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Does Obama Want to Get Impeached? Cont.



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Brian Beutler of The New Republic is non-committal:

Still, I’m not convinced that Democrats, including Obama, are eager to Jedi mind trick Boehner into actually impeaching Obama so much as they want the stench of impeachment to trail Republicans everywhere they go. I suspect they’ll be able to strike that balance up until Obama announces his deportation relief plan. After that, things get murky. But if Democrats truly welcome impeachment, particularly over something as politically crosswired as immigration, then Obama will go as far as he believes the law allows him to go, and let the chips fall where they may.

Ed Schultz Opposes Executive Order on Immigration: ‘Creates More Problems than It’s Going to Solve’



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All of a sudden, Ed Schultz is concerned about the rule of law and separation of powers.

Hardly one to buck the Democratic party line, the MSNBC host passionately came to the defense of American workers and urged the White House not to use executive actions to grant legal status and work authorization to millions of immigrants in the country illegally. He warned that it would be an “electoral death nail” for Democrats in the upcoming midterms.

“Hold the phone — this would be a mistake if the president were to do this,” he said on Tuesday. “Politically, there is no way Democrats can go home and campaign on across-the-board amnesty for millions of undocumented workers — I don’t think that’s a political winner for the Democrats.”

The sweeping executive order would also make it harder for American workers to compete in the economy (it is worth noting that the union-friendly Schultz has received more than a quarter of a million dollars from unions in the past two years). He pointed to other countries’ approach to immigration and warned about the pitfalls facing the White House if it chooses to go the route of executive orders.

“The Brits don’t just hand out work permits; the Germans don’t do it; I can tell you the Canadians don’t do it; the Japanese don’t do it,” he said. “Tell me: Who around this globe just hands out work permits to people to try to solve a problem of immigration? They don’t do that.”

Additionally, Schultz raised concerns about the executive branch holding too much power, regardless of whether a Republican or Democrat is in office. “I don’t think one man should have that much power,” he said.

“I don’t think the president can solve every problem with an executive order,” Schultz added.

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CT Lawmaker Proposes National Soda Tax



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And you thought Michael Bloomberg was bad.

Representative Rosa DeLauro (D., Conn.) plans to introduce a bill in the House today that would tax sugary beverages, expanding the former New York City mayor’s attempted vice tax to encompass an entire nation of Big Gulp lovers. Reports Reuters:

DeLauro’s legislation would levy a one-cent tax on manufacturers for every teaspoon of sugar in most beverages. The law, which would exempt drinks such as milk and 100 percent fruit juices, targets beverages with significant amounts of added sugars. That would translate into a tax of about 15 cents on a 20-ounce bottle of Coca-Cola, according to a spokeswoman for DeLauro.

The Connecticut lawmaker believes the time to act is now: “We have a serious health problem. It is in part related to the consumption of sugar and added sugars and sugary beverages. Therefore we need to move to do something to avert this crisis,” she told Reuters on Tuesday.

Local sugary-beverage tax proposals await voter approval in San Francisco and Berkeley, California. However, the most famous penalty — levied by New York City’s Board of Health in 2012 — was struck down in late June by the New York State Court of Appeals, the state’s highest court.

Web Briefing: August 1, 2014

Feds to Spend $200K Studying ‘Gender Bias’ at Wikipedia



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Your hard-earned tax dollars at work: The National Science Foundation will spend just over $200,000 to investigate “systematic gender bias” at Wikipedia, reports the Washington Free Beacon. The grant states:

Under-representation of female scholars and associated scholarship reduces the quality and completeness of Wikipedia, imposing significant costs on the millions of readers who rely on it. . . . The findings from this research should clarify where in the complex chain of knowledge gender disparities arise. The findings should also bolster ongoing efforts to address those disparities, in this case by improving quality and reducing bias on academic—and more general—Wikipedia.

Yale sociology professor Julia Adams will receive $132,000, and Hannah Brueckner, associate dean of social sciences at NYU–Abu Dhabi, will receive $70,000 to study the site.

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Mark Begich: No Border Policy Changes in Border Funding Bill



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Senator Mark Begich (D., Alaska) opposes making any border policy changes in the context of the border crisis, but he would accept a supplemental funding measure that provided less money than the $2.7 billion Senate Democrats are currently trying to authorize.

