President Stealth Strikes Again

How Obama and his merry band are trying to evade the will of the people

The people spoke in November when they delivered a shellacking to Democrats and Barack Obama.  They had grabbed too much power in ways that ran afoul of tradition, the law, and the will of the people.  In electing so many Republicans to office, Americans wanted a course change from the radicalism of the past two years: the regulatory avalanche, the policy missteps, the ObamaCare overreach.

Have President Obama and his merry band of followers read the memo yet?  The people have had it with the tricks and sly maneuvers used by Democrats to push their agenda on America.  Apparently they have not yet heard our voices or care to listen to us -- they still have some tricks up their sleeves.

They know the game book of the Republicans -- what their plans are to circumscribe Obama's power-grab, to minimize the damage from ObamaCare and massive and wasteful deficits.  I suggested what that very game plan would be in Stopping Obama: A Republican Game Plan.  Merely observing and piecing together various news items was sufficient to give one an idea of the contours of the Republican effort; Obama and the Democrats know how the game is played and have deployed their own tactics to counter and foil the Republicans and those darned and dunderheaded Americans who voted for them (the bitter ones who cling to God, guns, and the ballot box).

Republicans in the House now have oversight authority to finally investigate all that has happened the last two years -- and authority chairmen such as Darrell Issa (House Oversight and Government Reform Committee) and Fred Upton (Energy and Commerce) intend to use to root out waste, cronyism, favoritism, and corruption.  Issa has already asked the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to release a number of documents relating to its policies and earlier testimony before Congress.

The response from the Department?  A trick question.  For there has been no response.  It's called stonewalling (or we can call it the "Just Say No" reply), and it is meant to frustrate and derail any sort of oversight by Republicans.

From Ed Morrissey at Hot Air:

... The Daily Caller reported that the Obama administration had snubbed top GOP oversight official Rep. Darrell Issa on his first major document deadline as new chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, sending a short letter promising to comply in response to a major information request that was due Saturday at noon.

Jan. 28 letter from the Department of Homeland Security said the agency is "in the process of retrieving" documents requested by Issa "and will make them available for your review expeditiously."

But the next day, Issa's two-week deadline expired.

Now Issa is hitting back with a forceful response that demands key documents by Thursday.

What happens if the DHS fails to comply by tomorrow?  Issa may issue subpoenas for top officials to explain to his panel why they have failed to cooperate with Congressional oversight.  The Democrats on the committee may try to block the subpoenas.
Democrats are going to be in  an uproar, charging Republicans are on a McCarthy-like with hunt. Congressman  Henry Waxman has already been accusing Fred Upton of being too disruptive because he dare asked the Department of Health and Human Services to give to the committee copies of communications about an office set up under ObamaCare to write and enforce regulations on private insurance companies. The hypocrisy is blatant for, as the Wall Street Journal editorializes, Waxman was very zealous in requesting documents when he was chairman of a committee:

The 19-term Beverly Hills Democrat made his name as a hell-for-leather investigator of business and, at least during GOP Presidencies, the executive branch, so there's more than a little humor in his sternly worded letter to Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton. Mr. Waxman believes Republicans have gone too far by requesting documents from Health and Human Services as they probe ObamaCare's implementation.

Days after the 2006 election, Mr. Waxman mused to reporters that the Oversight Committee he would chair had "jurisdiction over everything" and said that "the most difficult thing will be to pick and choose." He didn't. Which Waxman investigation was most frivolous is still an open question. Was it his dogged pursuit of the Karl Rove conspiracy to "out" Valerie Plame, or Dick Cheney's phantom plan to enrich Halliburton, or the White House noninterference in climate science?

By the summer of 2008, the Bush Administration had produced more than 1.8 million pages of documents and more than 1,100 different officials had testified before Congress to comply with some 650 investigations.

The Journal notes that one other way the Democrats are going to try to evade the GOP's efforts to restore accountability to Washington. One major strategy the GOP had was to use its House majority to defund various elements of Obamacare.  Furthermore, bills would be narrowly drafted to make it easier to cut funding for various agencies.

