Barack Obama

Ted Cruz demands access to memo outlining how Obama can kill Americans

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-NV) move last fall to go nuclear on the filibuster didn’t just undermine the rights of the minority in the chamber, it has also helped the Obama administration continue its pernicious habit of keeping members of Congress and the American people in the dark.

President Barack Obama nominated David Barron in September 2013 to fill a seat on the First Circuit Court of Appeals. Barron briefly served in the administration, from January 2009 to July 2010, as acting assistant attorney general.

During his stint at the Justice Department, Barron, a critic of President George W. Bush’s use of executive power, wrote a memo outlining the legal case for the targeted drone assassination of Anwar al-Awlaki, an American citizen accused of terrorist activity. The drones memo, which has been used to assassinate other Americans, is now at the center of his confirmation to a lifetime seat on the federal bench.

EPA’s Secretive Agency May have Interfered With Independent Investigations

The Environmental Protection Agency has recently assured the House Oversight and Government Reform committee that its dispute with the inspector general over the EPA’s Office of Homeland Security’s alleged interference with independent investigations would be resolved.

Last year, the committee investigated charges related to Homeland Security Department’s former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and his alleged involvement in removing material concerning the disclosure of classified information pertaining to the raid that took Osama bin Laden’s life to the producer of the move “Zero Dark Thirty.” Recently, the secretive office run by the EPA and administrated by Gina McCarthy was also charged with keeping the inspector general from freely investigating employee misconduct inside the federal agency, including two cases of employees doing outside activities while on the clock.

The existence of a secretive office paid by taxpayers that may have been working to keep important information concerning external threats or employee misconduct from the inspector general’s office indicates the EPA’s unwillingness to cooperate with independent investigations, leading to the protection of potential inside criminals such as John C. Beale, whose case is now under investigation by Republicans in Congress.

According to Associated Press, Beale, a former deputy assistant administrator, pleaded guilty to stealing thousands of dollars while claiming he was an undercover officer for the CIA between 2000 and April of 2013.

Whenever cases of confidential files that have been leaked make the news, the administration and pundits alike are quick to point fingers and call for the whistleblower’s head.

Ted Cruz slams Obama’s “pattern of lawlessness”

Ted Cruz

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) has taken aim at President Barack Obama’s “lawlessness” in a four-part series documenting instances in which his administration has defied constitutional limitations on executive power.

Cruz, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, released the first part of the series, entitled The Legal Limit, in April 2013. The inaugural report slammed the Justice Department’s “radical theory of sweeping federal power,” outlining nine court cases in which the Supreme Court rejected the administration’s overreach.

The second report, released in December, highlighted the administration’s unilateral, unlawful enforcement delays of Obamacare provisions. Cruz also notes that Obamacare violates the Constitution’s Origination Clause, a requirement that tax bills originate in the House, and expansion of the employer mandate outside of the text of the law.

Cruz’s office released the third report in February. Its focus is on the administration’s “assault on Texas,” pointing to various federal laws and regulations that infringe upon the state’s sovereignty.

Voters could hand Republicans a Senate majority if Obama rejects Keystone XL

As Democrats struggle to come up with a coherent message on the proposed Keystone XL, voters in five states with potentially competitive Senate race are signaling that President Barack Obama’s decision on the oil pipeline could loom large when they head to the polls this fall.

Vulnerable “Red State” Senate Democrats have been pressuring Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and other leaders to hold a vote on Keystone XL, though the measure could be a pointless, nonbinding statement of support from the chamber. Republicans, however, want the measure brought up as an amendment to the Shaheen-Portman energy bill, a nonstarter for Democratic leadership.

Democrats are in one helluva pickle on Keystone XL. On one hand they have their radical environmentalist base and big money donors like Tom Steyer. On the other, they have vulnerable members running for reelection in states in which there is support for the oil pipeline.

But utterly meaningless on statements of support in the Senate or even a binding resolution may not be enough for Democrats running in competitive Senate races. New polling, conducted by Hickman Analytics for Consumer Energy Alliance, finds that Democrats could face problems if President Obama rejects Keystone XL.

Emails reveal Google executives’ creepy man crush on NSA official

Leading American tech firms were silent after the NSA’s domestic surveillance programs were exposed last summer. As more disclosures came out and their bottom lines were put at risk, these firms finally broke their silence and began urging President Obama and members of Congress to enact reforms to restore Americans civil liberties.

Google was among the tech firms that had been unusually silent about the NSA before joining a coalition of Silicon Valley-based giants to launch a campaign to end the controversial domestic spying programs.

