Archive for the ‘Obama and Constitution’ category

Report: Obama Administration Carried Out Massive and Unconstitutional Surveillance Programs

May 26, 2017

Report: Obama Administration Carried Out Massive and Unconstitutional Surveillance Programs, Jonathan Turley’s Blog, Jonathan Turley, May 26, 2017

(Be patient. The media will cover the FISA report fully and fairly after the source of President Trump’s mother’s recipe for Borscht is discovered, documented and fully analyzed. Did Putin give it to her and is his devotion to the Trump family at the root of Hillary’s defeat? Clearly, that is far more important than mere unconstitutional spying on American citizens by the Obama administration.  — DM)

By any measure, this story deserves the attention of the national media and Congress.  However, it is being buried in the crush of controversies related to the Russian investigation, embarrassing leaks, and other items. The media is correct in pursuing these legitimate stories but it should also give attention to this chilling report. There was equally limited coverage of the expansion of surveillance authority in the final days of the Obama Administration.  Privacy advocates have serious concerns about these privacy stories being pushed from public review.

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With the steady stream of controversies swirling around the White House, there has been little attention given a highly disturbing report that the Obama Administration engaged in previously undisclosed and violations of the Fourth Amendment.  Just a few days from the 2016 election, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA) reportedly raised a highly unusual alarm over the creation of “a very serious Fourth Amendment issue” by possibly unconstitutional surveillance conducted under President Barack Obama.  If true, this should be given equal attention to the other stories crowding our front pages and cable coverage.  The Obama Administration has a well-documented history of abuse of surveillance and stands as one of the most antagonistic administrations toward privacy in our history.  Indeed, if true, many of the former Obama officials currently testifying against the Trump Administration were responsible for a far broader scope of abusive surveillance programs.

Recently disclosed top-secret documents from the FISA court suggest that the government admitted that the NSA was regularly violating surveillance rules. Not that these violations were occurring after the unconstitutional surveillance programs revealed by Wikileaks and Snowdon were curtailed.  It also would have occurred after the disclosure that the Obama Administration put journalists under surveillance.

The FISA indicate that the government informed the court that NSA analysts had been violating rules, established in 2011, that protect the privacy of citizens on the Internet.  Once again, the NSA claimed new “inadvertent compliance lapses.”  The Court noted in its dealings with the NSA a certain “lack of candor” in its disclosures to the FISA court.

It is very rare for the FISA court to make such statements.  (For full disclosure, I had occasion to go to the FISA court when I was an intern with the NSA and later became a critic of the court).  The standards for FISA are so low and easily satisfied (with little judicial review) that it is difficult to establish any illegality under the law.

Passed in 1978 as a compromise with the Nixon Administration, FISA allows for “foreign intelligence” surveillance and was designed to evade the fourth amendment protections governing the use of warrants.  FISA surveillance is permitted based on a finding of probable cause that the surveillance target is a foreign power or an agent of a foreign power. That is manifestly different from probable cause to believe someone has committed a crime.   It is true that, if the target is a “U.S. person,” there must be probable cause to believe that the U.S. person’s activities may involve espionage or other similar conduct in violation of the criminal statutes of the United States.  However, citizens can be collateral to the primary target under FISA. In 1994 Congress extended FISA further to allow for covert physical entries in connection with “security” investigations, and then in 1998, it was amended to permit pen/trap orders. It has been used to gather business records.

By any measure, this story deserves the attention of the national media and Congress.  However, it is being buried in the crush of controversies related to the Russian investigation, embarrassing leaks, and other items. The media is correct in pursuing these legitimate stories but it should also give attention to this chilling report. There was equally limited coverage of the expansion of surveillance authority in the final days of the Obama Administration.  Privacy advocates have serious concerns about these privacy stories being pushed from public review.

The Trouble With Barry

March 13, 2017

The Trouble With Barry, PJ MediaDavid Solway, March 13, 2017

Former President Barack Obama leaves the National Gallery of Art in Washington, Sunday, March 5, 2017. ( AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

There is now a President and an Anti-President. A government and a shadow government. The anti-President controls more of the government through his shadow government than the real President.

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Alfred Hitchcock’s black comedy The Trouble with Harry bombed at the box office when it was first released in 1955; it has now achieved the status of a classic. Today, a bizarre melodrama playing in all the major political theaters, which might be called The Trouble with Barry, has become an overnight smash hit. Starring Barack Obama, a prodigy of the art of surveillance and Teflon-like resilience, it will eventually run its course. However the plot may develop, one thing is certain: it will not be regarded as a classic.

