New Lows: Americans Fed Up With All Three Federal Branches

Americans are losing confidence in all three branches of the Federal government. Fewer than one in 10 citizens have faith in Congress, just 29 percent express confidence in the President and only 30 percent feel the Supreme Court is doing a good job.

The numbers, according to the Gallup polling agency, indicate historical lows in American confidence for both Congress and the Supreme Court, along with the lowest Presidential approval since Barack Obama took office.

“While Gallup recently reported a historically low rating of Congress, Americans have always had less confidence in Congress than in the other two branches of government,” the polling agency noted. “The Supreme Court and the presidency have alternated being the most trusted branch of government since 1991, the first year Gallup began asking regularly about all three branches.”

The dismal confidence numbers, despite what Obama supporters believe, in no way carry over from damage done during the George W. Bush Administration. By the end of Bush’s second term, confidence in the Federal government had fallen sharply. But the initial year of the Obama Presidency served as a rebound period.

Gallup reported in June 2009:

Public confidence in the presidency has risen by 25 points over the past year, exceeding the 11-point increase in confidence in the military. The percentage of Americans saying they have a great deal or quite a lot of confidence in the presidency has in fact doubled since June 2008, from 26% to 51%. This is directly correlated with President George W. Bush’s 30% approval rating at this time a year ago, and Barack Obama’s 58% rating in the mid-June survey. Historically, Gallup has found that confidence ratings for the presidency are closely linked with the job approval ratings of the sitting president.

In the years since, Americans have obviously been less approving of government under Obama’s control.

The Supreme Court’s historically low approval rating is likely tied to Americans lacking faith in Obama, as Gallup pointed out that “since 1991, the [Supreme Court and the Presidency] have been within six or seven points of each other in confidence ratings.”

Interestingly, the two highest instances of Americans approval of the Supreme Court since Gallup began tracking confidence in the judicial branch in 1973 occurred in 1985 and 1988 — both during the Administration of President Ronald Reagan. By 1988, Reagan had made four appointments to the court.

As for Congress, Gallup pointed out that “lawmakers are likely resigned to the fact that they are the most distrusted institution of government, but there should be concern that now fewer than one in 10 Americans have confidence in their legislative body.”

Senators Decry Obama Administration’s Phony Surveillance Transparency Report

A surveillance report released by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) last week came under heavy fire Monday from two Senators who said the disclosures lack the transparency promised by President Barack Obama last year after Americans learned of the government’s questionable surveillance tactics.

The report revealed that tens of thousands of people were targeted last year by U.S. surveillance orders. The government acknowledged spying on the communications of up to 90,000 foreign targets, including individuals and organizations.

The report also detailed the FBI issuance of an additional 19,000 national security letters containing about 39,000 warrantless requests for communications information in 2013.

Senators Al Franken (D-Minn.) and Dean Heller (R-Nev.) say, however, that what the ODNI left out of the report is more important than what was included.

“The administration’s report is a far cry from the kind of transparency that the American people demand and deserve,” Franken declared in a statement Monday.

The legislative duo has noted that the National Security Agency used 423 “selectors” to sift through telecommunications databases; 248 of those selectors pertained to targets in the U.S.

The National Security Agency scours the telecommunications databases under the authority of Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, but the ODNI report failed to include any information about how the Nation’s intelligence agencies interpret that authority with regard to U.S. citizens.

“I recognize that this report is being offered in good faith. But it still leaves Americans in the dark,” Franken said.

“It doesn’t tell the American people enough about what information is being gathered about them and how it’s being used.”

The report also provided little information about the relationship between American intelligence agencies and private telecommunications firms, many of which are legally bound to remain mum about the information they provide the government.

“The American people deserve greater transparency and American companies should be able to disclose more information when it comes to privacy rights and the federal government’s surveillance activities,” Heller said.

The two lawmakers have introduced the “Surveillance Transparency Act” last year in an effort to force disclosure of the very sort of information left out of the ODNI report ordered by Obama. Some provisions of that bill were also incorporated in and later dropped from the USA Freedom Act, which has been largely watered-down throughout the legislative process.

