Obama's immigration-impeachment gambit
- 29 July 2014
A review of the best commentary on and around the world...
The Obama administration could be planning a "very significant", large-scale immigration reform sometime before November's mid-term congressional elections.
According to White House advisor Dan Pfeiffer, President Barack Obama is frustrated with the lack of progress Congress is making toward immigration reform and will take action unilaterally, if necessary.
The Associated Press reports that such measures could include granting work permits "to potentially millions of immigrants who are in this country illegally, allowing them to stay in the United States without threat of deportation".
As word of the possible move has leaked out, Republican politicians expressed outrage.
On Monday Senator Jeff Sessions issued a warning to the president: "It would be an affront to the people of this country which they will never forgive. It would be a permanent stain on your presidency."
Given the near certain right-wing fury were Mr Obama to proceed, the National Review's Rich Lowry wonders whether the president might be intentionally provoking a constitutional crisis. Could he be daring Republicans to impeach him?
He points to Mr Pfeiffer's comments to reporters on Friday in which he seemed to acknowledge that impeachment may be on the table as a result of the administration's actions.
"I would not discount the possibility," Mr Pfeiffer said.
Republican Representative Steve King of Iowa says impeachment would be a done deal.
"From my standpoint, if the president [enacts more executive actions], we need to bring impeachment hearings immediately before the House of Representatives," Mr King told Breitbart News Saturday. "That's my position, and that's my prediction."
Democrats may be thinking that a Republican push to oust the president would rally their political base, Lowry writes. When the House of Representatives successfully pushed articles of impeachment against President Bill Clinton in 1998, they were roundly condemned by public opinion and lost seats in Congress in the next election.
"An administration that is fast entering its dotage could consider this one of the few potential positive game-changers that it has direct control over - the Constitution and the rule of law be damned."
In order to remove Mr Obama from office, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives has to approve articles of impeachment by a simple majority and two-thirds of the Senate has to vote to convict.
With the Senate currently in the hands of the Democrats, such a development seems unlikely in the extreme.
Chinese worry about a new electronic menace - There is a growing concern about the threat of "internet addiction" in youth across China, according to the New Yorker's Evan Osnos.
"China has already classified Internet addiction as a clinical disorder, which it considers a leading threat to the health of its young people," he writes.
In attempts to address the problem, many parents send their children to one of hundreds of treatment centres in the country, says Osnos.
Some parents are so preoccupied that they would rather blame the internet for their child's issues rather than on the distress their teenagers may be actually facing, he continues.
"The devotion that young Chinese feel to the internet is driven by deep factors ranging from youth unemployment and income inequality to political repression and the demographic imbalance between men and women," he concludes.
Anti-Semitism revives painful memories - The recent eruption of anti-Semitism in France has Jews there "anguished and puzzled", says the French Institute for International Affairs's Dominique Moisi.
The French-Jewish community questions whether or not it is safe in France, says Moisi, and revives memories of the Holocaust.
"Comparisons to Nazi-era Europe do nothing to reassure a community that, despite all of the major historical differences between then and now, cannot quite shake the feeling that it is dancing on the rim of a volcano," says Moisi.
Privatising gone wrong - Mexico's current round of economic liberalisation will fail again because nothing has changed since the last one, says America Economia's Luis Rubio (translated by WorldCrunch).
The country learned no lesso`ns from its economic privitisation failures in the 1980s, he writes, or from the issues of power-hungry politicians from the past.
"Instead of discussing how the energy market would be after the current opening up, all that seems to matter is how much will stay in state hands," he adds.
Other countries, such as the UK and Chile, were successfully able to transition from state-controlled industry to the private sector, he says. If Mexico wants to replicate their successes, the government will have to keep the powerful oligopolies in check.
Backsliding in the Caucasus - The first ex-Soviet republic to embrace democracy is slowly reverting to dictatorship, write the editors of the Wall Street Journal.
Since the 2012 presidential elections, the nation has been beset by political vendettas and sham prosecutions, they write. Former President Mikheil Saakashvili has been forced to flee to the US.
Georgia wants closer ties with the European Union and membership in Nato, which gives the West some bargaining power, they write. This influence must be used to help deter Tblisi's anti-democratic forces.
BBC Monitoring's quotes of the day
Israeli commentators made international headlines recently with their sharp words for US President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry. Now some in the media are pushing back against the criticism.
"A trusting relationship between Israel and the United States is a supreme strategic asset for Israel that dare not be undermined. [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu bears responsibility for protecting this asset, and any damage done to it contravenes the interests of all Israelis." - Editorial in Ha'aretz.
"I will not join the chorus of those who attempt to assassinate the characters of these two men who have done much for Israel. So why is there a perception that their sympathies lie elsewhere? Because they don't seem to get, and do not state definitively, that Israel is in a moral battle of good versus evil. Hamas is evil incarnate." - Shmuley Boteach in the Jerusalem Post.
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