|12:06 PM, Nov 25, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
Activist Cornel West called Ferguson the "sad end of the age of Obama." He made the comment in a tweet:
West added a few more thoughts on Ferguson and Obama:
11:28 AM, Nov 25, 2014 • By MICHAEL WARREN
Senator Chuck Schumer of New York said Tuesday that he and his fellow Democrats made a mistake in pursuing health care legislation that eventually became Obamacare. Bloomberg Politics's Kathleen Hunter has the story:
“Unfortunately, Democrats blew the opportunity the American people gave them” in electing Obama and a Democratic Congress in 2008 amid a national recession, Schumer of New York said in a speech in Washington. “We took their mandate and put all our focus on the wrong problem -- health care reform.”
Democrats should have addressed issues aiding the middle class to build confidence among voters before turning to the health-care system overhaul, Schumer said. He spoke at the National Press Club to analyze the results of this month’s election, when Republicans took control of the Senate and increased their majority in the House of Representatives.
Schumer also said Democrats should "embrace government" in order to win future elections. Watch the whole speech here, courtesy of C-SPAN.
10:31 AM, Nov 25, 2014 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
The Russians want delivery of their aircraft carrier. They contracted with the French to build it and a deal is a deal. But things are not (yet) so far gone that a NATO country is willing to arm the enemy for a few francs.
Bloomberg is reporting that:
France ruled out delivery of a warship to Russia over the conflict in Ukraine and criticized the government in Kiev for saying it wants to join NATO. Terms for handing over the Mistral helicopter carrier “have not been met,” French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said on France Inter radio today.
The ship would substantially increase Russia’s ability to project power. Not a good thing so long as Mr. Putin remains in charge.
9:19 AM, Nov 25, 2014 • By JEFFREY H. ANDERSON
On Sunday, President Obama tried to explain why his decision to violate his duty to faithfully execute the laws on immigration, in plain defiance of the constitutional separation of powers, won’t pave the way for future presidents to do the same on tax laws. It didn’t go well:
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, THIS WEEK: How do you respond to the argument, a future president comes in, wants lower taxes. Doesn’t happen. Congress won’t do it — he says I’m not going to prosecute those who don’t pay capital gains tax.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, the truth of the matter is, George, that the reason that we have to do prosecutorial discretion in immigration is that we know we are not even close to being able to deal with the folks who have been here a long time. The vast majority of folks understand that they need to pay taxes, and when we conduct an audit, for example, we are selecting those folks who are most likely to be cheating. We’re not going after millions and millions of people who everybody knows are here and were taking advantage of low wages as they’re mowing lawns or cleaning out bedpans, and looking the other way — but then you got politicians suddenly going out there saying, suggesting somehow that we should be deporting all of them. Everybody knows, including Republicans, that we’re not going to deport 11 million people.
STEPHANOPOULOS: So you don’t think it’d be legitimate for a future president to make that argument?
OBAMA: With respect to taxes? Absolutely not. But what is true — what is true today is we don’t audit every single person, but we still expect that people are going to go ahead and follow the law. And we have limited resources, we have to make sure that we prioritize those folks who are most dangerous and we should acknowledge what everybody has already acknowledged through their actions — and Congress acknowledges through their budget — which is we’re not in the business of deporting millions of people or breaking up families.
Obama, however, hasn’t simply said he’ll prioritize deporting certain illegal immigrants over others. He has lawlessly decreed that roughly 5 million illegal immigrants of his own choosing are now free to stay, and he is in the process of unilaterally issuing them work permits. He has declared, with respect to these roughly 5 million people, that the immigration laws on the books won’t apply.
This is actually quite similar to a future president (or this one) using the excuse that we cannot enforce tax laws against everyone to declare that 5 million people of his choosing will not have to pay taxes — the tax laws be damned.
In regard to a president doing this on taxes, Obama now says, “Absolutely not.” But in the third year of his presidency, Obama said absolutely not on immigration — before deciding that “absolutely not” did not apply to him. Here’s Obama in 2011:
8:03 AM, Nov 25, 2014 • By MICHAEL WARREN
A New York luxury hotel says it does not knowingly employ illegal immigrants, despite a suggestion by Hillary Clinton that it does.
