President Obama's Abuse of Power
President Barack Obama, with massive midterm losses looming and his presidency potentially paralyzed as a result, has made the startling claim that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce was accepting foreign donations to launch a campaign against him, a charge that even the NY Times – an enthusiatic Obama supporter – described as "groundless."
Having relied on the claim of one blog, the president echoed the charge at a Maryland political rally: "So groups that receive foreign money are spending huge sums to influence American elections," he said," and they won't tell you where the money for their ads come from."
Tom Donahue, president of the Chamber, immediately denied the accusation, explaining that strict accounting procedures keep foreign and domestic contributions separate. Remarkably, denunciation of the president's claims spanned the political spectrum with some liberals suggesting the president "went too far" in the direction of stifling dissent; and David Axelrod, the president's senior advisor, conceded that the administration had no evidence to support the president's claim.
Nonetheless, Axelrod and the president stuck to their guns by suggesting the Chamber "may have" violated U.S. laws. Axelrod asked, "do you have any evidence it is not [true]?"
Overlooked by most members of the press corps were the questionable contributions to the Obama campaign on foreign credit cards, a claim that had more than a semblance of hearsay.
It seems that the president is trying find a political argument wthat has traction. Allegations against the Chamber fall into the category of a populist denunciation of big business, even though Democratic operatives are assuring job-generating corporations they are on their side, and reciients of bailouts posted record bonuses this year.
With Senator Al Frankin calling for a Federal Election Commission probe, a campaign is being launched despite the lack of evidence. The Democratic National Committee released an ad castigating the Chamber as "shills for big business." Of course, the purpose of the Chamber -- what it was organized to do -- is to represent business interests.
The underlying issue, the one that has a chilling effect on campaigns, is the unleashing of government power to silence political opponents.
By any standard, this presidential claim is an abuse of power that should be condemned by every member of the media.
President Obama insists through indirect assertions that "you don't know. It could be the oil industry. It could be the insurance industry. It could even be foreign owned corporations. You don't know because they don't have to disclose." Indeed since you don't know, it could be the tooth fairy. This is an example of the Cicero gambit: As you do not have any facts on which to rely, make speculative arguments especially with reference to unpopular entities such as the oil and insurance industries.
The Supreme Court's ruling in the Citizens United case allows organizations such as the Chamber of Commerce to advertise for and against candidates of their choice and to accept anonymous donations in order to do so. President Obama indicated he does not support the Court's decision, but like it or not, it is the law of the land.
The fact that the questionable claims have become an issue may be an effort to shift concern from jobs and the precarious nature of the economy to campaign practices. But without evidence, and with the arrogant display of political power, this stratagem has backfired on the president and the Democratic Party.
Can the president dig his way out of this matter before November and convince voters that he will not abuse the power of this office?
On election day the answer will be clear.
Herbert London is president of the Hudson Institute and author of the book Decline and Revival in Higher Education (Transaction Publishers).
Comment on this item
by Soeren Kern
Hamas would likely resort to violence to thwart any attempts to disarm the group. It is therefore highly unlikely the Europeans would confront Hamas in any meaningful way.
Spanish intelligence agents met secretly with Hezbollah operatives, who agreed to provide "escorts" to protect Spanish UNIFIL patrols. The quid pro quo was that Spanish troops would look the other way while Hezbollah was allowed to rearm for its next war with Israel. Hezbollah's message to Spain was: mind your own business.
If the European experience with Hezbollah in Lebanon is any indication, not only will Hamas not be disarmed, it will be rearmed as European monitors look on and do nothing.
What is clear is that European leaders have never been committed to honoring either the letter or the spirit of UN Resolutions 1559, 1680 and 1701, all of which were aimed at preventing Hezbollah from rearming.
by Debalina Ghoshal
According to former Bush administration official Stephen Rademaker, for the United States to respond to Russian violations of the treaty by pulling out of it would be "welcome in Moscow," which is "wrestling with the question of how they terminate [the treaty]" and thus, the United States should not make it easier for the Russians to leave.
by Guy Millière
Belgian security services have estimated that the number of European jihadists in Syria may be over 4000.
European leaders have directed their nastiest comments against the Jewish state, none of them has asked why Palestinian organizations in Gaza put their stockpiles of weapons in hospitals, homes, schools and mosques, or their command and control centers at the bottom of large apartment buildings or underneath hospitals. None of them has even said that Hamas is a terrorist organization despite its genocidal charter.
The majority of them are wedded to the idea of redistribution. Their policies are anti-growth, do not afford people any economic opportunity, and are what caused these economic crises in Europe in the first place. The United States seems to be following these thoroughly failed policies as well.
"Europe could not stay the same with a different population in it." — Christopher Caldwell, Reflections on the Revolution in Europe.
by Raymond Ibrahim
"I abducted your girls. I will sell them on the market, by Allah... There is a market for selling humans. Allah says I should sell." — Abubakar Shekau, leader of Boko Haram.
Hillary Clinton repeatedly refused to designate Boko Haram a terrorist organization.
In Malaysia -- regularly portrayed in the West as a moderate Muslim nation -- any attempt to promote religions other than Islam is illegal.
"The reason they want to kill me is very clear -- it is because of being a convert to Christianity." — Hassan Muwanguzi, Uganda.
by Dexter Van Zile
Rev. Hanna Massad does not mention that perhaps Hamas actually wants the blockade to end so it can bring in more weapons and cement to build attack-tunnels so it can "finish the job."
Hamas does not just admit to using human shields, it brags about using human shields. Why does Massad have to inject an air of uncertainty about Hamas's use of human shields when no such uncertainty exists?
The problem is that any self-respecting journalist would confront Massad with a follow-up question about Hamas's ideology and violence, but not the folks at Christianity Today.