|1:01 PM, Nov 21, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
The pro-Hillary Clinton group Correct the Record has released this tribute video encouraging former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to run for president in 2016:
The video, which looks a lot like a campaign spot, is titled, "The American Dream: Hillary Clinton Writing A New Chapter."
"America needs a president like Hillary Clinton, who will expand opportunity for all Americans. Whether it’s the poor, the sick, the middle class, children or women, Hillary Clinton has given a voice to those who could not speak up for themselves," Correct the Record writes in an email to supporters.
'Demonstrations like these have the potential to spark a sustained and positive national dialogue'12:04 PM, Nov 21, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
Ahead of the grand jury in Ferguson announcing whether it will indict a police officer for killing a man in Ferguson, Missouri, Attorney General Eric Holder has released a video announcement telling law enforcement to behave.
"The Justice Department encourages law enforcement officials, in every jurisdiction, to work with the communities they serve to minimize needless confrontation," Holder says.
"Over the past few months, we’ve seen demonstrations and protests that have sought to bring attention to real and significant underlying issues involving police practices, implicit bias, and pervasive community distrust. And in most cases, these demonstrations have been both meaningful and responsible, and have brought vital issues to the attention of the public at large," the top cop says in a video.
"I know, from first-hand experience, that demonstrations like these have the potential to spark a sustained and positive national dialogue, to provide momentum to a necessary conversation, and to bring about critical reform."
Here's a transcript of Holder's announcement:
“At the United States Department of Justice, we are committed to ensuring that our local law enforcement partners have the resources they need to effectively serve and protect all members of their communities, particularly when citizens exercise their constitutionally protected rights. To that end, the Bureau of Justice Assistance and the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services are providing new guidance to law enforcement officers about how to approach maintaining order during First Amendment-protected events. This comprehensive new guide compiles information, tools, and best practices that will help law enforcement officers maintain public safety while safeguarding constitutional rights.
“As we’ve seen, durable relationships between the police and their communities do not develop overnight. But as someone who has spent a career at all levels of law enforcement—and as the brother of a retired police officer—I know the importance of these outreach efforts to ensuring effective neighborhood policing, officer safety, and community health. The Justice Department encourages law enforcement officials, in every jurisdiction, to work with the communities they serve to minimize needless confrontation. It is vital to engage in planning and preparation, from evaluating protocols and training to choosing the appropriate equipment and uniforms. This is the hard work that is necessary to preserve the peace and maintain the public trust at all times—particularly in moments of heightened community tension.
“Over the past few months, we’ve seen demonstrations and protests that have sought to bring attention to real and significant underlying issues involving police practices, implicit bias, and pervasive community distrust. And in most cases, these demonstrations have been both meaningful and responsible, and have brought vital issues to the attention of the public at large. Similarly, the vast majority of law enforcement officers have honorably defended their fellow citizens engaged in these peaceful protests.
11:17 AM, Nov 21, 2014 • By MICHAEL WARREN
Hillary Clinton has made several trips to San Francisco in the past year, with all of them costing the city's police department more than $21,000 in extra expenses—including more than $10,000 for a single event with Nancy Pelosi.
A number of public records requests by the GOP opposition research firm America Rising reveal the San Francisco police department incurred extra expenses directly related to speeches given by Clinton in 2014. In April, for instance, the former first lady and secretary of state spoke to the Marketing Nation Summit at San Francisco's Moscone Center. The police reported $4,191.72 in added expenses, including overtime for department personnel. Clinton also spoke at an August summit for software company Nexenta, costing the San Francisco police force $1,539.95.
Clinton returned to San Francisco twice in October, the first time to speak to Salesforce, a cloud computing company. That visit cost the city's police department $5,344.21 in expenses. The CEO of Salesforce, Marc Benioff, and his wife Lynne have each donated the maximum $25,000 to the Ready for Hillary PAC and, according to MSNBC, has "partnered" with the Clinton Foundation in the past.
Her final trip this year to the City by the Bay came in late October, when Clinton headlined a fundraiser for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee along with House minority leader Nancy Pelosi. From October 19 to October 20, the day of the fundraising event, the San Francisco police department incurred $10,055.66, including more than $6,000 in overtime expenses.