Iraq, U.S. Domestic Energy And Rising Gas Prices

As many Americans hit the road en route to the perfect spot to celebrate the Fourth of July, their patriotic feelings may give way to grumblings about the foreign policy and energy independence failures of the Nation’s leaders in recent decades.

According to AAA, gas prices throughout the U.S. for Fourth of July travel are at an average of about $3.68 per gallon, about 20 cents higher than this time last year.

Gas prices usually fall slightly preceding what has become the Nation’s busiest summer travel holiday. But this year the prices are on the rise as the result of the United States’ failures to create a stable Iraq in the oil-rich Mideast.

The U.S. imports only about 300,000 barrels of oil per day from Iraq. But as radical extremists make their way across the war-torn country and move into regions dominated by oil production, an already thin global oil supply is being stretched to its limits. High demand for petroleum from China and other rapidly developing nations combined with a standstill in production in oil-producing regions such as Libya, Sudan and Nigeria are also factors that make Iraq’s ability to produce petroleum paramount.

Moreover, American petroleum consumers are further forced to pay higher prices at the pump because of U.S. sanctions barring the purchase of petroleum from Iran and Syria.

Currently, extremist Sunni factions in Iraq working under the banner of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) haven’t made major inroads into the country’s Shiite-dominated southern regions, where the glut of Iraq’s oil industry is situated. But ISIS advances in the northern part of the country have shut oil fields and forced companies to evacuate workers from areas that were once considered primed for growth on the heels of the United States’ long-standing occupation.

While gas prices in the U.S. are nearing highs that Americans haven’t seen since about 2008, some watchers have noted that the situation could be much worse if not for the shale boom that has led to increased U.S. oil production.

“The net amount of crude the U.S. has added to global markets has resulted in one of the longest periods of oil price stability in years, and has helped push the broader trend down,” Business Insider’s Rob Wile noted last month.

Republican lawmakers have made moves in recent weeks to seize on the energy stability produced by increased domestic oil and natural gas production by passing legislation to expand drilling offshore and on publicly owned lands.

Representative Doc Hastings (R-Wash.), who sponsored the bill, said the legislation was an effort to force the Barack Obama Administration to remove “roadblocks” to U.S. energy production.

“In order for America to prosper, we need access to reliable and affordable energy,” Hastings, chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, said in a statement. “The best way to create jobs and help address rising prices is to develop the American energy resources we have right here at home.”

Other lawmakers are focused on combating energy price spikes, especially those stemming from the current Iraq crisis, by compelling the oil market regulators at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission to tamp down on Wall Street speculation of commodity prices.

“I am getting tired of big oil companies and Wall Street speculators using Iraq as an excuse to pump up oil and gas prices,” Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said last week.

Obama Vows To Handle Immigration Reform On His Own

President Barack Obama, reportedly giving up on the prospect of Congressional immigration reform, announced Monday that he plans to use executive actions to deal with the tide of illegal immigrants flowing over the U.S.’s southern border.

“If Congress will not do its job, at least we can do ours,” Obama said from the White House Rose Garden.

The President said that unilateral action was necessary, claiming that Republican lawmakers were afraid to stand up to the Tea Party faction of the GOP and address the immigration issue.

“While I will continue to push Republicans to drop excuses and act,” Obama said, “Americans cannot wait forever for them to act.”

“I don’t prefer taking administrative action,” the President also said. “I’ve made that clear multiple times … I only take executive action when we have a serious problem, a serious issue and Congress chooses to do nothing.”

Obama’s remarks came after House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) announced last week that he would not lead Republicans in his legislative chamber into the immigration reform debate. Following the President’s Monday statement, Boehner called into question Obama’s leadership ability.

“In our conversation last week, I told the president what I have been telling him for months: the American people and their elected officials don’t trust him to enforce the law as written,” Boehner said in a statement. “Until that changes it is going to be difficult to make progress on this issue.”

Boehner went on to question the reasoning behind Obama’s decision to act unilaterally on immigration reform, charging that the current border crisis was the direct result of Obama’s policies.

“The president’s own executive orders have led directly to the humanitarian crisis along the southern border, giving false hope to children and their families that if they enter the country illegally they will be allowed to stay,” Boehner said.

