Saturday, May 28, 2011

Guest Article - Is The Autopen Constitutional?

If a machine can sign for the President, could Sasha, too?
By Mark Knoller of the Political Hotsheet.

"Forget what you learned in civics class back in high school. It turns out a bill doesn't have to be signed by the president to become law. A machine can sign it for him.

Pres. Obama was 3,700 miles from the White House at the G8 Summit in Deauville, France, when Congress voted final passage of a bill to extend the life of three expiring provisions of the Patriot Act, provisions deemed important by the president.

There was no way to get the bill signed by Mr. Obama in France before the Thursday midnight deadline, so aides say he authorized his staff secretary to use the "autopen" to sign the bill for him.

"Failure to sign this legislation poses a significant risk to U.S. national security," said Deputy Press Secretary Josh Earnest. "Congress approved the extension, and the president directed the use of the autopen to sign it."

The "autopen" is a device used by the White House for decades to sign the million Christmas cards a president sends out each year. It's used by political committees to appeal on the president's name for contributions.

But this is the first time that we know of an "autopen" was used to sign legislation into law. And it raises the question: is it legal?

See what Article 1, Section 7 of the U.S. Constitution says:

"Every Bill which shall have passed the House of Representatives and the Senate, shall, before it become a Law, be presented to the President of the United States; If he approves he shall sign it..."

It says "he shall sign it." It doesn't say he can have an aide use a mechanical device to affix a facsimile of his signature to the legislation.

Questioned about the constitutionality of using an autopen to sign a bill for the president, the White House pointed to a 2005 opinion from the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel. At the end of a 29-page review that includes obscure legal references and frequent citations of common lawn, the OLC came to this opinion:

"...we conclude that the President need not personally perform the physical act of affixing his signature to a bill he approves and decides to sign in order for the bill to become law. Rather, the President may sign a bill within the meaning of Article I, Section 7 by directing a subordinate to affix the President's signature to such a bill, for example by autopen."

And that's what President Obama did.

Spokesman Nick Shapiro says Mr. Obama was awakened at 5:45 a.m. in Deauville, France, by the staff secretary on the trip, to review and approve the Patriot Act bill. With 15 minutes before the deadline, "he then directed that the autopen be used so it could be signed into law."

We're told the aide sent word back to the White House to put President Obama's John Hancock on the bill robotically with the autopen.

A White House staffer says it was first time the autopen has been used by President Obama to sign a bill into law.

Former White House Chief of Staff Andy Card tells CBS News that President George W. Bush never used the autopen to sign a bill, even though the legal opinion validating such a practice was produced during his administration.

The Supreme Court has never ruled on the constitutionality of using an "autopen" to sign a bill into law.

And if the president can authorize a machine be used to enact legislation, could he ask one of his daughters to sign his name to a new law?

When one member of Congress first heard that an autopen had been used to enact legislation, he first thought it was a joke.

Congressman Tom Graves, R-Ga., worries what might happen if the president is hospitalized or otherwise in a state of diminished capacity.

"...Can a group of aggressive Cabinet members interpret a wink or a squeeze of the hand as approval of an autopen signing?" says Graves. "I am very concerned about what this means for future presidential orders, whether they be signing bills into law, military orders, or executive orders."

Republican Rep. Tom Graves questions "autopen" signing

Graves is requesting that President Obama provide a detailed explanation of his authority to delegate this responsibility to a surrogate, "whether it is human, machine, or otherwise."

Interestingly, when the White House put out official word that the president had signed the Patriot Act measure at 11:54 p.m. Thursday night, 6 minutes before the deadline, the announcement did not mention that an autopen had been used.

The White House is defending the use of the autopen, but it will release a photo of the signing machine or even disclose the name of the manufacturer or model number of the device."

Friday, May 27, 2011

Sold Out AGAIN!

Patriot Act Passed for 4 More Years!
Don't look now, but Americans have been sold down the river by their own Congress for four more years! The House of Representatives voted 250 to 153 to renew the Patriot Act! Only 31 House GOPs voted AGAINST it. Was your representative one of those? You need to find out so you can decide to vote for them next time! Only 54 DEMs voted for it!

