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Lawmakers Are Using Congressional Review Act to Dismantle Obama Regulations

In the four weeks since President Donald Trump was inaugurated, congressional lawmakers have moved to address some of the 22,700 regulations adopted under President Barack Obama.

“There has not been nearly as much attention paid to this issue as there should have been,” Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, told The Daily Signal in a phone interview. “I think President [Ronald] Reagan focused on this and I think President Trump is focusing more on this issue than any other president since Reagan.”

The tool Congress is using to undo these regulations is known as the Congressional Review Act, which allows it to repeal executive branch regulations.

Three resolutions disapproving of Obama-era regulations have been adopted by both the House and Senate since Trump’s inauguration and 24 more have been introduced in the House, according to James Gattuso, a senior research fellow who studies regulatory policy at The Heritage Foundation.

On Wednesday, the Senate adopted a resolution by a margin of 57-43 disapproving a regulation finalized during Obama’s last weeks in office that would “prevent some Americans with disabilities from purchasing or possessing firearms based on their decision to seek Social Security benefits.”

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, said in a prepared floor statement on Wednesday that this resolution of disapproval included 32 bipartisan co-sponsors in the Senate and was supported by a myriad of civil rights groups and disability organizations.

“Repealing this regulation will ensure that disabled citizens’ Second Amendment rights are protected,” Grassley’s statement said. “Those rights will no longer be able to be revoked without a hearing and without due process. It will take more than the personal opinion of a bureaucrat.”

Paul Larkin, a senior legal research fellow at The Heritage Foundation, told The Daily Signal in an email that “Congress is moving expeditiously to invalidate rules that never should have been adopted.”

“This will lift the burdens felt by the average person from needless rules,” Larkin added.

The Congressional Review Act also prevents agencies from creating similar rules with similar language.

“ … Once Congress passes a joint resolution of disapproval and the president signs it into law, the rule is nullified and the agency cannot adopt a ‘substantially similar’ rule absent an intervening act of Congress,” Larkin wrote in a commentary article.

Passed in 1996 in concert with the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act and then-Speaker Newt Gingrich’s Contract with America reform agenda, the Congressional Review Act, according to the Congressional Research Service, “is an oversight tool that Congress may use to overturn a rule issued by a federal agency.”

Until this year, the Congressional Review Act had been used successfully only once in 2001 to repeal a regulation created during the Clinton administration pertaining to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

However, with a Republican House, Senate, and White House, conservative lawmakers have the votes needed to adopt the joint resolutions of disapproval for each regulation and a president who will sign them.

On Tuesday, Trump signed a resolution reversing “[a] costly regulation that threatened to put domestic extraction companies and their employees at an unfair disadvantage,” according to the Office of the Press Secretary.

Repealing the domestic extraction regulation that Trump signed Tuesday “could save American businesses as much as $600 million annually,” according to the office.

Lee, the Utah senator, said the Congressional Review Act will help reverse the financial burden of regulations.

“During the final months of President Obama’s presidency, during what some refer to as the ‘midnight period,’ unelected bureaucrats in the executive branch were very busy and they issued a flurry of regulations,” Lee said. “ And, it is significant that those regulations will impose … billion[s] [of dollars] … in compliance costs on the American people.”

Rachel Bovard, director of policy services at The Heritage Foundation, said the Congressional Review Act undoes regulations that harm American free enterprise.

“The successful use of the [Congressional Review Act] is not only good for the balance of powers, it’s good for American businesses, our economy, and a positive development for any American seeking to live their life with minimal government intrusion,” Bovard said in an email to The Daily Signal.

Trump is also expected to sign another joint resolution of disapproval, which undoes a rule “that would establish onerous requirements for coal mining operations, and impose significant compliance burdens on America’s coal production.”

Bovard said the Congressional Review Act is the ideal tool to bring accountability back to governing.

“The use of the Congressional Review Act is a welcome act by Congress to assert itself as a co-equal branch of government,” Bovard said. “Unelected bureaucrats should not write laws—and it’s up to Congress, through the use of the CRA, to disprove regulations that were not written as Congress intended.”

Gattuso said the timing for repealing regulations imposed by Obama is ripe for leaders in Congress.

“After 20 years of almost complete disuse, the stars have aligned to make the [Congressional Review Act] the vehicle of choice by members of Congress wanting to roll back recent Obama regulations,” Gattuso said in an email to The Daily Signal. (For more from the author of “Lawmakers Are Using Congressional Review Act to Dismantle Obama Regulations” please click HERE)

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How Obama Is Scheming to Sabotage Trump’s Presidency

When former President Barack Obama said he was “heartened” by anti-Trump protests, he was sending a message of approval to his troops. Troops? Yes, Obama has an army of agitators — numbering more than 30,000 — who will fight his Republican successor at every turn of his historic presidency. And Obama will command them from a bunker less than two miles from the White House.

In what’s shaping up to be a highly unusual post-presidency, Obama isn’t just staying behind in Washington. He’s working behind the scenes to set up what will effectively be a shadow government to not only protect his threatened legacy, but to sabotage the incoming administration and its popular “America First” agenda.

He’s doing it through a network of leftist nonprofits led by Organizing for Action. Normally you’d expect an organization set up to support a politician and his agenda to close up shop after that candidate leaves office, but not Obama’s OFA. Rather, it’s gearing up for battle, with a growing war chest and more than 250 offices across the country.