“The White House claims it will move to return these children to their families in their home countries yet additional executive action from this president isn’t going to stem the tide of illegal crossings, it’s only going to make them worse.”

Last week, Democratic Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois hinted that the President was planning to address immigration unilaterally, saying Thursday that Obama “will borrow the power that is needed to solve the problems of immigration.”

“I don’t know how much more time he thinks he needs, but I hope that Speaker Boehner will speak up today,” Durbin said. “And if he does not, the president will borrow the power that is needed to solve the problems of immigration and he shouldn’t be sued as a result of it.”

Americans Want Jobs, Not Immigrants

A new poll finds that Americans are in favor decreasing immigration levels. Meanwhile, separate research from the Center for Immigration Studies shows that net employment growth in the U.S. since the year 2000 has gone entirely to immigrants, both legal and illegal.

“Americans’ views on immigration have varied a bit in the past 15 years, with the dominant view shifting between decreasing immigration and maintaining it at the current level,” Gallup reported. “Some of these changes may reflect the ebb and flow of Americans’ reactions to the 9/11 attacks in 2001 as well as rocketing unemployment in 2009, with both events triggering a temporary surge in anti-immigration sentiment.”

According to Gallup, 41 percent of Americans report that they would like to see government make moves to reduce the number of immigrants coming to the U.S. Among those who prefer a reduction in immiffgration, 50 percent are Republicans, 43 percent independents and 32 percent identify as Democrats.

Thirty-three percent of respondents said that immigration is fine at its present levels, and just 22 percent of those polled wanted to see an increase.

One of the most important factors in determining whether Americans are accepting of increased immigration is the economy.

“Deciding how many new immigrants to welcome each year can be controversial, particularly when unemployment is high, and seeming competition for good jobs already fierce,” Gallup said.

According to the Center For Immigration Studies, for the past 14 years immigrants to the U.S., both legal and illegal, have had an easier time finding employment in the Nation than people who were born in the Nation.

“All of the net increase in employment went to immigrants in the last 14 years partly because, even before the Great Recession, immigrants were gaining a disproportionate share of jobs relative to their share of population growth,” the report found. “In addition, natives’ losses were somewhat greater during the recession and immigrants have recovered more quickly from it.”

The study found that 58 million working-age Americans who are native to the country are out of work, including: 8.7 million native college graduates, 17 million Americans with some college education and 25.3 million natives with no more than a high school education.

The study’s authors contend that their findings shoot holes in many of the arguments that are made for increasing immigration.

“The long-term decline in the employment for natives across age and education levels is a clear in­dication that there is no general labor shortage, which is a primary justification for the large increases in immigration (skilled and unskilled) in the Schumer-Rubio bill and similar House proposals,” the study said.

*Updated* Anti-Amnesty Group: Mail Your Soiled Used Underwear To Obama, Boehner

Editor’s Note: ALIPAC’s William Gheen emailed Personal Liberty to request that the word “dirty” be changed to “used” in the following article. “We specifically asked people to not send soiled garments but leftist groups like talking points memo are making the false dirty underwear claim,” Gheen explained.

Americans for Legal Immigration PAC (ALIPAC), an anti-amnesty group, is urging Americans to mail their dirty used underwear to the White House and House Speaker John Boehner after the Federal government put in a request for new briefs to provide the illegal immigrants flowing over the U.S.’s southern border.

The Department of Homeland Security recently made a solicitation for thousands of “White 100% Cotton Men’s Briefs” from medium sizes to 6X large pairs.

The solicitation, posted on the Federal Business Opportunities website, says that the underwear are bound for El Paso, Texas.

“This [request for quote] is a normal solicitation for routinely procured items needed at ICE-owned detention facilities around the country,” an immigration official told Breitbart earlier this month. “At ICE-owned detention facilities, the agency is required to provide basic necessities in order to feed and clothe detained aliens.”

But ALIPAC has a better idea for anyone who wants to send whitie-tighties to the Feds.

“Obama and Boehner have proven once and for all that their talk of passing immigration reform amnesty, instead of enforcing America’s existing border and immigration laws, only brings more unwanted and destructive illegal immigration!” said William Gheen, president of ALIPAC, on the group’s website.