Some speculated that the hesitance to criticize the NSA was due to fear of retribution. But emails obtained by al-Jazeera show that Google executives, Sergey Brin and Eric Schmidt, and former NSA Director Gen. Keith Alexander had pretty cozy, almost BFF-style relationship:

On the morning of June 28, 2012, an email from Alexander invited Schmidt to attend a four-hour-long “classified threat briefing” on Aug. 8 at a “secure facility in proximity to the San Jose, CA airport.”

White House official’s brother a day after Benghazi: Our government thinks this was a coordinated attack

David Rhodes

On September 12, 2012, the day after the deadly Benghazi attack, CBS News President David Rhodes offered some insight into Obama administration’s thinking at the time.

“Our government thinks that, you know, there’s a really good chance this was not just a spontaneous mob reaction to what some thought was an offensive film,” Rhodes said, “but actually a coordinated effort timed to the 9/11 anniversary.”

Rhodes was speaking to the Greater San Antonio Chamber of Commerce, filling in for a report who was covering the Benghazi attack. Parsing his words here, it tells us that the administration taking everything into account — the YouTube video, which had sparked protests in Egypt and other countries, and the involvement of Ansar al-Sharia, an Islamic militant organization with ties to al-Qaeda.

What makes these comments so relevant is that David Rhodes is the brother of Ben Rhodes, the then-White House Deputy Strategic Communications Director and author of an email directing then-U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice to spin the attack as a reaction to an anti-Muslim YouTube video. The Rhodes email was authored on September 14, three days after the attack.

Arrogant Obama to court: Dismiss Rand Paul’s lawsuit against my unconstitutional surveillance

The Obama administration has just filed a motion to ensure that Sen. Rand Paul and FreedomWorks’ NSA lawsuit is dismissed.

Justice Department lawyers urged a federal judge to dismiss the class-action lawsuit filed against the National Security Agency by claiming that the lawmaker is not able to name the plaintiffs, in spite of the fact that it has been already widely reported that the NSA’s surveillance programs have targeted all Americans.

The lawsuit urges the court to keep the federal government from obtaining and controlling Americans’ telephone metadata.

According to FreedomWorks’ President Matt Kibbe, “Obama’s motion to dismiss our lawsuit is an insulting display of political arrogance coming out of the executive branch.” The same court that ruled that the government should destroy data obtained through Verizon on the Klayman case back in December would be in charge of dismissing the lawsuit.

Kibbe claimed that the move is a motion to censor civilians. “It wasn’t enough that the Obama administration authorized the single largest warrantless gathering of citizens’ private information in the history of the United States,” he said. “They don’t even believe citizens deserve an opportunity to plead their case after their rights have been violated.”

Today in Liberty: Americans reject Obama’s “change,” Supreme Court passes on gun rights case

“The phone records of innocent Americans do not relate to terrorism, whatsoever; and they are not reasonably likely to lead to information that relates to terrorism. Put simply, the phone calls we make to our friends, our families, and business associates are private and have nothing to do with terrorism or the government’s efforts to stop it.” — Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-WI)

— Primary day in North Carolina: Voters in the Tar Heel State will head to the polls today to cast their votes in their respective party primaries. Among the most watched races is the Republican primary for U.S. Senate, where Greg Brannon is hoping to pull state House Speaker Thom Tillis into a runoff. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) visited the state yesterday to stump for Brannon. “As we stand here, the debt clock is spiraling out of control,” Paul told a crowd gathered in Charlotte. “Send us a champion. Send us a hero. Send us a dragon slayer,” he added, referring to Brannon. Public Policy Polling’s final survey, released yesterday, shows that Brannon has picked up steam, but Tillis is hovering at the 40 percent mark needed to avoid the runoff.

Today in Liberty: Rand Paul targets nominee over drones memo, young Millennials offer hope for GOP

— Busy week on Capitol Hill: Republicans will hold a vote on a contempt resolution against disgraced IRS official Lois Lerner as well as hold a vote to call for a special prosecutor to investigate the tax agency’s targeting of conservative groups. The lower-chamber may also vote on a measure to establish a select committee on Benghazi. The Senate, however, is likely to vote on some sort of measure to approve the Keystone XL oil pipeline, the only question of which is whether it’ll be binding or a nonbinding “Sense of the Senate” resolution.

Hillary’s biggest foe in 2016: The Press?

POLITICO published two pieces focused on President Obama and prospective 2016 presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s relationships with the press.

In “The White House Beat, Uncovered,” POLITCO asked members of the White House press corps to describe their experience dealing with the Obama Administration and charted their responses on a massive infographic. My description here won’t do the image justice, so I encourage you to check it out.



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