Since Donald Trump’s election, this little-known but well-funded protesting arm has beefed up staff and ramped up recruitment of young liberal activists, declaring on its website, “We’re not backing down.” Determined to salvage Obama’s legacy,”it’s drawing battle lines on immigration, ObamaCare, race relations and climate change.

Obama is intimately involved in OFA operations and even tweets from the group’s account. In fact, he gave marching orders to OFA foot soldiers following Trump’s upset victory. (Read more from “How Obama Is Scheming to Sabotage Trump’s Presidency” HERE)

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Obama’s Lasting, Damaging Legacy: Leftist Judges

Barack Obama may lose his Obamacare legacy when Congress repeals and replaces it, but he has left the nation a far bigger and more damaging legacy. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) gloated in 2014, “one of the most profound changes this Congress made was filling the bench” with Obama’s appointments of federal judges. He went on: “This will affect America for a generation, long after the internecine battles on legislative issues are forgotten.”

Obama is proud of his record. “I am — not to brag — but I have transformed the federal courts from a diversity standpoint with a record that’s been unmatched,” he said. That is mostly true. A scholar of judicial appointments, Sheldon Goldman, observed that “The majority of Obama’s appointments are women and nonwhite males.” Though only 43 percent of his appointments were women, the former president appointed 11 openly gay judges, more than 10 times as many than any other president. (President Clinton appointed lesbian Deborah Batts as a judge on the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York in 1994.)

Why does this matter? Everyone focuses on the Supreme Court. But the Supreme Court hears fewer than 100 cases a year. The lower federal courts handle about 135,000 per year. The vast majority of cases decided by the lower courts become law in their respective circuits. A liberal bench there means a huge number of liberal decisions affecting almost every aspect of American life.

Obama’s Liberal Legacy

Obama got 329 federal judges appointed to the circuit and district courts, all lifetime appointments. The Daily Signal characterizes the change in composition of the courts as a revolution that has been “comprehensive, dramatic, and under the radar.” Liberal legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin says Obama’s legal legacy is especially strong in the areas of same-sex marriage and blocking voter identification laws.

When Obama entered office in 2008, only one of the 13 United States Courts of Appeals had more Democratic appointed judges than Republican. 99 circuit court judges had been appointed by Republicans, 65 by Democrats. Now, nine of the appeals courts have more Democratic-appointed judges.

One-third of judges currently serving on the federal bench were appointed by Obama. He got two more judges confirmed than George W. Bush did during his two terms as president. Carrie Severino, chief counsel for Judicial Crisis Network, observed that “Obama was just very aggressive in getting those spots filled.”

Obama appointed left-leaning judges. He stealthily appointed judges who appeared to be non-ideological but then ended up “on the same side as outspoken liberals,” according to conservative legal experts quoted by Politico. The Ethics and Public Policy Center‘s Ed Whelan, for example, noted that between one of Obama’s leftist appointments and his “moderate” appointments, “on a broad range of matters there’s not a dime’s worth of difference.”

But did the Republicans object? Over 200 of Obama’s nominees were confirmed unanimously. Ken Cuccinelli, president of the Senate Conservatives Fund, said Senate Republicans “handed over the keys to the judiciary without a fight.” Republicans successfully filibustered just two nominees.

Not all senators completely caved. Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) has continued to block one of Obama’s nominees for district court, even though the judgeship has been vacant since 2005. Texas senators Ted Cruz and John Cornyn, both Republicans, objected so strongly to many Obama nominations that many of the vacancies are now considered “judicial emergencies” due to large caseloads.

Changes in the Courts of Appeals

The United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit (informally considered the 13th circuit) is considered the second most powerful court in the country, after the Supreme Court. It hears cases involving the federal government.

When Obama assumed office, the court consisted of six judges appointed by Republican presidents, three named by Democrats, and two vacancies. When Senate Republicans objected to three of Obama’s nominees for that court, Democrats invoked the “nuclear option.”

On November 21, 2013, the Democratic majority shut down the ability of Senate Republicans to filibuster Obama’s judicial nominees. The rule requiring 60 votes to bring up a nominee for a confirmation vote was interpreted to only require 51.

Democrats successfully pushed through the three judges, as well as a fourth later on, changing the composition to a 7-4 split in favor of Democratic appointees. How did this affect the court’s decisions? The new court rejected a challenge to Obamacare in Halbig v. Burwell. In another decision, an Obama appointee cast the deciding vote upholding the Federal Communication Commission’s Net Neutrality censorship regulations.

When Obama took office, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit had more Republican-appointed judges. It was known as one of the most conservative circuit courts in the country, encompassing West Virginia, Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina. Obama’s appointees changed the balance.

Two Obama appointees out-voted a Reagan appointee on a three-judge panel to rule against North Carolina’s voter identification law. They also held that a transgender student (a male identifying as female or vice versa) must be allowed to use the opposite sex’s restrooms and showers. One of the two justices was confirmed by the Senate in a 96-0 vote. Severino says the Fourth Circuit “is now on the cutting edge of liberal activism.”

But He Couldn’t Change the Supreme Court

Obama couldn’t change the composition of the Supreme Court, however. It remains divided between conservative and liberal judges, with Anthony Kennedy in the middle. Obama merely replaced two left-leaning judges with Sonia Sotomayor, the first Hispanic justice, and Elena Kagan, his former solicitor general.

