The first few days of rolling out my new book, Faithless Execution, have been exhilarating, with few things more gratifying and humbling than the wonderful review by one of my very favorites, PJ Media’s own Roger Simon.

It has been uplifting to see how many people really are alarmed—rather than indifferent, as I worried—to the problem of rampant presidential lawlessness. People really do grasp that the separation of powers, which is so threatened by President Obama’s usurpation of the powers of the states and other federal departments, really is the key to protecting our liberties. Too much accumulation of power in one government official’s hand—particularly, the Framers observed, the joining of the legislative and executive power in a single department or person—is the road to tyranny.

When people grasp that, they similarly grasp that presidential lawlessness is not a conservative versus liberal issue, nor Republican versus Democrat. It is a question of whether we still aspire to be a republic under the rule of law instead of subjects under presidential whim. If they are not knocked down, the precedents that President Obama is setting for imperial executive power will be available for exploitation by every future president, regardless or party or ideological orientation. That ought to frighten all Americans, not just opponents of the current president’s policies.

I make a sustained attempt in the book to explain that impeachment—the ultimate constitutional response to presidential lawlessness—is a political remedy, not a legal one. You can have a thousand impeachable offenses, but if there is not a strong public will that the president be removed, impeachment is a nonstarter. The political case for removal is the one that is uphill. Establishing the legal case for impeachment—i.e., demonstrating that high crimes and misdemeanors have been committed—is the easy part.

That is because “high crimes and misdemeanors,” a term of art the Framers borrowed from British law, does not refer to penal statutes defining what we commonly think of as crimes and misdemeanors. They are, as Hamilton put it, the “political wrongs of public men”—breaches of fiduciary duty by high officials in whom great public trust is reposed. The concept is much more resonant of the military code of justice than penal laws, embracing such offenses as dereliction of duty (such as a commander-in-chief who replenishes Taliban enemy forces in wartime) and the violation of an oath (such as the oath to preserve the Constitution and faithfully execute the laws).

One Week of Rouhani’s “Moderate” Islamic Republic of Iran by Shadi Paveh

According to Article 110 of the Islamic Republic’s Constitution, the Supreme Leader must oversee all matters. Even the release of one single prisoner is not possible without his signature. Presidents are just paraded around for the sake of the West.

Silent executions continue under Rouhani. Political prisoners remain without medical aid but with prolonged well-planned torture, to kill them without formal executions.

The only difference seems to be that now prisoners are taken to hospital, photographed in an examination gown and returned to prison without treatment — to create the appearance that the prisoner was treated, to appease human rights organizations.

Crimes committed against Baha’is are not punished in Iran: according to Islamic law, they are considered non-persons.

Internationally, the Islamic Republic of Iran is still basking in having falsely attained a “moderate” status for President Hassan Rouhani and a seat on five sub-committees of the United Nations Economic and Social Council, including the Commission on the Status of Women. Inside Iran, however, daily life still consists of systematic arrest, torture, persecution of minorities and accelerated executions.

In just one week under the Islamic Republic:

Roya Nobakht, a dual British-Iranian citizen who lived in Stockport, England, was sentenced on May 30 to twenty years in prison for a comment she posted on Facebook during her three week holiday in Iran. The comment simply stated that the government was “too Islamic.” According to HRANA News Agency, she was among eight others sentenced to a total of 128 years for similar comments. All were charged with “endangering national security, insulting Islam and gathering crowds.”

The arrest of four men (Bahman Tafazolinasab, Afshin Zemanati, Reza Tejareh and Davood Afrooz) was also reported by HRANA on May 30 for “Facebook activities” in the city of Dehdasht. Three social media users (Saleh Tamouli, Hamzeh Zargani and Adel Sadooni) from Ahwaz were sentenced — after being severely tortured for two months — to three years each on charges of administrating pages in Facebook. Facebook, Twitter and, most recently, Instagram are strictly banned in the Islamic Republic.


