Sarah B.

Last active
12 hours, 12 minutes ago
  • Sarah B. commented on the blog post Vice President Biden Visits Ukraine To Show Support

    2014-11-24 00:18:32View | Delete

    Oh, good, you used the Google.

    I am well-aware that Olga Bogomolets is a dermatologist — her Wiki page lists her training and medical credentials — but I didn’t mention her specialty because it is irrelevant to the work she performed treating wounded protesters in Maidan Square.

    According to the transcript of the leaked telephone conversation between the Estonian foreign minister Urmas Paet and the EU foreign affairs chief Baroness Catherine Ashton, Bogomolets told Paet what she had witnessed and experienced first-hand and that she had photos which would have been of enormous value to any forensic examination.

    She never presented herself as a criminal ballistics expert, but simply as a medical doctor who was in a position to offer her own eye-witness testimony from the wounded demonstrators and their supporters, and she reported that she had collected evidence from the scene, including photos, that could have made a serious contribution to any credible investigation.

    Bogomolets wouldn’t need to be a criminal ballistics expert to be able to discern markings on recovered shell casings and ordinance she extracted from gunshot wounds. Her testimony and physical evidence and photos constituted prima facie evidence that would have greatly facilitated any forensic investigation had the coup government chosen to conduct a credible inquiry. But, the coup government chose not to investigate and to stifle any further opposition that did not further their agenda.

    I don’t know if Bogomolets was “silenced” or if she decided to silence herself in the absence of any interest or political will to investigate the snipers and to seek justice for the victims by Yats and the Rats in Kiev. She recanted her story not long after the audio of the Paet/Ashton telephone call was leaked to the media, and it seems clear that she has decided not to pursue the matter further.

    It’s clear that Bogomolets recanted her story on March 5, 2014, in a piece that appeared in The Telegraph, and that she decided to drop any further pursuit of a serious investigation regarding the snipers in Kiev in February 2014.

    It’s also clear that Bogomolets was rewarded with a very prestigious position as special adviser to President Petro Poroshenko on September 1, 2014. Whether a quid pro quo was involved is impossible to say for certain, but it certainly is suggestive that six months after she recanted her story and dropped any further pursuit of an investigation that Poroshenko appointed her to be his special adviser.

    Actually, forensic investigations are not that difficult to conduct months and even years after the fact, as evidenced by the myriad cold-case files that are reopened and investigated every year, in which the innocents are exonerated and the culprits are brought to justice.

    A team of forensic investigators recently exhumed and identified the remains of Richard III (1452 – 1485), who was King of England for two years, from 1483 until his death in 1485 at the Battle of Bosworth Field. Perhaps you have heard of DNA — Google it.

    Ukraine Crisis – What You’re Not Being Told

    With regard to the massacre in Odessa, the evidence is clear:

    Independent report on massacre in Odessa (House of Trade Unions, May 2, 2014)

    The Odessa Massacre – What REALLY Happened [Video]

    The Odessa Massacre – What REALLY Happened [Video and Photos]

    Of course unanswered questions remain regarding the truth about who was responsible for ordering and implementing the sniper killings in Maidan Square in February 2014, and the Odessa massacre in May 2014, but the preponderance of the evidence to date points to neo-Nazis and fascists from Svoboda and Right Sector and those who sympathize with them.

    It is little wonder that the coup government in Kiev and their apologists have no interest in investigations, accountability, and justice for the victims. They might have to arrest themselves and their fellow coup leaders.

    Your reference to “a lot of documentation” regarding Yanukovych’s corruption, including statements from Georgia’s leader, et al., is laughable:

    Do you mean this Georgian leader? — Pot meet Kettle!

    March 27, 2014

    Mikheil Saakashvili: Georgia threatens arrest warrant

    Or, this Georgian leader? — Former Prime Minister Ivane Merabishvili?

    February 17, 2014

    Former Prime Minister of Georgia Convicted of Corruption

    Or, do you mean the latest Georgian leader, Giorgi Margvelashvili, handpicked to replace Saakashvili, by Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili, an oligarch and the richest man in Georgia?

    October 27, 2013

    Georgia PM ally Giorgi Margvelashvili ’wins presidency’

    Prime Minister Ivanishvili has dismissed Saakashvili’s achievements, calling him a “liar” and a “dictator.”

    Saakashvili is now living in exile in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, and is plotting his comeback in Georgia, despite the fact that he will be arrested and put on trial for corruption upon setting foot in the country.

    Indeed, those leaders of the Republic of Georgia certainly are well-qualified experts on corruption.

    PS — References to snipers and grassy knolls are worn-out clichés and regarded as satire.

  • Sarah B. commented on the diary post Mark Udall and the Unspeakable by David Swanson.

    2014-11-23 16:02:07View | Delete

    Close Ties and Keeping Secrets Former Dean of UC Berkely Law School + Barack Obama = Political Symbiosis: Obama Presidential Campaigns — Top Donor: 2008 — University of California — $1,799,460 2014 — University of California — $1,212,245 John Yoo, the torture enthusiast who wrote legal memos to justify torturing some folks, must be especially [...]

  • Sarah B. commented on the blog post House Republicans Finally File Suit Against President Obama

    2014-11-22 22:41:22View | Delete

    What if the Senate does not agree with the House’s position on the matter?

    Thanks for the thoughtful response. You raise an important question regarding the reluctance of the courts to intervene to resolve issues that are essentially political differences — if not petty partisan squabbles in which both sides are guilty — within upper and lower chambers of the legislature and/or between the executive and legislative branches versus the actual constitutional challenges these cases might present.

    But, come January, the Republican House and the Republican Senate are going to be joined at the navel politically on the issues extant in both the King and Halbig cases, so that the court can move beyond the parochial House versus Senate realm to concentrate more fully on the conflict between the executive and legislative branches on constitutional grounds. Indeed, the Senate could petition the court to join the House plaintiffs in this litigation once the Republican majority is sworn in and seated in January 2015.

