Bowe Bergdahl

Incompetent and Corrupt: Scandals Pile Up for “No Drama” Obama

Six years into his presidency, Barack “No Drama” Obama has been anything but drama-free. His presidency has been one series of scandals after another, the magnitude of each increasing with each successive revelation. Initially, these scandals centered around partisan bullying, political cronyism, and general corruption, but as his second term unfold, more and more the scandals involve dead Americans.

One of the most fascinating aspects of the scandals surrounding the Obama presidency is that the sheer volume seems to inoculate him from being brought down by any one scandal. No sooner do we start making progress investigating one scandal than another one breaks. It’s like watching a dog chase a ball but suddenly stop and change directions moments before retrieving it when another ball is tossed in the opposite direction.

The current scandal involves Obama’s decision to negotiate with terrorists. In violation of the absolutely clear requirements of the law, the Obama administration revealed last week that it had negotiated the release of Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, who had been held by Taliban forces for five years. In exchange for Bergdahl, Obama released five senior Taliban fighters who are responsible for the deaths of countless Americans.

The outrage surrounding this exchange is multi-faceted. First, there is the fact that Obama broke long-standing U.S. policy of never negotiating with terrorists. Even were that not the policy, Obama’s negotiating skills were exposed as horrendously deficient considering the Taliban gets five hardened fighters in exchange for one relatively low-level American soldier.

About time: House of Representatives condemns Barack Obama’s Taliban prisoner swap

The House of Representatives slammed President Barack Obama early Tuesday evening with the passage of a resolution “[c]ondemning and disapproving” of his administration’s failure to notify Congress of the release prisoners as required by law — in this case, five Taliban leaders — from the U.S. Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba:

The measure passed largely along party lines in a 249-163 vote, but 22 Democrats broke ranks to rebuke the president, with just two months to go before the midterm elections.

The executive branch is required by the 2014 Defense Appropriations Act to notify Congress at least 30 days before transferring prisoners at the Guantánamo Bay detention facility. A Government Accountability Office report found last month that the administration violated the law by not adhering to the requirement.
The resolution further states that the exchange hurt the administration’s relationships with lawmakers. The text says that “these actions have burdened unnecessarily the trust and confidence in the commitment and ability of the Obama administration to constructively engage and work with Congress.”

Boom: Government Accountability Office says that Obama’s Taliban prisoner exchange broke federal law

The Obama administration broke two laws when authorized a trade for Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl in exchange for five Taliban detainees who were being held at Guantanamo Bay, according to a report released late last week by the Government Accountability Office:

President Obama’s decision to exchange captive Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl for five Guantanamo Bay detainees violated federal law, according to a legal opinion the Government Accountability Office sent to Congress Thursday.

That’s because the administration failed to notify Congress at least 30 days before the transfer, as required under a law passed in February. The Pentagon notified Congress of the deal on May 31, the same day the transfer was made.

And because Congress did not authorize spending for the exchange, it also violated the Antideficiency Act, a law intended to protect Congress’s power of the purse.

The Department of Defense spent $988,400 on the transfer, the Pentagon told the GAO.

An intentional violation of the Antideficiency Act is a crime punishable by up to two years in prison, but those criminal penalties are rarely enforced.

The Department of Defense Appropriations Act of requires the administration to notify Congress of a prisoner exchange at least 30 days before the transfer takes place. President Obama believes that this law is unconstitutional because he believes that it violates the separation of powers. He issued a signing statement making his objection clear when he signed the measure into law.

The prospects of a book about Bowe Bergdahl scare Obama supporters

Bowe Bergdahl

A book on Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl and his story could soon become a reality, but not without the participation of his six former platoon mates, which is making some publishers nervous; neither of the former mates have any positive words to share on who they call a “premeditated” deserter.

Publishers have shown hesitation over what they have read so far from a draft of the book proposal. According to the agents representing the six former platoon mates, the book would play right into what conservatives have been using to criticize President Obama’s handling of Bergdahl’s rescue, which required a prisoner exchange that saw the release of five terrorism suspects who had been held in Guantanamo until the swap took place.

Some of the prisoners the Taliban requested in exchange for Bergdahl were reportedly considered senior Taliban commanders. At least one of the prisoners had been allegedly linked to the mass killing of Shiite Muslims in Afghanistan between 2000 and 2001.

The book also claims the former Taliban captive put the lives of his platoon mates in danger while possibly aiding his kidnappers. Over fears related to how the public would receive the details presented by this book, publishers are afraid the “Right [will] use[ing] it to their ends.” According to Sarah Durand, a senior editor at Atria Books “Conservatives are all over Bergdahl and using it against Obama.”

Today in Liberty: Labrador says coronating McCarthy sends the “wrong response,” Army begins Bowe Bergdahl investigation

“The kind of man who wants the government to adopt and enforce his ideas is always the kind of man whose ideas are idiotic.” — H. L. Mencken

Hillary Clinton doesn’t think the 5 Taliban Barack Obama released from Guantanamo are a threat

Hillary Clinton

“What difference, at this point, does it make?” former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton now famously exclaimed during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on Benghazi. As it turns out, that seems to be her attitude toward the release of 5 Taliban fighters in exchange for Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, as well.

In an interview on NBC’s “Today,” Clinton, who is promoting her new book “Hard Choices,” responded to a question about whether the release of 5 Taliban fighters held at Guantanamo Bay were a threat to U.S. national security. Her response?

