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Deportation Relief for Young Immigrants May Not Include Parents

Deportation Relief for Young Immigrants May Not Include Parents

Every time Berzabeth Valdez heads out to work from her mobile home on the outskirts of Houston, it crosses her mind that she might not come back.

Ms. Valdez, 48, is a Mexican immigrant who has been living in Texas for 11 years without legal papers, and so without a driver’s license. For her commute to her job as a restaurant manager, she keeps her taillights in working order and never speeds.

“We are terrified of the police,” Ms. Valdez said. “One traffic ticket could end in deportation. I could lose my whole life, everything I have gained for my family.”

One of Ms. Valdez’s daughters grew tired of living with those fears and joined an organization of young undocumented immigrants. The youths, who call themselves Dreamers, won protection from deportation from President Obama in 2012 and continued to press him to extend those measures to others here illegally.

Now Mr. Obama is preparing to announce changes to the immigration enforcement system that could allow as many as five million immigrants to remain and work legally. But as the White House deliberates final details of the plan, the youths could be facing a bittersweet ending, as officials are considering leaving out their parents.

“It’s getting so hard to call my Mom,” said María Fernanda Cabello, 23, Ms. Valdez’s activist daughter. “I’ve had to tell her, there is a victory coming and I don’t know if you’re part of it.”

Trolling the GOP

Trolling the GOP

When the Obama administration last week began the process of preparing the media and the public about the president’s plan to unilaterally suspend deportation for as many as 6 million illegal immigrants, it did not go to a Latino outlet like Univision. It did not communicate to the liberal base via the Huffington Post or even old standbys like the New York Times and the Washington Post. The “exclusive” went to Fox News.

The reaction on Fox was what you would expect: pure outrage. Charles Krauthammer slammed the plan that day as an “impeachable offense,” and the following night he compared President Barack Obama to a Venezuelan “caudillo.” Bill O’Reilly accused Obama of wanting to “tear the country apart politically” and, the following night, of “subverting the Constitution and law.” Fox personalities quickly began musing about possible retaliatory measures like blocking all presidential nominees and defunding the entire Justice Department.

And now, we hear, the president plans to announce his decision soon, possibly as early as this week, despite pleas even from Senate Democrats who would like him to wait until they can pass an omnibus spending bill and avert any shutdown threat. If he wanted to, of course, the president could minimize the risk of a disruption in government funding by simply waiting until the Dec. 11 deadline for the expiration of the latest spending bill. Obama is under pressure to make the move sooner from Hispanic lobbies and others who are angry with him for delaying until after the midterms. But it is very possible that the president has another motive as well: blowing up the GOP.

Despite the strong sense coming from the House Republican leadership that it has far more control over its caucus now than it did during the Tea-Party-fueled insurgency of 2010, no issue has more potential than immigration to ignite the hard-right base and embarrass Speaker John Boehner—especially after the speaker’s post-election warning to Obama not to “play with matches”—or to cause headaches for the GOP heading into the 2016 elections.

Israel Retaliates for Synagogue Attack

Israel Retaliates for Synagogue Attack

Israel destroyed the home of an alleged terrorist suspected of a deadly car attack last month in the wake of Tuesday's separate attack on a synagogue. WSJ's Nick Casey reports.

Reagan and Bush Offer No Precedent for Obama's Amnesty Order

Reagan and Bush Offer No Precedent for Obama's Amnesty Order

David Frum

Past executive actions were smaller—and they didn't work.

“What about Reagan in 1987? And George H.W. Bush in 1990?”

This has become a favorite Democratic and center-left rebuttal to Republicans angry at reports that President Obama may soon grant residency and working papers to as many as 5 million illegal aliens. If Obama acts, he’d rely on precedents set by Republican predecessors. Surely that should disbar today’s Republicans from complaining?

Hollywood’s Long List of Male Scumbags

Hollywood’s Long List of Male Scumbags

It took a lot to make the public and entertainment industry remember the allegations against Dr. Huxtable. Why have we forgotten about everyone from Bill Murray to John Lennon, too?

“I wonder how he sleeps at night.”

That’s what Barbara Bowman said about legendary comedian Bill Cosby during an interview on HuffPost Live last Friday. Bowman had just written an op-ed for TheWashington Post detailing alleged sexual assaults by Cosby in the mid-1980s.

“[There was the time] in Atlantic City, which was the final incident, where he came straight out and attacked me in his suite and tried to rape me and tried to tear off my clothes and he was trying to tear off his belt buckle and his pants,” the 47-year-old actress recounted. “I was screaming and yelling and scratching and wrestling to get away from him, and at one point he just got angry and viciously mad and threw me out.”