    Consequently, the degree to which Turley and the plaintiffs can shape the litigation moving forward, I suspect that the court will become more focused on the conflict between the executive and legislative branches vis-à-vis the separation of powers and discrepancies between the language and the intent of a key provision of the Obamacare legislation.

    Turley views the King case — and the Halbig case even more so — as fundamental separation-of-powers and executive-branch overeach cases, and, with a U.S. Supreme Court filled almost to the brim with self-proclaimed “strict constrictionists” and ideologues, the likelihood that the high court will manage to eke out a 5/4 decision by the usual suspects in favor the House, possibly joined by the Senate, plaintiffs is not too far-fetched to imagine.

    But, we shall see. Second-guessing the Roberts court is always a fool’s errand.

  • Sarah B. commented on the blog post The Nuclear Option Catch-22 for Republicans

    2014-11-22 19:41:06View | Delete

    The Nuclear Option Catch-22 for Republicans

    Compared to what — the Nuclear Option Catch-22 for Harry Reid and the Democrats?

    Mitch McConnell will restore the filibuster to its former status, or not, based upon whichever condition he perceives will give him and his fellow GOPers the greatest degree of leverage over the Dembots. Period. Full stop. End of story.

    One thing is certain — Mitch McConnell and John Boehner are not going to play the roles of butler and caterer to Obama, as their predecessors did when they held the majorities in the House and Senate.

    I’m looking forward to the State of the Union address when Obama and Biden are forced look out over a vast sea of GOPers on a scale not seen since 1928! The principal difference was that Herbert Hoover was a GOPer, too. And, while he is notoriously Hooveresque in myriad and sundry ways, Obama, will not be so fortunate come January.

    Some call it schadenfreude.

  • Sarah B. commented on the blog post Vice President Biden Visits Ukraine To Show Support

    2014-11-22 19:05:53View | Delete

    As if right on cue:

    I read that piece by Ewen MacAskill in The Guardian when it first appeared in early March 2014, and I was immediately put off by his dismissive suggestion that the bugged call reveals a “conspiracy theory” about the Kiev snipers, while offering zero evidence to support his assertion.

    MacAskill claims that the participants in the call — Estonian foreign minister Urmas Paet and the EU foreign affairs chief Baroness Catherine Ashton — were actually discussing a “conspiracy theory” during the 11-minuted audio of the recorded conversation.

    But in listening to the audio, there is no mention whatsoever of a “conspiracy” or a “rumor” or a “theory” — Paet refers in his remarks to “a woman named Olga” who was an eye witness to the snipers’ victims, and that in her capacity as a doctor she treated their wounds at the scene.

    The “woman named Olga” was later identified Olga Bogomolets, a prominent Ukrainian doctor, who was a supporter of the “Euromaidan” protests and treated injured members of the crowd on both sides of the conflict when the live ammunition was fired from rooftops and from behind barricades.

    Here is precisely what Paet said to Ashton from the transcript of the call:

    What was quite disturbing, this same Olga told that, well, all the evidence shows that people who were killed by snipers from both sides, among policemen and people from the streets, that they were the same snipers killing people from both sides.

    So she also showed me some photos, she said that as medical doctor, she can say it is the same handwriting, the same type of bullets, and it’s really disturbing that now the new coalition, that they don’t want to investigate what exactly happened.

    So there is a stronger and stronger understanding that behind snipers it was not Yanukovych, it was somebody from the new coalition.

    To which Ashton, seemingly gobsmacked, replies:

    I think we do want to investigate. I didn’t pick that up, that’s interesting. Gosh.

    Paet claims that Dr. Olga Bogomolets showed him some photos and stated that she could identify the signatures on the bullets and that the new coalition (coup government) did not want to investigate what happened. Was she, too, a player in fomenting the “conspiracy theory”? Plus, whatever happened to those photos?

    Paet goes on to say that there is “stronger and stronger understanding” (evidence?) that it was not Yanukovych behind the snipers, but somebody from the coup government.

    Because the content of the conversation was so incendiary and damning to the vested interests of the U.S., UK, EU, and NATO in their eagerness to embrace and advance Yats and the Rats as the legitimate government of Ukraine — and because the voices on the audio are so unmistakably those of Paet and Ashton — the only way to spin the story away was to claim, through a compliant media tool, that the two were really discussing a “conspiracy theory” despite ample evidence to the contrary.

    The Western leaders were determined to make Yanukovych, and by association Putin, the villains of the piece, and Dr. Bogomolets’ expert eye-witness testimony and photos had the potential to demolish their cherished narrative that it was those evil Russians wot done it.

    I regarded McAskill’s “conspiracy theory” explanation laughable at the time and even more so now in light of the developments in Eastern Ukraine since last March, and in particular, the death and destruction that has since been visited upon in Donetsk and Luhansk, and which continues despite the cease-fire and the Minsk agreement.

    You need only to read the transcript from the audio recording to see that there is no mention of or allusion to a “conspiracy theory” of any kind. Do you believe McAskill or your own lying eyes? I prefer to go with the latter.

    When government officials want to divert and deflect and dissemble the facts to cover up their involvement in violations of international law, war crimes, and crimes against humanity, a favorite defense tactic is to charge their critics and those who seek to question their official narratives with engaging in “conspiracy theory” and unfounded rumors in an effort to discredit and silence them — the Romans referred to the practice as “Shoot the messenger.”

    Also, too, McAskill just couldn’t resist tossing in the loaded reference to the “Kremlin-funded Russia Today” — how selective and gratuitous! — especially, given the fact that The Guardian would never refer to the “Westminster-funded BBC”, despite the fact that the BBC is publicly-owned and licensed by Her Majesty’s Government and is funded by fees (taxes) collected from the British public.

    After the leak, Bogomolets’ mobile phone began ringing incessantly, and the Euromaidan protesters — and no doubt Yats and the Rats and the coup leaders as well — saw their AstroTurf “revolution” being called into question. In an interview with Britain’s Telegraph newspaper in early March 2014, Bogomolets distanced herself from Paets’ remarks, insisting that she hadn’t said what he had reported, and demanded that the new government investigate the incidents.