“Generally, I do,” Begich replied Tuesday when asked if he supports the supplemental funding bill offered by Senate Appropriations Committee chairwoman Barbara Mikulski (D., Md.).

Asked about the possibility of a compromise between Senate Democrats and House Republicans, Begich said that “there’s a lot of conversation going on,” though he isn’t directly involved in a negotiation.

“If the number is less than 2.7 for the border part, that’s not going to bother me because it’s hard to spend that kind of money in the short term, but we do need to get something,” Begich told National Review Online. “So there’s a lot — I’m not directly — but there is a lot of us that are having conversations.”

Begich said he opposes deploying the National Guard to the border or including provisions from border bill written by Senator John Cornyn (R., Texas) and Representative Henry Cuellar (D., Texas).

“I think we need to keep that out of it,” he told NRO. “We need to focus on getting emergency resources to take care of the processing that needs to be done and additional support for Health and Human Services and the Justice component.”

One Bite



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At the Telegraph, Tim Stanley has written a mainly playful post titled “Mitt Romney was right about everything in 2012. So why not Romney 2016?” This gives me a chance to make a little historical point I have been wanting to make for a couple of months.

Time was, parties were willing to renominate a man who had lost. These days, you get one nomination — one bite at the apple.

William Jennings Bryan was the Democratic nominee three times. Can you imagine? Can you imagine letting a man lose not twice but thrice? Adlai Stevenson was the Democratic nominee twice—having the privilege of losing to Dwight Eisenhower both times.

Nixon was a special case — the real Comeback Kid, no matter what Bill Clinton may say. The incumbent vice-president, Nixon ran as the Republican nominee in 1960. Lost. Then ran for the California governorship. Lost. Then sat out the 1964 presidential election — and came back in 1968 and won, both the nomination and the presidency. As I said, a special case.

I wonder whether a party will ever renominate a losing nominee again. An exception, I think, might have been Gore — Gore in ’04 (hey, has a ring to it!). And you know why: because of the special circumstances of the 2000 election. His party thought he was robbed. There were bumper stickers that said “Reelect Gore.” So, in the Democratic mind, that might not have been the renomination of a loser. That might have been vindication, vengeance, honor, just deserts.

Anyway, those are my thoughts, not good enough for a freshman poli-sci paper, probably good enough for a blogpost.

P.S. Lou Cannon once told me something that Reagan said: “Don’t be a Stassen.” You don’t want to run for president repeatedly and futilely.

Murdock: Impeachment Talk about ‘Dollars and Defibrillation’ for Democrats



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Fallon Ribs Obama for His Lack of Balls. . . Golf Balls, That Is



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The Tonight Show’s Jimmy Fallon took a shot at President Obama’s golf game, and maybe at a little more, too.

A man in Maryland claims he found one of President Obama’s custom golf balls in the woods near the golf course where the president played over the weekend.

Obama said he had been looking for his balls for a while. Democrats said, “Yeah, we know.”

Later in the show, Fallon offered up the pros and cons of a potential Joe Biden presidency: “Pro: Watching him put his right hand on the Bible to recite the Presidential Oath. Con: Watching him make L’s with both hands to figure out which is right and which is left.”

Dubious Assumption: Impeachment Talk Is Good For Obama



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Thanks to Faithless Execution, I am in some quarters being credited (or blamed, depending on one’s perspective) for the impeachment talk – notwithstanding that my book argues against the filing of articles of impeachment in the absence of public support for the president’s removal and urges, instead, that our political theme ought to be Obama’s lawlessness and how it threatens our governing framework.

