February 27, 2015

Lerner Email Search Is On Hold Over Software Problems: ‘There Is Potential Criminal Activity’

The investigation into Lois Lerner’s missing emails is currently on hold due to software issues. But the investigators know that “there is potential criminal activity” in the case.

Treasury Department inspectors general testified Thursday that they cannot provide any relevant information related to their search for Lois Lerner’s missing emails. But at least three bits of information came out: the investigation is on hold over software issues, there is potential criminal wrongdoing, and nobody at the IRS even asked for Lerner’s backup email tapes from the people in New Martinsville, West Virginia who had them.

Treasury deputy inspector general Timothy Camus confirmed to the House Oversight Committee that his office found more than 30,000 of Lerner’s emails.

 But the Oversight committee has not received all of the emails. At least 8,000 emails are still at the inspector general’s office.

Why is the investigation on hold?

Camus said that he is currently battling it out over licensing issues with a software company that makes some kind of software that Camus needs to “match” the emails he has with the emails that have already been turned over to Congress – so that he can give Congress only the ones that Congress doesn’t have yet. Camus called the software vendor a “renowned company.”

But why don’t the inspectors general just give Congress all the emails they have and let Congress sort through them? Who knows? That’s not clear.

“There is potential criminal activity,” Camus admitted.

Under questioning from chairman Rep. Jason Chaffetz, Camus confirmed that the inspector general found Lerner’s backup email tapes at a storage facility in West Virginia and that the IT professionals who had the tapes were never asked — by the IRS or anyone else — for the tapes. Camus said that he found what he believes are Lerner’s 2011 tapes just two weeks ago.

Camus also said that “the facts as we understand them can and have changed on a daily basis.”
Democratic Rep. Carolyn Maloney called the hearing a “waste of time.”

The White House has staunchly refused to cooperate with the IRS investigation, passing the buck to the IRS.

“It is my understanding that in May 2014, Commissioner Koskinen responded to this request by indicating that the IRS would be able to address new topics such as these following its completion of document productions already in progress,” White House counsel W. Neil Eggleston told Rep. Paul Ryan last week in a letter. “To the extent that the committee continues to have an oversight interest in this matter, I encourage you to continue working with the IRS to address those questions.”

As The Daily Caller extensively reported, Lerner and her underling Nikole Flax unveiled the new program of nonprofit scrutiny at a 2010 conference of government workers at Washington’s Grand Hyatt hotel. IRS officials obtained donor lists for a “secret research project” that was approved by then-IRS commissioner Steven T. Miller. Lerner provided confidential taxpayer information on a conservative group to senior White House adviser Jeanne Lambrew.

The legal advocacy firm Cause of Action is trying to get some of Lerner’s key emails through a lawsuit in U.S. District Court against the Treasury Department’s inspector general (TIGTA). TIGTA found nearly 2,500 pages of documents chronicling investigations into White House-IRS swaps of confidential taxpayer information. But the Cause of Action case has hit a snag. 

The Treasury Department’s inspector general filed a motion to dismiss the case, citing Section 6103 of the Internal Revenue Code, which prohibits disclosures of confidential taxpayer information. In other words, the Obama administration is claiming that because it  shared confidential taxpayer information then it cannot legally release documents about how it shared confidential taxpayer information.


February 26, 2015

Climate Scientist Targeted By Democrats For Global-Warming Apostasy

Dr. Roger Pielke Jr. of the University of Colorado has published a lengthy blog post about his “investigation” by Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) of the House Natural Resources Committee. The post sheds further light on the remarkable similarity between “climate science” and good old-fashioned witch hunting.

The new scientific method involves intimidating skeptics into silence, until only an unchallenged “consensus” remains. (The global climate has sadly refused all such efforts at intimidation, stubbornly refusing to do anything the Church of Global Warming predicted it would do, but evidently that’s not much of a problem for the new politicized “science” if everyone is afraid to talk about it.)

Pielke is a great believer in clearing the pollutants of politics from the atmosphere of science, so you can see why politicized science would want him burned at the stake (with all due precautions against the release of atmospheric carbon that would entail, of course.)

He wrote a well-reviewed book called “The Climate Fix: What Scientists and Politicians Won’t Tell You About Global Warming,” in which he presents measured skepticism of climate-change orthodoxy – for example, he believes the role of carbon emissions from human industry is greatly exaggerated by politicized science, but he doesn’t think human carbon emissions are irrelevant, and is not implacably hostile to the goal of reducing them. He criticizes politicians for over-simplifying enormously complex systems and exaggerating the beneficial effects of their centrally-planned solutions.