Republicans in the Senate prevented Obama from replacing the late Antonin Scalia last year. That would have changed the balance. They refused to bring Obama’s nominee Garland Merrick up for a vote. The senators argued that the decision should be left to the next president.

The left had hoped SCOTUS Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer would retire during Obama’s terms so he could replace them with liberal justices. Breyer is 78. Ginsberg is 83 and suffers from health issues. They didn’t, but are thought likely to retire during Trump’s first term, and almost certainly during his second if he has one.

The Pendulum Swings Back

When Republicans took over the Senate in 2015, they stopped the easy approval process, leaving 86 district court and 17 circuit court vacancies for Trump to fill. In contrast, Obama only had 59 total vacancies to fill when he became president. Just 22 appointments were confirmed during the Senate’s 2015-16 session. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell let 25 nominations expire instead of scheduling confirmation votes.

With Republicans in control of the Senate and Donald Trump as president, it should be fairly easy to confirm right-leaning judges. Democrats knew when they implemented the nuclear option that it would eventually be used against them. Trump has said he will encourage McConnell to use it if Democrats filibuster Neil Gorsuch, his pick to replace Justice Scalia. (For more from the author of “Obama’s Lasting, Damaging Legacy: Leftist Judges” please click HERE)

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Why Congress Is Right to Undo Obama-Era Education Rules

Last week, the House Committee on Education and the Workforce took an important step toward rescinding some of the most burdensome regulations levied under the Every Student Succeeds Act (the replacement for the No Child Left Behind Act) by the Obama administration Department of Education.

Reps. Brett Guthrie, R-Ky., and Todd Rokita, R-Ind., formally introduced resolutions of disapproval under the Congressional Review Act for two of the Obama administration’s prescriptive regulations: rules governing teacher preparation programs and rules governing accountability under the Every Student Succeeds Act.

These resolutions of disapproval would prevent the Department of Education from implementing the rules or any substantially similar rules without congressional approval.

As Lindsey Burke and I argued in a recent paper concerning regulatory overreach under the Every Student Succeeds Act, scrapping the law’s regulations written by the Obama administration’s Department of Education through use of the Congressional Review Act would help remove some of the prescription layered onto the act.

While congressional architects envisioned the law as a vehicle for curtailing some of the federal overreach that had been created through No Child Left Behind, the regulations were not written in the same spirit.

Rescinding these regulations is a good first step. But in addition, Congress should pursue policies that genuinely restore state and local control in education in a way that the Every Student Succeeds Act fell short of accomplishing.

Proponents hailed this education law as one that would limit power from Washington, restoring state and local control of education by eliminating many of No Child Left Behind’s onerous requirements.

However, while it eliminated provisions like Adequate Yearly Progress and Highly Qualified Teacher mandates—one-size-fits-all standards that put Washington in the driver’s seat of education—the Every Student Succeeds Act kept in place a complex federal framework of oversight and high levels of spending.

Importantly, states were not given the option to opt out of the law through reforms such as the A-PLUS (Academic Partnerships Lead Us to Success) Act—a long-held conservative policy priority.

President Barack Obama’s Department of Education under Secretary John King took the prescriptive law and proceeded to write regulations that magnified that law’s shortcomings. The regulations narrowed possibilities for state flexibility, complicated decisions, increased paperwork, and generally wrapped states ever more tightly in a web of federal rules.

Ignoring statutory prohibitions, the Department of Education added qualifications to accountability indicators, dictated the methodology for weighing indicators, and inserted unnecessary reporting requirements.

Some of the rules were breathtakingly meddlesome, including one that dictated to the precise dollar amount states must invest in each school that needs improvement.

Many state boards of education, state superintendents, and other state leaders used the comment period on this accountability rule to illustrate how this level of federal prescription would negatively impact their state, their students, and their school finances.

Some state officials, like Randy Dorn, Washington state’s superintendent of public instruction, compared the rule to the draconian system under No Child Left Behind: “[I]n some instances, it seems like a return to the archaic measures required under No Child Left Behind.”

Other states, like South Dakota, suggested that the federal Department of Education was hopelessly out of touch with their needs and concerns:

We find the estimates submitted to the Office of Management and Budget to be wildly out of sync with the effort the [South Dakota Department of Education] will need to undertake to integrate data systems and report the require data. In particular, this is true because there are not decreased reporting requirements in other areas. This will be a significant feat, in particular for a state that is minimally funded and minimally staffed; the burden compliance will place on our staff should not be underestimated.

The specific needs of each state and local community cannot be met or anticipated by agency bureaucrats from Washington, D.C.

Regulations that are used to clarify points of confusion in a statute are necessary, but the use of regulation to prescribe the day-to-day operations of local schools is an overreach of federal power, particularly when the needs of each community are so unique.

The resolutions of disapproval are an important first step to limiting federal encroachment in local decision-making.

Now, Congress should take the opportunity to allow states to totally opt out of the Every Student Succeeds Act, and to put dollars toward their own state and local priorities. (For more from the author of “Why Congress Is Right to Undo Obama-Era Education Rules” please click HERE)

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It’s Time to Reel in the Obama-Appointed Ambassador Who Meddled in Macedonian Politics

Macedonia has a population smaller than Queens and is roughly the size of Vermont. It is stuck in the southern Balkans, wedged between a hostile Greece and sometimes revanchist Albania and Bulgaria. It is not the center of the universe.