    In late March 2014, Ukraine’s interim interior minister, Arsen Avakov, released a predictable and self-serving report claiming that ousted President Viktor Yanukovych and Russian security agents had been involved in the planning that resulted in the deadly use of force in February. But, in what has become standard practice for the coup government, he blamed Russia and presented not a shred of proof.

    Since backtracking from her previous statements to Paet, which he recounts to Ashton with exquisite clarity in the leaked audio recording, Bogomolets has found common ground with the coup government in Kiev.

    Olga Bogomolets ran for President of Ukraine in the May 2014 presidential election, in which Petro Poroshenko (Independent) received 54.70%, and Yulia Tymoshenko (Fatherland Party) won 12.81%. Bogomolets (Independent supported by the Socialist Party) won 1.91% of the vote. Still, she fared better than neo-Nazis Oleh Tyahnybok (Svoboda Party) who received 1.16%, and Dmytro Yarosh, Right Sector, who received 0.70%.

    On September 1, 2014 Bogomolets was appointed as adviser to President Petro Poroshenko.

    Finally, how do you know that “there is no there there” when no credible investigation has ever been seriously conducted and completed, and the culprits have yet to be identified and held accountable, let alone brought to justice?

    The default response by Yats and the Rats of blaming the evil Russians for everything — while offering zero evidence to support their claims — is getting stale, as evidenced by the anger and disgust expressed at Poroshenko by former Euromaidan supporters now turned protesters.

    The angry protesters shouting at Poroshenko at the wreath-laying ceremony in the recent video (linked at Comment #18) are demanding answers regarding the snipers who fired on crowds during the Euromaidan protests, as they call for the officials of the previous government, whom they believe are responsible for the violence, to be brought to justice.

    Frustrated family members shouted: “Where are their killers?” and “Down with Poroshenko!”

    Please explain why there have been no serious and credible investigations and/or charges filed against the perpetrators almost ten months after the events in question? Or, would the coup government prefer that those inconvenient questions and demands just quietly go away for reasons they prefer not to disclose to the so-called international community?

    PS — Speaking of investigations, accountability, and justice, where is the timely and credible investigation by the coup government in Kiev of the vicious perpetrators of the massacre of peaceful protesters at the Trade Unions Building in Odessa on May 2, 2014? [*Crickets*]

  • I think the whole back taxes thing is pretty impractical….

    And, if not impractical, then certainly confusing, extremely difficult to document, and a bureaucratic nightmare to process and collect.

    Yves Smith addresses some of those hurdles in the link that I included in Comment #45.

    But let’s focus on what is the truly thorny issue, which is what to do about foreigners now working in the US. The Obama promise that he’ll handle the issue “responsibly” is already a big red flag. His high concept proposal:

    So we’re going to offer the following deal: If you’ve with been in America more than five years. If you have children who are American citizens or illegal residents. If you register, pass a criminal background check and you’re willing to pay your fair share of taxes, you’ll be able to apply to stay in this country temporarily without fear of deportation. You can come out of the shadows and get right with the law. That’s what this deal is.

    How many people will actually pass this bar? The fact sheet suggests that the number that will qualify is five million (although the, out of a total estimated illegal immigrant population of 11 million. And the main mechanism is the expansion of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program:

    DHS will expand the existing Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program to include more immigrants who came to the U.S. as children. DHS will also create a new deferred action program for people who are parents of U.S. Citizens or Lawful Permanent Residents (LPRs) and have lived in the United States for five years or longer if they register, pass a background check and pay taxes.

    Notice this differs from past amnesty programs which required applicants to pay back taxes, an almost impossible bar (I have one acquaintance, an illegal immigrant of 15 years with his own Social Security number who has consistently paid taxes who said he’d be the only person to qualify) in requiring taxes to be paid prospectively. But how many people who have been under the radar can prove they’ve lived in the US for five years?

    Finally, on the tax issue, Yves Smith echoes your skepticism:

    Oh, and as details are rolled out, be sure to look for the exemptions. For instance, you can bet there will be a provision to let “seasonal” as in migrant farm workers, to obtain entry. That could actually be positive if they come in though with a short-term visa and some sort of tax registration, since that has the potential to reduce employer abuses (particularly wage level abuses). But as in other cases, the devil lies in the details. (Emphasis added)

    Indeed, when dealing with Obama and any his pet policies, the devil is always in the details.

    But, Faites attention! — because the details are also in the devil, so to speak.

    As with DACA, where each applicant pays a $465 fee up front to receive the benefit — and another $465 to renew DACA status! — Obama’s new immigration reform “deal” may contain the ghost of Gruber: call it a fee instead of a tax, because the American people are stupid.

    If I had been living in this country for years and had a job — especially, if I had already managed to acquire an ITIN number — I might well decide that I would rather stay “in the shadows” if the only payoff for jumping through all those hoops was an assurance that I would not be deported for three years. BFD!

    Obama has actually managed to breathe new life into the words of his hero, Ronald Reagan:

    The 10 most dangerous words in the English language are, ’Hi, I”m from the Government, and I’m here to help.’

    Two more years! — Two more years! — What could possibly go wrong?

  • You stepped on your own comment by failing to give the attribution, to wit:

    Shock Flashback: — What Obama Said in 2006:

    Obama Says Illegal Immigration HURTS ‘Blue-Collar Americans,’ STRAINS Welfare [Audio]

    President Barack Obama once declared that an influx of illegal immigrants will harm “the wages of blue-collar Americans” and “put strains on an already overburdened safety net.” (Emphasis added)

    “[T]here’s no denying that many blacks share the same anxieties as many whites about the wave of illegal immigration flooding our Southern border—a sense that what’s happening now is fundamentally different from what has gone on before,” then-Senator Obama wrote in his 2006 autobiography, “The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream.”