Evidently his mortal sin against the Climate Cult was pointing out that human-caused climate change is not inflicting greater economic damage due to extreme weather, an empirical truth that cuts against one of the most sacred dogmas of politicized science. (How can the Little People be terrorized into giving up control over their lives, unless they think their actions are causing spectacular and destructive weather events? The face of the Angry Sky Gods is not easily seen in miniscule local temperature variations that scarcely register on sensitive instruments.) He has a recent book devoted to that argument, “The Rightful Place of Science: Disasters & Climate Change.”

With the cultists very excited about the prospect of hounding skeptics from the public square by accusing them of secret allegiance to Demon Oil and its evil petro-dollars, Pielke found himself targeted by Rep. Grijalva, who is essentially prosecuting him for the crime of saying something inconvenient that even the grand poobahs of global warming at the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change at the United Nations admit is true:
As some of you will already know, I am one of 7 US academics being investigated by US Representative Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ) who is the ranking member of the House of Representatives Committee on Environment and Natural Resources. Rep. Grijalva has sent a letter to the president of my university requesting a range of information, including my correspondence, the letter is here in PDF. 
Before continuing, let me make one point abundantly clear: I have no funding, declared or undeclared, with any fossil fuel company or interest. I never have. Representative Grijalva knows this too, because when I have testified before the US Congress, I have disclosed my funding and possible conflicts of interest. So I know with complete certainty that this investigation is a politically-motivated “witch hunt” designed to intimidate me (and others) and to smear my name. 
For instance, the Congressman and his staff, along with compliant journalists, are busy characterizing me in public as a “climate skeptic” opposed to action on climate change. This of course is a lie. I have written a book calling for a carbon tax, I have publicly supported President Obama’s proposed EPA carbon regulations, and I have just published another book strongly defending the scientific assessment of the IPCC with respect to disasters and climate change. All of this is public record, so the smears against me must be an intentional effort to delegitimize my academic research.
I must admit I find myself in strong disagreement with Dr. Pielke about the wisdom of these measures, being an out-and-proud unreconstructed climate skeptic myself, but it would never occur to me to hound him off the public stage or target him with intimidating government investigations. I’ve got some very old-fashioned ideas about how “science” and “debate” are supposed to work.

As Pielke goes on to observe, the “crime” that brought this “investigation” to bear was saying something true – “it is incorrect to associate the increasing costs of disasters with the emission of greenhouse gases” – and being a prominent scientist while doing it. It’s great that congressional Democrats have time for this sort of thing, isn’t it? They’re worse than useless when it comes to the IRS abusing its power against American citizens, the Department of Veterans Affairs turning into a horror show, the Administration lying about a deadly attack on a U.S. consulate, or the Justice Department running guns into Mexico, but they’ve got plenty of time and resources to crack down on uppity climate scientists.

The media’s all over this abuse of government power, right? Not so much, says Pielke: “So far, I have been contacted by only 2 reporters at relatively small media outlets. I’d say that the lack of interest in a politician coming after academics is surprising, but to be honest, pretty much nothing surprises me in the climate debate anymore. Even so, there is simply no excuse for any reporter to repeat incorrect claims made about me, given how easy I am to find and just ask.”

There might not be any excuse for it, Dr. Pielke, but there certainly are reasons. Come have a few sustainable, renewable drinks with the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy sometime, and we’ll compare notes on how modern “journalism” works.

The sad epilogue to the story is that the intimidation tactics worked; Pielke has concluded that participating in the climate debate is more trouble than it’s worth. “The incessant attacks and smears are effective, no doubt, I have already shifted all of my academic work away from climate issues,” he writes. “I am simply not initiating any new research or papers on the topic and I have ring-fenced my slowly diminishing blogging on the subject. I am a full professor with tenure, so no one need worry about me – I’ll be just fine as there are plenty of interesting, research-able policy issues to occupy my time. But I can’t imagine the message being sent to younger scientists. Actually, I can: ‘when people are producing work in line with the scientific consensus there’s no reason to go on a witch hunt.'” (There’s a long story behind that Orwellian quote, which Pielke provided a link to.)

Old Science was all about challenging theories. New Science is pure politics, and the worst sort of politics at that: victory not through persuasion or proof, but the suppression of dissent. It works, so we’ll get more of it, and that’s a scientific fact.


February 25, 2015

GOP retreats on bill to block unprecedented 'net neutrality' regulations

With the Federal Communications Commission poised Thursday to impose unprecedented regulations on the Internet, congressional Republicans have quietly backed down on a plan to block the looming FCC rules ahead of time with their own legislation.

Republican lawmakers blamed Obama administration officials, who they say have interfered in bipartisan talks to produce legislation that would ban some of the onerous practices the FCC seeks to stop, but with far less government regulation than the pending agency rules proposed.

“The Democrats have been pushed away from negotiating with us,” Senate Commerce Committee Chairman John Thune, R-S.D., said.