So why are some members of Congress having to ask our Macedonian ambassador, Jess Baily, to explain reports that he’s been acting as the bullying sovereign of the country, shoehorning political parties into forming a “red-green” coalition between leftist and Islamic-based parties?

And is it true, they also want to know, that the ambassador is siphoning off government money to groups founded by the left-wing billionaire activist George Soros?

Members of both the House and the Senate sent their letters to our ambassador in Skopje, that nation’s capital, on Jan. 17 and gave him two weeks to reply. President Barack Obama’s appointee hasn’t responded yet, though after I called the State Department and the embassy to inquire, the State Department did reach out to at least one congressman to tell him a response was being drafted.

But things have gotten so bad that congressional hearings and congressional delegations to the small Balkan country are being contemplated. Members of Congress have also reached out to the new Trump administration to inquire into the matter.

Tony Perkins, the president of the pro-traditional values Family Research Council, has also taken a keen interest in the matter. He wrote this week:

While the U.S. goals for Macedonia include benign statements on investing in democracy, the State Department began favoring partnerships with Soros’ long litany of organizations in 2012. These organizations are anything but democratic. Instead, they are pushing progressive, violent, and radical ideals throughout Europe.”

Under pressure, State Department spokesman Mark Toner on Thursday issued a statement backing the ambassador.

“Ambassador Baily and his team have been working in partnership with Macedonian authorities as well as with civil society to advance U.S. policy and U.S. goals. The Department of State has full confidence in our embassy and ambassador in Macedonia,” said Toner.

The questions from Reps. Chris Smith, R-N.J, Robert Aderholt, R-Ala., Robert Pittenger, R-N.C., Randy Hultgren, R-Ill., Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, and Jeff Fortenberry, R-Neb., from the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, from the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee, were very similar.

They were also tough, so it’s not easy to see why the State Department and the embassy are dragging things outs.

“Unfortunately, we have heard credible reports that, over the past two years, the U.S. Mission to Macedonia has actively intervened in the party politics of Macedonia, as well as in the shaping of its media environment and civil society, in a manner that consistently favors the parties, media, and civil society groups of the center-left over those of the center-right,” begins the House letter.

They also seek to know whether the embassy under Baily has given preference to leftist media outlets over conservative ones in the disbursement of U.S. aid.

Both letters also ask if it was true that our embassy “selected the Open Society Foundation as the major implementer of USAID (U.S. Agency for International Development) projects in Macedonia?”

The Open Society Foundation is a Soros creation that promotes the billionaire’s progressive ideology worldwide. Macedonian critics charge that since 2012, or two years before Baily’s appointment, USAID has been allocating most of its assistance to the Open Society Institute and nongovernmental organizations run or controlled by Soros. They put the figure at $5 million.

Conservative Macedonian political commentator Cvetin Chilimanov told me by telephone from Skopje Friday that Baily’s aim was to form a coalition government between the former communist Social Democratic Union and two ethnic Albanian parties, one of which, the Besa Movement, has a strong Islamic component and receives backing from Saudi Arabia and Turkey.

In other words, the ambassador is trying to shut out the strongly pro-American, pro-capitalist VMRO-DPMNE coalition, which actually won the most votes in the Dec. 11 elections.

This is an approach many in Skopje hope will change now that another team is in charge in Washington. (For more from the author of “It’s Time to Reel in the Obama-Appointed Ambassador Who Meddled in Macedonian Politics” please click HERE)

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Leftover Obama Refugee Deal With Australia Draws Questions

In mid-November, just after Donald Trump was elected president, the outgoing Obama administration reached an agreement with Australia to resettle hundreds of refugees to America.

Australia’s hard-line policy to deter illegal immigration had banished thousands of asylum-seekers, most from the Middle East, to offshore detention centers on the Pacific island nation of Nauru and Papua New Guinea’s Manus Island.

After human rights groups had reported poor conditions and abuse at camps on the islands, the United Nations intervened and worked with Australia to secure a pledge from President Barack Obama to accept about 1,250 refugees, provided they passed U.S. security screening.

Obama’s deal, which attracted little attention when the U.S. and Australia announced its terms, collided this week with the policies of the Trump administration, which just temporarily barred people from seven countries the Obama administration had designated as posing terrorism risks from entering the U.S.

In a phone call with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull on Saturday, Trump reportedly criticized the refugee deal, although the two leaders have disputed media accounts about the content of the discussion.

“You can see why Trump, given his views, would be upset about this deal,” said Kevin Appleby, senior director of international migration policy at the Center for Migration Studies in New York, in an interview with The Daily Signal. “It’s like a fly in his ointment. He sees the deal puts him in a bad position politically. He’s probably wondering what Australia is doing for us when the U.S. is taking in all these refugees from countries that are now banned.”

Despite his misgivings, Trump later agreed to honor the initial agreement, according to Turnbull and the White House press secretary, Sean Spicer. It’s unclear how many refugees will ultimately be resettled in the U.S. and when they might come.

Spicer said Trump was “extremely upset” to have inherited the deal, but would fulfill the U.S.’ commitment to it.

Many of the refugees stranded in the Australian-run detention centers—and designated for resettlement in the U.S.—came from Iran, Iraq, Sudan, and Somalia, countries included in Trump’s order.

A special provision in the Trump order allows for exceptions to honor “a pre­-existing international agreement,” a line that seems to reference the Australia deal.