The Patriot Act passed in the US Senate by a whopping margin of 72 to 23! Only 19 DEMs and JUST 4 Republicans voted against it! Un-FRIGGIN' believable!! Senator Ron Paul said "You don’t have to give up your liberty to catch criminals. You can catch criminals and terrorists and protect your liberty at the same time...” He was one of 4 GOPs who voted against the bill. (And you thought that the Republicans were on your side? THINK AGAIN! This shows that you can't trust the Republicans either!

Was The Passage Legal?
Even though the Patriot Act passed Congress, it needed to be signed into law by the President before 12:00 AM this morning. However, Obama is out of the country. So the government used (for the first time)
, an electronic meas for Obama to "sign" it. We're not sure, but we don't think that's what the Framers had in mind when they specified the process of ratification of legislation.

OK, suppose the electronic means IS legal. Just because it's never been done doesn't mean that it it legal or not. Shouldn't the courts decide?

What about the fact that this law VIOLATES the First and Fourth Amendment of the Constitution. Shouldn't the Supreme Court have a say in its legality? Why isn't anyone challenging the Patriot Act? Answer: Congress is full of cowards who do NOT obey their oath of office to defend the Constitution.

Let's face reality America. Congress (Democrats and Republicans) can't be trusted any longer. They are NOT looking out for YOU or YOUR rights!

Action To Take
Remember how your House and Senate representatives voted to diminish YOUR liberties and freedoms. Vote for Tea Party candidates when the incumbents are up for re-election. Don't' Get Fooled Again! Never trust the incumbents again.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Guest Article - He'll Get Even

'Bibi' Votes Republican
by Patrick J. Buchanan

"Not since Nikita Khrushchev berated Dwight Eisenhower over Gary Powers' U-2 spy flight over Russia only weeks earlier has an American president been subjected to a dressing down like the one Barack Obama received from Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday.

With this crucial difference. Khrushchev ranted behind closed doors, and when Ike refused to apologize, blew up the Paris summit hosted by President de Gaulle.

Obama, however, was lectured like some schoolboy in the Oval Office in front of the national press and a worldwide TV audience.

And two days later, he trooped over to the Israeli lobby AIPAC to walk back what he had said that had so infuriated Netanyahu.

"Bibi" then purred that he was "pleased" with the clarification.

Diplomatic oil is now being poured over the troubled waters, but this humiliation will not be forgotten.

What did Obama do to draw this public rebuke? In his Thursday speech on the Arab Spring and Middle East peace, Obama declared:

"We believe the borders of Israel should be based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps, so that secure and recognized borders are established for both states. ... Israel must be able to defend itself -- by itself -- against any threat."

Ignoring Obama's call for "mutually agreed swaps" of land to guarantee secure and defensible borders for Israel, Netanyahu, warning the president against a peace "based on illusions," acted as though Obama had called for an Israel withdrawal to the armistice line of 1967.

This was absurd. All Obama was saying was what three Israeli prime ministers -- Yitzhak Rabin, Ehud Barak and Ehud Olmert -- have all recognized.

To get Palestinian and international recognition for a united Jerusalem and Israel's annexation of the settlements around the city, Israel will have to trade land for land.

Obama was not saying the 1967 borders were to be the end of negotiations but the starting point. Indeed, where else would one begin land negotiations if not from the last recognized map?

Undeniably, Netanyahu won the smack-down. The president was humiliated in the Oval Office, and in his trip to AIPAC's woodshed he spoke of the future peace negotiations ending just as Israelis desire and demand.

Nor is this the first time Obama has been rolled by the Israeli prime minister. Obama came into office demanding an end to all new or expanded settlements on the West Bank and in East Jerusalem, and subsequently backed down from each and every demand.

Fed up, his Mideast peace negotiator George Mitchell has quit.

Politically, too, the president has been hurt. To the world, and not just the Arabs, he appears weak. [my emphasis]

In Israel, Netanyahu is seen as having stood up for Israel's vital interests and forced an American president to back down. His right-wing coalition is cheering him on.

Indeed, the issue is not whether Obama has been hurt, but why Bibi, raised in the U.S.A., who knows American politics better than any previous Israeli prime minister, did it. Why wound Obama like that?

Why would the leader of a nation of 7 million that is dependent on U.S. arms, foreign aid and diplomatic support choose to humiliate a president who could be sitting in that office until 2017?