The former secretary of state spoke at a gala for the New York Historical Society at the Mandarin Oriental hotel on November 21. During a Q&A session, Clinton, who received an honor from the organization, praised President Obama’s recently announced executive order on immigration that will give around 5 million illegal immigrants legal status. Calling the executive order “historic,” she urged the black-tie crowd to remember that “this is about peoples’ lives.”
“This is about, I would venture to guess, the people who served us tonight, who prepared our food tonight,” Clinton said, according to MSNBC’s Alex Seitz-Wald.
But a spokesperson for the Mandarin Oriental disputes Clinton’s suggestion that the executive order would be extended to any of the hotel’s employees.
“Mandarin Oriental, New York does not knowingly employ illegal and/or undocumented immigrants. We require all employees to provide proof of their eligibility to legally work in the U.S.,” said Tammy Peters, a spokesperson for the hotel, in an email to THE WEEKLY STANDARD. “All wait staff and catering staff are employed through our hotel and we do not use outside contractors for such services.”
It is not clear why Clinton was under the impression illegal immigrants were serving or preparing food for the fete. The Sheraton in New York hosts the annual Clinton Global Initiative meeting, but a request to that hotel for a comment on the legal status of its employees was not returned.
7:38 AM, Nov 25, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
New York senator Chuck Schumer will head to the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. to tell Democrats to "embrace government."
"It’s what we believe in; it’s what unites our party; and, most importantly, it’s the only thing that’s going to get the middle class going again,” the New York Times reports Schumer will say.
Republicans have successfully portrayed government as the source of the country’s ills, he argues, and Democrats need to aggressively counter that sentiment before it sets in too deeply.
“If people don’t believe government can deliver, they’ll follow the Republican path,” he will say. “That leaves the job to Democrats. If we run away from government, the negative misperceptions about it will take root, and even if people support our ideas, they won’t believe government can deliver.”
“We must convince the middle class that the only way out of their morass is by embracing a strong and effective government, not demeaning it or running from it,” he will add.
Schumer will draw lessons from this year's midterm election. “Even this past election — a debacle for Democrats — was not a repudiation of government,” Schumer is expected to say.
UPDATE: Here's video:
10:57 PM, Nov 24, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
Attorney General Eric Holder released this statement after news came down that Darren Wilson would not be indicted for the murder of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri:
“While the grand jury proceeding in St. Louis County has concluded, the Justice Department’s investigation into the shooting of Michael Brown remains ongoing. Though we have shared information with local prosecutors during the course of our investigation, the federal inquiry has been independent of the local one from the start, and remains so now. Even at this mature stage of the investigation, we have avoided prejudging any of the evidence. And although federal civil rights law imposes a high legal bar in these types of cases, we have resisted forming premature conclusions.
“Michael Brown’s death was a tragedy. This incident has sparked a national conversation about the need to ensure confidence between law enforcement and the communities they protect and serve. While constructive efforts are underway in Ferguson and communities nationwide, far more must be done to create enduring trust. The Department will continue to work with law enforcement, civil rights, faith and community leaders across the country to foster effective relationships between law enforcement and the communities they serve and to improve fairness in the criminal justice system overall. In addition, the Department continues to investigate allegations of unconstitutional policing patterns or practices by the Ferguson Police Department.
“Though there will be disagreement with the grand jury’s decision not to indict, this feeling should not lead to violence. Those who decide to participate in demonstrations should remember the wishes of Michael Brown’s parents, who have asked that remembrances of their son be conducted peacefully. It does not honor his memory to engage in violence or looting. In the coming days, it will likewise be important for local law enforcement authorities to respect the rights of demonstrators, and deescalate tensions by avoiding excessive displays—and uses—of force.”
10:25 PM, Nov 24, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
President Obama, speaking live to the nation after the decision in Ferguson not to indict a police office for the killing of Michael Brown, said that "America isn't everything that it could be."