In November, the parties to the deal said the U.S. would prioritize families and children, and that the transfer of refugees would take six months to a year as the refugees underwent vetting, including two rounds of interviews with America’s Department of Homeland Security.

According to the Australian government, around 80 percent of people in the offshore detention camps have been determined to be legitimate refugees.

As the Trump administration decides how to implement the deal, some are expressing concern about how the Obama administration negotiated the agreement in the first place.

On Thursday, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, wrote a letter to Rex Tillerson, Trump’s new secretary of state, asking him to declassify the details of the agreement.

Grassley first raised concerns about the agreement in November, when he wrote to the Obama administration and accused it of “failing to allow for public scrutiny of the plan” and not consulting Congress about it.

“As I said before, the American people have a right to be fully aware of the actions of their government regarding foreign nationals who may be admitted to the United States,” Grassley wrote in the letter to Tillerson. “American taxpayers not only foot the bill for the majority of the refugee resettlement in the United States, but they bear any consequences regarding the security implications of those admitted to our country.”

Appleby doesn’t consider the refugees coming to the U.S. in the deal as much of a security risk.

“It’s beyond reason that some ISIS terrorist would go through all of this when it’s much easier for them to radicalize someone already living in the U.S. or Australia than sending someone through this multi-year, brutal process,” Appleby said.

But he and other experts say the agreement could be viewed as rewarding Australia for an immigration policy that has been widely criticized.

“These are human beings who have been living in very difficult conditions on these islands for years,” Nayla Rush, a senior researcher at the Center for Immigration Studies, said in an interview with The Daily Signal. “It doesn’t make sense for the U.S. to take them. Why should the U.S. be the moral compass of Australia? These people want to go to Australia. They have been stranded by the Australian government, and they are responsible.”

While the Obama administration and Australian government have not said the U.S received something in return as part of the deal, the parties signed their agreement two months after Turnbull agreed to help the U.S. resettle refugees fleeing violence in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras.

“There will not be a people swap,” Scott Ryan, a special minister of state in Australia, said at the time.

Under a long-standing policy, Australia mandates offshore detention centers for asylum-seekers who arrive by boat.

According to CNN, Australia launched Operation Sovereign Borders (OSB) in 2013 after a previous liberalization of immigration policies resulted in a surge of the number of people arriving by boat from 161 in 2008 to 2,726 in 2009.

But the new deterrence strategy did not slow the immigration flow.

The Guardian in 2016 reported cases of physical and sexual abuse of refugees at the detention centers. Protesters rallied across Australia demanding the closure of the centers.

In April 2016, Papua New Guinea’s Supreme Court ordered the Australian government to close the processing center there, calling the facility a violation of the migrants’ rights.

“The Australia deal with the U.S. is reflective of a failed policy, and that’s the larger point here,” Appleby said. “It’s a broader strategy the developed nations are pursuing to deter large movements of people. That doesn’t work, and the U.S. and Australia are now bailing each other out.” (For more from the author of “Leftover Obama Refugee Deal With Australia Draws Questions” please click HERE)

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Obama’s Legacy: 5 Failures the Media Won’t Tell You About

Even though Obama’s presidency comes to an end Friday, The Great Revision has long been underway. Obama and the mainstream media have been spreading falsehoods and fantasies about his record. Last year, I co-wrote and published a comprehensive takedown of Obama’s presidency so that America wouldn’t be so easily fooled. Here are five failures that stand in stark contrast to the fictions Obama has been spreading about his legacy:

1. Job growth was actually bad

Obama fancies himself a great president for the economy, citing “record job growth” and a low unemployment rate as proof. What he won’t tell you is that while roughly 15 million jobs were created since 2010, the working-age population grew by nearly 18 million. In fact, the jobs gap got wider during the “recovery”, and most of those jobs were actually part-time. Not only has job growth not kept up with population growth, and the labor force participation rate is at a 38-year low, but wage growth has also been stagnant. Hardly a record to be proud of.

2. Obamacare didn’t cover 20 million people

Obamacare certainly didn’t provide coverage “for all Americans” and I suppose Obama deserves a tiny bit of credit for not claiming that it did. But he is claiming that 20 million gained coverage because of Obamacare — which is pure hogwash. About 14 million people actually gained coverage, with 11.8 million of them actually getting coverage through Medicaid. And more than two-thirds of those people were eligible for Medicaid before Obamacare even existed. And then there’s the skyrocketing premiums — the same premiums Obama promised to lower by $2,500 per family — and higher deductibles and out-of-pocket maximums. Despite Obamacare, the number of Americans delaying seeking health care over costs has not gone down since Obamacare was implemented. And, by the way, last year saw healthcare costs increase by the largest rate in over thirty-two years. Bravo, Obama! Bravo!

3. Obama crippled the Democratic Party

There is perhaps no better indictment of Obama’s presidency than how it crippled the Democratic Party nationwide over the course of his two terms. Between state legislatures, governorships, and the U.S. Congress, Democrats lost over 1,000 seats. Twenty-five states now have a total Republican-controlled government, compared to just five with total Democrat-controlled government. Thanks to the outgoing president, the Republican Party is the strongest it has been since the 1920s. But that’s a colossal failure I can live with. Thanks, Obama!

