The Bergdahl decision

Apart from the interest of the Obama administration in preserving appearances, it’s hard to understand how Bowe Bergdahl might not be charged with desertion. President Obama staged a Rose Garden celebration to announce the swap of Bergdahl for hardened terrorist prisoners last year. Susan Rice stepped forward to praise Bergdahl’s service despite the circumstances of his capture and the disagreement of his fellow soldiers.

What now? Lt. Col. (ret.) Ralph Peters reviews the relevant facts in the video below; Peters has a few choice words on the possibility that Bergdahl might walk.

Peters comments:

What we have here is very, very clear, it’s damnably clear that the White House which doesn’t understand why this is a big deal. I mean, he just deserted, right?Wouldn’t anybody do that? And they just want to protect the president. And they are pressuring the Army, pressuring the Army to whitewash this. And they don’t understand that for the military, those who went before, retirees like me, those on active duty, this is a powerful matter, as you heard from the young soldier, of precedent and principle.

If you let Bergdahl walk — it’s not about this pathetic little creep, Bergdahl, it’s about the principle — if you let him walk with full pay and benefits and a promotion despite overwhelming evidence that he deserted his post in wartime, you make it virtually impossible to prosecute future deserters. Now, in the Army, I’m sure — the Army’s not perfect. You’ve got some people craven enough and ambitious enough to save to the White House, and I’m sure they are arguing the White House’s point, but so far you’ve got some generals that are showing backbone and saying, no, for the good of the Army, for the good of the military, he has to go through the Article 32 and into court-martial. And the White House is fighting it tooth and nail because they don’t give a damn about our military, they just care about this pathetic Puss in Boots president’s reputation.

Transcript via RCP.

Civil War on the Left, Part 15

While the ruckus over Jon Chait’s critique of PC grinds on (he’s getting a lot more blowback form the Left than from me), I note with amusement another act of Leftist cannibalism taking place over in the UK.

Germaine Greer, no longer germane?

Germaine Greer, no longer germane?

When I was coming of age back in the 1970s, one of the leading feminist intelletuals was Germaine Greer, author of The Female Eunuch. I recall her appearing on Buckley’s Firing Line, and thinking the title of her most famous book was somehow fitting.

Turns out Greer is too old-timey for today’s identity politics Left. A group of students at Cambridge University are running the speaker disinvitation drill for Greer:

CUSU Women’s Officer Amelia Horgan posted the following statement on the Facebook event:

“The CUSU Women’s Campaign would like to express concern over the invitation of Germaine Greer …to speak at the Cambridge Union. Greer’s transphobia has been demonstrated not only in her writing, but also in her actions. In 1996 she publicly opposed the appointment of a trans woman academic to a position within Newnham college, outing her in the process. As such, Greer’s invitation to speak within our University community is all the more worrying – is institutional memory really so terrifyingly limited when it comes to bigotry?

Greer does not represent feminism, and she does not represent us.”

It’s fun watching these folks turn on each other. (Once again, if you have time to visit the link, you’ll see the comment thread is overwhelmingly negative toward the identity politics crowd.)

Johnson’s short course on Iran

In the January 21 Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on our ongoing negotiations with Iran, Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken appeared as the principal witness. Treasury Under Secretary David Cohen also appeared in his last time around before he assumes responsibilities as CIA deputy director.

Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson questioned Blinken and Cohen over seven and a half minutes toward the end of the hearing. In the preface to his questions, Senator Johnson provides a short course on the problematic concessions on which our negotiations with Iran are founded (video below). Senator Johnson also demonstrates the false assumptions — I won’t call it wishful thinking, because Blinken doesn’t even appear to believe what he’s saying — on which the negotiations are allegedly predicated. The video below makes a good companion to the video of Senator Rubio from the hearing posted here yesterday.

The Hatch hemorrhage

Live blogging yesterday’s Judiciary Committee hearing on the confirmation of Loretta Lynch as attorney general, Paul noted that Senator Hatch expressed his hopes that he would be able to vote to confirm Lynch. “I hope he won’t,” Paul added, “but after hearing his questioning, I fear he will.”

Last night Senator Hatch’s press secretary sent us a message including a video (below) of Senator Hatch’s questioning of Lynch. The press secretary wrote to point out that Senator Hatch’s questions focused on “several important issues, including Lynch’s commitment to the rule of law, immigration, executive overreach, tech and intellectual property, the criminal justice system, child pornography, victim restitution and civil rights issues.”

Senator Hatch deems the following to be the “highlights,” with timestamps added by the press secretary for our convenience:

Lynch pledged to follow the rule of law and act independently of the White House, defending laws as passed by Congress without regard to personal views or biases. She specifically pledged to “take that independence very seriously” (3:20).

Senator Hatch was able to get firm commitments from Ms. Lynch to work with Congress on the LEADs Act, protecting data stored abroad (6:30) and the Defend Trade Secrets Act (7:31), two major priorities of the Senate Republican High-Tech Task Force.