Read a summary of the public records requests here. It's not clear from the requests how much of these expenses to the city are reimbursed by Clinton's speaking hosts.
10:41 AM, Nov 21, 2014 • By JEFFREY H. ANDERSON
George Washington, 1796:
“All obstructions to the execution of the laws, all combinations and associations, under whatever plausible character, with the real design to direct, control, counteract, or awe the regular deliberation and action of the constituted authorities, are…of fatal tendency. …
“However combinations or associations of the above description may now and then answer popular ends, they are likely, in the course of time and things, to become potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people and to usurp for themselves the reins of government, destroying afterwards the very engines which have lifted them to unjust dominion. …
“It is important…that the habits of thinking in a free country should inspire caution in those entrusted with its administration, to confine themselves within their respective constitutional spheres, avoiding in the exercise of the powers of one department to encroach upon another. The spirit of encroachment tends to consolidate the powers of all the departments in one, and thus to create, whatever the form of government, a real despotism. A just estimate of that love of power, and proneness to abuse it, which predominates in the human heart, is sufficient to satisfy us of the truth of this position. The necessity of reciprocal checks in the exercise of political power, by dividing and distributing it into different depositaries, and constituting each the guardian of the public weal against invasions by the others, has been evinced by experiments ancient and modern; some of them in our country and under our own eyes. To preserve them must be as necessary as to institute them. If, in the opinion of the people, the distribution or modification of the constitutional powers be in any particular wrong, let it be corrected by an amendment in the way which the Constitution designates. But let there be no change by usurpation; for though this, in one instance, may be the instrument of good, it is the customary weapon by which free governments are destroyed. The precedent must always greatly overbalance in permanent evil any partial or transient benefit, which the use can at any time yield.”
Abraham Lincoln, 1838:
9:07 AM, Nov 21, 2014 • By JERYL BIER
The U.S. State Department recently awarded a contract worth $541,250 to a foreign research firm to conduct public opinion surveys as part of an "Arab omnibus study" in at least eight foreign countries beginning this month. Significant portions of the justification documents were redacted, including the name of the firm awarded the contract (additionally, one entire page of the document is blacked out). According to the documents, the award was a "sole source" contract as market research found that no U.S. or other foreign firm could handle the assignment at a competitive cost.
The surveys are to include 1,000 adults and will be conducted in three waves. The first two will include six countries in November 2014 and April 2015, and the third will cover eight countries in July-August 2015. The survey results are to include twenty unique data sets. The documents do not details the nature of the questions to be asked, and the State Department did not respond to an inquiry about the questions to be asked and the countries where the surveys are to be conducted.
Although the State Department has not disclosed the exact nature or location of the studies, testimony given by Jeffrey D. Feltman, assistant secretary, bureau of Near Eastern affairs, to a subcommittee of the Senate Foreign Affairs committee in 201,1 includes this passage that appears to mirror the type of survey revealed in the above contract:
The continuous coverage of the Assad regime’s brutality in the pan-Arab media has decimated Assad’s standing on the Arab street. A recent poll by the Arab American Institute suggests that Assad has become a pariah in the Arab world. The poll, conducted in early October surveyed over 4,000 Arabs in six countries. Just three years ago, a region-wide poll of the same six countries asked respondents to name a leader, not from their own country, that they most respected. Bashar al Assad scored higher than any other Arab head of state. Today, however, the overwhelming majority of Arabs side with those Syrians demonstrating against the government (with support for them ranging from 83% in Morocco to 100% in Jordan). When asked whether Bashar al Assad can continue to govern, the highest affirmative ratings he receives are a mere 15% in Morocco and 14% in Egypt, with the rest in low single digits.
8:41 AM, Nov 21, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
Ed Gillespie, writing in the New York Times:
MANY political analysts were surprised by how close I came to winning the Virginia Senate race earlier this month. I received more than a million votes running on a five-point plan for economic growth, and the first point was a specific proposal to replace the Affordable Care Act.In a purple state like Virginia, I could not have gotten so close to defeating Mark R. Warner, a popular incumbent, by talking only about “repeal.” But while I wasn’t elected to the Senate, those who were might find these reforms worthy of their support, in part because they were well received in a swing state of considerable importance in the Electoral College.My plan, based on one developed by a public policy group called the 2017 Project, enabled me to rebut the charge that all I wanted to do was go back to things as they were before. Although Obamacare is unpopular, a plan that takes us forward is essential.We need to get rid of Obamacare instead of attempting to fix it because it is fundamentally flawed, cleverly designed to lead us over time to a single-payer system. This will become clearer when the employer mandate provisions kick in next year, with their incentives for companies to dump workers from their employer plans into government-run exchanges. As the exchanges swell and become more costly to taxpayers, we’ll be told that a government monopoly would be more cost-effective.