These five guys are not a threat to the
United States
. They are a threat to the safety
and security of Afghanistan.”

Clinton shrugged off reasons why Sgt. Bergdahl may have fallen into enemy hands in the first place. Since the transfer, questions have arisen about whether Bergdahl abandoned his post willingly. Those who served with him have not been altogether forgiving of his disappearance and capture.

But Clinton seemed to trivialize his disappearance. “We want to get an American home, whether they fell off the ship because they were drunk or they were pushed or they jumped,” she said. “We try to rescue everybody.”

Check out the video:

Today in Liberty: MSNBC mocks Hillary Clinton’s “dead broke” comments, veterans disapprove of Bergdahl-Taliban deal

“Democracy and socialism have nothing in common but one word, equality. But notice the difference: while democracy seeks equality in liberty, socialism seeks equality in restraint and servitude.” — Alexis de Tocqueville

— MSNBC’s Morning Joe mocks Clinton’s Romney moment: In an interview with Good Morning America on Monday Hillary Clinton said that her family left the White House “not only dead broke, but in debt” and defended the millions she and former President Bill Clinton have made in speaking fees. “[W]e had to pay off all our debts,” she said, “which was, you know, he had to make double the money because of obviously taxes and then pay off the debts and get us houses and take care of family members.” Oh, the hardship of poverty: “How can we afford our $1.7 million and $2.85 million homes in New York and Washington!?” MSNBC’s Morning Joe had some fun with Clinton’s tone deaf, Romney-like comments this morning. Here’s a taste.

Today in Liberty: Terry McAuliffe and Virginia Democrats dealt a big blow, Bergdahl doesn’t want doctors to call him “sergeant”

“No branch of government should ever be able to combine the power of the sword with the power of the purse.” — George Mason

— Terry McAuliffe, Virginia Democrats dealt a big blow: State Sen. Phillip Puckett (D-Russell) gave Republicans control of the upper chamber and the upper hand in an ongoing budget battle with Gov. Terry McAuliffe on Sunday night by resigning his seat in the legislature. “Puckett’s stunning resignation throws Democratic budget strategy into chaos and opens the way for Republicans to seize control of the chamber and reorganize its committees with GOP majorities,” the Richmond Times-Dispatch reports. “The resignation also may clear the way for the Senate to confirm Puckett’s daughter for a full six-year term as a juvenile court judge in Southwest Virginia.” McAuliffe, who was elected last year, has made Medicaid expansion the centerpiece of his agenda, but Republicans in the legislature have pushed back. The Senate, controlled by Democrats until now, had blocked the budget passed by the House of Delegates because it lacked Medicaid expansion. The stalemate could lead to a government shutdown at the beginning of July. Puckett’s resignation could allow the Senate to pass a budget that excludes Medicaid expansion, which would make McAuliffe responsible for a shutdown if he vetoes it. Republicans, by the way, have a good shot of keeping Puckett’s seat. The Virginian-Pilot notes that his state Senate district has “pulled the lever for GOP candidates by roughly 2-to-1 margins in the past two statewide election.”

How does she still have job?: Susan Rice tries and fails to defend the White House’s Bergdahl narrative

Nearly a week after she appeared on ABC News’ This Week to try to frame the narrative on the Obama administration’s deal with the Taliban, Susan Rice defended her characterization of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl by telling CNN that she meant something entirely different than what she actually said:

Speaking to CNN’s Jim Acosta from the 70th anniversary event to mark D-Day in Normandy, France, Rice said her remark about Bergdahl was describing his decision to enter the military in war time.

“I realize there has been a lot of discussion and controversy around this,” Rice said to CNN about that remark. “What I was referring to is the fact that this was a young man who volunteered to serve his country in uniform at a time of war. That in itself is a very honorable thing.”

“But ‘honor and distinction?’” Acosta asked.

“Jim, really,” Rice said. “This is a young man whose circumstances we are still going to learn about.”
“He is, as all Americans, innocent until proven guilty,” Rice said. “He is now being tried in the court of public opinion after having gone through enormously traumatic five years of captivity. His parents, the same.”

Oh, whatever. Rice said, in no uncertain terms, that Bergdahl “served the United States with honor and distinction,” and this was in the context of, as George Stephanopoulos put it, “questions about how he originally was captured and whether or not he had deserted, had left his post.”

Barack Obama is the president Richard Nixon always wanted to be, constitutional law professor warns

Barack Obama and Richard Nixon

Richard Nixon would envy the power that Barack Obama has consolidated into the Executive Branch. In this new, unrecognizable system of government, a president can change laws arbitrarily, paying no mind to the two other coequal branches of government.

During an appearance on Fox News’ Hannity on Wednesday evening, Jonathan Turley, a Georgetown constitutional law professor and political leftist, explained that President Obama’s flouting of a law requiring that his administration notify Congress before the transfer of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay is just latest example of the “uber-presidency.”

“[U]nfortunately our system is changing, and it’s changing without a debate, or even a discussion as to what we’re going to do in the future when we have a three branch system, a tripartite system but one branch is so dominant,” Turley told Sean Hannity. “What’s emerging is an imperial presidency, an uber-presidency as I’ve called it, where the president can act unilaterally. This is only the latest example of that.”

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