The one explanation that makes sense is that Netanyahu sees Obama as more sympathetic to the Palestinians and less so to Israel than any president since Jimmy Carter, and he, Netanyahu, would like to see Obama replaced by someone more like the born-again pro-Israel Christian George W. Bush.

And indeed, the Republicans and the right, Mitt Romney in the lead, accusing Obama of "throwing Israel under the bus," seized on the issue and, almost universally, have taken Netanyahu's side.

This could be a serious problem for the president and his party in 2012. For, consider:

In 2008, Obama won the African-American vote 95 to 4, or 16 to 1. He won the Jewish vote 78 to 21, by 57 points, a historic landslide.

These are arguably the two most reliable of Democratic voting blocs.

And while the Jewish vote may be only one-seventh of the black vote, it has proven decisive in the crucial state of Florida. Moreover, Jewish contributions, by some estimates, may make up half of all the contributions to the Democratic Party.

If, after hearing an Israeli prime minister berate Obama for ignorance or indifference to the cold realities the Jewish state faces, Jewish folks decide Obama is bad for Israel and close their checkbooks, the impact in a tight election could be critical.

On the other hand, for African-Americans to see the first black president treated like some truant third-grader by a prime minister of Israel whose nation is deeply dependent on this country has to grate.

In the short run, Bibi won the confrontation, hands down. Like no other leader before him, he humiliated a U.S. president in front of the world, forced him to revise his remarks of four days previous, then graciously accepted the revision.

But a second-term Obama is unlikely to forget what was done to him."

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Guest Article-Sneaky Gun Regulations Under way

Obama: We’re working on gun control “under the radar”
by Ed Morrissey of Hot

"I missed this last week, and so may many who didn’t notice Instapundit’s link to the Greeley Gazette’s post on the White House’s efforts to impose gun control through executive-branch regulatory adventurism. Jack Minor caught this anecdote buried below the jump on a Washington Post Lifestyle profile of Steve Croley, first published six weeks ago. Described as “the White House’s point man on gun regulation policy,” the Post includes this rather telling quote from President Obama on the issue of gun control from March:

On March 30, the 30th anniversary of the assassination attempt on President Ronald Reagan, Jim Brady, who sustained a debilitating head wound in the attack, and his wife, Sarah, came to Capitol Hill to push for a ban on the controversial “large magazines.” Brady, for whom the law requiring background checks on handgun purchasers is named, then met with White House press secretary Jay Carney. During the meeting, President Obama dropped in and, according to Sarah Brady, brought up the issue of gun control, “to fill us in that it was very much on his agenda,” she said.

I just want you to know that we are working on it,” Brady recalled the president telling them. “We have to go through a few processes, but under the radar.

Minor noted that this under-the-radar anecdote matches up with other reporting:

The statement reinforces an article in the Huffington Post describing how the administration is exploring ways to bypass Congress and enact gun control through executive action.

The Department of Justice reportedly is holding meetings discussing the White House’s options for enacting regulations on its own or through adjoining agencies and departments. “Administration officials said talk of executive orders or agency action are among a host of options that President Barack Obama and his advisers are considering.

That also matches up with Obama’s approach on … nearly everything, it seems. Regulatory adventurism has been a hallmark of every other Obama priority, whether it be health care, financial-services reform, labor policy, and now on gun control. When his agenda is too radical for Congress, Obama simply plans to bypass Congress and rule by decree.

Glenn Reynolds headlined this under the banner “TRANSPARENCY.” That’s fitting, but “RADICAL” and “DISHONEST” work well, too. Here’s the problem for Democrats: Ever since the Clinton years, they have avoided gun control like the plague, and the courts have taken a libertarian view of the Second Amendment. How many of the incumbent Democrats in the Senate want to defend Obama on his power play to impose gun control by executive fiat in the dark? How will that fly in places like Missouri, Nebraska, and West Virginia? How about in open seats like Virginia’s, which Democrats hope to hold?"

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Do You Still Trust the Government?

The Stimulus is Working
Is it? The Obama administration keeps bragging on how well the Stimulus is working. They clain to have manufactured millions of new jobs and tightened-up the financial markets. But what they don't tell you is that your Stimulus dollars were sqandered on paying tax deliquent government contractors.

