THE LEGAL LIMIT: THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION’S ATTEMPTS TO EXPAND FEDERAL POWER
By U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) Ranking Member Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on The Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights
Of all the troubling aspects of the Obama presidency, none is more dangerous than the President’s persistent pattern of lawlessness, his willingness to disregard the written law and instead enforce his own policies via executive fiat.
The President’s taste for unilateral action to circumvent Congress should concern every citizen, regardless of party or ideology. The great 18th-century political philosopher Montesquieu observed: “There can be no liberty where the legislative and executive powers are united in the same person, or body of magistrates.” America’s Founding Fathers took this warning to heart, and we should too.
Rule of law doesn’t simply mean that society has laws; dictatorships are often characterized by an abundance of laws. Rather, rule of law means that we are a nation ruled by laws, not men. No one—and especially not the president—is above the law. For that reason, the U.S. Constitution imposes on every president the express duty to “take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed.”
Rather than honor this duty, President Obama has openly defied it by repeatedly suspending, delaying, and waiving portions of the laws that he is charged to enforce. When President Obama disagreed with federal immigration laws, he instructed the Justice Department to cease enforcing the laws. He did the same thing with federal welfare law, drug laws, and the federal Defense of Marriage Act.
In the more than two centuries of our nation’s history, there is simply no precedent for the White House wantonly ignoring federal law and asking others to do the same.
For all those who are silent now: What would they think of a Republican president who announced that he was going to ignore the law, or unilaterally change the law? Imagine a future president setting aside environmental laws, or tax laws, or labor laws, or tort laws with which he or she disagreed.
That would be wrong—and it is the Obama precedent that is opening the door for future lawlessness. As Montesquieu knew, an imperial presidency threatens the liberty of every citizen. Because when a president can pick and choose which laws to follow and which to ignore, he is no longer a president.
Report No. 4: The Obama Administration’s Abuse of Power
Governing by Executive Fiat
1. Disregarded 1996 welfare reform law in granting broad work waivers for work requirements of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF).
2. Implemented portions of the DREAM Act, which Congress rejected, by executive action.
3. Ended some terror asylum restrictions, by allowing asylum for people who provided only “insignificant” or “limited” material support of terrorists.
4. Allowed immigrants in the U.S. illegally, who are relatives of military troops and veterans, to stay in the country and get legal status.
5. Extended federal marriage benefits by recognizing, under federal law, same-sex marriages created in a state that allows same-sex marriage even if the couple is living in a state that doesn’t recognize same-sex marriage.
6. Recognized same-sex marriage in Utah, even though the Supreme Court stayed the court order recognizing same-sex marriage in Utah and Utah said it would not recognize same-sex marriages performed before the stay.
7. Refused to prosecute violation of drug laws with certain mandatory minimums.
8. Issued signing statements, refusing to enforce parts of congressional-enacted statutes.
9. Illegally refused to act on Yucca Mountain’s application to become a nuclear waste repository.
10. Falsely portrayed the Benghazi terrorist attack as a spontaneous protest against an anti-Muslim YouTube video, and then lied about the White House’s involvement.
11 Illegally revealed the existence of sealed indictments in the Benghazi investigation.
12. Failed to enforce the Magnitsky Act as required by law, by not adding Russian human rights abusers to a list of people not permitted to travel to or do business in the U.S.
13. Killed four Americans overseas in counterterrorism operations without judicial process.
14. Continued to give Egypt aid after the military took over its government, even though federal law prohibits aid to Egypt in the event of a coup.
15. Granted a “hardship” exemption from the individual mandate for people whose health plans were canceled because their plans weren’t Obamacare compliant.
16. Delayed the individual mandate for two years.
17. Allowed individuals to buy health insurance plans in 2014 that did not comply with Obamacare. Extended this delay until 2016—past the mid-term elections.
18. Extended the deadline to enroll in Obamacare.
19. Illegally granted businesses a waiver from Obamacare’s employer mandate. Twice.
20. Illegally continued the Obamacare employer contribution for congressional staffs.
21. Illegally delayed the Obamacare caps on out-of-pocket healthcare payments.
22. Illegally delayed Obamacare verification of eligibility for healthcare subsidies.
23. Illegally required people to violate their faith via the Obamacare contraception mandate.
24. As of May 2011, over 50% of Obamacare waiver beneficiaries were union members (who account for less than 12% of the American work force).
25. Ordered Boeing to fire 1,000 employees in South Carolina and shut down a new factory because it was non-union.
26. Implemented a moratorium on offshore drilling after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill without statutory authority, and continued to enact new versions after federal courts repeatedly invalidated the moratorium.
27. Treated secured creditors worse than unsecured creditors in the Chrysler bankruptcy.
28. Terminated the pensions of 20,000 non-union Delphi employees in the GM bankruptcy.
29. Had SWAT teams raid a Gibson guitar factory and seize property, on the purported basis that Gibson had broken India’s environmental laws—but no charges were filed.