On the homepage today, I have a column about the impeachment chatter. (Jonah and Dr. K have weighed in on the dread I-word, too.) The column covers a number of points; the one I want to underscore here is the administration’s strange assumption – which, unfortunately, Republicans and the media appear to have joined Democrats in buying into – that impeachment talk is good politically for Obama. My column offers two counter-arguments on that notion. First, most of Obama’s important strategic assumptions, like most of his policies, have been wrong, so why should we assume he’s right about this:

Obama’s approval rating has taken a dive largely because he and his brain trust have repeatedly made flawed assumptions about public sentiment. They thought making children the face of their ruinous immigration policies would make those policies popular — and they have been surprised at the welter of protest. They thought health-insurance subsidies would be so popular governors could be extorted into establishing the state health-care exchanges needed to make Obamacare work — and they have been surprised by the 36 states that said “no,” and by the D.C. Circuit Court ruling that may lead to Obamacare’s collapse. They thought cries for accountability on the Benghazi massacre, the IRS scandal, the VA scandal, and Fast and Furious would by now have faded — and they are surprised to find themselves facing a Benghazi select committee, other congressional committees continuing to uncover evidence of wrongdoing and obstruction, and judges who are now demanding answers. They thought the uproar over executive lawlessness could be marginalized as partisan carping by the “extreme” Right — and they are surprised to find progressive law professors describing Obama as the uber president” Richard Nixon only dreamed of being.

Republicans should stop taking their cues from the president’s vastly overrated political intuition.

Second, Republicans who argue that impeaching and removing Obama is a pipe-dream are wrong to deduce from this correct premise that talking about impeachment is crazy and therefore good for Obama. To grasp the flaw in this deduction we need to consider why impeachment is a pipe-dream. It is not because claims of Obama’s rampant lawlessness are manufactured – they are very real. It is because Democrats would never vote to remove Obama, no matter how much damage he does:

Talk of impeachment from his opponents could be a winning issue only for a president as to whom it was palpably a crazy idea. In Obama’s case, it most certainly is not. True, it might be “crazy” to suggest that Democrats might stop defending the president’s lawlessness at some point; but Obama’s refusal to execute the laws faithfully is not in doubt. Only the same skewed thinking that has gotten Obama into the mess he’s in could now convince him that even more rampant presidential lawlessness will make the broad middle of the country sympathetic toward him….

The president’s problem is that impeachment talk has not arisen in a vacuum or been confined to the tea-party fever swamp of his imagination. It has been catalyzed by his flagrant violations of law and derelictions of duty. Disquiet has descended on a society that sees the rule of law devolving into executive caprice. On the world stage, it has become dangerous to be America’s ally — better to be Putin, Hamas, or the Taliban. There is a widening public recognition that the president’s vow to “fundamentally transform the United States of America” was not just campaign rhetoric. He really meant it.

Moreover, the public senses that impeachment is not, as in the Clinton days, being pressed by partisans heedless of public opinion. It is being considered — with patent reluctance — by an increasing number of concerned Americans who are offended by Obama’s aggressive lawlessness and have run out of other ideas for stopping it.

Charles’s comments on Special Report get to this crux of the matter. Obama is outrageously lawless to a degree that could be impeachment-worthy, but filing articles of impeachment would be a kamikaze mission because Democrats are content with their lawless president. Impeachment becomes a political loser for Republicans only if they go on the kamikaze mission — if they try to file articles of impeachment in the absence of sufficient public support and with the prospect of certain defeat in the Senate. But if impeachment is raised, as Charles discussed it, for the purpose of emphasizing how serious is the lawlessness that Obama is committing and Democrats are defending, how on earth would that help Obama or hurt Republicans?

Wednesday links



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Times have changed: Miss USA 1921 vs 2014.

21 Designs for The Great Tower of London That Never Was.

Weaponized rabbit poo powers this doomsday flamethrower.

Right now, stop whatever you’re doing and watch this: 3-Year-Old Russian Drummer Performs With A Symphony Orchestra.

33 Pictures Taken At The Right Moment.

An interactive timeline of the Marvel cinematic universe.

ICYMIMonday’s links are here, including the 100th anniversary of the beginning of WW1, a Lego microscope, and a Family Guy/Simpsons crossover trailer.

Report: House Border Bill Could Make It Easier for Unaccompanied Children to Stay Here



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The House supplemental appropriations bill aimed at addressing the border crisis before the August recess would allow more unaccompanied alien children to stay in the U.S., increase the immigration bureaucracy, and add to existing immigration-court backlogs, according to an internal NumbersUSA analysis obtained by National Review Online.  

In its analysis of the bill, NumbersUSA, a group that advocates for less immigration, argues that the bill would create a new hearing process — a 235B” proceeding — for unaccompanied alien children (UAC) who do not express a credible fear of persecution, are not victims of trafficking, and do not volunteer to return to their country of origin (which presumably will include a great deal of them). The 235B proceeding must be completed before the standard removal process would begin.