In her new book, Hillary Clinton picks out a few foreign policy topics on which she thinks it now safe, even helpful, to express disagreement with the course taken by the Obama administration. She wanted to arm and train the Syria rebels, while Obama did not. She thought it unwise to call for Hosni Mubarak to step down immediately, while Obama wanted him gone.

She acknowledges that the Obama administration’s demand for a settlement freeze from Israel as a precondition to talks with the Palestinians “didn’t work.” Yet she also seeks to exculpate herself from this failure by claiming that she was against the policy from the beginning. According to the Washington Post, she “disagreed with Obama and then-White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel on a demand that Israel halt all new settlement construction. ‘I was worried that we would be locking ourselves into a confrontation we didn’t need,’ she writes.”

A confrontation indeed ensued – a long and nasty one that continues to this day and has been perhaps the most consistent feature of the administration’s foreign policy. Yet for all her alleged opposition to the policy that launched the confrontation, no one save President Obama himself played such a prominent role in provoking it, amplifying it, and prolonging it.

Immediately after Obama first issued the demand for a freeze, Clinton took the lead in making indignant, confrontational public statements that were clearly intended to intimidate the Israelis and gratify the Palestinians. The freeze, Clinton said, was the only way to get Abbas and the Palestinians to talk.

Yet as we now know, they never had any intention of talking, were never pressured by the Obama administration to talk, and instead sat back and enjoyed the spectacle of Obama and Clinton beating up on Netanyahu in public. And what a spectacle it was.


Mrs. Clinton’s diplomatic memoir invites us to forget her record.

“However one feels about Mrs. Clinton, she was the least consequential secretary of state since William Rogers warmed the seat in the early years of the Nixon administration. This is mainly the fault of the president for whom Mrs. Clinton worked, and of the White House hacks who had the larger hand in setting the tone and shape of foreign policy. Most everyone knows this, and most everyone doesn’t want to admit it. So in place of a record we have a book. ”

Hillary Clinton will likely be the next president of the United States, and why not? We live in an age of choreographed reality, and hers is among the most choreographed of lives. Also, an age of the triumph of symbol over substance and narrative over fact; an age that demonstrates the power of the contention that truth matters only to the extent people want it to matter. Mrs. Clinton’s career is testimony to these things as well.

Which brings me to the subject of her book.

I obtained an advance copy of “Hard Choices,” her latest doorstop of a memoir, and started reading it before its publication Tuesday. There she is, bitterly regretting her vote to authorize the war in Iraq. There she is again, standing by her actions during the Benghazi debacle, insisting on the relevance of the “Innocence of Muslims” video.

Elsewhere we find her equivocating over her opposition to the Iraq surge (which, as we learned from Robert Gates’s memoir “Duty,” she privately admitted was purely political), or allowing that the Obama administration’s decision to stand silent over the stolen 2009 Iranian revolution was something she “came to regret.”

Report: IRS Sent Database Containing Confidential Taxpayer Information to FBI By Eliana Johnson

The Internal Revenue Service may have been caught violating federal tax law: In October 2010, the agency sent a database on 501(c)(4) social-welfare groups containing confidential taxpayer information to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, according to documents obtained by a House panel.

The information was transmitted in advance of former IRS official Lois Lerner’s meeting the same month with Justice Department officials about the possibility of using campaign-finance laws to prosecute certain nonprofit groups. E-mails between Lerner and Richard Pilger, the director of the Justice Department’s election-crimes branch, obtained through a subpoena to Attorney General Eric Holder, show Lerner asking about the format in which the FBI preferred the data to be sent.