Bowman is one of over a dozen women who has accused Cosby of sexual assault over the years. Cosby is frequently listed among the greatest comedians of all time. He received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from George W. Bush. And there is, of course, Cliff Huxtable and that string of delightful Jell-O commercials.

But Bill Cosby is far from the only famous man who has been accused of sexual assault, rape, or violence against women. And it’s astounding how many of them have been gift-wrapped a free pass from an adoring public.

Mike Tyson is a convicted rapist, and he now stars as a loveable cartoon TV detective. Roman Polanski raped a 13-year-old and has since won an Oscar to a standing ovation. Sean Connery is the celebrated embodiment of rugged cool, who has openly championed beating women in order to keep ’em in line. Bill Murray has been accused by his ex-wife of repeated, brutal physical abuse. Rick James was arrested for torturing and sexually abusing a woman for three days straight, only to have his image rehabilitated by Dave Chappelle years later. John Lennon is one of the most worshipped artists who has ever drawn breath, and he has copped to battering the shit out of women.

Also, who could forget Michael Jackson, R. Kelly, CeeLo Green, Julian Assange, Terry Richardson, Tupac Shakur, Gary Glitter, Charlie Sheen, Sean Penn, Josh Brolin, Nicolas Cage, and Chris Brown.

And then there’s Woody Allen—the other world-famous funnyman who recently came under fire for alleged horrific abuse.

Why Democrats need rich people, too

Why Democrats need rich people, too

Elizabeth Warren was doing Tuesday what Elizabeth Warren usually does: sticking up for the little guy.

The populist Democratic senator from Massachusetts was in the Dirksen Senate Office Building, hosting an event to push Wal-Mart to raise wages and improve working conditions. “No one in this country should work full time and still live in poverty,” she said, wearing a green wristband to show solidarity with Wal-Mart workers. “Today a person can work full time, and a momma and a baby on a full-time minimum job cannot keep themselves out of poverty — and that’s wrong.”

A few hours earlier, Warren, joined by Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), fired off letters to 16 financial institutions demanding more information about how they’re protecting consumers from fraud and identity theft. Later in the day, she cast her vote against the oil-and-gas interests backing the Keystone XL pipeline.

This would seem to be Warren’s moment. Exit polls in the midterm elections showed that 63 percent of voters thought the economy favors the wealthy, while only 32 percent said the economy is fair to most Americans. Harry Reid, the Senate Democratic leader, has made a leadership position for Warren. Presidential rumors persist, though she shows no signs of running.

Warren’s populism is appealing — not fiery or vengeful but compassionate and grounded in fairness. She also has the virtue of being correct: People don’t feel improvement in the economy because the gains haven’t been shared evenly, income inequality has widened and wages haven’t increased along with stock prices and corporate profits.

Yet there’s a limit to how far Warren, and the Democrats, can go with their little-guy theme, for one simple reason: They can’t afford it.

Obama’s Executive Order on Immigration Is Unlikely to Include Health Benefits

Obama’s Executive Order on Immigration Is Unlikely to Include Health Benefits

Millions of undocumented immigrants who are set to be granted a form of legal status by President Obama as early as this week will not receive one key benefit: government subsidies for health care available under the Affordable Care Act.

Mr. Obama is preparing to use his executive authority to provide work permits for up to five million people who are in the United States illegally, and to shield them from deportation. But an official familiar with the administration’s deliberations said on Tuesday that such people would not be eligible for subsidized, low-cost plans from the government’s health insurance marketplace,

The official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the president has not announced details of the plan, said the immigrants would most likely be treated the same way that so-called Dreamers — undocumented immigrants who came to the United States as children — were under a similar executive action in 2012. The Dreamers did not receive health care benefits.

The decision would reflect the political sensitivities that arise when there is a collision between two of the most divisive issues in Washington: health care and immigration. It would also underline the White House preference for not risking the fury of conservative lawmakers who have long opposed providing government health care to illegal immigrants, and who fought intensely to deny such immigrants coverage under the Affordable Care Act.

“The costs of extending these programs to millions of low-wage illegal immigrants would be enormous,” said Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama, the senior Republican on the Senate Budget Committee. “This is yet another danger posed to Americans by the president’s unconstitutional action.”

But a White House decision to deny health care benefits to the immigrants would also fall far short of the kind of full membership in American society that activists have spent decades fighting for. The immigrants would also be unlikely to receive benefits like food stamps, Medicaid coverage or other need-based federal programs offered to citizens and to some legal residents.