How did the Obama team respond?  By some fancy footwork behind the scenes.  The office Upton was investigating had directly reported to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius but, once the GOP took control, was suddenly relocated to the Medicare center.  The Journal opines:

The bureaucratic reshuffling was likely meant to counter GOP attempts to defund the office, which has nothing to do with Medicare. Mr. Upton is also asking for information about the process by which HHS has granted more than 700 waivers to its union allies and others exempting them from certain ObamaCare mandates.
Some shuffling of the deck to avoid defunding by suddenly relocating an office from vulnerable area to a more protected one (who wants to be charged with placing Medicare funding at risk?).  How clever these Democrats can be when it comes to ignoring the will of the people.  Moving offices around on the organizational chart, reassigning government workers who might be called to testify so as to make them less readily available to give testimony to Congress (as has been done by the Department of Justice in the New Black Panther controversy), shifting titles, funds, and job responsibilities become par for the course for the Obama administration.  Will their bureaucratic stunts to avoid Republican oversight become a high-stakes game of "Whack- a- Mole"?  

So much for those promises Barack Obama made to have the most transparent administration in history.  They were, as Barack Obama would say, "just words"?

But wait -- there is more.  They also are ignoring federal courts.

From the Washington Examiner:

A federal court in Louisiana has found the Interior Department in contempt for violating an injunction barring enforcement of the first drilling moratorium issued by the agency following the Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf Of Mexico.

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar issued the first moratorium June 22, 2010, but shortly thereafter federal District Judge Martin Feldman issued a temporary restraining order, which the government appealed. That appeal was denied and a few days later Salazar issued a second moratorium that was virtually identical to the first.

Judge Feldman was not impressed by Interior's claims that the second moratorium was different, and ruled that "the government did not simply reimpose a blanket moratorium; rather, each step the government took following the Court's imposition of a preliminary injunction showcases its defiance:

"The government failed to seek a remand; it continually reaffirmed its intention and resolve to restore the moratorium; it even notified operators that though a preliminary injunction had issued, they could quickly expect a new moratorium.

"Such dismissive conduct, viewed in tandem with the reimposition of a second blanket and substantively identical moratorium and in light of the national importance of this case, provide this Court with clear and convincing evidence of the government's contempt of this Court's preliminary injunction Order."

A federal judge issued an injunction that barred enforcement of a drilling moratorium issued by the agency (it was actually an executive order issued by Barack Obama).  So the Interior Department basically sought an end-run around the court's injunction be developing a new moratorium essentially the same as the first one.  Plus, the Interior Department has been afflicted with a sudden case of sclerosis since drilling permitting has been shifted into low gear.  The executive branch is ignoring a federal court order, and now the judge has the good sense to treat the administration as it should be treated when it ignores the law: with contempt.

One more point.

Judges normally expect the executive branch to follow the laws (how silly in the Age of Obama).  This noble but naïve belief was highlighted in Judge Roger Vinson's decision that declared Obamacare to be unconstitutional because it stretched the Commerce Clause to the breaking point.  He also said the lack of a severability clause would make the rest of ObamaCare unworkable.  One need not dig into the legalistic details of the decision.  But what is most interesting is the judge's reasoning in denying the plaintiffs' an injunction that would have prevented the roll-out of Obamacare.  Why deny an injunction if Obamacare is unconstitutional?

Because the judge still has faith that a president would abide by the oath taken when he is sworn into the highest office of the land to the best of his ability to "preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."

Judge Vinson did not think that an injunction was needed.  He cited a previous ruling and wrote that he expected the "executive branch" to "adhere to the law as declared by the court. As a result the declaratory judgment is the functional equivalent of an injunction."  Well, the judge who issued the contempt citation over the evasion of his own injunction against enforcing the drilling moratorium might want to inform his colleague that the executive branch has no problem ignoring the judicial branch.

Memo to Judge Vinson: don't expect the executive branch to adhere to any laws as declared by any court unless it comports with President Obama's agenda.  And so it has already done so.  As the Wall Street Journal notes the White House reaction after the Vinson decision:

Yet the White House and Health and Human Services have already said they'll continue running ObamaCare as if nothing has changed. Imagine the rule-of-law furor if the Bush Administration had said a wiretapping or other civil liberties ruling didn't matter.

Where are the media when it has become increasingly clear to all but the most besotted and blind that Barack Obama regularly flouts not just the will of the people, but the laws of the land in order to pursue his agenda?

We should reciprocate his disrespect -- if not contempt -- on November 6th, 2012.

