditions. And the result is a scandal-ridden administration that exceeds that of Warren G. Harding — one that has now convinced the public that their government agencies are not lawful, competent, or to be trusted.

NRO contributor Victor Davis Hanson is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and the author, most recently, of The Savior Generals.

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