Speaker of the House John Boehner announced over the weekend — in a ghostwritten CNN op-ed — that he has pretty much zero legal or logical justification for suing Barack Obama, but he’s going to try to do it anyway.
Last month Fox News pundit George Will, in his Washington Post column, outlined a hair-brained and likely legally faulty scheme designed to give the Republican-led House a path to sue President Barack Obama. Why? What George Will called the President’s so-called “lawlessness” — aka, doing his job by issuing executive orders, which every president for decades has done. Will presented an idea formed by occasional Fox News guests, attorneys David B. Rivkin and Elizabeth Price Foley.
President Barack Obama’s “offenses against the separation of powers have been egregious in quantity,” Will wrongly claimed, offering his “reason” to sue the President.
Last week and then, in a CNN op-ed this weekend, Speaker John Boehner took the GOP base bait, “borrowing” Will’s suggestion — and the Rivkin-Price Foley tactics — and announced he indeed will sue President Obama.
Clearly, though, he has no idea why — and nor did his CNN ghostwriter.
Boehner (or his ghostwriter,) claims that “too often over the past five years, the President has circumvented the American people and their elected representatives through executive action, changing and creating his own laws, and excusing himself from enforcing statutes he is sworn to uphold — at times even boasting about his willingness to do it, as if daring the American people to stop him.”
If he has been daring the American people to stop him, itÂ certainly wasn’t when he passed Obamacare, ended “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” or moved the country forward more than 570 times. 571 if you count getting re-elected.
CNN’s Sally Kohn writes that the idea of suing Obama is “frivolous” and “nothing more than a flagrant partisan stunt.”
House Republicans are using taxpayer dollars to fund a lawsuit against a President who has literally done not only what every president before him has done but has done it less often and is doing so now only because House RepublicansÂ repeatedly refuse to even vote on legislation, let alone pass anything.
Will claims Obama’s “offenses against the separation of powers have been egregious in quantity.” Kohn proves that’s false.
President Theodore Roosevelt enacted 1,081 executive orders during his presidency. President Dwight Eisenhower had 484. President Ronald Reagan had 381. And President George W. Bush had 291.
President Barack Obama has enacted 182 executive orders — yet the GOP accuses him of being an “imperial president,” and Republican members of the House of Representatives are preparing to sue him for violating the Constitution.
If House Republicans don’t like these executive orders, then pass immigration reform and the Employment Non-Discrimination Act. Don’t sue the President. Passing laws that our nation wants and needs is doing your job. Suing the President just because you don’t like him is irresponsible partisan petulance.
And indeed, Boehner’s op-ed offers no legal explanation, no actual justification, no respectable argument for suing President Obama.
Instead, he offers this:
After years of slow economic growth and high unemployment under President Obama, they are still asking, ‘where are the jobs?’ The House has passed more than 40 jobs bills that would help. But Washington Democrats, led by the President, just ignore them.
Even worse, the President’s habit of ignoring the law as written hurts our economy and jobs even more. Washington taxes and regulations always make it harder for private sector employers to meet payrolls, invest in new initiatives and create jobs — but how can those employers plan, invest and grow when the laws are changing on the President’s whim at any moment?
“Where are the jobs?” That’s laughable, considering 48 hours earlier, Bloomberg NewsÂ reported a “plunge in U.S. unemployment to the lowest level in more than five years,” and noted that payrolls “surged in June by 288,000 workers and unemployment fell to 6.1 percent, a level that Fed officials didnâ€™t expect to see before the end of the year.”
Seriously, that’s Boehner’s entire argument — eviscerated by “plunging unemployment” and “surgingÂ payrolls.”
To quote Rick Perry, “oops.”
Attorney Jonathan Turley has spoken out in opposition to Obama’s use of executive orders. But on his blog this weekend, contributor Mark Esposito wrote a scathing analysis of Boehner’s impending lawsuit and his CNN op-ed: “The Boehner Manifesto: How To Do Nothing And Look Constitutional?“
Itâ€™s a time-tested feature of the American Presidency that holders of the office are judged by what they do for people and not how they do it. Lincoln is remembered in the consciousness of the public Â for ending the Civil War not suspending habeas corpus. FDR is lionized for the New Deal and his leadership against fascism not the court-packing plan. And even olâ€™ unpopular â€˜Wâ€ himself has received a popularity renaissance of sorts for his efforts to combat terrorism with hardly a mention of the dubious methods he employed. WhyÂ wouldÂ the public in the last two elections be looking for anythingÂ different? Â Give us someone who can bring about positive change in Washington and the society it oversees was the order from the populace.
And at the ever-insightful and ever-irreverent Balloon Juice:
The reasons stated to justify Boehnerâ€™s lawsuit are fuzzy, unconnected to the law, the Constitution, logic or even reality. That will no doubt make it a winning stunt and distraction for the White Walkers animating the corpse of the GOP.