    “Not all these fears are irrational,” he wrote. (Emphasis added)

    “The number of immigrants added to the labor force every year is of a magnitude not seen in this country for over a century,” Obama noted. “If this huge influx of mostly low-skill workers provides some benefits to the economy as a whole—especially by keeping our workforce young, in contrast to an increasingly geriatric Europe and Japan—it also threatens to depress further the wages of blue-collar Americans and put strains on an already overburdened safety net.”

    If these feel like the words of one of Obama’s opponents, it’s because they’re the exact argument the president’s critics have been making as he now rushes to announce a sweeping executive order that would give work permits to millions of illegal immigrants in the country. (Emphasis added)

    In the passage, Obama also reveals that he personally feels “patriotic resentment” when he sees Mexican flags at immigration rallies. (Emphasis added)

    “Native-born Americans suspect that it is they, and not the immigrant, who are being forced to adapt” to social changes caused by migration, he said. (Emphasis added)

    “And if I’m honest with myself, I must admit that I’m not entirely immune to such nativist sentiments,” Obama wrote. “When I see Mexican flags waved at pro-immigration demonstrations, I sometimes feel a flush of patriotic resentment. When I’m forced to use a translator to communicate with the guy fixing my car, I feel a certain frustration.” (Emphasis added)

    Obama’s frank statements were written in 2006, as he was eyeing a run for the presidency.

    Those worries are mainstream, according to recent polls. Obama now presides over a very porous southern border, and he’s allowed 130,000 Central American migrants across since October 2013.

    Yikes! — clearly, Obama has “evolved” significantly (180°) beyond his 2006 statements on immigration.

    In his Big Speech, Obama piled on the bathos with a gratuitous biblical reference:

    Scripture tells us that we shall not oppress a stranger, for we know the heart of a stranger — we were strangers once, too. My fellow Americans, we are and always will be a nation of immigrants. We were strangers once, too.

    If you listened to Obama in 2006, and again on November 20, 2014, you might well wonder, Who in the hell is this shape-shifting stranger? “We were strangers once, too”? Speak for yourself, Mr. President.

    PS — Would it fair to assume that your oblique reference to Obama as “this progressive” was intended as satire? Or sarcasm, at the very least?

  • Sarah B. commented on the blog post Vice President Biden Visits Ukraine To Show Support

    2014-11-21 23:09:23View | Delete

    Sorry about that bad link — here is the good one:

    ’Shame on you!’ Ukrainian president booed by protesters on Maidan (Video, Photos)

    Not sure how that happened. Oh, well.

  • Sarah B. commented on the blog post The Importance of Not Being Quiet

    2014-11-21 23:03:28View | Delete

    Nice piece Jon but…I have to fault your comrades in the 4th estate. From Hartmann to CNN, from ABC to MSNBC.

    Excellent point. Here is the quintessential Dembot hypocrite Thom Hartmann from 2006:

    Published on Wednesday, March 8, 2006 by

    Illegal Workers: the Con’s Secret Weapon

    Conservatives are all atwitter about illegal immigrants. Some want to give them amnesty. Others want to reinstitute the old Bracero program. Others want to build a wall around America, like the communists did around East Berlin. Some advocate all of the above.

    But none will tell Americans the truth about why we have eleven million illegal aliens in this nation now (when it was fewer than 2 million when Reagan came into office), why they’re staying, or why they keep coming. In a word, it’s “jobs.” In conservative lexicon, it’s “cheap labor to increase corporate profits.”

    Hartmann continues to drone on and on and on, as he is wont to do, but you get the idea. George W. Bush was president in 2006, and Hartmann was fiercely opposed to all of Bush’s comprehensive immigration reform proposals, to wit:

    It’s really all about breaking the back of the most democratic (and Democratic) of American institutions – the American middle class.

    One of the tools conservatives have used very successfully over the past 25 years to drive down wages, bust unions, and increase CEO salaries has been to encourage illegal immigrant labor in the US. Their technique is transparently simple.

    Conservatives well understand supply and demand. If there’s more of something, its price goes down. If it becomes scarce, its price goes up.

    They also understand that this applies just as readily to labor as it does to houses, cars, soybeans, or oil. While the history of much of the progressive movement in the United States has been to control the supply of labor (mostly through pushing for maximum-hour, right-to-strike, and child-labor laws) to thus be able to bargain decent wages for working people, the history of conservative America has, from its earliest days grounded in slavery and indentured workers from Europe, been to increase the supply of labor and drive down its cost.

    Hartmann took every opportunity to invoke the wisdom of British economist David Ricardo (1772-1823), a highly-respected contemporary of Adam Smith, whose essay The Iron Law of Wages (1817), proposed a law of economics that asserts that real wages always tend, in the long run, toward the minimum wage necessary to sustain the life of the worker. In other words, a significant increase in the labor supply will always result in depressed wages, and a shortage of labor will result in higher wages based on the fundamental dynamic of supply and demand.

    But, now that Barack Obama is in the White House at the close of 2014, poor besotted Hartmann is a fierce champion and defender of Obama’s sweeping executive actions on immigration, and he has apparently developed selective amnesia about where he stood on the issue in 2006, when he wrote the referenced piece. Of course, there is no mention these days of David Ricardo and The Iron Law of Wages — because Obama.

    According to Hartmann, Bush’s immigration reform — which had mixed support in bills that came to the floor in the House and Senate and finally died the Senate committee in 2007 — was going to break the back of the Middle Class.

    But, in Hartmann’s blinkered view, Obama’s massive executive action on immigration reform poses no threat whatsoever to the Middle Class regarding employment and wages and flooding the labor market with between 4 million and 5 million workers now with newly-acquired legal status:

    Labor Participation Rate Drops To 36 Year Low; Record 92.6 Million Americans Not In Labor Force

    So the next time Obama asks you if you are “better off now than 6 years ago” show him this chart of employment to the overall population: it speaks louder than the president ever could.

