Sunday, November 23, 2014

"If you like your illegal alien, you can keep..."

        President Obama this week announced that anyone who 1) has been in the country for at least five years, 2) has a child who's a citizen or a permanent legal resident of the United States, and who 3) can pass a criminal background check, will not be deported even though he or she is in the country illegally. Is this, as the president claims, a legitimate exercise of 'prosecutorial discretion' or is he acting illegally or, at least, improperly?        
        Prosecutors at all levels, whether presidents enforcing immigration law or local officials enforcing criminal law, are given a lot of discretion as to how to enforce these laws. 
        For instance, suppose you were caught stealing a loaf of bread but had no criminal record and were stealing the bread to feed your family. Chances are, you would not be prosecuted and would be let go with a warning, an exercise of prosecutorial discretion which most would feel to be appropriate.
       On the other hand, suppose the D.A. were to decide that bread is so important that no one should ever be prosecuted for stealing bread, that the 'bakery system' is broken, and that until the legislature fixes it by giving everyone free bread or whatever, he's not going to prosecute anyone for stealing bread. Would this also be a proper exercise of prosecutorial discretion?
        Immigration law mandates that if you're in this country illegally, then you're in this country illegally. Even if you have children who are legal and even if you've been here for some specified amount of time and even though you may indeed be a very fine fellow, you're still here illegally.
       Congress has the right and the duty to pass laws and the president has the constitutional obligation to see that they are 'faithfully executed.' He can try and have them changed but, in the meantime, cannot behave as though they were already what he would have liked them to be. That's not 'discretion.' That's 'nullification' and is a power possessed by juries, not by presidents.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Ebola Quarantine?

"Mr. President, Fox is urging that you sign an Executive Order temporarily banning flights 
      from Ebola endemic areas for the safety of the American people."
"Fox! It figures. People have a right to travel and, besides, they'd just come thru Canada or   
      Mexico or...the Duchy of Grand Fenwick. By the way, any country reporting any new
      outbreaks recently?"
"Yes, sir. Israel."
"Hmm, anyone see where I left my pen."
[On July 22, 2014, the FAA banned US flights into or out of Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion airport for the 'safety of the traveling public' when a single rocket exploded one mile from the airport.]

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Pack Your Bags

"There will be no U.S. ground combat troops in Iraq."
        If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor.
"There will be no U.S. ground combat troops in Iraq."
        If you like your health plan, you can keep your health plan.
"There will be no U.S. ground combat troops in Iraq."
        Chemical weapons will be a red line for me.
"There will be no U.S. ground combat troops in Iraq."
        Assad must go.
"There will be no U.S. ground combat troops in Iraq."
        We will create millions of good paying green jobs.
"There will be no U.S. ground combat troops in Iraq."
        This will be the most open administration in history.
"There will be no U.S. ground combat troops in Iraq."
        You didn't build that.
"There will be no U.S. ground combat troops in Iraq."
        The seas will stop rising and the Earth will begin to heal.
"There will be no U.S. ground combat troops in Iraq."
        If the Republicans have suggestions, I want to hear them.
"There will be no U.S. ground combat troops in Iraq."
        I will be president of ALL the people.
"There will be no U.S. ground combat troops in Iraq. 
                    "It's all our fault."
                    "What's all our fault, Mr. President?"
                    "Doesn't matter. It's all our fault."

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Obama's New Secret Strategy?

       Last month it was a 'fantasy' to believe that we could provide arms to a moderate Syrian opposition made up of 'doctors, farmers and pharmacists.' This month, they're going to be the 'boots on the ground' to destroy ISIS.
       Maybe the plan is to pass out the guns, then point, and whisper, "Those are the guys who made me pass Obamacare and now they want to end farm subsidies."
       Aargh!!! Welcome to Washington. 

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Global Warming 'Pollution?'