30. Government agencies are engaging in “Operation Choke Point,” where the government asks banks to “choke off” access to financial services for customers engaging in conduct the Administration does not like—such as “ammunition sales.”
Executive Nominees and Personnel
31. Made illegal “recess” appointments to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the National Labor Relations Board when Congress wasn’t in recess. Ignored the rulings of three federal courts of appeals that held those nominations unconstitutional.
32. Appointed czars to oversee federal policy specifically because czars do not require Senate confirmation, earning criticism from stalwart Democrats such as West Virginia Sen. Robert Byrd and Wisconsin Sen. Russ Feingold.
33. As of January 2012, 36 of the President’s executive office staff owed $833,970 in back taxes.
34. As of 2011, 311,566 federal employees or retirees owed $3.5 billion in taxes.
Free Speech and Privacy
35. Illegally targeted conservative groups for heightened IRS scrutiny.
36. Circumvented the Freedom of Information Act, by requiring White House Counsel review of all documents to be released under the Freedom of Information Act that the Administration believed pertained to “White House equities”—and then delayed in producing many of these documents by FOIA’s statutory deadline, or didn’t produce them at all.
37. Got secret permission from the FISA Court to reverse restrictions on the National Security Agency’s use of intercepted phone calls and emails, permitting the NSA to search American’s communications in its databases.
38. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is seeking to monitor about 80% of U.S. credit card transactions.
39. Targeted Fox News reporter James Rosen by falsely labeling him a possible “co-conspirator” in a criminal investigation of a new leak.
40. Secretly obtained phone records from staff at the Associated Press.
41. Had meetings with lobbyists in coffee shops near White House to avoid disclosure requirements.
Other Lawless Acts
42. Aided drug cartels instead of enforcing immigration laws—as found by a federal judge. Border Patrol agents, multiple times, knowingly helped smuggle illegal immigrant children into the U.S.; “the DHS is encouraging parents to seriously jeopardize the safety of their children.”
43. Illegally sold thousands of guns to criminals, in the operation known as Fast and Furious and then refused to comply with congressional subpoenas about the operation.
44. Dismissed charges filed by Bush Administration against New Black Panther Party members who were videotaped intimidating voters at a Philadelphia polling station during the 2008 election.
45. Argued for expansive federal powers in the Supreme Court, which has rejected the Administration’s arguments unanimously 9 times since January 2012.
46. Sued Louisiana to stop school vouchers and keep low-income minorities trapped in failing schools.
47. Threatened to arrest military priests for practicing their faith during the partial government shutdown.
48. Muzzled the speech of military chaplains.
49. Sued fire departments saying their multiple-choice, open-book written employment tests were racially discriminatory.
50. Gave 23,994 tax refunds worth more than $46 million to aliens here illegally using the same address in Atlanta, GA.
Other Abuses of Power
51. Released a mentally ill Guantanamo detainee… who had been a high-risk al Qaeda fighter in jihad combat since the 1980s.
52. Backed release of the Lockerbie bomber, Abdel Baset al-Megrahi.
53. President Obama told NASA administrator to “find a way to reach out to the Muslim world.”
54. Claimed the Fort Hood shooting was “workplace violence” rather than terrorism.
55. Signed a stimulus bill that spent money on bonuses for AIG executives, and then acted shocked and outraged at the bonuses.
56. Gave $535 million to Solyndra, which went bankrupt; Solyndra shareholders and officials made substantial donations to Obama’s campaign.
57. Reneged on a campaign promise to cut the deficit in half by the end of his first term in office.
58. Increased the national debt more in one term than President Bush did in two terms.
59. Extended mortgage assistance to people who bought multiple homes during the housing bubble.
60. Proposed rules that would have decimated family farms, by prohibiting children under 18 from doing many forms of farm work.
61. Former “safe schools czar” has written about his past drug abuse and advocated promoting homosexuality in schools.
62. Nominated Timothy Geithner—who had significant tax issues —to head the Treasury Department, which enforces tax laws.
63. Reneged on campaign promise to broadcast healthcare reform negotiations on C-SPAN.
64. Reneged on a campaign promise to wait five days before signing any non-emergency bill (at least 10 times during first 3 months in office).
65. Unilaterally, increased the minimum wage for federal contract workers from $7.25 to $10.10, via executive order.
66. Cancelled all White House tours after sequestration—purportedly saving $18,000 per week—even though President Obama had spent more than $1 million in tax money to golf with Tiger Woods one weekend a few weeks before.