“This revelation that the IRS sent 1.1 million pages of nonprofit tax-return data — including confidential taxpayer information — to the FBI confirms suspicions that the IRS worked with the Justice Department to facilitate the potential investigation of nonprofit groups engaged in lawful political speech,” Oversight Committee chairman Darrell Issa, a California Republican, and subcommittee chairman Jim Jordan wrote in a letter to IRS commissioner John Koskinen. The two lawmakers also raise questions about the timing of the meeting, just weeks before the 2010 midterm elections, when Republicans recaptured a majority in the House of Representatives.

The Justice Department never prosecuted social-welfare groups, and e-mails from IRS officials show their awareness that, as a result of the Supreme Court’s 2010 decision in the Citizens United case, which allowed unlimited amounts of money from nonprofit groups and labor unions to flow into the political process, the law did not favor a crackdown on anonymous donations to politically orientated nonprofits, which sprouted up on all sides in the wake of the ruling. “We don’t have the law to do something,” an IRS official responsible for tax-exempt organizations said in a September 2010 e-mail.


The Obama administration’s new carbon rules won’t put a dent in emissions.

For people who use the word “science” as a bludgeon and trumpet their strict commitment to fact and reason, the Obama administration and its supporters are strangely incapable of rational analysis of new climate-change regulations.

President Barack Obama’s Environmental Protection Agency released draft rules last week to create a vast new regulatory apparatus with no input from Congress — in other words, to govern in its accustomed highhanded, undemocratic manner. The goal is to reduce carbon emissions from existing power plants, in particular coal-fired plants, to 30 percent below 2005 levels by 2030.

The rhetoric around the rules has involved self-congratulation about how they are the inexorable result of taking climate science and the reality of dangerous global warming seriously. “Science is science,” President Obama said in an open-and-shut tautology about global warming during an interview with New York Times columnist Tom Friedman. By the same token, math is math, and the new regulations make no sense.

While the regulations are stringent enough to impose real economic costs — especially in states that produce coal or heavily use coal power, or whose economies have grown relatively robustly since 2005 — they have almost no upside in fighting global warming. That’s because the U.S. is only part of the global carbon-emissions picture, and a diminishing one at that.

We account for roughly a sixth of global emissions, and our emissions have fallen the past few years more than those of any other major country. In fact, we’ve already achieved about half of the administration’s 30 percent goal, in part through the boom in natural gas, which produces half the carbon emissions of coal.

The regulations aim to cut carbon emissions by 700 million tons by 2030. That sounds like a formidable number only if it is abstracted from the context of the rest of the world. As Robert Bryce of the Manhattan Institute notes, carbon emissions increased worldwide by about 700 million tons in 2011 alone. China increased its emissions by 3 billion tons from 2006 to 2012.


Was Benghazi a Scandal?
Scandals — or fundamental transformations?
If the CIA wanted to smuggle guns to Syria or interrogate al-Qaeda suspects in Benghazi, that was its business, not necessarily the administration’s. To the degree Obama was involved in overseeing events in Libya, his involvement was most likely limited to a vague warning that, in the latter part of the nip-and-tuck 2012 campaign, there must not be anything resembling a shoot-’em-up Mogadishu, which a beefed-up security presence in Benghazi might have made more likely by evening the odds. Better to keep a low profile amid increasing security threats and hope for the best. And, if the worst happens — well, things do happen.

When the violence did erupt, a freelance video producer became the perfect villain. Obama and his subordinates, principally Susan Rice and Hillary Clinton, almost immediately damned the hapless filmmaker as having incited global violence by his bigotry. The more Obama told the world that he too condemned Nakoula Basseley Nakoula (and in fact he had Mr. Nakoula jailed on a trumped-up probation violation), the more Benghazi became a sort of revolutionary morality tale: Right-wingers in America keep getting innocent people killed by gratuitously inflaming Muslims — over the objections of sober and judicious progressive and internationalist Americans.

It worked. Benghazi fizzled. Obama was reelected. Mr. Nakoula cooled his heels in jail. (Should Dinesh D’Souza have learned a lesson about what is in store for inconvenient filmmakers?) Obama had gone to bed early the night of Benghazi and washed his hands of the inconvenience, and for the last two years the military, the intelligence agencies, the State Department, and the media have been blame-gaming one another.