"We shouldn't try to paper it over," said Obama. "Whenever we do that the anger may momentarily subside, but over time it builds up. And America isn't everything that it could be. And I am confident that if we focus our attention on the problem and we look at what has happened in communities around the country effectively, then we can make progress not just in Ferguson but in a lot of other cities and communities around the country."
Obama made the statement as a split screen showed mayhem breaking out in Ferguson, Missouri.
10:10 PM, Nov 24, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
The prosecutor that announced Darren Wilson will not face charges for the murder of Michael Brown is a Democrat. From the 8th paragraph of a CBS report from the summer:
McCulloch, a Democrat who has been in office since 1991, referenced his father's death in his initial campaign. He survived a Democratic primary earlier this month and faces no Republican opposition in his re-election bid.
The report also details prosecutor Bob McCulloch's close ties to police:
The Missouri prosecutor overseeing an investigation into the fatal shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown has deep family roots among police: his father, mother, brother, uncle and cousin all worked for St. Louis' police department, and his father was killed while responding to a call involving a black suspect.
The connections now are being cited by some local residents and black leaders who question whether St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Bob McCulloch can remain impartial. Brown, who was black, was fatally shot in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson on Aug. 9 by local police officer Darren Wilson, who is white.
The grand jury in Missouri did not indict Darren Wilson in the murder of Michael Brown. McCulloch made the announcement tonight.
9:35 PM, Nov 24, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
The family of Michael Brown has released this statement, upon hearing that Officer Darren Wilson will not be indicted for killing Brown in Ferguson, Missouri:
"We are profoundly disappointed that the killer of our child will not face the consequence of his actions.
"While we understand that many others share our pain, we ask that you channel your frustration in ways that will make a positive change. We need to work together to fix the system that allowed this to happen.
"Join with us in our campaign to ensure that every police officer working the streets in this country wears a body camera.
"We respectfully ask that you please keep your protests peaceful. Answering violence with violence is not the appropriate reaction.
"Let's not just make noise, let's make a difference."
Lesley McSpadden and Michael Brown, Sr.
Parents of Michael Brown, Jr.
5:25 PM, Nov 24, 2014 • By MICHAEL LEDEEN
He did it again, as we should have expected. Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei walked us right up to the finish line, spat on us, and walked away. Months and months of secret and public talks, letters, back channels, and gestures produced nothing of the sort the president, assorted foreign ministers, pundits, and politicians had been predicting. Instead we are to keep talking, and keep paying the Islamic Republic for the pleasure and privilege.
It's not Barack Obama's unique failure; the same thing happened to Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. Both of them came to believe they had a deal with Khamenei, and both of them were rudely disabused of their error when the Iranians walked away. Bush's secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice, was so sure it was a done deal, and so intent on getting it signed and sealed, that she issued three hundred visas over a single weekend in September 2006, for passengers to travel on Ali Larijani's plane to New York for a signing ceremony at the UN. She then flew to New York to await the Persians. But Larijani's plane sat on the tarmac in Tehran, and neither he nor the 300 ever came.
It's time for serious students and policy makers to draw appropriate conclusions from this consistent pattern, and to rethink their Iran policy views.
The basic conclusion: Khamenei does not want a deal with the United States (aka “The Great Satan”). Obama has been pursuing a strategic alliance with Iran since 2008, well before his inauguration and even before his election. During the election campaign he quietly dispatched retired Ambassador William Miller to Tehran to inform the mullahs that a new era in Iranian-American relations was about to begin, and the "dialogue" between Washington and Tehran has continued for more than six years. No sensible person doubts Obama's willingness to be generous to the Iranians. Any lingering skepticism should be definitively eliminated by the latest "extension," which reportedly bestows $700 million on Khamenei every month for continuing to talk.
Khamenei could certainly have had a very good deal if he wanted it. If he didn't take one, it's because he doesn't want it. Why? Because it's all about core convictions: he hates us, and he doesn't want to go down—possibly quite soon, if reports of the gravity of his prostate cancer are accurate—as the ayatollah who came to terms with Satan.