Thune said he’s unsure when Republicans will produce a bill but he said it will have to wait until after Thursday, when the FCC is scheduled to vote on a package of far-reaching regulations aimed at establishing “net neutrality” for Internet users.

According to Thune, the Obama administration and FCC officials swayed Democrats not to talk to the GOP about legislation until after the FCC votes.

Central to the FCC’s proposed rules is a plan to reclassify the Internet as a public utility, a move that would introduce an unprecedented layer of government regulation to the broadband Internet industry.

President Obama has pushed for the reclassification, which he said is needed to ensure a fair and open Internet. But critics say it will stifle innovation and increase fees and taxes by imposing on the industry a 1934 government regulation meant for managing large utilities, such as the old telephone companies.

Thune admitted that waiting until after the FCC votes on the new rules on Feb. 26 could make it difficult to pass a bill.

“It gets more complicated, in my opinion,” Thune said. “That is what I told Democrats. Yes, you can wait until the 26th, but you are going to lose critical mass that I think is necessary to help with an alternative once the FCC acts.”

Thune said even though the GOP holds majorities in both chambers, it made little sense to take up legislation now because without some Democratic cooperation, the bill would fail in the Senate or if it passes, Obama would veto it.

“We are not going to get a signed bill that doesn’t have Democratic support,” Thune said. “And we think this is an issue that needs to have bipartisan support.”

Last month, Thune and House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton, R-Mich., were far more enthusiastic about passing legislation.

They authored an op-ed about their own proposal, which includes many of the provisions in the FCC’s proposed rules for net neutrality, but bans heavy government regulation.

“We have made this an early priority of this Congress,” Thune and Upton wrote, “demonstrating we can come together on a bipartisan basis to protect the vitality of the Internet — now so indispensable to our economy and way of life. Enduring, long-term protections for our digital freedoms are something we should all support.”

But neither the House nor the Senate has voted on the legislation.

“We’ve been reaching out to Democrats for some time,” Thune said. “That’s been frowned upon by the administration.”

The FCC’s Thursday vote includes consideration of new rules against “throttling” or purposely slowing down service, as well as the practice of blocking certain websites while giving preference to others. The proposed rules would also give the FCC the authority to end paid prioritization, a practice that allows some content providers to pay extra to avoid network congestion by “jumping in line.”

The FCC vote could hit a snag by Thursday.

A Democratic commissioner, Mignon Clyburn, has asked FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler to make some changes to the proposed rules, according to the Hill newspaper, but she does not oppose reclassifying the Internet as a utility and is generally in favor of stronger government regulation of the Internet. Tech industry writers said Thursday that Mignon’s requested changes would strengthen government oversight.

In the House, where Republicans have not scheduled a vote on FCC legislation, the Energy and Commerce panel will instead hold a hearing Wednesday on the potential impact of the FCC's proposed rules.

"The closer we get to the FCC rubber-stamping President Obama's Internet grab, the more disturbing it becomes. Consumers, innovators, and job creators all stand to lose from this misguided approach," Subcommittee on Communications and Technology Chairman Greg Walden, R-Ore., said.

Thune, meanwhile, said he will begin negotiating with Democrats on FCC legislation after Thursday’s commission vote.

Thune said likely lawsuits from major carriers against the FCC rules, plus a required comment period, will buy Congress some time to come up with a bill before any new regulations are implemented.

But Thune lacked the enthusiasm expressed in his January op-ed.

“We still have a little window to do something legislative,” he told the Washington Examiner, “but I think the incentive for Democrats start to diminish significantly once the FCC rules.”