The trouble with Barry, like Hitchcock’s moribund Harry, is that he never seems to go away, constantly emerging at the most inopportune moments. Unlike every other president in American history, Obama has dedicated himself to the practice of what the Washington Examiner has described as “post-presidential meddling.”

He has thrown himself fully into Alinsky-style “community organizing,” stirring up resistance to the Trump administration in every way conceivable: installing, according to the New York Post, a “shadow government,” dubbed Organizing for Action, comprising more than 30,000 agitators and 250 chapters across the U.S., in order “to sabotage the incoming administration”; renting a dwelling and setting up command headquarters around the corner from the White House; cooking up the Russian hacking fable; and most recently, allegedly wiretapping Trump Tower, which seems disturbingly probable following the salient remarks of Ret. Army Intelligence Officer Tony Shaffer on Fox and the revelations from Breitbart News. Mark Levin’s accusation that Obama is orchestrating a “silent coup” against Trump rings true. As Daniel Greenfield points out:

There is now a President and an Anti-President. A government and a shadow government. The anti-President controls more of the government through his shadow government than the real President.

Obama and his Deep State have engaged in “a criminal conspiracy of unprecedented scope.”

And yet, even today, few media outlets are willing to investigate the innumerable instances of lying, lawbreaking, corruption, broken promises and cronyism for which Obama is clearly answerable. That he is likely involved in a wiretapping operation against a political opponent should not come as a surprise to anyone who has observed or researched the man. As Matthew Vadum comments in FrontPage Magazine, “It might be said that every day of his presidency he committed at least one impeachable offense” — whether abusing executive powers, bypassing Congress, leaking classified information, misrepresenting Obamacare, being ultimately responsible for the Fast and Furious and Benghazi infamies, and more.

The wiretapping affair is only the latest in a vast and ongoing sequence of misdemeanors, scandals and illegalities — a list compiled by Doug Ross runs into hundreds of such instances of impropriety and malpractice. No matter. The list will only grow. The editor of a prestigious conservative site wrote me calling this latest outrage a “game changer.” That remains to be seen. I would have thought, for example, that Obama’s first Executive Order (13489) on January 21, 2009 sealing his vital records would have been the game changer we were waiting for, but Barry sailed on unscathed.

There have been weak presidents, deluded presidents, and harmful presidents before him, but never has there been anyone as sinister or questionable as Obama, not excluding even the malefic Jimmy Carter or the sleazy Bill Clinton. What J. R. Dunn writing in American Thinker has said of Hillary, “the most repellent and corrupt American presidential candidate since Aaron Burr,” is equally true, in my estimation, of Barack Obama. Meanwhile, it is Trump who faces a barrage of threats, calls for impeachment and acts of disobedience that would have been more explicable if levied against Obama for his historic deceptions and malfeasances. Under the pestilential reign of Obama, and indeed years of Democratic incumbency, the shining city on the hill has become a murky city in the swamp.

The trouble with Barry is not only that he refuses to go away, materializing like Harry where he has no business being, or that he enjoys, à la Hitchcock, making cameo appearances in whatever political film he happens to be directing at the moment. All this would be perfectly acceptable, even agreeable, were he a benign presence or if he had Hitchcock’s talent for deadpan humor and high entertainment rather than a penchant for malice and misconduct.

The trouble with Barry is, quite simply, that he is Barry, a “Third World man,” to cite Phyllis Chesler’s psychological analysis of Obama, trying to become the father he never really had, an anti-white, anti-colonialist, anti-capitalist, anti-Zionist, anti-American, Marxist revolutionary. Why then, would he not use any means at his disposal, legitimate or illegitimate, including those that reek of “police state tactics,” to achieve his ends? Was this not predictable from the beginning? He will keep popping up working his characteristic mischief wherever he possibly can. This is what the man does and will continue doing. If he is not finally indicted for his multiple derelictions, there will be other “game changers” to come, all to no effect. A fall guy will inevitably be found to take the rap. We need to realize that what has been called “Obamagate” is nothing out of the ordinary. Obama is Obama. What did we expect?

Hitchcock’s film ends decisively with the legend: “The Trouble with Harry Is Over.” Unfortunately, the trouble with Barry isn’t.

