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From the beginning, Barack Obama has shown his contempt for the rule of law. In his own mind, and that of his administration, he and his team are above the law. Rules are for the little people. Certainly Obama has complained often enough about that pesky Constitution limitation his power.
This disdain for American law may explain why Obama is ignoring a bipartisan Congressional prohibition against buying helicopters from Rosobornexport, a Russian state-owned defense firm, and, instead, is sending almost $700 million taxpayer dollars straight into Rosoboronexport’s coffers.
Last year, Congress approved the 2013 National Defense Authorization Act, which explicitly prohibits financial contracts with Rosoboronexpert, except if the Secretary of Defense determines that the contract is in America’s national security interests. This year, without any prior determination from the Secretary of Defense, the administration announced that it will buy $690 million worth of helicopters from Rosoboronexport to give to Afghanistan after America pulls out in 2014. This certainly isn’t going to sit well with Marines who are looking at having their rations cut back while in Afghanistan. Nor does it square well with the administration’s serious look at abandoning $36 billion worth of military equipment in Afghanistan when our troops pull out.
The bottom line is that Obama has decided to take help stimulate the Russian defense economy, even as the American economy continues to struggle under his leadership. He will also be supporting a company that routinely sells advanced weapons systems to Iran. Iran, of course, has declared itself at war with the United States since 1979, and its war includes more than thirty-years worth of covert anti-American activities all over the world.
Even worse, this wasn’t even a “no bid contract.” That is, the Pentagon had the opportunity to shop around for better bids on helicopters from American companies or from non-American companies that aren’t on Congress’s banned list. Instead, the Obama-run Pentagon headed straight for Russia.
It appears that Obama meant it when he told President Dmitry Medvedev to tell Russia’s real power play, Vladimir Putin, that winning a second term would leave Obama with more “flexibility.” We don’t know the full scope of that promise, but it appears to include stiffing U.S. defense manufacturers in favor of Russian wars.
Obama’s actions have heralded a bipartisan outcry in Congress. Nine Republican and eight Democrat senators are now pressing the Defense Department to cancel this illegal contract. They’re not likely to be successful in this effort because Obama has repeatedly shown his contempt for the laws that limit is executive authority.
One recent example of this is Obama’s “recess appointments” to the National Labor Relations Board. Under the Constitution, the president does have the power to appoint officials who normally need Senate review if the Senate is not in session. When it came to the NLRB appointments, however, the Senate was in session. It’s not just me saying this. Two federal courts – the D.C. Circuit and the Second Circuit appellate court – have both held that these appointments were unconstitutional. The Obama administration has ignored both of these rulings.
In a Bloomberg article published on May 27, 2013, Ramesh Ponnuru details another example of the Obama administration’s contempt for the law:
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the sweeping health-care law that Obama signed in 2010, asks state governments to set up health exchanges, and authorizes the federal government to provide tax credits to people who use those exchanges to get insurance. But most states have refused to establish the online marketplaces, and both the tax credits and many of the law’s penalties can’t go into effect until the states act.
Obama’s IRS has decided it’s going to apply the tax credits and penalties in states that refuse, even without statutory authorization. During the recent scandal over the IRS’s harassment of conservative groups, many Republicans have warned that the IRS can’t be trusted with the new powers that the health law will give the agency. They are wrong about the verb tense: It has already abused those powers.
Here’s a short list of a few other Obama administration scandals that reveal his and his administration’s absolute disdain for the laws that are supposed to prevent a government from giving in to its lust for totalitarian overreach:
2. Using the Department of Health and Human Services as a platform for making partisan remarks, as HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius did during a speech last year when she called to her audience to elect a Democrat governor for North Carolina.
3. Spying on America’s press, in violation of the First Amendment, as the Department of Justice did against Associated Press.
4. Executing legal documents calling a Fox News reporter a criminal for reporting on things embarrassing to the administration, again in violation of the First Amendment.
5. Engaging in Fast & Furious, which involved walking untraceable and illegal guns across our southern border and straight into the hands of Mexican criminals, resulting in hundreds of deaths, including that of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry.
6. Dropping all charges against the New Black Panthers for voter intimidation, despite video evidence showing the New Black Panthers intimidating voters.
And of course, there’s Obama himself, who has repeatedly announced which laws he’ll support and which laws he’ll ignore. When Obama’s gun control press failed, he announced that he’d go it alone. The most recent example of his going it alone approach is his promise to became a signatory on the U.N. Arms Trade Treaty, provisions of which are counter to the Second Amendment. He also announced that he would stop deporting illegal immigrants, despite the fact that the Dream Act, which would have halted such deportations, had not passed in Congress.
If you’ve ever wondered what a Banana Republic looks like, you needn’t look any further than the current administration. Its decision to buy Russian helicopters in direct contravention of a Congressional prohibition is only the administration’s latest nose-thumbing at the American Constitution, the American Congress, and the American people.