The base is outraged that a black man is President. They are outraged that he dares to exercise the exact same type of Presidential powers that white Presidents have used in the past. They are outrage that he does not seek permission of the white GOP minority before he acts.
John Boehner gets the outrage of his base. He fears his base and needs them at the same time. To fluff them he will do anything. And so he is preparing to sue the President of the United States for the â€œcrimeâ€ of being an uppity negro.
Take the racial code-talking away and there is nothing to support or justify his lawsuit at all.
As silly as this lawsuit will be, sillier still will be the way that the very serious people inside the beltway will pretend that race has nothing to do with it.
Yes, John Boehner, the man who allowed the Tea Party to shut down the government last year, costing American taxpayers $24 billion, the man who spent $3 million to defend DOMA in federal court (you’ll remember, he lost each time,) is now going to take your hard earned money and use it to sue the President, offering another stunt to take the public’s eye off immigration reform, minimum wage reform, and, well, passing laws of any kind.
UPDATE: The White House Deputy Press Secretary just tweeted this:
I had a bunch of reporters ask me for response to Boehner op-ed this weekend. Guess I should have sent them here: http://t.co/5C3L6FFnaM
â€” Eric Schultz (@Schultz44) July 7, 2014
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‘Doesn’t Get to Tell the County What They Can Read’: Lawmaker Blasts Christian in Viral Video Attacking LGBTQ Library Books
A Tennessee Democratic state lawmaker is responding to a viral video of a Christian woman in her home state railing against “perversion,” apparently upset with LGBTQ-themed books being in a local public library, while ranting about Satan and “revelation prophecies.”
Rep. Gloria Johnson, a retired special ed teacher, blasted the young woman who spoke in the video for about three minutes berating, lecturing, and preaching to her fellow Maury County, Tennessee residents about books she believes the public library should not have.
After introducing herself as “Stephanie” (her last name was not discernible), the young woman in the undated video declares, “I speak on behalf of God Almighty, my husband, the daughter in my womb and every law abiding God fearing taxpaying citizen here in Maury County.”
She admitted she is not from Maury County, but she did feel very comfortable telling Maury County locals what to do and think.
“We moved here from Indiana to start our family,” she said. “I will not raise kids in a county that has sexual oriented books on the counter,” she insisted, later stating, “My taxes pay [for] this place.”
“The kingdom of God is within reach,” Stephanie went on to preach. “It is within here and we live not for heaven but from heaven. What that means is when perversion permeates our county, that is when the devil gets our children. If you don’t see this you are blind. We must understand that there cannot be perversion in this county, in this country. Obviously revelation prophecies are occurring right before our eyes. But what you need to know first and foremost, that obviously the future generation is our children.”
By the end of her lengthy rant she decreed, “God sees everything and by the grace of God, we will rise above this, but I’m not gonna let my children be raised – I’m gonna homeschool, you better believe it. I will not let my children be raised in a county like this. If we’re having sexual oriented books. You can even ask the gay community, a lot of them say why would you want to bring kids to the bars? They already think of pedophilia, why would you want them to come to the bars?”
“Understand that you serve our country second. You serve our God, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob first,” she concluded.
She also flew into a false screed straight out of recent Fox News reports.
Saying, “I speak on behalf of millennials my generation,” she claimed, “We already have so many illegal aliens here who are bringing fentanyl they are killing our children, our youth.”
A right-wing think tank, the Cato Institute states: “Fentanyl is primarily trafficked by U.S. citizens.”
Rep. Johnson, who served in the Tennessee state House from 2013-2015, and is again serving, since 2019, also served up strong criticism against the woman in the video.
“She is welcome to monitor the books her children read, but she doesn’t get to tell the rest of the county what they can read,” Johnson tweeted.
Johnson is apparently a strong supporter of public libraries. This was posted to her Facebook page just days ago:
Watch the viral video below or at this link.
A Christian woman in Maury County, Tennessee argues against LGBTQ-themed books at her library and tells everyone they’re going to hell pic.twitter.com/F6McXs8Gs4
— Marjorie Gaylor Queen 🏳️🌈 (@Tim_Tweeted) September 28, 2022
Watchdog Reports Trump ‘Credibly Accused’ of ‘Staggering’ List of 55 Criminal Offenses – Urges DOJ to Prosecute
A nonpartisan federal government watchdog has updated its list of “uncharged” criminal offenses it says Donald Trump stands “credibly accused” of committing, and is urging the Dept. of Justice to prosecute them, warning that “the rule of law is not self-enforcing.”
“As of September 2022, Donald Trump has been credibly accused of committing at least 55 criminal offenses since he launched his campaign for president in 2015,” reports Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, better known as CREW. “That total only reflects allegations relating to his time in or running for office and omits, for instance, Trump’s criminal exposure for fraudulent business dealings.”
The lengthy list includes numerous allegations of campaign finance crimes and coverup, destruction of presidential records, obstruction of the Russia and Special Counsel Investigations, attempts to steal the 2020 election, false public financial disclosure reports, attempts to get Ukraine to interfere in 2020 election, profiting off of post-election lies, and unlawful post-presidency possession of government records.