Ms. Lynch also committed to work with Senator Hatch on the Amy and Vicky Act to help victims of child pornography and abuse gain restitution (8:40).

Here is the video with which you can see these highlights with your own eyes.

We are living through a constitutional crisis of the first order, with the executive branch revising and rewriting and ignoring the law of the land as it sees fit, not only with respect to illegal immigration, but also with respect to Obamacare and other matters. Senator Hatch has seemed to understand. As the press secretary points out, Senator Hatch has previously stated his desire for a new attorney general “committed to putting the rule of law before partisan politics[,]” presumably because we don’t have one now. Indeed, we have an attorney general who has served as the administration’s protector in scandals such as Fast & Furious and the IRS abuses, to take two prominent examples that deeply implicate the rule of law.

That Senator Hatch finds the “assurances” stated above to be “highlights” — the sort of “highlights” that presage a vote for confirmation — is newsworthy, if not shocking, but I’ll go with shocking as well.

Behind the White House’s defense of the Taliban

As Scott discusses in the post immediately below, the Obama administration today claimed that the Taliban is an “armed insurrection” — you know, kind of like George Washington’s Continental Army — not a terrorist group. It is therefore materially different, spokesperson Eric Schultz argued, from ISIS. Thus, it is okay for the U.S. to swap prisoners with the Taliban (see Bergdahl, Bowe), but not okay to make concessions to ISIS in exchange for prisoners.

I suppose we should count ourselves lucky that Schultz didn’t call the Taliban — which routinely butchers innocent civilians through car bombs and the like — “agrarian reformers.”

The administration’s characterization of the Taliban is more than just an attempt to wriggle out of the moral difficulty inherent in the Bergdahl swap. It reveals, I think, the administration’s true view of the Taliban — as, for that matter, the swap did.

As I wrote at the time of the swap, Obama wants to make deals with the Taliban. It’s probably no stretch to say that, for him, the Taliban is to Afghanistan what Iran is to much of the Middle East — a force on the rise with which he hopes to make a grand bargain that will end war and bring stability.

Obama himself has more than hinted at this. In touting the Bergdahl deal, Obama expressed his hope that it would “open the door for broader discussions. . .about the future of [Afghanistan] by building confidence” with the Taliban.

Obama can’t very well gain the confidence of the Taliban if he describes the outfit as “terrorist” and compares it to ISIS. Hence, his spokesman’s valiant defense of the butchers who facilitated 9/11.

When Obama’s spokesman calls the Taliban an “armed insurrection” — thereby attempting to confer legitimacy on this outfit — what he really means is “peace partner.”

Scott is right, the Obama administration is more than just a clown show. It “falls into the killer clown horror genre.”

Not Islamic either

The Obama administration degenerates rapidly into a clown show. It may be a clown show that falls into the killer clown horror genre, but still it’s some kind of a clown show.

In the latest installment of the clown show, White House spokesman Eric Schultz distinguishes the Taliban — not a terrorist group, but rather an “armed insurgency” — from ISIS — not an “armed insurgency,” but rather a terrorist group. Daniel Halper explains: “The verbal jiujitsu from the White House was its way of arguing that the Bowe Bergdahl swap for members of the Taliban was okay since it didn’t involve negotiating with a terrorist group.”

As for the verbal jiujitsu, don’t try this at home. You might hurt yourself. Well, you might hurt yourself watching the video too.

Loretta Lynch Must Not Be Confirmed [Updated]

The President’s duty under the Constitution is to “take care that the laws be faithfully executed.” The Attorney General is the President’s chief agent in that regard. With respect to immigration, the laws of the United States set forth the manner in which immigrants may lawfully enter and remain within the United States. Numerous persons are here in violation of those laws. The laws of the United States further provide that no employer may hire a person who is present in the United States illegally. The Attorney General’s duty is to execute and enforce those laws.

In today’s confirmation hearing, Senator Jeff Sessions asked nominee Loretta Lynch who has more right to a job, an American citizen or legal immigrant, or a person who is here illegally. Lynch’s answer is stunning:

Lynch’s answer amounts to a repudiation of her prospective duties as Attorney General.

Paul described Lynch’s exchange with Sessions this morning. Following the colloquy in the video, this is how Paul described the testimony:

What if an employer prefers to hire an American citizen over an illegal immigrant granted a work permit under executive amnesty? Would Lynch take action against the employer for discrimination?

It’s a great question, and Lynch totally ducks it. She looks forward to obtaining Sen. Sessions’ views on the subject after she’s studied it more.

So Lynch won’t rule out suing employers who prefer hiring Americans to hiring people who came here illegally. That pretty much rules such suits in.

