Barack Obama

Obama Goes Rogue

Hey, why not? Neither Democrats nor Republicans in Congress see fit to stop him.

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Of the countless lessons we've learned from liberals over the past few years, none is more critical than this: If Democrats find an issue important enough and if doing something feels like the "right thing," Barack Obama has the power to act without any regard for separation of powers. So what makes anyone believe that war would be any different?

This week, the president OK'd airstrikes against Islamic State targets—allying us with Bashar Assad, possibly Iran, and definitely Qatar—using an unrelated 13-year-old authorization for use of military force as his legal mandate. Seems like a big deal. It may even be a good idea. Yet even though Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, informed the Senate that ground troops could be needed to finish the job—whatever that job may be —the president didn't bother to ask for permission.

And really, why should he? With the midterms approaching, most elected Democrats have remained vigilantly quiet or tepidly supportive, and the once-vibrant anti-war movement has all but withered away. (We look forward to its miraculous rebirth if and when a GOP administration comes back to power.) It should be noted, of course, that there are voices on the left expressing apprehension about the legality and aims of the mission. The problem is that most often, these are the same voices—from The New York Times' editorial board to Joan Walsh—that have been justifying every unilateral executive action this administration takes or threatens to take. Their sudden reverence for process and constitutionality is about as credible as John Boehner's lawsuit to stop executive abuse.

And that's because the Boehner who supports airstrikes, with the "understanding that this is just one step in what must be a larger effort to destroy and defeat this terrorist organization," is the same Boehner who brought a Republican suit against Obama for exceeding his constitutional authority by making unilateral changes to Obamacare. Whereas Boehner's lawsuit once seemed like a somewhat worthy political stunt that might help highlight some of the lawlessness of the administration, now it seems completely hollow and pointless.

Obama must feel more emboldened than ever in following through on his happy authoritarian talk. If war isn't worth a vote, what is? This week, the Treasury Department went ahead and offered new "guidance" on inversions, putting American companies on notice. Any deals corporations enter into after this week will be subject to a bunch of new tax rules in the future. "For some companies considering deals, today's action will mean that inversions no longer make economic sense," lectured Treasury Secretary Jack Lew (a guy who received a $940,000 bonus from Citigroup in early 2009 as the bank was getting $45 billion in bailout funds from taxpayers).

Well, yeah. But let's think about this for a moment.

The executive branch will be "cracking down"—that's how most media outlets correctly put it—on tax maneuvers that are legal. Democrats tend to be annoyed by the fact that corporations shield their profits, and because the issue has political potency, the White House will retroactively and unilaterally issue legislation masquerading as rules. This would be the equivalent of a Republican administration's "cracking down" on solar panel companies for using subsidies because conservatives don't like the practice.

Though it's unfortunate that a modern administration peddles archaic protectionism for political gain—one of the new rules will make it nearly impossible for a smaller foreign company to take over a larger U.S. company—the issue is hardly a pressing matter. Certainly, when it comes to more serious matters, such as immigration, Obama has no compunction threatening executive action. Here's what Vice President Joe Biden had to say Tuesday at a National Hispanic Heritage Month reception:

"I'm not offering any false hope about what they'll do between now and the election, but … I can tell you, when this election (is) over in the lame-duck session, they may see the Lord. It is possible. But if they don't, they will see some lightning."

Do what we say, or we'll do what we want.

It's the same on climate change. As a way of creating leverage for this week's U.N. climate summit, Obama signed an executive order that will require all government agencies to waste millions factoring "climate-resilience considerations systematically into the U.S. government's international development work and to promote a similar approach with multilateral entities." Though counterproductive, the order is certainly within the purview of a president's power. What Obama is attempting to set up, if anyone's forgotten, is not. As The New York Times reported:

The Obama administration is working to forge a sweeping international climate change agreement to compel nations to cut their planet-warming fossil fuel emissions, but without ratification from Congress. In preparation for this agreement, to be signed at a United Nations summit meeting in 2015 in Paris, the negotiators are meeting with diplomats from other countries to broker a deal to commit some of the world's largest economies to enact laws to reduce their carbon pollution.

Hey, why not? The prospect of Obama's entering into international agreements without Senate ratification has already been widely defended by left-wing pundits. It's the right thing to do, after all. And other than in one instance, that's reason enough.