4. Race relations are worse … much worse

While Obama credits himself for improved race relations in the United States, recent polling says that a majority of Americans disagree. He had the chance to be a force for good in the struggle to heal the wounds of racial division, but he chose, among other things, to embrace Black Lives Matter. Thanks to bitter rhetoric and acts of violence within the BLM movement, there was a sharp increase in shooting deaths of police officers last year and a staggering 93% of police officers have become more concerned for their safety as a result. This was a huge failure of the first black president in history.

5. The most scandalous modern presidency

And then there are the oft-repeated claims by Obama (and his allies) of having a scandal-free administration. In a recent interview with 60 Minutes, Obama declared he was proud his administration was the first “in modern history that hasn’t had a major scandal in the White House.” Sure, except for Solyndra, Fast and Furious, the Benghazi attack and cover-up, the IRS scandal, the AP phone records scandal, the Sestak Job offer scandal, the GSA scandal, the NSA scandal, the Iran nuclear deal and ransom, the VA scandal, the Pigford scandal, the Bergdahl swap, various EPA scandals … just to name a few. But, who’s counting, right? Of course, the media scoffs at these scandals, giving Obama pass after pass, when any one of them would have likely sunk anyone else’s presidency. The truth, however, is that the Obama and his administration were so tainted by controversy and scandal that Richard Nixon looks like George Washington by comparison.

From every conceivable angle, from failed policies to absent leadership to outright corruption, Obama’s presidency has set a new low bar. The media, however, seems to be working overtime to ensure that the truth of Obama’s legacy is covered up, so that history will judge him a successful president. The only way to prevent this from happening is to know all the facts. That is why I wrote The Worst President in History: The Legacy of Barack Obama. We can do a lot better than settling for failure and calling it success. (For more from the author of “Obama’s Legacy: 5 Failures the Media Won’t Tell You About” please click HERE)

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More Misappropriated Womanhood: Manning, Marching and Madness

Obama made history this week. He became the first President in history to commute the prison sentence of a fictitious person who was never convicted of a crime. PFC Bradley Manning sits in a cell at Leavenworth, convicted of espionage. But according to all the news reports on the story, Obama has decided to let Chelsea Manning out of prison in May. Neat trick, eh?

Our compliant, brainless media churns out the loony propaganda all day long. Manning is consistently referred to as “she” in media reports. They call him Chelsea now, and talk about “her,” and how this will certainly save “her life.” Take this, for example, from Fox News: “Manning was known as Bradley Manning at the time of her 2010 arrest, but revealed after being convicted of espionage that she identifies as a woman.”

“Her arrest”? “She” was never arrested. Chelsea Manning was never convicted of a crime, because Chelsea Manning was never a soldier in the U.S. Army. Chelsea Manning is not serving a sentence for espionage. Bradley Manning is. Can we all come back to the real world now? Bradley Manning is the man who betrayed his country and broke the law and now sits in prison where he belongs. Bradley Manning is not a woman. He is not a “she.” I couldn’t care less if he “identifies” as a radish or a seahorse or a comic book character. He’s still a man. Stop insulting the female sex by referring to him as a woman and calling him “her” and “she.”

Fools and Tyrants

Stop with the insanity. It is every bit as absurd to call him a woman as it would be to call him a radish. Enough already with this obsession with delusion and this infatuation with the magical power of a person’s claimed “identity,” no matter how objectively false.

The polite word for someone who is willingly hoodwinked into believing and then preaching absolute nonsense is fool. A better word is sucker. Moron. Bonehead.

The word for people who spread the absolute nonsense under threat and penalty, who mandate the acceptance of the absolute nonsense and punish any resistance is tyrant.

American society is officially captive to fools and tyrants. If you bristle at that assessment, if you find it harsh or intolerant, then I’d say your froggy self doesn’t realize the nice warm water you’re floating in will soon be boiling. There is no making friends with insanity. There’s no sunny middle ground where rationality and madness can picnic together.

People will either live and act and speak rationally, honestly and plainly, or they will surrender to lies and madness and chaos. It doesn’t matter if the present palate spits out objective truth in favor of popular delusions. Truth is still truth, and it will never peacefully coexist with deceit.

The (Some) Women’s March

Then there’s the Women’s March on Washington. The reports this week confirmed what we already knew, which is that this Women’s March is only for liberal, secular, progressive, Left-loyal, pro-abortion women. Women like me are not welcome. (“Women” like Bradly Manning, however, would be greeted with open arms and cheers.)

This march has taken the official position that feminism means the “right” of a woman to kill the child in her womb if she so desires. The women behind this march insist that the very essence of feminism is and must be bloodlust for our own babies.

Well, listen up, girls.

Your version of feminism is twisted and thoroughly demonic, and like all things demonic, it holds no affection for you, no regard for your happiness, and will show no restraint in consuming you after you’ve fed it your children. Sow death and you’ll reap death.

The time is over when we teach our daughters that being a free woman means our babies must die at our hands. No longer will we accept the lie that we have absolute authority over another human being’s life, merely because we are women. We will not raise another generation to turn their wombs into places of execution, and sell their bodies and souls to a greedy, self-serving industry built around violence.

The minds of young women have been poisoned for too long with the lie that the child in their womb is the enemy of their future, the thief of their own happiness, and a jailer to imprison them. Motherhood has been disfigured into a tiresome, lonely, hopeless thing that provokes fear, dread and pity.

And let’s not forget the damage done to men and fatherhood. Modern women are unquestionably a stupid lot. Liberal feminists have complained about men, belittled, and insulted men for decades, then have the nerve to whine when men turn around and fulfill all of women’s worst expectations. They lost all respect for men, and unsurprisingly, men began walking away.