“Instead of using our tax money to buy illegals 42,000 pairs of new underwear, we would like to send the illegals and DC politicians a message by mailing them our used underwear, and some of our pairs are in really bad shape due to the bad economy and all of the jobs illegal immigrants are taking from Americans.”

ALIPAC concludes that Americans upset over the government’s failure to fix the Nation’s immigration problems are “encouraged to mail their used underwear to Barack Obama at The White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20500, and John Boehner at Office of the Speaker, H-232 The Capitol, Washington, DC 20515.”

Sunday News Show Roundup

Guests on Sunday’s political talk shows this week discussed the worsening immigration crises at the U.S.’s southern border, Republican efforts to challenge President Barack Obama’s executive authority and potential 2016 Democratic Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s money problem.

Border Crises

A White House official told CNN this weekend that President Obama will likely ask Congress for more than $2 billion to set up detention spaces for the thousands of young illegal immigrants flowing across the border and work out a plan to stem the tide of illegal immigration.

The President appeared in a recorded interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos Sunday, urging foreigners not to send minors to the U.S.

“Do not send your children to the borders. If they do make it, they’ll get sent back. More importantly, they may not make it,” the President said.

Representative Michael McCaul (R-Texas) told CBS’s Bob Schieffer that he applauded the President’s statement but said there is more to be done to address the border crisis.

“Well, first, it’s a crisis like nothing I’ve ever seen before at the border. We have refugee camps now in my and your home state of Texas. It’s a very serious concern,” the lawmaker said. “I don’t think the flow will stop until a message of deterrence is sent back to Central America.

“The drug traffickers are making $5,000 a child on these children, advertising that if you get into the United States, you can stay. And to some extent, that is accurate. So I think a message of deterrence, I know the President came out with a strong statement today. I applaud that,” McCaul continued. “But I think, you know, we have to be humanitarian at the same time, let them know that if they do come, they cannot stay here; otherwise, we’ll never stop the flow.”

Obama Lawsuit

Representative Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) appeared on “Fox News Sunday” to discuss House Speaker John Boehner’s (R-Ohio) decision to file a lawsuit against the President for what he and other members of the GOP view as his Administration’s “trampling of the Constitution.”

“This is all about the United States Constitution,” Goodlatte said, rejecting Democratic criticisms that the lawsuit is an election year political stunt.

The lawmaker argued that Obama’s pattern of failing to enforce laws and changing laws that are already in place runs afoul of Article 1 of the Constitution.

“We … have the power to bring causes of action when we believe that the President of the United States is exceeding his authority and is trampling upon Article 1 of the Constitution,” Goodlatte said. “To me, it makes a whole lot of sense to do this.”

Speaking on behalf of the left, House Democratic Caucus Chairman Xavier Becerra (D-Calif.) disagreed with the Republican lawmaker’s assertions.

“The President simply said I’m going to do what I can within the confines of the law to make this work,” Becerra said. “Absolutely, he’s implementing the law … he’s not rewriting it.”

Out of Touch Hillary

Obama was also asked about Clinton’s comments about being “dead broke” when she and former President Bill Clinton left the White House during his appearance Sunday.

“As soon as you jump back into the spotlight in a more explicitly political way, you’re going to be fly-spec like this,” Obama said. “She’s accustomed to it. Anybody who gets involved in public life is accustomed to it. Over time I don’t think it’s going to make a big difference.”

Obama, who in 2008 tried to portray Clinton as out of touch, also took up for the presumable 2016 Democratic candidate.

“I think that Hillary has been to this rodeo a bunch of times,” he said. “She is in public service [be]cause she cares about the same folks that I talked to here today. Her track record on that speaks for itself.”

The President also hinted that a Clinton Presidency would be an extension of his own.

“This whole notion of you got the centrist Democrats and the liberal Democrats, if you look at Democrats generally, their agenda is grounded in the things that middle-class families are concerned about generally,” Obama said. “Wages, incomes, fairness, opportunity, college costs, and so you don’t have some of the same old ideological divisions. In fact, the big challenge we have right now is frankly finding a Republican Party that is even close to the center so that we can actually do some work with them.”

