The Left’s obsession with the Redskins


**Posted by Phineas

Everything is political

Everything is political

Amidst all the other outrageous outrages that outrage the outraged Left these days, you may have noticed a controversy (well, controversial to the Left) over the team name of the Washington Redskins, a name the team has used for over 80 years with no one complaining (1).

Well, no one until Harry Reid, the national Democrats, and the Left (but I repeat myself) decided they needed something, anything, to distract people from the failures of Obamacare and the lousy economy (and the crashing foreign policy and… Well, you get the idea.). Hence, in the last year or so, the professional Left has turned on the Redskins, decrying their name as offensive, hateful, and …brace yourselves… “racist” against American Indians. (2) The way they carry on, you’d think they were fighting the civil rights battles of the 50s and 60s all over again.

And, in fact, according to Dennis Prager, that is indeed one of the reasons the Left has gone bonkers over the team name: it makes them feel good, as if they’re reliving the battles of their fathers and grandfathers. Call it a self-esteem booster shot. Writing at Real Clear Politics, he give four additional reasons for the Left’s mania. It’s a good article, so click through for the rest, but I want to highlight one that I think cuts to the root of the matter:

Fifth, and finally, the left is totalitarian at heart. Whenever possible, they seek control of others; and they love to throw their considerable weight around. The left-wing president does it so often that the Supreme Court has unanimously shot down his attempts on a dozen occasions. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch, under huge pressure from leftists, just dropped conservative Pulitzer-Prize winning columnist George Will. Under pressure from left-wing professors and students, Brandeis and other universities dropped the few conservative speakers they had invited to this year’s commencement exercises. Forcing the Redskins to do their will is just the left’s latest attempt to force its views on the vast majority of its fellow citizens. That’s why it’s worth fighting for the Redskins. Today it’s the Redskins, tomorrow it’s you.

Emphasis added. Ever hear the expression “the personal is the political?” It was a rallying cry of the student movement and leftist feminists in the 60s that argued there was no separation between daily life (work, play, family, sports, &c.) and what we think of as traditional politics (elections, legislation, and so on). Every aspect of your personal life, including your recreation, is as much open to politics as is your choice of party to support. Support a team the name of which some faction finds politically incorrect, and you’ll be subject to political action to make you change your ways and the way you think. Our Betters on the Left know what’s best for us all and they have a driving urge to make sure we all conform.

Even if all you want to do is watch your favorite team and forget about the world for a while.

(1) There’s a survey by the Annenberg Public Policy Center showing that less than ten percent of American Indians find the name “Redskins” offensive. It’s from 2004, however, so it might be interesting to resurvey that.
(2) No disrespect intended to members of the various tribal nations, but I’ve never liked the term “Native American” when referring to the descendants of the people who were here before the European colonization. I was born here, my parents were born here, my grandparents were born here, and so were most of my great-grandparents. I’m native to America, too, and I refuse to use a term that in any way slights my right to be here.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

The return of President Obama – the “Healer in Chief”?

Newsweek's Obama cover

‘Second Coming’? I don’t think so.

Not this garbage again:

Rep. Luis Gutierrez said Tuesday that President Barack Obama has the power to “heal” undocumented immigrants.

“If [Republicans] want to come back and discuss [reform], fine,” the Illinois Democrat said on MSNBC. “But in the interim period, I believe the president of the United States has already in statute, in the law, the ability to heal and put in a safe harbor millions of undocumented immigrants while the Congress of the United States finally decides it’s going to take action.”


Gutierrez said he does not have much optimism when it comes to comprehensive reform coming out of Congress. Instead, he said that he hopes the steps from Obama will start to get the ball rolling on immigration policies.

“Just as Republicans have said, ‘No, no, no,’ I expect the president to be broad, expansive and generous in the use of his prosecutorial discretion,” Gutierrez said.