    The Labor Force Participation Rate in the U.S. is currently at lows not seen since 1978, during the Jimmy Carter recession, but we are being encouraged by the Consummate Liar in the White House not to worry about this sudden massive new flooding of the labor market — because Obama.

    Legal immigration in a controlled and carefully-managed process is a wonderful addition to any society and contributes to the richness of the culture as well as the economy, but Obama’s cynical political fix through executive fiat does nothing to address the current problems and will only contribute to current patterns of depressed wages and fewer opportunities for American workers.

    If you don’t believe me, read David Ricardo — he still makes good sense after almost 200 years — he certainly makes a whole lot more sense than Barack Obama, who has no idea of the ways in which an economy is supposed to function.

  • Sarah B. commented on the blog post House Republicans Finally File Suit Against President Obama

    2014-11-21 21:04:41View | Delete

    House Republicans Finally File Suit Against President Obama

    Professor Turley explaining his legal rationale in his own words:

    November 21, 2014

    House Files Challenge Over the Changes to the Affordable Care Act

    Today, we filed our complaint United States House of Representatives v. Burwell (Case 1:14-cv-01967), in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. The House’s complaint contains eight counts concerning constitutional and statutory violations of law related to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). There are a myriad of unilateral amendments to this Act, ordered by President Obama’s Administration, which could be the subject of a challenge, and there are a number of changes that are already being litigated, including King v. Burwell, which has been accepted by the Supreme Court for review. The House’s complaint, however, focuses on the Administration’s usurpation not only of the House’s Article I legislative authority, but also of the defining “power of purse.” Both of these powers were placed exclusively in Article I by the Framers of our Constitution. These constitutional and statutory claims are highly illustrative of the current conflict between the branches over the basic principles of the separation of powers. The House’s complaint seeks to reaffirm the clear constitutional lines of separation between the branches – a doctrine that is the very foundation of our constitutional system of government. To put it simply, the complaint focuses on the means rather than ends. The complaint is posted below.

    This is not a new question. Indeed, in some respects, it is the original question. The Framers were well aware that governmental actors would seek to aggrandize power within the system the Framers had created. In Federalist 51, James Madison warned that “[i]n framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself.” Accordingly, the Framers put into place what Madison called “the necessity of auxiliary precautions” to maintain the balance of powers within the system. Such precautions are of little value absent judicial review to maintain the lines of separation; to arrest what Madison called the “encroaching nature” of power.

    Once again, as lead counsel, I have to remain circumspect in any public statements on the filing in deference to the Court and the legal process.

    Jonathan Turley
    Lead Counsel

    Here is the Complaint

    United States House of Representatives v. Sylvia Mathews Burwell, United States Department of Health and Human Services; Jacob J. Lew, Department of the Treasury; U.S. Department of the Treasury

    I suspect that there is significantly more merit to this case than meets the partisan eye, or else Jonathan Turley — a genuine Constitutional scholar with a track record in the federal courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court, and a lengthy academic paper trail, who actually voted for Obama twice — would not have agreed to act as lead counsel on the case.

    I have but one thing to say: Break a leg, counselor!

  • I’ll be waiting…

    Well, you can expect a bloody long wait, because what I do in my private life vis-à-vis direct political action is none of your business.

    I was not registering “complaints” in my comment — that’s your construction — I was simply pointing out that the payment of back taxes is an essential component of the Senate immigration bill, which Obama is so eager to see passed by the House, and I questioned why anyone raising that very legitimate issue would be relegated to the troll department.

    If Eric Holder, the nation’s chief law enforcement officer, refuses to hold the banksters and hedge fundsters accountable, what possible impact would I be able to exert to achieve that outcome? Zero.

    Plus, it wasn’t just Holder, the state attorneys general around the country — Eric Schneiderman in New York, Kamala Harris in California, and Beau Biden of Delaware, to name but a few — all caved in favor of settlements instead of criminal prosecutions.

    Frankly, I find it impossible to get my knickers in a twist about Mitt Romney’s tax burden, such as it is, when Obama has had six years to work with the Congress to reform the tax code — two of those years with super majorities of Democrats in the House and Senate — and what did he do? [*Crickets*]

    That suggests to me that Obama and the Democrats like the tax code just the way it is — especially since so many of them benefit from those schedules and loopholes and exemptions — and they are determined to maintain the status quo. Obama does have two lame duck years left on the clock, but I am not holding my breath about tax reform on his watch.

    Still, I’m not surprised that you failed to get my point, based on your statement:

    It’s just that the whiners here constantly vetch and moan and complain about the horrid lucky duckies in the 47% who don’t pay Fed Income Tax… because they make such paltry wages that they don’t have to pay. They’re not scofflaws, as you so charmingly mis-represent & lie about it.

    Clearly, the tax scofflaws to whom I referred in my comment are “the wealthiest top-tier Americans — the top 1%, but, more specifically, the 0.1%”, followed by a list of the specific Obama administration officials who possessed the methods, the means, and the obligation to prosecute and chose to punt instead, to wit:

    If you want action taken on the tax scofflaws among the wealthiest top-tier Americans — the top 1%, but, more specifically, the 0.1% — you need to consult Barack Obama, former Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, who believed it was his job to “foam the runway” for the banks, current Treasury Secretary Jack Lew, and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, the nation’s top law enforcement officer.

    So, before you accuse me of misrepresenting and lying — albeit “charmingly” — about the scofflaws to whom I referred with exquisite specificity in my comment, the least you can do is attempt to read and comprehend the text as it is written and intended by the writer.

    D’oh! — Did you really think that I was referring to the so-called 47%?

    In my reply to justasking (Comment #54), I questioned why the exploited undocumented workers should even be required to pay back taxes at all? That burden should be borne by the employers, who are required to withhold federal income and payroll taxes (FICA) from their employees’ wages and submit them to the IRS, and their failure to do so is a felony punishable by fines or prison or both.