After SCOTUS Strikes Down 12 Obama Power Grabs, Boehner’s Lawsuit Could Finish The Lawless Administration

Democrats have widely dismissed House Speaker John Boehner’s (R-Ohio) announcement that he plans to file a lawsuit against President Barack Obama for misuse of executive orders. But many Americans believe that Boehner may have a real case against the President, especially after the Supreme Court delivered a ruling Thursday against Obama Administration efforts to expand executive power.

The Supreme Court’s nine Justices ruled that the three so-called recess appointments the President made to the National Labor Relations Board in 2012, as Congress conducted pro forma sessions every three days to avoid going into recess, were unConstitutional.

The ruling serves as a point of vindication for members of the GOP who have claimed that Obama’s unilateral actions in defiance of Congress in making the appointment and with regard to various other matters illustrate the Administration’s utter disregard for the Constitution.

“Today, the Supreme Court invalidated President Obama’s unlawful abuse of the President’s recess appointments power. President Obama ignored the plain text of the Constitution and attempted to make unilateral recess appointments — circumventing the checks and balances of confirmation — when the Senate was not, in fact, in recess,” Texas Republican Senator Ted Cruz said after the ruling was handed down. “Today, a unanimous Court rightly rejected that presidential abuse of power.”

Cruz added, “This marks the twelfth time since January 2012 that the Supreme Court has unanimously rejected the Obama Administration’s calls for greater federal executive power.”

In April 2013, when the tally of unanimous Supreme Court rulings against the Administration sat at nine, Cruz issued a report detailing what the Nation would look like had Obama gotten his way in court.

“If the Department of Justice had won these cases, the federal government would be able to electronically track all of our movements, fine us without a fair hearing, dictate who churches choose as ministers, displace state laws based on the president’s whims, bring debilitating lawsuits against individuals based on events that occurred years ago, and destroy a person’s private property without just compensation,” he wrote at the time.

For the time being, the Senate has rendered moot the recess appointment issue at the center of the Thursday ruling because of a rule change that allows for nominee confirmations with a majority vote. However, the decision serves as a censure of Obama’s view of Presidential power; and that is paramount.

The ruling also gives Boehner’s forthcoming lawsuit traction that his Congressional critics on the left hadn’t anticipated.

“The Constitution makes it clear that a president’s job is to faithfully execute the laws. In my view, the president has not faithfully executed the laws,” the House Speaker said, announcing his intentions on Wednesday. “When there are conflicts like this between the legislative branch and the administrative branch, it’s… our responsibility to stand up for this institution.”

In a memo sent to fellow Republicans, Boehner said that he will challenge the “king-like authority” Obama has exerted by issuing executive orders to enact policies affecting healthcare, energy, education, foreign policy and other matters of national importance. Boehner didn’t provide a list of specific executive orders that he plans to challenge, but told lawmakers that he plans to bring legislation on the matter to the floor in July once the Rules Committee has reviewed the plan.

The House Speaker said that the main point of the lawsuit is protecting the balance of government powers, as set forth in the Constitution.

“What we’ve seen clearly over the last five years is an effort to erode the power of the legislative branch,” Boehner said. “On behalf of the institution and the Constitution, standing up and fighting for this is the best long-term interest of the Congress.”

The House General Counsel and the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group, a group of lawmakers that includes whips from both parties and majority and minority leaders, would ultimately bring the suit against the Obama Administration if Boehner’s plan moves forward.

Democrats have responded to Boehner’s plan with familiar groans, accusing the GOP of baseless criticism of the Administration and insinuating that the lawsuit is the precursor to a fruitless impeachment endeavor.

“In this case it seems that Republicans have shifted their opposition into a higher gear. Frankly, I didn’t know it was a gear that even existed,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest said Wednesday. “They are considering a taxpayer funded lawsuit against the president of the United States for doing his job… [It’s] the kind of step that I think most Americans wouldn’t support.”

But George Washington University Law Professor Jonathan Turley, a noted Obama supporter on many issues, isn’t so sure that the Obama Administration is immune to damning outcomes that could result from the suit.