Let’s clear up the confusion on this – again. Politicians are not “healers”, they are not “saviors”, they are not “the next coming of Jesus Christ” – nothing even remotely close.   They don’t “heal” anyone – they legislate, they govern.  They are human beings who were elected to serve at various levels of government by a majority of the people in their counties, cities, districts, states, etc.  They are all fallible, with some sincerely entering into the political arena to make a difference, while others in the same field often partake in activities that most would consider corrupt.  These people should not be viewed any differently than you or I should be – that is, they shouldn’t be put on pedestals to idolize and worship.  That goes double for the President of the United States, no matter who he or she may be.

Any questions?

Did Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) threaten a presidential coup d’etat?


**Posted by Phineas



The topic was immigration, both the current crisis at the border and the Democrats’ desperate desire to have the House pass the comprehensive amnesty bill already approved in the Senate. You can read the whole thing at PJM, but I think the senior senator at Illinois might want to walk this part back:

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) piled on. Noting that a year has passed since the Senate passed a sweeping immigration reform bill with broad bipartisan support, he urged House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) to bring a similar bill to the floor.

“I don’t know how much more time he thinks he needs, but I hope that Speaker Boehner will speak up today,” Durbin said. “And if he does not, the president will borrow the power that is needed to solve the problems of immigration.”

“Borrow the power,” Dick? Pray, under what authority would the president, to whom the Constitution assigns no lawmaking power (that’s your job, Dickie-boy), “borrow” the power to “solve the problem,” that is, to make law? What you mean is that he would unilaterally seize the power and abuse his administrative authority and prosecutorial discretion (even more than he already has) to create a new immigration reality (and millions of new Democratic voters, you hope) by fiat. By ukase. By his will, alone.

You call it “borrowing power,” Dick.

A rational person, on the other hand, and not some fawning courtier of a liberal fascist, calls it what it is: dictatorship.

Resign, Dick. You’re a disgrace to your oath of office.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

EPA tells Congress it, too, can’t provide emails due to “hard drive crash”


Shaking my head.

Beyond pathetic, beyond believable (hat tip):

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the IRS share a problem: officials say they cannot provide the emails a congressional committee has requested because an employee’s hard drive crashed.

EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy confirmed to the House Oversight Committee Wednesday that her staff is unable to provide lawmakers all of the documents they have requested on the proposed Pebble Mine in Alaska, because of a 2010 computer crash.

“We’re having trouble getting the data off of it and we’re trying other sources to actually supplement that,” McCarthy said. “We’re challenged in figuring out where those small failures might have occurred and what caused them occur, but we’ve produced a lot of information.”

The revelation came less than two weeks after IRS officials told Congress that Lois Lerner, the official at the center of the controversy over the targeting of conservative tax-exempt groups, also suffered from a hard drive crash that makes it difficult to comply with records requests.

The committee suspects that Phillip North, who worked for the EPA in Alaska, decided with his colleagues to veto the proposed Pebble Mine near Bristol Bay in 2009, before the agency even began researching its potential impacts on the environment.

Committee staffers have been trying for about a year to interview North, but he has been in New Zealand and refuses to cooperate, they said.

“We have tried to serve a subpoena on your former employee and we have asked for the failed hard drive from this Alaskan individual who now is in New Zealand, and seems to never be returning,” Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), the committee’s chairman, said Wednesday.

Emails provided by the committee show that EPA told congressional investigators about the hard drive crash months ago. But McCarthy said she only told the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) about the problem Tuesday.

How convenient, eh? @redsteeze on Twitter quips:

And not just the “most tech savvy”, but also the most open, honest, transparent administration in HISTORY – of course that depends on your definition of “transparent”, however. As to “honest and open”, well, sure … if you discount the lost emails, the deliberate firings/reprimands of Inspectors Generals they don’t like, the IRS targeting over conservative groups, the way they get around the whole “visitors log” thing by arranging meeting with lobbyists just down the street from the White House, etc …

In related news about the EPA, welcome to bizarro world: EPA Employees Told to Stop Pooping in the Hallway

Emails released by House Ways & Means show Lerner targeted GOP Senator

Lois Lerner

Lois Lerner

Via Fox News:

Congressional investigators have uncovered emails showing ex-IRS official Lois Lerner targeted a sitting Republican senator for a proposed internal audit, a discovery one GOP lawmaker called “shocking.” 