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  1. But if war isn’t worth a Congressional vote, what is?

    A tinker’s dam(n)? A plugged nickel?

    1. Well, they could focus on some sports scandal or other.

    2. The sweat off my balls?

    3. Steroid use in baseball?

      Football team names?

      Cowboy poetry festival funding?

    4. You puny humans, how dare you question the all powerful Lord Obama!

  2. Because, “Fuck you, that’s why?”

    Wait, I didn’t do that right, did I?

    Or did I?

    /The Napster

  3. The need for a new party, grows and grows

    1. the only third party with any sanity
      is the green party, the will replace
      the republican party in a few years

      1. party party
        lets have a party
        poor joshrendell
        he is tardy

  4. It is very frightening watching the constitutional order completely break down when it comes to making war. There may be another Republican administration in the future, for Christ’s sake. Not that they wouldn’t assert the same powers Obama has, but he sure has given them cover. Not that he has a choice. Is he supposed to say “Sorry, I cannot attack ISIL, for I do not have authority granted by the most worthless and dysfunctional Congress in United States history”?

    1. I’m gonna bite, just this once:

      Is he supposed to say “Sorry, I cannot attack ISIL, for I do not have authority granted by the most worthless and dysfunctional Congress in United States history”?

      Yeah, simple fuck – that’s what he’s supposed to do. Cause he’s not authorized.

      You got one right! Yay!

      1. It is far too hard for the Lightworker to drag himself off the golf course and ask Congress to give him authority that they are slavering to give him!!!!!

      2. “What a pussy” –every rightwinger in the country, in that scenario.

        1. Tony|9.26.14 @ 5:20PM|#
          “”What a pussy” –every rightwinger in the country, in that scenario.”

          Was that actually intended to convey information other than you’re a blithering idiot?

          1. Tony doesn’t like rightwingers OR PUSSY.

        2. Good point, Tony. He’d be FORCED to engage in an illegal war for fear of people who don’t like him saying nasty things about him. I mean, shit, he’s the President of the United States; you don’t expect him to show restraint or good judgement or not act like a drunk frat boy or anything, do you?

          1. wwhorton|9.26.14 @ 6:06PM|#
            “Good point, Tony. He’d be FORCED to engage in an illegal war for fear of people who don’t like him saying nasty things about him.”

            So asshole’s point is that someone would call him NAMES if he didn’t?!
            Why, yes, kindergarten recess social norms! Why would I expect Tony or Obo to act any differently?

            1. Coming from someone who heavily favors kingergarten-speak in his political analysis, that’s rich.

              1. Tony|9.26.14 @ 7:20PM|#
                “Coming from someone who heavily favors kingergarten-speak in his political analysis, that’s rich.”

                Coming from someone proposing the president act that way, it is pathetic.

              2. *Fuck you, bitch.*

                Wait… that’s how 5th-graders talk, not kindergarteners. Lemme try again.

                *You’re a poopy-head!*

                That’s better.

          2. You’re not wrong. But it isn’t necessarily an easy choice between the alternatives (don’t do anything vs. act unilaterally) of this particular scenario. My biggest worry is the precedent it solidifies. We may get an administration that uses it to start another decade-long war based on lies in the wrong country. It’s but small comfort that at least Obama is attacking the right people.

            1. Tony|9.26.14 @ 7:17PM|#
              …”We may get an administration that uses it to start another decade-long war based on lies in the wrong country.”
              Well, he’s kept it going for 6 years; he’ll manage 8.

              “It’s but small comfort that at least Obama is attacking the right people.”
              Of course! An ignoramus like you would know that to be true!

              1. If Obama didn’t end the Iraq war which this country had fought for a decade for purely political reasons, and instead based his decision off of the facts on the ground/what his generals had been telling him, ISIS would still be a minor turd in a region full of them just as they were before.

                That point isn’t going to be popular with the libertarians or the progressive tards, but it’s true.

                Vietnam gave liberals and other groups this notion that every war can just be backed out of without consequence. Regardless of whether we should have gone into Iraq, once we were there, the situation became fundamentally different. The reason for entering no longer mattered to the larger question of how to go forward.