February 24, 2015

Left Panics over Peer-Reviewed Climate Paper’s Threat to Global Warming Alarmism

You’ve heard it said that the science is settled. And it’s true. It issettled–settled beyond the possibility of any dispute. A fundamental, inescapable, indubitable bedrock scientific principle is that lousy theories make lousy predictions.
Climate forecasts are lousy, therefore it is settled science that they must necessarily be based on lousy theories. And lousy theories should not be trusted.
Put it this way. Climate forecasts, of the type relied upon by the IPCC and over governmental entities, stink. They are no good. They have been promising ever increasing temperatures for decades, but the observations have been more or less steady. This mustmean–it is inescapable–that something is very badly wrong with the theory behind the models. What?
There are many guesses. One is that something called “climate sensitivity,” a measure of the overall reaction of the atmosphere to carbon dioxide, is set too high in the models. So Lord Christopher Monckton, Willie Soon, David Legates, and I created a model to investigate this. Although our model is crude and captures only the barest characteristics of the atmosphere, it matches reality better than its luxuriously funded, more complex cousins.
The funding is important. Nobody asked or paid us to create our model. We asked nobody for anything, and nobody offered us anything. We did the work on our own time and submitted a peer-reviewed paper to the Science Bulletin of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. It’s title is “Why models run hot: results from an irreducibly simple climate model.
The paper was quickly noticed, receiving at this writing well over 10,000 downloads. Anybody who understood the settled science that bad theories make bad forecasts knew that this paper was a key challenge to the climatological community to show that our guess of why climate models stink is wrong, or to prove there were other, better explanations for the decades-long failure to produce skillful forecasts.
After the paper made international news, strange things began to happen. My site was hacked. A pest named David Appell issued a FOIA request to Legates’s employer, the University of Delaware, to release all of Legates’s emails. But since we received no funding for our paper, which of course implies no state funding from Delaware, the university turned Appell down. 
The cult-like Greenpeace had better luck with Soon’s employer, the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, who were very obliging.
They turned over all of Soon’s emails. And then Greenpeace sent them to a set of sympathetic mainstream reporters.
Why did Greenpeace do this? Because they suspected we were lying about receiving funding. They were hoping that if they could prove Soon was paid then Soon should have declared to Science Bulletin a conflict of interest, and because he didn’t (none of us did), then he should retract the paper.
Greenpeace went away disappointed. We were telling the truth. Soon, like most research scientists, has in the past accepted money from sources other than our beneficent government (and what makes government money pure?). Greenpeace, for instance, often issues these kinds of grants. But there was no money for this paper, as we said.
But Greenpeace still needed to sidetrack discussion—anything to distract from the news that climate models are broken–hence their cozying up to “science reporters.”
These reporters, all of whom are paid by corporate interests, emailed asking about the “alleged conflict.” I explained to them that we received no funding and thus had no conflict of interest. But they never heard me. It was as if they didn’t want to. I offered to discuss the science behind our paper, but none took me up on this.
I posted a running log of these emails at my site, and they make for fascinating reading of how narrow-minded and willfully ignorant the mainstream press can be. 
Justin Gillis of the New York Times was particularly reprehensible. In an email sent before publishing a hit piece on Sunday, Gillis accused Soon of an “ethical breach.” He issued veiled threats by saying that Soon ought to talk to him, because Soon’s employer “may be preparing to take adverse personnel action against” him.
I told Gillis there was no conflict. And I asked Gillis to explain his ties with Greenpeace and other environmental organizations.
Surprisingly, he refused to answer. Well, he did block me on Twitter.
Greenpeace denies the settled science that bad forecasts mean incorrect theories. Don’t let them change the subject. This is not about some false accusation of conflict of interest. This is about bad science passing for good because it’s politically expedient.

February 23, 2015

White House that promised transparency refuses to cooperate with IRS probe

The White House told Congress last week it refused to dig into its computers for emails that could shed light on what kinds of private taxpayer information the IRS shares with President Obama’s top aides, assuring Congress that the IRS will address the issue — eventually.

The tax agency has already said it doesn’t have the capability to dig out the emails in question, but the White House’s chief counsel, W. Neil Eggleston, insisted in a letter last week to House Committee on Ways and Means Chairman Paul Ryan that the IRS would try again once it finishes with the tea party-targeting scandal.

“It is my understanding that in May 2014, Commissioner Koskinen responded to this request by indicating that the IRS would be able to address new topics such as these following its completion of document productions already in progress,” Mr. Eggleston wrote in a Feb. 17 letter. “To the extent that the committee continues to have an oversight interest in this matter, I encourage you to continue working with the IRS to address those questions.”

But IRS Commissioner John Koskinen’s letter last year didn’t say that. Instead Mr. Koskinen said the IRS was logistically incapable of performing the search because it would have required combing through 90,000 email accounts.

The White House’s stiff-arm comes even though it performed a similar kind of email search in the past after the IRS lost thousands of emails of former division chief Lois G. Lerner, a key figure in the tea party targeting.

Mr. Ryan is trying to figure out whether the laws that govern taxpayer information security are working, which is part of his committee’s jurisdiction.

The IRS has been under fire for years over several scandals, including its targeting of tea party groups for politically motivated scrutiny and its illegal release of private taxpayer information concerning the National Organization for Marriage. The IRS insisted the disclosure was accidental and not politically motivated, but it did pay a settlement to the organization.

Some outside pressure groups argue the IRS’s improper behavior goes further, and includes disclosing private taxpayer information to the White House. The groups point to comments by a top White House economic adviser who in 2010 said Koch Industries, the company run by conservative billionaires Charles and David Koch, paid no corporate income taxes.

The IRS’s inspector general investigated that issue, but has refused to release documents and currently faces a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit over the matter.

Both the House and Senate are now investigating IRS and White House communications as well.

The White House didn’t assert any privileges in refusing Mr. Ryan’s request last week, instead insisting the IRS would work on it, so there was no need for the president to get involved. That conflicts with Mr. Koskinen’s 2014 letter making clear he didn’t think such a search was feasible from his end.