The emails were published late Wednesday by the House Ways and Means Committee and pertain to the woman at the heart of the scandal over IRS targeting of Tea Party groups. 

The emails appear to show Lerner mistakenly received an invitation intended for Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, in 2012. 

The event organizer, whose name is not disclosed, apparently offered to pay for Grassley’s wife to attend the event, which caught Lerner’s attention. The December 2012 emails show that in response, Lerner suggested to an IRS colleague that the case be referred for an audit. 

“Looked like they were inappropriately offering to pay for his wife. Perhaps we should refer to Exam?” she wrote. 

Her colleague, though, pushed back on the idea, saying an offer to pay for his wife is “not prohibited on its face.” There is no indication from the emails that Lerner pursued the issue any further. 


Grassley, incidentally, is a member of the Senate Finance Committee — which is one of the congressional panels investigating the IRS over the targeting scandal. 

The plot thickens ………

Speaker Boehner’s meaningless, craven lawsuit


**Posted by Phineas



Pathetic. Speaker John Boehner announced plans for the House to sue President Obama in court to force him to do his job and enforce the laws. Without being specific about the grounds of the suit, one can safely assume it covers Obama’s non-enforcement of immigration laws along the southwest border and, perhaps, the administration’s unilateral rewrites and illegal waivers of the Affordable Care Act and it’s serial failure to cooperate in the IRS investigations.

Speaking to the press, Boehner added the following:

Boehner strongly brushed aside a question of whether impeachment proceedings could result from the suit. “This is not about impeachment. This is about his (Obama’s) faithfully executing the laws of our country,” he said.

Pardon me a moment; I was rolling my eyes so hard on reading that, I was getting dizzy.

Mr. Speaker, on taking office, every president swears the following oath:

“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

The President is Chief Magistrate of the United States, its top federal law-enforcer. “Faithfully execute” means doing that job. If you are suing because the president has broken his oath by not faithfully executing the duties of his office, then you have perforce invoked grounds for impeachment by reason of maladministration.

You’ve said it, so don’t go denying in the next breath what we all know it means. Leave being a weasel to the Democrats.


He also rejected a suggestion that the suit was designed to give traditional Republican voters a reason for going to the polls this fall when control of Congress will be at stake.

“This is about defending the institution in which we serve,” he said. “What we’ve seen clearly over the last five years is an effort to erode the power of the legislative branch.”

Argh. The Congress has been surrendering legislative power to the Executive, more under Democrats, less so under Republicans, since the Progressive era. More and more regulatory authority has been given to panels of bureaucrats in the guise of “rule making,” when really it amounts to the power to make law. It’s more accurate to say this process has greatly expanded under Obama, who pushes the bounds like no president has since FDR (or maybe Nixon), but let’s not pretend this hasn’t been going on for a long time. If the Congress were truly interested in “defending its prerogatives,” as Madison intended, it has had plenty of opportunities, but has done so only fitfully.

You want to “defend the institution” in which you serve? Then forget the ridiculous lawsuit (and Senator Paul’s and Senator Johnson’s); you don’t resolve political power struggles between the legislature and the presidency by running crying to the courts (1). You have two powers: cutting off funds and impeachment. The former seems to be ineffective, but you have the latter. As I wrote yesterday:

I’d suggest forming another [House Select Investigating Committee] for the IRS scandal and one for Fast and Furious, both with full subpoena powers and special counsel hired to lead the inquiries. They all should work through the summer and, when done, present their findings to the full House. Forget the Department of Justice; it can’t be trusted with Eric Holder in charge. Instead, the House should impeach whomever is found culpable by the investigations.