  • Sarah B. commented on the blog post Vice President Biden Visits Ukraine To Show Support

    2014-11-21 17:19:47View | Delete

    Vice President Biden Visits Ukraine To Show Support

    The Biden “balls” deflate under pressure from angry Maidan crowd:

    ’Shame on you!’ Ukrainian president booed by protesters on Maidan (Video, Photos)

    I love that video — Yats and the Rats hurriedly skulking away surrounded by bodygards — while Poroshenko tries to plead with the crowd to no avail.

    Vice President Joe Biden, who is currently in Ukraine, had been due to make a visit to the area off Kiev’s Independence Square but called it off, apparently for security reasons.

    Poroshenko was shouted down by angry relatives of 100 protesters killed in Kiev’s “Euromaidan” revolution at a ceremony on Friday to pay tribute to the victims.

    Frustrated by Poroshenko’s failure to bring officials of the previous government to justice, the family members shouted: “Who is a hero for you, Poroshenko?”, “Where are their killers?” and “Down with Poroshenko!”

    Many Euromaidan victims were gunned down by sniper fire, with the ongoing official investigation by Kiev blaming a group of elite soldiers from the Berkut riot police for the killings.

    The protesters appear to be under the impression that the Yanykovich government was responsible for the snipers, but there are also very strong suspicions — backed by a leaked phone call between the Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Paet and EU foreign affairs chief, Catherine Ashton — that the snipers were actually hired by the leaders of the Maidan protests.

    The protesters also criticized Poroshenko for failing to keep a promise to confer the title of national hero on the victims, which would bring financial benefits to their families.

    It was the first real public display of anger against Poroshenko, who was elected president in May after the pro-Moscow Viktor Yanukovich fled the country.

    Friday marked the first anniversary of the decision by the Yanukovich government to ditch a political and free trade agreement with the European Union in favor of renewed trade ties with Russia. The move sparked protests from tens of thousands who see Ukraine’s future in the European mainstream.

    Yats and the Rats and Poroshenko would be better served by paying closer attention to the potential for explosive anger among the people of Kiev and Western Ukraine — perhaps a “Euromaidan” 2.0 on the horizon this winter aimed at the coup government — and stop their paranoid ravings about phantom Russian tanks moving into Donetsk and Luhansk every other day in the total absence of evidence to support their claims.

    At the risk of resorting to political cliché: “Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold.”

    PS — If only Victoria Nuland could have been there.

    (h/t W.B. Yeats, “The Second Coming”)

  • Undocumented workers: we always get the trolls out whining and crying about how they never ever pay any taxes. But same trolls are completely happy with the rentiers in the 1% fleecing them. Go figure.

    Who exactly is the troll?

    The payment of any owed taxes is a specific provision of the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013 (S. 744), passed by the Senate on June 27, 2013 — the bill that Obama supports enthusiastically and still wants to see passed by the House:

    National Immigration Law Center

    In re: Registered Provisional Immigrant (RPI) Status:

    Q. Will I have to pay back taxes?

    In order to get RPI status, you will have to show that you have paid all “assessed federal tax liability.” If you have an assessed federal tax liability, it means that the U.S. tax-collecting agency (the Internal Revenue Service) has told you that you must pay a certain amount of tax (plus any interest or penalty if you didn’t pay the tax on time) and that you have not yet paid what you owe.

    The way that RPI applicants must show that they have paid all assessed federal tax liability will be established by the rules that will be written to carry out the law, if the Senate bill eventually becomes law. Under current law, all workers in the U.S. who have “net taxable income,” including undocumented workers and workers with any other immigration status, are required to pay federal income taxes.

    If you want action taken on the tax scofflaws among the wealthiest top-tier Americans — the top 1%, but, more specifically, the 0.1% — you need to consult Barack Obama, former Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, who believed it was his job to “foam the runway” for the banks, current Treasury Secretary Jack Lew, and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, the nation’s top law enforcement officer.

  • Fair Share for Whom?

    By Avik Roy — November 20, 2014

    ’Fair Share?’ The Typical Beneficiary Of Obama’s Illegal Immigration Plan Won’t Pay Net Income Taxes

    On Thursday evening, President Obama unveiled his plan to offer legal status to approximately 5 million undocumented aliens. “If you’re willing to pay your fair share of taxes,” said Obama, “you’ll be able to apply to stay in this country.” But the President neglected to mention that the income of the typical illegal immigrant is so low that he would pay no net income taxes, and become eligible for welfare benefits like Obamacare. According to a 2006 report from the left-leaning Century Foundation, “it is likely that the undocumented workers will end up receiving rather than paying the Treasury money.”

    Legalized undocumented immigrants could become eligible for significant transfer payments

    Income statistics for illegals are, as you might imagine, not so easy to discern. But the Century Foundation analysis, published in Mother Jones, estimates that in 2005, “we can be virtually certain that illegal immigrants earned less than $24,000 per year, on average, probably much less.” That’s about $29,177 in 2014 dollars. According to the Congressional Budget Office, a person making that kind of money would pay negligible federal taxes, and receive around $10,000 in government benefits.

    Be careful what you wish for, Democrats, because the boomerang effect may hit you in 2017:

    Precedent is set for a Republican President to defy Obamacare regulations

    While progressives are celebrating today, they won’t be so happy if a Republican President uses executive orders to ignore Congressional statutes. Imagine if a Republican President were to simply declare that he wouldn’t enforce the broad swath of Obamacare’s insurance regulations and mandates. Instead of having to pass a law repealing Obamacare, a President Cruz or Romney could simply decline to enforce it. (Emphasis added)

    The unintended consequences of President Obama’s actions will be far-reaching. We’ll see what happens. What we know for sure is that those Americans who’ve worked hard and played by the rules will be asked to pay more and receive less.

    Avik Roy’s final point — “What we know for sure is that those Americans who’ve worked hard and played by the rules will be asked to pay more and receive less” — is already being made evident with Obamacare by design.

    PS — Watch for Mitch McConnell to return to the old filibuster rule that was changed by Harry Reid in the current congress to facilitate the appointments of Obama’s nominees to the federal bench and cabinet and agency posts. Leverage works both ways.