This of course stands the law on its head. Federal law says that employers can’t hire illegal immigrants, Lynch says she may take the position that employers must hire illegal immigrants. Again, this is simply a repudiation of her duties should she be confirmed.

This is a transcript of a portion of Sessions’ questioning of Lynch:

On April 24th of 2013, Attorney General Holder said this — and I’m raising this fundamentally because I think there’s a lot of confusion about the — how we should think about immigration in America, what are duties and what our responsibilities are.

He said this, quote, “Creating a pathway to earn citizenship for the 11 million unauthorized immigrants in our country is essential. The way we treat our friends and neighbors who are undocumented by creating a mechanism for them to earn citizenship and move out of the shadows transcends the issue of immigration status. This is a matter of civil and human rights.”

So let me ask you, do you believe that a person who enters the country unlawfully, that has perhaps used false documents or otherwise entered here, has a civil right to citizenship?

Well, Senator, I’m not familiar with the context of those comments. I certainly think that you do touch upon the difficult issue of how do we handle the undocumented — undocumented immigrants who come to our country. I believe for the life that we offer, I believe because of the values that we espouse…

I don’t want to interrupt you, but just the question is, do you agree with that statement about it’s a matter of civil rights, and citizenship, and work authority, right to work in America, for someone who enters the country unlawfully? That’s a civil right?

Senator, I haven’t studied the issue enough to come to a legal conclusion on that. I certainly think that people who come to this country in a variety of ways can rehabilitate themselves and apply, but that would have to be something that would be decided on a case-by-case basis.

I’d just like to hear you answer that. Is it a civil right for a person who enters the country unlawfully, who would like to work and like to be a citizen, to demand that, contrary to the laws of the United States? And when Congress doesn’t pass it, is that a right that they’re entitled to demand?

So I don’t think — I think that citizenship is a privilege. Certainly, it’s a right for those of us born here. I think it’s a privilege that has to be earned. And within the panoply of civil rights that are recognized by our jurisprudence now, I don’t see one that you — as such that you are describing.

I certainly agree. I’m a little surprised it took you that long. But the attorney general’s statement was breathtaking to me. ***
Let me ask you this: In the workplace of America today when we have a high number of unemployed, we’ve had declining wages for many years, we have the lowest of Americans working, who has more right to a job in this country? A lawful immigrant who’s here, a green-card holder or a citizen, or a person who entered the country unlawfully?

Well, Senator, I believe that the right and the obligation to work is one that’s shared by everyone in this country regardless of how they came here. And certainly, if someone here, regardless of status, I would prefer that they be participating in the workplace than not participating in the workplace.
Well, just let me wrap up by asking this: Are you — if — if a person comes here and is given a lawful right under the president’s executive amnesty to have Social Security and a work authorization card, what if somebody prefers to hire an American citizen first? Would you take action against them?

Do you understand this to mean that those who are given executive amnesty are entitled as much as anybody else in America to compete for a job in America?

Well, I don’t believe that it would give anyone any greater access to the workforce, and certainly an employer would be looking at the issues of citizenship in making those determinations.

Would you take action against an employer who says, “No, I prefer to hire someone that came to the country lawfully rather than someone given executive amnesty by the president”? Would Department of Justice take action against them?

With respect to the — the provision about temporary deferral, I did not read it as providing a legal amnesty, that is, that permanent status there, but a temporary deferral.

With respect to whether or not those individuals would be able to seek redress for employment discrimination, if — if that is the purpose of your question, again, I haven’t studied that legal issue.

I certainly think you raised an important point and would look forward to discussing it with you and using — and relying upon your thoughts and experience as we consider that point.

Lynch testified that she finds the Holder DoJ’s opinion that Barack Obama’s executive amnesty is legal to be “reasonable.” So, again, she is prepared to rubber stamp executive action that is in direct contradiction to the laws of the United States. If federal law prohibits employers from hiring illegal aliens, the executive branch cannot issue permits that purport to nullify the effect of the statute and make such employment legal. This is not a subtle or difficult point.

There are many reasons to be skeptical of Loretta Lynch and to suspect that as Attorney General, she would be another Eric Holder, turning the Department of Justice into a political arm of the White House. But there is no need to speculate: by her words, she has proclaimed her intention to subvert rather than to uphold the laws of the United States. She must not be confirmed as Attorney General.

UPDATE: Later in today’s hearing, Lynch came out foursquare behind President Obama’s illegal and unconstitutional attempt to rewrite the nation’s immigration laws by giving work permits to people who can’t legally work:

Sessions: I have to have a clear answer to this question: Ms. Lynch, do you believe the executive action announced by President Obama on November 20th is legal and Constitutional? Yes or no?

Lynch: As I’ve read the opinion, I do believe it is, Senator.

That clinches it. We cannot have another Attorney General who will sign off on blatant constitutional violations. Shortly after this exchange, Sessions announced that he will vote against Lynch’s confirmation.