                Obama is attacking an enemy he helped create with his own spinelessness, and he is still half-assing it.

      3. yes he is authorized, thanks to the republicans passing the authorized
        use of force in iraq bill in 2002

        1. Good think no Democrats voted for that think huh !

    2. You think that if the president asks for an authorization, McCain and Graham aren’t going to fall all over themselves give it to him?

      1. I don’t expect any president to refuse to assert powers that he plausibly could assert without anyone calling him on it. If Congress wants to take a vote, that’s up to John Boehner.

        1. I don’t expect any president to refuse to assert powers that he plausibly could assert without anyone calling him on it.

          Funny…I do.

          To go to war, isn’t his decision.

          1. congress gave him that power
            the republicans thought they
            were going to win in 2012 and
            have that power for a republican
            president

            1. joshrendell
              steals a turd
              many hours later
              the turd is gone

        2. Tony|9.26.14 @ 5:51PM|#
          “I don’t expect any president to refuse to assert powers that he plausibly could assert without anyone calling him on it.”

          I would expect nothing other from you. Thugs and infantile personalities never exercise ethical self-control; they test limits until someone calls them on it.

          1. you need to head on back to the
            fox news website with the other kids

            1. joshrendell speaks
              but no one hears
              cowardly
              his turd does not flush

        3. So, as far as Tony is concerned, the default is that the President can and should do anything and everything he wants, and if Congress doesn’t like it, Congress can take a vote.

          1. And the oath of office? Why, I guess we can just add that to Obo’s list of lies, right?

            1. another fox news viewer heard from

              1. You do realize this is a libertarian website right ? Proggies yelling “BOOSH” and “FOX NEWS” have no effect here. It is like shooting a vampire with silver bullets dude, just ain’t going to work.

                Now, relate our posts to Atlas Shrugged or something and you might be on the right track.

              2. joshrendell breaks his silence
                like an anal wind
                the ghost of a turd
                that has never been shat

        4. I’m sure you started feeling that way around January 2009…

    3. The really scary part about this war authorization question is that this congress would likely grant the president authorization, if he asked, but he chooses to bypass them anyway.

      He still has two years. What extra-constitutional declarations will he be trying by the time he’s finished? Will he refuse to vacate the WH?

      1. Maybe Obama sees this as a constitutional experiment. How far can he push executive powers? Maybe he can get to a full-on dictatorship within two years.

        1. maybe you could gain 50 points
          of I.Q., but not likely

          1. You might buy yourself a sense of humor sometime, but then that would probably overload what little mind you have.

          2. joshrendell
            cast’s his stones
            but stones cause no waves
            against the storm
            of his Libertarian foe’s

    4. Not that he has a choice. Is he supposed to say “Sorry, I cannot attack ISIL, for I do not have authority granted by the most worthless and dysfunctional Congress in United States history”?

      Remember when during the Vietnam War, there were acts of civil disobedience? Regular people standing up against an evil war perpetrated by an out of control government? Think of Congress refusing to act as an act of civil disobedience against an out of control executive.

      Of course, the difference is that what Congress is doing is their job. It’s the job of Congress to decide what laws to pass and who to declare war against, not the president’s. The president is supposed to obey and faithfully execute the law. Whether he likes a particular law or thinks it’s good is irrelevant. If he thinks he can’t do his job, he should resign.

  5. Obama’s own words: The President does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation.

    1. Game of Thrones fan|9.26.14 @ 5:21PM|#
      “Obama’s own words: The President does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation.”

      Obama’s own words:
      “http://obamalies.net/list-of-lies”

    2. “If you like your plan, you can keep it.”

      1. gorw up child

        1. grow up child
          grow up dead
          joshrendell speaks
          to the turd
          inside his head

    3. I think the definition of “military attack” is different nowadays under a Republican president that under a Democratic president.

  6. ‘The reason the progressive/liberals coddle Islam is because they will do their dirty work for them. Islam has no problem killing Christians or Jews which is a major tenet in the marxist belief that religion needs to be eliminated. They’re just not smart enough to see in the end that beast will turn on them.”

    I did not write this myself but I would have been proud if I did.