On another front, a majority of Americans are furious about the partisan corruption of the IRS, and the fact that Lois Lerner took the Fifth Amendment rather than answer questions about why her department focused inordinately on conservative groups. In the initial, but transitory, media furor, Barack Obama called the corruption of the IRS “outrageous.” After the buzz quieted, Lerner et al. rated from the president the assertion that there was not “a smidgen of corruption.”

So was the IRS abuse a scandal or an act of fundamentally transforming America? Certainly, senior U.S. senators felt no remorse about writing letters to the IRS to sic the tax agency on their political opponents. The defanging of the Tea Party, starting in April 2010, may have proved advantageous to Obama’s reelection bid. When Harry Reid lied on the Senate floor in claiming that he had heard that candidate Mitt Romney had not paid his taxes, the message went out that high-ranking Democrats supposedly had good connections with the taxmen.


The U.S. can legally keep captured terrorists even after Afghanistan combat ends.
As usual, Senator John McCain has not exactly been a model of consistency on the Bergdahl-Taliban swap. First he said he would support such a deal; then, after it was done and popular opinion turned sharply against it, he maverickly condemned it. Still, he could not have been more correct on Sunday in dismissing the Obama administration’s rationale for the exchange.

Senator McCain was being interviewed by Candy Crowley, the Obama campaign savior in CNN garb. As recounted in a Corner post by Patrick Brennan, Ms. Crowley dutifully spun the reeling administration as being between a rock and a hard place, its options limited to: (a) getting captive Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl back now by exchanging the five Taliban commanders detained at Gitmo or (b) being compelled “to release the [Taliban] detainees when U.S. combat operations end in Afghanistan.” Senator McCain countered that this was a “false choice.” That is correct. Even if combat had ceased in Afghanistan, the release of these Taliban detainees would not have been required by the laws of war.

My weekend column discussed the Obama fiction that the war in Afghanistan is coming to an end. In reality, the president is engaged in a slow-motion surrender to the Taliban and its jihadist allies that is arbitrarily scheduled to take two years — arbitrarily, that is, unless you think it is the American political calendar rather than Afghan battlefield conditions that decides when combat ends. Now, on top of that fiction, the administration and Ms. Crowley are stacking yet another, to wit: The winding down of combat operations in Afghanistan equals the end of the war on terror, triggering the law-of-war mandate to release all enemy combatants who cannot be charged with war crimes or other offenses.

As we’ve been pointing out here for over a decade, combat operations in the ongoing conflict are taking place under a congressional authorization for the use of military force. The AUMF was enacted overwhelmingly a week after the attacks of September 11, 2001. Recognizing that the jihad against the United States is a global one carried out by an intercontinental network of terrorist confederates who do not restrict their operations to one country, the AUMF does not limit combat operations geographically. To the contrary, it authorizes the president to use force against the enemy — essentially, any persons, organizations, or countries complicit in the 9/11 attacks, or that have facilitated and harbored those who were complicit — anywhere in the world where the enemy can be found.


In Dennis Sullivan’s photograph , a landing craft from HMCS Prince Henry carries Canadian troops toward Juno Beach in the early hours of D-Day. Many years ago, I spoke to someone who’d been aboard the Prince Henry’s sister ship, HMCS Prince David, who talked about the subtly different dynamic among the guys on those landing craft. The Royal Canadian Navy men at the front are concerned to make their rendezvous on time: They’re in the middle of the mission, and they want to complete it. The infantrymen behind them are waiting for theirs to start. As the Prince Henry recedes behind them, they know they’re leaving the best-laid plans, and that what awaits them on shore is about to go agley.