We Are the Third World

October 1, 2016

We Are the Third World, American ThinkerTimothy Birdnow, October 1, 2016

In the presidential debate last Monday Donald Trump warned America that she’s “become a third-world country” to the guffaws and disdain of the liberals, the media (but I repeat myself) and Hillary Rodham Clinton, who later accused Trump of talking smack about the country she wants to loot, er, lead.

One must ask, is Trump correct or do we continue to occupy the apex of the first world? Is there evidence to support Mr. Trump’s claim?

Let me offer exhibit A.

According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:

Two years after the University of Missouri closed the state’s lone hospital for treating tuberculosis and other infectious diseases, state health officials are looking at opening a new facility.

The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services is seeking bids for a study that could provide officials with a roadmap for opening a new treatment center to replace the current process of sending patients to other states.

It comes amid a nationwide increase in the number of people contracting the airborne bacterial disease that attacks the lungs.

According to the request, Missouri has averaged 90 active tuberculosis cases in each of the past three years

Missouri has been more fortunate than many other states in this regard. Why?  Because Missouri a series of strict laws against illegal alien encroachment, going back to 2007.

As a result Missouri has avoided many of the pitfalls — including third-world diseases — that are plaguing other states. But the power of the central government has grown to the point where it has managed to circumvent many of the laws put in place by the states and so the problems plaguing other states are starting to dribble in.

Let’s face it; tuberculosis is now a Third World disease. In the U.S. the number of cases of TB were cut in half between 1953 and 1968 due to better antibiotics and better medical care. (It is interesting to note that Operation Wetback repatriated up to 2 million trespassing aliens starting in 1954, thus helping to reduce the number of such cases.) The reduction in TB rates turned around in the mid ’80s as a result of the HIV/AIDS epidemic (which was not handled like any other infectious epidemics where authorities follow the chain of contagion and restrict the activities of the infected; AIDS was allowed to burn through the populace out of fears of stigmatizing homosexuals.) Still, rates remained low. Only now we see them rising — and HIV is fairly under control, so that is not the cause.

According to the CDC 88% of all antibiotic-resistant TB in the U.S. comes from immigrants.

And that is just one infectious disease. Consider that last year we had 15 cases of bubonic plague in the U.S. Bubonic plague is clearly a third-world disease, one long absent in America.

Another facet of Third Worldism is the export of raw materials rather than manufactured goods. America is now almost completely an exporter of coal, because the Federal government has used regulatory power to strangle the industry. In 2008 then President Obama famously stated: “If someone wants to build a new coal-fired power plant they can, but it will bankrupt them because they will be charged a huge sum for all the greenhouse gas that’s being emitted.”

He has since gone on to crush an entire industry. Peabody Energy and Arch Coal — the largest and second largest coal companies on Earth — both went into bankruptcy recently. We now export raw coal because we can’t use it for anything.

And Lead. The Doe Run smelter — the last in America — closed a couple of years ago as a result of pressure from the Federal government. America now cannot smelt lead, but rather is forced to sell the raw materials to others who process it. That is third world.

Meanwhile, Mr. Trump scolded Ford for moving all its small car manufacturing to foreign countries. Well, that is what they are doing. It’s what happens when you are providing an unfriendly environment to manufacturing businesses.

Then there is language. One of the characteristics of a third-world country is the preponderance of languages; multiple languages exemplify disunity, thus dividing the nation. Well, the U.S. is at least the fifth largest Spanish speaking country on Earth and may well be second only to Mexico with between 35 and 50 million speakers.

In fact, one in five households do not speak English at home. While this is not solely the fault of Barack Obama, the problem (and it is a problem) has clearly metastasized under Il Duce.

Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton is calling for more spending on infrastructure, despite Obama’s trillion-dollar stimulus which supposedly funded “shovel ready jobs” and rebuilt these ailing roads and whatnot. If we can’t make basic repairs to infrastructure with a trillion dollars, how do we differ from a third-world country?

And violence. As I have noted, East St. Louis has levels of violence comparable to Honduras and other hellholes. We all know how many murders are occurring in Chicago, for instance, and we know of the rioting in Baltimore, in Charlotte, and in Ferguson. How does this differ from the war-torn, strife-filled third world?