Boehner taps Jonathan Turley for Obamacare lawsuit

Boehner taps Turley for Obamacare lawsuit

Boehner taps Jonathan Turley for Obamacare lawsuit

By David M. Drucker

House Speaker John Boehner has hired prominent constitutional scholar Jonathan Turley to represent the House of Representatives in its lawsuit against President Obama's unilateral move to delay implementation of an Obamacare provision requiring large firms to offer healthcare to their employees.

The first two attorneys whom Boehner tapped quit in succession, backing out after deciding that the issue was too politically charged to handle. Turley, a law professor at George Washington University in D.C., has been an outspoken critic of what he has viewed as executive overreach by both Obama and former President George W. Bush.

“Professor Turley is a renowned legal scholar who agrees that President Obama has clearly overstepped his Constitutional authority. He is a natural choice to handle this lawsuit,” Boehner spokesman Michael Steel said.

Can Obama Trade Keystone for Something?

Can Obama Trade Keystone for Something?

By Jonathan Chait

President Obama has played a coy game on the Keystone XL pipeline, constantly delaying approval without committing himself fully to opposition. Coral Davenport and Ashley Parker today report out what Obama’s game is here: “People familiar with the president’s thinking say that in 2015 he might use Keystone as a bargaining chip: He would offer Republicans approval of it in exchange for approval of one of his policies.

From Obama’s perspective, this plan makes perfect sense. The trouble is that Republicans almost certainly won’t trade him anything in return for the pipeline.

The superficial logic of a Keystone trade makes sense. Obama doesn’t really care about the project much one way or the other. He regards it as a sideshow with negligible effects on climate change. Republicans, on the other hand, constantly implore him to approve it. That would seem, on the surface, to lay the basis for a logical trade of one kind or another.
How California Is Making Life Easier for Undocumented Immigrants

How California Is Making Life Easier for Undocumented Immigrants

By Alexia Fernández Campbell

While the federal government dithers on immigration reform, California has taken action to become the most immigrant-friendly state.

SAN JOSE, Calif.—California isn't waiting for Congress to act on immigration reform. The state has passed about a dozen laws in the last two years that allow undocumented immigrants to get subsidized health insurance, student loans, financial aid, and professional licenses to practice law and medicine.

These efforts have earned California the reputation as the most immigrant-friendly state in the nation. And the most welcoming place of all is Santa Clara County in Silicon Valley. Not only does it score the highest in the state for integrating immigrants, but it also boasts the second-largest percentage of foreigners in the nation after Miami.

America's high-tech capital attracts a global mix of workers, from Indian computer programmers to Vietnamese entrepreneurs and Mexican day laborers. Immigrants make up 38 percent of the population in the San Jose metro area, which includes Santa Clara County and most of Silicon Valley, according to 2013 Census Bureau data. That's an even higher share of immigrants than Los Angeles and New York.

Silicon Valley's undocumented workers played a highly visible role in pushing the state to expand opportunities for its poorest immigrants, with many speaking publicly for the first time about their legal status. They realized they didn't have to wait for Washington to pay attention, says Jazmin Segura with Educators for Fair Consideration, a nonprofit group that advocates for expanded access to higher education for undocumented students.

"There is definitely a lot of frustration that things are not moving at the federal level," says Segura, who helped draft the new law that will allow people without Social Security numbers to obtain professional licenses. "I think California has shown so much leadership and is recognizing the contribution of immigrants to the state."

Harry Reid to Obama: 'Go big' on immigration action

Reid: 'I don’t expect' Keystone bill to fail

Reid to Obama: 'Go big' on immigration action

By Rebecca Shabad

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) on Tuesday called for President Obama to “go big” with his executive action on immigration.

“I believe that whatever the president decides to do on his executive order, he should go big — as big as he can — and there’s precedent for him going back to [President Dwight D.] Eisenhower,” Reid said during a press conference.

Presidents since Eisenhower have issued executive orders on immigration 39 different times, Reid noted. He argued that Republicans didn’t cause a fuss when Presidents Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush took actions that gave legal status to groups of immigrants. 

Congress will eventually have to step in and pass immigration reform, Reid added, because “executive action is not a substitute for congressional action.”

Republicans angered by Obama's promise of action have threatened to include measures to stop him in a government funding bill that must be approved by Congress in December. Reid and Democrats are already seizing on that debate as evidence that Republicans are looking to shut down the government.