CREW says its update includes “seven offenses we have added since we published the first version of this table in March 2022,” including “three criminal offenses relating to the investigation of election fraud and related crimes in Fulton County, Georgia; one offense relating to potential wire fraud stemming from fraudulent representations made to solicit PAC contributions after the 2020 election; and three offenses relating to Trump’s unlawful possession of government records at Mar-a-Lago after leaving office.”
“The updated tracker likely understates Trump’s legal exposure because the high volume of sensitive records discovered at Mar-A-Lago suggests that he could be indicted for multiple counts of willfully retaining without authorization government records containing national defense information, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 793(e)), even though it is only listed once on CREW’s tracker.”
CREW is not the only one keeping track of Trump’s misdeeds, criminal civil, or ethical.
McSweeney’s published a list of 1056 “atrocities,” it calls “horrors,” titled: “A Catalog of Trump’s Worst Cruelties, Collusions, Corruptions, and Crimes.” It stopped updating on Jan. 20, 2021.
Civil liberties and national security journalist Marcy Wheeler on Wednesday published her “Trump Document Theft Resources,” a timeline of events surrounding the former president’s unlawful retention and refusal to return classified documents, complete with numerous links.
For those who’ve missed it: I have put together a post with links to all MY posts on the Trump Espionage case, as well as the public docs, statutes, and some other key reports. Not entirely up-to-date and a work in progress, though. https://t.co/1xpy6I5ine
— emptywheel (@emptywheel) September 28, 2022
Christian Nationalist GOP Nominee Doug Mastriano Calling for ‘40 Days of Fasting and Prayer’ to Help Campaign
The far-right Christian nationalist and state lawmaker who is the Republican Party’s nominee to become governor of Pennsylvania is so extreme and has been performing so poorly in the polls it took the media two days to learn of his latest plan to win election: 40 days of fasting and prayer.
State Sen. Doug Mastriano, who led a Zoom meeting days before the January 6 insurrection praying his fellow Trump supporters would “rise up” and overthrow the government, on Monday posted to Facebook a call for “40 Days of Fasting and Prayer.”
To date it has received little attention, a mere 10 comments, 46 shares, and 156 various likes. That’a after one news outlet, The Philadelphia Inquirer, published an article on Mastriano Wednesday afternoon.
“The Republican gubernatorial candidate is losing some support among GOP allies as his cash-strapped campaign turns to Twitter memes and, apparently, divine intervention,” the Inquirer reports.
A mere “few dozen supporters joined the Republican state senator on the steps of the Capitol building in Harrisburg — some of them members of a local militia group,” for campaign rally last weekend, adding that “Mastriano hasn’t run or booked any TV ads in response. He doesn’t do interviews with most media outlets, and won’t agree to a standard format debate.”
Mastriano recently made headlines over previously unreported remarks showing he supports criminal murder charges for women who violate a 6-week abortion ban.
It seems likely Mastriano will lose the election. FiveThirtyEight gives the far right Republican state lawmaker just seven chances in 100 to win the governorship. His opponent, Democrat Josh Shapiro, has spent millions more that Mastriano, who the Inquirer notes has spent just $6300 on TV ads.
Some are highlighting bigger, more longterm concerns, noting that Mastriano is helping to expand the Christian nationalism and fascism his ideologies represent.
Media Matters for America’s Eric Hananoki on Wednesday reveals: “Mastriano announced that he’s holding a rally with Jack Posobiec this weekend. Posobiec has collaborated with white nationalists and neo-Nazis and has targeted Jewish people with antisemitic hate.”
Doug Mastriano announced that he’s holding a rally with Jack Posobiec this weekend. Posobiec has collaborated with white nationalists and neo-Nazis and has targeted Jewish people with antisemitic hate, as the @splcenter has documented. https://t.co/V4xQeohozl
— Eric Hananoki (@ehananoki) September 28, 2022
“Mastriano is a QAnon conspiracy theorist and a January 6 insurrectionist,” Media Matters report adds. “He has also shared toxic commentaries about Muslims; abortion; and gun safety; along with making other inflammatory remarks.”
“He has surrounded himself with numerous extremist media figures in his campaign for Pennsylvania governor. They include: antisemitic Gab CEO Andrew Torba; QAnon and antisemitic conspiracy theorists Allen and Francine Fosdick; “prophet” Julie Green, who has promoted an antisemitic conspiracy theory; and QAnon supporter and 9/11 conspiracy theorist Toni Shuppe. Mastriano also recruited Jenna Ellis, who has a history of anti-LGBTQ remarks and election denialism, as a senior adviser.”
The New York Times last month reported Mastriano “speaks almost exclusively to far-right podcasters like Stephen K. Bannon, conservative talk radio hosts and Fox News. On a recent swing through northwest Pennsylvania, he brushed off a Pittsburgh TV station that sought to interview him, and even the small-circulation Meadville Tribune.“
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