Modern “feminism” is an unappealing, self-defeating exercise. It resembles nothing feminine; nothing womanly; nothing healthy, whole or loving at all. In my lifetime, I’ve seen it become a man-hating, child-fearing, marriage-killing, motherhood-denigrating, Pill-popping, abortion-worshiping cult of fools and tyrants. No thanks. I’m happy to sit this march out.

In fact, forget feminism. It’s time for a bigger vision. We need an authentic humanism. The human person is created male and female, in the image and likeness of God. Different by design. Equal in dignity. Divine in union. There is nothing in all creation more amazing, more beautiful, more powerful than the complementarity of a man and a woman.

That needs to be the next American revolution. Let men be men, and women be women, without requiring one to do all the same things the other does. (Exhale, everyone. It’s okay.)

Nobody knows what “zir” or “genderqueer” even means because the words are gibberish. Stop speaking gibberish. A male is a male is a male, and never a female shall he be. Call the madness what it is.

Finally, let’s call the “choice” what it is. Our age in history is distinguished by our zeal for the legal right to kill our own children. To h*** with that! The child in the womb demands our protection, and women deserve far, far better than abortion. God bless the tireless souls who are marching for that.

#MarchForLife2017

(For more from the author of “More Misappropriated Womanhood: Manning, Marching and Madness” please click HERE)

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The Triumph of Obama: What Conservatives Can Learn from the Liberal Warrior

Good bye and good riddance to the most radical and destructive president of all time.

With that said, before we let the first post-American president fade from our memory altogether, let’s reflect upon his commitment, passion, and tenacity in pursuit of his anti-American ideas and try to harness that same zeal and commitment for our ideas.

It’s undeniable that Obama has accomplished for the Left more than any other president has accomplished for his respective party’s ideology. The $9.3 trillion in debt he has accrued to bankrupt this country, destroy free markets and capitalism, create crushing dependency, and permanently grow government will live on long past his tenure. The numbers are staggering:

At least 65 percent of all children now live in a home that receives some sort of assistance from the federal government.

Over 82 million Americans live in a home where there is at least one Medicaid recipient.

49.2 percent of all Americans are receiving at least one government program.

Most of all, Obama’s signature legislation—the crown jewel of socialism—has destroyed health care and health insurance in a way that no middle-income family can control their own destiny without unsustainable government subsidies. And unless things change, the core of his plan will not be repealed.

The way Obama has violated our sovereignty and encouraged so many illegal aliens to remain in the country will create a permanent grievance for amnesty. His realignment of allies to enemies and enemies to allies has remade the world.

Yet, nowhere was his transformation more evident than as it relates to the founding values of this country. Obama was right to declare yesterday at a press conference that he “could not be prouder of the transformation that’s taken place in our society just in the last decade.” The sexual identity alphabet soup has become a national religion, marriage has been redefined, sexuality has been redefined, our founding religious values have essentially been criminalized, and he has completely crushed any semblance of organized opposition to even its most radical agenda items. Republicans are now further to the left on basic family values and civilization issues than Democrats were prior to Obama.

The biggest lesson of Obama is that he was comfortable in his own skin. He wasn’t just an “anti-Republican,” although he continued to use “blame Bush” as a tactic to promote that agenda. He had his own affirmative agenda for which he was willing to spend all his political capital enacting and marshal every resource in every agency of the executive branch to promote the cross-section of fiscal, social, and foreign policy liberal ideas. He didn’t make excuses. The few places where he failed to enact a liberal agenda item wasn’t because he didn’t try. It was because the electorate categorically rejected it and took away the House from him for six of his eight years in office.

Obama never appointed a single person to any position in any agency of any department that was not a full-throttled three-legged stool progressive. His administration spoke with one voice towards one mission as it relates to the critical policy battles of our time. They never deviated from their message on a single issue.

Some might suggest that Obama was punished for his overreach and is indeed a failure because Democrats have lost an unprecedented amount of power under his stewardship, especially on a state level. In the short term, this is definitely true. Voters have emphatically rejected his radical progressive brand. However, in the long run, he has completely neutered any legitimate opposition to most of his ideas and has thus shifted the entire universe of the political landscape inexorably to the Left.

Just watch any of the confirmation hearings and you will see the nominees and the GOP senators accept every radical premise of the Obama era. They have accepted the fundamental philosophy behind Obamacare and have agreed to keep the Iran deal. They refuse to oppose one morsel of the transgender agenda, and will not lift a finger to tamp down the absurd gender-bending and social engineering in the military. None of them appear comfortable espousing conservatism openly the way Democrats loudly and proudly champion their agenda, even after losing an election. Indeed, Obama has successfully shifted the entire universe of the political landscape so far to the left that even when Republicans create the minimal 2-3 deviations of space between the parties they are still well to the left of where Democrats were in the ‘90s on critical issues.

However, all is not lost. Republicans can still render Obama’s tenure a failure (even politically) if they countermand his agenda the same way Democrats reversed the progress of the Reagan Revolution. If they would trade in their diffidence for an Obama-sized confidence and passion on the beliefs espoused in the GOP platform, they have an unprecedented opportunity to roll back previous Democrat handiwork for the first time in modern history. The two-party system doesn’t have to operate like a ratchet effect, a metaphor Margaret Thatcher often used to explain the one directional progress of liberalism when the Left is in power and the inability to reverse one iota of that momentum when so-called conservatives are in power.