Ted Cruz blasts e-fairness as “massive national sales tax”

Ted Cruz blasts e-fairness as “massive national sales tax”

By Todd J. Gillman

Sen. Ted Cruz joined other opponents of an online sales tax plan on Tuesday, calling it a giveaway to Amazon, Best Buy and other big retailers at the expense of consumers and small start-ups.

“The last thing we should be doing is pass a massive new national sales tax,” he said, joining a number of conservative House members and others who oppose the Marketplace Fairness Act. “Don’t mess with the Internet.”

The bill would let states and cities collect sales taxes from online sellers, even if those businesses have no physical presence in their jurisdiction. The change could generate $340 billion in state and local tax revenue over a decade.

Speaker John Boehner, a longtime opponent of an online sales tax bill, said this month that he won’t let it move forward this year.

Backers – including top senators in both parties – hope to tie it to a moratorium on Internet access tax. The current moratorium expires Dec. 11, though Texas is exempt and already allows such levees.

The National Governors Association is among the groups urging Congress to tie the issues together as a way to pass the Marketplace Fairness Act. The National Retail Federation likewise wants to see it enacted during the lame duck session of Congress.

But with Republicans winning a huge number of Senate seats and poised to fully control Congress in less than two months, Cruz said, “It would be the height of lunacy” to impose the tax now.

As Sharpton Rose, Taxes and Debt Piled Up

The Rev. Al Sharpton spoke during a rally at the National Action Network headquarters in Harlem on Saturday.

Credit Michael Appleton for The New York Times

As Sharpton Rose, Taxes and Debt Piled Up


The Rev. Al Sharpton, who has been honored by Mayor Bill de Blasio and President Obama, has regularly sidestepped taxes, rent and other bills.

The Rev. Al Sharpton, who came to prominence as an imposing figure in a track suit, shouting indignantly at the powerful, stood quietly on a stage last month at the Four Seasons restaurant, his now slender frame wrapped in a finely tailored suit, as men in power lined up to exclaim their admiration for him.

Mayor Bill de Blasio and Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo hailed him as a civil rights icon. President Obama sent an aide to read a message commending Mr. Sharpton’s “dedication to the righteous cause of perfecting our union.” Major corporations sponsored the lavish affair.

It was billed as a “party for a cause,” in honor of Mr. Sharpton’s 60th birthday. But more than a birthday celebration, or a fund-raiser for his nonprofit advocacy group National Action Network, the event seemed to mark the completion of Mr. Sharpton’s decades of transition from consummate outsider to improbable insider.

“I’ve been able to reach from the streets to the suites,” he said that night.

Indeed, Mr. Sharpton’s influence and visibility have reached new heights this year, fueled by his close relationships with the mayor and the president.

Obscured in his ascent, however, has been his troubling financial past, which continues to shadow his present.

Mr. Sharpton has regularly sidestepped the sorts of obligations most people see as inevitable, like taxes, rent and other bills. Records reviewed by The New York Times show more than $4.5 million in current state and federal tax liens against him and his for-profit businesses. And though he said in recent interviews that he was paying both down, his balance with the state, at least, has actually grown in recent years. His National Action Network appears to have been sustained for years by not paying federal payroll taxes on its employees.

With the tax liability outstanding, Mr. Sharpton traveled first class and collected a sizable salary, the kind of practice by nonprofit groups that the United States Treasury’s inspector general for tax administration recently characterized as “abusive,” or “potentially criminal” if the failure to turn over or collect taxes is willful.

Mr. Sharpton and the National Action Network have repeatedly failed to pay travel agencies, hotels and landlords. He has leaned on the generosity of friends and sometimes even the organization, intermingling its finances with his own to cover his daughters’ private school tuition.

He has been in the news as much as ever this year, becoming a prominent advocate on behalf of the families of Eric Garner, a Staten Island man who died in police custody, and Michael Brown, the unarmed black teenager who was killed by a white police officer in Ferguson, Mo. He also has a daily platform through his show on MSNBC.

Behind the scenes, he has consulted with the mayor and the president on matters of race and civil rights and even the occasional high-level appointment. He was among a small group at the White House when Mr. Obama announced his nomination of Loretta E. Lynch, the United States attorney for the Eastern District of New York, to become the next attorney general.

Mr. Sharpton’s newly found insider status represents a potential financial boon for him, furnishing him with new credibility and a surge in donations. His politician-heavy birthday party, at one of New York City’s most expensive restaurants, was billed as fund-raiser to help his organization. Mr. Obama also spoke at the organization’s convention in April, its primary fund-raising event.