  • That makes two of us.

    For what it’s worth, here is the official way in which undocumented workers who are ineligible for Social Security Numbers pay taxes — obviously, the IRS aids and abets the process — they can apply for and receive an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN):

    General ITIN Information

    What is an ITIN?

    An Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) is a tax processing number issued by the Internal Revenue Service. [...] IRS issues ITINs to individuals who are required to have a U.S. taxpayer identification number but who do not have, and are not eligible to obtain a Social Security Number (SSN) from the Social Security Administration (SSA).

    ITINs are issued regardless of immigration status because both resident and nonresident aliens may have a U.S. filing or reporting requirement under the Internal Revenue Code.

    Individuals must have a filing requirement and file a valid federal income tax return to receive an ITIN, unless they meet an exception.

    What is an ITIN used for?

    ITINs are for federal tax reporting only, and are not intended to serve any other purpose. IRS issues ITINs to help individuals comply with the U.S. tax laws, and to provide a means to efficiently process and account for tax returns and payments for those not eligible for Social Security Numbers (SSNs).

    An ITIN does not authorize work in the U.S. or provide eligibility for Social Security benefits or the Earned Income Tax Credit.

    Who needs an ITIN?

    IRS issues ITINs to foreign nationals and others who have federal tax reporting or filing requirements and do not qualify for SSNs. A non-resident alien individual not eligible for a SSN who is required to file a U.S. tax return only to claim a refund of tax under the provisions of a U.S. tax treaty needs an ITIN.

    Other examples of individuals who need ITINs include:
    • A nonresident alien required to file a U.S. tax return
    • A U.S. resident alien (based on days present in the United States) filing a U.S. tax return
    • A dependent or spouse of a U.S. citizen/resident alien
    • A dependent or spouse of a nonresident alien visa holder

    Obviously, the IRS still uses the language of racists and bigots with its numerous references to resident and nonresident resident “aliens” and many of the referenced aliens are those whom we now refer to as undocumented immigrants or undocumented workers. Apparently, the nation’s taxing authority failed to get the memo to update their language. But, perhaps, the IRS is more interested collecting the revenues.

    PS — Does anyone know formula for calculating an undocumented worker’s “fair share” of years of unpaid taxes? I’m still unsure of what that shop-worm term “fair share” of taxes actually means in real terms. Plus, why should the exploited undocumented worker pay those taxes?

    An employer is required to withhold federal income and payroll taxes (FICA) from its employees’ wages and pay them to the IRS. The willful failure to pay over or collect payroll tax (FICA) is a felony punishable by up to a $10,000 fine or five years in prison, or both. Of course, the fines and prison terms are only applied to the most egregious cases, so the legalistic IRS bark is much worse than the bite.

  • Obama Details Immigration Executive Actions, GOP Considers Lawsuit

    Yves Smith nails it, as she so often does, in separating the wheat from the chaff:

    November 21, 2014

    Obama Pretends to Put Immigration Reform in Play

    I’m reluctant to write about immigration reform, given that when the topic of illegal aliens comes up in posts on labor policy, too often there’s an upsurge of xenophobic, even racist, comments and a dearth of thoughtful discussion. So let this introduction serve as a warning: I’d like to use this piece to serve as a point of departure for discussing what a good immigration reform policy would look like, so we can have benchmarks for measuring what comes out of Obama’s promise that he would move immigration reform forward in an address Thursday evening. (Emphasis added)

    But bear in mind that Obama’s speech and proposal for immigration reform is almost all public relations to cover up an action that is hard to swallow: making a bad situation worse by suspending deportations for illegal immigrants. Of course, cynics might argue that we’ve had flagrant non-enforcement of the law as far as elite bankers were concerned; why not extend that privilege to the other end of the food chain? (Emphasis added)

    Obama’s pretext is that this action is a forcing device to get the Republicans to pass a “responsible” immigration reform bill. But the real political calculus is all too obvious. Given the Democratic Party’s floundering performance in the midterms, securing the loyalty of Hispanic voters is the best and most obvious shot in the arm the party has available to it. It also has the advantage of being one of the few places where, in large measure, playing the identity politics card also provides some tangible economic benefits (the Democrats found, much to their dismay, that trying to woo women solely on reproductive rights, sexual harassment, and other gender issues wasn’t a compelling sale; many women turned against Democratic party candidates over the party’s poor performance as far as middle and lower class economic issues were concerned). (Emphasis added)

    The fact that the Democrats have so much to gain from getting an immigration reform bill passed means that the Republicans will make sure that it is dead on arrival.

    Read on — the piece gets better with each succeeding paragraph, but Yves’ close-reading of Obama’s expansion of the H1-B Visa program is especially trenchant given the high numbers of American-born graduates with four-year and advanced degrees and the student loans to prove it, who are currently unemployed and/or underemployed and can’t find even entry-level jobs in the chosen fields of study and expertise.

    The White House fact sheet on the speech shows that the talking point about “high skill immigrants” is to let spouse of H1-B visaholders work (note there is no guarantee that they are high-skilled), to allow for an entrepreneurial visa category (note Australia had one and shut it down because they found it was abused too often) and allowing foreign graduates of STEM programs to get more “on the job training” which is tantamount to displacing US graduates in already-scarce entry-level jobs.

    In typical Obama fashion, this latest political maneuver is replete with a few winners and a significantly greater number of losers.

    Yves concludes:

    Obama may have given his presidency a short-term boost by scoring a win for the Democrats outside the legislative process. [...]. That difference may not prove to make any difference in practical terms over the next two years. But my bet is that this may prove to be a Pyrrhic victory for Obama. His lame-duck status has gone from probable to certain. (Emphasis added)

    In other words, Obama’s Big Speech was the last cynical full-throated quack from the lame duck, who is too narcissistic, arrogant, and marinated in hubris to recognize that he’s also a cooked goose.

    NPR tells me that Obama is going to a pep rally today at a high school in Las Vegas, which will be the first of many pep rallies around the country to “sell” his executive action. Consequently, the endless political campaign masquerading as a presidency will continue to limp onward until January 2017.