The 235B proceedings would require that the UAC be brought before an immigration judge within seven days, at which point the judge would have 72 hours after the hearing to issue a ruling. If the UAC did not show up to the hearing, the federal government would only be allowed to deport the child, as a legal matter, in absentia if the government proved by a preponderance of evidence that the alien was at fault for his or her absence.

Additionally, NumbersUSA alleges that any of the illegal immigrant children who were previously issued a Notice to Appear for a removal proceeding between January 1, 2014, and the date of the bill’s enactment would be granted a second chance at admission to the U.S. via a 235B proceeding. This second chance would be granted regardless of whether the UAC has been deported, ordered removed, or is no longer a minor.

The 235B proceedings will be conducted by 40 immigration judges who will be chosen by the attorney general and Department of Homeland Security from a pool of retired immigration judges, current immigration judges, administrative-law judges, and magistrate judges. The 40 judges designated to work the 235B proceedings will remain in effect until the attorney general and DHS decide the humanitarian crisis at the border has ended.

The report concludes that the spending the House proposes would be $40 million greater than the offsets provided in the bill. The analysis also reports the bill allocates $40 million for the State Department to give in aid to Central America.    

The Limits of Compassion



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Concern for the poor is laudable and indeed morally obligatory, but Republican politics, I argue, needs to be built on the sturdier basis of self-interest. 

Krauthammer’s Take: Amnesty via Executive Order an Impeachable Offense, but Impeachment Would Still Be Political Suicide



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Talk of impeachment is a “concoction of Democrats,” but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a grander strategy by the White House and its congressional allies, Charles Krauthammer warned.

On Tuesday’s Special Report, he speculated that the Obama administration may be trying to exhaust the idea of impeachment and “softening people up for” when the president uses executive action to grant legal status and work authorization to millions of immigrants in the country illegally. Such an action would be “clearly lawless and it would be biggest domestic overreach of a president in memory” and “an impeachable offense,” he said.

But if Obama did go ahead with his amnesty-by-fiat plan, Krauthammer still thinks impeachment wouldn’t work. “I would be 100 percent against impeachment because it’s political suicide,” he said.

‘Quick, Can You Think of Another Way to Write a Subject Line with “Impeachment” in It?’



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Bereft of many ways to take the House back from Republicans, the Democratic National Committee has been doing its best to raise money off the non-possibility that House Republicans are about to bring articles of impeachment against the president. To wring what they can out of it, they’re getting creative:

Poetry



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THE FINAL IKON

He felt that he would find it,
Find it yet –
The clarity he sought
With all his breath.

And when he had found it?
Why did he grieve?
And why did he find it
So hard to breathe?

— This poem appears in the August 11, 2014, print edition of National Review.

Giving Hillary Credit? Nah.



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Jay, I didn’t mean to give Hillary credit. Quite the reverse. I drew attention to her praise of Bush merely as evidence that she apparently feels a need — can’t imagine why — to distance herself from Obama’s rolling foreign policy disasters. My point is that, try as she doubtless will, to portray herself as the hard-headed one in the first Obama administration who simply wasn’t heeded, the truth is that her foreign policy judgments are just as appalling as the president’s. In the column, I mentioned her comments on Charlie Rose 10 days ago or so, in which she recommended using Turkey and Qatar as “interlocutors” in the Israel/Hamas war — precisely what John Kerry proceeded to do to nearly universal disgust. 

As if that weren’t enough, we now learn that she told an interviewer that Hamas puts its missiles in schools and homes because “Gaza is pretty small.” 

Those who imagine that Hillary is something different — and I suspect many American Jews are in this category — are deluding themselves. But that’s an old story as you know so well.

Mike Pence Learned HHS Was Dumping Migrant Children in His State from the Press, Not HHS



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Indiana governor Mike Pence said he first learned the federal government had placed 245 unaccompanied alien children in Indiana through media reports.

In a letter to President Obama, Pence wrote that the Department of Health and Human Services informed him that the federal government had housed hundreds of unaccompanied alien children in Indiana from January 1, 2014, to July 7, 2014, but only after reports surfaced in the media.