How Elizabeth Warren is already influencing Hillary Clinton’s 2016 bid.

How Elizabeth Warren is already influencing Hillary Clinton’s 2016 bid.

"The midterms were a clear moment that shows we need leaders that are courageous and inspiring to people and ones that have clear plans and ideas that speak to people's lives and struggles. We need someone to run like that in 2016 to give people a reason to get involved. We need candidates who aren’t trying to play it safe, which is what we see in Warren. There is a question now about where the Democratic party is headed and we want to see it going in Warren’s direction. We should have that debate in the Democratic primary. Her new role shows she is a leader in the Democratic party and whatever her future role is, she will guide the Democratic party. It’s an exciting development that she is getting recognized, but her platform would be bigger if she were to run for president."

In Massachusetts, where Warren was at a campaign event for Martha Coakley, Hillary Clinton tried to do her populism thing by saying corporations don't create jobs

Sagrans: That moment showed Warren’s effect already on the Democratic primary. Clinton is embracing her language around corporations and Wall Street. She has pushed the language that Clinton is using. It’s a start. But we want to see more than that. We want to see Clinton and future candidates really embrace Warren’s words and views and passion when it comes to working people taking on Wall Street and helping students with debt, for instance. There are places where they agree, but places where Warren goes further in how she wants to do things. Part of it is also the people we want to see in charge and who they are accountable to.

Jerry Brown’s legacy will be decided at the ballot box — again.

Jerry Brown’s legacy will be decided at the ballot box — again.

n an era of constant television advertising, California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) stands out. Brown won an unprecedented fourth term in office this month with 59 percent of the vote, without running a single TV spot. Late campaign finance reports showed he maintained almost $21 million in his bank account just two weeks before Election Day.

Despite the big bankroll, Brown wants more. He will appear at a fundraiser Monday in Sacramento with lobbyists and their clients, who will fork over $5,000 checks written to his reelection campaign.

Why does Brown need the money? The 76-year-old governor is barred by law from seeking a fifth term four years from now, and he’s not likely to run for a U.S. Senate seat or some other elected office when his fourth term is over. Despite an endorsement from comedian Bill Maher, Brown isn’t likely to take a fourth shot at the presidency.

Instead, Brown’s campaign war chest is likely to be spent on establishing his legacy through a different type of campaign: advocating for ballot initiatives that advance his legislative and policy goals by bypassing the legislature itself. He can also expend the money on other candidates.

Some of Brown’s biggest achievements in his third term came at the ballot box. In 2012, California voters approved Proposition 30, which raised income taxes on the wealthy and the sales taxes. Brown and first lady Anne Gust controlled virtually the entire campaign.

In 2014, Brown spent at least $3.3 million on television advertisements for two more ballot measures — one a massive $7.1 billion water bond that will build infrastructure aimed at helping the state recover from a years-long drought, the other that bolsters the state’s rainy day fund to help it weather the next economic recession.

Even before Election Day, Brown made clear that his campaign war chest would help him avoid losing influence in Sacramento. “I do think having a credible war chest will overcome whatever infirmities lame-duck governors might ordinarily suffer from,” Brown told the Los Angeles Times.

Backstabbing in Hillaryland: Here We Go Again

Backstabbing in Hillaryland: Here We Go Again

We've seen this movie before, and it doesn't end well.

On Friday, ABC News published a story about a email listserv maintained by two Democratic operatives: Robby Mook, a former Howard Dean and Hillary Clinton campaign aide, and Marlon Marshall, an Obama White House staffer named Marlon Marshall. The story's title—"EXCLUSIVE: Read the Secret Emails of the Men Who May Run Hillary Clinton's Campaign"—promised a juicy expose. In reality, the substance of what members posted on this 150-member "secret" listserv, dubbed the "Mook Mafia," was far from explosive. The phrases "smite Republicans mafia-style" and "punish those voters" read badly out of context. But then, who hasn't dashed off a snarky email to friends that you wished you could take back and touch up a little?

The real news isn't that Mook and Marshall had a listserv for fellow Democratic operatives. It's that someone on the listserv leaked its contents in an effort to hurt Mook's chances of becoming the manager of Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign. In other words, the Clinton '16 effort has yet to officially launch and already the backstabbing and infighting has begun.

It's shades of Hillary '08 all over again.

Internal battles notoriously plagued Clinton's first presidential run. A Washington Post story in March 2008 described the "combustible environment within the Clinton campaign, an operation where internal strife and warring camps have undercut a candidate once seemingly destined for the Democratic nomination."