Moreover, he doesn't need to get in bed with the devil in order to achieve his basic objectives. The interim agreement gives him plenty of nuclear wiggle room, as we see from the rude treatment of the UN's International Atomic Energy Agency. They insisted on visiting the suspected nuclear facilities at Parchin, the Iranians told them to go to hell, and nothing happened. On the sanctions front, Khamenei certainly hates them, but he's grinding down their enforcement, finding myriad ways to avoid them, and getting cash money in the bargain.
3:01 PM, Nov 24, 2014 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
President Obama and his team do not intend to go gentle. They have made it clear that they are determined not to govern like proper wounded ducks and have, instead, come out snarling.
Justin Sink of The Hill reports that Dan Pfeiffer, White House point man is saying that:
“We feel good on how the last two and a half weeks have gone here. Typically when you have a change in power in Congress, the new congressional majority dominates the conversation and drives the discussion. Since right after the election, the president has been driving the discussions and moving forward aggressively on core priorities.”
So expect more of the trademark sarcasm (“I didn’t dissolve parliament”) blended with sanctimony:
“I think there is no reward for being meek here,” Pfeiffer said. “He does feel the pressure of time. We all do. As the president says to us, this is the greatest opportunity any of us will have in our lives to do good for people. He wants to maximize it every day.”
Going by the polls and the election, people are plainly weary of the way the president and his Team of Grubers, have of doing good for them.
So, the White House as Sink writes, “is winning news cycles and setting the national agenda."
Which may account for the firing of Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel today, when the news might otherwise have been the administration’s failure to secure a nuclear deal with Iran, despite its almost unseemly eagerness to do so.
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Hosted by Michael Graham.1:58 PM, Nov 24, 2014 • By TWS PODCAST
THE WEEKLY STANDARD podcast with editor William Kristol on Chuck Hagel's firing and the Obama administration's continuing appeasement of Iran.
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1:35 PM, Nov 24, 2014 • By THOMAS DONNELLY
The resignation of Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel creates a golden opportunity for the new Republican majority in the Congress: not only will the hearings on Hagel’s replacement be a natural venue for reviewing the defense reductions and many retreats of the Obama years, but they provide a forum for Republicans to begin to chart a positive alternative.
That is critical for America and for the party’s prospects in 2016. Only lately – and thanks to Obama’s serial weakness on issues from Syria to Iraq to Ukraine and even China – has the Republican party reclaimed its traditional advantage as the party of peace through strength. No doubt we’ll hear plenty of criticism of Obama’s no-boots-on-the-ground-ever conduct of the ISIS war, but will we hear Republicans advancing a theory of victory? Both the Congress and the prospective defense secretary will rend garments and gnash teeth on the pernicious effects of sequestration, but will the Republicans – whose job it is to frame a budget resolution that reflects the opposition party’s priorities – be so bold as to advance a solution to the underlying problem posed by the limits imposed by the 2011 Budget Control Act?
The confirmation hearings will also naturally focus on Sen. John McCain, in line to take the gavel as chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee. McCain has a unique position as a voice of American strength in the world, but how he will behave as committee chair and as a steward of the defense establishment is an uncertain prospect. To oversimplify only slightly, McCain has never met a foe he wasn’t willing to fight but has never met a weapons program he didn’t want to cut. McCain should realize that the armed forces have been so gutted by recent reductions that they are no longer capable of executing even the watered-down Obama defense strategy, let alone fulfilling the actual security needs of our time, in Europe, in the Middle East and in East Asia. And McCain’s “reformist” tendencies have been a skirt for Senate majority leader Sen. Mitch McConnell and other less-than-hawkish Republicans to hide behind. If the Republican Congress is to accomplish anything of serious purpose on defense, McCain must take a leading role, arguing without hesitation that rearmament is now more important than reform.
Despite the White House spin that the president was unsatisfied – the New York Times, almost laughably, pins the blame for the failing anti-ISIS strategy on the outgoing secretary – the need to replace Hagel comes at an unfortunate time. On a crass political level, it knocks the president’s immigration ploy out of the headlines. But it also recalls the underlying and ongoing narrative of Obama weakness, of which Chuck Hagel was a symbol. Indeed, given how Hagel loyally stuck to the White House line both on defense budget and war-related matters, he may be hard to replace.
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