While impeaching the President himself isn’t politically practical (yet), his political appointees bear the same responsibility as he: faithful execution of the laws and obedience to the Constitution. If committee investigations find any derelict in their duties, such as top management at the IRS, impeach them, place them on trial before the Senate, and make Harry Reid defend their abuses of power. Fence Obama in by taking away his minions.

That’s how you defend the institution, Mr. Speaker. If you really want to.

(1) For one thing, the courts rely on the Executive to enforce their orders. If you can’t trust Obama to enforce the laws…

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

Nation’s top archivist: #IRS “did not follow the law” after hard drive crash



Via the New York Times:

WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service did not follow the law when it failed to report a hard drive crash that destroyed emails belonging to a senior official at the center of a scandal over the agency’s treatment of conservative-leaning political groups, the nation’s top archivist said Tuesday.

“In accordance with the Federal Records Act, when an agency becomes aware of an incident of unauthorized destruction, they must report the incident to us,” said David S. Ferriero, the chief archivist at the National Archives.

Mr. Ferriero made his remarks at a congressional hearing examining the 2011 disappearance of emails sent and received by Lois Lerner, the former I.R.S. official who is accused of politically motivated mistreatment of Tea Party-aligned groups seeking tax exemptions.

Mr. Ferriero would not say that anyone at the I.R.S. committed a crime, only that the agency “did not follow the law.” He said he learned of the missing emails on June 13, when the agency made the disclosure in a filing to Congress.

Gee, ya think?

Politico has more:

The law requires agencies to save official records — defined in a National Archives guidance post as “documentary materials that agencies create and receive while conducting business that provide evidence of the agency’s organization, functions, policies, decisions, procedures, and operations, or that contain information of value.”

At the IRS, employees who send such official correspondences via email are supposed to print them out and file hard copies.

Something else that didn’t happen with regular frequency, obviously…. :-w

IRS scandal: forget the special counsel. Instead, impeach.


**Posted by Phineas

Let the trials begin

Let the trials begin

The growing frustration with the various scandals of the Obama administration have lead to repeated calls from the Opposition for special prosecutors to investigate and, if warranted, to criminally prosecute violators, most recently in the IRS scandal. For example, there’s Bryan Preston of PJ Media:

Congressional hearings make for mediocre TV and a poor vehicle for investigating the targeting of conservatives by our own government. It will take a special prosecutor who will go below the level of IRS chief and get to the people who were around when Lerner’s emails were supposedly lost, and who will depose them, look through contracts, find the inconsistencies and build a case. All the rest is show.

I sympathize, but, as I replied to Preston, just how does one get Holder and Obama to appoint one? And, furthermore, what guarantees do we have that the appointee will be truly independent? I don’t think it’s likely that the Attorney General will appoint a modern-day Archibald Cox, who’d rather be fired than compromise his investigation, do you?

Senator Roberts of Kansas was also among those calling for an independent prosecutor appointed by Congress:

 “The Obama Administration’s Department of Justice won’t meaningfully pursue the IRS, but Kansans are demanding a full investigation, where ever it may lead, into how and why the IRS shut down the activities of the Administration’s opponents. At this point, only a Congressionally appointed and separately funded special counsel, with full subpoena power, can get to the bottom of this matter. Congress has longstanding and broad authority to both investigate allegations of wrongdoing within the federal government and to delegate its investigatory powers to other entities. It’s time to put this authority into action.

Roberts wants the arrest and prosecution of those responsible for “suppressing the First Amendment” rights of those targeted by the IRS, but, as former federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy points out, there is a serious flaw in Roberts’ argument: Congress has all the authority to appoint an investigator and investigate all they want, but they have no constitutional authority to prosecute:

Congress can issue subpoenas for information in connection with its oversight function; it lacks any power to issue subpoenas in connection with what Senator Roberts says he is calling for: “the arrest and prosecution of those responsible for suppressing the First Amendment.” Congress is bereft of authority to enforce the penal laws, to conduct grand-jury proceedings, to issue indictments, to make arrests, and to subject offenders to criminal trials.