“I think there is a case against the President for exceeding his authority,” Turley told a baffled MSNBC pundit Wednesday. “I happen to agree with the President on many of his priorities and policies, but as I testified in Congress I think he has crossed the Constitutional line.”

While the professor said that it is difficult to sue a sitting U.S. President, it isn’t impossible. And Obama certainly hasn’t done himself any favors in avoiding the potential legal challenge.

“[W]hen the President went to Congress and said that he was going to go it alone, it obviously raises a concern,” Turley noted. “Because there’s no license for going it alone in our system.”

Polls: The More American Parents Learn About Common Core, The More They Disapprove

New polling data illustrate that the more American parents of school-aged children are exposed to the new Common Core education standards, the more they oppose the education overhaul.

A Rasmussen telephone survey conducted over the weekend found that just 34 percent of American parents with children in elementary or secondary school favor policies requiring all of the Nation’s schools to meet the Federal Common Core standards. The approval rate is down 18 points from 52 percent of members of the same group supporting Common Core implementation in November.

Forty-seven percent of the parents who participated in the Rasmussen poll oppose Common Core and 19 percent remain undecided.

In an interview with Breitbart, Pioneer Institute for Public Policy Research director Jim Stergios said that the falling poll numbers are the result of Americans learning things about the educational standards that were intentionally hushed by Common Core proponents.

“Common Core proponents always banked on stealth — on keeping parents from knowing about the Core until it was too late,” Stergios told Breitbart education reporter Susan Berry. “When that didn’t work, they paid for push polls to fabricate a sense of popular support.”

“What’s important about the Rasmussen poll is it’s the first high-quality poll done on the question of support for Common Core,” he added. “And what it tells us is unsurprising: The more people learn about the mediocre quality, the unfunded mandates and the questionable legality of the Core, the less they like it.”

A separate survey conducted by the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice also found that a majority of those asked disapprove of the standards by a margin of 49 percent to 44 percent who support the standards.

While the Friedman “Schooling in America” survey showed a smaller gap between support and disapproval, it provides the added knowledge that more Americans strongly oppose the standards (33 percent) than strongly support them (12 percent).

Cruz: Impeach Holder If He Doesn’t Appoint Special Prosecutor For IRS Investigation

Texas Republican Senator Ted Cruz on Thursday called for Attorney General Eric Holder’s impeachment in the Department of Justice fails to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate the Internal Revenue Service’s targeting of conservatives and former IRS employee Lois Lerner’s mysteriously missing emails.

Cruz said that the IRS’s “computer crash” excuse for not providing Congressional investigators with two years’ worth of Lerner’s emails screams of a criminal conspiracy.

“We’re told that the hard drive crashed, and that the documents are irretrievable under any circumstance,” Cruz said. “We also know that hate IRS didn’t follow the law when it failed to report the hard drive crash that we’re told occurred.”

Cruz likened the IRS tactics to those used to cover up wrongdoing during the Nixon Administration.

“Make no mistakes. These emails haven’t just been lost. These emails have been deleted, taped over, and the hard drive physically destroyed according to public news reports. Madame President, this is Rosemary Woods,” Cruz charged. “Madame President, when you have Federal government officials destroying evidence, in the ordinary parlance that’s called obstruction of justice. The hard drive magically collapses, magically crashes and is physically destroyed right after the investigation begins.”

If a Republican Administration were in power as the IRS scandal unfolded, according to Cruz, every Democrat and mainstream media outlet would be trying to get to the bottom of the abuse of power.

“If Attorney General Eric Holder continues to refuse to appoint a special prosecutor, he should be impeached,” Cruz concluded. “Madame President, when an Attorney General refuses to enforce the law, when an Attorney General mocks the rule of law, when an Attorney General corrupts the Department of Justice by conducting a nakedly partisan investigation to cover up political wrongdoing, that conduct by any reasonable measure constitutes high crimes and misdemeanors.”

Cruz called for unanimous consent on his resolution to require Holder to appoint a special prosecutor— Senator Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) objected on Democrats’ behalf, blocking passage of the measure.