The IRS didn’t respond to a message seeking comment on whether it had rethought its stance in light of the White House’s promise, and the White House didn’t respond to a message asking why its chief counsel had misrepresented the IRS’s position as stated in Mr. Koskinen’s letter.

Congress and the White House faced a similar situation last year after the IRS admitted it had lost some of Ms. Lerner’s emails. The Ways and Means Committee then asked the White House if it had any such emails, and Mr. Obama’s aides complied with that request, even providing three emails that Congress hadn’t asked for.

At the time Mr. Eggleston also acknowledged the IRS had told the White House about the lost emails a month before the tax agency informed Congress of the loss.

Any official requests for private taxpayer information made by the White House are supposed to be personally signed by the president, and Congress’s Joint Committee on Taxation is supposed to be notified of the request. The JCT issues an annual report on all requests for IRS information, and those reports don’t show any such requests from the president during Mr. Obama’s time in office.

Mark W. Everson, who was commissioner of the IRS under President George W. Bush from 2003 to 2007, said both sides try to observe a strict division.

“I can’t remember this ever having come up — at least it ever having been brought to my attention,” he said. “In my experience the White House and the service were scrupulous about making sure appropriate independence was maintained between the two.”

Mr. Everson said he recalled one or two times when he got a call from a White House staffer asking about the status of something, such as a charitable organization’s application. He urged them to go to the White House counsel’s office for guidance, and said he never heard any follow-up on the requests.

Mr. Koskinen, the current IRS commissioner, has told Congress he is working in good faith to restore trust in his agency and to cooperate with lawmakers’ investigations, which he says have cost millions of dollars in staff time and additional computer capacity.

The tax agency has turned over hundreds of thousands of pages of documents in the tea party investigation, and congressional committees, including Ways and Means, are trying to finalize their reports on the wrongdoing.

In his letter to Mr. Ryan last week, Mr. Eggleston said the IRS would tackle the new request after the agency finishes with the tea party matter.


February 20, 2015

Dems Push Boehner to Postpone Netanyahu Speech

A group of House Democrats are calling on House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) to postpone Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s address to a joint session of Congress next month.
In a letter to Boehner, the Democrats — led by Reps. Steve Cohen (D-TN), Keith Ellison (D-MN), and Maxine Waters (D-CA) — cite concerns that the speech will undermine the Obama administration’s nuclear negotiations with Iran and that the invitation was extended without input from the White House.

“The invitation to Prime Minister Netanyahu enlists a foreign leader to influence a Presidential policy initiative. We should be able to disagree on foreign policy within our American political system and without undermining the presidency,” the letter reads.

The lawmakers further take issue with the proximity of the talk to Netanyahu’s reelection in Israeli.
“Beyond threatening our diplomatic priorities, the timing of this invitation offers the Congressional platform to elevate a candidate in a foreign election,” they write.

Netanyahu is slated to speak to Congress on March 3. The White House has already announced that President Obama will not meet with the Israeli leader while he is in town, and Vice President Biden will not attend the joint session. Some Democrats have also said they will not attend.

On Tuesday Rep. Robert Pittenger, the chairman of the Congressional Task Force on Terrorism and Unconventional Warfare, met with Netanyahu in Israel. Pittenger told Breitbart News Netanyahu will bring a message about the dangers of a nuclear Iran when he visits next month.

“We’re straightening pictures while the house is burning down, to be quibbling over who invited who,” Pittenger said. “And the larger issue is coming to recognition with Iran with nuclear capacities that they will no doubt have with any agreement.”

Boehner has repeatedly defended the invitation.

“It’s an important message that the American people need to hear. I’m glad that he’s coming, and I’m looking forward to what he has to say,” Boehner said on Fox News Sunday over the weekend.

Nearly two-dozen Democrats signed the letter to Boehner dated Wednesday, including: Cohen, Ellison, Waters, as well as Reps. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), André Carson (D-IN), John Conyers, (D-MI), Danny Davis (D-IL), Peter DeFazio (D-OR), Luis Gutiérrez (D-IL), Hank Johnson  (D-GA), Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Betty McCollum (D-MN), James McGovern (D-MA), Jim McDermott (D-WA), Beto O’Rourke (D-TX), Donald Payne (D-NJ), Chellie Pingrie (D-ME), Mark Pocan (D-WI), Mark Takano (D-CA), Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ), Peter Welch (D-VT), and John Yarmuth (D-KY).


February 19, 2015

Obama Promises To Break Judge’s Amnesty Injunction

Despite the unambiguous Feb. 16 injunction from a federal judge, President Barack Obama said he will press ahead with his plans to launch his unpopular unilateral amnesty.

“We’re not going to be actually taking applications in until this case is settled,” Obama told reporters in a brief meeting Tuesday.