The Constitution Didn't Foresee Divided Government

The Constitution Didn't Foresee Divided Government

The battle between Obama and a Republican Congress may shake Americans' faith in the Framers.

By Garrett Epps

“The president is completely ignoring the will of the American voters, who turned out on Election Day and overwhelmingly elected people who wanted to change the direction of the country,” Senator John Barrasso of Wyoming, chairman of the Senate Republican Policy Committee, complained Thursday to The New York Times.

Barrasso is right. President Obama is ignoring “the will” of those who turned out to vote this month. In a different system, he would have already moved out of the White House, replaced by a leader chosen by the Republican majorities in Congress. (For that matter, he would have been gone after his party took, in his words, a “shellacking” in 2010.)

Instead, however, he is president for two more years. When the voters were directly asked their “will” on his tenure two years ago, they handed him a title deed to the White House good, under our Constitution, until January 2017. With that in hand, he has made clear that he plans to go forward with executive actions to further his agenda.

Already, since the election, he has signed an agreement with China setting more strenuous goals for reducing carbon emissions. He has promised to issue soon an executive order providing broader protections against deportation for undocumented immigrants—in effect using executive authority to impose a limited form of the comprehensive immigration reform the Senate passed but the House refused to enact. Signals from the White House suggest that other executive initiatives may be in the works.

Is this an outrage, a defiance of democratic legitimacy? Is it a welcome sign of courageous presidential leadership? How does the coming duel between legislative and executive branch fit into the design of our Constitution?

Purity politics, Democrat-style

Purity politics, Democrat-style


Here comes the tea party of the left.

On a rainy Monday morning, 50 sodden liberal activists stood on the muddy front lawn of the Capitol Hill home of Sen. Mary Landrieu, advocating for the Louisiana Democrat’s defeat.

“This house is high and dry, but the coastlines of Louisiana are sinking, very much like Senator Landrieu’s career!” Erich Pica, president of Friends of the Earth, shouted into a microphone.

The activists behind him, who had inflated a model of an oil pipeline on the senator’s lawn using a generator and a window fan, erupted in cheers of “Woo-hoo!” and “Yeah!”

“And she’s hooking her political career on the passage of the Keystone XL pipeline,” continued Pica, referring to Landrieu’s effort to force a Senate vote on the project in an effort to boost her prospects in next month’s runoff election.

“You would rather allow Big Oil to dictate the politics of this country and your reelection at the expense of . . . this country and the world, just to get reelected,” Pica charged. “Shame on you!”

Democrats lash out at Nancy Pelosi

Nancy Pelosi is shown. | M. Scott Mahaskey/POLITICO

Democrats lash out at Nancy Pelosi

House members go on the record with rare open criticism of their leaders.

The discontent with Nancy Pelosi is breaking out in the open.

Democrats in the House have quietly grumbled about Pelosi since suffering devastating losses on Election Day, but there is a growing number of members willing to go public on their party leaders.

The list of grievances — from the election losses, to routine procedures erupting into nasty fights — has shaken the confidence many Democrats hold in their leader. So while Pelosi was reelected unanimously by voice vote to the top House Democratic post on Tuesday during a closed-door party meeting — with no audible disagreement, according to a source in the room — the incoming minority leader is about to be in the worst position with her caucus since the end of their short-lived majority in 2010.

“They wiped the floor with us, so no, we’re not feeling good,” said Ohio Rep. Marcia Fudge, chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus. “We think clearly there was a lack of a coherent and compelling message. We believe that certainly our leadership worked hard, but there obviously was something lacking because we lost so many seats. I want to see members who have a better handle on the caucus brought in, whether they be young or old. I want people who have a good pulse of what is going on in our caucus … people who are more inclusive.”

John Boehner: Plenty of fight left for immigration battle

Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio, takes questions as he meets with reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Nov. 13, 2014. | AP Photo

John Boehner: Plenty of fight left for immigration battle

By Jake Sherman

Speaker John Boehner told a closed meeting of Republicans that he has “plenty of fight in him” to confront President Barack Obama on unilateral changes to the enforcement of immigration laws.

The statement came Tuesday morning in the Capitol basement, as Boehner (R-Ohio) and his GOP colleagues begin to plot their strategy for renewing government funding amid simmering anger at the White House’s immigration plans.

Boehner also told House Republicans they need be able to “chew gum and walk” at the same time - a not-so-subtle message that the Ohio Republican wants to continue governing while battling Obama.