“While we feel deep compassion for these children, our country must secure its borders and provide for a legal and orderly immigration process,” Pence wrote. “Failure to expedite the return of unaccompanied children thwarts the rule of law and will only continue to send a distorted message that illegally crossing into America is without consequence.”

Pence said HHS would only provide him with updated monthly numbers of unaccompanied alien children living in the Hoosier State during the first week of each month. Pence called this unacceptable and noted that Indiana may be expected to be responsible for the illegal immigrant children’s education, health and welfare.

Meanwhile, as of March 2014, nearly 8,000 illegal immigrants in Indiana have had their requests for temporary effectively legal status accepted via President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program created in 2012. Nearly 2,800 more people had their requests for DACA protection accepted in Indiana than did in New Mexico during the same time frame. That may provide insight about how Obama’s possible plans to unilaterally legalize five million illegal immigrants later this summer would impact Indiana, a concern that’s surely on Pence’s mind.

“What we are currently experiencing in Indiana and states across the nation as this crisis deepens, however, is neither sensible nor humane,” Pence wrote. “States should not be asked by the federal government to deal with the consequences of a failed national immigration policy.”

 

The Sequester Created a Baby Boom in D.C.



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Birth rates in the Washington, D.C., area have spiked approximately nine months after the government shutdown last fall.

Sibley Memorial Hospital in D.C. has seen an increase of three births per day during the past month, according to the Washington Post. The hospital’s spokesman told ABC News that the hospital is ”at near-capacity right now” and joked that some of the furloughed feds had “apparently found ways to amuse themselves.”

Meanwhile, Anne Arundel Medical Center in Annapolis, Md., reportedly welcomed 385 newborns into the world in the first half of July this year, up 120 from the same period in 2013.

It remains unclear whether ThinkProgress considers this development the end result of its warning about “How The Looming Sequester Will Have A Disproportionate Impact On Women And Children,” or the Congressional Black Caucus’ claim that the sequestration cuts were part of the “War on Women.”

In fact, the Post described the shutdown as having a positive impact on at least one female federal employee: Jessica Hernandez, a program analyst for the Food and Drug Administration, said she had a “great time” during the sequester going out to lunch, volunteering, hanging out with her mom, and relaxing. “Her relaxation contributed to her better mood, she recalled, and her better mood contributed to her choice of activities when her husband came home from his sales consulting job,” the Post reported. When Hernandez returned to her 150-person office at the FDA after the shutdown, she found that she was one of three pregnant women who would be giving birth to sequester babies.

And while some in the mainstream media still question the sequester’s role in helping women get pregnant and boosting the economy, NBC’s Brian Williams had a more pressing question earlier this month: “How long until someone on television points out that during the shutdown the folks in Washington are apparently doing at home what Washington has been accused of doing to the American people?”

Re ‘Hillary Praises W.?’



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Mona, count me a churl, but I would not read much into Hillary Clinton’s praise of George W. Bush. She praised him on one ground: his AIDS relief in Africa. That is the one thing Democrats give W. credit for. Sort of like when WFB died, and a lot of people acted like the only thing he had ever done in his whole, long, magnificent life was support the legalization of pot. They thought that was cool.

Two springs ago, I wrote about the dedication ceremony of the GWB Center at SMU. All the former presidents were there, plus the incumbent. And each of the Democrats — Obama, Clinton, and Carter — heaped praise on W. for his policy on Africa. Carter actually said, “Mr. President, let me say that I’m filled with admiration for you and deep gratitude for you,” because of “the great contributions you’ve made to the most needy people on earth.”

Clinton and Obama made the same sounds. Better than nothing, I suppose. But I could get excited if a Democrat praised, say, W.’s stance against “partial-birth abortion.”

(Mona, please feel free to set me straight either here online or in our next podcast. My current mood is decidedly churlish. It seems not to be in a hurry to pass . . .)

Annihilated



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Today’s Between the Covers podcast with with Jeff VanderMeer, author of Annihilation. We discuss what this new SF/fantasy/horror novel is about, how a Florida wildlife refuge inspired him to create “Area X” as the setting for his story, and why’s he’s publishing all three books of a trilogy within a few months of each other.

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