Sunday, January 26, 2014

Obama is the ultimate "imperial president," willfully violating the Constitution to further his goals. It is time for resistance to this abuse.

From The Christian Science Monitor: 

President Obama’s use of executive action to get around congressional gridlock is unparalleled in modern times, some scholars say. But to liberal activists, he’s not going far enough. 

The president (or his administration) has unilaterally changed elements of the Affordable Care Act (ACA); declared an anti-gay-rights law unconstitutional; lifted the threat of deportation for an entire class of undocumented immigrants; bypassed Senate confirmation of controversial nominees; waived compliance requirements in education law; and altered the work requirements under welfare reform.

This month, the Obama administration took the highly unusual step of announcing that it will recognize gay marriages performed in Utah – even though Utah itself says it will not recognize them while the issue is pending in court.
Early in his presidency, Obama also expanded presidential warmaking powers, surveillance of the American public, and extrajudicial drone strikes on alleged terrorists outside the United States, including Americans – going beyond Mr. Bush's own global war on terror following 9/11. But more recently, he has flexed his executive muscle more on domestic policy.
.... Jonathan Turley, a constitutional scholar at George Washington University in Washington, D.C. "In my view, Obama has surpassed George W. Bush in the level of circumvention of Congress and the assertion of excessive presidential power. I don't think it's a close question."
This presidents refusing to enforce the laws and his policymaking by executive fiat is unprecedented.  When George W. Bush issued controversial signing statements or acted by executive order, the main stream press let us know about it and decried the abuse of power.  Now, the main stream press are cheerleaders for the President. The only time we have seen anything close to such power unilaterally exercised by a President, is in war time by Franklin D. Roosevelt. Now, the President has promised we ain't seen noting yet. This is a recent statement from the President:
.....the fact that we are not just going to be waiting for a legislation in order to make sure that we’re providing Americans the kind of help that they need. I’ve got a pen and I’ve got a phone -- and I can use that pen to sign executive orders and take executive actions and administrative actions that move the ball forward in helping to make sure our kids are getting the best education possible and making sure that our businesses are getting the kind of support and help they need to grow and advance to make sure that people are getting the skills that they need to get those jobs that our businesses are creating.(link)
The first action we may see where the President doesn't wait for legislative action uses his pen to bypass congress may be by raising the minimum wage by executive order.  Another action may be to ignore the the debt limit cap, if congress fails to raise the debt ceiling. Also more unilateral action on gay rights and immigration may be in the works.

There are three responses I think we should take in response to the Presidents current level of executive abuse and one to hold in reserve if the rule by executive fiat increases as the President implied it would:
  1. Impeach the President. I know the Senate would not convict, but the House could impeach.  This would give an airing to the many abuses of power and may cause the President to curtail new abuses.
  2. Elect a Republican Senate in 2014.  With the Senate in Republican hands the President would be less likely to continue his abuse of power.
  3. Executive action that is suspected of exceeding constitutional authority should be challenged in Court.  Courts can be slow to act however and while waiting on a court decision Congress and the American people should not stand by and do nothing.
  4. If the abuse of power continues and worsens then it is time for civil disobedience and an escalation of resistance.  I am not calling for secession or armed rebellion but massive demonstrations, strikes, occupying of federal building, disruption of the function of government, cyber activism by clogging of government websites and hacking, financial assistance to those who defy illegal executive orders and are fined or arrested, financial assistance to those arrested for civil disobedience, withholding of tax payments and other creative means to air grievances and engage in non-violent resistance. 
I am a person of moderate temperament generally but desperate times call for desperate measures. We cannot stand by and tolerate this level of executive abuse and if the anticipated increased level of executive abuse occurs, it is time for serious resistance. If allowed to stand, the next president will have precedent and may push executive abuse of power to an even higher level.

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