Senator Roberts is surely correct that Congress may appoint and fund its own special counsel. Indeed, it has done so many times: Committees conducting significant congressional investigations have frequently retained experienced former prosecutors to lead the hunt for evidence and the examination of witnesses. But a congressional special counsel is not, and may not be, an independent prosecutor. A congressional “special counsel” may only exercise Congress’s powers, not the president’s. The special counsel may conduct oversight; he or she may not prosecute.

Citing arguments ranging from recent Appeals Court rulings back to James Madison in Federalist 10, McCarthy reminds us that the Founders considered this separation of power, a division between the power to legislate and the power to prosecute, as essential to our liberty. Indeed, Madison saw their combination in one branch of government’s hands to be the very definition of tyranny (1).

But, if Congress can only investigate and shed light, but not prosecute, what then is to be done? What remedy is there when the Executive won’t fulfill its duties to enforce the laws and, if need be, prosecute?

McCarthy answers that the solution to this political problem is the political “weapon” the Constitution allows Congress — impeachment:

Congress has the power to impeach and remove from power high executive officials who have abused their powers. And while it appears that conventional felonies may have been committed in the IRS scandal, that is nearly beside the point, for two reasons.

First, “high crimes and misdemeanors” need not be indictable offenses. The term, borrowed from English law, refers instead to betrayals of the profound trust reposed in high government officials. Undermining the constitutional rights of the people and misleading Congress are among the most egregious betrayals executive-branch officials can commit. They clearly warrant impeachment and removal.

Second, with due respect to Senator Roberts and other Republicans who have emphasized the potential criminal liability of IRS and other executive-branch officials, they are barking up the wrong tree. When executive power is being abused, the public-interest imperative is to remove the power from the malevolent or incompetent officials. Whether they are also, at some point, privately prosecuted for their wrongdoing is of far less moment.

And I agree. Realistically, we will have to wait for a Republican White House in order to criminally prosecute law breakers in the IRS and other scandals. But the health of our political system and the Rule of Law requires the removal of corrupt, faithless, and incompetent political appointees now. Forget that the Senate has a Democratic majority lead by a petty tyrant: bring the first impeachment against Commissioner Koskinen and make the Democrats defend the IRS before the public.

We already have a House select committee investigating the Benghazi massacre. If John Boehner doesn’t mind a bit of advice, I’d suggest forming another for the IRS scandal and one for Fast and Furious, both with full subpoena powers and special counsel hired to lead the inquiries. They all should work through the summer and, when done, present their findings to the full House. Forget the Department of Justice; it can’t be trusted with Eric Holder in charge. Instead, the House should impeach whomever is found culpable by the investigations.

Short of removing the President, himself (2), it’s the only way (3) to rein in an imperial Executive Branch.

(1) And if you look at the Chief Executive’s usurpations of Congress legislative power to rewrite the laws at whim, you can see what Mr. Madison meant. Also, this is one reason we prohibit Bills of Attainder.
(2) McCarthy has written an excellent book, Faithless Execution, making the legal case for Barack Obama’s impeachment and removal from office. However, he also makes a strong argument that this simply will not be possible without a public political consensus for Obama’s removal existing, first. I agree with him and think that going after lower officials, instead, will be more fruitful.
(3) There is the “power of the purse,” but for various reasons that hasn’t worked in recent years.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

Raging Rangel: Most Obama critics are from “Confederate states”

Rangel relaxes

Rangel relaxes at one of his tax free ”retreats.”
Photo via Splash News/Daily Beast

Sigh. Via The Politico:

New York Democratic Rep. Charles Rangel, locked in a contentious primary battle, suggested in an interview that aired Monday that the level of Republican opposition to President Barack Obama is partly due to race.

When asked by MSNBC’s Kasie Hunt whether GOP opposition to the president is “based on race,” Rangel paused and said, “You know, that’s a subjective question. But, let me say this: Are most of the states that they represent, are they in the Confederate states that fought the Union? Were they slaveholder states? And when they come to Washington, do you see more Confederate flags than American flags?”