Obama’s Executive Overreach Is More Dangerous Than Amnesty

Obama’s Executive Overreach Is More Dangerous Than Amnesty

Obama’s Executive Overreach Is More Dangerous Than Amnesty

 By David Harsanyi

The GOP not only has a strong political reason to fight Obama on executive abuse, they have a constitutional responsibility, as well.

Although it may be difficult to imagine, there are things more devastating to a country than a few years of legislative gridlock. For example, allowing slavish partisanship to corrode principles of American governance for temporary political gain. That sort of thing.

Is this an overreaction? Well, this week, the Senate Majority Leader of the United States sent a letter to the president, urging him to unilaterally change the legal status of millions of people. Since “Republicans have not acted,” Harry Reid and other top Democrats reasoned, “we fully support your decision to use your well-established executive authority to improve as much of the immigration system as you can.”

Reid, Chuck Schumer, Michael Bennet, and a number of liberal pundits contend that if the GOP fails to take up the agenda items laid out by the soon-to-be minority Democrats, the well-established constitutional authority to pass bills through two houses of Congress and waiting for the president sign or veto them can be disregarded for the greater good. Ask Eugene Robinson at the Washington Post, who believes the “only reason President Obama has to act on immigration reform is that House Speaker John Boehner won’t.” Boehner, you see, refuses to do his job, which entails taking up bills the president deems important and then passing them.


Using this rationalization, Obama can act whenever his favored policy is ignored. After all, senators urge Obama to change the status of millions by deferring deportations for illegal immigrants brought here by their parents or families as children—although he may do more. By any reasonable standard, that sort of modification to a law deserves to be wrung through a legislative process. But Obama’s aim, unambiguously laid out by the president in his post-midterm press conference, is to circumvent that process and, as Robinson explains, do Congress’ job. Which, come to think of it, is a perfect definition of executive abuse.

Everything the president doing is completely legal! Well, just because the president gets away with something doesn’t mean it isn’t a misuse of power. Ask any liberal who’s spent the last 15 years bemoaning the excesses of the security state.

Yet Congress isn’t compelled to pass anything. For six years, the media framed Washington’s mess as a battle between obstinate conservatives and “democracy.” Obama had often also often argued—on guns and immigration, among other issues—that a troublesome minority stood in the way of the people’s aspirations. And even though the president seems to count every non-voting American as a staunch supporter, that argument doesn’t even work anymore. A USA Today poll found that 46 percent believe that the president should allow the new Republican majorities in the House and Senate to act on immigration reform and 42 percent of Americans want Obama to “act.”

Democrats press Obama to wait on immigration executive action

Democrats press Obama to wait on immigration executive action

 By Alexander Bolton

President Obama has a tough decision to make on the timing of an executive order to freeze deportations of illegal immigrants. 

Senate Democrats want him to wait to give them time to pass an omnibus spending bill and other legislative priorities in the lame-duck session that is just now ramping up.

But delaying the action, even for a few weeks, could make Obama look weak and inflame immigration advocates who are already furious with him for holding back until after the midterm elections.

“You have growing anxiety amongst the immigrant community that’s losing faith that the president is going to do as he said he would do,” said Brent Wilkes, national executive director of the League of United Latin American Citizens. “I really think he’ll lose support from the Latino community if he continues to wait.”

Complicating the situation further, Obama is being asked to do a favor for Democratic lawmakers at a time when they are casting blame on him for the party’s disastrous showing at the ballot box.

One of the sharpest blows came from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-Nev.) chief of staff, who excoriated Obama in a story published almost immediately after Democrats lost the Senate.

Obama postponed executive action on immigration reform until after the midterm elections at the behest of Democrats, and immigration advocates say there’s no reason to go that route again.

“Waiting doesn’t make sense,” said Clarissa Martínez-De-Castro, deputy vice president of research, advocacy and legislation at the National Council of La Raza. “This is about millions of American families who’ve been waiting for a very long time for something to be done,” she said.

But Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), the chairman of the Homeland Security Committee, which has jurisdiction of the immigration enforcement agencies that would be affected, said Obama should wait until next year.

“If I were the president, what I’d say to the Congress — House, Senate, Democrat or Republican — I’m going to give you a little bit of time and in the new Congress expect you to do something,” he said.

How Valerie Jarrett Saved Obama

By Joshua DuBois

In the second half of 2007, Valerie quite literally saved the Obama presidential campaign. We were hemorrhaging support in the late summer and fall of that year, and a sort of depression was settling in among some field and political staff in early primary states. We lagged far behind Hillary Clinton in many of those contests, even among black voters, who didn’t see the campaign making the types of decisions that indicated we wanted their support.