67. Adopted pro-union “ambush election” rules.
68. Pressured Ford to pull an anti-auto-bailout TV ad.
69. Actively, aided in George Zimmerman protests.
70. Tried to seize a privately owned motel when guests used illegal drugs at the motel.
71. Shut down the Amber Alert website, while keeping up Let’s Move website, during the partial government shutdown.
72. Gave supervised release to a convicted criminal (an alien here illegally) who later killed a nun in a DUI.
73. Shut down an Amish farm for selling fresh unpasteurized milk across state lines.
74. Spent $7 million per household in “stimulus funds” to connect a few Montana households to the Internet.
75. Spent $205,075 in “stimulus” funds to relocate a shrub that sells for $16.
76. Fired an inspector general after investigating an $850,000 AmeriCorps grant received by a nonprofit run by former NBA star and Obama supporter Kevin Johnson (now mayor of Sacramento).
The original report, complete with hotlinked source footnotes to support Cruz’s claims, can be viewed here.
- See more at: http://dcxposed.com/2015/01/27/ted-cruzs-list-76-abuses-power-lawless-actions-obama-administration/#sthash.bdK0oBYq.dpuf
The U.S. government is poised to withdraw longstanding warnings about cholesterol
The nation’s top nutrition advisory panel has decided to drop its caution about eating cholesterol-laden food, a move that could undo almost 40 years of government warnings about its consumption.
The group’s finding that cholesterol in the diet need no longer be considered a “nutrient of concern” stands in contrast to the committee’s findings five years ago, the last time it convened. During those proceedings, as in previous years, the panel deemed the issue of excess cholesterol in the American diet a public health concern.
The finding follows an evolution of thinking among many nutritionists who now believe that, for healthy adults, eating foods high in cholesterol may not significantly affect the level of cholesterol in the blood or increase the risk of heart disease.
The greater danger in this regard, these experts believe, lies not in products such as eggs, shrimp or lobster, which are high in cholesterol, but in too many servings of foods heavy with saturated fats, such as fatty meats, whole milk, and butter.
The new view on cholesterol in food does not reverse warnings about high levels of “bad” cholesterol in the blood, which have been linked to heart disease. Moreover, some experts warned that people with particular health problems, such as diabetes, should continue to avoid cholesterol-rich diets.
While Americans may be accustomed to conflicting dietary advice, the change on cholesterol comes from the influential Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, the group that provides the scientific basis for the “Dietary Guidelines.” That federal publication has broad effects on the American diet, helping to determine the content of school lunches, affecting how food manufacturers advertise their wares, and serving as the foundation for reams of diet advice.
The panel laid out the cholesterol decision in December, at its last meeting before it writes a report that will serve as the basis for the next version of the guidelines. A video of the meeting was later posted online and a person with direct knowledge of the proceedings said the cholesterol finding would make it to the group’s final report, which is due within weeks.
After Marian Neuhouser, chair of the relevant subcommittee, announced the decision to the panel at the December meeting, one panelist appeared to bridle.
“So we’re not making a [cholesterol] recommendation?” panel member Miriam Nelson, a Tufts University professor, said at the meeting as if trying to absorb the thought. “Okay ... Bummer.”
Members of the panel, called the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, said they would not comment until the publication of their report, which will be filed with the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Agriculture.
While those agencies could ignore the committee’s recommendations, major deviations are not common, experts said.
Five years ago, “I don’t think the Dietary Guidelines diverged from the committee’s report,” said Naomi K. Fukagawa, a University of Vermont professor who served as the committee’s vice chair in 2010. Fukagawa said she supports the change on cholesterol.
Walter Willett, chair of the nutrition department at the Harvard School of Public Health, also called the turnaround on cholesterol a “reasonable move.”
“There’s been a shift of thinking,” he said.
But the change on dietary cholesterol also shows how the complexity of nutrition science and the lack of definitive research can contribute to confusion for Americans who, while seeking guidance on what to eat, often find themselves afloat in conflicting advice.
Cholesterol has been a fixture in dietary warnings in the United States at least since 1961, when it appeared in guidelines developed by the American Heart Association. Later adopted by the federal government, such warnings helped shift eating habits -- per capita egg consumption dropped about 30 percent -- and harmed egg farmers.
Yet even today, after more than a century of scientific inquiry, scientists are divided.
Some nutritionists said lifting the cholesterol warning is long overdue, noting that the United States is out-of-step with other countries, where diet guidelines do not single out cholesterol. Others support maintaining a warning.
The forthcoming version of the Dietary Guidelines -- the document is revised every five years -- is expected to navigate myriad similar controversies. Among them: salt, red meat, sugar, saturated fats and the latest darling of food-makers, Omega-3s.
As with cholesterol, the dietary panel’s advice on these issues will be used by the federal bureaucrats to draft the new guidelines, which offer Americans clear instructions -- and sometimes very specific, down-to-the-milligram prescriptions. But such precision can mask sometimes tumultuous debates about nutrition.
“Almost every single nutrient imaginable has peer reviewed publications associating it with almost any outcome,” John P.A. Ioannidis, a professor of medicine and statistics at Stanford and one of the harshest critics of nutritional science, has written. “In this literature of epidemic proportions, how many results are correct?”
Now comes the shift on cholesterol.