“But we are doing the preparatory work because this is a big piece of business,” he said.

He repeated his determination to continue preparations, despite the judge’s injunction.

“The Department of Homeland Security will continue in the planning because we want to make sure as soon as these legal issues get resolved, which I anticipate they will in our favor, that we are ready to go,” he told reporters.

However, the judge’s Feb. 16 three-page injunction clearly bars any and all amnesty preparations by Obama’s immigration appointees.

Officials “are hereby enjoined from implementing any and all aspects or phases of the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (‘DAP A’) program as set out in the Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson’s memorandum dated November 20,” says the injunction.

The judge, Andrew Hanen, may push back against Obama’s continued amnesty push.

“If the court finds DHS’s [post-Feb. 17] actions violate the injunction, it can charge the agency with contempt and award the opposing party reasonable attorney’s fees and costs,” said Dale Wilcox, executive director and General Counsel of the Immigration Reform Law Institute.

In front of the cameras, Obama claimed he was complying with the judge’s directions. ”Well, keep in mind, we’re not going to disregard this federal court ruling. The law is the law in this country, and we take things a step at a time,” he said.

But that statement came just before he declared that “we are doing the preparatory work because this is a big piece of business.”

Obama’s planned distribution of four million work permits to illegals would further boost the labor supply during a period of stalled wages and high unemployment.

Since 2009, Obama has used his management authority over the immigration system to give work-permits to an extra 7.4 million foreign tourists, students and unauthorized border crossers. That huge distribution was on top of the annual inflow of one million legal immigrants and almost 650,000 blue-collar and professional guest-workers.

Since 2009, Obama has also reduced enforcement of immigration laws via a wide variety of management decisions.

Lopsided majorities of the public oppose his immigration policies and his amnesty’s impact on Americans’ jobs and wages. But public opinion and the elections results in November have no bearing on the legality of Obama’s actions.

Boosting immigration is one of Obama’s top political priorities, and is strongly supported by progressives and most D.C. journalists.

That political priority suggests that Democrats legislators and journalists will find ways to excuse law-breaking by Obama.

For example, Washington Post columnist Ruth Marcus dismissed the judge’s argument that Obama’s amnesty should be stopped, pending a final court decision, because it violates the long-standing Administrative Procedure Act. The judge’s “opinion only reached the not-so-sexy topic of whether  the administration’s actions complied with the, yawn, Administrative Procedure Act, not whether they overstepped constitutional boundaries,” Marcus wrote Nov. 18

Also, Obama’s deputies have not explained how they have been funding their secretive preparations for the huge amnesty.

Those preparations include the lease of an office building in Crystal City, Va., and the hiring of roughly 1,000 government employees, at an estimated cost of $48 million, even before the Congress has authorized the spending.

The unauthorized spending may violate the federal Antideficiency Act, says Ian Smith, an immigration attorney at the Immigration Reform Law Institute. One possibility, he said, is that Obama’s deputies are redirecting some of the fees paid by immigrants for documents.

On Feb. 12, the Judicial Watch watchdog law firm asked members of Congress to launch a Government Accountability Office investigation to discover if the administration has redirected DHS money to improperly fund secret amnesty preparations at the DHS.

Here’s the full section from the judge’s injunction against Obama’s amnesty.

“The United States of America, its departments, agencies, officers, agents and employees and Jeh Johnson, Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security; R. Gil Kerlikowske, Commissioner of United States Customs and Border Protection; Ronald D. Vitiello, Deputy Chief of United States Border Patrol, United States Customs and Border Protection; Thomas S. Winkowski, Acting Director of United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement; and Leon Rodriguez, Director of United States Citizenship and Immigration Services are hereby enjoined from implementing any and all aspects or phases of the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (‘DAP A’) program as set out in the Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson’s memorandum dated November 20, 2014 (‘DAPA memorandum’), pending a final resolution of the merits of this case or until a further order of this Court, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit or the United States Supreme Court.”


February 18, 2015

Obama, immigrants refuse to be stopped by court decision

Both the White House and illegal immigrants said Tuesday that they would not be swayed by a federal judge’s decision in Texas halting President Obama’s deportation amnesty as overstepping the bounds of his powers.

Within hours of the decision, immigrants had said they would still prepare to apply for the program and the White House was vowing to appeal the ruling that accused Mr. Obama of granting “benefits and privileges” to people that the law says should be deported.

In a ruling late Monday, Judge Andrew S. Hanen said Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson was “not just rewriting the laws; he is creating them from scratch” when he wrote the amnesty, which could have granted tentative legal status, work permits and Social Security numbers to more than 4 million illegal immigrants. Judge Hanen issued an injunction halting the program until he can hold a full trial.

The administration was poised to start accepting amnesty applications Wednesday, but it found itself scrambling to regroup while insisting it will eventually win the court fight.