    1. I suspect there is something to this on a subconscious level for leftists.

      1. No question. The barbarians are killing the right people, as far as crypto-Marxists are concerned.

      2. Yes. You can’t worship God or gods, because we need you to worship the State.

    2. Who did write it? I might like to quote it.

    3. when you agree with stupid
      your just as stupid

  7. How much longer for the republic? Is it already gone?

    If I could choose to move to any country, which one is most like what the United States used to be?

    1. The republic is long gone. I date its demise back to popular votes for the Senate. That’s when the institutional embodiment of the states as semi-autonomous sovereigns was eliminated.

    2. Antarctica, maybe. Pretty much every government has turned hostile to liberty since the middle of the 20th century.

  8. The issue is how much the major media will cover for Obama as they have been since the beginning, though certainly less so now. The alphabet soup media simply will not oppose a unilateral action by a Democratic President, especially this one, anywhere near as vociferously as they would a Republican President. This makes it less likely the public will care and so less likely Republicans will oppose this. Democrats will generally have no problem with a Democrat behaving this way, of course. This would be true of Republicans and a Republican President, too. The main factor is the influence of the media and their overwhelming and constant leftward bias. It isn’t healthy.

  9. – “Of the countless lessons we’ve learned from liberals over the past few years, none is more critical than this: If Democrats find an issue important enough and if doing something feels like the “right thing,” Barack Obama has the power to act without any regard for separation of powers.”

    That’s simply not the case. A liberal would not behave in such an arbitrary and dictatorial manner. What you describe is the behavior of a progressive. Obama is indeed an typical American progressive.

    1. We hear ya, Classi.

      And as much as libertarians love to die on anachronistic hills, the idea that “liberal” means anything other than “progressive” in modern American nomenclature is long dead, and ain’t coming back to life.

    2. Thank you. I urge all my friends to refer to them as Progressive instead of Liberals. The word “Liberal” implies they have some connection to Enlightenment era idea of property rights, natural rights, contract law, etc. something rightly called liberalism. Progressivism is none of those things. IT is defined as: replacement of the civil society with government (to perfect man), rejection of timeless axioms of government, and rule by bureaucratic experts. Total antithetical to the very idea of liberalism.

      1. +1, let’s retake Liberal !

      2. I prefer Progressive Theocrats, as it properly identifies the genus of their species of ideology – force people to do good and prevent people from doing evil.

  10. People simply need to disregard this tyrant and his executive orders much in the manner in which we flavored a certain bay with tea.

    It is nonsense is that people comply. This is very simple. When something this irrational is propagated as sanctioned rule people need to refuse it.

    What’s going to be next? Actually what has already been next? Don’t say Merry Christmas. Someone might be offended. Don’t talk about Easter?the Muslim might take offense.

    It is this type of compliant sheeple attitude is the reason the insanity has gone as far as it has. I wrote once of another sheeple country?Germany. The final anti reason that the Jew was propagated as the cause of the German economy’s ills. And people went with it. That’s what happens with compliance of anti reason.

    As I predict, based on a sage known as History, anti reason is the premise before collapse of a nation. We are well on that path. If we continue we will have two possible scenarios. 1) A second civil war 2) We will no longer be the land of the free. And I’m sorry to say that the only way to confront anti reason is with violence. You cannot reason with the Marxist type of group thought. You cannot debate a tyrant.

    It is on the horizon. Soon we will have a choice on how to deal with the oncoming tsunami which will attempt to sweep our freedom away.

    Charles Hurst. Author of THE SECOND FALL. An offbeat story of Armageddon. And creator of THE RUNNINGWOLF EZINE

    1. Come on Charles, nobody ever plugs their own books at Reason.

      1. I’ve got a book on Preliminary Hearings in Pennsylvania for sale on Amazon. Not really topical to this article but I’d appreciate some buys. Makes a great Christmas gift.

    2. I’m sure other rightwing wacko’s
      would be thrilled to buy your book

      1. I end this night
        with one final poetry troll
        joshrendell is a cowardly turd
        and his words are droll

  11. “If Democrats find an issue important enough and if doing something feels like the “right thing,” Barack Obama has the power to act without any regard for separation of powers.”

    The State can do what is right. Democrats are Theocrats.

  12. Isn’t the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs required to disobey an illegal order? Shouldn’t all the generals on down just say “NO”. WTF could Obummer do?

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