Ed Lasky is news editor of American Thinker.
How Obama and his merry band are trying to evade the will of the people

The people spoke in November when they delivered a shellacking to Democrats and Barack Obama.  They had grabbed too much power in ways that ran afoul of tradition, the law, and the will of the people.  In electing so many Republicans to office, Americans wanted a course change from the radicalism of the past two years: the regulatory avalanche, the policy missteps, the ObamaCare overreach.

Have President Obama and his merry band of followers read the memo yet?  The people have had it with the tricks and sly maneuvers used by Democrats to push their agenda on America.  Apparently they have not yet heard our voices or care to listen to us -- they still have some tricks up their sleeves.

They know the game book of the Republicans -- what their plans are to circumscribe Obama's power-grab, to minimize the damage from ObamaCare and massive and wasteful deficits.  I suggested what that very game plan would be in Stopping Obama: A Republican Game Plan.  Merely observing and piecing together various news items was sufficient to give one an idea of the contours of the Republican effort; Obama and the Democrats know how the game is played and have deployed their own tactics to counter and foil the Republicans and those darned and dunderheaded Americans who voted for them (the bitter ones who cling to God, guns, and the ballot box).

Republicans in the House now have oversight authority to finally investigate all that has happened the last two years -- and authority chairmen such as Darrell Issa (House Oversight and Government Reform Committee) and Fred Upton (Energy and Commerce) intend to use to root out waste, cronyism, favoritism, and corruption.  Issa has already asked the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to release a number of documents relating to its policies and earlier testimony before Congress.

The response from the Department?  A trick question.  For there has been no response.  It's called stonewalling (or we can call it the "Just Say No" reply), and it is meant to frustrate and derail any sort of oversight by Republicans.

From Ed Morrissey at Hot Air:

... The Daily Caller reported that the Obama administration had snubbed top GOP oversight official Rep. Darrell Issa on his first major document deadline as new chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, sending a short letter promising to comply in response to a major information request that was due Saturday at noon.

Jan. 28 letter from the Department of Homeland Security said the agency is "in the process of retrieving" documents requested by Issa "and will make them available for your review expeditiously."

But the next day, Issa's two-week deadline expired.

Now Issa is hitting back with a forceful response that demands key documents by Thursday.

What happens if the DHS fails to comply by tomorrow?  Issa may issue subpoenas for top officials to explain to his panel why they have failed to cooperate with Congressional oversight.  The Democrats on the committee may try to block the subpoenas.
Democrats are going to be in  an uproar, charging Republicans are on a McCarthy-like with hunt. Congressman  Henry Waxman has already been accusing Fred Upton of being too disruptive because he dare asked the Department of Health and Human Services to give to the committee copies of communications about an office set up under ObamaCare to write and enforce regulations on private insurance companies. The hypocrisy is blatant for, as the Wall Street Journal editorializes, Waxman was very zealous in requesting documents when he was chairman of a committee:

The 19-term Beverly Hills Democrat made his name as a hell-for-leather investigator of business and, at least during GOP Presidencies, the executive branch, so there's more than a little humor in his sternly worded letter to Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton. Mr. Waxman believes Republicans have gone too far by requesting documents from Health and Human Services as they probe ObamaCare's implementation.

Days after the 2006 election, Mr. Waxman mused to reporters that the Oversight Committee he would chair had "jurisdiction over everything" and said that "the most difficult thing will be to pick and choose." He didn't. Which Waxman investigation was most frivolous is still an open question. Was it his dogged pursuit of the Karl Rove conspiracy to "out" Valerie Plame, or Dick Cheney's phantom plan to enrich Halliburton, or the White House noninterference in climate science?

By the summer of 2008, the Bush Administration had produced more than 1.8 million pages of documents and more than 1,100 different officials had testified before Congress to comply with some 650 investigations.

The Journal notes that one other way the Democrats are going to try to evade the GOP's efforts to restore accountability to Washington. One major strategy the GOP had was to use its House majority to defund various elements of Obamacare.  Furthermore, bills would be narrowly drafted to make it easier to cut funding for various agencies.