On Capitol Hill, Republicans said now that a judge has ruled the president’s actions are likely illegal, Democrats should stop filibustering the Homeland Security spending bill, which they have been blocking as part of their defense of Mr. Obama’s immigration plans.

Judge Hanen’s 123-page ruling doesn’t mean any of the illegal immigrants who would have been approved for the amnesty will be deported. The judge said Mr. Obama does have the discretion to decide whom to deport given the resources he has, and the president has said he won’t deport longtime illegal immigrants without serious criminal records.

But the judge said the president and Mr. Johnson went beyond those powers when they created a program proactively allowing illegal immigrants to come forward and be granted driver’s licenses, work permits and potentially billions of dollars in tax credits.

“Instead of merely refusing to enforce the [Immigration and Naturalization Act’s] removal laws against an individual, the DHS has enacted a wide-reaching program that awards legal presence, to individuals Congress has deemed deportable or removable, as well as the ability to obtain Social Security numbers, work authorization permits and the ability to travel. Absent [the program], these individuals would not receive these benefits,” Judge Hanen wrote.

Immigrant rights advocates, who predicted Judge Hanen’s ruling, spent weeks trying to undercut him by arguing that he was biased from the start.

One immigrant rights group called Judge Hanen’s decision “judicial vigilantism.” Another called it a “minor legal bump” and said it’s “merely a matter of time” before illegal immigrants win legal status.

Mr. Obama, speaking to reporters in the Oval Office, said he would respect the judge’s ruling but predicted an eventual court victory and said the Homeland Security Department will be ready once courts approve his actions.

“The law is on our side, and history is on our side,” Mr. Obama said.

Mr. Obama’s amnesty had two parts. The first was an expansion of a 2012 policy, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, granting tentative legal status and work permits to so-called Dreamers, or illegal immigrants brought to the U.S. as children, who are viewed as the most sympathetic figures in the debate. The second part, known as Deferred Action for Parental Accountability, granted similar benefits to illegal immigrants whose children are American citizens or legal permanent residents.

Judge Hanen halted both parts of the amnesty, though he left in place the original 2012 policy for Dreamers.

The administration was prepared to start accepting applications for the expanded Dreamers program Wednesday and parental accountability applications in mid-May. Mr. Johnson announced Tuesday afternoon that he was putting both plans on hold in light of Judge Hanen’s ruling.

“The Department of Justice will appeal that temporary injunction; in the meantime, we recognize we must comply with it,” Mr. Johnson said in a statement, adding that he still believes Mr. Obama acted within the law despite the court ruling.

Immigrant rights groups told illegal immigrants to continue preparing their applications. They predicted that an appeals court would step in and stay Judge Hanen’s ruling. Some activists continued with rallies scheduled to coincide with the beginning of the application period, saying they want immigrants to be ready to file immediately.

“We may be delayed, but we will not be deterred,” said Rep. Luis V. Gutierrez, Illinois Democrat. “I am telling immigrant communities to keep preparing to sign up millions of families for protection from deportation.”

In the near term, the ruling further roils the debate on Capitol Hill, where House Republicans have passed a bill to fund the Homeland Security Department while halting Mr. Obama’s amnesties — and Senate Democrats are blocking it through a filibuster.

Both sides are blaming each other for threatening funding for Mr. Johnson’s department that expires Feb. 27. Most of the department’s employees are deemed essential and will remain on the job even with a shutdown, though pay would be delayed for many of them.

House Speaker John A. Boehner, Ohio Republican, said Judge Hanen’s ruling should break the impasse and that Democrats are holding up Homeland Security funding in order to defend an illegal action by the president.

Democrats countered that they believe courts will uphold the president’s amnesty and they won’t accept any Homeland Security bill that questions Mr. Obama’s actions.

“This procedural ruling, in our opinion, is very unlikely to be upheld, but regardless of the outcome, Democrats remain united in our believe that funding for the Department of Homeland Security should not be used as a ransom by Republicans, period,” said Sen. Charles E. Schumer, New York Democrat.


February 17, 2015

Texas Federal Court Issues Injunction to Stop Obama’s Executive Amnesty

Texas Federal Judge Andrew Hanen issued a temporary injunction halting the Executive Amnesty program announced last year by President Barack Obama. Texas Governor Greg Abbott and Attorney General Ken Paxton responded to the late night decision by the judge.

The ruling came in response to a lawsuit filed on December 3rd, 2014, by then Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott (now Governor Abbott) on behalf of the State of Texas. At the time of the filing, Texas was joined by sixteen other states. That number has increased to twenty-six states, more than half of the country.