A lot went wrong, but more went right – or was made right. A few hours before the Canadians aboard the Prince Henry climbed into that landing craft, 181 men in six Horsa gliders took off from RAF Tarrant Rushton in Dorset to take two bridges over the river Orne and hold them until reinforcements arrived. Their job was to prevent the Germans using the bridges to attack troops landing on Sword Beach. At lunchtime, Lord Lovat and his commandos arrived at the Bénouville Bridge, much to the relief of the 7th Parachute Battalion’s commanding officer, Major Pine-Coffin. That was his real name, and an amusing one back in Blighty: simple pine coffins are what soldiers get buried in. It wasn’t quite so funny in Normandy, where a lot of pine coffins would be needed by the end of the day. Lord Lovat, Chief of the Clan Fraser, apologized to Pine-Coffin for missing the rendezvous time: “Sorry, I’m a few minutes late,” he said, after a bloody firefight to take Sword Beach.

Lovat had asked his personal piper, Bill Millin, to pipe his men ashore. Private Millin pointed out that this would be in breach of War Office regulations. “That’s the English War Office, Bill,” said Lovat. “We’re Scotsmen.” And so Millin strolled up and down the sand amid the gunfire playing “Hieland Laddie” and “The Road To The Isles” and other highland favorites. The Germans are not big bagpipe fans and I doubt it added to their enjoyment of the day.

There was a fair bit of slightly dotty élan around in those early hours. I knew a chap who was in the second wave of gliders, and nipped out just before they took off to buy up the local newsagent’s entire stack of papers – D-Day special editions, full of news of the early success of the landings. He flew them into France with him, and distributed them to his comrades from the first wave so they could read of their exploits.

But for every bit of dash and brio there were a thousand things that were just the wretched, awful muck of war. Many of those landing craft failed to land: They hit stuff that just happened to be there under the water, in the way, and ground to a halt, and the soldiers got out waist-deep in water, and struggled with their packs – and, in the case of those men on the Prince Henry, with lumpy old English bicycles – through the gunfire to the beach to begin liberating a continent while already waterlogged and chilled to the bone.

The Bounties of Obama’s Weakness: Jed Babbin

He’s really whipped up a mess this time.

Asked about the backlash to the trade of the Taliban’s Fab Five for Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, President Obama said, “I’m never surprised by controversies that are whipped up in Washington, all right?” In those few words, Obama made it clear that we need an American ambassador to the White House. Though the president denies it, the swap will significantly damage our national security.

The president isn’t tone deaf: he just doesn’t give a damn what the military (who advised against the swap) or the American people think. In one action, he has materially strengthened the Taliban’s ability to attack America and retake Afghanistan. The president demonstrated his concern for the severe consequences that will follow his action by chewing gum at a D-Day remembrance.

The trade of five top Taliban leaders for Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl is a huge boon to the enemy. And not just the Taliban. Our enemies — including al Qaeda (with which the Five are closely tied), as well as any terrorist network that can manage to kidnap an American — are celebrating. And why shouldn’t they?

Obama’s swap, in the words of a Taliban commander, gives the group a legitimacy it never had before. Which is probably one of Obama’s intentions. Defense Secretary Sgt. Chuck Hagel said of the release of the Fab Five, “It could, it might and we hope it will present an opening” for further peace negotiations with the Taliban.

If the Taliban can be regarded as a peer in negotiations with the United States, they have the standing of a legitimate nation-state. When they apply, we should expect Obama to help sponsor their membership in the United Nations.

This is the Taliban brain trust that enabled them to conquer Afghanistan and turn it into the biggest terrorist sanctuary outside of Iran. There is no reason to believe they won’t do the same again. These are men who should never have been allowed to return alive to again threaten America and its allies. The swap of these men for an American soldier who is apparently a deserter is unjustifiable in any terms. As Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) said, there was no credible threat to Bergdahl’s life. Yes, we cannot leave any soldier behind, but we’re not leaving for another year and a half. The narrative the Obama team was trying to sell was brazenly and knowingly false.