But that will take a commitment to pack the executive agencies only with people who share every view of the GOP platform the same way Obama appointed only those who shared his values. It will take a catharsis for elected Republicans to finally end their identity crisis and move beyond simply being “better than Obama” or “the lesser of two evils.” It will take an affirmative agenda—a positive, consistent, intellectually honest, and forward looking agenda on sovereignty, security, free markets, liberty, property rights, and a strong civil society. An agenda that can stand on its own veracity, not just as an opposing view to whatever the media or the Left is promulgating.

And finally, it means no more excuses. Republicans control all the levers of federal and most state powers and can easily roll back the critical items of the Obama years and forge a completely new path on so many domestic and foreign policy issues that have been locked in the failed intellectual ghetto of elitist political thought. Stop talking about Obama, Hillary, the media, or blaming failure to repeal Obamacare on something as absurd as a parliamentarian. Who are we and what do we stand for affirmatively? The only context in which we should continue to mention Obama is to remind ourselves of his determination and zeal to see his agenda actualized through thick and thin.

The success or failure of Republicans in the next four years will boil down to this simple question: if liberals are willing to sacrifice it all in order to implement their agenda unconstitutionally, how much more so should we harness every constitutional means of advancing the ideas this party supposedly adopted in the much-vaunted platform of 2016? (For more from the author of “The Triumph of Obama: What Conservatives Can Learn from the Liberal Warrior” please click HERE)

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The $20 Trillion Question Republicans MUST Answer

Obama’s parting gift to this country is a transformed society with $20 trillion in debt. The big question is what will Republicans do differently to curb the growth of the debt?

Given recent news about GOP plans on health care and infrastructure, there are no signs things will improve. Meanwhile, the Government Accountability Office has released a new “fiscal health” study, which portends disturbing trends for our fiscal stability.

The gross federal debt now stands at $19.94 trillion — roughly $9.3 trillion more than it was when Obama took office. It took from our nation’s founding until 2008 (including most of the profligate Bush presidency) to accrue the first $9.3 trillion in debt. The public’s share of the debt is now $14.4 trillion, an $8.1 trillion increase since 2009.

Yes, Obama more than doubled the public share of the debt during his presidency!

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The gross federal debt, which includes intra-governmental debt comprised primarily of obligations for Social Security, federal pensions, and military pensions, is now 107 percent of the size of our economy and will forever grow larger than our GDP. When Obama was inaugurated, the gross debt was just 74 percent of GDP. If we look at just the public share of the debt, the numbers are even starker. In January 2009, the public share of the debt was just 44 percent of GDP; now it stands at 77.4 percent.

To make matters worse, the GAO published a report amplifying what we all already know: The current fiscal crisis will place “the federal government on an unsustainable long-term fiscal path.” Here are some other key takeaways from the report:

The federal government made $144 billion in improper payments during 2016. Errors in Medicare, Medicaid, and the Earned Income Tax Credit collectively accounted for 78 percent of the overpayments.

If health care spending is not reined in, the public share of the debt (now at 77 percent) will reach 106 percent in 15 years and surpass the all-time high during the peak of WWII.

One of the reasons the debt has not already engulfed this country in a fiscal calamity is because of the artificially low interest rates servicing increased debt on the cheap. But a return to historically average interest rates, in conjunction with the growing size of the debt itself, will self-perpetuate interest on the debt as the fastest growing expenditure. It will more than quadruple from just 1.4 percent of the economy today to 6.2 percent in 30 years. The longer we wait, therefore, to address the debt crisis, the steeper the punishment will be when the tab comes due. At present, we pay $273 billion in interest payments. That number will rise to $1.4 trillion in 2045 (adjusted for inflation).

Spending on federal health care programs will double from roughly $1 trillion to $2 trillion (adjusted for inflation) by 2045.

These are not merely abstract numbers on a balance sheet that only affect the budget of the federal government. Aside from the fact that taxpayers will ultimately bear the cost of this debt, the crushing debt and misallocation of resources is already hurting the family budget. As the report observes, “high levels of national debt may contribute to higher interest rates leading to lower investment and a smaller capital stock to assist economic growth.”

As we head into an era of GOP dominance, we must pose the $20 trillion question: Where is the party of fiscal conservatism?

Rather than discussing ways to make existing health care entitlements more free market-oriented to lower costs, Republicans are concocting a new massive health care entitlement built on top of crushing regulations that will force taxpayers to subsidize health care at the highest price possible.

This GAO report demonstrates the additional folly of pursuing Obamacare 2.0 instead of the free market. The gross cost of Medicare already outpaces military spending, and the combined federal and state price tag for Medicaid will soon overtake the defense budget. According to the CMS Actuary, in just six years, annual Medicaid expenditures will total $835 billion compared with the $687 billion projected cost of base military spending in 2023. The simple reality is that there is no way to forestall the financial collapse without dealing with health care spending.

Why can’t Republicans just speak the truth of how socialist health care is bankrupting the private and public sectors and pin the blame where it rightfully belongs? Why are they being defensive about the need to legitimize Obamacare with a commensurate “replacement?”

While the media focus on the inaugural attire of the Trump family this weekend, conservatives should begin demanding answers from Trump and Republicans to the $20 trillion question. (For more from the author of “The $20 Trillion Question Republicans MUST Answer” please click HERE)

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