In the ruling (attached below), Judge Hanen wrote, “The ultimate question before the Court is: Do the laws of the United States, including the Constitution, give the Secretary of Homeland Security (DHS) the power to take the action at issue in this case?” The judge laid out three issues to answer in this ruling: “(1) whether the States have standing to bring this case; (2) whether the DHS has the necessary discretion to institute the DAPA (Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents) program; and (3) whether the DAPA program is constitutional, comports with existing laws, and was legally adopted.”

The Judge ruled that “at least one plaintiff has satisfied all the necessary elements to maintain a lawsuit and to obtain a temporary injunction.” This means that, not only can the lawsuit continue, but the judge has ordered that the President or the Secretary of Homeland Security cannot take action on the DAPA program.

“The United States of America, its departments, agencies, officers, agents and employees and Jeh Johnson, secretary of the Department of Homeland Security; R. Gil Kerlikowske, commissioner of United States customs and Border Protection; Ronald D. Vitiello, deputy chief of United States Border Patrol, United States Customs and Border Protection; Thomas S. Winkowski, acting director of United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement; and Leon Rodriguez, director of United States Citizenship and Immigration Services are hereby enjoined from implementing any and all aspects or phases of the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents,” the injunction read.

Governor Abbott responded to the ruling handed down late Monday night. “President Obama abdicated his responsibility to uphold the United States Constitution when he attempted to circumvent the laws passed by Congress via executive fiat, and Judge Hanen’s decision rightly stops the President’s overreach in its tracks,” Abbott wrote in a press release obtained by Breitbart Texas. ‘We live in a nation governed by a system of checks and balances, and the President’s attempt to by-pass the will of the American people was successfully checked today. The District Court’s ruling is very clear — it prevents the President from implementing the policies in ‘any and all aspects.’”

Attorney General Paxton also responded to the injunction stating, “This decision is a victory for the rule of law in America and a crucial first step in reining in President Obama’s lawlessness.  The President’s action, both unilateral and unconstitutional, was an affront to everyone pursuing a life of freedom and opportunity in America the right way. This injunction makes it clear that the President is not a law unto himself, and must work with our elected leaders in Congress and satisfy the courts in a fashion our Founding Fathers envisioned.”

The other states joining Texas in the lawsuit are: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, West Virginia, Wisconsin.


February 16, 2015

Big, bad IRS gets warm and fuzzy for illegal aliens

Are you sick and tired of the IRS? Do you owe back taxes? Do you want to be finished with all of the threatening phone calls? The fear, the terrorizing and intimidation? Well we have the answer for you!

Just renounce your American citizenship and become and illegal alien!

IRS Commissioner John Koskinen — a compassionate and understanding guy if there ever was one — testified last week that illegal aliens working illegally in the U.S. while living here illegally would be allowed extra refunds from the IRS for money they earned while working here. Illegally.

These illegal aliens who were working here illegally will be given Social Security numbers, “which means they can go back and amend up to three years of previous tax forms to claim the Earned Income Tax Credit,” according to the Times’ Stephen Dinan.

This means these illegals living here illegally and working here illegally could potentially claim billions of dollars in additional payments they were ineligible for before President Obama’s executive amnesty, according to Mr. Dinan’s report.

But here is the evil catch: In order to qualify for these billions, the illegals living here illegally must file tax returns for the previous three years during which they were illegally working. Man, Uncle Sam drives a hard bargain!

The Obama Administration estimates that some 4 million illegals will be granted amnesty by the president’s executive order and will have a crack at the billions of dollars in extra refunds for their illegal work here. According to the government, taxpayers already shelled out some $4.2 billion in tax credits to illegals in 2010 alone.

In addition, illegals living here illegally may also apply for additional tax credits going back three years, according to IRS testimony.

“The IRS says the law is vague on who is eligible for the child credit, so to be on the safe side they pay it out to illegal immigrants,” Mr. Dinan writes.

Seriously? “To be on the safe side?” The IRS — in an overabundance of deference to the taxpayer — is going to just go ahead and give the tax credit to illegals to be “on the safe side?”

This is truly insane. Since when did the IRS show deference to taxpayers? Since when did the IRS begin siding with taxpayers in murky disputes? Only when taxpayers happen to be illegals?

You might think that this whole illegal scam perpetrated on the law-abiding American people could not become any more diabolical. But wait! There’s more!

As Sen. Ben Sasse, Nebraska Republican, and Ron Johnson, pointed out after the IRS testimony last week, making child tax credits available to illegal aliens amounts to nothing more than paying illegals to make babies.

“This is basic economics: if you want more of something, you subsidize it,” they wrote in a letter to the inspector general of the Treasury Department.

“By subsidizing illegal entry with four years’ worth of new tax credits, the IRS would promote lawlessness. This program severely undermines the White House’s lip-service to enforcing the law and would increase the burden on law-abiding taxpayers.”

Good luck getting any straight answers from these kleptocrats. We are better off just becoming illegal aliens.