Well, partly there is the rule of law. Unfortunately, Mr. Obama simply ignores the rule of law when it inconveniences him, granting an amnesty to illegals despite laws duly passed by Congress, for instance. He has simply gone ahead with many things he wanted, such as military action in Libya without Congressional approval, or forcing Boeing to shut down a factory for being non-union in 2011, or giving Mexican criminals thousands of illegal weapons in Fast and Furious. What about the drone strikes killing American citizens without due process? What about his use of executive orders to release people duly imprisoned by courts of law? How about his circumventing Congress to seize land?

And under Mr. Obama wealth has concentrated to just a few crony fat cats while everyone else lives hand to mouth due to underemployment. Even the liberal Huffington Post had to admit this fact. Rich oligarchs are another example of third worldism.

No Third World country is complete without vote fraud to keep the ruling junta in power. Consider the fact that fraud may well be the reason Obama won re-election last time.

A nation without the rule of law is a banana republic. Banana republics are inherently third world.

So Hillary and the Left may dismiss Mr. Trump’s argument that America is becoming third world, but the facts belie their claims.

 

Obama will bypass Senate, ratify Paris climate accord himself during trip to China: report

August 29, 2016

Obama will bypass Senate, ratify Paris climate accord himself during trip to China: report, Washington TimesValerie Richardson, August 29, 2016

(Another Obama Iran scam of the U.S. Constitution. — DM)

Asia_Obama_Trade.JPEG-a71e9_c0-0-4826-2813_s885x516In this file photo taken Nov. 30, 2015, President Barack Obama meets with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Le Bourget, France. A trade deal that is a centerpiece of Obama’s efforts to counter Chinese influence in Asia . . . .

President Obama is prepared to enter into the Paris climate accord as early as this week even though Republicans have insisted that the pact must be ratified by the Senate, according to a report out of China.

The South China Morning Post reported that Mr. Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping are “set to jointly announce their ratification” of the ambitious international climate-change pact on Friday, two days before the start of the 11th G-20 Summit in Hangzhou, Zhejiang.

“There are still some uncertainties from the U.S. side due to the complicated U.S. system in ratifying such a treaty, but the announcement is still quite likely to be ready by Sept. 2,” an unnamed source told the English-language newspaper.

In addition, “[s]enior climate officials from both countries worked late into the night in Beijing on Tuesday to finalise [sic] details,” said the article, citing “sources familiar with the issue.”

The Thursday report touched off alarm among foes of the Paris Agreement, which calls for nations to reduce their greenhouse-gas emissions with the aim of holding global temperatures to an increase of “well below” 2 degrees Celsius from pre-industrial levels.

Myron Ebell, director of the free-market Competitive Enterprise Institute’s Center for Energy and Environment, described the report as “curious because ratifying treaties in the United States requires a two-thirds vote of the Senate.”

“In China’s Communist Party dictatorship, ratification merely requires their Maximum Leader to say, ‘So be it,’ ” said Mr. Ebell, who flagged the article, adding, “Lo and behold, the president of the United States can ratify a treaty in the same way as China’s Maximum Leader. He merely has to say the magic words, ‘So be it.’ “

Sen. James Inhofe, chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, has warned other nations that without Senate approval, the agreement will “soon become another stack of empty promises on global warming.”

“I want to make sure international participants are warned now that the president’s commitment lacks the support of his own government and will fail,” Mr. Inhofe said in an April 12 statement.

He delivered his broadside shortly before Secretary of State John Kerry participated in a United Nations ceremony on Earth Day to sign what he described as the “historic” Paris agreement. Participating nations are required to sign and ratify the agreement.

U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called last month on international leaders to “accelerate” the ratification process after countries were slow to jump aboard.

The accord takes effect after ratification by 55 nations responsible for at least 55 percent of global emissions, but so far only 23 nations covering 1.1 percent of emissions have signed and ratified the pact, according to the “ratification tracker” maintained by Climate Analytics.

The group’s analysts expressed concern last month that the “window of opportunity” for ratification is “closing fast,” but that there have recently been “positive developments.”

“Many countries, led by the two biggest emitters, China and the United States, have signaled their intent to ratify by the end of 2016, leaving just four countries and 1.72% of global emissions needed for it to become official,” the Climate Analytics analysis said.

The Obama administration has maintained that the Paris Agreement is not a legally binding treaty and therefore does not require Senate ratification, while Republicans have insisted that it does.

“One can only speculate how the administration plans to ratify the agreement without approval of the Senate,” the Science and Environmental Policy Project said in a Sunday statement. “But given the disregard the administration has demonstrated toward Congress and the Constitution, such speculation is fitting.”