How did the Obama team respond?  By some fancy footwork behind the scenes.  The office Upton was investigating had directly reported to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius but, once the GOP took control, was suddenly relocated to the Medicare center.  The Journal opines:

The bureaucratic reshuffling was likely meant to counter GOP attempts to defund the office, which has nothing to do with Medicare. Mr. Upton is also asking for information about the process by which HHS has granted more than 700 waivers to its union allies and others exempting them from certain ObamaCare mandates.
Some shuffling of the deck to avoid defunding by suddenly relocating an office from vulnerable area to a more protected one (who wants to be charged with placing Medicare funding at risk?).  How clever these Democrats can be when it comes to ignoring the will of the people.  Moving offices around on the organizational chart, reassigning government workers who might be called to testify so as to make them less readily available to give testimony to Congress (as has been done by the Department of Justice in the New Black Panther controversy), shifting titles, funds, and job responsibilities become par for the course for the Obama administration.  Will their bureaucratic stunts to avoid Republican oversight become a high-stakes game of "Whack- a- Mole"?  

So much for those promises Barack Obama made to have the most transparent administration in history.  They were, as Barack Obama would say, "just words"?

But wait -- there is more.  They also are ignoring federal courts.

From the Washington Examiner:

A federal court in Louisiana has found the Interior Department in contempt for violating an injunction barring enforcement of the first drilling moratorium issued by the agency following the Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf Of Mexico.

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar issued the first moratorium June 22, 2010, but shortly thereafter federal District Judge Martin Feldman issued a temporary restraining order, which the government appealed. That appeal was denied and a few days later Salazar issued a second moratorium that was virtually identical to the first.

Judge Feldman was not impressed by Interior's claims that the second moratorium was different, and ruled that "the government did not simply reimpose a blanket moratorium; rather, each step the government took following the Court's imposition of a preliminary injunction showcases its defiance:

"The government failed to seek a remand; it continually reaffirmed its intention and resolve to restore the moratorium; it even notified operators that though a preliminary injunction had issued, they could quickly expect a new moratorium.

"Such dismissive conduct, viewed in tandem with the reimposition of a second blanket and substantively identical moratorium and in light of the national importance of this case, provide this Court with clear and convincing evidence of the government's contempt of this Court's preliminary injunction Order."

A federal judge issued an injunction that barred enforcement of a drilling moratorium issued by the agency (it was actually an executive order issued by Barack Obama).  So the Interior Department basically sought an end-run around the court's injunction be developing a new moratorium essentially the same as the first one.  Plus, the Interior Department has been afflicted with a sudden case of sclerosis since drilling permitting has been shifted into low gear.  The executive branch is ignoring a federal court order, and now the judge has the good sense to treat the administration as it should be treated when it ignores the law: with contempt.

One more point.

Judges normally expect the executive branch to follow the laws (how silly in the Age of Obama).  This noble but naïve belief was highlighted in Judge Roger Vinson's decision that declared Obamacare to be unconstitutional because it stretched the Commerce Clause to the breaking point.  He also said the lack of a severability clause would make the rest of ObamaCare unworkable.  One need not dig into the legalistic details of the decision.  But what is most interesting is the judge's reasoning in denying the plaintiffs' an injunction that would have prevented the roll-out of Obamacare.  Why deny an injunction if Obamacare is unconstitutional?

Because the judge still has faith that a president would abide by the oath taken when he is sworn into the highest office of the land to the best of his ability to "preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."

Judge Vinson did not think that an injunction was needed.  He cited a previous ruling and wrote that he expected the "executive branch" to "adhere to the law as declared by the court. As a result the declaratory judgment is the functional equivalent of an injunction."  Well, the judge who issued the contempt citation over the evasion of his own injunction against enforcing the drilling moratorium might want to inform his colleague that the executive branch has no problem ignoring the judicial branch.

Memo to Judge Vinson: don't expect the executive branch to adhere to any laws as declared by any court unless it comports with President Obama's agenda.  And so it has already done so.  As the Wall Street Journal notes the White House reaction after the Vinson decision:

Yet the White House and Health and Human Services have already said they'll continue running ObamaCare as if nothing has changed. Imagine the rule-of-law furor if the Bush Administration had said a wiretapping or other civil liberties ruling didn't matter.

Where are the media when it has become increasingly clear to all but the most besotted and blind that Barack Obama regularly flouts not just the will of the people, but the laws of the land in order to pursue his agenda?

We should reciprocate his disrespect -- if not contempt -- on November 6th, 2012.

Ed Lasky is news editor of American Thinker.