Whole thing here.
6:31 AM, Nov 21, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
Former White House spokesman Jay Carney admitted on CNN that President Obama has indeed flip-flopped on executive amnesty--and that the actions he's taking now are ones he previously called unconstitutional. Here's video:
CNN host Anderson Cooper asks, after playing a montage wherein Obama calls executive amnesty unconstitutional, "So, I mean, other than his frustration, what has changed? I mean, he's a constitution scholar. What has changed that allows him to do this?"
"Well, here's what I say," said Carney. "I think if he could have those words back, especially the first clip where he specifically talked about suspending deportations--that is literally what he is doing today. In later instances including when I was there he would speak carefully about what he could not do as president. He can't change the law. He can't provide a path to citizenship."
Carney stepped down from his White House post earlier this year.
'Extremely Tense'10:53 PM, Nov 20, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
Sean Hannity reported tonight that Ferguson, Missouri is "already in an uproar":
A possible indictment of the police officer who killed Michael Brown over the summer has "yet to be handed down," according to Hannity, "but Ferguson, Missouri is already in an uproar. Now last night our cameras captured this violent clash between protesters and law enforcement officials right outside the local police station. And during the altercation many demonstrators were hurling, well, derogatory chants at the officers and obstructed traffic in the middle of the street -- arrested by cops dressed in full riot gear."
Hannity went on to call it an "extremely tense situation on the ground."
10:14 PM, Nov 20, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
A group of immigration activists gathered outside the White House after President Obama's speech tonight. CNN played a clip of the activists' celebrating:
9:34 PM, Nov 20, 2014 • By MICHAEL WARREN
Senator Jeff Sessions says he’s not convinced his fellow Republicans have a plan to successfully combat President Obama’s newly announced executive orders on immigration.
“I haven’t seen the details of a plan to confront this unprecedented power grab,” Sessions said in a phone interview Thursday evening. He added that while plenty of his Republican colleagues have released “tough” statements following Obama’s announcement, he hasn’t seen the party coalesce around a plan.
As for his own views, the Alabama senator tells THE WEEKLY STANDARD that there is plenty of precedent, as well as constitutional authority, for Congress to block the funding of executive orders. He acknowledged that a legal challenge would be “reasonable” though difficult given the courts’ recent history of staying out of disputes between the executive and legislative branches. The strategy he preferred would be to fight the president’s action by stopping its funds.
“The simplest and the greatest power of Congress is the power of the purse,” Sessions said. He cited the Boland amendments of the 1980’s, which passed Congress and restricted President Ronald Reagan’s administration to provide monetary aid to the Contras of Nicaragua, and the more recent efforts by Congress to block funds for closing the detention center at Guantanamo Bay.
But the debate among congressional Republicans over how to address the executive order still continues. Sessions and his allies have argued Congress should pass a short-term funding bill before the current government funding runs out on December 11, which would allow a united Republican House and Senate to block the funding for the order’s provisions in 2015. But House appropriations chairman Hal Rogers has pushed back forcefully on this idea, and his committee released a statement Thursday morning that the president’s actions could not be blocked this way.
“Congress does not appropriate funds for any of its operations, including the issuance of immigration status or work permits, with the exception of the ‘E-Verify’ program,” read the statement. “Therefore, the appropriations process cannot be used to “defund” the agency. The agency has the ability to continue to collect and use fees to continue current operations, and to expand operations as under a new executive order, without needing legislative approval by the Appropriations Committee or the Congress, even under a continuing resolution or a government shutdown.”
Sessions himself pushed back on this in another statement, saying the notion is “just plain wrong.”