The last straw was when Congressman John Lewis—the Civil Rights legend—came out in support of Hillary Clinton in October 2007. That announcement dealt a huge blow to our morale internally and to the case that we made to minority voters externally. It was hard to talk about making history when the real history-makers like Lewis weren’t backing you.

One core problem was that our young, diverse campaign staff didn’t always feel heard by the powers that be. There were strategic recommendations, views on where the candidate should go, and political intelligence among these lower and middle ranks of staffers, but few places to send them. This resulted in missed opportunities, depressed morale—and declining poll numbers in states where the support of young people, African Americans, Latinos, and other minorities was key.

That’s when Valerie stepped in. She had functionally been a volunteer and an occasional advisor up to that point, but after the Lewis disaster it was clear she needed to take a larger role. So she more formally joined the ranks of the campaign’s senior leadership. And as soon as she became a regular presence at our Michigan Avenue headquarters, things started to change.

Young, black, Latino, women, and gay staffers felt like they had a listening ear and advocate in the upper tiers of the campaign—at times after making a quiet trip to Valerie’s office. The diversity of our endorsements started trending in the right direction, often after a phone call from Valerie to a key supporter. Then-Senator Obama began attending the types of base-rallying events that got people in the early states energized, often after a nudge from Valerie. And in states like South Carolina—which was so central to the campaign’s trajectory after the devastating loss in New Hampshire—Obama finally got his footing, and turned things around.

Drone ‘Shortage’ Hampers ISIS War

Drone ‘Shortage’ Hampers ISIS War

The American campaign against the Islamic State is being largely fought from the sky. And even that aerial effort is being shortchanged, military insiders tell The Daily Beast.

The president has declared the fight against ISIS to be a top priority. But within some corners of the U.S. military, there are growing concerns that the fight isn’t getting the resources it needs. Specifically, senior military officials tell The Daily Beast, there’s a “shortage” of drones and other surveillance planes needed to keep tabs on ISIS militants in Iraq and in Syria.

By now, he coalition’s difficulties in monitoring ISIS have been well documented. ISIS forces are operating in smaller groups and inside the civilian population to avoid being spotted from the sky. And the militant group’s leaders are using encryption or human couriers to send messages. Just last week, key members of the U.S. government met to discuss how hard it’s been to track the militant group.

Until now, most of the internal criticisms about the American-led intelligence effort have largely centered around the lack of U.S. spies on the ground. These American military officials are making a different point: There simply aren’t enough American surveillance flights over the ISIS battlefield. The reason, they add, is because the war in Afghanistan continues to receive preferential treatment, even though it is winding down.

“A shortage of ISR exists,” one Air Force official told The Daily Beast, using the military’s acronym for intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance. “Afghanistan has the first draw on resources. With it being a NATO-based alliance, there is more face to lose if the U.S. diverts resources to Iraq or Syria against the ISIS tasking. As the troops draw down [in Afghanistan], they will need more, not less, ISR.”

A senior Pentagon official agreed that there is a shortage of surveillance planes needed to track down ISIS. But he disagreed with the Air Force official about the reason for it is the prioritizing of Afghanistan.

“Fair to say that we currently have more ISR requirements than we have the capacity to fulfill,” the official said. “Probably less about ‘losing face’ by diverting any more assets from [Afghanistan] than the need to continue to support the commanders’ high-priority ISR requirements during the drawdown.”

Before Obama’s immigration decision, skepticism is palpable

Before Obama’s immigration decision, skepticism is palpable

President Obama is preparing to announce his big executive action on immigration, possibly as early as this week.

And the earliest indication is that it will be about as popular as he is.

A new poll from USA Today and Princeton Survey Research shows 42 percent approve of Obama acting unilaterally via executive action to address problems in the immigration system. Another 46 percent say Obama should wait for the new GOP-led Congress to pass immigration legislation, while 10 percent are unsure.

The split is somewhat counterintuitive, since a strong majority of Americans approve of what is likely to be the key element of the executive action: effectively legalizing millions of immigrants who are here illegally. As Post pollsters Peyton M. Craighill and Scott Clement pointed out over the weekend, 57 percent of those who voted on Nov. 4 favored legalization for these people, while 39 percent wanted deportation, according to exit polls. And even that split was actually narrower than most polls have shown.

But in politics, the process matters too, and many of those who otherwise support legalization also appear opposed to or hesitant about doing so without the regular checks and balances of the legislative and executive branches. Threading that needle is a difficult exercise for Obama, but he has said Republican leaders have failed to address the issue and now their time is up.

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