  • Sarah B. commented on the blog post Obama To Announce Executive Action On Immigration

    2014-11-20 18:24:39View | Delete

    Comprehensive immigration reform 2006 and 2007: How the Democrats and one Fake Socialist voted:

    In December 2005, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Border Protection, Antiterrorism, and Illegal Immigration Reform Act of 2005 (H.R. 4437), a harsh immigration reform bill designed to punish the 11 million undocumented immigrants currently living in the United States illegally. Passage of the bill sparked widespread protests from Latin American immigrants.

    The Senate passed a much more moderate bill, S. 2611 — called the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2006 (CIRA) — in May 2006. President George W. Bush had largely favored the more moderate Senate bill. House and Senate committees worked to iron out differences between the two proposals, but were unable to reach a compromise. Consequently, H.R. 4437 and CIRA ultimately died in conference.

    Immigration reform was resurrected in 2007 in a piece of legislation that essentially represented a middle ground between H.R. 4437 and CIRA, but this bill, too, was defeated in the Senate. With comprehensive immigration reform unlikely to come about in an election year (2008), the next likely opportunity for reform was 2009 and 2010.

    S. 1348 (Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2007)

    YEAs 34 — NAYs 61 — Not Voting 4

    Democrats — Plus One Fake Socalist — Voting Nay:

    Boxer (D-CA)
    Baucus (D-MT)
    Byrd (D-WV)
    Dorgan (D-ND)
    Landrieu (D-LA)
    McCaskill (D-MO)
    Pryor (D-AR)
    Reid (D-NV) — (For Procedural Reasons)
    Rockefeller (D-WV)
    Sanders (I-VT)
    Stabenow (D-MI)
    Tester (D-MT)
    Webb (D-VA)

    Democrats Not Voting
    Johnson (D-SD)
    Kerry (D-MA)
    Levin (D-MI)

    Measure Title: A bill to provide for comprehensive immigration reform and for other purposes.

    Vote Counts: YEAs 64 — NAYs 35 — Not Voting 1

    Democrats — Plus One Fake Socialist — Voting NAY

    Baucus (D-MT)
    Bayh (D-IN)
    Byrd (D-WV)
    Dorgan (D-ND)
    Landrieu (D-LA)
    McCaskill (D-MO)
    Rockefeller (D-WV)
    Sanders (I-VT)
    Tester (D-MT)

    Democrat Not Voting
    Johnson (D-SD)


    Cloture on the bill not invoked in Senate by Yea-Nay Vote. 46 – 53.

    Vote Counts: YEAs 46 — NAYs 53 — Not Voting 1

    Democrats — Plus One Fake Socialist — Voting NAY

    Baucus (D-MT)
    Bayh (D-IN)
    Bingaman (D-NM)
    Brown (D-OH)
    Byrd (D-WV)
    Dorgan (D-ND)
    Harkin (D-IA)
    Landrieu (D-LA)
    McCaskill (D-MO)
    Nelson (D-NE)
    Pryor (D-AR)
    Rockefeller (D-WV)
    Sanders (I-VT)
    Stabenow (D-MI)
    Tester (D-MT)
    Webb (D-VA)

    Democrat Not Voting
    Johnson (D-SD)

    But that was when George W. Bush was president. With Obama in the White House, everything is different for the Democrats and one Fake Socialist. Now, they’re all in.

  • Sarah B. commented on the blog post Obama To Announce Executive Action On Immigration

    2014-11-20 14:24:25View | Delete

    Return on Investment – Obama puts the Quid in Quid Pro Quo

    Immigration Reform Is Just Too Hard for Congress

    Mark Zuckerberg spent $50 million on immigration reform, and he will now be rewarded with his pick of cheap information technology workers as the proximate result Obama’s executive action.

    Immigration Reform Is Just Too Hard for Congress

    Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg’s immigration group,, spent more than $50 million urging Congress to take action; it now says at least Obama is doing something (plus the executive actions would clear the way for more tech workers). The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which disagreed with pretty much every Obama policy except immigration, says it will “continue to make the case for meaningful reform.”

    Obama always banks (literally) on the winners — Mark Zuckerberg, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and the Business Roundtable, et al. — and they know they can bank on him.

  • Sarah B. commented on the blog post Obama Doesn’t Need to Care What People Think

    2014-11-20 13:48:25View | Delete

    Obama doesn’t need to worry about how any of his executive actions play at the moment, only that they are good ideas.

    Just shoot me. Please.

  • Sarah B. commented on the blog post Obama Doesn’t Need to Care What People Think

    2014-11-20 12:24:54View | Delete

    Yowsah! — your comment is a base hit, a double, a triple, and the grand-slam home run that wins the series. Well-played, sir!

    I would add Libya, Syria, Yemen, and Somalia to your list of international fuck-ups which Team Obama has turned into full-blown Hellscapes.

    ISIS has just taken over the city of Derna in Libya, population 100,000.

    ISIS comes to Libya

    (CNN) — The black flag of ISIS flies over government buildings. Police cars carry the group’s insignia. The local football stadium is used for public executions. A town in Syria or Iraq? No. A city on the coast of the Mediterranean, in Libya. (Emphasis added)

    Fighters loyal to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria are now in complete control of the city of Derna, population of about 100,000, not far from the Egyptian border and just about 200 miles from the southern shores of the European Union. (Emphasis added)

    The fighters are taking advantage of political chaos to rapidly expand their presence westwards along the coast, Libyan sources tell CNN. (Emphasis added)

    Obama and his team of Warrior Harpies — Hillary Clinton, Susan Rice, and Samantha Power — plus collaboration and assistance from the drooling, tail-wagging, leg-humping NATO dogs, really pulled out all the stops to save Libya with their humanitarian freedom bombs. Mission Accomplished!

    PS — Derna is approximately 156 miles east of Benghazi along the Mediterranean coast. What next?

  • Load More