The American people’s Congress has the power and every right to deny funding for unworthy activities. It is a routine and constitutional application of congressional power,” Sessions said. “There is no question that Congress has the power to block this expenditure and no doubt that it can be done. If such language is not included, the measure will be subject to the same 60-vote threshold in the Senate and simple majority in the House. This will require no more votes than passing a funding bill without the needed language.”
8:29 PM, Nov 20, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
Hillary Clinton tweeted her thanks to President Obama "for taking action on immigration."
"Thanks to POTUS for taking action on immigration in the face of inaction. Now let’s turn to permanent bipartisan reform," Clinton tweeted shortly after Obama's primetime address.
UPDATE: Here's a full statement from Hillary Clinton on Obama's announcement:
“I support the President’s decision to begin fixing our broken immigration system and focus finite resources on deporting felons rather than families. I was hopeful that the bipartisan bill passed by the Senate in 2013 would spur the House of Representatives to act, but they refused even to advance an alternative. Their abdication of responsibility paved the way for this executive action, which follows established precedent from Presidents of both parties going back many decades. But, only Congress can finish the job by passing permanent bipartisan reform that keeps families together, treats everyone with dignity and compassion, upholds the rule of law, protects our borders and national security, and brings millions of hard-working people out of the shadows and into the formal economy so they can pay taxes and contribute to our nation’s prosperity. Our disagreements on this important issue may grow heated at times, but I am confident that people of good will and good faith can yet find common ground. We should never forget that we’re not discussing abstract statistics – we’re talking about real families with real experiences. We’re talking about parents lying awake at night afraid of a knock on the door that could tear their families apart, people who love this country, work hard, and want nothing more than a chance to contribute to the community and build better lives for themselves and their children.”
8:27 PM, Nov 20, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
Senator Jeff Sessions responds to President Obama's executive amnesty speech:
"President Obama’s executive amnesty violates the laws Congress has passed in order to create and implement laws Congress has refused to pass. The President is providing an estimated 5 million illegal immigrants with social security numbers, photo IDs and work permits—allowing them to now take jobs directly from struggling Americans during a time of record immigration, low wages, and high joblessness.
"This amnesty plan was rejected by the American people’s Congress. By refusing to carry out the laws of the United States in order to make his own, the President is endangering our entire Constitutional order.
"The President’s plan will apparently also allow many illegal immigrants to receive green cards and become legal permanent residents—meaning they can access almost all U.S. welfare programs, have lifetime work authorization, obtain citizenship, and sponsor foreign relatives to join them in the U.S.
"Law enforcement has warned this unprecedented amnesty will unleash a ‘tidal wave’ of new illegal immigration flooding into American neighborhoods at taxpayers’ expense.
"The President’s plan also calls for boosting foreign worker programs for IT companies that experts tell us displace U.S. workers and keep wages low.
"The President’s unconstitutional action is a direct threat to our Republican system of government and will have catastrophic consequences for the American people. It must be stopped. And the way to stop it is by using Congress’ power of the purse.
"The House should send the Senate a government funding bill which ensures no funds can be spent for this unlawful purpose. If Reid’s Senate Democrats vote to surrender their own institution to an imperial dictate and block the measure, then the House should send a short-term funding measure so the new GOP majority can be sworn in and pass a funding bill with the needed language.
"Congress has no higher duty than to protect the American people and our Constitution. The President’s action is a threat to every working person in this country—their jobs, wages, dreams, hopes and futures. For years, the American people have begged and pleaded for a lawful system of immigration that serves the nation and makes us proud—but the politicians have refused, refused, refused.
"It is time to stand strong for the American people. It is time to champion the interests of those constantly neglected on the question of immigration: the men and women and children we represent—the citizens of this country to whom we owe our ultimate allegiance. Every American must ask their Senator where they stand."
8:16 PM, Nov 20, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
President Obama’s immigration speech, as prepared for delivery:
My fellow Americans, tonight, I’d like to talk with you about immigration.
For more than 200 years, our tradition of welcoming immigrants from around the world has given us a tremendous advantage over other nations. It’s kept us youthful, dynamic, and entrepreneurial. It has shaped our character as a people with limitless possibilities – people not trapped by our past, but able to remake ourselves as we choose.
But today, our immigration system is broken, and everybody knows it.