Rangel, an 84-year-old, African-American congressman who has served in Congress for more than four decades, added that he thought some Republicans were willing to hurt themselves politically by opposing the Obama administration’s domestic agenda just to attack him.

“Who would hurt their own people — in terms of cutting off health, job opportunity, food stamps — to get after this president? It takes a lot of hatred to hurt yourself just to embarrass the president. So, I’m trying to think with the tea party — and basically what they have said and what their spokespeople have said — this would not be the same if the president was not of color,” he said.

I’m beginning to suspect that the only deck of cards Rangel owns is the deck that is full of nothing but race cards. The guy really has no other card left to play at this point in his political career – and why not? It’s helped him often in the past.  Predictable yet sad, really, when you think about it.

By the way, I wonder if race is what continually motivates President Obama to refrain from endorsing Rangel in his NY-13  Democrat primaries year after year? It’s not, of course, but it’s amusing to use Rangel’s own card against him sometimes. Heh. ;)

VIDEO: Trey Gowdy vs. #IRS Commish Josh Koskinen – guess who wins?

Congressman Trey Gowdy

Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-SC-4
Photo by Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call

LOTS of fireworks at last night’s rare evening Congressional hearing, this one on the scandal surrounding the IRS targeting of conservative groups – and the still-unexplained loss of two years worth of emails from Lois Lerner and other key IRS employees. Unsurprisingly, rising star South Carolina Congressman Trey Gowdy got his time in … and then some. Below is video of him grilling IRS Commissioner Josh Koskinen (via Gateway Pundit):

A brief recap of Gowdy vs. Koskinen, via The Blaze:

Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) late Monday criticized IRS Commissioner John Koskinen for claiming there’s no evidence of criminal misconduct at the IRS over the targeting scandal, even though he hasn’t bothered to examine the criminal code.

“You have already said multiple times today that there was no evidence that you found of any criminal wrongdoing,” Gowdy said. “I want you to tell me what criminal statutes you’ve evaluated.”

“I have not looked at any,” Koskinen replied.

“Well then how can you possibly tell our fellow citizens that there’s not criminal wrongdoing if you don’t even know what statutes to look at?” Gowdy shot back.

Koskinen said several times that he’s seen no evidence that anyone consciously acted inappropriately, but Gowdy said that’s not the same as trying to examine whether a crime was committed.

“How would you know what elements of the crime existed?” Gowdy asked. “You don’t even know what statutes are in play.”

Koskinen said he believes he can rely on common sense, but Gowdy blasted that answer out of the water before Koskinen could finish his thought.

“Common sense? Instead of the criminal code, you want to rely on common sense?” Gowdy said as Koskinen shook his head at the table.

“You can shake your head all you want to, Commissioner. You have said today that there is no evidence of criminal wrongdoing, and I’m asking you what criminal statutes you have reviewed to reach that conclusion.” Gowdy concluded that Koskinen had “no idea” whether any crimes have been committed.

House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa held his own as well during the hearing, telling Koskinen, “we have a problem with you and you have a problem with credibility.”

Interestingly enough, Koskinen sounds like a pretty reliable backer of Democrats over the years, wouldn’t you say?

IRS Commissioner John Koskinen looks like he got the job atop the taxman agency the old fashioned way: He bought it.

According to the Washington Free Beacon, Koskinen has donated about $100,000 to Democrat candidates and committees since his first donation in 1979. His donor recipients include Gary Hart, the Democratic National Committee, the Democratic nominee in each presidential campaign since 1980 (which would even include Walter Mondale, who stood no chance of beating President Ronald Reagan in 1984), the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, and Hillary Clinton’s and Barack Obama’s campaigns. He most recently donated $2,500 to Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) in 2013.

He has given no money to Republicans. The taxman is a partisan Democrat.

What a surprise …

The hearings into this matter will continue today.