ABC News Reports the Bad Bailouts
ABC News reported that the Federal government granted $24 Billion dollars in Recovery Act funds to vendors and government contractors who actually owe the Fed millions in unpaid taxes. This information comes from the Government Accountability Office. This agency is a nonpartisan agency. Their records show that 3,700 recipients of the Stimulus owe the government more than $750 Million in unpaid taxes. They represent about 5% of all recipients who received Stimulus funds. Why did they receive ANY bailout? Give first - then ask questions later. Unbelievable!

Stimulus Accountability
Isn't not paying your taxes a criminal activity? Did anyone hold those contractors accountable? Does Congress even give a care about where and how your tax dollars were spent (and in this case wasted)? Is it true that tax cheat Tim Geithner was the person who handed out the Stimulus money? How ironic! It's just like the ObamaCare waivers that are being dolled out. They seem to go only to labor unions and Nanci Pelosi's freinds in California.

America - Wake Up
Isn't it time that taxpayers stop getting the Shaft? Start by letting your representatives know you want these individuals investigated. Sick the IRS in them. Hold them accountable like the rest of the world. AND, stop trusting the government to take care of things. They can't, don't, and are imcompetent!

Monday, May 23, 2011

It's Official

A Blow For Strong Currency
Utah made it official. They just passed legislation that makes gold and silver legalized "cash." The new law exempts the sale of coins from the state capital gains tax.

One entrepreneur has opened the Utah Gold and Silver Depository. Here's how it works: You take your gold and silver coins and store them in a vault. The depository issues a "debit-like card" so you can make your purchases. You no longer rely on US dollars for your transactions because your transaction are now backed and paid for by gold/silver. The Depository opens June 1, 2011.

The legislation was develpoped to serve as a protest against the Federal monitary policy of borrowing, printing, devaluing, and monitizing America's debt with paper money.

Similar legislation is in the works in North Carolina. Hopefully, other states will follow suit. We need to get control over BIG Government and the Federal Reserve Bank (who reports to no one but themselves).

Action To Take
Tell your state representative to follow the lead set by Utah. It could save your life savings!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

How Much Is Too Much?

News or Treason?
So we killed Bin Laden. The Left-Wing media reported way too much information on the exact details of the mission to kill Bin Laden. We have seen on TV re-enactments of the whole sorted operation. Animations of the actual mission. Why is this necessary? How much information do we need? At what point is news reporting actually helping our enemies?
What's Been Reported
The Left-Wing media has reported the following details:
  • The fact that we used spy satellites to gather intelligence.
  • The details on how we figured-out who to follow to lead us to Bin Laden and how we did it.
  • How long it took US intelligence to figure out where Bin Laden possibly lived.
  • The details on the resolution of the photo images we had on the compound where Bin Laden lived.
  • That the CIA used lasers to "hear" conversations inside Bin Laden's compound.
  • The inside information of how many and what kinds of helicopters we used to pull-off the operation.
  • The exact number of troops we used to perform the operation.
  • The fact that we used specially trained dogs on the operation.
  • The details on the secret stealth helicopters we used on the mission and their purpose.
  • How and why the stealth helicopter crashed.
  • The types of electronic information the USA monitors on a regular basis.
  • How we trained and practiced for the mission.
  • How long the mission took.
  • How many "combatants" were armed and actually shot back at us troops.
  • Who we told and who we didn't tell.
  • Who performed these missions (Navy Seals) and their leadership.
  • That the mission was NOT to capture Bin Laden - but to KILL him.
  • How many hard drives we captured and the information on them.
  • Videos we captured - including the one of Bin Laden watching himself on TV.
  • How many flash drives we captured.
  • Details on what types of actual intelligence we captured and are analyzing.
  • al-Qaida's future plans for attacks - including targets like train stations and proposed time tables.
  • The mission plans and how we actually improvised the plan as it developed.
  • and on and on and on...
Get the point here?

Are All These Particulars Necessary?
Why don't we just include al Quaida on the CIA's mailing list? Americans and our enemies learned way too many specifics on the mission that killed Bin Laden. At what point does this level of dissemination actually help our enemies? At what point can this be considered a treasonous act by the media? Just how stupid is it to tell the world all we found out and how we did it?

Action To Take
Tell Congress you want an investigation into the media leaks. We need to hold these "leakers" accountable for spilling sensitive information. How about some serious jail time for those who did (including the Obama administration officials)?