Families who enter our country the right way and play by the rules watch others flout the rules. Business owners who offer their workers good wages and benefits see the competition exploit undocumented immigrants by paying them far less. All of us take offense to anyone who reaps the rewards of living in America without taking on the responsibilities of living in America. And undocumented immigrants who desperately want to embrace those responsibilities see little option but to remain in the shadows, or risk their families being torn apart.
It’s been this way for decades. And for decades, we haven’t done much about it.
When I took office, I committed to fixing this broken immigration system. And I began by doing what I could to secure our borders. Today, we have more agents and technology deployed to secure our southern border than at any time in our history. And over the past six years, illegal border crossings have been cut by more than half. Although this summer, there was a brief spike in unaccompanied children being apprehended at our border, the number of such children is now actually lower than it’s been in nearly two years. Overall, the number of people trying to cross our border illegally is at its lowest level since the 1970s. Those are the facts.
Meanwhile, I worked with Congress on a comprehensive fix, and last year, 68 Democrats, Republicans, and Independents came together to pass a bipartisan bill in the Senate. It wasn’t perfect. It was a compromise, but it reflected common sense. It would have doubled the number of border patrol agents, while giving undocumented immigrants a pathway to citizenship if they paid a fine, started paying their taxes, and went to the back of the line. And independent experts said that it would help grow our economy and shrink our deficits.
Had the House of Representatives allowed that kind of a bill a simple yes-or-no vote, it would have passed with support from both parties, and today it would be the law. But for a year and a half now, Republican leaders in the House have refused to allow that simple vote.
Now, I continue to believe that the best way to solve this problem is by working together to pass that kind of common sense law. But until that happens, there are actions I have the legal authority to take as President – the same kinds of actions taken by Democratic and Republican Presidents before me – that will help make our immigration system more fair and more just.
Tonight, I am announcing those actions.
First, we’ll build on our progress at the border with additional resources for our law enforcement personnel so that they can stem the flow of illegal crossings, and speed the return of those who do cross over.
7:46 PM, Nov 20, 2014 • By JERYL BIER
Director of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson will head for the Texas-Mexico border town of McAllen, Texas Friday in the wake of President Obama's announcement regarding his immigration executive order. Johnson will be meeting with DHS employees for "workforce engagements," presumably to discuss and/or explain the president's order.
DHS posted the announcement of the trip on the agency's website:
On Nov. 21, Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson will travel to McAllen, Texas to participate in workforce engagements with Department of Homeland Security employees. Additional details will be forthcoming.
The AP is reporting that Johnson has already been telling agency employees that the president's actions will "focus enforcement efforts on immigrants who are serious criminals — and those who crossed into the U.S. illegally or were ordered from the country in the last year." The AP continues:
Johnson is detailing the plan to Homeland Security Department employees at three agencies in charge of enforcing immigration laws.
He says going after immigrants with serious criminal records, including adult gang members, will be an enforcement priority.
A lower enforcement priority will be immigrants with convictions for three or more misdemeanors or for "significant" misdemeanors. Johnson isn't say what a significant misdemeanor is.
Johnson says the lowest priority will be immigrants who crossed the border illegally since Jan. 1, 2014, and those ordered to leave since that date.
5:42 PM, Nov 20, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
A Capitol Hill source emails to say that "The National Immigrant Youth Alliance has posted what appears to be an embargoed copy of the White House summary of Obama’s illegal executive action."
The source points to this part of the White House's talking points:
“Additionally, we are reducing the time that families are separated while obtaining their green cards. Undocumented immigrants who are immediate relatives of lawful permanent residents or sons or daughters of US citizens can apply to get a waiver if a visa is available. Learn more here.”
"Executive amnesty to fast track green cards for illegal aliens," the source, who is well versed in the immigration debate, explains.
"In other words, the President is going to give illegal immigrants a fast-track to green cards and citizenship denied to the vast majority of legal immigrants. Surely these ‘waivers’ will be granted generously. Green cards confer access to almost all US welfare benefits and ultimate citizenship, chain migration and voting rights. This at a time of course when 58 million working-age Americans don’t even have jobs."
Here are the leaked talking points the Capitol Hill source is relying on:
White House Details on Anticipated Administrative Relief by The National Immigrant Youth Alliance
Browse 19 Years of the Weekly Standard