        "Hey, Nee, want to go for a swim?"
        "Ander, are you crazy? It's freezing outside. That's why they call this the Ice Age. Ask Thal. He's also nuts. Maybe he'll go with you."
        "No, bro'. Take a look outside. The ice is melting. It's getting nice and...toasty."
        About 15,000 years ago much of North America, Northern Europe, and lots of other places were covered with ice. And it wasn't just that crunchy stuff that all those folks in Massachusetts and Vermont walk thru on the way to their Social Justice meetings. This was real ICE, a mile or two thick and covering the continent from coast to coast. And then, gradually, it all melted, except for a little that was left on the poles, North and South.
        But how could that be? With no industry to burn 'fossil fuels' (most of the 'fossils' were actually still walking around), where did all that 'climate change' come from?
        Well, Earth's climate has been changing since it was formed  4.5 billion years ago due to what scientists call, 'natural causes.' i.e., changes in earth's orbit, changes in the way the earth's axis tilts, changes in the sun's output of heat, etc. It's only been during the past 200 years or so, i.e. since the start of the industrial revolution, that we've had a little extra warming (0.8 degree C.) from burning fossil fuels and, during the last 17 years in fact, there's been no additional surface warming at all. Go know!
        And, as far as it being a pollutant is concerned, global warming is no more a 'pollutant' than is global cooling or global lukewarming. Pollutants are pollutants and warming is warming. Calling a change in temperature a 'pollutant' just to get everyone's juices going is dumb and dishonest and you shouldn't do it even if it gets people to vote for you or to come and see your movie.
Summary of latest U.N. IPCC Report on climate change:
1: We made a lot of mistakes last time but we got better computers and we're smarter than
     we used to be.
2. Things are much worse than we thought.
3. Send money.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Where's The U.N.?

        The Yazidis are a centuries-old religious group living in Northern Iraq, They are presently being exterminated by the Islamic State or ISIS. Tens of thousands of Yazidis are trapped on Mount Sinjar without food or water. The women and young girls are being sold into sexual slavery, i.e. raped. Why is the U.N. not involved in their rescue?
        Isn't that what the U.N. is supposed to do? prevent genocide?
        Anybody hear U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki Moon calling on member states to send helicopters to rescue the Yazidis and fly them to safety? Me neither. Maybe he just has a very soft voice. Or maybe he's got the windows closed and the air conditioner on. Maybe, or, maybe not.
        And if the U.N. is not getting involved, why isn't it? No time? Too busy? Plenty of folks find the time to show up whenever they have one of their shindigs in New York,
        "Ah, your majesty. What an honor."
        "Delighted to see you again, Mr. Prime Minister. You know you must try one of the chef's special hors d'oeuvres. He makes them with a little piece of lobster meat, a baby shrimp and a small scallop. Take it all in one bite. The taste is like nothing you've ever experienced before. 'Waiter. Waiter.' "
        Or when they have one of those conferences on the plight of women, except for the ones trapped on a mountaintop somewhere,
       "Marge! What are you doing here?"
       "Oh, you know. Paper about the plight of women in Sub Sahara India..."
       "Whatever. Listen, you really must try one of those hors d'oeuvres. They make them with a little piece of lobster meat, a baby shrimp, and a small scallop. Take it all in one bite. The taste is like nothing you've ever experienced before. 'Waiter. Waiter.' "
         Or one of those conferences on how it's not lukewarm all year round anymore so the rich countries have to compensate the poor ones for the lousy weather they're having. Yes, they have the hors d'oeuvres there too. But don't plan on getting a limo. They're usually  booked months in advance. 
         Maybe the secret to getting the UN involved here is to have someone climb Mt. Sinjar and teach the Yazidis how to make hors d'oeuvres, especially the ones with a little piece of lobster meat, a baby shrimp, and a small scallop. If you take it all in one bite, the taste is supposed to be like nothing you've ever experienced before. Hmm.....'Waiter. Waiter.'

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

The Tenth Justice?

        Under our Constitution, the duties of the President include 'taking care that the laws be faithfully executed.' There's nothing in there about the President writing those laws or changing them. That's a power granted to the Congress.
        And that doesn't change if Congress chooses not to write laws which the president says are necessary. The president has the right to cajole, to persuade, to compromise but, if he is not successful, he still doesn't have the right to legislate and he is not absolved of the duty to enforce laws already written.
          For instance, if the congress passes a health care law and the president signs it, he does not have the right to unilaterally make changes that violate that law. Even if the law bears his name, it doesn't mean that it belongs to him and that he can do with it whatever he wishes.
        Or, if the congress chooses not to pass 'immigration reform,' the president's duty is still to enforce current immigration law, regardless of how many 'phones and pens' he owns.  
        If a president is allowed to usurp the functions of congress, what's next? What about those of the judiciary?
        The Supreme Court each year receives about 10,000 petitions of which it agrees to hear approximately 75. In all the other 9,025, the decisions of lower courts are allowed to stand. If a president feels that some of these lower courts acted unconstitutionally and he doesn't agree with their rulings, does he have the right to intercede here too?
        "Don't you think your gun control laws are a little...restrictive? Didn't you guys ever hear of the 2nd amendment? No highway funds for you."
        Remember, the next occupant of the Oval Office might not necessarily be 'your guy' (or gal).
        The Founders had a healthy respect for the dangers of concentrated government power and tried to control it with a system of 'checks and balances'. It's a good system, not perfect, but good. We should try to keep it.
        "So, sue me."
        Hmm, okay.